Redesigning a golf course is never an easy job and it can, as we have recently seen, potentially involve a lot of risk. The greatest risk of all is perhaps the wrath of the players who are so used to playing on it, the players who have become so accustomed to every nook and cranny of it over years of playing time.
“I don’t like this golf course. Period. End of story,” he scathed. “It’s a very difficult golf course, especially now it’s been redesigned.”
Ernie saw red upon hearing Poulter’s comments and told him to “think twice” before he says anything like it again. “He has done a lot of damage to the flagship event,” he blasted.
If I was Mr Els, I would probably have expected such comments, since it’s obviously impossible to please all of the people all of the time. If a player has a bad round, or even just a bad hole, it is naturally easier to blame external influences above internal shortcomings.
But it just goes to show that, no matter how confident you are of your own work, somebody else won’t like it. There are pros and cons to everything – and that doesn’t change when it comes to redesigning a golf course.
The greatest pro is, surely, the antithesis of the greatest con: receiving the adulation of golfers who approve of the changes you have made. Lee Westwood, amongst many others, praised the very alterations that Ian Poulter so furiously criticised.
At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Some players will enjoy the changes and some players will inevitably loath them, especially if they hit a couple of bad shots.
Reputation is therefore always at risk when alterations are made. It can be both a pro and a con of a redesign, depending perhaps most heavily on how certain players perform on the day.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the beautiful game of golf, anything could happen on the day. If a round doesn’t go to plan on a redesigned course, then it just gives the players something other than themselves to blame it on.