Journey Along the Shores – Part 6 (4 Course Concept)

Cutting down trees, hacking out brush, and hauling debris for hours on end gives a man plenty of time to think.  During one of these cleanup sessions recently, many of the thoughts that had been swirling around in my head crystalized into a new vision for what might be done with the golf portion of the Canal Shores property.

To be clear, my Grounds Committee mates and I are still in the early stages of planning what Canal Shores might ultimately become.  That in mind, this concept is not put forth as a plan, but rather as an answer to a question that has been hanging over the game for some time:

How can the game of golf be more flexible, family friendly and fun?

My answer is called the 4 Course Concept, and I share it here as an invitation for feedback.  Looking forward to hearing from you – leave your comments here, hit me up on Twitter @JasonWay1493 or email me at

Canal Shores – 4 Courses in 1 Special Place

After walking the property, exploring features and pacing off potential holes, it is feasible for the Canal Shores property to contain 4 distinct “courses” providing different, fun golf experiences for multiple generations of golfers.

Breaking the property down into multiple courses would allow golfers with busy schedules (which is most of us) the flexibility to enjoy the game without necessarily being on the hook for 4-5 hours.

The 4 Courses (as illustrated in the aerials that follow) would be:

  • Long Course – North of Central (Sections A-D), 12 holes, par 3s and 4s.
  • Putting Course – North end of the area adjacent to the clubhouse (Section E).
  • Chipping Course – South end of the area adjacent to the clubhouse (Section E).
  • Short Course – South of Central (Sections E&F), 6 holes, par 3s.

Please note that the routing only indicates the rough locations of back tees and greens.  Each hole would have multiple tees to maximize interest and enjoyment for all skill levels, including “Play It Forward” tees ~100 yards from each green.

This routing fits in line with our macro vision of a mixed use green space serving all of our stakeholders.

The Long Course

As the routing aerials below illustrate there is ample room to hold 12 holes – 4 par 4s ranging from 250-330 yards, and 8 par 3s with a variety of distances from 80-200 yards.  Only minor changes would need to be made to the holes in Sections B and D.

Real opportunity exists to create new and exciting holes in Sections A and C.  Section A could hold 3 fantastic par 3s in the shadow of the Baha’i Temple, including a blind Short and a Redan. The topography of Section C is currently drastically underutilized with hidden sites for new tees and greens that could provide truly thrilling shots if uncovered.

The Long Course is not likely to ever be considered “hard”, but we’re not concerned with difficulty.  We’re concerned with interest, beauty, variety and above all fun.  The Long Course could be all of those things, and more – it could be truly unique.
The Putting & Chipping Courses

Inspired by my visit to Bandon Dunes Resort’s Punchbowl, and similar courses in Scotland, these two courses would be in the section of the property that is “in the back yard” of the club house.  This section is between two busy streets in our community, and is adjacent to a Community Center.

Whether it’s businesspeople grabbing a sunny lunch break, families on the weekends, Northwestern University students decompressing, or gangs of joyful kids, these courses would be intended as a place of gathering for maximum fun as well as an introduction to the game.
The Short Course
This area of the course is relatively nondescript in terms of features, but with the exception of the location of #1, there is quite a bit of space.  The Short Course could contain 6 par 3s with low-moderate difficulty from the tee, but big, fun greens that would allow players of lower skill levels to be challenged without sacrificing fun.
Large greens could contain oversized “kids cups” as well as regulation cups to increase family playability.  The extra space could be used for Foot Golf or Frisbee Golf courses, thus expanding the multiple use options for the community, and revenue streams for Canal Shores.
Whereas Canal Shores currently contains 18 holes that are laid out in a standard, rigid fashion, the 4 Course Concept would allow the player to choose the length of their round, the level of challenge, and the variety.  The golf would play in “loops”, with the player being the master of their time and experience.  Finish one loop of one course, feel free to try a different course.  Want another crack at the one you just finished?  No problem.  Hop back over to the first tee and have another loop.

As I write this post, I find myself excited about the possibility of spending my days looping around the courses at Canal Shores.  Am I the only one who feels that way?  I guess we’ll see…

More Journey Along the Shores posts:



Copyright 2015 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf

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