Clearing Up ‘Dwarf Course’ Comment

A reader from Daytona Beach, Fla., gets right to the point: “You don’t know what a ‘dwarf course’ is? What a fool some folks are!”

The reader refers to golf architect Bill Amick’s remark, in my last post, that he was off to West Africa to build a dwarf course at an eco lodge. Or maybe it was an eco course at a dwarf lodge. But the reader, now that I look more closely, is Bill Amick. So I’ll let him explain the term.

I coined that label, dwarf course, because of my mother. She was a wonderful woman and I loved her very much, but she was short. For some reason, she was never fond of me calling her a dwarf. Hey, she should have known that life, like golf, is not always fair. For instance, she could not have become a member of the Augusta National Golf Club. Though that was not because of her limited vertical stature.

Having cleared that up, Bill comments on the rankings:

I was extremely pleased that Ridgewood Golf Club [formerly Chestuee Golf & Country Club] made it into your latest top 20. And I’m proud that, after looking it up, I know it by its current name. It has always been a rule of mine that a golf course architect should at least know the names of the courses he or she has designed. Not knowing would be almost as bad as the over-the-hill touring pro who, having put his signature on a course, had to be pointed in the direction of the first tee for the ceremonial opening round.

And I find Grand Reserve a welcome addition to your aqua-range list. I can’t think of a better use for treated sewer water.

Turning to the new, Bill drops a tidbit or two about his detour through Scotland:

As you know, I made it up to The Trump in Aberdeen [No. 51] to share the ceremonies with my friend Martin Hawtree. And here’s what really burned me. As my taxi was delivering me down the entrance road, The Donald was leaving in his long black limo. He did not wait for me at the clubhouse nor even wave as we passed on the road. I guess some Americans are just rude.

I did get a tour of His course by the Hawtree team, so my visit was not a complete bummer. I was impressed by it all, and in a later message I’ll attach what I write for ByDesign with my impressions of the course.

When I got to Ghana, I’m happy to say, there was no rude American passing me in his long black limo as I entered the property. But I did think of my dear, late mother. Have I ever mentioned that she was not a particularly tall person?

Shipnuck and Bamberger Putting

Shipnuck putts and Bamberger tends the flag on a course not unlike Royal Birkdale. (John Garrity)

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but on Wednesday afternoon I joined my Sports Illustrated colleagues, Alan Shipnuck and Michael Bamberger, for a lovely round at 17th-ranked Royal Birkdale Golf Club. We were playing hooky from our British Open assignments, but Alan made it kosher by writing a broadly-comical yet deeply-moving GOLF.com column about our round. (Deeply moving when he describes me as a “premier ball striker”; broadly comical when he pegs Michael as a “crafty” links player.)

About which Amick, in a follow-up e-mail, complained, “All you golf writers ever seem to do is play great courses. And now we have to read about it?”

No, but I’m sure Bill will want to read this legend that was on the wall of the first Royal Birkdale clubhouse:

“As the earth is not meant to be carted away The divots you cut in the course of your play Should be neatly replaced by your caddie or you, With their roots to the earth and their blades to the blue”

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