Are Golf Courses Too Hard?

Are Golf Courses Too Hard?

I attended a forum at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego a few weeks ago where one of the panelists jokingly commented that, when many golf course architects design courses, they probably don’t consider just how hard they are making the courses. Does this panelist have a point? Are most golf courses too difficult?

These comments really got me thinking, as one of the hallmarks of my work is to design courses that are very playable for golfers of all abilities, while ramping up the challenge for back tee players. I absolutely do not want to design a course that beats up the golfer, where they lose 6 golf balls and leave the course frustrated with the game of golf.

Think about the golf courses in your area. Why do you play the courses you play? Is it because of course ease or difficulty.? Or is your decision based on cost, course conditioning or pace of play? Although I am a fairly respectable golfer, there is a large percentage of courses in my area that I choose not to play because the designs are funky or the courses are too difficult.

Some in the industry suggest that if a course is too difficult, simply move forward to the next tee. While this idea has some merit, it is only a partial solution. Golf course designers continue to trend away from trying to design the toughest course and focus more on making courses playable, easier to maintain and more environmentally friendly.

Please chime in with your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.