Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Archive for April, 2010

Golf architect: The art of drawing up the course

this article was published in the Las Cruces Sun News on 4/30/10

it is a revised/extended version of “A good cart ride spoiled?”


Recently, a friend suggested “tongue in cheek” that I write an article that could be entitled: “How I ruin your round of golf”. I laughed and we had a short discussion about his idea. Although his comment was made to me in humor, I realize that there is a faction of the golfing public that believes part of my job is to make the course difficult.

 The idea that I could sell my services by making someone’s round of golf miserable is astounding to me. And yet, it’s easy to see why some people might think so. After all, much of today’s golf architecture is nothing if not overbearing and flashy. One could make the case that only the courses built on strict budgets are eminently playable, since the architect must be measured in his/her palette. If they are good at what they do, they’ll spend what’s needed to create ample playable corridors and an adequate irrigation system. If they don’t, well, make sure you bring plenty of balls and if you have an old set of clubs… you get the picture.

 The reality is that our very best golf architects are expert at making a course that is visually stunning, all the while creating a layout that the average player can enjoy. Interestingly, and as the masters’ laid down in “golf design law”, it is the player’s responsibility to avoid a hazard regardless of where it is positioned. According to Alister MacKenzie, John L. Low wrote one of the earliest definitive books on golf course design in 1903. In MacKenzie’s book The Spirit of

 St. Andrews, he paraphrases Low, “He propounded the principle that no bunker is unfair wherever it is placed. He elaborated his argument and showed how the most fascinating and interesting holes in golf have hazards placed in the exact positions where players would like to go if those hazards were not there. He illustrates this theme by the End Hole bunker (on the 9th) at St. Andrews. There, is a small deep hazard only about five yards across placed about one hundred and ninety yards from the tee in the direct line for the hole. John L. Low pointed out that a player has four alternatives: he can play to the left, right, short or over it, and if he gets into it he has only himself to blame.”

So how do you reconcile what seems to be a “license to kill” with the more modern golf design commandment “thou shalt not abuse”? A good question to be sure, but the answer is simpler than you might expect – experience. The required skills combine knowledge of various disciplines. So far as I know there is no bachelor’s or higher degree program for golf architecture. Developing these skills can only come from experience. One skill, perhaps the most obscure as it relates to course playability, is understanding how slopes affect the golf shot. A slope can propel a shot forward, repel it in a different direction or it can “catch” and retain it in the golfing corridor. A slope can be designed to be unnoticeable or so steep it looks like a wall. Finally, a fairway cross slope can be enough to direct a shot around a dogleg fairway with the natural contour of a hole, or it can be too much for the type of turf specified and the ball will roll out of the fairway regardless of the skill of the player. Understanding how to design these subtle features while properly routing stormwater off the site is just one of the numerous challenges for a golf architect.

 Golf Architecture involves understanding the game – how it is played, the rules, how the course is built and maintained, and how play is managed – overlaid by the technical and design skills one might be taught in a Landscape Architecture degree program. Accredited Landscape Architecture programs will include among others, classes on design, grading design, construction drawings, professional practice, master planning, planting design, and in some locales, irrigation design. As minor studies or areas of emphasis, someone entertaining a career in Golf Course Design should be taking courses in Civil Engineering, Surveying, Agronomy, Geology, Turf Science, Hydrology, and Environmental Science.

As you can see, a lot can go into the education and experience of a golf architect. Not all people “in the business” have taken all these courses or have the same experience. Some depend upon employees or subcontracted professionals to “round-out” their qualifications. So, how can the casual observer tell a good architect from a … not so good one? You may be asking yourself – what else could matter if the golf course is fun? Actually, there’s more than a few things. As patrons of a given course, we ordinarily wouldn’t know:

 o if the architect designed a course that was within the construction budget;

o how long it took to get the course designed;

 o if the plans were clear and concise;

 o how long it took to get the course permitted;

 o how much earth had to be moved and did any of it have to be moved more than once;

 o how long it took to build the course;

 o if there were construction change orders required and why;

o if there were proper erosion and sedimentation control measures and specification of materials;

 o if the course can be maintained within the Club’s annual budget;

 o if the golf course superintendent has an irrigation system that allows him or her to maintain the course as designed.

 These are just a few of many factors that are involved in getting a project from the signed design contract to opening day and beyond. Each one of these factors has dollar signs attached to it. Sometimes just one of these missteps can make the difference between a profitable facility and a golf course that can’t compete.

 Golf course design has come a long way from the early 20th century when Tom Bendelow used his method of “18 stakes and a Sunday afternoon,” to design hundreds of courses. Because of this colorful character and others, we can play 18 holes on a Sunday afternoon followed by a couple pints to toast this great game.


Green Golf?

Published in the Las Cruces Sun News on 23 April 2010 and titled:

In 40 years, golf course conditions have improved by leaps and bounds

By Mary Armstrong, Golf Architect

 Global Earth Day celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday.  The golf industry has gone through many changes during that time.  When I was in High School, I worked at the local Municipal Golf Course.  I remember “dragging” hose for the foreman while he made weekly-sprayed applications of various products to correct and prevent turf diseases on the greens.  I would wear shorts, t-shirt, and no shoes.  I also remember applying “full-strength” 2-4D to weeds in the concrete joints on the Clubhouse Patio.  Things have changed a lot.  We all have a greater awareness of dangerous materials and most of the products that we applied back then are no longer permitted.  In fact today, the chemical half-life of some of the products in use on golf courses is so short that if it needs to reach the turf rootzone or thatch layer, it may become inert before it reaches its target.  Preventive treatments are pretty much a thing of the past and a lot of Superintendents have resorted to spot treatments, especially on roughs, fairways and tees.  Today, anyone that applies chemicals on golf courses, public parks, athletic fields, etc. must be licensed and I believe that most states require an annual reporting of the material, rate, and quantity applied over the year.  Meanwhile, John Q. Public is pumping anything he wants into his lawn at whatever rate he guesses is best, at his own and his neighbors’ risk. 

The United States Golf Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and American Society of Golf Course Architects have special campaigns to address environmentalists’ issues by “greening” the industry and informing members of the benefits that they should promote when the opportunity presents itself.  According to the USGA’s website, since 1983 the Association has supported more than 400 university research projects at a cost of more than $30 million.

In the area of turf species, there are endless cultivars available of most any of the turf types you may need and there is recent progress in introducing new cultivars of species previously thought of as non-turf types.  Poa annua, Seashore paspalum, and Buffalograss are among them.  The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) conducts comprehensive quality ratings on in-use and newly introduced cultivars on a monthly basis.  Their ratings are invaluable to seed companies for marketing and sales information, but more importantly, specifiers and end users depend on NTEP for specific characteristic evaluations.  NTEP has been invaluable in helping people like me select the proper cultivar for the climate and microclimate of the site.  In turn, the turf on golf courses and other sports fields require less irrigation, less fertilization and fewer pesticide treatments.

All this has led golf courses to be considered one of the best “built environment filters” of pollutants.  The thick turf found on golf courses slows water movement, allowing more water to filter through the root mat into the soil and eventually replenishing the water table.  This is especially true on the sandy soils that are preferred for golf courses.

Golf Course irrigation has also made significant strides.  In the last fifteen to twenty years irrigation manufacturers, such as Toro, Rainbird and Hunter, have developed systems and components that emphasize water conservation.  They have done this with super-engineered spray nozzles, individual sprinkler head control and smaller coverage areas per head.  These technological advancements have not only saved water they have improved turf quality by improving water distribution uniformity.  Better water distribution uniformity in turn improves the effectiveness of chemical applications, if they are needed. 

If any part of the golf course epitomizes the environmental and conditioning improvements the industry has seen; it’s the putting green.  Forty years ago the stimpmeter (which measures green speed) had not been invented.  However, my memory is that we mowed mostly at right around a quarter of an inch, perhaps just a smidge less.  I doubt those greens would have topped out at more the 7 or so on the stimpmeter.  Today, with superior cultivars and cultural practices, bentgrass greens are mowed at half that amount and sometimes less.  It seems that most players enjoy faster greens and that has become a standard of excellence.  This is unfortunate, because fast greens are ordinarily unhealthy greens.  The putting greens you see on television are groomed specifically for that four to six day event.  Often, the course receives no play for a period of time before the tournament and much pampering and rest after.  Players should actually be asking for smoother greens, after all – really – most of you can’t handle fast greens anyway.  Smooth greens provide a truer roll that will more often reward you with a holed putt when you’ve read the green and stroked the ball properly. 

In the last forty years golf course conditioning in general has improved markedly.  In my estimation, golf’s environmental “imprint” has improved even more.  Technology has given us the tools, but your golf course superintendent has put the tools to good use.  The golf course superintendent profession has grown to be widely respected, with many well-educated, industrious and hard working individuals.  The next time you see your superintendent be sure to say “hi” and thank him or her for a job well done.  He or she prepares a wonderful playing surface while using ecologically sound land management, protecting you and the natural resources of the golf course.

The Art of the Bogey Boogie

By: Mary Armstrong, Golf Architect

Published in the 16 April 2010 Las Cruces Sun News

Sounds like a dance doesn’t it? Well, that’s because many older player’s movements on the course can sometimes appear dance-like. As they play each hole, there is a rhythm to their movement – efficiently and some might say gracefully – around the course. The bogey boogie has its origins in the etiquette of the game.

When I was a teenager, I played golf with my Dad and a couple of his buddies on Saturday and Sunday mornings at the local Municipal Course. We would usually get off around 8:30 or 9 am. Peak tee time – right? Actually there were NO tee times and no starter! What’s more, I don’t remember ever having a problem deciding what group was next on the tee. Even then, most people preferred a relatively early tee time on the weekends and the busy period was from 7:30 until about 10.

In those days, on a weekday afternoon, I could easily play 18 holes with three other people in just over 3 hours. The weekend rounds would go to maybe three and a half hours. I’ve often wondered why rounds today are regularly over 4 and sometimes 5 hours. I want to blame TV. Television has done so much to make golf more popular, but unfortunately, it hasn’t all been to the benefit of the game. We rarely get to see golf being played without a caddie on television. On the greens, the players all spend time surveying their next shots or seemingly just “hangin'”, while the caddie is busy removing the flagstick, cleaning the player’s ball, raking a bunker, and evaluating the 

situation. Most of the time we focus on what the player is doing. In fact, the televising network rarely shows us how the caddies work together to keep the play moving and efficiently leave the hole when all the players in their group have holed-out. Before the 60’s, most new players came up through the caddy ranks. Before caddies learned to hold the club, they learned the proper way to tend, remove and replace the flagstick. In fact, they were taught about the rules, etiquette, being safe, taking care of the course and working as a caddy team BEFORE they were able to play golf.

The problem is that there are too few good role models for behavior on the golf course – and I’m not talking about not swearing and throwing clubs. You should know what to do and where to be at all times to help your group move efficiently around the course. About now, some of you bogey players might be saying, “but it’s all I can do just to find my ball and hit it somewhere near my target.”

I’ve seen all kinds of crazy things on the course. People running between shots; players leaving the green after they hole out to hit their drives BEFORE their playing partners hole out; players skipping holes; and even people giving up and walking back to the clubhouse. It really isn’t that difficult to keep pace on the golf course. There are only a few things to remember and they can be taken care of immediately AFTER you hit each shot.

Let’s look at how a typical foursome should approach a hole. Maybe they are two couples. Let’s call them Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice (perhaps you’ve heard of them). Bob is a scratch golfer. He’s won the Club championship the last three years in a row. His wife Carol is also a good player. She regularly gets up and down from around the greens. Ted is an 18 handicapper – a typical bogey golfer. He’ll take a snowman on one hole and follow that with a birdie. Ted’s wife is Alice. Alice is a beginner. She rarely hits the ball out of the fairway, but if she can advance it 150 yards, that’s a good shot. All four players are walking and using handcarts. To keep the column a reasonable length I’ll ignore riding carts. With a little imagination you can take these pointers and apply them if you are a rider.

Our “typical” golf hole is a par 4 with a bunker at the right front of the green. The flagstick is left center. As our intrepid group approaches the green, each player should be “sizing” up the overall contours of the area. Often this will make reading the green much quicker and easier. Also, before arriving at the green note where the next tee is. If your ball is on the green, bring your clubs to a position where they are close to the green edge, near a line from the flagstick to your next tee.

Bob is on the green some 15 feet from the flagstick and Carol lobbed her 40-yard shot 25 feet past the flagstick to the back of the green. The next tee is to the left, but not back as far as the current green. Bob and Carol bring their pushcarts around to about the middle of the green on the left as Ted and Alice go to their balls. Ted’s ball is in the greenside bunker on the right. Alice’s is to the right, just on the collar. Alice is out – that is, furthest away from the flagstick. This is referred to as the “order of play”. This determination isn’t just a courtesy to the player that has hit a better shot and is closer to the hole, it is the basis for efficient movement through the golf hole and especially around the greens. It allows each player to know when it will be his/her turn to play so they can be prepared. So Alice is out and she has about a 50 footer from across the green. Bob is closest to the flagstick, so he asks Alice if she prefers the flagstick in or out. It is absolutely CRITICAL that the closest player (who would be last to play in order of play) be the person in charge of the flagstick until it is removed from the hole. Alice wants the flagstick left in the hole, so Bob moves away from Alice’s line and position’s himself to resume charge of the flagstick without being a distraction to Alice. Alice hits a good putt that just lips out of the hole and stops a foot just beyond. Alice has the option of holing out, which she should do unless she will need to stand in another player’s line. Bob sees that Alice wants to hole out, so Bob removes the flagstick temporarily, so Alice can finish. After Alice removes her ball from the hole, Bob replaces the flag for Ted’s shot and again moves away. Since Alice is the first to finish the hole, she is now the Boogie Leader and takes charge of replacing the flagstick and handling anything that might detract from the group’s pace of play. As Ted is removing his club from his bag, the cart becomes unstable and turns over into the bunker. No penalty, but Ted is flustered. He knows this will hold up the group and he was already concerned about getting out of the bunker. Should Alice rush over and help him because he is her husband? NO. Alice should go over and help Ted because she is the Boogie Leader. Usually this would amount to merely to replacing the flagstick when everyone has holed out. In short order, the clubs are restored to their rightful place and Ted is thankful that his first attempt has put the ball in the middle of the green about 20 feet from the hole. Here is where it gets a little complicated. Ted is still away and Carol is ready to play. Alice should rake the bunker as Ted positions his cart for a quick exit to the next tee. Bob, being the current last to play, should take over Alice’s job and remove the flagstick. Carol should go ahead and play out of turn. Meanwhile, Ted is being careful not pass through Carol’s vision along her line of play and Alice pauses with her raking when Carol is ready to stroke her putt. Everyone proceeds in turn and holes out. Alice returns the flagstick to the hole, taking care not to disrupt the hole edges.

Perhaps this sounds complicated, but if you practice it on the course, soon you will be zipping around and instead of being pushed by your following group, you’ll be pushing the group ahead of you and enjoying your round far more. Remember to work as a team with the player that has holed out last being in reserve to take over in situations where “order of play” doesn’t give you the quickest way to finish the hole. I’ve put together the following top ten checklist of things to improve your pace of play.

1. BE READY TO BOOGIE – Know whose turn it is and what the order of play will be at all times.

2. BOOGIE ON CUE – When its your turn, that means you should be ready to begin your pre-shot routine, which should result in your shot being hit in less than fifteen seconds. It doesn’t mean you should start thinking about the shot or getting your yardage. That should be done while you are approaching your ball or waiting for the other players to hit.

3. BOOGIE LEADER – If your ball is closest to the hole, it is your responsibility to handle whatever might come up that will detract from pace of play.

4. BOOGIE HONORS – When going to the next tee, the person that has the honor must be there and ready to play unless they ask someone to take their place. Frequently, too much time is taken on the tee just waiting for someone to take the “bull by the horns”. You should NEVER take time BEFORE your shot (no matter where on the course) to do something unrelated to playing your next shot. If you need to go into your bag for sun block or chapstick or a quick hit on the bottle it should wait until you have hit your shot.

5. WHEN NOT TO BOOGIE – When a ball cannot be found, unless there is considerable distance to your ball, you should not assist in searching. Each player should first hit their ball and then go search for the lost ball. By the time the last player arrives to look, the allotted search time should be nearly expired.

6. BOOGIE TALK – Golf is a social game – it always has been, but try to keep the long conversations until the 19th hole (after the round) or when you are waiting for the group in front of you.

7. BOOGIE TO YOUR OWN MUSIC – Play from the set of tees that is within your ability. Playing from the further back set that your friend plays from may seem to save a little time at the tee, but over 18 holes it will amount to more time and far more strokes for you.

8. TOO MUCH BOGEY BOOGIE – Unless you are playing in a tournament, when you reach your equitable stroke control (ESC) adjusted score for a given hole, pick up and become the “Boogie Leader” for that hole. If you don’t know what ESC is then you don’t have a handicap and you should pick up when your score reaches 10 for a given hole. If you need to pick up on more than 1/3 of the holes, you may want to spend more time practicing at the range and short game area before venturing out on the course again.

9. KEEP YOUR BOOGIE PARTNER CLOSE TO YOU – Get into the habit of placing your bag or pull cart opposite your ball as close as you feel comfortable. If you are righthanded, this would be to the right of your ball. Saving steps in golf is saving time. Leaving your clubs opposite your ball is the place that will do that. If you leave your clubs five paces behind your ball each time, that’s ten paces that you have to make to play your shot and move on. And that’s only if you don’t have to change clubs. You should be able to play your shot, take two or at most three steps, put your club away and move on your way.

10. NOT EVERYONE CAN BOOGIE WELL – If all else fails and the group ahead of you is more than a hole in front or if you feel uncomfortable with the pressure from the group behind you – let them through. This too is a lost art. You don’t simply stand and wait as the group plays through! The classic play on a par 3 hole is to motion the group through from a position where you can then quickly hit your second shots. As the group going through you reaches their first shots, your group should be putting on the green with one or two people holed out. You allow the group going through to play the hole out. As they go to the next tee, you finish putting and then follow them out as they finish teeing. The idea isn’t so much to stop and wait, but to transition positions – another type of bogey boogie!

Masters of Deception

Published in the Las Cruces Sun News 9 April 2010

The coincidence of my first column and the beginning of the 2010 Masters is a wonderful crossing of events for me.  The Masters was the one of the first nationally televised tournaments.  Growing up in Iowa, any hooked golfer was bound to be watching the Masters since it ordinarily coincided with the opening of golf courses in the area.  As the years passed those bright white bunkers against the deep green fairways speckled with flowering dogwoods and azaleas was sure to bring a smoldering desire to be on the links to a roaring blaze.

Those years – probably sometime in the early 60’s – were very special to me.  As a budding player I relished seeing the professionals and the occasional amateur and it spurred my curiosity about golf at other levels as well.  I would later realize that my interests lay much more in the observation of the holes than in the play.  Oh sure, I had my favorites – relentlessly rooting against Jack Nicklaus and always for Arnie – but more than anything, I wanted to see “around” the bend in my television to “Amen Corner” so I could see why those holes seemed even more exciting than 15-18.  CBS has televised the Masters every year since 1956, but in the beginning, only the last four holes were shown.  Wikipedia has a nice piece on the history of the Masters broadcast, but they neglect to tell us how the broadcast progressed from 1956 until 1993 when all 18 holes were televised.  I distinctly remember watching for Master’s news as the snow melted late each winter.  Around 1968, I found and kept an 8 ½ x 11 color map of the course as a part of a promotional piece – probably from Cadillac or another luxury car sponsor.  As I watched for news, I was mostly interested in how the broadcast would change – always with the hope that I would get to see more holes.  As I recall, the telecast went from the last four holes to including Amen Corner and the 14th.  It seems to me that CBS didn’t really cover the tee shot on the 11th, but instead used the camera from behind the 12th tee to pick up the approaches to the treacherously guarded green.  From there, the 10th hole was added (about 1985) and then the approaches and putting on the glass-like putting surface of the 9th.  I think that pretty much fills in the Wikipedia broadcast history gap.  Back in those days, (the early 60’s) Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf was a golf viewer’s staple followed a little later by the CBS Golf Classic at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.  Shell’s WWG one hour was the most exciting for me with a new course in a new country and two new professionals every week.  It also featured some information about the host country and included interviews with the players during the round. 

But, the Masters was at the root of my interest in golf course design.  Later, when I played on my high school golf team, the coach would gather us all before the snow was gone and we would have meetings.  Usually they covered rules and strategy, but at least once a year there would be a film of one of the major golf tournaments.  I believe they were made by CBS and I think Chris Schenkel was the announcer.  His voice sticks with me today.  There was just something about the way that he described the action that heightened the emotions of the event. 

And so, my love for the Masters grew and I followed every tournament and examined every drawing I could find of the course.  I dug into the history of the course and found out that Bobby Jones, with Alister Mackenzie designed the layout.  The course opened in early 1933 and the first tournament – then called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament was played March 22, 1934.  In the 1935 the nines were permanently reversed to the configuration we know today.  In that year, Eugenio Saraceni hit the “shot heard round the world” when he rifled a 4 wood into the cup on the storied 15th for a double eagle.  The shot led to a tie that he won in a playoff.  Who was Eugenio?  You might remember him as Gene Sarazen. 

As with most new courses, there wasn’t much to be done to Augusta National for several years.  Then, in 1947 and again in 1950 Robert Trent Jones, Sr. was retained to “tweak” the layout.  While the adjustments he made aren’t readily documented, I know that a pond in front of the 6th green was filled in and the brook on the 16th was dammed and a pond created.  I think that Jones also redesigned the 16th green and its surrounding contours and bunkering.  In the 70’s, there were several improvements including slight lengthening from its original 6600 yards to just over 6900.  An improved strain of Bermuda grass was introduced to the greens.  Although the improved strain had less grain and a finer blade, it reportedly resulted in an overall slower surface.  By the late 70’s the Club leadership became increasingly dissatisfied with the greens.  After testing creeping bentgrass on the par 3 course, the Championship course was converted for the 1981 tournament.  Anyone that saw this happen in that era knows that creeping bent provided a much faster surface than the improved Bermuda.  This of course led to altering the contours of the greens to maintain traditional cupping areas.  And so the original Augusta National was lost.  Perhaps it wasn’t coincidental that Bobby Jones passed on in the winter of 1971.  His passing, long after his collaborator Alister Mackenzie (1870-1934), opened the gates to the reinterpretation of the course. 

Subtle as the changes were prior to 2002, they led to a course that no longer resembled Jones and Mackenzie’s vision.  In a 2006 article by Bill Fields by Golf World, Hale Irwin, who played in 21 Masters between 1971 and 1996, was quoted, “But Augusta was very subtle, they would move a tee back a couple of yards, or change a green contour, but if you didn’t know the course very, very well, you probably wouldn’t recognize it.”

And so the changes began as a trickle.  Some of the adjustments seemed good to me.  One was the addition of mounds to the right in the driving zone on the 15th fairway.  This was the ideal position to approach the green if the player was to reach it in two.  Clearly, most of the field was able to clear the pond in front without much trouble.  In my mind, the mounds introduced uneven stances and while they didn’t necessarily discourage players from going for the green they did make the shot more difficult and risky.  Mounds are also in concert with links golf, which was the essence of Jones instructions to Mackenzie.  Alas, the mounds were removed in subsequent renovations.

The course was lengthened to over 7200 yards for the 2002 Championship and then again in 2006 to 7,445 yards.  With the property being much less than 500 feet above sea level and the tournament ordinarily being played at the end of their rainy season, the course probably now plays as long as any on the Tour.

We all know that length is the singular factor that dictates difficulty – at least according to the USGA.  And one would think that this course has been made more difficult.  The so-called “Tiger-proofing” that was done in 2006 seemed to result in par being preserved at Augusta National as Zach Johnson won with a +1 score in 2007.  Since then, the winning scores have been –8 and –12.  Those are right back where the scores were in the twenty years from ’81 to ’01.  More data is needed to really draw a conclusion.  So, where do we (they) go from here?  Well, if we know anything about the power-brokers of Augusta National, it’s that they won’t tell us anything unless they have no choice.  The projects in 2002 and 2006 were publicized only because they were TOO BIG to hide.  Why the secrecy?  Well of course it is a private club and they can pretty much do what they want when they want.  Martha Burk proved that.  But that’s a rationalization, not a reason.  No, I think there’s something more to it.  I think there’s a certain mystique at Augusta National Golf Club.  It’s the mystique of Bobby Jones.  Oh, sure they honor him in words, images, even in ideals, but they surely don’t honor him in their deeds. 

As an Architect myself, I have the utmost respect for the job that Mackenzie did in carrying out his client’s input.  But, I also envy him a client like Bobby Jones.  The course that Bobby Jones envisioned and Alister Mackenzie designed had very little to do with length and quite a lot to do with strategy and shot making.  The extra wide fairways and relatively large severely contoured greens probably harkened back to Jones “hate – love” experiences at St. Andrews, where the path you choose is dictated by conditions and hole location.  But that course is gone.  Hootie Johnson and his buddies that followed Clifford Roberts have erased Bobby Jones vision from the land as surely as I could erase this paragraph from my article – which of course I didn’t do.  Why did they erase it?  Out of sight is out of mind maybe?  They don’t want the “evidence” hanging around?  You can bet it has something to do with the Bobby Jones mystique.  I guarantee you Bobby would be crying about now.  Perhaps the Jones mystique isn’t so much omnipresent at Augusta National these days as oppressive to the Club’s Directors.

As much as I love this tournament – and I will watch it this week – I have bitter feelings about the course.  Perhaps you can tell that.