Friday, April 6, 2012

Zen and the Art of Golf-Course Design

BILL COORE spends weeks tramping around a work site. He always wears hiking boots; occasionally, if the underbrush is thick or thorny, he dons chaps. On a new project, his first task is to identify the easiest, most natural ways to move around the land, often guided by the paths that deer and other native animals have created.


In the year-and-a-half-long construction process at Streamsong, Mr. Coore and his team have made scores of similarly subtle tweaks, from adding 2-inch-high undulations to a putting surface to reorienting a fairway so that the distant peak of a dune can serve as an aiming point. The best courses work on many levels, including subconsciously. "It's like a really good essay or poem," he said. "If you get all nuances the first time through, well then, it wasn't very good."


Yes, Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Sand Hills in Nebraska, and We-Ko-Pa in Scottsdale, would be enough to cement the reputation of any Golf Architects.