Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

1 I have often thought that many of the problems with golf are a result of the fact that most golfers are men. There is no doubt that golf courses have both suffered and benefitted from testosterone. Competitive behaviour may have driven the creation and improvement of many courses, but it has a destructive side too: sometimes that urge results in a determination to achieve results that are far from positive. The quest for faster greens, discussed in this issue’s main feature, is a classic example. While greens that roll smooth and true are undeniably a good thing, and fast rolling is correlated with smoothness, the desire among clubs to have the fastest greens is not. This quest for speed makes golf slower to play (isn’t that a beautiful irony?) and more expensive. It can also make wonderful old greens, built when it was simply not possible to mow grass so low and groom it so well, unplayable. This is most often expressed as ‘a loss of pin positions’. But the truth is that those positions are not genuinely lost. They just become unplayable because the green is rolling too damned fast. In consequence, hundreds, even thousands, of classic greens have been levelled out, removed of the contours that made them great in the first place, so that they can be cut and groomed to be even faster. The architects who do this work should not be unreasonably criticised. We all have to eat, and if clubs want faster greens, in the end it is their right to have them. But perhaps our male-dominated green committees could do with a different perspective. Slow down WELCOME ADAM LAWRENCE