Playing armchair architect is a Cool Golf Thing

Play in the dirt in your mind.
A golfer can dream, right?

At one point in second grade, my obsession with drawing golf courses on pieces of paper got so bad that my teacher had to pull me aside with the admonition that I had to start paying more attention in class or she'd ban me from doodling it at all, even after I'd finished my in-class schoolwork. Now, I've managed to make drawing golf courses part of my work-work.

Lately, though, I've traded in pencils and paper for Google Earth. A friend who likes golf told me he was looking at purchasing some land with sandy soil and though golf will not be the purpose, it immediately set my wheels turning. I took the liberty of carving out about a third of the gently sloping parcel for the prospect of a golf course and spent about 90 minutes routing a 6,300-yard, par 69 that could compete with the Doaks, Hanses, Coores & Crenshaws of the world...in my dreams.

Armed with Google Earth, I found it pretty easy. It was a matter of measuring the property and using the Add Path tool to route 18 holes. And though it was the most basic of tries, it gave me a greater appreciation for the genius of the folks I mentioned, who can take far more complicated sites than my friend's and create courses that flow in a way that elevates the experience of playing the constituent holes. But the real thrill was feeling that rush of excitement at imagining and "creating" some golf, albeit in the abstract, for the first time in far too long.

1 Min Read
January 10, 2020
You almost want to hit your ball into it, don't you?

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
2 Comments
Commented on

Good Article Tim, I liked your article. I too am amazed at what a novice can do with the some the of software that a layman can use to create a golf course. I have been a longstanding member in the Links Golf community and I have used the Arnold Palmer golf course design software that came with both my LInks 2001 and Links 2003 edition and I and hundreds of individuals, some great and some not bad for their first attempt, and their courses can be played by other enthusiasts. After Microsoft bought the operation and then effectively shelved it, it could have been much more. It still exists today and is controlled by one of the software's enthusiasts. Thank god! The power of some of these software design programs is just amazing.

Staff
Commented on

I played those Links games when I was a kid and can definitely tell you they helped feed my obsessions about golf courses and design. I designed a few courses in a copy of Jack Nicklaus 5, but never the APCD, though I have "played" several courses designed on the APCD by enthusiasts. One that sticks out is Rivendell Golf Links, inspired by the Lord of the Rings saga.

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Playing armchair architect is a Cool Golf Thing