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Tiger (design) tales

There’s been plenty of talk about Tiger Woods’ foray into the world of course design. I’ve offered my opinion — that Woods should have picked a better location than Dubai and that the reported $25 million fee is ridiculous. Still, the concept did allow me to write a short screenplay on the subject.

Anyway, I’m not the only one who appears to think Tiger’s design in the desert isn’t the smartest move he could make. Critic Geoff Shackelford wades into the debate on Golfobserver.com.

Even though he has never designed anything other than a 1986 Golf Digest armchair architect submission and perhaps plenty more binder margin scribblings during fourth period Algebra, Woods is asking for fees starting over $25 million and perhaps much higher for Dubai work.

In some ways I’m torn about Woods’ crazy fee. On one hand, I think the free market will dictate Tiger’s price, but I also think the game is suffering from the over abundance of real estate courses, five hour rounds with their ever-present golf carts. Does the world need Tiger to become another Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus, designing courses for the latest 65+ housing community? I don’t think so.

Apparently neither does Shackelford:

Eventually Tiger’s creative juices will get the best of him and he’ll grow bored with big real estate projects. He’ll stare out the window of his Citation and realize that other greats like Bobby Jones or Nicklaus used golf course design to express their artistic urges. And he’ll remember that the resulting tournament venues that his heroes created have allowed us to celebrate their unique place in the game, long after their prime has passed.

That’s when Tiger will cut the big fee, look for a great property and leave behind a legacy that no design fee can match.

When asked about designing a dream course, he said, “hopefully one day. Obviously you have to get the right situation where you can do that, you can go ahead and design what you think is how golf should be played.”

“For me, I always believe in golf should have open front. You should be able to utilize the ground and don’t take away the short game. I play golf courses on Tour and we all see it, miss the green, automatic lob wedge, hack it out of the rough. That to me is not fun golf. Fun golf is Pinehurst. Fun golf is playing links golf. Fun golf is learning to how to maneuver the ball on the ground and give yourself options. One of the hardest up and downs is when you have options. You have so many different ways to play and you see a lot of pros really mess up easy shots because they have so many different options. I think that’s taken away from the game of golf now, and ridiculous at how the modern golf courses are designed, that’s how they are designed is they have taken that option away and that’s too bad.”

Too bad we have to wait to until “someday” for Tiger’s dream course. It sounds exactly like what golf needs more of.

Only time will tell whether Tiger ever builds his dream course. I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Shackelford’s full story is here.

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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.

1 CommentLeave a comment

  • I’ve been hoping to win $25 million on 6/49 so I can build my dream course from start to finish — land acquisition, construction, everything. A $25 million design fee? Ridiculous! Who does this guy think he is, Tiger Woods?

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