Why 7, 800 Yards Is Insane: The Dove Mountain Debacle

Rob FergusonContributor IFebruary 24, 2009

This week, the PGA Tour is playing its annual Match Play tournament outside of Tucson. It is being held at a new venue, the Ritz-Carleton Golf Club at Dove Mountain. It is an important week for the PGA Tour as its biggest star is making his long awaited return.

Due to Tiger's return, the tournament will be much more focused upon by the nations sports media. How unfortunate that it is being played at such a silly golf course.

The golf course at Dove Mountain, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is billed to play this week around 7,800 yards. Now, even though it is at altitude (It might play more like 7,600 yards), that does not make it right. 

A golf course that plays that long eliminates many of the more exciting players in the field. If you do not bomb it 320 yards consistently, than you are just not going to compete this week.

It is especially troubling that they are doing this during a Match-Play event, where one plays his competitor more than he plays the golf course. Imagine JD Holmes playing against Luke Donald. The short-hitting Donald could play his best golf and be easily handled by the long-hitting Holmes.

Match-Play is exciting because anything can happen, and often does. Therefore, a perfect match-play setup is a shorter course where birdies and risks can be taken often.

Not a 7,800 yard monster that will eliminate creative play and force the shorter hitters to be hitting long-irons and fairway woods into many of the greens.  

One of the reasons why golf is a magical game is because it can be played by anyone, regardless of age or physical size. It can be competed at its highest level by guys who are short, tall, thin, or not-so-thin.

Being a short-hitter is a disadvantage every week, but being straight and creative with a good short-game can make up for that disadvantage. A 7,800 yard course does not offer those options.

For years PGA Tour golf courses have been getting longer and longer, hoping to Tiger-proof their setups. However, some of the strongest courses on tour still play under 7,200 yards.

The way that I look at it, if a golf course needs to be extended past 7,300 yards in order to be made good enough for the PGA Tour...than maybe its just not good enough.