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Buckeyebowman

Modern course design. Do they really expect us to walk these things?

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The thread about the "reversible" course got my mind turning. How many modern courses are really designed to be walked by anyone older than 40? I have some contrasting examples.

About 20 years ago (I guess) a new course was opened in our area called Firestone Farms. It was built on the Firestone (think Firestone Tire and Rubber) family's farm outside Columbiana, OH. One Sunday I happened to be listening to the radio and heard an announcement that the course was open for a sneak preview. I called everyone I knew who golfed, but they were all busy, so I went out by myself.

I bought 9 holes, walking, and proceeded to the first tee which was perched up on top of "Gobbler's Knob! At least the view was impressive. I played the first and followed the cart path to the second tee, which was about 1/2 mile away! As were many of the tees! I understand the architect wanting to site each hole in the ideal place, but it can get rough on a walker. I loved the track but vowed I'd ride in further rounds. I was exhausted after walking 9!

Then, there is Mill Creek Park Golf Course. 36 holes of delightful, Donald Ross designed golf. I can't tell you how many rounds I've played there. Even now, at 63, with a couple of shot knees, I can pull the old trolley out of the closet and go walk 9! Green to tee is no big deal. Quite close, though not so close that it's dangerous unless some real sprayers are in your wake. I've never been threatened. There are holes where you can score, others where you will be challenged to make par. Especially on the finishing holes of each of the 4 nines.

There's something about the "old way" of laying out a course that appeals to me. Of course, it could be argued that modern designers do what they do because most people are riding. Then there are courses like Chamber's Bay, where players in the US Open last year were reported to be walking 9 to 10 miles a day. I don't care who you are, you're going to be tired after a week of that.

 

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26 minutes ago, SavvySwede said:

Yeah they are pretty much designed that way so you'll want to take a cart. All those extra cart fees add up in the courses favor in the long run.

Around here there is no extra cost for carts for these types of courses.  Courses that are walkable might offer a discount to walk on non peak times but for the most part, it's carts for everybody.

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I really like walking, though not some 9-10 miles a round...sheesh.

Always seem to put a higher value on where I hit the ball knowing I have to walk it down.

 

 

 

 

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I think this trend is a function of the economics of the golf business.  A golf course simply isn't financially attractive on its own, but if you can combine a golf course with new housing it looks much better to an investor.  Once you make that choice, you want to get the maximum out of each lot, which means you want as many houses as possible to face onto the course.  To do this, each hole needs to sit by itself, creating the long drives from one hole to the next.  My club was built this way, as were almost all the newer courses in this area.  I agree that walking is the best way to enjoy golf, and I still walk a lot of my rounds, but I don't think that we'll see a whole lot of walking-friendly new courses being built any time soon.

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39 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I think this trend is a function of the economics of the golf business.  A golf course simply isn't financially attractive on its own, but if you can combine a golf course with new housing it looks much better to an investor.  Once you make that choice, you want to get the maximum out of each lot, which means you want as many houses as possible to face onto the course.  To do this, each hole needs to sit by itself, creating the long drives from one hole to the next.  My club was built this way, as were almost all the newer courses in this area.  I agree that walking is the best way to enjoy golf, and I still walk a lot of my rounds, but I don't think that we'll see a whole lot of walking-friendly new courses being built any time soon.

Exactly this, building a course around a community adds value to the developer, attracts home buyers and ensures the course stays viable (mandatory HOA fees for living in golf community).  As a result courses built around the community are longer to accommodate the flow of the streets and houses.  The more golf course lots there are, the more premium the developer and builder collect selling them.  

I've seen some done better than others but they are usually not as well laid out (or walker friendly) as dedicated stand alone courses.  

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Great idea, but yes, a crazy price ($995) for something that looks no more sophisticated than a single-speed ladies bike from WalMart with a lightweight golf bag attached. Probably costs $30 from China.

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1 hour ago, sirhacksalot said:

I wish these were cheaper 
 

http://www.thegolfbike.com/

I'm wishing they would just sell the clubs and gear attachment.  Just put some fatter tires on my mountain bike and I'm good to go.

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Just now, No Mulligans said:

I'm wishing they would just sell the clubs and gear attachment.  Just put some fatter tires on my mountain bike and I'm good to go.

I thought of this but not sure if i could convince the club of it, at least with this i could show the website.  However maybe if they sold the attachments and the tires. Hmm

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15 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Around here there is no extra cost for carts for these types of courses.  Courses that are walkable might offer a discount to walk on non peak times but for the most part, it's carts for everybody.

I like the old school walking style courses.  I play those 95% of the time... Balboa Park courses, Torrey Pines, Coronado, Mirimar, Tecolote, Penedlton, there are plenty of walking courses in the area.

I think an extreme example of the ride only type of design is The Crossings in Carlsbad.  Not because of a developement but because of environmental issues.  That course takes the cake for distances from green to next tee box.

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They exurbified the courses in exurbia. Makes sense. :-P

When in exurbia, do as exurbians do.

No worries, we'll be droning it from hole to hole in zero emission solar powered Jetson like flying carts, so all this is moot.

[Rimshot]

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15 minutes ago, sirhacksalot said:

I thought of this but not sure if i could convince the club of it, at least with this i could show the website.  However maybe if they sold the attachments and the tires. Hmm

A cheap fat tire bike

7815.jpg

A cargo rack

Tern-Cargo-rack-1.jpg

 

Some PVC pipes

allegro_aspirateur_central_vacuum_2_inch

And some duct tape... easy peasy

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Some of our NE Ohio courses have gone to 'cart only' rule on weekends.  Frankly, I would NEVER walk them even for 9 holes.  Those that spring to mind are Legends of Massillon.  One of the three nines begins about a mile from the clubhouse.  Another is Roses Run in Stow where you can have half-mile walks between several tee boxes.  You know the ones where you leave a green, walk a path through back yards, cross the street, go under the viaduct, (sorry, a Chicago term!) back up to street level, through more back yards, across yet another street and down the path another quarter mile to the next tee box.  Takes 3-4 minutes in a cart, probably 15 by foot.

Others include Boulder Creek, Pine Hills in Hinckley and others I'm not recalling at the moment.

dave

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6 hours ago, newtogolf said:

Exactly this, building a course around a community adds value to the developer, attracts home buyers and ensures the course stays viable (mandatory HOA fees for living in golf community).  As a result courses built around the community are longer to accommodate the flow of the streets and houses.  The more golf course lots there are, the more premium the developer and builder collect selling them.  

I've seen some done better than others but they are usually not as well laid out (or walker friendly) as dedicated stand alone courses.  

There's also this idea among a lot of architects that the worst thing you can do in laying out a course is make golfers play a hole uphill. The only way to do that on a hilly site, of course, is to have many holes where you tee off on a hill, play into a valley, then make a steep uphill climb to the next tee. A routing that does this is completely unwalkable, but it lends itself well to pictures on real estate brochures.

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1 hour ago, No Mulligans said:

I think an extreme example of the ride only type of design is The Crossings in Carlsbad.  Not because of a development but because of environmental issues.  That course takes the cake for distances from green to next tee box.

Haha, I've probably played only 0.01% of all of the courses out there, and I'd be pretty confident in still saying that you are correct on this one.  To those who've never been there, below is a picture of a portion of the course where you can see how long the treks are from hole to hole.  But pay particular attention to the 11th and 12th holes.  I've never seen anything like that before.

 

CROSSINGS.jpg

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17 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

Around here there is no extra cost for carts for these types of courses.  Courses that are walkable might offer a discount to walk on non peak times but for the most part, it's carts for everybody.

Most of the courses I've seen that aren't friendly to walking don't allow you to walk at all. They just give you the cart and the cost is built into the greens fees.

That being said, I don't like most courses where I can't walk and I hate courses that have OB everywhere because they are lined with houses.

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2 hours ago, krupa said:

A cheap fat tire bike

7815.jpg

A cargo rack

Tern-Cargo-rack-1.jpg

 

Some PVC pipes

allegro_aspirateur_central_vacuum_2_inch

And some duct tape... easy peasy

I completely agree but like i said would just need to get the course to buy off on the fact that it isn't going to mess up the fairways etc.

 

But I like where you are going with it.

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Note: This thread is 1220 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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