11 November 2019: Southpaws may be considered lucky but we have our own set of limitation because of our rarity. I am a left-handed golf enthusiast and in the last five years of playing golf, I observed that left-handed golfers do not get enough opportunities on the average golf course in terms of shot selection and strategizing (let alone golf clubs and accessories). This led me to research on a topic which requires everyday school subject learning as well as combines my passion for the sport of golf. While initially, I wanted to design a sports book that uses science and mathematics to master a sport but I realized that it wouldn’t workout in the long run. Finally, I decided to design a golf course with a left-hand bias.
I came up with this idea in Katameya Heights Golf Resort in Cairo, Egypt where I stood on the majestic signature 15th hole of their championship course four years ago. The idea kept hitting my mind but I never got a chance to implement it as I did not get time to plan it out and I did not know how golf courses were planned and constructed (as I was still fairly new to golf back then). But the MYP Personal Project gave me the perfect chance to put this idea on paper as I had played on many more golf courses and I knew the “Behind the Scenes” of Golf Courses.
Since I have many golfer friends who are left-handed, they believe that for once, they should be able to have the edge over their opponents mentally because of the course layout. Designing a golf course involves several parameters like Digital Design, Physics, Mathematics, Economics and Geography to make the field fun and challenging for golfers.
I spoke with several left-handed golfers as part of my research before making the layout for my course and I found that lefties play similar shot shapes with each distance so I used this information to create a golf course which completely eases out the course management and strategy/planning for the left hander. For example, in shots longer than 200m, Left-Handed golfers curve the ball from right to left so in the holes which required longer shots, I had placed
the hazards on the right so that left handers needn’t worry as much as the ball is curving away from the hazard and toward safety.
For less than 200m shots, they curve the ball from left to right so I did the exact opposite with the hazard placement. However, people would also want to play in a golf course which is fun as well as challenging for golfers of all levels so I placed hazards in decent spots all around the course to make it slightly challenging for left handers while maintaining the bias. I realized my golf course wouldn’t be attractive without a course book.
Before making a coursebook, I saw that other coursebooks had descriptions of the hole. To make my project unique, with the description, I added a strategy section which would help left-handed golfers approach the hole better for lower scores as well as inform right-handed golfers why the hole has a left handed bias. For the challenging parts of the course, I went through several interviews of course architects/designers as well as studied websites to learn how a course is made to suit every player.
Being a golfer also helped me immensely while designing my course. The final addition was of tee markers. Each player is different in terms of how far they can hit the ball and their experience/skill level so I added tee markers (different distances) to make it fair for short and long hitters as well as for professional and amateur golfers.
This is when I had ticked the boxes for a perfect course – fun, challenging and fair (while maintaining a left-hand bias)
This project turned out to be a very unique experience because of the lefty element. A lot of research, drafting and re-submissions went into finalizing this project but I learnt from my mistakes and persevere in order to complete it successfully and receive the highest grade.
The writer, Aditya Pande is an avid golfer and a student at Oberoi International School (Goregaon) Grade 11.