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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is East Lake Really That Hard?

I don't get this. I don't get this at all.

Out of the 30 players who made it to the Tour Championship, only 17 are under par. Par is just 70 -- granted, that only gives these guys two par-5s to beat up -- but one of those is less than 500 yards long! And the course itself is listed on the Tour's website at a mere 7154 yards long. Have I missed something here?

Aren't these the guys that modern course designers claim need 7500+ yards just to make them break a sweat?

The leaders are averaging 3-under each day. Only 4 players average better than 2-under. And only 10 players average better than 1-under.

I repeat... Am I missing something here?

Maybe East Lake has gotten into their heads. Maybe the $10 million has gotten into their heads. Maybe they've gotten into their own heads. (I like Bubba Watson a lot, but he certainly acted like he did. How else do you follow a 64 with a 79?)

But I have a thought...

Is it possible that modern golf course designers have forgotten what really makes a course challenging? No doubt Rees Jones is being cursed for tricking East Lake up -- he seems to take the brunt of criticism lately -- but I understand that Jones merely restored the original course design.

A design from the mind of Donald Ross.

I'm a bit familiar with Ross. He designed Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro (maybe 40 minutes from here) where they play the Wyndham Championship, and he designed Pinehurst #2 (maybe 2 hours from here) where the Tour plays a little major golf on occasion. ;-) Both of these are in the 7100-7300 yard range. And both are considered a bit of a challenge.

Maybe modern course designers should study these "short" Ross courses in more detail, maybe even try incorporating some of his design traits into their modern courses. And maybe the PGA Tour should consider including more Ross courses in their schedule.

After all, if East Lake is that hard, maybe the Tour's TPC overly-long designs are too easy to challenge the best players in the world.


  1. A more challenging course tests the limits of the golfers. The tournament should be held somewhere.

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  2. I haven't personally tried Eastlake, but I've heard some complaints for it being "too hard." I checked it out on yelp and I see some pretty satisfied golfers.
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