Ron Whitten writes about the future of course design and includes this in his November, 2008 Golf Digest feature story:
With respect to Hanse, Doak and even Kidd, whose new Castle Course at St. Andrews likewise features free-form tees, none of their creations is as radical as Charlton's at Chambers Bay. His tees aren't conventional wide pads linked by undulations. His are narrow paths, where golfers have to search for a level lie. His intent is to aid average players in executing decent tee shots. Choose a slight uphill lie to get the ball airborne, a little downhill spot to keep it under the wind, or a sidehill slope to impart more hook or slice. It's a remarkably clever concept, but we suspect by the time the U.S. Open rolls around, the USGA will insist on lots of big, flat tee boxes for the pros.
Hanse has adapted the basic pick-your-lie concept on a new 10-hole par-3 course he's designing for The Prairie Club, a multiple-course project near Valentine, Neb. His layout will feature no tees, just expanded fairways with lots of dips and rolls in them. His idea is, each round will be based on the basketball game Horse, where the guy who wins the previous hole gets to chose the stance, lie and shot that must be attempted on the next hole. (To really integrate the idea into golf, Hanse ought to call his game Gorse.)
Gil has cooked up a rendering of the Horse Course plan. Because it'll be up to the golfer with the honor to decide where to tee off, we offer yardages summarizing the range of distances possible:
1: 60-90 yards
2: 50-115 yards
3: 30-85 yards
4: 65-125 yards
5: 45-105 yards
6: 40-125 yards
7: 55-110 yards
8: 40-105 yards
9: 60-140 yards
10: 40-125 yards
Total: 485-1,125 yards
Click to enlarge:
Six years after our first visit to Valentine, Nebraska, we've begun construction of a 10-hole short course at The Prairie Club. You can get the full story on the development in this Wade Merry piece from the Argus Leader.
In the coming months I'll be posting photos, updates and some "video diaries" on the design and construction of "The Horse Course."
In the meantime, here are a few images of it in the early stages of construction and prior to seeding. Click on the images to enlarge...