CHARLOTTE, N.C. - You would have thought that we would have noticed it, but we didn't. Perhaps the golfing public is to blame. We sat back in awe as new golf course after new golf course opened, lulled into submission by this reoccurring line:
"The new (insert designer) designed (insert course name) plays to over 7,000 yards from the tips!"
We went out and bought $50 a dozen golf balls that fly 20 yards further. We snatched up 300 cubic centimeter drivers faster than you can say "anabolic." We paid our respects to 450 yard par fours after going driver three wood by cracking yet another beer and toasting Mr. Fazio/Dye/Nicklaus/Palmer.
Unfortunately, our obsession with new equipment, barley and hops made us numb to this simple fact: 75 percent of America's new golf courses are on steroids, and close to 25 percent of the country's older courses have admitted to at least trying them once, according to a report obtained by TravelGolf.com.
"You have to be long to compete for people's dollar, and for PGA tour events and the juice is the only way to get over 7200 and get there fast," said Torrey Pines South Course, who was lengthened to 7568 yards in hopes of attracting a future U.S. Open. "I have no regrets about using steroids, and I would do it again."
Truth be told, it was difficult for the South Course to feel any remorse for shooting up when the Tiger himself approved of the track's new length.
"Guys are getting longer and stronger, and for what they want to have here, a U.S. Open, they did the right thing because I think this is a wonderful venue for it," Woods told reporters before the Buick Open.
Officials at the South Course (at right) said that a number of older golf courses have been procuring the steroids from the Myrtle Beach area, the self proclaimed "Golf Capital of the World." This statement came as a shock to local golf officials who have categorically denied the use of steroids in their region.
However, in an exclusive interview with TravelGolf.com, an official at Farmstead Golf Links said that up to 50 percent of Myrtle Beach courses take steroids regularly.
"The thing is, most of the golfers here have cobwebs in their heads from late nights spent at gentlemen's clubs or they get drunk by the third hole and they don't realize what is going on," said Farmstead, who opened its bulging 7242-yard doors last fall.
"For the love of God, my 18th hole is a par six that was cultivated through the use of South American Horse hormones, and the joints of my double dogleg were fortified with human growth hormone. The writing is on the bathroom wall."
Augusta National, which was recently lengthened so as to induce suicidal tendencies in Corey Pavin and Jeff Sluman, denies the use of steroids during its protracted growth. The venerable site of the Masters was quoted by reporters last week as saying, "you can test me right now if you want to, however if you are a past champion that has not played in at least ten events this season, you can kiss my green (bleep)."
As reporters walked away in disgust, the course defiantly muttered for them not to "serve those rubber tasting chicken sandwiches and stale potato chips, or whatever it is they eat," next year in the media tent. Meanwhile, Augusta National officials remain in negotiations with the Augusta Country Club over purchasing an additional piece of land to further lengthen the course for next year's tournament.
Denial, pouring out one's heart to half-baked journalists, and "generous greens with severe undulations," are all signs of rampant steroid use. Until the U.S.G.A. requires drug testing among its member golf courses, some golf course architects say that layouts could approach 8000 yards by the year 2003.
"Won't be long before you see the first 8,000 yard. course at this rate," said Lakeland, Florida-based course designer Ron Garl."
Rees Jones, the U.S. Open Doctor and golf course steroid expert, was unavailable for comment.
June 3, 2002
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!