Proper Golf

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Consistency v Variety

Building golf great courses is all about finding a balance, in the right places, between consistency and variety.

In golf course design, variety rules. Nobody likes a golf course with fairway bunkers on both sides and greens guarded on the right and left as well. What makes a golf course good is variety. Players enjoy being able to hit all sorts of different shots. Long carries, bump and runs, front to back greens, drivable par 4's, and the Tiny Tim's of the world, the short par 3's all have their place at certain times on the golf course. As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and its no different in golf course architecture.

Golf course construction, on the other hand, is the opposite. Consistency rules. For example, every bunker that is constructed (not naturally existing) should have exactly the same about of sand. It simply isn't fun for the player when one bunker has 2 inches of sand on one hole, and 6 on the next. Nor is it right, to have 8 inches on the bottom of the bunker and 2 inches on the face. The game is hard enough as it is, you have the at least give the golfer a chance to calculate his plan of attack. Another example would be something like drainage heads. One hole shouldn't have 8 inch metal grates and another 4 inch plastic when the same style drain is being used. Things like a uniform drainage head can save a lot of money and trouble over time for the golf course by allowing them to keep proper stock on spare parts, because everything inevitably breaks.

Photo: Bunkers under construction at the much anticipated Dormie Club, NC

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