FAIRWAY STRIPES – SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

by Eric J. von Hofen
Over the last few months I have noticed a trend while attending and watching professional golf events on TV and around the world. I have even shot out a few Tweets about it and I think I have hit a nerve with some people. Question: Should fairways be striped or not? It seems like I might have lost my mind or I don’t know which country I’m in. This year there have been more courses on the European Tour that have striped their fairways than courses in the United States. Also the European Tour players are dominating the world rankings. This picture above is from the BMW PGA Championship on the West Course at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. What is going on? Are we slipping?
Torrey Pines by Eric J. von Hofen
We all know this course. Torrey Pines has hosted some big events over the years and it’s one of the greatest layouts in the world. Does that fairway look inviting to you? When I see this in my travels, I think damn, another victim. The asset manager or penny pincher strikes again. I can just hear it, “mow them all in one direction and we will save some money”. Or “we can say we are going green and cutting back”. Whatever! I think courses have lost their eye on the goal line.
Eric von Hofen at Kingsbarns Golf Links Scotland
I have played courses in Scotland, like this one above (Kingsbarns), and thought they did a great job with the mowing lines and patterns. The checker board look would be just too much.
Doral Blue Monster by Eric J. von Hofen
This picture shows the 16th hole at Doral during the PGA TOUR event in 2005. Guests paying $350 to pay the Blue loved the look and expected it to look like this.

I heard Jack Nicklaus tell a story in person about when he played the Masters in the 80’s.  He would pick a white mowing line and hit his tee ball at it to get a few more yards of roll. I grew up watching the Bear and loved the stripes at Augusta. Then they were gone. But Jack still wanted the fairways at Muirfield Village checker boarded. I mowed those fairways at Muirfield in the summer of 1990 and have to say they were perfect. Each pinch point and landing area was laid out perfect. You could never hit a white line of the tee because the pattern would not allow it. Let’s see how they will look and play this week.

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Hammock Beach And Golf Resort In Palm Coast, Florida

The Club at Hammock Beach Resort Par 3 Course and Eric von Hofen
This is one of those places that will never get built again. The course sits next to the ocean and provides great views with plenty of wind. The Resort and Club is full service with many units having views of the course and ocean. The Par 3 course(mini golf course) there is one of the best live turf courses I have ever seen. The attention to detail is there and it’s fun to play. If you are traveling through this area of Florida, stop in and take a look at the courses and some real estate at The Club at Hammock Beach. The video takes you on a quick tour of the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course at Ocean Hammock in Palm Coast, Florida. This video was shot and edited by Turfundeground’s Eric J. von Hofen

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Turfunderground’s Top Five Public Courses In Naples

Tiburon and Shark Shootout
Heading to Naples, Florida this winter for some sun, relaxation, and golf? Naples is the spot, it has the highest number of courses per capita in the country. You better do your homework if you want to play some golf. Just like Palm Beach Country, many courses in Naples are private and you can’t get through the gates. So if you are lucky enough to have a wealthy uncle or friend from college that lives in the one the gated golf course communities, you will be hard pressed to find a game.

You can experience some of the best public golf in Naples if you follow my list.
1. Tiburon Golf Club designed by Greg Norman. Home to the PGA TOUR Shark Shootout.
2. Naples Grande Golf Club designed by Rees Jones.
3. The Rookery at Marco designed by Bob Cupp.
4. Lely Resort Golf & Country Club designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Lee Trevino.
5. Old Corkscrew Golf Club designed by Jack Nicklaus

While in Naples you better eat dinner early, like before 9 pm, after that many places shut down for the night. Also do not drink and drive. This is very little crime and the police would just love to meet you while you in town.

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Turfunderground’s Top 5 Public Golf Courses in Palm Beach

Eric von Hofen and the Breakers Hotel
Heading to Palm Beach, Florida this winter for some sun, relaxation, and golf?   You better do your homework if you want to play some golf. There are over 290 golf courses in Palm Beach Country, but most of them are private and you can’t get through the gates. So if you are lucky enough to have a wealthy uncle or friend from college that lives in the one the gated golf course communities, you will be hard pressed to find a game.

Palm Beach county has a population of over 1,200,000 million people so the courses are packed in the season. Palm Beach island has a year-round population of 10,468, with an estimated seasonal population of 30,000. The winters are mild and produce night time lows in the 50’s and day time highs in the 70’s. This winter has been below the norm and like many areas of the country. It has been cold during the month of December and January should be better for sure.

You can experience some of the best public golf if you follow my list.

1. The Ocean Course at The Breakers Hotel. Course was redesigned by Brain Silva.
2. The Champion Course at PGA NATIONAL. Course designed by Jack Nicklaus and also home to the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic.
3. North Palm Beach Country Club. Course was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 2006.
4. The Rees Jones Course at The Breakers Hotel. Course was redesigned 2006.
5. The Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course. A gem by the sea for sure. Course was redesigned by Raymond Floyd in 2009 and was voted Best Par 3 in America by Golf Digest.

Have fun, bring your sunscreen and your wallet.

 

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