It’s a question that should arise more often…if St. Andrew’s Old Course is the best course in the world, the place where architects have gotten their inspiration, where golfers make a lifetime pilgrimage, why the hell has no one ever built a course that looks like it?
I mean, let’s talk about it… only two par 3’s. All massive double greens. 6 of the first 7 tee shots are blind. Bunkers can’t be seen, and don’t actually frame anything. You could play it backwards. It’s not open on Sundays. You play over a metal garage, two holes criss-cross, you play off a road, do I need to go on? Why do the golf courses you enjoy… look nothing like the supposed best course in the world? It’s a fair question, and I have no idea how to answer it.
Somewhere along the line, golf has massively changed. Did the move from match play to stroke play, change issues of fairness and institute the scorecard and pencil mentality? Did the Pro game change the way we play? Did manufacturers change the equipment so much we needed different features to overcome? Did fancy owners think waterfalls and fountains made better golf than flat oddly rumpled terrain? Why do we revere St. Andrews, but no one actually wants to play that every day? Why is pretty, and perfect so important? Why are quirky lies, unfair bounces, and imperfect bunkers such a turn off?
I’m not sure that any of us know what real golf actually is. I have to believe that someday, because everything is cyclical, there will be this movement back to discovering why people enjoyed playing the “original game”. Our version seems so different.