I am a man on a mission at the moment, and a SuperGolf day that we recently held at your great golf course has just re-enforced my desire to campaign for change in golf course design.
Butch Harman and Frank Thomas (a real friend of Southbroom) opened my eyes at the PGA Merchandise Show in Florida, to the fact that golf courses are being designed to take away the enjoyment we should experience from this wonderful game. They have convinced me that we need to reverse this trend and highlight golf courses, like Southbroom, as great examples of the way a golf course should be designed and presented.
This started with an interview with Butch Harman about the impact of technology on the game. He argued that the real problem we faced was the response of golf committees and golf designers to what a top PGA Pro MIGHT do with the aid of technology. “Golf courses are being made longer, with narrower fairways and with more traps, making them far too difficult for the average golfer”, he said.
He pointed out that longer golf courses meant further to walk, so surely the round was going to take longer even without the added impact of ferocious rough, extra bunkers and a ‘waterworld’ accompanying the fairways. “And of course” he added “more golf course, means more to maintain, more labour and more costs.”
Now the last thing any of us want is golf rounds that take longer and cost more. And where is the pleasure in the torture that some golf courses inflict on you (after having emptied your wallet).
Would you believe that Frank Thomas made almost the exact same comments in my interview with him? He believes that the greatest challenges golf faces today are reducing the time it takes to play a round, reducing the costs to play the game and increasing the golfer’s enjoyment. And he felt that golf course owners were actually working against this with the monsters they are now creating.
I have to tell you that the consistent feedback from everyone who played in our SuperGolf day at Southbroom was how much they had enjoyed the day and how much they had enjoyed the golf course. That is what it is about. You should be very proud of your golf club and know that your club is now my example, to anyone I speak to, of how a golf course should be laid out and maintained.