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When we last paused, Dr. MacKenzie was on his way to the 10th tee. The spirit amongst the group was strained at best as the architect’s criticisms continued to mount.
I had a dream last night. Alister MacKenzie is not dead. He’s been hiding away since 1934 and he is completely unaware of the state of our game much less his designs. During his 82-year absence, MacKenzie has never once taken notice of The Masters......until now.
Maybe the title got your attention… Just talking golf holes here - mainly the short-ish ones… especially the 4’s under 340 yards and the 3’s under 120 yards.
In an era where golf courses have fallen defenseless to the almighty length of touring professionals, we’ve seen fairways narrowed, bunkers added, trees planted, higher rough, conditions firmed up and green speeds lowered to the point that balls roll well beyond the tolerance of designed contours. Why? Because yes, “these guys are THAT good”.
Golf has been kind to the greater Toledo, Ohio area - a rich history of playing personalities, storied tournaments and grand courses. One thinks immediately of the Inverness Club, regularly regarded among America’s top 50 courses and host to US Opens, PGA Championships, and even a US Amateur.
Our final day of golf took us into New Jersey and to Baltusrol Golf Club, named for “Baltus Roll”, who was murdered in his house on the premises in 1831.
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.
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.
I confess that I am less intrigued these days by watching the PGA Tour on TV than in previous years. Aside from the Open Championship and being serenaded on my sofa by the guitar music of the Masters (is there a better afternoon nap, interrupted occasionally by chirping birds or gallery roars?), I tend to take a pass on most tournament coverage these days, much the same as I do the NBA.