Thanks to reader Rob for noting Lorne Rubenstein's column pondering the perfection of Muirfield Village's conditioning and role that such pristine conditions play in the game.
The problem is that golfers, and not only tour professionals, expect perfect conditions in modern golf. They want to know that a ball hit into a spot in the fairway will stay there and not careen madly off a firm slope into a bunker. When they do find sand, they expect a perfect lie. They also expect the sand to be the same in every bunker on the course.
Nicklaus took some action in this regard. He furrowed the bunkers last year so that not every ball that settles into the sand will sit up. Some players whined. The furrows aren't as deep this year, but they're still furrowed. "Bunkers are meant to be a hazard," Nicklaus said. "Why have them otherwise?"
That's a good point. Nevertheless, Muirfield Village and most every PGA Tour course still offers ideal conditions. But golf was never meant to be played on courses so produced and contrived that they might as well be domed. Barring wild weather or stupidly narrow fairways and rough so high that there's no shot to play but a hard thwack out, today's courses are mostly the same and mostly boring.