The Errors of Maint Meld & Design over last 70 years

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    Ben Cowan

    1. Sprinklers Systems
    2. Carts after heavy rains
    3. Too much cart traffic can lead to softer fairways
    4. Busyness sells (over-bunkering, eye candy)
    5. Grass hollows instead of sand on heavier soil courses
    6. hot spots let them be! (To water properly without big staff you will have brown spots, when you get wall to wall green to eliminate hot spots you get soft/mushie)
    7. Bunkers are hazards, shouldn’t be uniform
    8. public courses thinking walkers are slow and not offering walking discount or cart
    fee for cartballers

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Ben Cowan.
    Melvyn Morrow

    Being from St Andrews and loving Links golf, my view on golf and golf course designs are rather strong. I believe keep close to Nature and the Natural in both the game and more so design – the course should be in balance with its surroundings and that hopefully makes it sustainable, however many modern course and some designers believe that money allows for poor design and even worse taste, so we get courses that need much water and day to day maintenance because they are located in poor sites which have been stripped back to bedrock then reshaped and rebuilt making the course stick out as an alien structure. This can lead to poor design, lack or real hazards and bunkers as shallow that they serve no purpose than just an extension to the fairway. in short, in my opinion many a new course over the last 70 years are poor because poor site selection. Then this idea that golf requires a cart is one of pure fiction and quite frankly laziness on behalf of the player – can’t call him a golfer, because if he was one he would bloody well walk. If you want to play golf you first need a golf course – I wish many would take a trip over to Scotland and see Askernish on the island of South Uist – it was built on existing land for a cost of £50,000 with much work being done by the locals – its a course that embraces the very spirit of what golf is all about and it has a few great holes – if only designers and golfers would take the time to understand Askernish then they would understand design and golf and be able to correct the errors of the last 70 years.
    Golf is about commitment and challenges, about the unexpected and the ability to adjust ones game to the course and the weather conditions because the rewards are just as breath taking. I am a man of the Links because its raw fun and exhilarating.

    Craig Moore

    Spot on Melvyn! Courses that are build within the given environment are so much easier on the eye and give a subliminal sense of inner peace. Everything seems at ease while you walk the ground with your clubs; these facilities also tend to be the most environmentally and economically sustainable courses.

    Irrigation systems are not the problem but the expectations of wall to wall green year round is the problem. Courses have natural cycles based on the season but those are eliminated with excessive water use during dry times. Golf needs to embrace seasonal cyclical changes of the playing surfaces and learn to play them all.
    Cart traffic has indeed changed the playing fields and the mindset of golf in America over the last 30 years. Carts should be utilized by those that need them but others should enjoy the walk.

    Ben Cowan


    I doubt you could build Askernish today for $50,000 (INFLATION). A big issue is that land values are expensive (Due to gov’t intervention). People shouldn’t have to drive 1-2 hrs to drive to play golf. Are you saying that you are against clay soil golf courses due to location? I don’t think anyone is advocating Sawgrass swamp like creation of golf courses. Are you against sand capping and drainage of heavy soil courses? Initial building of a golf course is expensive but it can be depreciated over the course of 15 years. You can build a minimalist course on sandy soil for $3M. Lot less drainage needed and if you avoid USGA greens a good deal of money can be saved.

    The biggest issue with US courses driving prices up is F&B on the private side! Many affordable public courses in the US. Trees are Weeds, and people need to understand that. Trees can overtake interesting architecture and effect the way they play via reducing wind and firmness.

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