Why do some golfers not like certain golf courses? Let’s take a look

When my traveling group rolls into a golf course parking lot, our social director gets on the phone. He will schedule tee times for the following week and then pass the word as to where we are playing.

One of those announcements recently was met with some muttering. When we showed up at the course, the grousing continued and I will admit, I was one of the grousers. There are some golf courses that I just don’t care for, but why? What makes a golfer gripe about certain layouts?

I did a little research (mostly in my own mind) and came up with a few possibilities. Here’s the list.

Hard Tees! No golfer wants to bring a hammer to the course with him. When the soil on tee boxes is so hard that it takes a full minute to get the tee into the ground, well…

Tough Rough! Many golfers occasionally stray from the fairway, but we don’t want to have trouble finding our golf ball. We also want to be able to hit the ball out of said rough. My guys actually fluff the ball in the rough and if we still can’t get out of it, well…

Tight Knit Fairways! OK, this one’s mine. I frequently top the ball on fairway grass that looks like I’m playing on the putting green. I mean, who wants to take a divot out of the putting surface! So instead of going after the ball in beautifully manicured fairways, I try to pick it clean and then, well…

Small Greens! Most golfers feel like they can two-putt from anywhere on a green. I feel this way even though I’m no stranger to three-putts. When greens are tiny, we tend to miss with our approach shots. Getting up and down is difficult and we get frustrated, and well…

Too Much Sand! Have you ever noticed that the more bunkers there are on a golf course, the more time one spends on the beach? The average golfer has trouble getting out of sand traps. Have you ever had to use more than one shot to escape from a bunker? Well…

Too Much Water! There are ponds, creeks, rivulets, rills and any other term you can think of to describe the wet stuff that frustrates golfers. Many courses have an abundance of watering holes that tend to gather up wayward shots. Perhaps the most frustrating moment on a golf course is when you decide to layup to prevent going into said water hazard and flush the shot. You can hear the mumbling: “could have done that if I had gone for it.”

At least in a bunker you don’t lose your ball. Well, you don’t, right? Well…

Too Many Trees! Did you ever have the feeling that someone decided to plant a tree right where you hit the ball? That “90 percent air” theory concerning trees seems to suggest that your ball should go through these things, at least most of the time. How come that never seems to be the case. Well…

All right, I’ve covered some of the more common reasons for not liking a particular golf course. Here’s a theory that might explain why the course we played recently was under fire.

Golf courses tend to be shot-maker courses or long, but open layouts. In other words, fairways may be narrow and thus an accurate iron shot is needed to be in position. Others require long tee shots, but if you stray a little you can still get home in regulation.

When a course is both tight AND long, well… let the grousing begin!

I would suggest that if one or more of the above mentioned complaints is applicable, you will hear “I don’t really like this course” often. Perhaps though, we should give the main reason for not liking certain courses. Reality would suggest that maybe — just maybe — it’s the fault of the golfer and not the course.

Simply put, the golfer did not perform as well as they are capable. Consider them to be psyched out and when bad shots happen, well… I knew there was a reason I didn’t like this course!

Though likely true, good luck getting a golfer to admit to that fact!

Here is one final thought. Instead of complaining about a course, take it as a challenge to overcome those (perceived?) problems and focus on shooting a good score. You can beat tough rough, small greens, water/sand/trees, and “too” nice fairways if you just concentrate.

But always reserve the right to grouse!

Al Stephenson is the bowling/golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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