Lee Westwood reveals ambition to design ‘more playable’ golf courses

Posted at 7:26 PM, Nov 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-05 19:26:05-05

He’s played all over the world, accumulating 42 professional tournament victories on his way to becoming one of the few golfers to win on five different continents.

Now former world No. 1 Lee Westwood is hoping to craft the next generation of courses, utilizing his vast experience on the Tour to follow in the footsteps of golfers-turned-architects like Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

“I’d love to do course design,” Westwood told CNN Living Golf. “When my playing career is finished it’ll be a great avenue to go down.

“I’ve played basically everywhere in my career — from links golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, to playing on the sand belt in Melbourne. I would try and use that and bring that into my course design.”

Westwood, host of this year’s British Masters, provided a player’s perspective in the redesign of Close House Golf Club in Newcastle, England.

“There’s a lot that goes into a golf course that just don’t have any idea about, but I know what I like to see,” said Westwood.

“It’s much easier to do tweaks than lay one down and get it right straight away, so I’ve got a lot of respect for the great golf course architects.”

“He’s brought a really strong, objective eye to the golf course,” says original designer Scott Macpherson. “We’ve been able to talk about strategy, bunker placement and tee locations. That’s helped get the course to where it is today.”

With the experience of playing over 500 European Tour events, Westwood has plenty of inspiration for what his own ideal course could look like in the future.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good eye for it,” says the 40-year-old. “I like a golf course to be tough when it needs to be, but I also like it to be playable.

“You don’t want to go out there and get beaten up on greens that are massively undulating, or on 500-yard par fours and 300-yard par threes. People want to come along and feel like they’ve achieved something.

“I’m not a great believer in loads of trouble. Courses are getting so tough that it takes forever to get around them. The game of golf need to be much more playable and faster.

“I want 28 handicappers to be able to go out there and be able to make a few pars. At the end of the day it’s a form of entertainment.”