Broderick said the conversion of the Fazio track to two more relaxed courses was driven by the club’s new owners, Brookfield Asset Management, who paid $233 million for the club in 2018. are relaxing the rules,” she said. “We want people to have fun.”
Firestone Country Club in Ohio, a private club that was originally the corporate club of the tire manufacturer of the same name, has long been known as a strong golf test. It has hosted decades of PGA Tour events, most recently the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship. Tiger Woods has won eight PGA Tour events in Firestone.
But more recently, the club has opened up to limited stay-and-play options.
“We’ve always had three really good golf courses,” said Jay Walkinshaw, the club’s general manager. “As the club and membership evolved, we realized we had these 86 rooms on site and some overcapacity. That was when we started thinking about opening Firestone.”
Opening to semi-public play has yielded income without harming the member game. “It’s a destination for golf enthusiasts, and now we’re open to them too,” he said
Even the venerable North Carolina Pinehurst, the host of four United States Opens over the next two decades, has loosened up. The main attraction, Pinehurst No. 2, is considered one of the best Donald Ross-designed golf courses, and remains a sought-after golf test, much like when Payne Stewart defeated Phil Mickelson in the 1999 US Open. But it now has the Cradle, a nine-hole course, with music in it. What it lacks in history, the Cradle aims to make up for with pleasure.
“There’s a theme at Pinehurst about going back to our history and adapting it to the modern era, and the Cradle is a great example,” said Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst. “Having music in the Cradle is now being praised, but it was a very difficult decision. It adds to the relaxed atmosphere we wanted. It is now part of the charm of playing the Cradle.”
Similarly, Pebble Beach Golf Links in California this year converted an underused par-3 course into the Hay, a short course designed by Tiger Woods with lengths commemorating historic moments at Pebble, including a replica of the course’s seventh hole, the short track. 3 surrounded by water.