An important preface from the author, an armchair architect at best and a golfer who enjoyed all the courses mentioned below quite a bit: Don’t get mad when reading this piece. Have fun, and comment liberally with your own hole edits.
It was a relatively short golf year for me, so I briefly considered letting the third-annual rendition of this feature slide by the wayside. But last year’s edition also got a brief mention on GolfClubAtlas, which lends an air of legitimacy to my hobby (if not money), and so I decided I must go on.
The gist: You’ve likely read a list, by someone much wealthier and/or better connected than you (power to them), listing the best golf courses that they played during the past year. These create intense levels of envy among the less wealthy / well-connected. I’m starting to get over that part, but I’m still bugged by how unwilling the average adventurer is to say something even vaguely critical about acclaimed clubs, unless that complaint has already been beaten into a clichéd pulp by the masses before them (trees at Augusta! You don’t say!).
I’m both realistic and, admittedly, cynical. I don’t believe the perfect golf course exists. In an attempt to project sincerely, and keep those GolfClubAtlas guys interested in my minimal adventures, I often don’t focus on the great stuff at the great courses I played. Hence my annual “best of” format: Rather than simply slobbering to you about about Ballyneal’s brilliance, I choose my least favorite hole and offer suggestions for improvement.
That would be too easy, however, so there’s a twist: I redesign each hole from the mindset of a different golf course architect…specifically a golf course architect who designed a different course on my year-end list, whose own hole will be dissected in the style of one of his cohorts later on. Confused? You’ll figure it out. Let’s start with a tough one, and hopefully learn something about these architects and some otherwise pretty great courses.
Let’s find out what might happen if LANGFORD AND MOREAU redesigned NO. 9 at BALLYNEAL GOLF CLUB. (If you ended up enjoying it, you can also check out the 2021 and 2022 versions of this exercise) Continue reading “Tom Doak, Langford & Moreau, William Flynn and More Renovate The Best Courses BPBM Played in 2023” »