Jan
19
2012
‘Little Pine Valley’ and the Future of Amateur Golf
By Conor Nagle under Architecture

Merion: venue of the 2013 US Open.

A compelling article by Thomas Dunne in Links Magazine asks if the game’s many and varied problems can be resolved by the introduction of equipment changes in keeping with PING supremo John Solheim’s recent suggestion that “it is far simpler to adjust the ball to the course, than to adjust the course to the ball.”

Rather than resort to the sort of ill-defined exasperation that has characterised a great deal of the debate about equipment design and the challenge it presents to a great many of the game’s most cherished venues, Dunne weaves together the views of industry insiders, architects and recreational golfers to make the case for a provocative and counterintuitive proposal:

“My imagination, however, has for some time been considerably more intrigued by the concept of the shorter ball. When John Solheim writes that ‘it is far simpler to adjust the ball to the course, than to adjust the course to the ball,’ he’s not wrong. He’s thinking of classic courses bending over backward to find yardage and in some cases butchering their designs to defend against the modern game. But it’s possible that with the right product in place, a distressed course or an innovative developer could create something positive through adjusting the course to the ball…by becoming smaller.”

Ground more in economic realism than nostalgia, it’s a must-read for anyone concerned by golf’s dwinding popularity.

(via Geoff Shackelford)

Conor Nagle