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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.
Several weeks ago, I joined up with nearly 100 of my golf course architect friends from Europe, Australia and the US for five days of golf, architectural study and camaraderie on some of our country’s finest venues. Our destination: Long Island, NY.
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.
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.
This afternoon, I watched from our deck as my 8 year old son marched through the backyard lugging over his shoulder a bag of mismatched golf clubs, an oversized glove on the wrong hand and a fist full of bright colored pin flags. I slumped in my chair so I could watch his event unfold without distracting him.
When I was a kid… I used to love watching the Masters on Saturday afternoon and then head out to the local course where I pretended to play my own version of “Amen Corner”. And on a balmy, still afternoon in Robinson, Illinois it still felt to me like Augusta. I never won a green jacket, but I sure had fun just imagining what it would be like.
For me, this is a fun list – not to be taken too seriously. So, it’s not up for debate or for comparison with the Top 100 lists. It is simply a mentioning of some courses that offer up a good day on the course – for me at least, and maybe for you as well.
Long has been the debate over the perceived push for longer courses or the accommodation thereof in the game. Frankly, this turns into a much broader topic than should be attempted in one post, but let’s take a shot and see where this goes.