Golf Gone Wild
Ko'olau Golf Club,
The course cuts through
a tropical rain forest. Its
elevation changes demand a
THE GENTLEMAN'S GAME HAS GOTTEN A LITTLE FERAL, WITH FAIRWAYS
Sherpa. The dense surround-
AT 10,000 FEET, COURSES DOUBLING AS SAFARIS, AND WAYS TO PLAY THAT ing jungle requires a machete.
WILL HAVE YOU SPRINTING TO THE GREEN. NO WONDER WE LOVE WHERE Everything slants and slopes,
causing well-struck shots to
THE SPORT IS GOING. HERE ARE EIGHT WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT. turn and scamper into the
undergrowth like an iguana -
this isn't the course to bring a
12-pack to. One hardly needs
to see the slope rating of 152
(the world's highest is 155) to
know the course is brutal. Our
advice: Oon't keep score. It'll
just ruin things (from $55;
La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia
Those who've savored the
steroidal thrill of teeing it up
in the Rockies (whose highest
18-holer has an elevation of
9,680 feet) know that balls
fly farther (up to 10 percent)
and straighter at higher eleva-
tions. At La Paz, perched at
10,800 feet on the side of the
Bolivian Andes, your 270-yard
banana slice will become a
glorious 300-yard fade. Of
course, you'll lose 20 balls
playing this lunar landscape,
and you'll need an oxygen
Club de Golf Rio Lluta,
Atacama Desert, Chile
No.1: Go for the extremes Since nothing grows here,
chalk marks the fairways on
the desert floor, green stones
Some courses dare you to tee up and aim for the green, not necessarily because they're tough to play in the rough designate the
but because you might not actually survive to the 18th. These are four of the most brutal. forests, water hazards are
outlined in blue-painted rocks,
and the putting surfaces are
WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS Hans Merensky, Phalaborwa, South Africa Giraffes, baboons, and warthogs a mix of used motor oil and
roam the failways, crocodiles lurk in the waters, and lions lounge in the surrounding bush. This is golf sand. Golfers here - and
as a self-guided safari, on a course that cuts through South Africa's largest game reserve. The course is there are golfers here - are
ringed by an electric fence, but the safety measures only go so far: The 15th hole is known as "Leopard encouraged to tee off in the
morning, as afternoon sand-
Kill," in honor of the big cat that once left a dead impala dangling from a tree, dripping blood onto a
storms can deliver unwanted
golfer. And while it's rare for players to become the hunted, a casualty has occurred: In 1998, a German exfoliation (58-223377).
golfer was trampled to death by an elephant on the 15th green (from $41; hansmerensky.com).
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No.2: Stop thinking and crush the ball like Fowler
You don't need to see Rickie Fowler in head-to-toe is a welcome corrective for a normally neurotic
Smurfblue and his Bieber hair to realize that a game. "I don't have a swing coach, really," he says.
new generation of young, notably athletic players 'Whatever he's not doing is working: Fowler was
is making the gentleman's game look less prac- named the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year in 2010
ticed. The 22-year-old Fowler doesn't watch his and played well enough to impress Arnold Palmer,
swing on video or worry about his mechanics. He still the guardian of everything cool in golf. "He's
just steps up - sometimes without even a practice dynamite," Palmer says. "Now if he would just get
swing - and hits the ball. His easy-going cool a haircut and quit wearing pink."
MEN'S JOURNAL 42 APRIL 2011
GOLF 2011 •
Ride the Elephant to
add 40 yards to your drives
"Golf fitness" used to involve
little more than a toe-touch
Strengthen your core and add
on the first tee and a hot dog distance off the tee.
curl at the turn. Then came a
workout fanatic named Tiger
Woods and with him sadists
like Steve Heller, a trainer
to the pros whose ferocious
fitness program undermines
golf's image as a leisure sport. (I)
On your back, extend one leg
A former college golfer with a straight and bend the other
degree in exercise physiology, leg, keeping the foot flat.
Heller got his start prepar-
ing college players for the No.5:Try the course next to
NFL Combines, a trial that
emphasizes explosiveness and ~ the legendary course
speed. Then he applied the
same techniques to golf. Most ~~1 There's a corollary rule that the big-time golf courses don't
men, he says, are too weak and
inflexible to play to their po-
tential. But after eight weeks
Lift your hips off the ground,
want you to know about: For every legendary course, there's
often an equal and opposite local gem blessed with the same
intrinsic qualities - breathtaking scenery, pro-grade design
in his Fore-Max program, resting most of the weight on - playable at a fraction of the cost. 'While you're checking
your shoulders. Raise your
Heller promises a 10 to 15 mph big-name courses off your bucket list, here are three worth
extended leg straight up,
bump in swing speed and up keeping your knee locked. wandering down the road for.
to a 40-yardjump in driving INSTEAD OF PLAY
distance. "The hips, the core, . PLAYING
the hamstrings - these are all
key to generating power," says Pebble Pacific Grove Golf Links, Pacific Grove, CA
Beach Golf COST: $40
Heller. The sessions last 90
. Links DISTANCE APART: Two miles
minutes and unfold in a litany
of exhausting movements, like
a torturous hip-strengthener
Lower your midsection
COST: $495 Sure, you could drop $495 on a six-hour round at Peb-
ble Beach and spend half your day grumbling behind
a foursome of shutter-happy tourists. But why would
you want to when this course is a mere seven-minute
called the Elephant. Do it without touching the ground. drive north? Designed primarily by Jack Neville, who
once. Good. Now repeat 100 Do 100 reps on each leg. was also the principal architect of Pebble Beach, the
times (kierlandresort.com). Grove has a back nine that runs dramatically out to
the crashing surf and the barking seals at Point Pinos.
1111.111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111I1II1111111I11I1111I1I Truth be told, these sandy fairways and postage-stamp
greens are more of a true links than the manicured
Pebble Beach could ever be (pggolflinks.com).
No.4: Play 18 in under an hour
Shinnecock Montauk Downs, Montauk, NY
Hills Golf COST: from $24: from $48 out-of-state
As the name suggests, speed golf Club DISTANCE APART: 31 miles
COST: Much like Shinnecock Hills, Montauk Downs was
is a hybrid that blends the need Private designed by a legend, is revered by Long Island
for subtlety and precision with the locals, and is strong enough to have designs on host-
ing a major. But unlike Shinnecock, Montauk lacks
physical demands of an endur- the infrastructure to host a Grand Slam event, whicH
ance sport. You swing. You run. means less notoriety, more open tee times, and none
of those insufferable Wall Street types infesting the
You run. You swing. The goal is to fairways and greens (montaukdowns.org).
play well. And very fast, keeping track ofboth
The Olympic TPC Harding Park, San Francisco
your time and strokes. Sprinting from shot to Club COST: from $47; from $170 out-of-state
shot, players not only elevate their heart rates; COST: DISTANCE APART: 1.8 miles
Even in 1998, this longtime San Francisco muni was so
many also lower their scores. As Christopher Private
ill-considered that its fairways were used as a parking
Smith, the speed-golf record holder (he shot lot for those attending the U.S. Open at the neighbor-
ing Olympic Club. Thirteen years and a $16 million
a 65 while whipping through 18 holes in 44 renovation later, it's arguably Olympic's equal, sharing
minutes), says, "You're more likely to execute the same towering cypress trees, the same challeng-
ing shot values, and the shores of the same Lake
the shot at hand because you don't have a Merced. Paying for all that improvement are those
chance to overthink it. You see it and do it." pricey out-of-state greens fees (harding-park.com).
If you have any doubt, reread No.2.
AP RIL 2011 43 MEN'S J 0 URN A L
Have you always been an
Dunes on the
coast of Oregon environmentalist?
At the start, my ideas about
minimalism were all about
keeping course construction
simple and minimizing costs.
But I found quickly that the
people who were interested in
environmental quality had the
same goals in mind.
Are people paying attention?
Yes, but most are still afraid
to make changes because "the
members won't like" to see
the course brown around the
edges. We have to do a better
job educating golfers and get-
ting them to understand the
positives of ecologically sound
management. One positive:
Golf will cost less to play.
No.6: Embrace Tom Doak's design philosophy What separates your Florida
course, Streamsong,jrom others?
What malws a Doak course? give players more latitude with It's really an exceptional
VER SINCE BUILDING
his first course in 1989 I've tried not to have a signa- the driver and make up for it piece of property. The mining
in Michigan, Tom ture style so that I can build by being challenging on and operation must have moved
Doak has focused more on the any style of course, depending around the greens, where any around 10 or 20 million cubic
average player than the pro. on what will best fit the prop- golfer is at least physically yards of sand - more than a
"New courses have wasted mil- erty. But generally my courses capable of improvement. golf-course architect could
lions making themselves diffi- ever contemplate - and
cult for Tour players who never because they weren't moving
come anyway," says Doak, who it with golfin mind, they built
at 50 has already designed four some features we'd never
of the world's top-100 rated think of. Now we get to use
courses. "My main objective those dramatic changes as the
is to build courses that are centerpieces of our holes.
fun." His minimalist approach
- unmanicured fairways, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
working with the land instead are also building a course there.
of bulldozing it - is reaching Yeah, it's the first time
a new height with his 30th we've had the chance to see
project: Doak is reclaiming firsthand what the other guys
a former phosphate mine in are doing. It's been fun, with
central Florida and turning some friendly rivalry, too
it into what will certainly be - like a match where your
The future home of Doak's newest course, a decommissioned mine.
another legendary layout, even opponent keeps hitting good
"The most exciting part," says Doak, "may just be the big idea that you
ifthere is a little brown around can turn a former phosphate mine into a five-star resort location." shots and you either step up
the tee box. your game or lose out.
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No.7: Love the recession CHECK THESE SITES
BEFORE TEEING OFF
Here's an upside to the downturn: The economy has forced even The consolidators: golfhub
.com and golfnow.com offer up
prestigious courses to sweeten deals for golfers, creating fire-sale to 65 percent off rounds from
California to the Carolinas.
prices online (see sidebar) at many of the most coveted clubs. The The private pass: A $67 mem-
worst hit? Arizona, with places like Superstition Mountain, which bership at playerspass.com
includes two-far-one deals at
opened in 1998 and once had an initiation fee of$100,000, but now more than 2,000 courses.
costs as little as $50 a round (superstitionmountain.com).
MEN'S JOURNAL 44 APRIL 2011
GOLF 2011 •
<II OAKLEY TAKE PANT
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No.8: Your tan Dockers might fit the course dress code,
but play IS holes in them and you'll walk away
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<II GARMIN APPROACH SI
The magicians at Garmin were
somehow able to cram a GPS and a
range finder into the sleek Approach
SI, which comes preloaded with
thousands of courses and syncs
with satellites to supply you with
your exact location and distance to
the green ($250; garmin.com).
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