Patrick Cantlay has spoken to Eurosport about his frustration with the fascination of adding length to golf courses.
Improved technology has allowed golfers to hit the ball huge distances, and modern golf architecture has attempted to challenge that by lengthening courses.
Cantlay is competing at the BMW Championship this week, which is being held at Wilmington Country Club.
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The course underwent development work in 2021, after a tornado ripped through the grounds in 2020, and it has been lengthened to over 7,500 yards.
It is the first time Wilmington Country Club has featured on the PGA Tour, but it has not made a positive impression on Cantlay who feels architects need to look at courses such as Harbour Town at Hilton Head and Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth as examples of how to set them up.
Harbour Town and Colonial are not long by modern standards, but they are tight, tree-lined and with plenty of changes of direction to challenge players in ways other than through brute force.
“I think it is really long,” Cantlay told Eurosport Norway of Wilmington Country Club. “It is strange to me that we play so many golf courses that all they do is add length to the golf courses.
“It is so surprising to me that the golf courses that none of the guys who hit it far, they do not go to Hilton Head, they do not go to Colonial, they don’t go to the short, small, dog-leggy, tree-lined golf courses.
“The way we combat the distance, or the way these architects think that they want to combat distance is by taking all the trees out and playing it 7600 yards and putting the tees way back - and all the par fives are at 600 yards. I don’t think that makes any sense.”
Modern golfers do not fear rough when they have short irons in their hands, and it is a trait that Cantlay feels could be challenged.
“I am surprised that every time I come to a golf course and they say it was recently redone and there is no real shaping of golf shots,” FedEx Cup champion Cantlay said. “It is just how far you can hit it, take out driver on every hole and hit it as high and as far as you possibly can. And if you can hit it 315 yards, you have taken out all the bunkers. You are maybe in the rough, but it is way better to be in the rough with a nine iron than maybe in the fairway with a five iron.
"I am so surprised they have not figured it out and it just seems like we are getting more and more of the same element of bomb-it-as-far-as-you-can golf courses every week.”
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