Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game explores what makes golf, and golf course architecture, so special on sandy terrain. Golf was born on sandy ground and the features of the game are a direct product of that terrain. Fairways and greens were derived from the naturally occurring areas of short grass found among the coastal dunes of Scotland. The original sand traps were areas of bare sand that can be found scattered throughout any dune landscape. As the game spread beyond the coastal dunes it took these features with it, and while they have been incorporated into a variety of landscapes they have always fit best on sandy ground. For this reason each major expansion in golf has begun with new courses on sandy ground. Even the best courses of the modern era are products of sandy terrain. The reason golf works so well on sandy ground is that it quite literally belongs there.
This book explores the unique features of sandy ground that make it so suitable for golf, studying the similarities and differences among sandy courses in a wide variety of environments. The courses of Melbourne’s Sandbelt may not bear much resemblance to the fantastic sandy courses of America’s Great Plains, but they actually have a great deal in common. The firm turf that is a product of free draining soils, rugged bunkers carved directly into the sandy soils, and a style of play suited to firm, often windy sites. Golf on sandy sites is a game played as much along the ground as through the air, and creative shotmaking is required to deal with the challenges of sandy terrain. The creativity required to succeed when golfing on sandy ground is a big part of the enduring popularity of these courses and the reason why people travel around the world to seek them out.
Golf on sandy terrain is something special because golf itself is a product of that terrain. Sand and Golf looks at all aspects of the relationship between sand and golf, from golf’s earliest days to the spread of the sport across the globe. Golf and golf course architecture on sandy sites is explored in every detail, using examples and illustrations from the best sandy courses in the world.