This will be a little out of the box….
I have often wondered whether the concept of “hard par and easy bogie” represents the low point of golf architecture.
A flat rollercoaster has no appeal. One with a single big drop has some limited short term appeal. But a roller coaster with a series of interesting twists and turns gains our undivided attention and has us lining up to ride again and again.
Rollercoaster design is far more complicated than simply sticking a series of endless thrills together one right after the other until the ride ends. If we tried this approach we would simply leave the rider vomiting.
The real secret to rollercoaster design is the space between thrills. Rollercoaster designers understand the rider must be given the opportunity to “recuperate” before the next thrill. Designers know to the second how long it takes to lower the heart rate, not back to normal, but to a point where the rider is prepared for what is ahead.
I used to think that the magical element of rhythm was an impossible concept to design, but lately I’m becoming more and more convinced that it just might be possible.
I think designers have to think more about juxtaposition. Every course needs a hole or two, or even a run of holes that become all about perseverance where a par is a celebrated score. In contrast I also believe it’s essential that every course should also have a hole or two, or series of holes where every player is thinking birdie. There should be clear cut moments where every player feels some freedom and others where you understand that only your best will do.
Most clubs spend a great deal of money making the hardest holes easier and the easy ones harder. And yet no approach could lead to a more average and uninspiring golf course. They are following the concept of hard par and easy bogie to achieve consistency. The net result is the golfer is never overwhelmed or at ease. This is golf without any thrills or reprieves. The concept represents the standardization of the game.
Yet this concept runs contrary to golf’s greatest attraction, its variety. What hard par and easy bogie does is remove any potential to develop the highs and lows that matter a great deal in a round. Golf needs its rhythms to make the experience special.