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More Playable is Better

Greetings Golfers,

The other day while in a local Pro Shop … the staff was talking about the courses on Hilton Head with a local player. Everyone was playing the game of “who’s played at the coolest place”.

I was just a fly on the wall taking it all in.

Hilton Head has a lot of courses. And a lot of really difficult courses. Is difficult “cool”? Is “cool” difficult?

A few years ago, I wrote in this blog about after playing the Ocean Course at Kiawah, I asked our caddy what the average score was for the guys he looped for. His answer – 125. Seriously. And that was the average score.

So … if this is skiing … is it “cool” to ski down brutal Black Diamond runs if you’re not a great skier? Is breaking your neck fun?

Is shooting 125 fun? What about the higher half? Shooting 150?

We have to talk about this … no one does.

After every golf article in MPLS/ST.PAUL Business Journal … they list the most difficult courses in Minnesota. Why?

What does that mean? Is that desirable? “Cool”?

I just watched an interesting video about an Indian Yogi talking about the importance of sport. And that he loves to play golf.

I agree. He gets it. We all need physical activity. And we need sport. Not just working out or going for a walk … but the test of sport. As this Yogi says … “You come face-to-face with yourself”. That’s a good thing.

However, is playing a golf course that is way too difficult for you a good thing? Is it even a sport if you can’t play it?

Having a USGA Handicap doesn’t help. You’re not really playing the game.

Too many golf courses are way too hard.

It’s hilarious when I hear average golfers say that a course is too easy. I ask them if it’s no fun shooting 65. Of course they didn’t shoot 65 … not even 75 … what are they talking about?

Do they need a course that demands not only controlled power … but the ability to shape shots onto greens to get in the proper location for the putt? Are you kidding me?

Most low-handicappers don’t have that type of skill.

Every Monday I play with a bunch of old Pros from New England. It’s a goofy course … in terrible condition … but most of the guys live on it. The layout is ridiculous. The tee shot on the first hole needs to be a snap-hook around the corner. Has to be. And has to be perfect. Anything else is OB. Every fairway is skinny … with woods and water on both sides.

This is not a sexy golf course. Used to be 36 holes. Now it’s only 18. Terrible condition. We have two other public courses in town. Both in neighborhoods. One hasn’t been open in years. The other one is in brutal condition (I heard it was beautiful 30 years ago).

What I’m trying to say is that golf courses should be playable. If someone shoots a good score … that’s a good thing!

Some country club members pride themselves that guests shoot a million. That’s hospitality!

Playable also means in good condition … and reasonable speed on the greens and height of the rough.

I feel like this is an “Emperor is wearing no clothes” situation. We have to talk about this. It’s madness.

If we really want to share this game we love … and one that I think people need … golf courses have to be playable.

That doesn’t mean that anyone should just hop on any golf course. People should be decently able to play golf before playing on a regulation 18 hole course. It’s not fair to them or the people behind them if they can’t play. You don’t put someone learning to drive a car on the freeway.

But it’s a two-way street … we need playable golf courses. Else, they wind-up folding like the ones down here. And, people will quit playing golf.

More difficult isn’t better. More playable is better.

Cheers!

Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351
www.deerrungolf.com
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