Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Mike McGuire on November 25, 2009, 01:42:56 PM

Title: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Mike McGuire on November 25, 2009, 01:42:56 PM
This piggybacks on the thread started by Tom MacWood on how hard should we make our courses.

During a recent presentation our of long range plan (West Bend CC) I quoted the architect on bunkers.

"Hazards should be placed so that any player can avoid them if he gauges his ability correctly, so that these obstacles will make every manís game more interesting, no matter what class player he is."

William Langford

I had a picture of our first hole and tried to explain that the left approach bunker (NLE) provides interest for the player who could not reach the green in two. Instead of mindlessly slapping the ball in the direction of the green he had the opportunity to contend with a hazard.

Of course a hand shot up and a past president asked "doesn't that bunker unfairly punish the high handicapper?"

Whats the proper response?


(http://img.skitch.com/20091125-88pii8ir6jpayapes9aj6eghhm.gif)
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 25, 2009, 02:43:24 PM
No one is forcing the high handicapper to hit the ball near the bunker in question. However, all greenside bunkers force the high handicapper to hit near them. The unfair bunkers are the greenside ones.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Joe Hancock on November 25, 2009, 04:01:06 PM
I'm surprised that anyone would declare any of those bunkers "unfair".

Isn't every golf course more difficult for the high handicapper by default?

If the greenside bunkers are unfair because they're more likely to have a high handicapper hit into it, then I don't know what we need architects for. The next move will be to ban all bunkers because they are unfair.

Joe
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on November 25, 2009, 04:49:41 PM
The proper response it, "It depends on your theory of design."

I can see his point.  It is the prevailing theory of the 1930's to 1970's at most courses.  The logic is that they may not be unfair, but they may be unnecessary, or at least less necessary than a lot of other potential bunkers.

First, IF that is as far as the bogey golfer can hit it, he has already missed the green in two.

Second, I can't measure the fw width there, but the landing area is sort of narrow, which defeats Langford's dictum of being easy enough to avoid. 

Third, why does he need a potential stroke further added to his score if he hasn't reached the green?  Does that make his game more interesting than a chip shot up the hill?  Especially on the first hole where extra bunker shots might slow down play and thus affect the enjoyment of all who follow more than is necessary?

Lastly, is there any real advantage to being left or right on the third? (there may be, but its not entirely evident from the plan.  The golfer will have a choice of laying up left or carrying right. I suspect that any thinking golfer would accept the slightly longer shot, but it may depend on contour and pin position, not to mention you really have to lay up to stay short of the right bunker if you miss it to that side.  Short version is, I suspect they might act as pinch bunkers and force the layup too far away for comfort.

The other theory is that the high handicapper pays as much as the low one, and should have just as many bunkers to contend with.  And, the staggered nature of the 2 proposed bunkers does create some strategy.  You just have to be sure that these type bunkers really, really work, whereas any bunker at the green works for all.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Sean_A on November 25, 2009, 05:40:52 PM
Hmmm, judging from the sketch, it looks like the green opens slightly to the left - about the direction of the left bunker.  So it would seem the bunker pushes golfers out right.  If this is the case, a guy who isn't going to make the green for whatever reason takes on both bunkers and his reward is a lesser angle.  Plus, the green looks to be elevated and slightly moving left just shy of the green - further hampering the approach from the right.  IF all this is accurate, I don't care for it IN THEORY.  In practice it may be fine.

Ciao
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Mike McGuire on November 25, 2009, 06:26:20 PM
Here is an image from the very right to give you an idea of the elevation. The fairway is 55 yards wide.



(http://img.skitch.com/20091125-je9k4fchafc3xa2jx9ehkknb6a.gif)
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 25, 2009, 08:02:37 PM
I'm surprised that anyone would declare any of those bunkers "unfair".

Isn't every golf course more difficult for the high handicapper by default?

If the greenside bunkers are unfair because they're more likely to have a high handicapper hit into it, then I don't know what we need architects for. The next move will be to ban all bunkers because they are unfair.

Joe

Joe,

It was a bit of tongue in cheek about the nonsense of calling golf unfair. As if to say if you want to call bunkers unfair, then you best start with the greenside bunkers, because everyone has to go there. Otherwise, sit down and shut up.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Phil McDade on November 25, 2009, 08:03:05 PM
Two more views of the 1st at West Bend; photos as usual do not do justice to the severely uphill nature of this hole, which resembles something of a volcano green site. According to my scorecard of a few years ago, the 1st plays at 420 yds from the tips, 405 from the blues, and 304 from the whites. I'd suggest the hole plays 20-30 yards longer than on the card because of its rugged uphill nature. The second photo provides some indication of the fairway width Mike describes; the rightside fairway bunker to be restored in Mike's diagram is the one just over the shoulders of the two golfers on the right side of the fairway in the second photo.


(http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l76/rjdaley/P1010067-2.jpg)

(http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l76/rjdaley/P1010068-1.jpg)

Mike -- My own sense, as the high handicapper referenced by your fellow club member, is that the addition of the left-side bunker will make this hole more difficult, perhaps by a fair amount. The reason is that the high handicapper will almost certainly be hitting a fairway wood/hybrid for his second shot. That means threading a shot between the right-side bunker and the restored one on the left, because as the hole is now, the high-handicap bailout area is left, because as the photos indicate, there is a severe (and I do mean severe) drop-off short-right of the green. The high handicapper, in determing how to play this hole if restored to your diagram, is probably thinking -- hit the fairway with a drive, and then land my second shot in that now-newly narrowed "throat" between those two bunkers.

But, from looking at the diagram, I'd be all for restoring it, and having played the hole, I think in keeping with Langford's thoughts on shot values and demands he put on both high and low handicappers.

Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on November 25, 2009, 08:47:45 PM
Mike,

I think most, if not every bunker punishes one faction of golfer more or less than other factions, however, the play of a round isn't about one hole and/or one feature on that hole.

Handicap/player wise, the architect has "no dog in the fight".
He tends to forge a disinterested 18 hole challenge, one that neither favors nor punishes a select faction.

While one feature or one hole may favor a draw, another hole may favor a fade.
While one hole may favor length, another may favor accuracy.
While one hole may favor the high handicapper, another may favor the low handicapper,
but, overall, the challenge presented in all 18 holes "BALANCES OUT" favoring no one faction.

That's the biggest problem I see with green committees and boards, they try to amend/alter the golf course to favor their particular game, giving no consideration to the games of other players.

That a bunker's position may favor someone who draws the ball versus a fader is part of the randomness of bunker placement.

One of the things I always liked about NGLA was that a bunker normally out of play for me when I was playing well, came into play when I didn't play well.  The bunker pattern on the 18th hole is a perfect example.  With a good drive, many bunkers are out of play on my second and/or approach shot.  But, with a mediocre or poor drive, those bunkers normally out of play, come abruptly into play.

I think that's an advantage of random bunkering.

Since the play of the game is unpredictable, having random bunkering comes into play with unpredictable play.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Sean_A on November 26, 2009, 03:18:07 AM
Man, looking at that cool green-site I have to wonder why any green-side bunkers are needed.  Seems to me, if he left side is the place to attack from, a bunker should be placed there to make the player earn the angle.  For the life of me, I can't see why 5 bunkers are needed for this hole - its a classic case of over-bunkering so far as I am concerned.  But, if the goal is to restore a Langford course/hole, then why bother with half measures?  Do it right.

Ciao
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Mike McGuire on November 26, 2009, 12:20:57 PM

That's the biggest problem I see with green committees and boards, they try to amend/alter the golf course to favor their particular game, giving no consideration to the games of other players.



Pat,

So, instead of the bankers and insurance men that have run our board and committees, and who made the decisions to disfigured our course over the years, we should do what our current architect advises? Which is put it back to what the original architect intended.

Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Carl Rogers on November 26, 2009, 12:59:13 PM
I would view this hole a bit too severe for the high handicapper, because there is little room to play away from the bunkers short of the green.

I do think that many holes are too bland for the high handicapper, because there is not enough for them to do. 

A suggestion...
If the Architect were to imagine a low handicap with only a 6 iron as the longest club in their bag using an old highly inferior inaccurate ball.  Would that be a way to design for the less skilled?
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Garland Bayley on November 27, 2009, 12:13:38 PM
My apologies to Joe for a very poorly self edited post. I meant to write an explanation along the lines of

It was a bit of tongue in cheek about the nonsense of calling golf unfair. As if to say if you want to call bunkers unfair, then you best start with the greenside bunkers, because everyone has to go there. Otherwise, sit down and shut up.

My thanks to Bill for calling me out one my terrible writing/editing skills.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Joe Hancock on November 27, 2009, 02:51:09 PM
My apologies to Joe for a very poorly self edited post. I meant to write an explanation along the lines of

It was a bit of tongue in cheek about the nonsense of calling golf unfair. As if to say if you want to call bunkers unfair, then you best start with the greenside bunkers, because everyone has to go there. Otherwise, sit down and shut up.

My thanks to Bill for calling me out one my terrible writing/editing skills.


If it offended me, I didn't realize. But you know what they say.."ignorance is bliss..."

 :)
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Mark Chaplin on November 28, 2009, 03:55:46 AM
From the Deal suggestion book after compaints regarding the difficulty of the bunkers "members are advised to stick to the fairways".....simplez stupidz
 
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Ronald Montesano on November 28, 2009, 08:58:11 AM
A)  It seems to me that the bogey bunker (the 90 shooter) is the short right one, not the long leftie.  The bogey hitter will come off the ball or chop across it, sending an inefficient shot to the right, into the bunker.

B)  This hole is a fine par 5 for the bogey golfer.  If she/he tries to be heroic and takes on the two sand pits, bravo and take your medicine, should it be bitter.  Remember, any day in the sand trap is better than a day of work or imprisonment.

C)  What is the distance from the middle of the right bunker to the green?  I'm guessing about 100 yards, uphill.  That' about 115 total, no more than an 8-iron for the bogey golfer.  What's wrong with laying up and coming in with a full swing?  Is it flat there?  Most bogey golfers have no idea that they have to tilt their shoulders parallel to the ground (uphill, downhill) and tend to stick uphill partial wedge swings into the slope, coming up fat and short.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Phil McDade on November 28, 2009, 12:09:20 PM
Ronald:

As a high-handicapper who has played this hole, I do think most such players would view this as a par 4.5, if not a par 5. It's a very tough opening hole for the high-handicapper, not only because of its length (assume playing from the 405-yd blues, not the whites, which makes the hole considerably easier), which is really in the 425-35 yd range for the high-handicapper, but also the entire hole sort of feeds everything to the right. If you look at the second of the photos I posted earlier, take a look at the stance and lie of GCA's own Eric Terhorst at address. It just screams "slice" for the mediocre ball striker -- I've always thought one of the hardest shots for the high-handicapper is an uphill shot off a sidehill (particularly with the ball below your feet) lie. On the other hand, the high-handicapper playing this hole as a par 5 would in my view be left with some awkward shots with the bunkers restored. The golfer unsure of carrying the bunkers with his second shot, and/or unsure of being able to thread his second between the bunkers into a newly narrowed landing area short of the green, will be left with an awkward, maybe 8-iron second shot. Then perhaps another similar-length shot into the green for his third. (Left unsaid here so far but worth mentioning is the often severly penal nature of Langford bunkers, which are quite deep. They are not the kind of places you want to be in if a high-handicapper. i.e, when I play Lawsonia, I seek to avoid at all costs the bunkers there, as they easily a full stroke penalty.)

As previously stated, I think the bunker restorations will make this hole tougher, for both the low- and high-handicapper, but again, I find the bunkers in keeping with Langford's broad views about bunkers and shot values.
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: BCrosby on November 28, 2009, 01:00:48 PM
Assuming that the best way into the green is from the left, why wouldn't this be a well positioned strategic bunker?

Or, to get to the same point, you might have asked your fellow member what he means by "unfair" in this context. My guess is that he won't have a very coherent answer. Unless he simply means that bunker would be too hard for him to carry. In which case you can move on to the next question. 

Bob 
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Sean_A on November 28, 2009, 01:42:55 PM
Assuming that the best way into the green is from the left, why wouldn't this be a well positioned strategic bunker?

Or, to get to the same point, you might have asked your fellow member what he means by "unfair" in this context. My guess is that he won't have a very coherent answer. Unless he simply means that bunker would be too hard for him to carry. In which case you can move on to the next question. 

Bob 
Bob

From the sketch, it looks as though the best angle of approach after a layup is exactly where that bunker is.  Essentially, if my take is correct, anybody that can't reach who wants to to take on the bunkers is forced right to the poor angle.  As one who likes to see sparse bunkering that has maximum impact, I don't see that as a best use of bunkering. 

Ciao
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: RJ_Daley on November 28, 2009, 02:14:13 PM
When this hole was first conceived and built, there were no trees.  And, I'd like to review any photos of the FW mowing lines.  I think that Langford and Morreau may have liked the placement to challenge the high handicapper "TO GET BETTER".  If it is 'unfair' to the high handicapper, it is to teach that player about ball placement and hitting better shots, IMHO.  Don't we all play often to get better?  How do we get better if we don't learn, even if it is a slow painful learning process.  Pretty soon, even the dullard high handicapper will alter his game to avoid the designed in penalties.  But, I think in this case, a few trees need to be removed as it was back in the day (like the one behind the second photo, of the gullwing (grass bunker), or the conifer near where the new bogey bunker was to be placed.  No need for any trees if the bunkers are to be restored as the bunker is hazard enough, IMHO.  I think you should make the area around the bunker, even for the missed shot free of trees.  If the player already takes on a flirt with the bogey bunker to try and place it to the better side green opening for the pitch shot 3rd shot, why still punish him if he risked and avoided the bunker, by still giving him a  conifer tree to contend with?  And, mow more FW over there and on the right side pitching area, say another 8-10 yards.

As far as the specific placement of the 'bogey bunker', doesn't that add to the 'line of charm notion' that the high handicapper has the thrill of a layup placement to the preferred pitching position from the left?  Maybe for that guy, it is the double bogey bunker.  After all, bogey is that man's par, so double is about what he might have to settle for.  
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Sean_A on November 28, 2009, 04:43:32 PM
When this hole was first conceived and built, there were no trees.  And, I'd like to review any photos of the FW mowing lines.  I think that Langford and Morreau may have liked the placement to challenge the high handicapper "TO GET BETTER".  If it is 'unfair' to the high handicapper, it is to teach that player about ball placement and hitting better shots, IMHO.  Don't we all play often to get better?  How do we get better if we don't learn, even if it is a slow painful learning process.  Pretty soon, even the dullard high handicapper will alter his game to avoid the designed in penalties.  

RJ

This sounds a perfect rational for penal golf.  I am not saying its bad or even less than desirable on this hole - only that I wouldn't like to see this line of thinking be considered ideal for most golf. 

Ciao

Sean
Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: Mike McGuire on November 28, 2009, 06:08:56 PM


From the sketch, it looks as though the best angle of approach after a layup is exactly where that bunker is.  Essentially, if my take is correct, anybody that can't reach who wants to to take on the bunkers is forced right to the poor angle.  As one who likes to see sparse bunkering that has maximum impact, I don't see that as a best use of bunkering. 

Ciao

Sean

The left is not really favored. It is slightly higher on the left but still way uphill. The pin would dictate the preferred angle.  If the pin is front right I actually prefer the right side as there is a little backboard in the middle (which makes a shot coming from the left hard to stop)

Title: Re: Bogey bunkers
Post by: BCrosby on November 29, 2009, 11:08:50 AM
"Essentially, if my take is correct, anybody that can't reach who wants to to take on the bunkers is forced right to the poor angle."

Sean -

Not sure I follow you. As my computer guru friend says, that sounds like a feature not a glitch.

Mike's interlocutor, the guy who can't reach the bunker, has a range of interesting choices to make (his complaints about "unfairness" notwithstanding). One of which is to play right of the bunker. An intriguing, risky choice for a weaker player. Or he could play more conservatively and leave it short of the bunker. This is, after all, a par 5, a three shot hole for the bogey player. The existence of those interesting choices is predicated on the existence of the bunker. For that reason, I think it was a good one and should be restored.

Bob