Jack Nicklaus spouting off again, wants to make U.S. golf courses harder
You say golf’s too hard? You’re not alone. The difficulty of the game is often cited by those who give the game up for good.
There is a loud contingent that is calling on golf course architects to make courses easier. Jack Nicklaus is not among them. Nicklaus says golf courses in the U.S. are too easy.
“Most of the people in the United States want it as wide as they can get it and no trouble and want it easy as it can be,” Nicklaus said in a recent interview. “If you go to the rest of the world, you’ll fine most of the golf courses are very narrow, very demanding, very penal, and they don’t really cater on a daily basis to the average golfer. They cater to the game of golf.
“You’ve got to learn to adapt your golf game to what the challenges are. In the States, it’s a lot the other way. When these kids grow up in the States, most of these courses they grow up on are fairly user-friendly and they don’t challenge you.”
Nicklaus was talking mainly about why American golfers, mainly the pros, are so lousy at match play. The other reason, of course, is that young golfers in the U.S. are brought up mainly on medal play, and rarely go head-to-head.
Nicklaus is golf’s designated curmudgeon, and it’s a mantle he wears well. He’s right that young American golfers don’t play enough match play, but when he starts talking about making American courses more difficult, he comes off as a grouchy, old man.
I’ve played a ton of European courses, and they are indeed harder, from the big-name courses to the ones in the hinterlands set up for average Europeans. Conversely, I’ve played with a lot of Europeans on American courses, and I’ve never heard one complain they were too easy.
I don’t think the idea of making courses harder will be all that popular among U.S. golf course owners, or U.S. golfers for that matter. We aren’t all Jack Nicklaus. We don’t all play in the Ryder Cup. Most of us play the game for fun.
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life as a greenskeeper and greens super-
visor on a large, Japanese owned and
Canadian designed (les Furber), golf
course in British Columbia. The golf
course is 7041 yards long and is a semi-
private club with a medium sized member-
ship. I have set pin positions and tee
marker positions many times over those
years and never ONCE, not ONCE, has a
member or guest ever complained that they
were "too easy. (I always set both things
on the very easy side to speed up play.
When someone else set them there might be
so feedback that the pins were too tough
but I would always answer with the same
words. "listen to me folks, the pin may
move, but the center of the green is in
the same spot every day..I have never met
a single digit, or even a scratch golfer
who complained about a center back pin
placement. I may be the same age as Mr. Nicklaus, but I think he has lost site of
the fact that recreational golfers make
up 99% of all golfers and most of them
don't care how they get a better score,
as long as they do... The space between
the pro golfer and the recreational golf-
er is something akin to the width of the
Grand Canyon..So, give us clubs that will
hit farther, stop quicker, roll farther,
putt truer, and courses with landing
areas as wide as the length of a football
field, Greens 12,000 to 15,000 sq. feet,
so we can make the green in regulation,
and we will all leave every course with
a smile on our face and an ego looking
forward to the next time we can bring
ANY course to it's knees, even if that is
an 89 for us... Golf for Fun, Golf for
fun, Golf for fun.. Chuck Collet, Pitt
meadows, British Columbia, Canada
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