Home' Australian Golf Digest : March 2018 Contents 100 australiangolfdigest.com.au | march 2018
say, Barnbougle. It’s more expensive to get
to King Island. Australian golfers are much
more price-sensitive than US golfers, too.
Barnbougle, for how good it is, they charge
somewhere between half and a third of what
they’d be charging in America. But they
firmly believe if they tried to charge a lot
more then nobody would come.
The best feedback on a course you’ve
designed is always walking around yourself
and watching other people’s shots and what
happens to them. Yes, that bounces the right
way and, yes, you can play a shot up to the
side and have it bounce back onto the green.
Some courses we get a lot of chances to do
that and some we don’t. The downside of
working 8,000 miles from home is you don’t
get to do that very much.
About two or three years ago, I wasn’t playing
as much golf. And I’ve seen it in the work of
some other architects – as they get older and
stop playing, they get disconnected. If all you
do is watch golf on TV, you think everybody
is that good, which they’re not, and your
work suffers for it and you forget who you’re
building golf courses for. I played close to
50 rounds of golf last year, which is a lot for
someone working in the golf business.
If the people I’m playing with will let
me, I do try to remove myself from the
architecture of the course we’re playing.
Frankly, the hardest thing about going back
to courses I’ve designed is that the client, the
superintendent, they all want my ear about,
“ What do you think about this?” and, “What
do you think about that over there?” It’s
really hard to just be able to go and play your
own golf course and relax and enjoy it.
I love going out and playing my golf courses
had more chances to do it. People ask me all
the time, “What’s your favourite golf course
that you’ve done?” and it’s hard to compare.
Barnbougle Dunes, I’ve played maybe 10
times. And still, every time I go I get those
questions, so half of my opinion of it is still,
This is the way I designed it, and not, I enjoyed
that shot that I just hit, which are completely
In my book, Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf
Course Architecture, I wrote: “Every player
must become an architect” in order to “figure
out how best to attack with the shots they
possess”. Not enough everyday golfers realise
this. I learned through caddieing for a little
bit at St Andrews and playing with people
ever since that most people are poor or
unrealistic managers of their own golf game.
And they think way more negatively than
they should. There’s also the part about being
realistic about what you can do and what
the odds are of pulling off the shot in front of
you. It’s OK to try to make the high-risk shots
if you don’t care what score you shoot, and
personally I don’t care about what I’m going
to shoot very often – I’m just out having fun.
If you’re playing competitively at your club, if
what you shoot is important to you, be a little
more realistic about your ability. Basically, if
you don’t have a 6-iron or less in your hand,
don’t be thinking about hitting the green;
think about where’s a good place up around
the green to hit your next shot from. That
approach would help people a tonne.
The most prominent aspect of course
architecture that the average golfer doesn’t
appreciate is how three-dimensional it is. I
think there are some architects that don’t
understand how three-dimensional it is
sometimes. It’s not just about how long and
narrow the green is, how long the hole is or
how far it is to that fairway bunker. What
happens when the ball lands – because
it’s not a flat surface – you need to design
everything around that and around the wind
and know that some places the ball’s going to
roll out a lot more and some places it’s going
to stop right away. That’s a big part of what
you’re doing. The saying, ‘Being able to think
in three dimensions,’ has everything to do
with building greens and what the shots are
around the greens. Just like ideally on one
side of the fairway it should be harder to hit
the green from than the other side – so the
person who’s thinking would go to the side
that makes it easier for themselves – it’s the
same around the greens. So, If I’m not going
to hit it straight at the flag, which side do I
have more chance of getting up-and-down in
two? Most people don’t think about that at all,
they just fire away.
It’s OK to try to make the high-risk shots if you
don’t care what score you shoot
Doak and his team
are one of the most
popular design firms
in world golf.
Another Australian layout on the Doak
hitlist: the Ocean course at The National.
With Aussie cricket Champion Greg Blewett as your
host, travel by private charter to play four of Australia’s
top courses – Barnbougle Dunes, Barnbougle Lost
Farm, Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes – and
compete for a share in $10,000 worth of prizes.
4 Rounds of Golf
3 X Private Air Charter
3 Nights Twin Accom
APRIL 7 - 10, 2018
ALL INCLUSIVE: $2950PP*
(03) 8586 7430
*SINGLE SUPPLEMENT APPLIES
For more information please visit:
094-101_AGD0218_Tom Doak.indd 100
7/2/18 3:28 pm
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