Playing in the Pasture

Images of the Dubai Classic and the Masters at Augusta raise golfers aesthetic expectations to levels barely attainable. Fast rolling greens, lush fairways, blue ponds and sculpted white sand bunkers cost money, mostly because they are highly resource intensive. But not all golfers are as demanding as the pros, enter Pasture Golf.

This type of golf is attractive to those looking for a low green fee, want to wear Birkenstocks or boots, or those naturalists/purists who believe that modern golf courses bear little resemblance to the links style of their ancestral roots. Many people are starting to share the view with that "the prolific use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, refrigerated greens (you think we're kidding, don't you?)" are actually hurting the game, and potentially threatening the environment.

The Pasture Golf website outlines the locations and individuality of many courses that meet their strict expectations. I was surprised to find out how many are located near me.

Here's one down in Kansas.

Due to the strong natural character of these courses they have unique house rules, some of these include:

Smedberg Pines Golf Course in Pollock Pines, California - Bear shit counts as a "loose impediment". The house may be considered a "hazard". Don't spend more than 5 minutes looking for any one ball. Beware of cars on #4 and #12. Read yardages on every hole, it's a short course. See nothing, feel nothing and be the ball.

Ernie Holzemer's Four Hole Pasture Golf Course in Amidon, North Dakota - has it's own particular rules:
No Golf Carts Rule - It would cut playing time down to five minutes.

Badger Rule - "If a badger steals your ball, don't mess with the badger."

Gopher Rule - "If a gopher steals your ball, it's legal to retrieve it from the gopher hole."

7-Iron Rule - "Use your 7-iron to kill rattlesnakes."

Alaskan Pasture Golf Courses are no different:

The Raven Rule - Muskeg Meadows Golf Course, Wrangell, Alaska
If a raven steals your ball, you may replace it with no penalty, if you have a witness to the theft.

The Critter Rule - Birch Ridge Golf Course, Soldotna, Alaska
Please allow moose and other wild critters to play through!

The Bear Rule - Bear Valley Golf Course, Kodiak, Alaska
Bears have the right to play through.

Relief from Moose Tracks - Mt. Fairweather Golf Course
Take relief from moose tracks.

Free Drop - North Star Golf Club, Fairbanks, Alaska
If raven or fox steals ball, take free drop at theft location.