Travesty or True test?

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I love this quote from ‘Preferred Lies’ by Andrew Greig. What do you think is the ‘travesty’ - the perfect/sanitised golf courses sought by so many or the raw, natural courses of a bygone age - sculpted by nature. What is the true test?

‘Then the epiphany comes. Looking around for a likely site of the next tee, with the nearby shore resounding all the way up the island, the island itself resting in in and improbably turquoise-to-Indigo sea, I realise it’s the manicured courses of much modern golf, landscaped and planted so beautifully with trees and ponds, with their colour coded distance markers, their artificial bunkers shored and raked, their greens watered and rolled to eliminate every bit of moss or crabgrass, aiming for the perfect course where there is no unevenness, no unexpected breaks, no pebbles, rabbit skeletons or sheep droppings or distracting seagulls, indeed to complete banishment of all animal life - they are the travesty.’
 

Lilyhawk

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I believe had the inventors of golf have the equipment used today at their disposal back then, the romantic view of the "courses sculpted by nature" (read: 18 holes played from the rough no matter where the ball is) would not exist.

If I go to a golf course and the course isn't kept up to a certain standard, I sure won't return.

But I do understand that some people like the thought of the rugged course, just like the old days.
 
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I think we have to be realistic about what people want to play and enjoy playing. Ultimately the market drives these things.

There is certainly room in the game for a rough and ready course where you won't always get a perfectly flat lie in the fairway, and the bunkers are a bit on the craggy side - but in the main people want to be playing well conditioned courses and will pay for it.

Alistair MacKenzie said of traditional links (with humps and hollows) that while some might complain about the unfairness of being in the fairway and not having a good lie, over 18 or 36 holes, the better players will find ways to play good shots from these positions. I'd tend to agree with that.

Anecdotally look to the US Open at Chambers Bay a few years ago. 156 players ranked probably from 1 to 500 (or even lower) playing round a course with very poor conditioning, dry, bare & bumpy greens. The top end of the leader board over 72 holes was Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day - probably the 3 best players in the world that year. So these guys found a way to win and there was no randomness in terms of a guy ranked 150 coming through to win.
 
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I believe had the inventors of golf have the equipment used today at their disposal back then, the romantic view of the "courses sculpted by nature" (read: 18 holes played from the rough no matter where the ball is) would not exist.

If I go to a golf course and the course isn't kept up to a certain standard, I sure won't return.

But I do understand that some people like the thought of the rugged course, just like the old days.
The thought is very romantic but the reality can be very different. Not sure where I stand on this. I do think that many golfers who mostly play very manicured courses would struggle on traditional links but links club players would adapt better/easier to manicured courses - if that isn’t stating the obvious!
 

User 105

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I think it has to be about enjoyment. I'm sure there are some people who would relish the challenge of playing in those conditions every round. But i think they'd be few and far between.

i played a comp at Chesfield a week ago in howling winds, I absolutely loved it. Having to be creative and come up with shots to get the ball round. But I wouldn't want to have to do that every week.
 

Bunkermagnet

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As long as the course isn't riddled with divots and the greens with unrepaired pitch marks thats good for me. Obviously good course maintenance by the green staff is important, but a course looked after and respected by those playing it more so.
 

Scozzy

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I think it's a feeling of freedom thing.... the joy of a rugged ,off the beaten track course with a few pals, throwing a few quid in the honesty box and going old school is just plain good for the soul,I am spoiled for choice in my part of the world (East Lothian) and do expect a certain level of quality but equally love a trip to far flung,less manicured places with far less machinery in the shed..
 

Bxm Foxy

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I think it's a feeling of freedom thing.... the joy of a rugged ,off the beaten track course with a few pals, throwing a few quid in the honesty box and going old school is just plain good for the soul,I am spoiled for choice in my part of the world (East Lothian) and do expect a certain level of quality but equally love a trip to far flung,less manicured places with far less machinery in the shed..
Freedom is a good way to describe it. Personally I love a moorland course, really feel free and alive up high on Dartmoor.
 

patricks148

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I love this quote from ‘Preferred Lies’ by Andrew Greig. What do you think is the ‘travesty’ - the perfect/sanitised golf courses sought by so many or the raw, natural courses of a bygone age - sculpted by nature. What is the true test?

‘Then the epiphany comes. Looking around for a likely site of the next tee, with the nearby shore resounding all the way up the island, the island itself resting in in and improbably turquoise-to-Indigo sea, I realise it’s the manicured courses of much modern golf, landscaped and planted so beautifully with trees and ponds, with their colour coded distance markers, their artificial bunkers shored and raked, their greens watered and rolled to eliminate every bit of moss or crabgrass, aiming for the perfect course where there is no unevenness, no unexpected breaks, no pebbles, rabbit skeletons or sheep droppings or distracting seagulls, indeed to complete banishment of all animal life - they are the travesty.’
better still is playing one of these old fashioned courses with Hickory clubs
 

Jacko_G

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I think a hybrid design is the win win situation.

Using the land to it's maximum potential plus using today's technology and earth moving machinery sympathetically.

Might be a bit "on the fence" but the best answer in my opinion.
 

bobmac

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It's a bit like....
Beatles or Rolling Stones
Red sauce or brown
Classical music or pop
Mercedes or BMW
Sea view or forest
Etc.
I prefer forests to the beach so I'll leave the links to the masochists ;)
 

Wabinez

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As long as the greens are decent, and they tend to be, even on rugged courses, then I'd be happy. Dealing with poor lies in the fairway etc is understandable....but there is nothing more frustrating than hitting a good putt only for it to bounce way off line due to a crap surface
 

Liverbirdie

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I love manicured courses as well as wet and wild links (sometimes they have both aspects).

I love the humps, bumps and hollows as well as nature's hand or even "luck be a lady" coming into proceedings, that said, I am a right lucky barsteward most of the time.......:)

The greens do have to be true and good though. I dont mind the odd awkward lie or stance for fairway/rough shots, but once you get to the green the only things diverting the ball should be the contours of the green.
 

Orikoru

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I love this quote from ‘Preferred Lies’ by Andrew Greig. What do you think is the ‘travesty’ - the perfect/sanitised golf courses sought by so many or the raw, natural courses of a bygone age - sculpted by nature. What is the true test?

‘Then the epiphany comes. Looking around for a likely site of the next tee, with the nearby shore resounding all the way up the island, the island itself resting in in and improbably turquoise-to-Indigo sea, I realise it’s the manicured courses of much modern golf, landscaped and planted so beautifully with trees and ponds, with their colour coded distance markers, their artificial bunkers shored and raked, their greens watered and rolled to eliminate every bit of moss or crabgrass, aiming for the perfect course where there is no unevenness, no unexpected breaks, no pebbles, rabbit skeletons or sheep droppings or distracting seagulls, indeed to complete banishment of all animal life - they are the travesty.’
This sounds like something a terrible greenkeeper would point to as their excuse. :LOL:
 
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