Golf Course Architecture - Issue 65, July 2021

68 Alternative approach Davis Love III’s design firm has recently completed a reinvention of AW Tillinghast’s Belmont course in Richmond, Virginia BELMONT GOLF COURSE , V I RGINIA, USA PROF I LED T he golf industry has been talking about alternatives to the standard eighteen-hole course for many years, and trying to build them, with varying degrees of success. But the level of attachment to the ‘standard’ eighteen-hole course has remained strong, perhaps surprising when one considers how unintentional was its creation in the first place (the eighteen- hole course came into existence when St Andrews was shortened from its original twenty-two in 1764, though it was not accepted as any kind of standard until much later). Now, though, there seems to be some evidence that golfers are more accepting of courses that do not fit the ‘normal’ stereotype. Obviously, there have long been many hundreds of nine-hole courses around, but the success of venues like Sweetens Cove in Tennessee and the reinvented Bobby Jones municipal course in Atlanta, now a reversible nine-holer, suggests that they are earning more respect than has often been the case. Icelandic golf architect Edwin Roald has for some years been arguing, through his website, , that a round of golf can and should be any number of holes, and if a piece of land can happily accommodate six, eleven or fourteen holes, then that is how long the course should be. “Nine holes is too short and ineffective,” says Roald. “Time, space and money does not support eighteen. Therefore, it’s about time we return to golf ’s age-old but lost tradition,