Shockingly Wide Fairways

Given the wind, or the tall grass, I’m NOT sure players leave RSPGL and notice we had shockingly wide fairways. It’s such an easy course for average players. If you want to sound really smart next time you are sitting at the bar having a brew, read this, and then explain it to your friends.

Wide fairways were at the core of original golf design. Sheep and cattle ate everything except the gorse. So “fairways” if you want to call them that, stretched from one extreme side, to the other. Wide fairways also provided strategy. Depending on where the pin was located, the direction of the wind, the firmness of the ground, players could play wide to one side. Now sadly, thanks to irrigation, smaller properties and the evolution of the definition of what is a good golfer…. there is basically one option, straight down the middle. Yawn!

Evidence of Wide Fairways

RSPGL, you might not realize, has some of those early age characteristics, and I thought I would prove it. Thanks to Google Earth, I was able to measure our fairway width. The narrowest, is about 45 yards, the widest in places is 75 yards, and I would say average width is somewhere in the mid 50’s. I then measured every other course in the area. My first plan was to simply list them all, (as they are facts), but I don’t need anyone losing their cool over this.

Some of narrowest courses, had fairways that averaged about 24-27 yards. Most seemed to average 27-32 yards. A couple courses actually surprised me and had average widths in the mid to upper 30’s. Still pretty narrow, but at least a third bigger than the smaller fairway courses.

During my research there were many courses that had fairway bunkers biting into the short grass. At some of these points, especially turn points on doglegs, fairways often got as narrow as 16-24 yards. Yikes. To be honest, you have very little chance of hitting that, I have no chance either.

wide fairways
Strategy Comes From Wide Fairways

Wait, it gets better. Just because I could measure the short grass, doesn’t mean that’s the actually playing width, because trees have affected a fair number of these holes. Overhanging foliage (again, not everywhere) but in a number of places, can reduce fairway effective width by 25%. Yikes again!

There is one way to play these holes and it’s single file, right down the middle. There will be certain golfers who believe this is “real golf”. Rewards… are for those who are dead straight and long. No options, no decisions, just get up and bash it dead straight. What about those who can’t hit it dead straight, what about those average players?

Average Players Should Be Happy

Golf Course Owner Guy’s course has maybe gotten a bad wrap over the years that it is hard, and is a course geared toward the better player. Just like a lot of your misconceptions about golf, you’d be dead wrong.

RSPGL is the easiest course in the Valley for average players. It is wide, with fairways double the size of other places. It has no trees, so fairways play as wide as they are designed. The turf is soft like carpet, due to double and sometimes triple row irrigation, so balls don’t scamper into trouble. It has large blue grass rough areas on either side of every fairway. These roughs are not long, but they are thick, they grab golf ball momentum before the ball gets into the tall grass. It’s fescue long grass are mowed and playable making it a HUGE playing surface when measured from side to side.

Why Better Players Like It?

The better player is stimulated and perplexed by the width. There are clearly better angles to play to. Water, bunkers, knobs and hollows can all be avoided, and the good player is contemplating those options. The course they played yesterday asked for one shot straight down the middle, RSPGL played today, doesn’t dictate anything. How do I know this, the average player shows me, as I watch the many ways they play a wide fairway hole and still make par. That’s super cool.

So there you have it. If you don’t agree, leave a comment below. If you do agree, then you better go ahead and make a tee time.

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