Toughening Courses

Greg Norman is calling for ball flight restrictions in an effort to keep older courses from becoming obsolete.

This worry has been going on for years, with courses—even hallowed Augusta—adding yardage to compensate for the newer, hotter equipment.

I think that you can keep the older courses competitive, without constantly adding length. Here’s how:

1) Narrow the fairways and make the rough truly punishing. None of this “second cut” nonsense. If they’re in the rough, they should be hitting a wedge to get back onto the fairway, not going for the green. I’ve heard several players say recently that they don’t care where it lands, as long as its long. They should care.

1a) Narrow the fairways the closer you get to the green. Make them decide if its worth it to risk missing the fairway, or to lay up to a safer, wider part of the fairway, and take a 180 yard shot to the green.

2) Change par. Take the shortest “5” and make it a “4”. Take the shortest “4” and make it a “3” Let them swing the driver at a 300 yard par 3.

3)Use a more coarse sand in the bunkers. The fluffy stuff they use at my club, and at tour-level courses is too consistent. Again, a player in the bunker should be just trying to get it back on the fairway, not shooting at the pin.

3a) Add a couple more fairway bunkers. My club dates to 1899, and that’s been our response to the long hitters. There are now fairway bunkers right where the big guns drive it. To avoid them, they’re going to have to hit a shorter club off the tee. Serves them right. I, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about it.

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