BCrosby

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TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« on: December 03, 2012, 07:03:28 pm »
Peter Dawson's ex post public rationale for the changes to no. 2:

• No. 2 green

“This will be the most noticeable change this winter. We don’t use the bottom part of the green on the right-hand side at Championship time because it’s far too easy. The reason it’s too easy is that the land to right of the green is very, very flat and you are on grass that is as good as putting greens at most courses. So there is almost no premium for hitting the green.

“What we are planning to do there is make the flat part to the right of the green slightly undulating. It will be just enough to make you think about what line you’ve got to take with the putter.

“There are two bunkers short and right 25 yards away from the green and I can’t get the hang of why they are there. No one is ever in them and so they are being moved closer to the green.”


If I were Peter Dawson, I would have carefully checked scoring at recent Opens as verification (or not) for my decision to toughen the 2nd green at TOC. I would have thought that nothing would be more relevant. As an extra benefit, I would have been able to point to those numbers to demonstrate the unwarranted "hysteria" of my critics.  

Mark Bourgeois has done Peter Dawson's work for him. The numbers on the 2nd are as follows:

Tiger Woods, 1995-2010: 1 birdie, 10 pars, 3 bogeys, 1 double, and 1 triple
Winners, 1995-2010: 0 birdies, 14 pars, 2 bogeys
Field, 2010: 53 birdies, 291 pars, 108 bogeys, 12 doubles, 2 others

What's wrong with the 2nd? I'm struggling here.... If it is playing above par for the best players in the world and is a hole of unique historical significance, help me understand why it is "hysterical" to object to the evisceration of one of the hole's most important features? Or maybe the rationale given publically is not the real rationale? As noted, I'm struggling here..

Changes to the Eden green raise similar issues. If I were Peter Dawson I would have anticipated a strong reaction to changing the Eden green. I would have wanted to point out to my critics that the Hill Bunker is of less relevance and, as a result, the green has become too accommodating.  I would have done my homenwork to help make my case. I would have checked actual scoring on the hole and been forearmed.

Mark has done Dawson's homework for him on the Eden Hole, and alas..

Winners, 1995-2010: 2 birdies, 13 pars, 1 bogey
Field, 2010: 24 birdies, 327 pars, 102 bogeys, 13 doubles

If I were Peter Dawson I would try to say less about the "hysteria" of my critics.

Bob
 

 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 07:11:39 pm by BCrosby »

Mark Pearce

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 07:28:05 pm »
Bob,

As you know, I'm as upset as anyone at the way these changes have been made and the way their announcement was handled.

However, the changes to both these holes are being made, according to Dawson, to allow the R&A to use pin positions (rhs on the 2nd, back left on 11) that they currently can't use (too slopy on 11, too easy on 2).  Data collected when they don't use those positions doesn't really have much relevance to the question of whether those changes will "improve" the hole by enabling the use of those pin positions.  In this respect, it would be interesting if anyone has records of hole locations on these holes in the last 4 opens at TOC to see if Dawson is right that, for instance, they don't use a rhs pin position on 2.  The need for these added hole locations is another question.  As you say, these holes do a decent job of defending themselves and, as Rihc has pointed out elsewhere, the rhs of 2 wasn't green at all 85 years ago.  It's not like it's a tiny green, either.
2015 played:  Northumberland, Dunbar, North Berwick West Links, Muirfield, Elie, Crail Balcomie and Craighead, Moraine CC, Springfield CC, The Golf Club, Rockliffe Hall, Wynyard Hall, The Berkshire Red and Blue, Beaconsfield, Ganton, Notts

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 07:50:44 pm »
Mark -

My thought process goes something as follows:

-  All things being equal, it is always better to have more pin locations.
- Things are not equal at TOC because of its unique historical importance
-  Hence the usually innocuous desire for more pin positions must overcome a presumption that you are tampering with a course of unique imprtance to the history of the game.
-  One way to overcome that presumption against changing TOC is to show that the pros are now butchering the course.
-  They aren't. To the contrary, the TOC is holding up remarkably well against the pros.
-  It follows that TOC should, to the extent reasonbaly possible, not be changed if the reason is simply to offer more challenging pin positions.

In short, what is a laudable goal on most courses is one that carries special consequences at TOC. Consequences that should be avoided if at all possible.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 07:59:27 pm by BCrosby »

Paul_Turner

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 10:31:27 pm »
Mark

I don't know about 4 Opens, but for the past 2 Opens.

2nd only the upper level

11th two positions, one behind Strath and another father back from there, up  near the edge of the green.  Two great pin positions.

I'd like to know when the Hill position was last used in an Open.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Alex Miller

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 10:56:21 pm »
Mark -

My thought process goes something as follows:

-  All things being equal, it is always better to have more pin locations.
- Things are not equal at TOC because of its unique historical importance
-  Hence the usually innocuous desire for more pin positions must overcome a presumption that you are tampering with a course of unique imprtance to the history of the game.
-  One way to overcome that presumption against changing TOC is to show that the pros are now butchering the course.
-  They aren't. To the contrary, the TOC is holding up remarkably well against the pros.
-  It follows that TOC should, to the extent reasonbaly possible, not be changed if the reason is simply to offer more challenging pin positions.

In short, what is a laudable goal on most courses is one that carries special consequences at TOC. Consequences that should be avoided if at all possible.

Bob

Wonderfully said.

Neil_Crafter

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 12:53:40 am »
Lack of pin positions on the largest greens in world golf?? BS.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 04:43:12 pm »
More to the point, they do use these pin positions... they just don't use them for the pros...

Greg T

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 05:03:48 pm »
More to the point, they do use these pin positions... they just don't use them for the pros...

That's true I've played it there a few times, and it is too easy from there, especially from the rhs of the fairway.

Not sure that they'd put a pin there for the Open, but the thought might be to utilise the rhs of the green more to let other areas of the green rest given the traffic the OC sees.

Might be wrong, but I do see some logic why they want to touch up that part of the hole.

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 05:30:01 pm »
More to the point, they do use these pin positions... they just don't use them for the pros...

Which is really my point. If they don't need those pin positions to defend against pros butchering the course (clearly they don't), then changing the course to create those pin positions was purely a matter of Peter Dawson thinking they were a good idea.

That's what I was trying to flush out with this thread. And that ought to be seen as very troubling.

Basing the changes not on a perceived need to keep up with the pros (which is a bad argument, but at least an understandable one), but rather on what the current course administrator thinks are good ideas is the worst possible basis for changing the most historic course in the world. Not just for the content of his ideas, but for the precedent this sets. 

Even worse, his ideas were not disclosed ex ante for public comment. I note that the last round of changes made to Jubilee several years ago were fully vetted. They know how to do it.

Bob

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 05:48:24 pm »
Ah yes, Bob... I get you now... And I agree...

Greg - The Open gets no more traffic than every other day of the year. In my opinion, there is absolutely no way that they are having wear issues over a 4 day event with the biggest greens (and fescue greens at that) in the world.

jeffwarne

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 06:02:56 pm »
Isn't part of the charm of a great course to have easier holes and or pin placements as well as really difficult holes and or pin placements?
The idea that one hole is too easy ,or another is too hard wreaks of homoginization and worse yet the F word.

A hole such as #9 or #2 to an unprotected right pin creates its own set of pressures and rewards in that  a better player feels a small sense of remorse if he merely pars it, and a higher handicapper is thrilled at a chance for a par. Do we need par 3.6 and 4.5 to combat this constant need to make every hole "fair" in relation to par?

Bob,
a good logical argument.
As I see it, the old setup provides a wider variety of ease/difficulty in pin positions, allowing the course to be balanced under different daily setups.

.....to say nothing of fuc$%#ing with hundreds of years of tradition ::) ::)

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 06:37:00 pm »
Jeff -

I had first thought that they wanted to toughen the 2nd because other holes were aleardy tough enough. The 2nd was a breather, so crank up the D-6 and have at it.

It turns out the 2nd is anything but a breather hole.

Which leaves only one other possible rationale for the changes being made to it. The course manager thought it would be a good idea to change it.

Which is to completely misunderstand the status of TOC. Good ideas are a dime a dozen. Over a couple of beers you and I can come up with any number of "improvements" to TOC.

We have a duty to TOC that is much higher than that.

Bob  
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 06:38:53 pm by BCrosby »

Rich Goodale

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 07:35:29 pm »
It's not (wasn't? :'() a breather hole but a boring one, Bob.  That's why I'm not on the side of the Luddites.
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.

--Jonathan Swift, Tale of a Tub

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 07:54:51 pm »
If you find the humps and bumps in the green surrounds and the dramatic internal green contours, juxtaposed against an enticing, benign entrance from the right, to be a "boring" hole, we inhabit very different universes. It was a great hole. It is a less great hole now. But don't believe me. Arguably the best architect alive feels the same way about the 2nd. All without mentioning the respect given to the hole by a who's who of architects who have passed from this mortal coil.   

More to the point, if you think the holes on the Old Course are fodder for 'improvement' by whomever the course manager happens to be, now or in the future, we have very different ideas about what TOC means to the game.

Bob

Rich Goodale

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 08:46:24 pm »
Bob

Left hand side of the 2nd hole = great
Right hand side of the 2nd hole (c. November 20 2012) = boring
Right hand side of the 2nd hole (today) = less boring

Rich

PS--I might get up to St. A tomorrow and am prepared to change my mind if the circumstnaces so require.  If not, one of us has to promise to go back to the planet Mongo, where one of us obviously belongs.....
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.

--Jonathan Swift, Tale of a Tub

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 09:40:55 pm »
Rich -

We can argue about the 2nd hole until the cows come home. The change is misguided. It evidences a failure to understand an important aspect of what made the 2nd so good architecturally.

But there is a much bigger issue. That is the precedent set by Dawson. Specifically, that the Old Course manager, if he comes up with some really good ideas, should feel free to pursue them. Now and in the future. I do not take seriously the hand waving about honoring TOC's traditions. I hear it as self serving and simply clearing the decks for what the Links Trust wants to do.

The procedural shift (one that probably should have alarmed us several years ago), that the unique status of TOC can be subordinated to  the Links Trust's coolest new ideas for "improving" the course, is what is most deeply troubling. That is the real issue. I see no checks on that process, whether by way of mandatory periods for public comment, pre-construction disclosure of the rationale for changes or any other limitations on the Trust. And I derive no comfort from the actions actually taken by the principals to date.

Bob

« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 10:11:37 pm by BCrosby »

Rich Goodale

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 11:37:43 pm »
Bob

The owners of the Old Course have always had the right to do what they want with their land (within statutory limits) for many years.  These owners have included:

The Town (whatever to 1797)
The Erskines of Cambo (1797-1799)
The Dempster family (1799-1821)
The Cheape family (1821-1893)
The R&A (1893-1894)
The Town (1894-1913)
The Town Council (1913-1974)
The Links Trust 1974-today)

Read the history of this ownership and please tell me what in your opintion has it been that the Links trust has not done as well as the previous owners in its brief period of stewardship?

Rich
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.

--Jonathan Swift, Tale of a Tub

BCrosby

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 11:55:19 pm »
The relevant issue is not the owners of the course; it's who was empowered to change it. For many years that was the R&A Green Committee composed of R&A members with some representation frm the town. Since the 1920's, changes have been relatively minor and for that reason certain expectations about the course were established over the last eight or nine decades.

The recent actions by the Links Trust suggest that the deference once given to the historic course we have come to know might be a thing of the past.

I obviously don't have a vote in what they do. But, as a powerless outsider, I nonetheless have the right to express my concerns and ask that they reconsider their actions.

Bob


Chris Kane

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2012, 01:03:22 am »
Rich, the Links Trust do not own the course, they are a statutory body appointed to manage St Andrews Links on behalf of the townspeople.

Rich Goodale

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 01:13:33 am »
Rich, the Links Trust do not own the course, they are a statutory body appointed to manage St Andrews Links on behalf of the townspeople.

I know this, Chris, but they have effective "ownership" given that "the townspeople" don't really give a flying fuck.
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.

--Jonathan Swift, Tale of a Tub

Mark Pearce

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2012, 01:51:55 am »
Technically the Town Council own the land which is managed by the Trust "as a public park and place of public resort and recreation for the residents of St. Andrews and others resorting thereto"
2015 played:  Northumberland, Dunbar, North Berwick West Links, Muirfield, Elie, Crail Balcomie and Craighead, Moraine CC, Springfield CC, The Golf Club, Rockliffe Hall, Wynyard Hall, The Berkshire Red and Blue, Beaconsfield, Ganton, Notts

Bill Brightly

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2012, 02:49:44 am »
Does this hole normally play into or with the prevaling wind?

Prior to the work, if a player hit a good drive down the right side and the pin was right, would the smart approach aerial, flying the ball to the green, or bounced short and rolling onto the green?

If the latter, do the bunkers eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of players choosing to hit a low ruining shot? (And does this answer vary for pros versus average players?)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 02:51:24 am by Bill Brightly »

Jeb Bearer

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2012, 02:58:19 am »
Quote
It will be just enough to make you think about what line you’ve got to take with the putter.

What about making you think what line to take off the tee? The new hole will just be a standard trouble right/trouble left par four where anything in the fairway is left with an equally poor angle. And since when was it bad to have a pin position that offers a birdie chance every now and then? Isn't the "give and take" one of the most essential elements of golf course architecture?

Sean_A

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2012, 03:03:50 am »
Bill

I think the prevailing wind is down and quartering from the left.  The new bunkers definitely cut off a front right flag.  I spose, if one is a lot better than me, he could try to bang a shot off the centre-left mounds and get to a front right flag.  For the pros with a normal wind I really don't know if they drive left and go for the precision one bouncer onto the green or right and try to hold up a draw into the wind from the right.  Perhaps many would just plan to be 20 feet past the flag and have a flat putt for birdie.  In any case, I don't see much difference for pros considering its a 4 day tournament.  For me its a big difference as my landing zone has disappeared.  I would probably change the way I see the hole when the hole is front right and come more from centre-left rather than from down the right.  I spose this brings Cheape's more into play, but I can't really get a good angle of approach no matter where I play off the tee.

Ciao
Realistic Next Dozen: Roaring Gap, Orchard Lake, Moortown, Lindrick, Blackmoor, Welshpool,  Mimosa Hills, Leckford, Royal Guernsey, Royal Jersey, Raleigh CC & La Moye

Bill Brightly

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Re: TOC - 2nd green "...too easy"
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2012, 07:20:51 am »
Sean,

When you say that your landing area has disappeared, do you mean where your second shot lands? In other words, if the pin was on the right, you would have played a shot that landed short and rolled on to the green? And now two new bunkers have been placed where you wanted to land your approach?

That is how I see the photos, that an aerial approach is now called required.

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