The USGA Got It Right – Golf Peach On Course Setups

There is a famous Jack Nicklaus quote that “golf is not and never has been a fair game.” If we wanted to play a sport in regulated conditions, we would pick up a snooker cue or a dart.

The USGA Got It Right – Golf Peach On Course Setups

The men in the USGA blazers may all be in need of a good lie down. They are not used to compliments. There seems to have been nothing but praise for the way they set Pebble Beach up for the US Open.

Meanwhile, back at my local club in leafy Berkshire there were rumblings about the addition of a set of blue tees for the Ladies’ Club Championship. The new back pegs added 300 or so yards to the course and caused several senior members to withdraw.

The controversy has not yet reached the pages of Golf Monthly but watch this space.

Non-golfing friends often ask if I get bored hitting a ball round the same 18 holes over and over again. But we know different, don’t we?

A golf course rarely plays exactly the same one day to another. The subtleties of set-up are not confined to the Major Championships. If the greenkeeper that cuts the holes at dawn is in a particularly foul mood, it can add half-a-dozen shots to the standard scratch of any course. That’s why I always smile and wave to the guys on rotary mowers.

Britain is a nation where four seasons in a day is a regular occurrence, so we are conditioned to the prospect of a golf course changing character as we play it. The draw for the first two rounds of next month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush could be critical to the outcome with featured groups setting out seven hours apart over the first two days.

The R&A will have been monitoring the weather forecasts as keenly as a chef watches a rising souffle on the Great British Bake Off. They are effectively cooking the course to run fast but fair ahead of the arrival of the world’s best players, but they know that if they get the recipe marginally wrong they could make Rory and Rosey look silly. And then they will be hearing about it.

My other half used to be a member at Royal Liverpool. The famous Hoylake links waited nearly 40 years for a modern Open Championship and when the honour was finally returned to the club in 2006, the rains dried up and left the course looking helplessly white and bereft of protective rough. Tiger Woods prevailed but only used his driver once on one of the world’s great driving tests.

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