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Mike_Cirba

Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oakmont
« on: March 13, 2003, 09:18:40 AM »
One of the only advantages of the now defunct "anonymous postings" on this board was that sometimes people who didn't want to be identified for political and/or professional reasons would step forward to tell us exactly what they thought about a controversial topic.

Through some carefully worded posts over the past year or so, I've gotten the distinct impression that some of the new "Tiger" tees at Oakmont are severely sloped, hyper-elevated eyesores, even if the added yardage might be deemed necessary by some.

Would anyone care to step forward and speak about them?  Do they blend into the classic design as the old tees did?  

Or, do they stick out like sore thumbs, similar to the new tees on the 12th at Riviera?

I really fell in love with Oakmont when I visited it back in the 80's, so I'm hoping to hear that not only was the tree clearing an enormous success, but that the new tees are in keeping with the character and feel of the place, as well.  

Thanks for any feedback.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2003, 09:49:40 AM »
Mike Cirba:

About a year ago my friend John Zimmers was gracious enough to host me for a day with the understanding that I not go onto GCA and say anything about the work in progress.

John is such a hard worker and such a good person that I'm quite reluctant to say anything that would betray his trust. But, let me me offer the following:

My impression is that the entire leadership of Oakmont takes the heritage of of the club seriously. Henry Fownes conceived the course to be a very difficult, championship test. I won't say that every course should be built with that intent, but clearly that is what Fownes wanted. You could say Fownes wanted for Oakmont what Crump wanted for Pine Valley and Pete Dye wanted for PGA West. Each has its own character, but building something to challenge the very best players was clearly high on the agenda.

I think most people would agree that length is part of challenging the best players. Fownes believed that. I think the Oakmont leadership feels that way as well. Mind you, that is hardly all Oakmont has to offer. So, the pursuit of length is not the be all and end all. It is just one important part of the equation.

Like the tree removal program, the new tees are part of "restoring" Oakmont - or should I say "insuring" that the course will challenge the best players well into the future.

Now, having said all that, I'm not a fan of what has happened with respect to the new tees. Clearly, the tees are an example of the golf technology arms race continuing out of control. It is money the club was forced to spend because the ruling body - the USGA - has been so derelict in its duty. I don't fault Oakmont for wanting to continue its tradition of hosting major championships. As a fan, I'm quite happy they feel that way. But, forcing clubs to do what Oakmont has done is simply wrong in my view. The USGA should find a better way.

Mike, the tees that are likely to stand out are #4 and #7. In other cases, e.g., #15, you may not even notice.

Thanks to John, his crew and support from the Oakmont leadership many good things have been happening as the club prepares for the upcoming US Amateur and the US Open in a few years time.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Mike Hendren

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2003, 09:54:09 AM »
Why doesn't someone invent mobile tees that could be leased to the USGA and PGA Tour?  Perhaps a scissor lift sodded truck bed.  Just drive them to where you want them - heck, move 'em overnight.  Also, lift them up for elevation.  Trade name could by RTJ Run-A-Way tees.

Regards,

Mike
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

John_McMillan

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2003, 11:05:29 AM »
Mike,

One would hope that if such tees were developed for Oakmont, before any USGA competitions Trey Holland would be fully briefed on their movable status :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Chris_Clouser

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2003, 01:03:58 PM »
I can just hear Hootie calling up the vendor and getting one of these.  Then calling Martha Burk and saying, "Martha, how would you like to conduct your protest on our new first tee?"  Then as soon as she steps foot on the sucker, the driver floors it and takes right down the Magnolia Lane and back out on the front door of the club.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeff Goldman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2003, 01:45:31 PM »
I was paired on Pinehurst no. 2 during my recent trip with an Oakmont member, and I asked about the modifications to the course.  He allowed as how some of the members wanted the tree removal so that the course would be more like it was originally designed (duh).  His personal view was that "so long as they don't touch the greens," whatever they did was ok with him.  The tees were for tourneys, and he didn't seem to care about them.  Excellent player by the way, hit it over the green on no. 8 and hit one of those low spinners back which actually stopped dead above the hole.  Wow.

Jeff Goldman
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
That was one hellacious beaver.

Mark_Fine

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2003, 03:53:01 PM »
Mike,
Some are soooo far back, you can't even see them  :)  I believe three of the "par four" holes will play over 500 yards.  
I didn't notice a real concern with their design and would not call them an eye sore!
Mark
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2003, 04:13:16 PM »
I don't believe I understand the question and I don't know what 'skinny' means.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2003, 09:25:18 PM »
Tom Paul;

Then let me be more direct.

I've gotten the sense from a number of posts here that some of the new back tees are Oakmont are hyper-elevated, and out of context with the originals, as well as uncharacteristically lacking something that you often talk about...blending in with the architectural lines of the rest of the course, as well as the surrounding environment.

I completely understand the club's pride in hosting so many important tournaments, as well as their desire to not become outmoded due to technologically fed distance considerations, so if they can create some "elasticity", that's all well and good considering the lack of reasonable alternatives (the USGA & R&A taking some substantive action).  

However, you and I had a conversation regarding the new back tees at Shinnecock, and you expressed some sense of relief when I told you that those tees were generally low-profile, in keeping with the rest of the course.

With both of us having visited Riviera during the past year or so, I'm sure you had the same reaction that I did in looking at the new back tees built on #12, which while ok from an increased distance perspective, look about as well-integrated as Pat Boone in leather. (I had to get that one in based on your comment on the "Soul" thread ;) ).

So, my question is simply this...what do the new tees look like and are they befitting of the general naturalness and classic look of the Oakmont that I know??
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2003, 06:35:12 AM »
MikeC;

OK, now I get the question. I've seen all the tees, I've analyzed them from every angle and perspective, I've talked to the significant people at the club about them, exactly how they were done, if there was any alternatives at all given the topography etc, etc, and I've thought about them long and hard for about the last six months.

And my answer is still---No comment!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2003, 06:56:17 AM »
Tom;

Understood.   8)

Tim;

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.   :)

Mark;

If they are so far back as to be almost unnoticeable, would you say that's a good thing?   :o
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2003, 07:27:41 AM »
Mike Cirba:

As you can plainly see, this topic is not an easy one for either Tom Paul or myself. We both have such high regard for some of the people involved in this project, that speakly candidly is not easy.

The motivation for lengthening the course is well understood. Even people like myself who believe Oakmont is yet another example of how the ruling bodies have failed do not hold the club responsible. Only Augusta National, in my view, has the clout to act unilaterally. So, I don't blame Oakmont.

But, I understand. Your question is not about that issue. It pertains to how well the project team did given the mission they were given. As Tom Paul correctly implies, you really have to look at the situation hole by hole and carefully consider the options present. For something like the famous 15th hole, the challenge was minimal and the result would clearly meet any standard for blending in to the existing course.

On the other hand, Oakmont was not so lucky when it came to #4 and #7. Something big had to be done to achieve the desired length. Perhaps I should say "really big".

And it was.

Now, maybe there is some engineering solution to make the new tees fit more seemlessly into the environment. I can't really say that. I don't really know. But, my gut instinct is that any such solution would require something even bigger and more expensive than what was already done. Philosophically, I would not favor such a thing. If you object to spending money in pursuit of the golf technology arms race, spending even more money hardly seems like a better approach.

So, in the final analysis, it does come back to the question of how technology is slowly corrupting the game. The Oakmont team did the very best they could. They are very competent and dedicated professionals. The overall results of their efforts with Oakmont over the past few years speaks for itself. But, I still think we are caught up in a mess and there will be no escape until the USGA finally acts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »
Tim Weiman

Mark_Fine

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2003, 12:56:12 PM »
Mike,
There seems to be so much room at Oakmont that I didn't feel the new tees distracted from the golf course aesthetically at all.  If you are playing the regular tees, you might not even notice some of the new ones they put in.  We were actually stupid enough to play all the way back and frankly had a blast.  I really love that golf course especially now with all the trees gone.  It just might be the best test of golf in the country let alone the world!  More importantly, it has all the interest and character you could ever ask for in a design.  I was inspired with every hole!

As far as whether the new tees are good or bad; that's up to the individual golfer.  I think they are fine.
Mark
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2003, 06:21:29 PM »
A couple of thoughts on Oakmont, my mentor's stomping grounds.

1. Check out a thread called: Oakmont Storie (I've recently posted so it's back up on top)

2. Oakmont was always a "work in progress". There should be no surprise, but rather delight, at any and all work done there, including any bonehead decisions. That, without any doubt, is what Oakmont is all about: Change for change's sake, for maiing things more interesting, more challenging, more different, and more fun. The Fownes' knew this and embrached this approach more than anyone since.

3. Mike C. -- are you certain when you reference Henry? Why do you cite Henry as opposed to W.C? I would like to know your reasons and any supporting evidence you have to suggest Henry had more say in the place than W.C.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
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Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2003, 07:20:10 PM »
Mike Cirba,

Are the responses you're getting, of the cotton glove variety ?

Perhaps some contributors could list those courses to be discussed in hushed or discreet tones, and another list of those courses that are open to bashing.

I just need these lists for reference purposes.

Why does Oakmont get a pass and ANGC gets villified for doing the same exact thing ?

That doesn't seem fair to me.

Tim Weiman,

I understand your unique/awkward position on this topic.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2003, 11:17:51 AM »
Mike Cirba,

Ask the same questions about ANGC and Atlantic and see if you get more responses.

Do I sense the DS syndrome or BBBBBBB.... I can't say it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mark_Fine

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2003, 01:45:17 PM »
Pat,
I generally don't have a big problem with courses adding back tees.  If they have the space and the money to maintain them, go for it.  It's when they start doing the other stuff to the golf course like relocating bunkers and changing greensites, etc. that gets me going.  
Mark
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2003, 01:47:36 PM »
"...gets me going..." is that a good, or bad?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2003, 04:56:26 PM »
Pat Mucci:

You are right. We do treat Oakmont differently than Augusta National.

I give Oakmont a pass on the length issue and tend to criticize Augusta for the same issue because the two clubs are really in a different category in the world of golf. Yes, I know that Oakmont is among the truly special venues in American golf. But, it isn't Augusta. Augusta, in my opinion, is the only club with the clout to say no. Oakmont couldn't demand a competition ball. Augusta could....and all by itself bring some sanity back to the game.

I'm still quite upset about Ron Whitten floating that idea of relocating the 13th green. If that isn't silly, I don't know what is. If Augusta is really considering such a thing, I'll be convinced they have lost their minds and clearly become a very negative influence on golf in America.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2003, 05:15:49 PM »
Tim Weiman,

I don't know that it's fair to hold ANGC's feet to the fire for not developing a competition ball.  

That is a daunting task.
And, who would make it for them.  What would the tooling costs be, and who would underwrite them ?  It may be a simple solution in theory, but the reality of the developement of a competition ball, just for ANGC seems unrealistic, unless they had development partners like the USGA and/or PGA, and then, wouldn't the manufacturers sue over collusion or other objections ?

It wouldn't be the first time a green has been moved at ANGC.

And, I think some of those moves have been for the better.

# 16
# 7
# 10

As to # 13, if the exact topography and green complex was re-created further back, would that be such a bad thing in light of 8 irons to sand wedges into that green ??
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mark_Fine

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2003, 06:00:10 PM »
Forrest,
Generally bad!  I am rarely in favor of that.
Mark
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2003, 06:50:04 PM »
Pat Mucci:

I don't believe the task is really that daunting and I hold ANGC's feet to the fire because other than the USGA, the club is the only entity that could play a seriously constructive role in dealing with the technology issue.

The retooling issue has been exaggerated, in my opinion. The process of selecting a partner wouldn't be that difficult either.

Any golf ball manufacturer knows how to produce a golf ball that travels less distance. It is inconceivable that any manufacturer lacks the technical expertise to do so. It is also highly unlikely that any "retooling" would really have to be done.

Have I run a golf ball manufacturing operation? No, I haven't. But, manufacturers already produce a variety of golf balls and producing one more would hardly be a big deal. Is there a minimum batch size problem? I strongly doubt that.

As for selecting the supplier, why should that be a big deal? Why not simply issue an RFP and allow all manufacturers to make an offer? Augusta can make a set of specifications. They can mail the RFP to every manufacturer. They can hold a typical bid meeting and so on.

Is it conceivable that every manufacturer in the golf industry would pass on the RFP? Would there not be a single company interested in producing the "official ball of the Masters"? Is there really any legal problem with Augusta requiring a different overall distance standand or even golf balls painted red?

No, Augusta could do it. They've got their own tournament. They've got there own tradition. They don't need the USGA or anyone else's permission.

It is a matter of will not whether or not it could be done.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2003, 07:13:39 PM »
"I'm still quite upset about Ron Whitten floating that idea of relocating the 13th green. If that isn't silly, I don't know what is. If Augusta is really considering such a thing, I'll be convinced they have lost their minds and clearly become a very negative influence on golf in America."

I sure hadn't heard that one. And I can't believe that Ron Whitten would say something like that. I don't know that much about Ron Whitten except that many people have said how much he's done for architectural understanding and that's wonderful.

However, if he's seriously proposing ANGC move #13 green I don't care how many people say he's done wonderful things for architectural understanding--that advice is just flat wrong.

What ANGC probably ought to do is restore that green just the way it originally was. If they really are thinking of moving it, though, to defend against distance they're just f...ing lunatics--and if Fazio is part of it he is too! Somebody has to draw the line somewhere and moving that particular green is a line that should never be crossed!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2003, 07:17:05 PM »
I was just listening to an audio CD of Arthur A. Snyder, who caddied for W.C., tell of all the many, many changes at Oakmont from the time he started working there in 1907 until his family left Pittsburgh in around 1950. It was recorded back in the early 1990s, a few years before Arthur passed away at age 99. I haven't listened except once as I was working, but he must have referenced at least five greens that are no where near their original location. It proves the Fownes committment: Change was the order of the day. Mark, do you shy from all change (except back tees)? What makes the changes in, let's say 1922, any better than changes in, let's say 2002? If I found a living ancestor of the Fownes and he/she said "OK" would that matter?

I'll say it again: Oakmont was/is/will (hopefully) be all about change.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2003, 07:36:26 PM »
Tom Paul:

If memory serves, last year's Masters issue in Golf Digest was where Whitten raised the issue of moving the 13th green complex about 50 or 60 yards. It wasn't clear where the idea came from, but I recall Whitten saying something like Fazio could recreate a near exact replica of the entire existing green complex.

If that isn't a sign of technology out of control, I don't know what is.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

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