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Coming Soon: The Synthetic Golf Course

A new course opening in Luxembourg will have synthetic putting greens, and architect Steve Marnoch says that it is now possible to build a totally synthetic golf course, right down to the bunkers.

"There is gathering interest in such a project," Marnoch, a senior member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects admitted. "There would be a huge initial outlay but, against that, there would be relatively little in the way of upkeep. The variety of today's synthetic grasses is such that we could produce everything, right down to the different grades of rough they use for championships."

The Kikuoka club doesn’t go that far, and its plastic greens apparently are not up to championship standards, but Marnoch gives them a seven out of ten. Speed can be adjusted by the amount of sand that is raked among the plastic blades of grass.

I actually had an idea for a synthetic, indoor golf course a few years ago when I was driving through Willow Run, Michigan. I had noticed (how could you fail to notice) the massive, empty factory buildings and was wondering what could be done with them. It then occurred to me that they would be perfect for an indoor golf course. They are impossibly large, and the roofs are several stories high. An entrepreneur could gut the insides and build an 18 hole pitch-and-putt or maybe even several full sized holes.

There’s got to be a market for that sort of thing in Michigan.

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