Tiger tracks sighted at last

The next phase of Woods’ ca­reer ap­pears to be tak­ing him down a very well-trod­den path.

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -

Cast your eye down the list of the world’s most pro­lific golf course de­sign­ers and you’ll no­tice a few fa­mil­iar names. Nick­laus, Palmer, Player, Nor­man... and on it goes. Many of the game’s most dec­o­rated play­ers are now some of the most pro­lific course de­sign­ers – as the num­bers below clearly show. And to that list we might soon be adding a new big name: Tiger Woods.

Ini­tially hin­dered by the global re­ces­sion, Tiger’s TGR De­sign port­fo­lio is now grow­ing fast, with three cour­ses open and six in the de­sign or the con­struc­tion phase (see box right). Busi­ness is fi­nally boom­ing.

“The de­sign busi­ness has not proved as lu­cra­tive as Tiger and TGR would have hoped back in the mid-2000s when they founded TWD,” says Adam Lawrence, ed­i­tor of Golf Course Ar­chi­tec­ture. “But there is so much money at the top level of the ‘sig­na­ture’ de­sign mar­ket that it was no sur­prise that some­one with his pro­file should see it as a log­i­cal step.”

The gen­eral rule in course de­sign is that the higher the num­ber of cour­ses a player has to his name, the less likely he is to have been hands-on in­volved. “When a pro is de­scribed as the de­signer of a course, their in­volve­ment could be any­thing from just bank­ing a nice cheque and hit­ting the cer­e­mo­nial first drive to putting a se­ri­ous amount of ef­fort in,” says Lawrence.

Right now, Tiger’s tak­ing a less-is-more ap­proach. “We limit the num­ber of cour­ses we work on at any given time to make sure I can fully com­mit to ev­ery project,” he told GW in a state­ment. But how hands-on is he? “Tiger spends a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time on-site prior to con­struc­tion to de­velop rout­ing and set the vi­sion for the course,” says TGR De­sign pres­i­dent Bryon Bell. “He makes reg­u­lar site vis­its dur­ing con­struc­tion to en­sure the im­ple­men­ta­tion of his vi­sion.”

Such lev­els of ded­i­ca­tion may di­min­ish if Woods ever reaches the out­put lev­els of Player and Palmer (see below) but the mar­ket has dra­mat­i­cally changed. “Those play­ers had the bulk of their projects dur­ing the ’90s and early 2000s when there were hun­dreds of cour­ses be­ing built ev­ery year,” says Lawrence. “The crash of 2007/8 put paid to that sort of ac­tiv­ity in ma­ture golf mar­kets and sev­eral new mar­kets, like China, have hit the buf­fers for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. So I’d be sur­prised if Tiger ever got to the same num­bers as Player, Arnie and Jack.”

Oc­to­ber 2017

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