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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course New
« on: May 17, 2010, 07:47:42 AM »
Set among 465 acres of glorious Warwickshire countryside and very near the county seat of Warwick is The Warwickshire.  The club opened to some minor fanfare in 1995 as a course of four nines, two of which could push 7400 yards.  A configuration of the nines has been used in minor professional events, which I believe was a goal set by the developer.  Karl Litten is the architect of record and he has designed a great many courses as a solo architect and working with Gary Player.  Mr Litten is now in a partnership with Jeffrey Myers. 

I know very little of K Litten, but I do know The Warwickshire.  The course is most certainly of its time, there can be no mistaking that.  The 80s & 90s were to a large degree a time of pushing dirt around, building feature/containment mounds and extraordinary length as key features. This, in a nutshell, sums up The Warwickshire.  My over-riding question of this project is that with all the dirt moving why wasn't the drainage sorted out from day 1?  To this day, nearly twelve years after first becoming acquainted with the course, the club continues to work on drainage issues. From one perspective I can see why there are problems.  The entire property forms a bowl and much of the two courses lie at or near the base. However, any architect could see the potential problems and either sort it out or perhaps insist on only 18 holes on the higher land.  Using The Warwickshire as part of one's calling card will not impress many people from a technical PoV.   

Despite the misgivings I have about the courses, I was always of the opinion that there are many good holes on the property. Unfortunately for me, what I consider to be many of the best holes are now split between the newly created (2005) back nine of the Earls and front nine of the Kings.  Yesterday I played the Earls, so named for the 16th Earl of Warwick, the King Maker, and past resident of the famed Warwick Castle.

The first, I know, the cart paths....but this is a good hole and one of the highlights of the front nine.  Perhaps some may consider it overly difficult for an opener, but I spose that depends if one believes the first should be a comfortable introduction or maybe reward the golfer who has properly warmed up.


The green feeds far more right than the photo suggests.  The mounding is ever present from tee through green on the entire course.


The second is a bland, long, uphill par 3.  #3 isn't a bad hole, but like the cart paths niggle, so too do the hazard stakes.  The man who insists on placing signs all over the English roads must have been hired for this job. 


More to come

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 03:12:41 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course New
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 05:44:55 PM »
An aspect of The Warwickshire which I am not terribly fond of are the par 5s.  All are long enough that only the quite long hitters have a chance to reach them in two.  The 4th is the longest of the lot at 600 yards.  To me, its just a slog hole with little or no redeeming features. 

Yet another element of the course which I am not enamoured with is all the doglegs.  I count eleven, all of which are significant and therefore too reminiscent of each other.  I also think these type of holes play longer unless one gets the exact line of efficiency.  When a course is already 6750 from the daily markers it seems a bit excessive.  The 5th isn't a bad hole by any means, but the approach is let down by disjointed bunkering - a problem on much of the course.


#6 turns back on the fifth then heads uphill and right for the second and skyline approach - a shot I very much like. 




#7 reminds me oh so much of northern Michigan golf.  Trees down the right.  Trees down the left.  Perhaps this is when I began to develop my distaste for nearly monochrome "green wall" of indistinguishable tree varieties. 

The wee 8th is a pleasant hole with the land moving deceptively right.


The best hole on the side was saved for last.  The fairway cants wonderfully toward the left bunkers.


The uphill approach is also invigorating.  However, once again a niggling detail upsets the visuals.  The club should either be out of sight or in full sight for the approach.  It seems as though issues like this crop up throughout the round and remind me that the exterior and interior views have to be controlled to present a unified picture. 


Fortunately, I think the back nine is a much better set of holes and having the water in play is no small part of my preference.  Its just a shame the water holes couldn't be better distributed.

More to come.

Ciao
 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 03:18:43 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2010, 06:05:58 PM »
Sean, thanks. Interesting - to my eyes, judging only from a few pics, the mark of a golf course built in that period (as compared to many of the courses you profile that were designed decades earlier) is that they tend be 'canted' up and down instead of left to right, i.e. the fairways tend to go uphill and downhill a lot instead of (at the expense of?) fairways that slope from one side to the other. Don't know if that's true/factual or not, but it seems that way to me....and it seems a bit of a shame, if for no other reason than because it comes off as a rule of thumb, i.e. like a basic principle that designers in that period were loath to break.

Peter

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 02:21:08 AM »
Sean, thanks. Interesting - to my eyes, judging only from a few pics, the mark of a golf course built in that period (as compared to many of the courses you profile that were designed decades earlier) is that they tend be 'canted' up and down instead of left to right, i.e. the fairways tend to go uphill and downhill a lot instead of (at the expense of?) fairways that slope from one side to the other. Don't know if that's true/factual or not, but it seems that way to me....and it seems a bit of a shame, if for no other reason than because it comes off as a rule of thumb, i.e. like a basic principle that designers in that period were loath to break.

Peter

Interesting theory.   H&S concerns also mean that you shouldn't use a fairway mower on a slope of more than 15 degrees across or slightly more straight up and down.  I think the same rules would apply to construction machinery.


Looking forward to more Sean.  Is it a P&P facility and how much do they charge?
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 02:50:26 AM »
Pietro & Tony

Well, the site is hilly so there are holes which roll to one side or the other.  My take is the LOADS of side mounding create buffers/barriers between holes rather than control slope much.   

No, The Warwks is a member club (also a health club) owned by a corporation which also owns several other courses.  Though visitors can play 7 days a week.  I think the weekday rate is ~45 - too much for this course!

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: THE WARWICKSHIRE GC: Earls Course New
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 03:24:50 AM »
The tenth continues the trend of long par 5s - 565 into a good wind.  The second is tricky because the hole bends significantly right (tempting one to play right), but bunkers also guard the right side of the fairway. The designer does this on a few occasions; blocking out the shorter line to the green and leaving the longer and better angle line undefended.  I sort of like the reverse thinking if used used sparingly and the shorter line is an actual temptation.  Below is the approach.


The short 11th is alright, but one can see like much of the course, the bunkering just doesn't look right aesthetically or from a placement PoV.


Things get very interesting from the 12th in.  This is a difficult hole to gain access to the green for the second as the turn left is very sharp and not well defined.  The approach must carry a cross hazard to a green running hard back to front.  #13 is a very good par 3.  The green is two tier with the higher part on the left.  Accessing a left hole location essentially requires a draw unless one wants to flirt with the trees hard down the right.

The following hole uses water from tee to green down the left very well.  Its a short two-shotter with a fairway sloping toward the hazard.  From the back tees the large tree comes into play.


I like the approach to the peninsula-like green very much.  The left is a better angle to approach this hole location, but water looms over there.


#15 is another shortish par 4, but a hazard blocks the way to the green.  I usually don't like this sort of hole, but this one is good.  The hazard is blind from the tee, but many players know if they catch the drive there is a chance it could find the hazard.  So, using the age old adage of if "you are gonna lay-up, lay-up", many guys hit iron and leave themselves an uncomfortably long approach. 


The 16th turns back on #15.  It is a long par 4 moving quite a bit to the right.  Considering how much mounding was used, a great many of the tee shots are not very well defined.  I think this is an indication of how sharp the turns are.  It seems as though many trees were later planted to create some definition.  It is not a look I find appealing.  The penultimate hole is another sharp legger to the right.  Water guards the left.


The approach is attractive.


The best long hole was saved for last.  This par 5 is a double dog leg diving down then back up.  The drive is quite tough unless one draws the ball. 


Finally, we are seeing some of the mounding used to house bunkers - these look far better and are much more effective than most of the bunkering.  These bunkers are also very much in play for the guy who gets greedy with his lay-up.


We finish with another tricky, two-tier, plateau green.  Unfortunately the view is marred a bit by the clubhouse - again. 
Even though I like the back nine much more than the front, there are far too many aesthetic issues and architectural styling which don't set well with me.  It is a great pity because this is a beautiful property which reminds me a lot of Bearwood Lakes, but Hawtree's effort far outshines The Warwks.  Even with all my criticisms, probably my biggest disappointment about this course is the archie didn't take many chances.  He delivered a course we have all seen umpteen times - tisk tisk.  For this alone, I can't find it in myself to recommend The Warwks.  If you are touring the area and want a quick game without much travel, either think twice or go to Stratford. 

Ciao     
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 03:29:57 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

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