Part 1: Pinehurst 2, Whistling Straits- what really makes a golf course great for the average player?
When I first began playing a lot of golf my freshman year of college I was always eager to play a new course, especially one that had received a high rating in one of the premier golf publications. I took every chance I had to play these “great courses", and I would always rave about the experience when I returned. The only problem was that I didn’t really have my own opinion of what I considered to be great qualities in a golf course, so I was usually basing my opinion on the fact that I didn’t believe a “four-star” golf course could actually have flaws. In the past year, however, after having played many “great” golf courses, I have a better sense of what a course must have for it to be outstanding in my opinion, because I’m tired of being dissappointed in “4 1/2″ star courses.
First and foremost, a course has to be fun to play for me to consider it great. Obviously the word “fun” is totally subjective in this case; some people consider a course fun only if they can score well, while others have fun when they can come home and talk about how difficult a course was and how badly it humiliated them. I fall somewhere in the middle of the two aforementioned categories. I’ve played Pinehurst 2, and while I agree that it is a fabulous course, I don’t think it is that much fun to play (certainly not $250 worth of fun). Similarly,Whistling Straits, which is just about as different from Pinehurst 2 as two courses can be, was also not that much fun for me for entirely different reasons. At Pinehurst, there are no holes that stick out in my memory as distinctively unique golf holes. If not for the history of the course and the area, I’m not sure I would specifically remember many details from #2. At Whistling Straits, there are several holes that stick out in my memory, but for a different reason- they’re just too damn hard. There are four or five holes at that course that I think are totally unfair (especially the 18th) and as a result are just not that enjoyable. I’m not trying to imply that it wasn’t a great experience playing at these venues, I’m simply saying that we are not obligated to enjoy a course just because it flaunts five stars.
I’ve decided there are certain standards that must be met in order for a course to receive my highest praises. While others might use stars or “thumbs up” for their rating system, I’m going to use pirates (five pirates implying that the course is a must play), because quite honestly, what could be more fun than pirates? Besides, they’re no more pointless than stars or thumbs up when you think about it.
Look for my criteria in Part 2 of this piece.
|« Part 2: Pinehurst 2,Whistling Straits- What really makes a golf course great for the average player?||Pete Dye's island green not even close to the best hole at the TPC Stadium Course »|
You're off to a good start. After 48 years of golf it has been easy to determine that the number of stars of the number of $$$ charged to play does not mean fun and memorable. All it really means is an over-priced architect and a big ad in all the major golf magazines. No offense but anyone who pays $250 for a round of golf is getting swept up in the media blitz.
In sum, I don't think the course is unfair at all. Hard, but not unfair.
Kiel- How do you not think 18 is unfair? I think it is one of the worst holes I've ever played at a good golf course. And 5? Totally out of place at Whistling Straits. Oh well, to each his own. I'll check out your course reviews.
In your article above you didn't say what "fun" means to you.
I tried to describe my idea of fun in part 2. I knew I'd be running the risk of sounding ignorant by calling Pinehurst plain. I do agree that the green structures are something special. For me, there are several other courses I'd rather play, and I just don't think it gives $250 worth of value. For example, (and I"ll mention this course in more detail in a future piece), The Golf Club at Cuscowilla in Oconee, GA is similar to Pinehurst in every way, but I think it is a more exciting and unique layout with outstanding greens. It's also about 1/2 of the price.
a hard hole, if played right par is not out of the
question at all. Its a great course and you need to
play it atleast once in your life. As for #5, there
was not much Pete could do with that hole because of
the enviromental issues the DNR was putting up with
the lakes they coudln't remove. Most people love the
This post has 5 feedbacks awaiting moderation...