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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 277
THE VIEW CAN'T SEE THE FAIRWAY FOR THE TREES T HE leaderboard said there were 64 players in this week’s field at the WGC Mexico Championship but in reality there were 65. The Club de Golf Chapultapec (rough translation: Chapultapec Golf Club) attracted almost as much attention in some quarters as some of the players in the field. The finish in Mexico was as entertaining as any we’ve seen this year but many (me included) feel the course in Mexico City, in use for the second year, is a less than ideal ad for the game. For those interested in golf course design and set-up Chapultapec is somewhat one dimensional featuring narrow, tree lined fairways which dictate the way each hole is played. Miss the fairway and some sort of recovery from the foliage is required. When Phil Mickelson is in the field such a set-up is must watch TV but the question more broadly is whether it’s a style of golf we want to see promoted and proliferated? Some commentators were breathlessly singing the praises of the course and the excitement of the finish it produced but I wonder how much fun it would be for most of us average golfers? The lack of width, options and strategy goes directly against what most of the world’s best golf courses offer. The aforementioned Mickelson neatly outlined the problem in his post round chat on Saturday. “There's like five or six fairways where half the fairway blocks you out so you're better off in the rough on the opposite side,” he said. “The first round I made a mistake on the 14th hole and I missed in the left rough, the one place you can't miss, and I made double. “So if you find me in that fairway again, I've mis-hit it. I'm trying to play to the right.” By any measure, that is a curious way to play golf. When half the fairway offers no route to the green for a player of Mickelson’s skill it’s difficult to make sense of it. For context, compare that with a course like Royal Melbourne. At RM the fairways are wide and easy to hit but there is always a preferred side to open an angle to the green. However, the player who finds the ‘incorrect’ side will still have a shot, it’s just that it will be an exponentially more difficult and dangerous one should they choose to take it on. For the average golfer a course with width and strategy is playable and fun. A course like Chapultapec is punishing and hard work. Some golfers prefer that style and they are, of course, entitled to that opinion. The world would be boring if we all agreed on everything. But I feel the game would be much better served by more Royal Melbourne and less Chapultapec. E ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. Brandon Grace tries to negotiate the tight tree line at Chapultapec.
GA Express 276
GA Express 278