36 Golf Inc. Fall 2014
A Course Suited
to a Tee
Bayou Golf Course
Texas City, Texas
Nearly everywhere these days, golfers
are being encouraged to Play It Forward.
Unfortunately, the forward tees at most
U.S. courses aren’t forward enough.
;e short tees at U.S. courses typically
measure out at about 5,000 yards — too
long for many seniors, women, juniors
and beginners. ;e result: more strokes,
more frustration, less fun. Courses with
misplaced forward tees make learning a
hard game needlessly harder.
Mike Nuzzo, who’s consulting on
improvements to a municipal track in
Texas City, Texas, thinks an 18-hole course
should o;er rounds of about 4,500 yards.
But it’s important, he emphasizes, that
golfers playing from forward tees receive
as many options and challenges as those
who play from longer distances.
“A forward tee isn’t necessarily a good
tee,” said the Texas-based designer. “You
have to provide as much variety to a
beginner as you do to an expert.”
For sure, it’s hard to persuade most golf-
ers to play shorter o; the tee. So consider
this: Barney Adams, the retired club-
maker who sparked the Play It Forward
initiative, believes that most men should
be playing courses that measure closer to
6,000 yards than 7,000.
Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. Like Doak’s
course, Crace’s o;ers a completely unstructured playing experience. You make the
game up as you go. ;ere’s no set routing,
no scores to record and, most importantly,
no pressure to perform.
“;e site was nothing, and we turned it
A Tiny, Three-Hole Loop
into something of value,” Crace notes. “It
helps the club attract and retain members,
and it’s inviting to people who are new to
One caveat: Because of safety concerns,
Crace ;gures that a public course would
need 20 acres to duplicate what Tupelo did
Anchorage Golf Course
When it comes to creating facilities to
attract juniors and other beginners, less
can be more.
;at’s the approach Forrest Richardson
used to design the forthcoming Little Bear
layout at Anchorage Golf Course. ;e way
he sees it, parents who wish to introduce
their kids to golf typically have just two
choices — a full-size layout or a driving
range — and neither is ideal.
“Kids aren’t stupid,” said the Arizona-
based architect. “;ey feel better when
they play from actual tees, like their moms
and dads do. It’s more fun to learn the game
on a real course.”
;e Little Bear is a real course, but
it’s tiny. Its three holes range from 50 to
90 yards. It occupies just two acres, and
Richardson expects to build it for $250,000.
Richardson has created a similar three-hole loop at the Wigwam resort outside Phoenix and he plans another at the
municipal course in Palo Alto, Calif. He
thinks such venues are perfect for individual instruction, kids’ camps and family-friendly events, but he cautions course
owners to avoid making them bigger than
they need to be.
“Pare it down to something smaller
rather than larger,” he advised. “;e smaller
you can make it, the smaller the problems
involved in designing, building and maintaining it.”
ANCHORAGE GOLF CLUB
Little Bear Player Development Facility
FORRES T RICHARDSON & ASSOC.
GOLF COURSE ARCHITEC TS
Drawn October 12, 2012 FLR
FUTURE EVEN T PAVILION SI TE
MAIN ENTRY DRIVE
0 50 100 150 200 250feet
LI T TLE BEAR TRAIL
Anchorage Golf Club, Little Bear
Player Development Facility
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