30 May GolfPass Grass Guru – Muirfield Village
The Memorial Tournament • Hole 14 • Par 4 • 366 yds
Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber with the parkland vanilla pudding that was Colonial CC, the PGA Tour goes and does something like this…and TOTALLY redeems itself!
If last week was a how-to guide of what not to do from a bunkering/course layout perspective, this week Muirfield Village shows us how the routing and bunkering of a course breathes life into the landscape. It comes as no surprise that this course be anything but extraordinary, since it was designed by the GOAT, and its safe to say he’s seen his fair share of elite courses.
The amount of holes featuring creeks, lakes, and ponds brings a tear to my eyes. Especially holes such as 3 or 5 where the creek completely splits the fairway in two. Oh you’re trying to hit bombs, better think twice before you over run the fairway and find your ball wet. It’s been well documented that I’m more of a fan of precise golf shots rather than the 350 yard drives, and the creeks and lakes of Muirfield help satiate that desire. Now with the fawning over the water out of the way, the meat of this course are the green side left bunkers on hole 14.
Most of the bunkers at Muirfield Village are grass faced with a moderate amount of flashing, just enough so you can barely see the fact that there is a trap ahead. The 14th, being much closer to the fringe than many of the other bunkers, still shows this off in the rear. These BOTW are large, in charge, and flank the narrowest and longest green on the property. The green alone is spectacular, nestled next to the ever present threat of the meandering creek that spans the entirety of Muirfield, the 14th without bunkers would be a favorite of mine, the addition just puts the 14th over the top. With being so close to the water on the right, a wayward ball left into the sand traps has the real potential of running over the green and trickling down into the water. I love carnage and the fact that a parallel bunker ball can easily become a water ball from an over aggressive sand save gives me butterflies. Oh and they rake the entirety of the bunker, kick rocks Aussie method.
Muirfield Village is a fantastic piece of golf course architecture that should come as no surprise. The grass is next level and to have worked there adds a badge of honor to any grass guy’s cap that has had the displeasure of hand spraying everything on the property. I have not because I’m not a masochist. Instead, I will watch and be enthralled on my TV like everyone else.
Cover Photo: Keyur Khamar / pgatour.com
Eric MacPherson knows a lot about golf, but even more about grass. Having worked in golf for what seems like forever, and going on to graduate school in turfgrass, he’s able to walk mow a green, and change the shaft in your favorite driver. He’s worked on some of the east coast’s primer golf clubs doing everything from washing carts to building brand new putting greens. He’s also volunteered at several high profile Tour events including a major and the President’s Cup. The only thing he likes more than pushing a walk mower on a beautiful crisp morning, would be teeing it off instead. Shoot Eric a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.