New Golf Digest list confirms that golf should be fun first
Of all the top golf courses lists I’ve seen, perhaps the most intriguing and meaningful for the average golfer might be the Most Fun list featured in the September issue of Golf Digest.
After all, isn’t that what playing golf is all about? Golf isn’t cheap, and if you’re not walking off the course feeling good about the last four or five hours, why bother?
Interestingly, there are some parallels between the best golf courses and most fun, perhaps because they share some common traits like variety of holes, landscape, scenery and memorability. What they don’t share, however, for the most part, is difficulty. Losing balls and putting X’s on the scorecard isn’t fun, though that can certainly happen at the course ranked No. 1 on the public list of the top 50 – Pebble Beach Golf Links. But hey, it’s Pebble Beach. No matter what you shoot, it’s a good time, considering what you get to look at for six hours and the history of the place.
The next three on the list are also among the country’s best – Old Macdonald, the Preserve Course and Pacific Dunes. All three courses are at Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast (also heavy on stunning scenery), but the intriguing thing to me is that the Preserve Course is a par 3. It confirms what many have said for years: Golf needs shorter, more fun courses that everyone can play.
And the Preserve isn’t the only par 3 on the list. Rick Smith’s Threetops at Treetops Resort in Northern Michigan is also in the top 10 at No. 9. And The Prairie Club’s Horse Course, a 10-hole pitch-and-putt based on the game H-O-R-S-E, is No. 10. Now that sounds like fun, and you don’t have to add all your strokes.
One of the most fun golf courses I ever played didn’t make the list – the original Tour 18 ("America’s Greatest 18 holes") near Houston. For many golfers, this 20-year-old first-of-its kind tribute course (there’s one in the Dallas area, too) is their only chance to play Amen Corner. How can that not be fun? Another tribute course, however, did make the list – the Old Course at Tribute Golf Club near Dallas. It pays homage to Great Britain’s greatest holes. Fun indeed.
I think so often we get caught up in the history, the strategy, the architect and so forth. What it really boils down to is would you like to play it again and again? I like the list, but I’m sure there are courses that deserve to be on there that weren’t. I’d love to hear your nominations, so feel free to comment below.
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