While the technology and materials used to construct today’s golf clubs are light-years away from the persimmon woods and balata golf balls golfers used back in the day, golf courses really haven’t changed all that much. That’s part of the charm for some with history like St. Andrews, but aside from adding obstacles or movin’ the tees back, many golf courses play just like they used to.
Now this Caveman’s been called a lot of things, but “golf visionary” ain’t one of ’em. Still, I’ve put together a short list of ideas I think might shake things up for today’s golf course designers. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so make sure you chip in with a comment or two below!
- Multiple fairways – Imagine standing on a tee box, lookin’ straight out towards the pin and seein’ not one fairway, but TWO mowed paths around a central obstacle: woods, heavy rough, or even a small lake! Both could be about equal length and difficulty, or a serious risk/reward decision could be called for if one fairway was, say, shorter but narrower and the other wide open but longer.
- Exaggerated elevation changes – If you haven’t already seen this hole in Africa, take a moment and watch the video. Requiring a helicopter to reach the tee box, this 900-yard par 3 gives golf balls over 20 seconds of hang-time and no doubt requires more than your average divot tool for ballmarks! It may be on the extreme end of the scale today, but I’d like to see more holes with large changes in elevation. Hittin’ off a cliff or bluff looks as cool as it feels, and lofting a shot up a steep fairway would take some mental gymnastics to play just right.
- Par 6+ – Augusta National famously lengthened its track in 2001 and again just recently, turning Bobby Jones’ favorite course into something the legend might not immediately recognize if he walked it today. But only a handful of courses have taken the next step and raised par to six. It could be in the cards though if golfers keep gettin’ longer like they have been for the past couple decades.
I dunno, maybe there’s too much tradition and too little to gain by rockin’ the boat with this crazy Caveman’s crackpot schemes, but if any of these come to be standard features on a golf course, you and me will both know who thought of ’em first!
-Scratch the Golfin’ Caveman