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Kevin Lynch

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #100 on: May 31, 2011, 11:41:39 AM »
On 1-6, I can only echo all the things that JNC loved about this stretch, especially the routing.  I knew from the first green that this place was going to be special.  The approach on two kicked it up a notch, and the setting of the 3rd green had me declaring my love.  Number 4 is one of my favorite Par 5s anywhere and the sixth green is a wonderful defense for a relatively short Par 4.

#7 is a great change of pace after the short 6th, and the approach is one of the toughest on the course.  But when you hit a decent shot, I love the growing excitement of the "reveal" as you climb the hill.  If you miss the shot, there are some fun recovery possibilities.

#8 is one of my favorite fairways anywhere.  When the fairways roll like that, I sense a greater connection to the course.  I suppose it's the difference between being "on" a fairway, vs. being "in" the fairway.  If I'm at the bottom of a swale, I get the sensation of being in a boat amidst a rolling sea, which only adds to the excitement.  And the front right bunker feels "intimate" (I've been struggling to find the adjective to express why I like it so much).

#9 is unique, but I can understand why it may not be embraced by a number of golfers.  Still, as a fan of blind approaches and the "reveal," this is another possibility for an excitement-filled climb (and just a preview of the exciting 10th).

Kevin Lynch

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #101 on: May 31, 2011, 12:03:17 PM »
#10 - You nailed it - just a great golf hole from beginning to end.  And yes, there is room on the right (I needed every bit of it), but I was looking way uphill just to see Ron in the fairway, and then up some more to get to the green.

#11 - I would love to see this hole in firm & fast conditions.  I played it the week of the rain-deluged 2009 US Open at Bethpage, which was probably close to your conditions.  I'd love to hit a hard, low chaser and play the "break" of the fairway.  I think it could be reached in two with the overall downhill trend.

#12 - I like that you get to see all of this hole while playing the adjacent 9th.  Even though you won't play it for 30 minutes, it's in your mind.  I don't have strong feelings either way on the bunkering choice.

Thanks again for all the photos.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #102 on: May 31, 2011, 02:14:14 PM »
I'll chime in on #12 and say that I like the bunkering...if you don't like the sand and are fortunate enough to hit one of the gums between the teeth, you still might have a snarly, gnarly-enough lie that the simple chip becomes a chore. Oh, right, it happened to me and I made 4. Would have much preferred to be in the bunker.

Don't recall...were there bunkers behind the green? If not, there should have been.
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
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Matt Bosela

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #103 on: May 31, 2011, 02:23:17 PM »
Don't recall...were there bunkers behind the green? If not, there should have been.

Ron,

Yes, bunkers ring around the entire putting surface and the last photo above is taken directly from behind the green, looking back to the tee and there is a bunker there and on both sides at the rear.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #104 on: May 31, 2011, 02:35:27 PM »
derk a derk...I should pay more attention!!
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
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~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

Matt Bosela

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded? (WITH PHOTOS)
« Reply #105 on: May 31, 2011, 04:25:49 PM »
13th Hole - 342 Yards Par 4

The first of two short fours in a row.  The challenge off the tee is apparent right away - do you pull driver and try to clear the cross-bunkers and leave a wedge approach or do you opt to lay back and try a shot from 150 yards or so?  From there, you hit into a clever little greensite that sits a shade below fairway grade, meaning you can only see the top 3/4 of the flagstick.  There is a huge grass depression area in the front left for wayward approaches.  Neat little two shotter!









14th Hole - 285 Yards Par 4

This one is definitely driveable for the longer hitter.  There is a centerline bunker about halfway down the length of the hole, challenging any layup off the tee and the fairway pinches quite a bit near the green, with trees framing both sides.  The defense lies at the green, one that is long but very narrow and falls off severely, especially on the right and at the rear.







15th Hole - 462 Yards Par 5

A short par five that doglegs slightly to the right but features land that slopes back to the left.  There is a hillside on the right that needs to be avoided in order to give the best look at the green, which sits a bit lower than fairway grade.  There are some well-placed fairway bunkers ready to thwart any misplaced layup or approach and there is an interesting greensite here as well, open in front and it definitely accepts a running shot.  This is likely the best scoring opportunity on the entire golf course.






Matt Bosela

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #106 on: May 31, 2011, 04:54:54 PM »
16th Hole - 366 Yards Par 4

Say what you will about the finishing stretch at Leatherstocking perhaps being out of character with the rest of the course but damn, it's not an easy finish!  The 16th is a downhill and relatively short par four that is played toward the Otesaga Hotel that sits in the background.  A 3-wood or long-iron might be the smart play, as there is trouble left with bunkers and a pond bordering the right side of the landing area.  The pond runs all the way up the right side to the green and even splits into a creek that bisects the fairway about 80 yards or so from the green.  This hole is no bargain.







17th Hole - 182 Yards Par 3

A mid-length par 3 that features a full carry over Otsego Lake, with a bailout area well left.  There is some movement in this green from left to right.  The hole played much shorter than the yardage when I played due to a helping wind.





18th Hole - 515 Yards Par 5

How much do you want to bite off the dogleg?  That is the question.  The tee essentially floats out on Otsego Lake and the club built a long and expensive bridge ($350,000 according to the gentlemen I played with) to transport the players from the 17th green past the tee and to the 18th fairway.  The bunker in the distance provides an aiming point and from there, the hole doglegs close to 90 degrees to the left.  The cape hole features water down the entire left side and the green has a couple of tiers to add some challenge at the end of your round.  If you're not careful, this can be a pretty penal finisher.













If you're long and straight off the tee, you might be able to tame Leatherstocking, as you'll only need wedge approaches into most holes.  However, trouble lurks off the fairway, with clever fairway bunker and greenside bunker placements and some very interesting greensites - some elevated, some below fairway grade.

I truly think this is a course worth studying and I'm very happy I stopped in Cooperstown to see it up close.

Charlie Visconsi

Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #107 on: May 31, 2011, 05:56:32 PM »
I played it the day before I got married in Cooperstown.  It is a really great place and the Otesaga is a great place to bring the family (or have a wedding reception).  Played it more recently with my son around Thanksgiving.  I wish there another good course around the Cooperstown region. 

paul cowley

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #108 on: May 31, 2011, 06:39:53 PM »
Kevin Lynch posted:

#11 - I would love to see this hole in firm & fast conditions.  I played it the week of the rain-deluged 2009 US Open at Bethpage, which was probably close to your conditions.  I'd love to hit a hard, low chaser and play the "break" of the fairway.  I think it could be reached in two with the overall downhill trend.

In my power days 11 was all about hitting a hard fade to hold the slope and then hitting from an uphill lie a shot that was high enough right to catch the narrow break to feed on the green...it happened on occasion but most times I was short left or high or long right...great hole!
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

JNC Lyon

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #109 on: May 31, 2011, 06:48:44 PM »
Kevin,

I agree with you about the rolling, heaving fairway on 8.  I'm a sucker for those types of fairways.  They drew me in at Deal, and they still draw me in on the West Course at OHCC.  In fact, that is one of my favorite things about Leatherstocking: the fairways are uneven throughout.  I remember my first round at Leatherstocking, where I did not get a level lie until 16!  How many modern courses have that fairway layout?  Answer: not many, which is why I elevate Leatherstocking over other more predictable courses that folks consider "great."

9 through 12 are the mountain holes, and it is a phenomenal stretch.  The trees on 9 are intrusive, but the hole sets up for a fade anyway.  A hard draw would never hold that green, which is one of the very best sites on the course.  10 and 11 are great as Kevin describes.  One of my favorite sleeper features is the far right fairway bunker on 11, which comes into play on the second shot and guards the best angle into the green.  While that tee shot is too tight, the second opens up to all sorts of options because a wide landing area.  The greensite is the bomb.  I like the bunkering on 12, mainly because it fits in well with the eclectic, quirky nature of the golf course.  The tiny par three with 12 bunkers fits in well with the road crossing, quarry, short par fours, punch bowl greens, and island tee.  Also, I love the slope of that green being front to back, which I would like to see more on short, drop shot par threes.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

paul cowley

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #110 on: May 31, 2011, 06:56:47 PM »
Great pictures Matt!

If I can find a new course to build in the future....and if the site is right...I will build one as a homage to Leatherstocking!

Thanks also to JNC and Kevin.
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

Kevin Lynch

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #111 on: June 01, 2011, 09:33:44 AM »
Kevin,

I agree with you about the rolling, heaving fairway on 8.  I'm a sucker for those types of fairways.  They drew me in at Deal, and they still draw me in on the West Course at OHCC.  In fact, that is one of my favorite things about Leatherstocking: the fairways are uneven throughout.  I remember my first round at Leatherstocking, where I did not get a level lie until 16!  How many modern courses have that fairway layout?  Answer: not many, which is why I elevate Leatherstocking over other more predictable courses that folks consider "great."


I'm not sure of the official "jargon" for those types of fairways - I've used "sea" fairways (I was also enamored with #4).  I find it fascinating when two players can both hit the fairway, and still have only partial glimpses of each other.  In terms of other modern layouts who use it, Strantz incorporated several of these at Tobacco Road / Tot Hill (I didn't find many fairways at Stonehouse / RNK, so I'd just be speculating on their fairways   :D)  But, when I think about the fact that Emmet didn't have the modern machinery, I feel even more connected to the course.

We're in the same camp on sidehill lies - it adds so much interest.  The lies at Leatherstocking were uneven, but usually not in the "insane" camp.   But, I guess that's a "relative" scale - some lies that I find "interesting" may be termed "Mickey Mouse" by others.  I'd imagine it contributes to some people dismissing Leatherstocking.


P.S. - looks like we're due for some dry weather this week and the forecast looks good for Monday - hope it holds.

Jay Flemma

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded? New
« Reply #112 on: June 02, 2011, 03:29:01 PM »
I anyone wants to meet me there Saturday, I'll be there late afternoon.

JNC - I like the course as much as you - two things though...I don't like 9.  It reminds me of the time Nicklaus said "trying to sop a five iron  on the hood of a Volkswagon.  

That being said, Leatherstocking is an example wher you show exceptionally fine taste in golf courses.  I think that may lie at your love of Leatherstocking over Kiawah - simply a matter of taste, and in this instance I agree with you.

If you want to meet me Saturday, holler.  I'll send you my number by IM.  
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 06:22:41 PM by Jay Flemma »
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #113 on: June 02, 2011, 03:51:10 PM »
All right, I'll bite...Is #3 the Eden, in the Gospel according to George?
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

JNC Lyon

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #114 on: June 02, 2011, 04:58:49 PM »
Jay,

I am considering joining you on Saturday.  I would like to see Leatherstocking once this year.  I would encourage others to join as well.

Frankly, though, I don't think the MacDonald inspiration is really there at Leatherstocking.  9 is a modified Reverse Redan, but that is about it.  The front was built by Emmet in 1909, before NGLA was completed.  Emmet was called back in to add holes in 1919, and Len Rayner (the club pro and greenskeeper) and NGLA member Stephen C. Clark supervised.  It seems that Rayner (not Raynor) oversaw development of the course for the next few decades.  My thinking is that, through that evolutionary process, the holes at Leatherstocking came to fit the land rather than a MacDonald template.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Jay Flemma

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #115 on: June 02, 2011, 06:07:15 PM »
I hope you do.  It's a wonderful place t spend the day.  I can show you what George ande I both see as the holes inspired by Emmet's time working at National.
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #116 on: June 04, 2011, 09:59:37 AM »
JNC,
Although it is a busy bunch of bunkers it's not much different than Emmet's original:




Perhaps Emmet used the chain of bunkers to differentiate his "Short" from any of CBM's versions.


After enlarging the original photo I'd say that a "Horseshoe" feature, or something very similar, was part of the green. The lower legs of the gentlemen in the photo are not visible from the tee. It would take quite a substantial ridge to block them out.






 
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Sean_A

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #117 on: June 04, 2011, 10:36:05 AM »
Jim

Thanks for the photos.  It certainly looks as if there is some sort of horse shoe like feature in the middle of the green.  A few interesting things to note about the pics.

1. There is a cool back left area which looks like it may be a back tee.  Perhaps it was part of the green originally. 

2. Is that a bunker in the front of the tee in the old pic?   

3. The cart path makes this hole far more dangerous than it need be.  Tons of tee shots must hit the path and go into the road. 

4. Is that an old croquet lawn behind the green turned into a parking lot?

5. The hole was far more attractive in the old days.  The combo of busy bunkers and busy back drop is a nightmare. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jay Flemma

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #118 on: June 04, 2011, 10:57:43 AM »
JNC,
Although it is a busy bunch of bunkers it's not much different than Emmet's original:


Perhaps Emmet used the chain of bunkers to differentiate his "Short" from any of CBM's versions.

 

I think that's exactly right.

By the way...notice how the article calls it the Road Hole?  See how the press mis-labels the hole, not realizing a "Road Hole" is an industry term.  That's why we need to be careful about newspaper articles...they are secondary sources, not primary.
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #119 on: June 04, 2011, 11:30:34 AM »
Sean,
It also appears that quite a bit of the original green was lost for the modern-day cart path.

Jay,
I don't think they mis-labeled it, all they were describing was its location, hard by the road.  Old newspaper accounts were good about capitalizing the name of a recognized feature, like  a "Road" hole. It's pretty evident from the old photo, where the caption is all in caps but the text doesn't capitalize the road in "Road" hole.

There have been quite few instances where newspaper articles are the only remaining account of information about a course, and at other times they have provided the lead for discovering further info.    
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 11:32:31 AM by Jim_Kennedy »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #120 on: June 04, 2011, 02:09:51 PM »
Re: Sean Arble's points:

1. There is a cool back left area which looks like it may be a back tee.  Perhaps it was part of the green originally.
HARD TO SAY...IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE A BACK TEE FOR THE NEXT HOLE, AS THE NEXT HOLE IS ACTUALLY NOW THREE HOLES PREVIOUS AND ALSO A PAR THREE. THAT WING OF THE GOLF COURSE HOUSES 10-13. 10 IS THE PAR THREE, ELEVEN THE PAR FOUR, TWELVE THE PAR FIVE AND THIRTEEN, THE HOLE IN THE PHOTOS.

2. Is that a bunker in the front of the tee in the old pic?   
COULD BE BROKEN GROUND. A BUNKER WOULD MAKE NO SENSE IN THAT PROXIMITY TO THE TEE.

3. The cart path makes this hole far more dangerous than it need be.  Tons of tee shots must hit the path and go into the road.
IF YOU CAN'T HIT THE BALL ONTO THAT WIDE A GREEN FROM 130 YARDS DOWNHILL, YOU DESERVE TO BE ON THE ROAD.

4. Is that an old croquet lawn behind the green turned into a parking lot?
COULD BE A CROQUET LAWN, COULD BE THE SUPERINTENDENT'S TURF FARM.

5. The hole was far more attractive in the old days.  The combo of busy bunkers and busy back drop is a nightmare. 
THE HOLE OR THE SURROUNDS? THE HOLE ITSELF LOOKS VERY SIMILAR TODAY TO YORE. WHAT WAS ADDED WERE THE PARKING LOT AND ANOTHER BUILDING FOR THE MUSEUM BEHIND THE GREEN. THE LAKE REMAINS THE SAME AS IT WAS BACK THEN.
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

John Foley

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #121 on: June 05, 2011, 10:43:43 AM »
Matt - Great pics glad yo liked it.

The first green is great. How can you not love a short par 4 that your thinking easy opener and walk off with a double bogey and scrath your head saying how did that happen.

The 8th green is one of my favorite green sites (with all the mounding, bunkers, and fall off's) I've played.

The approach on the long par 5 11th is soo cool. try too see how close you can get the ball to the pin by playing so far to the right.

The par 3 12th grows on me. At first I hated the penalty if you hit the cart path, but then like others have said, it's a short downhill shot to a pretty huge green.

The green site on the par 4 13th is soo great due to all the penalties around the depression short bunker right and the huge falloff behind.

Agreed that 16 & 17 are a little different, but they see to fit, given the prominence of the lake has on the course.

Did you drive up and see Otsega on the north end of the lake? Cool little 9 holer from a time long ago!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 03:02:23 PM by john_foley »
Integrity in the moment of choice

George_Bahto

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #122 on: June 05, 2011, 12:01:42 PM »
Jay - you'll have to stop quoting me

I did say Macdonald type holes are all over the course but did not say which hole was a Short

If a player insists on playing his maximum power on his tee-shot, it is not the architect's intention to allow him an overly wide target to hit to but rather should be allowed this privilege of maximum power except under conditions of exceptional skill.
   Wethered & Simpson

George_Bahto

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded?
« Reply #123 on: June 05, 2011, 12:03:20 PM »
Jay - you'll have to stop quoting me

I did say Macdonald type holes were all over the original course and certainly did not say which hole was the Short
If a player insists on playing his maximum power on his tee-shot, it is not the architect's intention to allow him an overly wide target to hit to but rather should be allowed this privilege of maximum power except under conditions of exceptional skill.
   Wethered & Simpson

Jay Flemma

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Re: Why Isn't Leatherstocking More Widely Regarded? New
« Reply #124 on: June 05, 2011, 12:52:28 PM »
I went yesterday, and the entire region is suffering form torrential rains in recent weeks and having some issues with agronomy.  Leatherstocking played a little soft...hardly any roll.  They still need to clear out a lot of trees.  There's too many lining the fairways.

Interestingly, there are pictures in the Hotel of the Island tee box on 18 that bear the date 1925, so that hole may be older than some people believe...

JNC - I really like the course a great deal, and understand your love for it, but it's not as good as Kiawah.  I think you're missing a lot of the architecture at Kiawah.  There's plenty of alternate shot requirements and good green contours.  Plus, Dye is a superlative router of a golf course.  Finally, they have better conditioning there too.  Not to say Leatherstocking isn't good - it usually is very good - but Kiawah is just a step above.  Leatherstocking just doesn't have the room to play the game like Kiawah does and it's noce that sopme people like it better, that's fine.  But "better" is a stretch...

All that being said, Leatherstocking is a gem, an American classic, and everyone who goes will likely enjoy a great day at a reasonable price.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 06:23:11 PM by Jay Flemma »
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

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