What kind of course will Tiger build?

In this morning’s Globe, Lorne Rubenstein muses over the type of course that Tiger Woods will create now that he’s entered the design world. He references Bradley Klein, golf architecture editor of Golfweek, who wrote an open letter to Woods in a recent edition:

Klein also wrote that Woods should remember the everyday golfer and design the occasional public course. “That means creating interest and quality with subtle elements that don’t require everyone to play up to your skill level,” Klein said.
Woods wasn’t born to the country club, although he could afford to buy any country club in the world now. It remains to be seen whether he’ll do some courses for a song or whether his designs will be so expensive the public-course golfer won’t have a prayer of affording them.

That’s really the question — what kind of course will Tiger design? Will he ever create a course the average Joe can afford? I’m not so sure, as I point out in a recent satirical column.

Lorne’s article is here.

So I throw it out to G4G readers? What type or style of course should Tiger be creating? Does he have a responsibility to design a certain style of course, or should free market conditions prevail?

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • A municipal course in his native California would be a nice touch…I guess it just remains to be seen if that is realistic in the new world of Tiger.

  • I’m sure Tiger would love to build a muni course in California. But don’t forget right now Tiger is getting into designing courses and not necessarily running them. In an interview he has said he will do one golf course at a time and see how it goes. It appears he is going to take small steps and do it right. He also stated that he will be very hands on in the design and construction. I guess we will all have to see how it works out for him.

  • Robert
    my short answer is ‘no’, Tiger bears no such responsibility. Why should we expect him to be the torch-bearer for any such agenda, be it minimalist design or affordable public golf? Do we demand that from any of the dozens/hundreds of already established architects?

  • Peter/Jon:

    I could not disagree with you more! How many of the hundreds of established architects could most golfers name? Not many. But everyone would recognize a Tiger name and associated design. With his fame and fortune comes a responsibility…a responsibility to give back to the community that enabled his recognition. That may be affordable designs or it may be something else. However, Tiger comes into the design business with a legacy that will help him (over the other hundreds of unknown architects) and he should not abuse that benefit.

    Professional athletes do not need to be role models but many act as ones. Lawyers and consultants do not need to do pro bono work but they do. Tiger does not need to design affordable etc courses but he should.

  • Weekend enthusiast:

    Believe me, I would really like to see many more affordable, public courses being built, and it would be nice if Tiger could be involved. But I think there’s two misconceptions around this issue:

    1) that million dollar+ design fees are the reason for the high prices for a round of golf (or for courses surrounded by high-end real estate), and 2) that the ‘average’ golfer is looking for courses that give him plenty of playing options, as in the ground game offered by the classic British links courses. As I say, I think those are misconceptions:

    1) Developers/owners don’t charge $300 a round BECAUSE OF the two million they’ve paid Nicklaus to design a course; instead, they always INTENDED to charge $300 a round (or to build high-end real estate) and so pay Nicklaus the money as a way of JUSTIFYING that fee, or ensure the success of the real estate development.

    2) I’ve only played public courses, with a lot of ‘average’ golfers, and not one ever mentioned that he wanted ‘more options’, or that the course was too hard because it didn’t provide them. (I think that’s what better, more experienced players tend to want). What they want instead is more courses, and less expensive ones — and there are a lot of working architects already (or developers/owners) who don’t seem interested in providing those.


  • Peter:

    Tiger can choose not to work on sites that will have a projected $300 price tag / work with sites that agree to charge a reasonable price. The point is he carries a lot of weight and influence and could choose to use that influence to design courses with conditions that fit a certain criteria (affordable, minimalist, etc…)…or he can take the money and run. The choice is his and I believe he has a responsibility to give back in some capacity to the golfing community (recognizing he already does fundraising and other community work / donations for those less fortunate).

  • Weekend enthusiast:
    I understand your point, and I agree with some of your sentiments: but I just think it’s unfair, and unrealistic, to pin such high and lofty expecations on Woods when neither those before him nor those currently working today are asked/encouraged to do the same.

  • Peter:

    Same thing could be said for his golf game but he sure exceeded those expectations. Granted golf design is different than playing the game but he comes from a position that few others have been. He should not be measured against them. He has the opportunity to do something special and he should not squander it for the sake of the almighty dollar. Here’s one observer that hopes he creates a new path in golf design that no one else has carved or thought about. My guess is Tiger would not impose any less of an expectation on himself.

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