Yeah, Greg designed a course in Fort Worth next to The Texas Motor Speedway called The Creeks at Beechwood. It was so hard and just not very playable. A writer called it "tighter than a camel's rear in a sandstorm." The first time I played it, I piped one down the middle on the first hole, got to my ball and there was a huge tree in the middle of the fairway! I couldn't go over it or around it, and going under was no bargain. If I'm in the middle of the fairway, I feel I shouldn't have to pitch-out because I'm blocked. It was like that all day. When we got done I felt like I had gotten in a fight and lost. Norman's name has been removed from the course and it has been re-designed.
I like Jack's stuff though. He tends to offer a lot of tees (5 or 6 sets of tees) and the courses I've played are very straight forward. I think one of his strengths is his practice areas. The facility at Cordillera Ranch just outside of San Antonio has a huge range with actual greens for targerts, several putting greens, practice bunkers, and 3 full size practice holes.
That matters though in your average distance with each club because while pros have much tighter impact patterns on the clubface, they aren't perfect either so they still benefit from a certain amount of forgiveness too, particularly with longer clubs. The improvement in MOI and distance with
I've seen somewhat unbiased comparisons put the difference in the range of 5 yards across several swings for a skilled golfer.
Modern irons have the same general shape as old pre-1980s blades, but they are still quite different. Design tech has advanced significantly with improvements in MOI and lower center of gravity that can even help the pros. They have an impact dispersion pattern too. It's much tighter, but they don't hit the exact center of the clubface on each swing. A couple yards here and there add up.
Before this thread veered seriously OT, and devolved into a discussion of the relative merits of short Par 4's and Par 3's, it was to sing the praises of the shorter courses. Allow me to attempt to bring it back.
Last year, out of the blue, my buddy calls me from a little 9 holer called Hidden Oaks, which I hadn't played in a bazillion years, since it was called Dick Williams Memorial. When I was first starting to play golf my Dad would take me there. This was about 50 years ago. I now thought it somehow "beneath" me. Too short, greens too flat and uninteresting. No challenge. I couldn't have been more wrong!
You can get in just as much trouble, and have just as much enjoyment, there as anywhere!
We still have a few of these places around, but their health is questionable. I'm hoping that some of them can continue to hang on and even thrive. They are decidedly casual affairs, where guys show up in tank tops, cargo shorts and tennies to play. And something I noticed at Hidden Oaks was how many husband/wife combos showed up.