If you love golf, you must make two trips during your lifetime - one to Augusta to see the Masters and walk the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Club and one to St. Andrews to play the Old Course.
Unfortunately, ordinary mortals can't play the Augusta National since it is a private club. But when our visitors from around the world come to Augusta every April to see the Masters many flock to play another local course - Forest Hills.
They do so for two reasons: one, because it is a tough and demanding layout; and, two, because the 79-year old course is also considered sacred ground. All the greats once walked its fairways and tried to subdue it. For the most part, golfers are "traditionalists."
We love the rich history of our game and there is something magical about walking in the footsteps of the great players, past and present. I have often wondered why we don't restore this famous old course back to as near its original design as possible.
Although we have lost a couple of the original holes that the legendary course architect Donald Ross designed in 1921, Forest Hills remains basically intact. Many communities that are privileged to have courses designed by Donald Ross have maintained or restored them and they have turned out to be huge moneymakers.
If such a venture were undertaken at Forest Hills it would need to be supervised by a well-known course architect who specializes in rejuvenating Donald Ross designs.
Fortunately, we have color drawings of the original holes so the task (from an engineering standpoint) would be relatively simple. The principal reconstruction would involve: redesigning three new holes to replace the ones that have been lost to "progress;" replacing scores of sand and grass bunkers that were keys to the penal design; and rebuilding the greens.
Decades of "top-dressing" with sand have destroyed the original elevations and contours of the greens and made them as hard as concrete. The course's current owner, Augusta State University, should give this matter serious consideration.
Sonny Pittman, Augusta