Thursday, January 26, 2012

The difference between a hockey rink and a golf course.

'Scheme for The Pine Valley Golf Course
 as suggested by H.S. Colt.'
National Hockey League games must be played on a rink that must adhere to dimensions and specifications prescribed by the League.

The rink must be 200' long and 85' wide. The corners must be rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of 28'. The rink must also be surrounded by a wall - known as 'boards' - not less than 40", but not more than 48" above the ice surface. Safety glass must be affixed to the boards as well, extending vertically 8' above the boards at each end of the rink, and not less than 5' feet along the sides. Spectator netting, hung in the ends of the arena, is required too.

NHL rules on the 'Playing Area' then continue to address dimensions and specifications related to lines, division of the ice surface, goal and referee creases, the goalkeeper's restricted area, face-off spots and circles, etc.

Imagine how golf would suffer with a similar set of rules on dimensions and specifications for golf courses (as some golfers and course architects seem to think exist). After all, one of golf's greatest attractions is the remarkable diversity of its playing fields. All of the world's most interesting, and attractive courses are incredibly diverse. Thankfully, there are no rules on dimensions and specifications for golf courses. As long as a golf course drains water effectively (which is, essentially, a 'rule' of sorts) anything can happen relative to length, green contour, bunker placement and style, etc.

In fact, most of the very best golf courses throughout the world break every 'rule' perceived to be by those contemporary golfers lacking the adventurous spirit of Harry Vardon, James Braid, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson, and Tiger Woods.
Read more here: Preserving the World's Great Golf Courses.


  1. True enough Jeff. Even when I was a kid and didn't know the first thing about architecture (I know about three things now) the most enjoyable courses always seemed to be the Par 69s or 70s that didn't have a Par 5, or had two in a row, or three in the space of five holes - basically courses that didn't seek to adhere to a 10 Par 4/4 Par 5/4 Par 3 36+36=72 'standard', but were just beautiful, fun and entertaining regardless of their configuration...unconventional certainly compared with most of today's tracks. Fair enough, much of the great land is gone and sites like St Enodoc, West Sussex, Maidstone, etc. don't come along very often. So a little license with the terrain, and some assertiveness with a dozer is perhaps acceptable. But still, the 7,200-yard signature course with six water hazards; USGA specification greens; large, shallow bunkers; and big square tees is so very very boring. I watched some of the coverage from Abu Dhabi last night. I haven't played the course so probably shouldn't comment, but to me it looks beyond bland.