Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

40 OP INION Slimming golf down Adam Lawrence asks if the new Sedge Valley course at Sand Valley marks the end of the ‘size no object’ courses that have dominated the industry in recent years ADAM LAWRENCE W idth, I think we can all agree, is fundamentally a good thing. Without adequate width, as we have noted so many times in these pages, a golf hole can have virtually no strategy. There has to be sufficient room to offer a choice of lines from the tee, otherwise a hole is reduced basically to a test of execution skills; can you hit this narrow fairway and this green? You don’t even need to get into the theory of strategic golf design to justify width. Width equals fewer lost balls and less time hunting for them, the most pointless activity on a golf course. So hooray for width and boo to tight courses where an eighteen handicapper might easily lose six or seven expensive golf balls in trees or rough. Golf is hard enough and expensive enough; we do not need more of either factor. So far, so relatively uncontroversial. But if you think about the matter analytically, it must be true that more width stops being a good thing eventually. Even aside from the questions of building and taking care of the golf course, would anyone really want to play holes with mile-wide fairways? They could be intensely strategic – a clever architect, given so much space, could set up any number