The course was the original prerequisite of a club, with its own features, and if it needs to be improved (see later) it is up to the club to adapt it to take into account the characteristics of its members (number, quality, average age, average handicap).
Certain courses are long or with difficult and very fast greens, narrow fairways or harsh roughs. If a club refuses to take account of all these features, it should not be surprised by the duration of amateur competitions.
Everything should contribute towards providing a fast rather than a slow course, which is also the object of this exercise.
Design of the Course
The first holes (at least the first three) are the launching pad for the course and should provide flowing and measured play. The first hole, in particular, is like the entrance to a modern supermarket : large, high, welcoming, built so that one immediately feels comfortable.
Length of the Course
Even if the course is difficult, it can and should be at the average level of its players; the best, but also the weakest, will have their own departure tees and all will find pleasure in playing. It is, therefore, very important to do everything necessary so that the course is beautiful and of high quality. This is a very subtle exercise. An audit of play and an audit of the course give much food for thought and the solutions found are always very simple, well-accepted and much less expensive than expected. Apart from a few exceptions, there is no such thing as a difficult course, just a badly adapted course.
Study of the Course
In order to answer the problem of length, I made a study of the 418 golf clubs in France that are longer than 5000m and have five tee emplacements (black, white and yellow for men and blue and red for women).
Large disparities appear between the men’s tees and the women’s.
The average length of the course from
|the black tees||5932m|
|The white tees||5893m||99,34% of the black length|
|The yellow tees||5538m||93,35% of the black length|
|The blue tees||5054m||85,20% of the black length|
|The red tees||4729m||79,72% of the black length|
A question immediately comes to mind : how does a lady with a handicap of between 42 and 52 ply 4729m in normal playing conditions ?
The answer certainly lies in the quality of the instruction she has had from the pro, her own determination, the beauty of the course, the conviviality of the clubhouse. But in order to reach 36 Stableford points, she will have a long battle. Then she will ask herself : “Am I going to continue?” “Where is the pleasure for me to spend 5 hours or more on a golf course?” This is the array of questions that will cross the mind of “young/new” players when they are launched on 18 holes without proper preparation.
Take the example of a “young/new” male player using the yellow tees. Even if his drives go further, he still has the same questions and worries, with, in addition, a little dent in his pride.
Other distances are also striking : the overall distance between tees :
|Between the white and the blue||839m||14,13%|
|Between the yellow and the red||809m||13,63%|
|Between the white and the yellow||355m||5,99%|
|Between the yellow and the blue||483m||8,15%|
|Between the blue and the red||325m||5,48%|
The average distance between the yellow and red tees is less than that between the white and blue tees. The better female players have the advantage.
One last point concerning the length of the course. Many clubs build courses in order to attract large numbers of players, of whom an important percentage require lessons. They also try to attract good players, who will help the club to progress, but let’s not forget the fact that less than 10% of club players are single handicap.
The course should be reviewed, using as a basis the average handicap of the members, the layering of the handicaps, the number of children and seniors. In this way, there will be plenty of tees to fit the sporting life of the club, while at the same time preserving the competitive properties for better players. This will even toughen the course equally for everyone.
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