MISS­ING LINKS

Golf Australia - - AROUND THE TRAPS -

WHETHER we like it or not, the ma­jor­ity of us are in­flu­enced in some way, shape or form by what we watch on tele­vi­sion.

It is hu­man na­ture to con­form. Stan­ley Mil­gram proved that with his in­fa­mous elec­tric shock ex­per­i­ment in 1963 and Philip Zim­bardo did like­wise with the Stanford prison ex­per­i­ment eight years later. So it wouldn’t be sur­pris­ing if, af­ter years of watch­ing pro­fes­sional golf tour­na­ments, the ma­jor­ity of golf fans have been led to be­lieve that ev­ery course should be green and lush and have white sand in its bunkers.

I con­fess, I too fell vic­tim to ‘Au­gusta Syn­drome’ when my lo­cal track looked be­low par two Septem­bers ago. There wasn’t great grass cov­er­age and the course wasn’t ex­actly green. The mem­bers were up in arms. But I’ve since re­alised we were miss­ing the point. Sure, the course didn’t look its best aes­thet­i­cally. But it was prob­a­bly play­ing bet­ter than ever.

The hard-and-fast na­ture of the course was a great equaliser and some of the short­est-hit­ting mem­bers were ac­tu­ally win­ning weekly com­pe­ti­tions – some­thing that is of­ten lost at the ‘pic­ture-per­fect’ venues that reg­u­larly host pro­fes­sional tour­na­ments on the world’s lead­ing Tours. Com­men­ta­tors, clichés and up­beat mu­sic con­tin­u­ously sug­gest that golf should be played amidst the birds and the trees and not a sin­gle blade of green grass should be out of place. But these cour­ses are be­gin­ning to pro­duce cookie-cut­ter win­ners and ef­fec­tively elim­i­nate large por­tions of the field be­fore the event even gets un­der­way.

This gen­er­ally isn’t the case on links cour­ses – which, for the most part, haven’t sub­scribed to the no­tion that ‘green and lush is best’.

At the time of writ­ing, Rus­sell Knox had just de­feated Ryan Fox in a play-off at Bal­lylif­fin to win the Ir­ish Open. Fox is one of the Euro­pean Tour’s long­est play­ers off the tee, while Knox is ranked 177th. Two com­pletely dif­fer­ent play­ers – in terms of power – couldn’t be sep­a­rated af­ter 72

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