I was most intrigued by what I saw, over the weekend, at the #HassanTrophee in Morocco!
Did any of you see the Palace wall that flanked the left side of the 18th hole – the one that comes into play?
Traditionally Morocco is not known for its golf however the Robert Trent Jones (Snr) Course built for the King, in the 80’s, certainly looks the part with many holes weaving through wonderful coastal dune – dune that continues through many of the fairways. This of course adds wonderful charachter and charm and makes for challenging play conditions.
Call me ‘crazy’ but I love the idea of seeing something different on a golf course. You see I get bored relatively quickly….particularly if fed a course that lacks interest, charachter, charm, strategy etc etc. Remember what famed Golden age Architect Tom Simpson said in his book the Architectural side of Golf ‘A dull, stereotyped course is not satisfying to anyone, least of all to the designer himself, because it gives the player nothing to discover; it is read like a book and fails to interest him’.
Now I am certainly not advocating build a castle or church on your course so as to add memorable interest – that would be simply ‘Micky Mouse’ but I am of the opinion that if something different, charming, memorable and perhaps unique exists on the property then why not use it to good effect. Also it is an added bonus if that feature(s) can add strategic value as well. Lest not forget so much of golf is about memories and discoveries and how much of this is determined by the visuals and landmarks you see during the game?
It is hard to forget the ‘graveyard’ at Ballybunion Old or the ruin at Pennard? or how about the rock walls at North Berwick? All great talking points which add much interest and value to that particular course.
I leave you with Tom Simpson who again explains it best: Roads, railways, sheds and gardens may be thought unsatisfactory and unwelcome, yet they are often the essence of a course; take them away and the difference would at once be felt’
Fascinating article Paul, in this age where design is taking a very HCD approach then why not think outside of the traditional and take golf to the people. Golf is revered by many for it’s contact with nature- I love the water hazards with crocodiles in Africa, would love to see a fairway bending round a farmyard fence containing wild bulls, (make your own decision if this is a hazard or not!) or a field of stinging nettles.
It really takes the decision making and definition of a hazard out of play- there is just no question about it- red stakes, yell ow stakes whatever colour you want to paint them……… I’m not playing that ball!
Glad you liked the article Neale. Agree forget the norms or percieved givens. Golf is about enjoying the environment, having fun and being challenged – not the scorecard. Its about golf courses with variety, charachter and interest. I wrote a piece the other day where I mentioned that if we played the same shot, in the same environment this is montonous and we would soon get bored and likely over time give up the game.