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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 284
THE WAY PRO GOLF SHOULD BE PLAYED L et’s give credit where it’s due. The world’s professional Tours are often criticised (rightly) for the way they present courses for tournament play. Overwatered, overly green and strategically questionable seems to all too often be the order of the day. But the LPGA should take a bow after this week’s Hugel-JTBC LA Open. Played in the shadows of Hollywood at the Wilshire Country Club, the tournament showed off everything that golf could and should be. The course proved an excellent test for the game’s top women players and identified a worthy champion in first-time winner Moriya Jutanugarn. Demanding off the tee and requiring precision into the greens, the event was a balanced test of all facets of the game which, in golf terms, was as much fun to watch as the Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in South Australia in February. But perhaps more important was the presentation of the course itself. Areas of California have been in drought for the best part of a decade and Los Angeles has at various times been among the worst affected. In 2015, thanks to a subsidy offered by the city, Wilshire removed 24 acres of maintained turf from their property and simultaneously replaced many of those formerly grassed areas with native plants. Judging by what we witnessed during the LPGA event, it has done nothing but enhance every aspect of the layout. The native areas proved playable for those who were wayward while the integrity of the course’s design and its reliance on angles to test the players remained in-tact despite there being significantly less grass. High profile examples of the positive effects of turf removal and environmentally sensible – and sensitive – management practices are crucial in the ongoing education of golfers worldwide. Just as recent decades have seen the viewing public become accustomed to courses that are unnaturally and unnecessarily green, we can all learn to love the opposite, especially when the change has no negative impact on the golf. Wilshire Country Club was a winner on all fronts this past week and it is to be hoped fans around the world both noticed, and appreciated, what a different spectacle it was. As water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, golf courses need – and will eventually be forced – to be more responsible with how they use it. Wilshire was a fine example for courses – and Tours worldwide – to emulate. 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 Corporate Special 01
GA Express 285