I realize that the number of people who care about state amateur golf is really small, but I’ll be spending part of this week looking at scores online.
To be honest, I don’t really care about who wins the either the Minnesota or Wisconsin state amateurs that both started on Monday. I just find it very intriguing that both states are holding their top amateur events on golf courses that are considered “short” by modern standards.
The Minnesota state amateur is being held at the White Bear Yacht Club, an old-school Donald Ross design that is being played at 6,471 yards. The Wisconsin event is at Maple Bluff Country Club in Madison, a 6,402-yard course that is more than 100 years old.
I am admittedly a fan of classic golf courses. Some of it is because I don’t hit 300-yard drives and don’t hit 190-yard 7-irons. Some of it is because I grew up playing a short course where accuracy was more important than sheer power. And some of it is because I like the creativity that is required to get shots close to the hole on some of these classic courses.
One of the things I’m most interested in seeing is whether playing a sorter course allows other (and older) players will be in the mix because of the choice of venue. The reality is that most of the time, significant state amateur tournaments are played on big golf courses that can be stretched to somewhere between 6,800 and 7,100 yards. What that means is that the kids with the college bags have a significant advantage. Length is often more important than shot-making.
It frequently seems that the young kids can really hit the ball a mile, but it seems that really knowing how to make shots sometimes takes more maturity. I’m going to be honest, I’m pulling for an older guy to win.
Early results at White Bear Yacht Club have Gophers golfer Don Constable leading by two after shooting a smooth 66 that featured five birdies and zero bogeys. In Madison, a couple of young guys got to 4-under. My friend in the Wisconsin am had a really tough day, which is a bummer.
I would guess the low scores in both places have something to do with the recent weather. Lots of rain and high humidity means that greens are pretty soft and players can aggressively aim at pins without much consequence. All that moisture also means that it is difficult to get greens extremely fast. I’d like to see things dry out a little but, but the forecast isn’t really going to let that happen.
Regardless, I like that a couple of championships are being held on classic courses where strategy is more important than power.