Avoiding the Inertia Trap: Take Your Clubs Around the World | Golf News and Tour Information

There are two types golfers: those who are looking for new courses and those who are not.

Despite global pandemics, inertia is what keeps people at home. Maybe a membership has been paid for and each spin increases a certain utility divisor. Maybe someone in your life keeps your clock and calendar with an overly sharp pencil. Maybe you’ve found enough fascination to try to replicate shots in a game where no two are ever the same. I’ve gone so far that if giving up was the only other option, I’d gladly sign up to play the same two holes for the rest of my life in a Sisyphean nightmare. It’s actually a fun question to ask with friends: which back-to-back holes on your home course would you choose?

I can almost understand not traveling to play. Despite all the inconveniences of living in a crowded New York suburb, the MGA (Metropolitan Golf Association) collection of courses might be the best in the world. Tee off in the central elevator bank of the Golf Digest offices at Discovery Sports headquarters on Park Avenue in Manhattan, trace a 100 mile radius and you’ll hit 27 courses of our largest 200, starting with Pine Valley, Shinnecock , Merion, National, Fishers Island, Winged Foot, Bethpage, Friar’s Head, Sebonack, Baltusrol, Somerset Hills, Garden City, Sleepy Hollow, etc. And, oh, wait until Gil Hanse finishes Yale.

Yes, golf in my corner of the world breathes tradition: leather moccasins, caddies, sumptuous menus, history, masonry, waiting lists, tips. Sometimes more snobby golfers refer to playing a slightly lower course as “camping”. (Such people should be slapped, by the way.) Despite snowy winters, the best players in the Met Division continue to win everywhere. This is Alpha Golf, which is why I was intrigued when I heard about the recent opening of Inness in Accord, NY

Named for the area’s 19th-century landscape painter George Inness, it’s the proverbial back nine of Tad King and Rob Collins’ cult ‘little course that could’ Sweetens Cove in Tennessee. Although 900 miles apart, the two nine-hole layouts would fit together perfectly with their friendly width and meaningful architectural elements for all skill levels. Both emphasize walkability, durability and a relaxed vibe. In the Inness Golf Shop, you’ll find a woodstove, IPA fridge, and the pro chef who rocks light hikers Merrell. John DeForest, 65, carries a Sunday bag with no headgear and still displays the game that took place in three major tournaments.

I played with DeForest and Lee Pollock, one of the developers. Pollock is proud that the property “doesn’t look like a golf resort.” Farm-to-table dining, contemporary cabins, hiking and swimming are more like a nature retreat. For a century, affluent and stressed New Yorkers have escaped to such havens in the Catskill Mountains, but golf has rarely been involved and never quite like it.

“I just want this place to be fun,” says Pollock, who asked my opinion on finishing details like extra tee boxes and whether to put in a practice field or a short course next. Like at Sweetens, it plans to sell passes to addicts to roam the course all day and fancy events where golfers choose from several cup placements. For now, his plan is a mix of complex and public play with green fees at $90 for nine holes and $135 for 18, and annual memberships for $6,000. With the rise of remote working, Pollock knows the ability to have longer, longer weekends is increasingly valuable.

For me, Inness was just over two hours away. It’s the bare minimum of what qualifies as a “golf trip” I think. Throughout this special issue you will find stories that could inspire you to take your clubs around the world. Wherever you go, you’ll remember one truth: golf’s biggest trap isn’t made of sand; he plays nothing but the same course over and over.

Michael C. Ford