Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Golf Course Routing

Why are so many modern golf courses routed so poorly? At last week's US Amateur Championship, we heard the announcers talk about how Erin Hills was around 9,000 yards from first tee to 18th green. A quick look at last year's Amateur Public Links Championship course, the Champions course at Bryan Park in Greensboro, NC, a course I have played numerous times, says that it is nearly 10,500 yards from 1st tee to 18th green, and that doesn't even count the 300 yards from the car park, to the range and then to the first tee. The Short Course at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, AL where I play quite a bit nowadays is about 3,100 "course" yards, yet walking the course is nearly 5,000 yards. On top of that, something like 16 or 17 holes play uphill at some point, either to the tee or to the green, some play uphill on both. Tobacco Road, a fairly well regarded course, is about 8,850 yards from 1st to 18th; interestingly Pinehurst #2 plays only about 7,500 yards from 1st to 18th yet the course yardage is about 800 yards greater than Tobacco Road. Pacific Dunes, the shining beacon in the night for walking golfers, checks in at some 1,300+ yards longer on the ground than on the card; must be a fantastic routing (might be enough for me to downgrade my 10 ranking) I simply don't understand why courses are routed so poorly. Are operators so strapped for cash that they essentially force customers to pay the extra $15-$35 for a cart fee? That is the only reason I can think of. Owners and Operators simply have no use for a walking golfer because they don't bring in the additional revenue from cart rental. As far as I'm concerned this is a poor cash grab on the part of the owners; I guess Erin Hills and Pacific Dunes make up for being walking only by strongly "recommending" a caddie, which, by the way, will bring them even more revenue than a cart would.