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The Architects Strike Back

But I would challenge your premise a little bit that people are attracted as spectators to the sport because of the power game. I think golf has done a better job marketing itself. Nike has done a nice job with Tiger. I think that the twenty-somethings have found it cool to hang out at golf tournaments. Phoenix is the extreme example, but I think you see a different demographic at a lot of Tour stops just because it's sort of the thing right now.

Since you brought up advertising, I'll mention the Titleist commercials with John Cleese. The ads are absurd, of course, but the point they're making is a good one and obviously, to some degree, true: You feel you have to make the courses harder to defend against new equipment. How do you think differently about design now when you're planning a course?

JONES: I think we want the hazards, either the bunkers or the water hazards or the wetlands, to be effective. If you have short shots coming in, those hazards are going to be less effective, so the strategy of the game is diminished. There is less risk and more reward. The thought process is lost. When I learned to play golf, we didn't even have yardage markers. We used to design courses with bunkers forty yards out front to make it look like the green was closer. We would build big bunkers to make the green look like it was closer, and small ones to make it look farther away.

PASCUZZO: Players have too much information these days.

So you're saying that golf courses are not as deceptive as they used to be?

JONES: They're really not deceptive at all anymore.

But to get back to the question posed earlier: How are you designing differently today?

HILLS: Well, for one thing, we think about putting the dogleg hazards farther out. Maybe more length to that hazard so that it can capture shots from 270 to 320, or something like that. I still like to see greens as small as is feasible for the amount of play that is anticipated—greens like those at Pinehurst No. 2, where if you miss in certain places, the ball runs a good distance away.

JONES: To places where you have several shot options, which makes the game more fun.

MORRISH: I'm involved a lot with a course in Dallas where we play the Byron Nelson. Tiger comes up there and airmails everybody except for Davis Love and a few other long hitters. So I've started putting some key trees out there at about 360 yards, where the mortal is going to drive and still be fifty yards back. From there he can work the ball around the tree if he has to. Tiger, if he misses the shot a little bit, he's going to be up where that tree is, which he has to really get under or around.

PASCUZZO: I think it's easy for the whole discussion about distance, not just in this room but anywhere in the golf industry, to move off track and focus on Tour players, when the issue is probably much more pertinent to average players. What effect are these longer, harder courses going to have on those guys as well as on those people who just want to learn the game?The National Golf Foundation talks about a pent-up demand of another fifteen or twenty million people who say they would like to play golf but feel that it takes too long or is not accessible. Remember, I grew up in Los Angeles playing my public county course on a weekend for $3.50.

HURDZAN: Which is why this new ASGCA initiative that Damian has taken on, Affordable Accessible Golf, is so important.

PASCUZZO: The ASGCA has just published a book on practical golf, in an attempt to make developers aware that you can build alternative, affordable facilities and make them training grounds. Six-hole courses and training centers—but not fancy training centers. Then nine-hole and eighteen-hole courses that are easy to play. If we can get people out to less expensive courses where they can be successful and not be intimidated, then they can move on.

One thing we know for sure: Golf is an addictive game. Once you get people comfortable with it, they tend to stick around.

Age: 62
Residence: Montclair, New Jersey
Company: Rees Jones, Inc.
Notable Courses: Atlantic GC, New York; The Golf Club at Briar's Creek, South Carolina; Nantucket GC, Massachusetts; Ocean Forest GC, Georgia; RedStick GC, Florida; Cascata, Nevada

Age: 44
Residence: El Dorado Hills, California
Company: Graves & Pascuzzo Golf Course Design & Development
Notable Courses: The Ranch GC, Massachusetts; Indian Pond CC, Massachusetts; Paradise Valley GC*, California; Meadowood GC*, Washington; The Bridges at Gale Ranch*, California; La Purisima GC*, California
*With Robert Muir Graves

Age: 73
Residence: Toledo, Ohio
Company: Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates
Notable Courses: Bay Harbor GC, Michigan; Bighorn GC, California; The Links at Lighthouse Sound, Maryland; Longaberger GC, Ohio; The Country Club at Mirasol, Florida; Quinta da Marinha Oitavos Golfe, Portugal

Age: 59
Residence: Columbus, Ohio
Company: Hurdzan/Fry Golf Course Design, Inc.
Notable Courses: Golf Club of Dublin, Ohio; Hamilton Farm GC, New Jersey; Calusa Pines GC, Florida; Westwood Plateau Golf and Learning Center, British Columbia, Canada; Desert Willow Resort, California; Farm Links GC, Alabama

Age: 67
Residence: Flower Mound, Texas
Company: Jay Morrish & Associates, Ltd.
Notable Courses: Stone Canyon Club, Arizona; Pine Canyon Club, Arizona; Boulders GC, Arizona; TPC at Las Colinas, Texas; Lantana GC*, Texas; Pine Dunes Resort & GC*, Texas
*With Carter Morrish


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