Should We Change our Color Scheme to Make Only the Green Part the Object of the Golf?
We certainly have seen it all this year. Fires from British Columbia to southern California. A lot of golf courses have been damaged or destroyed all along the west coast. Then, of course, we had Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida, Maria in Puerto Rico, and Ophelia in Ireland and Britain. I’m certainly not putting golf courses ahead of the many lives lost, or those lives we are desperately trying to rebuild from these disasters. In fact, these horrible events are only somewhat linked to my feelings about rebuilding courses to actually fit their environment. They fired my imagination to think harder about nature and golf as partners instead of enemies. Designers have boasted for years that their course grew out of the environment, but most of them didn’t. A green strip through a brown desert isn’t the way nature intended if the cacti were left standing. Forrest courses? Love them, and if that’s what the natural environment would want to produce, let’s leave it at that. Some courses, such as Pinehurst, are returning the rough to its natural state, giving it less water. If it wants to go green, nature will have to take care of it. North Carolina will support a green fairway with a little help, but most of Arizona will not. Imagine if there was only one green patch on each golf hole, the one you putt on. What if you had to deserve green by reaching it from the tee before you receive it?
Look up brown golf course, or brown fairway online, then click Images. What you’ll get, pretty much, is green courses, because the internet doesn’t have anything for you on that one. I got a totally brown shot of a ruined London course from a natural disaster. I got Pinehurst and its au natural rough. Eventually I found a shot where you tee off an artificial green mat to an artificial green, with nothing but brown in between. It almost ruined my “Want green” Earn it” idea. First of all, ‘i can do without fake green mats for tee boxes entirely. I’d rather hit it off the dirt. However, if the rough was left to flower as it wants, trees and lakes became the wildlife preserves they love to become, hitting from a small patch of green tee box to a real green through a few hundred yards of brown fairway might work for me, if my brain can make the switch. “Ah! I’m on the green! The patch and the color!” But, if you’re going to use artificial green, it had better be a whole lot better than the stuff at the local muni. Gary Player was working on an almost entirely artificial course in South Africa that looked gorgeous in progress. It could be too natural, though. Last year, play was stopped at his Sun City course when 20 mongooses invaded the green. Who says golf interrupts nature – looks like the other way around to me.
I don’t know how a brown fairway would work for the feel of the shot. Grass that is simply dead gets shallow and wiry. Dry ground can get hard. I’ve hit off that surface before, and it’s not that much fun, Perhaps a grass expert would care to jump in and solve that one. But, if the rough is left alone, the trees and lakes are left alone, and the fairway is left alone to turn whatever color it wants, think of the downturn in the use of chemicals. All of our attention would be drawn to that ravishing spot of green so far away, and we’d do our best to get there, out of the brown and into the lushness of nature.
Bill Coore, who refurbished part of Pinehurst with Ben Crenshaw, assures us that the greatest obstacle to golf is and will be water. I know that everything I have theorized sounds nuts, but the need to change our color scheme in the near future may not be.