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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 288
WHY TRINITY FOREST SHOULD BE THE TOUR BENCHMARK I F you follow the professional game at all you would have noticed more talk than usual last week about the host course for the Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas. For those not so attuned with happenings on the PGA Tour, the Trinity Forest layout is a radical departure from the golf served up most weeks on the world’s richest golf circuit. Designed by noted architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it relies not on penal rough and narrow fairways to test a golfer but exactly the opposite. Wide fairways, huge undulating greens and short grass all over is not the staple diet of the PGA Tour and the organisation is to be applauded for experimenting with something different. But while the spectacle of watching some of the world’s best try to solve the riddle of a course so unfamiliar was fascinating, Trinity Forest showed us something deeper and more important about the game and how we view and experience it. It exposed the opposite sides of the same coin which is this fascinating and frustrating pursuit. On one side is the school of thought that says golf should be a game of crime and punishment where a player is ‘punished’ for committing the ‘crime’ of hitting a poor shot. This is the form of golf we saw for so long at the US Open where missing a fairway meant hacking out of ankle deep rough and missing a green meant ... hacking out of ankle deep rough. The questions asked by such courses – and their answers – are obvious and simple. Hit the fairway to have a chance to hit the green. It is a style of golf which tests only execution – and perhaps your patience – to identify the winner. The flip side of the coin is what we saw at Trinity Forest, and numerous other modern designs, which subscribe to a very different theory. Rather than crime and punishment these courses rely on risk and reward and allow the golfer to choose his or her own best path to the hole. Playing to the correct spots on the huge fairways affords the best angles to attack the flag but those spots are often near a hazard. Take the risk of hitting close to the trouble and reap the reward of a simpler next shot. The golfer needs to THINK about where they want to hit the ball then EXECUTE the shot they have chosen. It is a test of both mental and physical capabilities. Not only is it a more complete examination, however, it is also a superior model for the game at the recreational level because it is friendlier to all levels of player, particularly the less proficient. No forced carries off the tees means even a duff allows for a next shot while short grass around the greens makes life interesting for every skill level. The beginner can use the putter for every shot within a few paces of the green while the expert player will have the choice to play any club and shot they desire (which ironically makes the task infinitely more difficult). Trinity Forest showed us a style of golf that was bold and inviting and thrilling instead of claustrophobic, defensive and dictatorial. To me, it was more fun to watch and from experience I know it is exponentially more fun to play. And for the long term well-being of the game, let’s hope the future includes many more courses like Trinity Forest than the alternative. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen.
GA Express 287
GA Express 289