34 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
uccessful businesses operate
on a simple formula: They sell
things that masses of people
want to buy.
Too often in golf, however,
As a result, golfers have voted with their
feet. By the millions, they’ve quit playing.
We’ve heard the excuses, but let’s be hon-
est: People haven’t stopped going to foot-
ball games or rock concerts or expensive
restaurants. When they enjoy an activity,
they find the money for it. They make the
time for it.
Therefore, some architects are beginning to rethink how they approach golf
“Today, I want to partner with a golfer,”
A Flight of Fantasy
said David McLay Kidd, a designer who’s
produced his share of challenging links. “I
always ask myself how I can make a player
of modest abilities shoot his best score.
If everyone took this view, things would
instantly be better.”
We reached out to designers across the
globe to identify the design ideas that
show the greatest promise of generating
more play. From Disney-like courses to
simple and small courses aimed at youth,
the ideas are creative and, for the most
part, being put into operation.
Mission Hills Haikou,
Hainan Island, China
What do you get when you combine the
wild-and-crazy exuberance of mini golf
with the challenge of a traditional golf
You get Brian Curley’s “fantasy” course,
invention that seems a natural for Disney
World. Like a mini golf course, the track
captures attention with arresting design
elements, among them Mayan ruins, a
Great Wall of China and a hurricane-themed hole that buffets players with gale-force winds. Unlike a miniature course,
however, it’s to be played with standard
equipment at regulation length.
“You’re still playing golf,” Curley notes.
“It’s just that you get an entirely different
From fantasy courses to short courses for kids, we share nine creative
design concepts that promise to bring more golfers to the course
BY ROBERT J. VASILAK