Over the past 20 years or so, we’ve come to expect that all of our golf courses have to look like Augusta National, but we got a different message from the USGA and stewards of the game when the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open took place at Pinehurst No. 2.
When we were growing up, conditions weren’t as pristine as they are today. Agronomy has come a long way and superintendents are well-educated and advanced in their practices, so it was a natural progression that golf courses look the way they do today.
What the USGA is trying to say through its use of Pinehurst No. 2 is that you can have a great golf course, a great public golf course or a great members’ golf course, but it doesn’t have to be wall-to-wall green.
Of course, the greens need to be in top condition and the tee boxes should be in great shape, but maybe less is more. The game originated in Scotland, after all, and golf courses look considerably different.
The USGA thinks it has to look to the future and they’re thinking there will be more restrictions on water, more controls from the government and more public pressure about the chemicals and water that we’re using today.
It’s saying that it’s going to highlight some of the greatest courses by playing the U.S. Open there and they’re practices are a lot different that we’ve become used to over the last 20 years.
Somebody has to take the lead. It’s going to be a slow introduction, but little by little, the associations and stewards of the game will be offering a preview of how the golf industry will look in the future.
We got a look during the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.