Tiger Woods should not emulate Jack Nicklaus in course design
I’m very glad that Tiger Woods has taken the step that we all knew would come eventually, but he is entering his new endeavour with the wrong role models. Woods apparently consulted Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio about the business of course design, and after making the announcement about his new plans, Woods said, “I hope I can bring as much to this industry as they have over the years.” Obviously Woods has the imagination, creativity, and understanding of the game required to design outstanding courses; I think his resume speaks for itself. But what concerns me is Tiger’s idea of an “impact” on the industry. The Golden Bear has over 300 courses open for play worldwide, and it is no secret that many of these Nicklaus signature courses were no more designed by Jack himself than was the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Tiger was certainly correct in implying that Jack has had impacts on the industry, but one of those impacts is ridiculously high prices just because of the architect’s name. A perfect example (among many) would be Bear’s Best in Suwanne, Georgia, a compilation of some of Jack’s previously-designed holes from around the world. Had this layout been designed by Clyde Johnston, it would command a rate of around $50 rather than the $105 price tag that exists today (before you include the mandatory forecaddie). If Tiger should follow the same path and put his print on hundreds of courses, very few of them will be unique, and eventually there will not be any nuances that allow players to see what Tiger really envisions in his work.
If Tiger wants to make an impact on the design business to equal the impact he has had on the game, he needs to go in the opposite direction of Jack- he needs to involve himself in far fewer projects, but become deeply involved in the projects he does accept. He needs to take the route of Ben Crenshaw and Tom Doak rather than that of Nicklaus and Fazio.
And if he really wants to make an impact, he will make an occasional sacrifice, or at least find a financial backer who will. He will sign up to design a public access golf course that offers affordable rates (when compared to other top courses), has excellent junior rates available at any time, offers substantial military discounts, promotes walking and family golf, and offers to become a host site for the high school state championships.
Tiger does not need to do this with every project, or even most of his projects; if he even does it with one out of every twenty courses he designs he will have made a bigger impact on the industry than Jack Nicklaus ever has, and then we will be able to talk about Tiger as a great course designer.
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People are going to flock to the first "TW signature", even though he'll have close to NOTHING to do with the actual design. Golfers seems to assume because someone is a great player they will make great golf courses. It's all bull. Why can't superstars build courses for the good of the game and not their checkbook? I don't see Tiger (or any other superstar) building a "value" course, ever.
Bogus man, I'm riled.
Tiger Woods is on a mission to save youngsters.
Please see the shiny modern building at
1 Tiger Woods Way, Anaheim, California.
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