The beauty of golf courses, like so many things in life, is that they are all different. Their distances, their green undulations, their small creeks, big bunkers – no two golf courses are the same.
Still, I believe that golf courses should have a similar flow. Had I studied to become a golf course architect there are things I would do and not do on my opening holes.
The first hole should be a welcoming test but not a punch in the mouth as soon as you walk through the door. There should be some intimidation when you stand at the first tee. Be it space for people to watch or a strong tree line down the right side. There should be features that let you know what you’ll be in for over the next 17.
The second hold should be a hole where things can get interesting real fast. A hole where birdie is just as likely as bogey if you can make good swing. It should be the kind of hole where there’s room for magic if you keep it long and straight and a bit of disaster if you get goofy with your tee shot.
The third hole – well that should be where things get interesting. You should stand on the third tee box and look out knowing that you’d better bring your A game or a snowman could end up on your golf card. The third hole should be a place where birdie is a rarity and a par is worthy of a pat on the back from your playing lad. The third hole should never be a Par 3 (the 4th hole should never be a Par 4 and the fifth hole should never be a Par 5).
I’m all for variety and unique holes on golf courses, but I like when courses tell stories and each hole serves as an appropriate chapter. If you ask me, this should be the plot over the first three holes.