Golfers Just Wanna Have Fun
This may not be true for all golfers, but for me fun is a top priority. Work is work. Golf is recreation, and it should be enjoyable.
On my recent trip to Florida, I played two of the most fun rounds I can remember. What’s interesting is that they couldn’t have come on two more different courses – Winter Park Golf Course and Streamsong Black. This led me to sit down and think about what it is that makes golf fun.
Below are the four things I need and four things I don’t. Please feel free to submit your own lists in the comments section below.
What I Need
If I wanted to hit driver-7I all day, I would have gone to the range. I want to hit every club in my bag, and I want to hit every shot that I’m capable of. Give me uphill and downhill approaches and lies, blind shots and holes that are laid out in front of me. Dogleg the fairways right and left. Give me a 450 yard par 4, but throw in a driveable one, too. Have some big greens and some small ones, some curvy ones and some flat ones.
For me, nothing is more critical to a fun course than variety.
Width & Strategy
If a course presents nothing but bowling alley fairways, there are no choices to be made. Without choices, there’s no strategy. Without strategy, the mental component which makes golf so great is vastly diminished.
Give me the widest fairways, but make it important to be on the correct side. Test my mental skills as much as you’re testing my physical ones.
If every hole was cut at the bottom of a bowl, you’d make a lot of putts, but would you have any fun? Some challenge is necessarily for there to be a feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration. Having things handed to you isn’t fun in my book. I would prefer to shoot a good score, but I want to know that I earned it.
I do not need Augusta-perfect fairways to have fun. I don’t need greens that are particularly fast. All I’m looking to avoid are the things that ruin fun: greens full of pitch marks, fairways full of divots, rough that’s waist high. I want to be able to find my ball, play it without impediment, and get a fair result.
What I Don’t Need
Defense of Par
Par is stupid and arbitrary. The idea that a “good” course defends par is asinine.
If you design holes that allow for different options and welcome players of different abilities, you can declare that every hole is a par 1 for all I care.
A Big Name
Have I had a great time playing bucket list courses? Absolutely. But I’ve had equally good times on courses that no one has heard of.
Ocean views are wonderful, and you can’t deny that they add something to a round of golf, but they don’t make it more fun. The hole above wouldn’t be as photogenic if that cliff was a thicket of trees, but as long as you can bounce a shot off the right slope onto the green, it’s a fun hole.
Words that have probably never been said, “The selection of beers at the turn house really made today’s round great.”
I’m not pooh-poohing great amenities – I like them as much as anyone – but my fun isn’t adversely affected by their absence.
What do you think?
What do you need (or not need) to have fun?
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