When I saw the title for Tom Doak's piece, "What Will The Top 100 Look Like in 2025," I wasn't sure what to expect. But it's really a great piece on a number of levels and Golf Magazine deserves kudos for running it. (Now, about the picture of Sand Hills still labeled as Torrey Pines on the homepage...).
Another trend worth noting is the small but significant number of courses designed to be walked. With the advent of the golf cart in the 1960s, many architects became convinced that walkability was no longer part of the equation of building a great course. Holes were pushed ever farther apart, toward the best bits of land, or to make room for houses. Nevertheless, there still isn't a course ranked among the world's greatest that is very difficult to walk. Augusta is perhaps the toughest hike.And it was great to see Doak finally come out and use his newfound fame to join the technophobic agenda crowd:
The only thing that can stop this trend is something that will change the list even more significantly -- a continued growth of equipment technology that will make today's elite courses obsolete. We architects shake our heads watching modern professionals, who seem to hit the ball considerably farther every year. It forces us to design for a moving target.
So far, the equipment technology change hasn't had an earth-shaking effect on the Top 100 Courses in the World. Classics like Shoreacres and Maidstone, weighing in at less than 6,500 yards, still stand tall. The past masters of design understood that scoring is controlled at the green end, not the tee end. But the classics are on the defensive. All but one of the top ten courses has been stretched by more than 100 yards since 1985. (Cypress Point is the lone exception.) A lot of them have run out of room to extend, and those that haven't (like Augusta National) are starting to look entirely different. Something has to stop changing -- and soon -- or we'll no longer recognize the courses and the game we love.