The Future of Golf Architecture

Golf Digest has a fascinating article on the future direction of golf architecture.

It’s a sort of back to the future movement, with the works of CB MacDonald at the core.

My favorite quote in the article is from Jim Engh:

“American golf isn’t exciting for people these days,” says Jim Engh, whose art-deco style has resulted in four Best New course awards from Golf Digest since 1997. “That’s why we’re losing golfers. It doesn’t touch people’s creative spirits. Figuring out how to play a golf hole is one way to generate compelling interest.

“Toss a rock into a mud puddle,” Engh says. “The patterns that result, that’s Dadaism, the art of randomness. That’s what we should be doing, creating interesting landforms, have wide corridors, and let people figure out how to play the hole. That’s how the game began. This whole idea of diagramming shots, dictating how a hole should be played, that’s a bunch of hooey. Just do an interesting hole; let golfers figure it out. That’s the most fun. Golfers will be back 30 times, until they find a way to successfully play the hole. Or another way to play the hole. Or a different way than the way they played it last week.

“Width is good,” Engh adds. “You can do all kinds of things with width—more angles you can play. If you go narrow, you have one element, and that’s it. Width keeps people in play, makes the game a little more enjoyable.”


1 thought on “The Future of Golf Architecture”

  1. I think this is a refreshing idea… I agree that figuring out the best approach is what makes many sports exciting: rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, etc. It would make the same course unique every time you play. I’m definitely looking forward to playing Stonebrae one of these days!


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