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Jim Franklin

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Changes at Oakmont
« on: October 19, 2005, 09:27:00 AM »
I just played Oakmont yesterday and the changes are still going on. The course is playing a lot tighter and penal as the new bunkers are deep and pinching the fairways more and more. I am not sure what they are doing on the right side of 15, but they are adding Church Pews on the left. There was an elbow shaped hole at about 180 from the green and my host looked confused at what they were doing. He is a three time club champ and also plays the Crump each year. The views without the trees were great and they are going to eliminate some more of the surrounding trees as time goes on. #12 will be stretched to 676 yards with the new tee being next to the 10th tee. We only played a few of the back tees with the 285 yard par 3 8th being one of them and, into a nice breeze, I hit a 3-wood to the center of the green for a nice two putt par. My host hit a slinging hook driver that went through the green and our opoponents hit drivers short. All in all, Oakmont and their changes are pretty impressive.
Mr Hurricane

Chris Moore

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2005, 09:40:13 AM »
 :o 285-yard par-3!?  :o

Jason Mandel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2005, 09:45:43 AM »
I heard Bobby Weed talk about the added lenght at Oakmont this summer.

He played Oakmont with Jack Nicklaus and on that 285 yard par 3 they BOTH hit driver.

He also mentioned how Hank Kuehne once said the day he needs a wood for a par 3 is the day he gives up the game.  Well, if he uses an iron for that hole at the Open this year I wll be very impressed ;)

Jason
You learn more about a man on a golf course than anywhere else

contact info: jasonymandel@gmail.com

Jim Franklin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2005, 09:52:01 AM »
Jason -

He could probably get away with hitting an iron. It is 245 to clear the right edge of the bunker and the ball will roll the rest of the way to the green. It is a long Redan type hole. Now if he aims further left, the carry becomes more significant and I don't think he could hit an iron. Also, I played it into the wind and hit 3 wood to the center. I don't carry any other woods so if it was downwind, I may have to hit iron too ;).
Mr Hurricane

BCrosby

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Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 10:19:15 AM »
Nothing wrong with a 285 yard par three today.

What club do you think the pros were hitting into 250 yard par 3's in the 20's and 30's designed by Ross, Flynn, Tillie and others?

Bob


PThomas

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Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2005, 10:22:37 AM »
Jim - those are brand new Church pews they are adding?  if yes, that seems "sacreligious" to me....doesn't it seem as if the original Church Pews should remain the only ones???
195 played, only 5 to go!!

Jim Franklin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2005, 10:26:30 AM »
There were always a mini set there and they are making them bigger. By the way, the originals are getting a few more pews too.
Mr Hurricane

THuckaby2

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2005, 10:34:40 AM »
I assume the 285 yard par 3 has no significant elevation change or other distance decreasing factor?

If so, well it goes as a two shot hole for both the bogey and the scratch for course rating purposes.  It's not that big of a deal... absent a tiny green or other penal factors it's going to be an exceedingly easy two-shotter and so the net difference won't be much from an exceedingly hard one-shotter.. but it will be a two-shotter nonetheless, and the approach won't be judged based on the 285 yard shot.

Just thought of something else - if it is 245 to carry a bunker, and there is no easy way around such, we might have to have the scratch lay up by choice... he only gets 225 carry plus 25 roll the way course rating works.

I know this is interesting to no one but me and perhaps John VanderBorght... so bear with me.  My whole point in mentioning this is that the course surely can call a hole whatever they wish in terms of par... but for rating purposes, well that hole is a par 4.

TH
« Last Edit: October 19, 2005, 10:35:42 AM by Tom Huckaby »

Jim Franklin

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Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2005, 10:37:26 AM »
Huck -

It is downhill slightly and you can aim further right and not worry about the 245 carry too. The hole will max out at 300 yards.
Mr Hurricane

Kyle Harris

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2005, 10:38:34 AM »
Tom,

It interests me a lot, actually. Does this get encountered a lot in the process of rating a course?

If so, it seems that there could be some significant course rating inflation.

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2005, 10:43:12 AM »
Huck, the hole is very slightly downhill and the back tee is slightly elevated. During the Am, I think it was playing about 250 to the center of the green and I saw lots of guys carrying irons to the green.

Paul, my understanding of the ongoing work at Oakmont is that it is all being guided by historical photos (except for new back tees, obviously). If they are putting in a mini church pew on 15, I'd wager it must have been there before.

Jim, you got a beautiful day in the Burgh if you played yesterday (Tuesday). I hope you appreciate that we don't normally have San Diego type weather here. :) Today is even nicer.

I know you're a big hitter - do you mind sharing how you played the #s 4 & 12, the two par 5s for the Open?
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

THuckaby2

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2005, 10:43:16 AM »
Jim:

It's going to need to be VERY VERY downhill for us to get the scratch onto the green.  Remember normal distances are 225+25.  And it's good to know there is a way around the 245 carry.  Most likely we give him his 250 plus allow a little for downhill and/or additional roll, and have him pitching in from the right.  Like I say, it's not going to make a huge difference in the final number so this is more of a curiousity than anything else.  But his approach target is indeed going to be from somewhere around 35 yards, not 285.  

Kyle:

No, I can't imagine that this is encountered very often.  Look at it this way:  how many par threes over 250 yards do you find?

TH

Kyle Harris

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2005, 10:45:43 AM »
Tom,

Not enough.

However, I was also speaking for Par 4s and 5s as well. Depending on the design of the hole, that could effectively add a shot to the hole...

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2005, 10:58:39 AM »
In the context of the modern game, this is a good par 3.  You can run the ball onto the green.

At the old tips distance of 238-240, it's a big par 3 but now an iron for the Tigers and Hanks of the current world.  But the 238-240 tee is still there so the mortals of the world can be challenged as well!

One question:  will #9 be played as a par 5?

Another:  how far is the 12th tee from the tenth tee now?  I have been wracking my feeble brain and cannot remember that 12th tee being anywhere near the 10th!  The carry over those corner bunkers will be daunting even for the Tiger and Hank crowd!  And I don't care how long they make that hole, stopping a pitch anywhere near a front pin is impossible!

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2005, 11:04:07 AM »
I will just say that it disturbs me that they are having to make such substantial changes to a great course like Oakmont to keep it "up to date."

If I were building a course for Tour pros today I wouldn't have qualms about a 285-yard par-3, but this isn't some schlocky modern course; it's Oakmont.

Jim Franklin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2005, 11:08:13 AM »
George -

Yesterday was an ideal day to play. We did not play all of the back tees and I know we were way up on #4 as I hit a good drive, but only had 220 left. I think we were the third box up. I did not think to look at the yardage. On #12, we were one tee box up and it played to a fairly hard left to right helping wind. I hit about the best drive I could and had 225 to the middle. I hit a four iron pin high from there.

Not that you asked, but on #1 I had 130 left and #10 I had 80 left. I hit my driver about as well as I have all season yesterday.
Mr Hurricane

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2005, 11:15:47 AM »
Not that you asked, but on #1 I had 130 left and #10 I had 80 left. I hit my driver about as well as I have all season yesterday.

Bet those weren't your normal 130 and 80 approach shots! :)
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2005, 11:19:25 AM »
One question:  will #9 be played as a par 5?

Others could be more definitive, but I'm reasonably certain it will play as a par 4. No real room to stretch the tee back, easily reachable by most tour pros, plus it fits the "ball buster par 4 closing hole on a 9" mold that most tournament organizers seem to prefer.

It's still a par 6 for me....
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

THuckaby2

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2005, 11:20:36 AM »
Tom,

Not enough.

However, I was also speaking for Par 4s and 5s as well. Depending on the design of the hole, that could effectively add a shot to the hole...

For course rating, distances absent elevation/altitude/roll adjustments for the scratch player are 225+25=250 off the tee, then 225 off the ground thereafter.

Thus par 4s over 475 might have this "extra shot" effect, and it would take a par 5 over 700 to achieve it.

Obstacles can effect this as well - but we're just talking pure distance here.

So yes, the way courses are being laid out today, there will be quite a few holes over 475 that courses call a par 4.  And given the way the ball goes today, it's very realistic.

Just do understand that in these cases, again the net difference isn't going to mean very much.  John V. can quantify this much better than I can, but think of it as a very easy par 5 as against a very hard par 4.  Your scoring averages are going to be pretty close, right?  That's how it's going to work out for course rating also, more or less.

Thus it is just a curiousity.

One more thing:  don't get too caught up in these course rating distances being "unrealistic."  Remember if they're the same for everyone, it really doesn't matter much what they are.  These numbers just need to be the same course to course to make the handicap system work.

TH

Jim Franklin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2005, 11:29:03 AM »
No George, they weren't your normal 130 or 80 yard approach shots. The 130 my caddy said don't hit it more than 105, so I hit SW and still left it above the hole, but two putted. The 80 yarder I hit LW to the front right fringe and got a great spin to the left for about a 10 footer for birdie, but, alas, I yanked my putt and made par.

#9 will be a par 4 in the Open. The tee will stay the same, but the two trees near the tee are coming down as the turnpike is being widened. The bridge is being rerouted too. It certainly is a ball buster if you don't hit the fairway.
Mr Hurricane

Kyle Harris

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2005, 11:29:48 AM »
Tom,

Roger on all fronts. When I was in the one Golf Architecture class I took at Penn State, we had a day about course rating and slope, and I've often wondered if architects considered that process in order to make their courses "appear" more difficult based on the numbers.

Could be a powerful tool for marketing.

THuckaby2

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2005, 11:36:23 AM »
Kyle - I've wondered that also, and in fact once did a topic on here asking that very question.  A simple knowledge of the process would allow one to gear a course to get a huge slope (or course rating), if that was the goal.  The response I got was the one I hoped for - that no architect had yet worked for a developer/owner for whom huge slope or rating was the sole and only goal.

So while lots of golf courses do use this as a marketing tool - sadly, I think - well it hasn't seem to have gone overboard.  Yet.

I'm waiting for the course that trumpets and advertises it's high course rating and low slope... I've said this way too many times already on this site, but man to me that's what the perfect, most fun for all golf course should be.

TH

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2005, 11:47:09 AM »
Sorry to say, I don't really care much at all about the results of the Slope system.  If it works properly, then it evens out the playing field whether I am building a difficult course or a tricky one or an easy one, so why should I care what the slope is?  (And if it doesn't work properly, why should I waste my time on a system that doesn't work? ;) )

I do think a lot about the difficulty of my courses, and how different players may be affected by certain features, but I do it in a way more complicated form than the Slope system, where every scratch player hits the ball one distance and every "bogey" player hits it a different distance.  

What you are really describing with the Oakmont hole is the weakness of the Slope system.  Distance in golf is a continuum and an extra ten yards is always meaningful, to some players more than others.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2005, 11:48:03 AM by Tom_Doak »

AndrewB

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Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2005, 11:51:43 AM »
Tom,

Thanks for the course rating perspective, this is quite interesting.

One more thing:  don't get too caught up in these course rating distances being "unrealistic."  Remember if they're the same for everyone, it really doesn't matter much what they are.  These numbers just need to be the same course to course to make the handicap system work.

Is this really true?

What are the distances for non-scratch players under this system?  And, furthermore, are these distances equally as unrealistic as those for the scratch player?

I ask because if the two are not equally unrealistic (off from real distances by approximately the same amount), then the scratch and non-scratch players may not be on equal ground within the system.  Since technology increases seem to have given more distance to scratch players than high handicappers, perhaps there is a larger distance gap between the two now and the high handicappers are at a disadvantage.

Out of curiosity, how old are those distance numbers?
"I think I have landed on something pretty fine."

THuckaby2

Re:Changes at Oakmont
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2005, 11:53:29 AM »
Tom D:

Well I'd hope to God you don't think about the slope system as you design your courses, and it is very heartening to hear you have far deeper thoughts as you design.  I would expect nothing less.   ;D

As for the hole at Oakmont showing a weakness of the slope system, well I don't see that.  But fair enough, even if it does, well it's a quite rare exception I think the world can live with.  If a course wants to call a 285 yard hole a par three, then let them.  The tiny percentage of golfers who can reach such a hole with one shot deserve to defeat the system a little, no?

In any case no need to apologize - the one's who ought to apologize are the ones who DO design with slope in mind.

TH


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