Am I the only one who’s fantasized about having a private golf course? There’s no logic to the thought. The knowledge, effort and cost necessary makes it, well, a really bad idea.
Still, it’s winter. I’ve cleared snow from the driveway, shoveled the deck and finished the laundry. My wife has taken her mother holiday shopping and I’ve done my 5 minutes of practice - a few times already.
In other words, I’m bored enough to imagine….
Slow play at the local courses has become unbearable (not hard to imagine that). I have a 25 acre wooded parcel of land, disposable income, a lot of ambition and considerable time on my hands. I own some excavation equipment, a modest collection of golf course equipment and am knowledgable about native grasses and how to get the most with the least amount of water and fertilizer.
I’ve also hired @MattM (not really Matt) to put in 4 synthetic putting surfaces on the property (https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/91834-just-finished-my-backyard-putting-green/#comment-1269307).
The terrain on my property has a little roll to it. There are groves of mixed soft and hardwood trees. The soil is healthy and we get a decent amount of annual rainfall.
While none of the above is true, if it were this would be the result :
This is a cluster - literally. I need to explain a few things.
The nine holes share common fairways and putting surfaces. The par 4's have a single landing area and the par 5's have two. Most of the ground is covered with native grasses. It gets mowed, but only on a weekly or twice a month basis. You can find your ball and hit out of it, but lies aren’t going to be good and you won’t get good distance. The advantage is that this grass doesn’t requires irrigation or fertilizer. Drought will turn it brown, but the grass is hearty and will bounce back.
There are four areas where the turf resembles that of an average municipal golf course. The surface is smooth, the grass is healthy and it’s mowed tight. The two larger fairway areas are each 73x73 yards. The two smaller ones are somewhere around 40x40 yards. Each of the four are surrounded by 1st cut rough. Because of the size, they require minimal time and money for upkeep.
The tee boxes and greens are made of synthetic turf. The greens are about 15 yards in diameter with fairway-like grass collars. Three of the greens are shared by two “holes”, the fourth is shared by three for a total of 9 holes.
The course totals a hair over 2800 yards from the back tees - not bad for using only 25 acres (unless I've made a gross math error). It’s short, but the tree lines and small greens make it difficult to drive the par 4’s or get on the greens in two on the par 5’s. The hard-to-play turf outside the greens and layup areas discourages too much risk taking. Long hitters may not like it but the distances are right in my wheelhouse.
Back to reality… I know nothing about what it takes to maintain - much less design or build - a golf course. I understand greens are very expensive as are large fairways which require a great deal of maintenance, irrigation and fertilizer, hence the synthetic greens and small manageable fairway or landing areas of this design.
So is there any way a small group of ambitious golfers could create a co-op of sorts and pull something like this off? Would the upside of always having an empty course waiting for you and a few friends be worth all the toil, money and effort? You certainly couldn't have more than one group out at a time. Would a course like this even be fun to play and, If so, how long would it take to become boring?
If nothing else, it would make a cool backyard.