How is the AF Academy course these days?
Chris unfortunately I haven't seen them since 2006.
Yes, most military courses do become relatively uninteresting,
Interesting comment- why?
Bryan I should say this is my opinion based on playing roughly 30 military courses, 9 of which I consider home courses.
Let's use my last home course, the courses at Eglin Air Force base, as an example. The Eagle course was originally constructed by Langford and Moreau and opened in the 1920's. The club was opened as a course for Chicago businessmen who wintered in the area. Eventually the US Air Force took control of the course. If you look at early aerials of the course almost every hole had fairway bunkers. Currently only the 18th hole has a fairway bunker. Also the green shapes have changed significantly. So why is that?
My thoughts are the courses operate on a constrained budget. This post is already straying a bit from the thread topic and I really don't want it to go further off topic regarding the merits of the US federal government and it's financing but basically most of the golf courses operated by the department of defense utilize something called Nonappropriated Funds. Generally these funds are not funds appropriated by congress in the annual budget. Instead they are funds raised by the sales of goods or services primarily focused on providing morale, welfare and recreation to eligible individuals (usually military members, their families and authorized civilians). Some examples of these services include the golf course, bowling alleys, movie theaters, lodging, gyms, libraries, child/youth services (day care) and some school services (think extra curricular activities associated with schools on military bases). Sure you are thinking all golf courses must operate based on what they can make, but the money from the golf course, which is usually a money maker, is put into a common fund and will offset some of the programs that will loose money (library, school services, gym...). So when the budget is tight the operators of the golf courses need to save money somewhere and I assume they are going to take out bunkers and reduce green sizes.
I recently arrived at a new assignment and found the greens on the golf course were in pretty rough shape, to put it nicely. Two weeks ago they shut down three greens for a week and laid new sod. We are playing on them now. They roll like shit and each green lost about two feet on the edges. I can only assume the reduction in size was to save money on the sod needed to replace the greens. I also assume smaller greens will save money on future maintenance costs.
To bring this back to the Naval Academy Golf Course. The course is operated a little differently than most other DOD courses. The course is essentially operated by a sub-organization of the Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA). NAAA is a 501C3 non-profit organization and has multiple sub organizations. Somehow operating this way allows the money to be raised differently and used differently (think alumni donations). From my understanding this makes a large scale renovation of the golf course a more likely possibility.
p.s. if someone has more knowledge on the topic please correct any errors I have made as I'm by no means an expert on the ins and outs of government finance. I just figured I could contribute as I'm in the military and spend my recreation time playing military courses.