Each year, the American Society of Golf Course Architects conducts our annual meetings – always a different venue. In April, we held our event at The Woodlands in Houston. Each day is a mixture of business meetings, continuing education, formal dinners and….golf.
I was fortunate enough to have two, sizeable renovation construction projects going on simultaneously in Naples, Florida that commenced work in April, 2017. As we began the work, water levels in the lakes were at all-time lows.
As you might imagine, architects get pressed quite often to profess our opinions about what makes one golf course better than another. And while I think that is more an individual preference (or left to magazines), there are some courses that stand out among the rest.
I have to blunt here…. to me, all the course ratings and rankings out there today have become rather insipid and an exhaustive re-statement of the impossible. But perhaps, there is another side of these listings to be considered?
It seems that golf is at least somewhat inherently fun for most of us, right? Maybe because of the challenge it present - man against golf course. Perhaps it is the camaraderie one can enjoy with friends. For some it might be the competitive encounters.
Surely by now the word is out….there is a world class golf resort on the coast of southern Oregon. It's called Bandon Dunes. There are four 18-hole courses on the property and they’re all ranked among the Top 100 in the US.
I’m not attempting to be trite here! The subject of “fun” has become a trendy topic of late and, in all seriousness, fun is something that has frankly been overlooked in our fine game for some time. Not because of lack of interest, but because the game became perhaps a bit too serious on the business front.
The past few years have been exhausting. Golf industry trends have been as depressing as the Nightly News. So when you hear a success story, it really stands out and makes you take pause. One such incidence involves a links style golf course in Rhode Island that I co-designed with Arthur Hills called Newport National Golf Club.
Do you ever find yourself wondering what could have been?
In an answer to golf's needs of today, Mom and Pop's old par three course is making a comeback, and so is the executive 9-hole course, or any other of a myriad of optional golf opportunities that target kids and beginners while fulfilling the time, cost and fun factors that resonate with players of all skill levels.