Sorry, but we aren't playing the same course

June 14, 2009

U.S. Opens on public courses is a good idea, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking we're playing the same course, as this headline in the San Francisco Chronicle suggests: "Joe Public Golfer enjoys chance to match the best."

The field at Bethpage Black this week won't encounter greens pocked by ball marks that haven't been repaired, spotty fairways, uneven rough, un-raked bunkers.

As former Torrey Pines men's club president Art Stromberg, a men's club member there since 1981, said about Torrey South a few months before the Open last year: "I've never seen the condition that good. The fairways are beautiful. They're all kikuyu now. The ball sits up like it's on a tee. They even have sand in the traps."

Put the Open on a muny that plays like a muny, then we can say we're playing the same course.

-- John Strege