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Links golf is a brand that I was certainly more familiar with, having traveled a number of times to Scotland and Ireland. Links golf is the purest form of golf there is. There is a storied history to its derivation. I enjoy the firm, running surfaces, the odd contours and randomness. Links golf invites quirkiness and deviation from norm, like the creativity that children employ in the games they make up.

To my surprise, I found that England like Scotland and Irleand is home to some of the finest links courses in the world. The linksland of Royal Cinque Ports. He takes you on a journey, exposes you to so much variety, but all within the context of the varied terrain and setting. Maybe he picked up a few things from MacKenzie? Certainly these qualities are more artistic classifications, but they are vitally important for an architect to possess, such as an ability to very simplistically employ them as the test of golf is created. And what of Herbert Fowler?

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Maybe his finest work, Walton Heath, is a testament to his artistic flare and ability to balance strategic features on an otherwise subtle landscape. Golf is social. Golf is NOT exclusive. Golf is exercise. Dogs are everywhere and welcomed.

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They play quickly, and they play matches. Four-balls are rarely allowed. Two-balls and three-balls are normal and preferred. They play for the brisk walk, the companionship, and for the gamesmanship of a friendly match.

They also appreciate good architecture. They realize that the game is a test of humility. Players enjoying a round with their dogs at The Berkshire. If you think that an arrangement of is the rule of thumb, then plan to be disappointed in England. Par is whatever the architects happened to feel fit the ground the best.

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In ten days, I played courses with pars of 68, 69, 70, 71 and One of the 72s had six each of 3s, 4s, and 5s. The par 68 was Swinley Forest at just over yards, which included 8 par fours over yards! I enjoyed each of the courses just the same — par was irrelevant. I suppose I was just having too much fun! Par-3s, and maybe a few par-4s, are the absolute soul of the game that I enjoyed for ten days. On another course, the round started with one. On another, the round ended with one. A par-3 can be the second hole and on several courses, a par-3 was the tenth hole.

Much to my surprise, we never played consecutive 3s, but we already know that can work as well Cypress Point, Oitavos Dunes, Newport National, etc. Par-3 10th at The Berkshire Red. The short holes provide more than just links between longer holes.

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The short Par-4 4th at St. I think that helps make the golf course and experience complete…and fun! Such a hole should entice bold play and reward the best shots handsomely, but always with the chance of peril. Maybe the best I saw was the 4th at St. With some, the credit perhaps goes to Nature. While others were obviously touched by the masterful hand of man. The beautiful 4th green at Royal St.

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Hazards on these courses are less inviting than what we were accustomed to. Deep sod-walled pits, heather laced embankments, and even a few fortified ramparts. Enodoc, the 4th at Royal St. And what about the sloped bank on the 10th at the Berkshire and the steep, shaved slope fronting the green on the 6th at Royal Cinque Ports? The strategic placement of bunkers and features was also prevalent, like the 4th hole at Woking. One thing that really pleased me and captured me at the same time was the use of angled fairways.

It really is, but it is rarely done well. All of the courses I saw in England had more than a few holes where the tee placement worked with an angled fairway to tempt a player. What looks to be an enormously wide target, in fact, requires commitment and execution of a very precise tee shot.

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All the architect requires is width — the space to use the terrain as he wishes. But the result is a shot with options, and options lead to a more enjoyable golf experience. Three cheers for angled fairways! Angled fairway at Woking. The courses were not complicated in their design. In fact, they were far from complex. They were very simply fitted on a proper landscape for the intended use and very strategically developed to provide the best golf experience.

We all have a commonality in that we love golf and we owe it to ourselves to examine how the game originated and how it has evolved. My time in England was epic. The brand of golf was refreshing and pure, the courses were raw and playful, beautiful and engaging. Amazing trips like this one pave the way for even more creativity and a fresh outlook on the game. August 25, by Jason Way 23 Comments. In recent Journey Along the Shores posts, I have been focused on what we are doing to improve the course now.

With Autumn quickly approaching, stay tuned for news on the next batch of improvement projects. There are exciting discussions taking place on how to increase the beauty of the property, the playability of the course, and the sustainability of the facility. The Board and community have yet to make concrete decisions about a Master Plan.

However, since I posted about a 4 Course Concept , there has been quite a bit of enthusiastic feedback, including from people who know much more about golf than I do. To the best of my ability, I have integrated the ideas that these experts have generously shared. Before answering, first, a disclosure. There are no original ideas in my Concept.

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Rather, what I have tried to do is envision a new Canal Shores that leverages best practices from the past and present to provide a golf experience that is more flexible and fun for all of our players, especially kids. There is one aspect of golf that every man, woman, and child can enjoy, regardless of skill level — putting.

That is why I have proposed the creation of a putting course for Canal Shores. It is a place that can be enjoyed by all, and where kids can begin to learn the game properly — from the hole outward. Pictured below, it is the home to the St. Andrews Ladies Putting Club, and is also open to the public for a very modest fee. Closer to home, course developers and operators have started adding putting and short courses to their offerings. The course is no charge for resort guests and area residents. Having played it myself, I can attest to how incredibly fun and addicting it is.

Photo from Turfnet. Even the USGA has gotten into the act. In Scotland, where the game was born, access to the links was not a right. It was a privilege that young players had to earn through developing skills and etiquette. Where were kids to learn the game? This is a space for kids only. No adults allowed unless accompanied by a child.

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