5 Key Golf Course Design Features Pros Hate And Amateurs Love (And Vice Versa)

Pinehurst Resort


A healthy tension exists between the architect and the player. On the one hand, the architect must make the golf engaging by putting obstacles in the player’s way. Otherwise, what’s the point? Understanding the player’s perspective is a bit trickier, because, in broad strokes, there are two basic kinds of players. The vast majority — 99 percent — play for recreation, while the 1 percenters do it as a vocation. (Sure, there are several thousand amateurs who approach the game with a similar discipline to the professionals, but they are a drop in the recreational bucket.) Though the number of ace players is tiny, they obviously wield outsize influence given the massive visibility of broadcast golf.

With no potential paycheck to stress over, the recreational player looks to get other rewards from the round. The chance to connect to nature. To spend time with friends and family. To puzzle solve. The professional takes an understandably dimmer view of obstacles that he perceives impede his ability to earn a wage and support his family.

All of which is to say, different strokes for different folks. Here are some key design features almost guaranteed to elicit divergent responses from amateurs and pros.

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