Thursday, November 10, 2005

Your annual trip to the plastic surgeon

That's right. The little course that could, with its wide fairways and nasty greens, is being altered once again. Augusta National is getting more trees on 11, altering 6 holes and adding - yep, that's right, adding -- another 155 yards. There's a story about these changes on the Golf Channel's website.

My favourite bit in the Golf Channel's story about the alterations is this:
It's the third time in the last six years that Augusta National has strengthened its golf course -- 520 yards since 1999 -- each an attempt to restore the rhythm and shot value the way Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie designed it.


Who are they kidding? Restoring "the rhythm?" That's like bringing in 50 Cent to remix a Bing Crosby track in the hope of restoring "its sonic properties." The reality is that the Augusta that is played and reworked every year has nothing to do with the course MacKenzie envisioned. It has had a half dozen architects work on it since (RTJ, Bob Cupp, George Cobb, Tom Fazio, etc.) and has been so altered that it doesn't have anything in common with the original course. It is still interesting to see (I had the good fortune to head down in 2004), but let's not delude ourselves into thinking these changes have anything to do with how the course played when it first opened.

My only question is this: rather than spend millions on design changes, why doesn't Hootie and the boys (and that's not a reference to the band) force the issue of how far the ball travels. They managed to hold off Martha Burke and the New York Times, why not take on Acushnet?

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