“When you play a course and remember each hole, it has individuality and change. If your mind cannot recall the exact sequence of the holes, that course lacks the great assets of originality and diversity..”

Golf courses that inspire

An important part of golf course design is taking the time see as many golf courses as you can. Since, I was young, I have always sought new golf courses to visit and experience. I have been fortunate to be able to travel and see many of the world’s best golf courses and there are still plenty more to see! As great as it is to see these places, many lesser-known courses also serve as sources of inspiration; a great hole, a quirky feature or something altogether different, is worth seeing – no matter the conditioning or perceived status of the course.
The Golden Age era in the 1920s saw the design and construction of a large proportion of the world’s best golf courses. I love playing, walking and reading about the courses of this era, whenever I get the chance.
the 9th hole at Cypress Point in mist
The famous short par 4 9th hole at Cypress Point.
I am also fascinated by the links and inland courses of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales and this where I headed when I was first able to travel. No place does golf feel more like golf than in Scotland; authentic golf played in an atmosphere that embraces the simple virtues of the game.
It’s not always about seeing the best golf courses. Stumbling across a set of original Colt greens at Eindhoven GC on a journey through the Netherlands was arguably the highlight of trip. As was playing the 9-hole Le Valliere course at Morfontaine, in the shadow of the more illustrious 18-hole Grand Parcours.
the 4th hole on the Valliere Course at Morfontaine
The 4th hole on the Valliere Course at Morfontaine, France.
There is nothing better than discovering a true hidden gem. I have seen many golf courses in New Zealand and Australia that fly under-the-radar in that I would class in this category. An example is Waverley (NZ), a country course that enjoys a great layout on extraordinary land that is maintained by sheep no less! Hokitika (NZ) is another favourite; thoughtful architecture on fine links land with some terrific Out-Of-Bounds holes.
the 3rd hole at Hokitika Golf Club on New Zealand's South Island
The rewarding approach to the 3rd hole at Hokitika after a bold drive!
There is always something to see and ponder from the most basic of courses, like playing the seaside 9-holes at Golden Beach in Victoria and wondering what might have been if all of the greens were more like the first, or bumbling along at Otakao (NZ) until you reach the par 3 6th hole and you realise that the 3-hour detour was well worthwhile.
Seeing the best courses and designs from the great architects, is inspiring. As is getting off the beaten track and experiencing golf at under-appreciated courses. A broad spectrum of golf experiences lays the foundation for imaginative design.
the 1st hole at Golden Beach, Victoria, Australia
The 1st green at Golden Beach, Victoria, Australia.