Mike Clayton: Is hard golf the same as good golf?

It doesn’t matter if golf is too easy or too hard, as long as it’s fun. The golf course often dictates play.

The 8th hole (right) and 2nd hole (left) at The Lakes Golf Club where trees were removed during an extensive redesign.

In a recent issue for Golf Australia Magazine, Mike Clayton writes about the myth that hard golf doesn’t necessarily translate as good golf.

We particularly loved his take on controversial changes to Huntingdale Golf Club in the 1990s in response to a “low” score from Greg Norman at the Australian Masters.

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Simply by leaving the course as it was, and changing par, the course changes may never have happened.

After the 1990 Australian Masters, a championship Greg Norman won with 19-under-par, the Huntingdale committee seemingly determined to make the course more difficult. Perhaps some saw the score as a sign the course was somehow deficient.

They added fairway bunkers, moved tees back, changed the short par-4 5th into a long par-3 and made some noticeably more undulating greens. It was a good course and the changes, it’s fair to say were not so well-received.

The irony is, the easiest way to have made Huntingdale ‘harder’ was to make it easier. They could have filled in the fairway bunker at the 10th (or even left it) and called it a par-4. The 7th could have been played from the women’s tees as a 450-metre par 4 and been a great hole. Arguably it’d have been a better hole – and it was already a pretty decent par-5.

Par would have been 71, eleven under the winning score and no one would have said an eleven under par winning score by Greg Norman at his flying best signified the course was ‘too easy’.

Read the full article at Golf Australia Magazine, it may be an eye-opener for some.

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