‘Planet Golf,’ aka courses you’ll never play | AspenTimes.com

‘Planet Golf,’ aka courses you’ll never play

Jon Maletz
Aspen, CO Colorado

Planet Golf, a directory best described as a picture book for wealthy ball-and-stick enthusiasts, captures images of the world’s most prestigious courses in striking detail. David Scaletti’s photography is spectacular ” in truth the rich, vibrant colors look more like something out of a dream sequence or watercolor masterpiece instead of real life.

I could look at pictures of the finishing hole at St. Andrews ” an amphitheater surrounded by age-old buildings, a setting drenched with incomparable moments in the game’s history ” forever.

Such is this book’s greatest charm. It provides a departure from reality, a glimpse into a world most of us have not and will never see. From the sprawling trees, to driveway-thin fairways mimicking the shape of adjacent rock-strewn coastline and pot bunkers so deep they could swallow a Volkswagen, the images are truly fascinating.

The most spectacular? The Devil’s Cauldron hole (No. 4) at Banff Springs in Canada, where a rugged Rocky Mountain peak rises seemingly off the back of a perfectly manicured green. I’d save up for a year to have the chance to walk those fairways.

And I might have to. Most of the courses that fill this nearly 400-page book are some of the most exclusive, and therefore elusive, on earth. These are no public links, where your playing partner is a guy in cut-offs sipping a Pabst. I’d have a better chance to work at one of these courses rather than play there.

Is it OK to dream about what it’d be like to play one of golf’s versions of the Sistine Chapel? Absolutely. But that’s where this directory falls short. It’s little more than a well-conceived but overpriced coffee-table book. It provides little service for anyone other than the affluent world traveler.

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Do I really need to know that if I slice my tee shot on the opening hole at Prestwick in Scotland, I’ll have to contend with a railway fence and a cemetery? Not likely. Do I care that the 12th hole at Dunbar Country club in South Africa became famous ” or infamous ” after the Prince of Wales once missed the green and needed 16 strokes to hole out? I don’t see how that information is going to enrich my everyday life, unless I meet the Prince of Wales. I’d offer him a chipping lesson.

It’s a safe bet, given the current state of my life, that I’ll never tee it up at the Pinx Golf club on South Korea’s Jeju Island. I’ll never be searching for my errant tee shot in the waist-high rough while cursing the golf gods at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. And while Planet Golf’s images are truly captivating, a directory of Colorado courses would better suit me. And I bet such a reference wouldn’t cost $60.

I think the money would be better spent buying a putter or six buckets of balls for the driving range.

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