With all due respect to Jack Nicklaus and his excellent golf course design group, which threatens to control more woodland property than the U.S. Department of the Interior, I have decided that it’s time to design my own golf course.
I’ve been waiting for Jack to show up long enough.
Nicklaus designs tend to be dominated by holes that fit his playing style. Coincidentally, this also will be my pattern.
Thus, there will be no dogleg rights. I’m a righthander and have difficulty hitting drives that fit well into the dogleg right scenario. (I know, some people love the dogleg right. But – pay attention – this is MY course).
The only water on my course will be in the clubhouse restrooms and in the ballwashers located at every other teebox. I have hit so many balls into ponds that I have had more impact on lake levels than climate change.
If you enjoy the challenge of lifting a 170-yard 6 iron over a pond and watching it gently drop onto a par-three green, good for you. But, again, this is MY course. I don’t have an endless supply of golf balls.
There will be six par threes. I like par threes. The distances from the middle tees will be 132 yards, 120 yards, 98 yards, 130 yards, 150 yards and – for a toughie – 155 yards. I like a challenge.
There will be no fairway bunkers. They’re fairly easy to hit from, anyway, and are basically just a nuisance when I’m trying to line up the perfect drive.
We’ll have a few greenside bunkers, just to keep everybody honest. But their design will be such that people who have trouble hitting out of bunkers (ahem) will be able to putt out of them. The sand will be consistent and will be that brilliant white color that can’t really be found in nature.
My course, a par 72, will have three par fives on each nine, but they’ll be relatively short, so not to worry. Some of you average duffers will be able to reach the greens in two, but the greens will be tiered so that the challenge will be there.
Pin placements will be sensible. In other words, they won’t be on slopes or in the deep back corner of the green or near a bunker. Let’s be fair about this. I’ve played a course where the placements were so difficult I was certain that the Ryder Cup had been there the day before. I don’t want that at my place.
My course will be among the most beautiful in the United States. There will be a view of the ocean (although it won’t be directly adjacent to a hole, of course). There will be tall, majestic trees like those at Banff in Canada. There will be high mountains, with stunning views from every teebox. There will be blooming azaleas – all year. And huge maple trees, dressed in golden autumn finery.
There will be no geese. Nothing against geese, but they are messy. Instead, we’ll have bluebirds and cardinals.
The clubhouse will be exquisite – gold fixtures, green-carpeted floors, soft cots for at-the-turn naps, framed photos of all of golf’s greats, a pro shop stocked with shirts that are always on clearance and a grill that will feature both chili dogs and banana splits.
Several of the top 100 teachers in the U.S. will be on staff to offer free advice, particularly on my huge practice green.
My accountants are still working on the price per round, but I can tell you it will be cheaper than Pebble Beach.
Mike Hembree is a veteran journalist who has covered a variety of sports for numerous publications and websites, including USA Today, Fox Sports, TV Guide and The Greenville (S.C.) News. He has written 14 books and has won numerous writing awards at the national, regional and state levels. He is a seven-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.
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