Goswick might be in lockdown mode when it comes to play on the James Braid-designed links. But there’s still plenty of activity amid the dunes to maintain and improve the course.
Case in point: The creation of a new tee on the 17th hole.
Earlier this year, the club established a new set of tees — designated by green markers — to give players a choice between the yellow and red tees. This so-called green course measures 5,908 yards and has a par of 71. By comparison, the yellows stretch things out to 6,395 yards and a par of 72. The objective was to make the game a bit more manageable and enjoyable for those who are, how should we say this, swing speed challenged.
Players who’ve given the greens a go describe them as welcome relief. After all, for the vast majority of us, golf is still game. And games are supposed to be fun.
Meanwhile, the launch of the new World Handicap System earlier this month — with handicaps that change depending on the course and tees you play each day — makes it possible to not just enjoy a bounce game on the greens but to participate in competitions on them as well.
So, all good news for shorter hitters…with one notable exception.
The yellow tee on the 17th, rated by Today’s Golfer magazine as one of the best 50 par 5s in Great Britain and Ireland, presents a forced carry over deep marram grass and gorse bushes to reach the fairway. The red tee, 67 yards forward from the yellow, removes this hurdle. But simply shoehorning the green markers on the red tee makes the hole too short to qualify as a par 5 for men.
The greenkeeping staff is now the process of resolving this dilemma. They are well along in carving out in the dunes a new tee box between the yellow and the red that reduces the forced carry but maintains enough length so that it’s still a par 5.
It’s still to be determined when this new tee will be ready for play. But the good news is that help is on the way. Something to look forward to as we wait out the lockdown.