Last week, I had a great discussion whether golf lost its way. There are many factors that contribute to a lost way, but we don’t have to look much farther than the playing grounds themselves. Golf is just like society, it moves in trends. We can often look back and realize that maybe a trend was in the wrong time, at the wrong place. Let me explain.
In the 50’s and 60’s there was a major philosophical change in the way holes were designed. Prior to that (they call it the Golden Age), holes were wide, ground was rumpled, putting surfaces clever, topography dictated a lot of play and basically bunkers were put in certain spots to create strategy. Many abilities could play these holes many different ways. It was fun!
The 50’s brought a new mentality. Golf, better yet the ability to play “good golf” transformed into a game of laser like accuracy. Holes were made straighter. Bunkers were placed on both the right and left side of fairways and greens. Topography was bulldozed. Those who could hit it perfectly deserved the reward. The middle of the fairway had no bunkers. The middle of the fairway had the flatest lies. Trees were heavily planted on both sides, and clearly too close to the fairways, but of course….if you were in the middle, no problems there.
More than anything, choices were removed. There was now one singular choice. Single file, right down the middle. Those who can do this the best, are clearly great players. Those who can’t, should really aspire to hit it straighter. That was the game for many decades. Think of all the courses that were built during these decades. Most of the courses in this area were built in those decades. Just facts.
More Ammo Golf Lost Its Way
Modern architects have declared: this is where golf inspiration was lost. Strategy was eliminated, options reduced, use of great land unnecessary, natural sites replaced by fabricated sites. If golf was going to have intrigue, the nuances of golf had to return.
Good golf is making a comeback, all be it at a bad time. When golf flourished economically decades ago, it happened to coincide with the production of a lot of crappy courses. Kind of sad. Now those courses bore new golfers. Their corridors extremely narrowed because there is no money to cut back the trees. Turfgrass struggling because its spends it’s day under a shade canopy. Bunkers that were designed to be nothing but visually penal, are exactly that…. because it’s too expensive to take care of them.
Golf Course Owner Guy knows we have something different at RSPGL. It’s the kind of course that can inspire new players and certainly challenge good players. I have so many great ideas to ensure that it stays inspirational, as with everything, it just needs enthusiasm and support. Keep that in mind next time you are making a tee time. Golf lost its way, but it will be found again.