Thanks to reader Brian for the heads up on this Bob Gillespie story in The State. In it, Tom Fazio pats himself on the back for taking advantage of the elasticity that Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast left behind, and apparently they knew the governing bodies would sell the game out and change golf courses instead of regulating equipment:
So what’s next at Augusta National? Fazio defers to his boss — “Obviously, Mr. Johnson has control of that situation; he’s the guy to talk to” — but says there is room, and precedent, to add more length to the 7,445-yard course.
“If you look at the history of Augusta National, it would lead you to believe they’ll continue to do exactly what they’ve done in the past,” he said. “Mackenzie said in his book, which he wrote in the late 1920s and early 1930s, how golf holes should be laid out so when you walk off the green, you walk forward to the next tee. So there was that space available so you can add more length.
“Mackenzie had that in his mind when he laid (the course) out, and I assume he and Bob Jones talked about that. It’s a natural, obvious progression.”
Fitter, stronger players and technological improvements in equipment have shrunk many classic courses, and while the solution is not always length, that’s part of the equation, Fazio said. His work at New York’s Winged Foot Country Club, site of June’s U.S. Open, also involved lengthening the course.
“People say, ‘Where’d you get that length? We thought (the course) was out of land,’ ” he said. “But there was space. There’s always some space. That’s the history of golf.”
Yep, nothing a little dynamiting can't fix to uphold the one of the great traditions of the game: stampeding all over classic designs!