Fore! Keep your eyes peeled while out in this landscape for little white flying balls. With the ever increasing popularity of this sport and the subsequent land mass it swallows up, you may just accidentally stumble upon one on your hike through the woods.
Anyone who has taken a plane ride in a window seat over the United States can see the shear land mass devoted to this pastime. Over 15,000 golf courses in the U.S occupy land approximately the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined (Sailer).
Many golf course designers iterate that they are trying to “reproduce the primeval human vision of an earthly paradise” (Sailer). This speaks to man’s dominion over the landscape and desire to change what exists in to what something could be, namely a golf course.
Many early landscape principals such as Olmsted’s serpentine ‘naturalistic’ pathways, Burke’s idea of the ‘beautiful’ and the ‘sublime’ or Gilpin’s ‘pictureesque’ are incorporated into todays golf course design. The winding nature of golf courses recall Olmsted’s natural pathways. At Pebble beach, vis a vis the ‘sublime’, the course rests upon the bluffs of the pacific ocean, ever reminding the golfer of the danger of looking for a lost ball. The framing from tee to green liken the ideas of Gilpin’s picturesque into modern consciousness.
Golf course’s manifest much of post enlightenment ideas of a landscape. It shows man’s meticulous domination over the landscape for sport and leisure, It provides little to no actual utility or benefit to society as a whole, and disregards its effects on its surroundings. While I enjoy golf very much, It is time to start thinking about how we use our landscape and what the best function ought to be.
Sailer, Steve. “The Art of Golf Course Architecture: Its Rise, Fall, and Revival.” The American Conservative, 11 Apr. 2005. Web. 25 Sept. 2012.