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Mark Saltzman

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Crag Burn is located in East Aurora, NY, just east of Buffalo.  It is, in my opinion, a fantastic example of RTJ penal architecture.  

I would love to hear from those that have played Crag Burn their opinion of the course as whole and the holes as they are posted.

One thing that I noticed is that the style of architecture used made it very difficult to predict how to play the golf course.  In many cases, the bunkers were not used as an element to be challenged to gain some sort of advantage for the next shot, but as a penalty for a shot missed in the wrong place.  However, on some holes (3 and 16 for example), significant advantage was gained by challenging the bunkers.  This course is fantastic and requires many plays to get a real feel for each hole's strategy.

Enjoy.

All yardages are from the gold tees (second from back, CR: 74.2, SL 135).

Hole 1: Par 4, 416 Yards

The first tee offers a very generous fairway, with flanking bunkers left and right.  The view of the flag from the tee tempts the player to try to carry to fairway bunkers on the right to leave a short iron into the green, but the carry is much longer than it appears.  Even a tee shot that carries the bunkers, will likely find thick rough.  The green opens up more from the left than from the right.  The prudent play is down the middle.  This is but the first example of bunkering that despite enticing the player, should not be challenged.



View from a tee shot missed right



View from fairway



Green





Hole 2: Par 5, 595 Yards.

A beast of a par 5.  Off the tee, it felt appeared as though the rough jutted into the fairway in several places to narrow it.  However, when reaching the DZ it became clear that what appeared to be rough jutting into the fairway was actually subtle mounding that would serve to help keep balls near the rough in the fairway.  A clever visual trick.

The second shot, from 300+, gives almost no visual clues.  It is not until 225 yards out that the green (and the large water hazard in front of it) comes into clear view.








The approach over the hazard looks much more difficult than it plays.  On several occasions, RTJ was able to make very large greens appear very small.  Standing in the fairway I thought I was hitting into a #12 at Augusta-esque green.  When reaching the green I was amazed at how deep the green was.  Another clever visual trick.



« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 07:18:13 PM by Mark Saltzman »

Frank_M

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 2 Posted
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 01:55:08 AM »
Looking good Mark....looking forward to the rest

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 2 Posted
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 05:34:31 AM »
I'll attempt to be pithy...On #1, there is so much room center-left for the proud driver of the ball who is fighting the urge to challenge the right-corner bunkers. The line in to the green is smoother from the right edge of the fairway, but the driving angles are vastly different (and easier) as one moves forward from back to second-back to middle to up to forward tee decks (there are usually five tee decks per hole at Crag Burn.) The green is best missed front-center, as a pitch/runner up the fall line has greater success than an angular recovery from the left (grass bunkering) or the right (beach bunkering).

#2 for years was my least-favorite par five on the course and I was glad it came early (I'm not a member, but I have occasion to play Crag Burn with golf teams from time to time.) There seemed to be no "wow" factor for two-thirds of the hole, until the final act, when the water carry (i.e. greatness) is thrust upon you!. There is no sand on the hole, beyond a backing bunker behind the green. I find the bunker unnecessary; penal architecture without sand? Absolutely. After the long march from tee to green, the putting surface is subtle but not overwhelming. It is divided into quadrants, but they reflect the gently-moving heathland from which CB was hewn.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 2 Posted
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 10:43:58 AM »
Hole 3: Par 4, 340 Yards.

One of the best holes on the course and an excellent short 4.  Having been duped challenging the bunkers on 1, I wasn't sure if the bunker on the left of the fairway was to be challenged.  RTJ's treachery already at work on me. 

Upon reaching the fairway it becomes clear that pin location dictates the decision from the tee.  Any pin on the front-right portion of the green is much easier to attack from the left side of the fairway (reached by challenging the bunker).  There is a small and difficult back-left portion of the green that is much easier to access from the right side of the fairway. 



Right side of fairway



Left Side of fairway






Ronald Montesano

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 3 Posted
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 10:24:41 PM »
Amazed that there is not more commentary on this course. Take two, hole three:

There is a story that circulates about Gary McCord driving this green from the way backs with wooden head and balata ball, and subsequently turning to the previously-arrogant pro-am participant, remarking "you guys have NO IDEA how good we are."

This hole is a great time...bang your driver over the left bunker with some right-to-left or play your hybrid out to the right. It's a thin green, to be sure, pinched in the middle, almost like a dumbbell...sand on either side, more on the right than the left.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Matt Bosela

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 3 Posted
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 10:43:48 PM »
I've never had the pleasure of seeing Crag Burn but many people I know speak fondly of it.

Looking forward to the next set of holes...

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2011, 09:35:48 AM »
Hole 4: Par 4, 385 Yards.

Standard dog-leg right par 4.  Any tee shot that his hit either not far enough left, or not long enough will be blocked out by the trees on the right.  The green is very well protected with bunkers left, right and long.  Leaving the front of the green open means that a player blocked out by trees off the tee still has a chance of hitting a great recovery under the tree limbs, running on to the green.









Hole 5: Par 3, 198 Yards.

A kind of typical par 3 over water.  Once again, this green appears very shallow off the tee, making for a very intimidating tee shot, but the green is actually quite deep.  Mr. Montesano pointed out that if you look at the far-right in the last picture there is actually a men's tee playing from 130 yards through the shoot of trees from a pretty cool angle to the green.








Hole 6: Par 4, 395 Yards.

Another one of my favorite holes.  Water left, trees right, hit it straight!  Visually, however, this hole appears very wide open.  The water is not really visible and the trees appears further right than they actually are. One of the narrowest tee shots on the course appears to be one of the widest.

A tee shot down the middle leaves a very good opportunity to hit it close.  A tee shot missed right, however, is about dead.

The entire fairway slopes right to left, but just before the green the slope becomes more severe.  This means that any player trying to escape jail from the right by running a ball onto the green will likely be caught by this slope and find the water hazard.  On an RTJ golf course, if you hit a bad tee shot, you are supposed to make bogey.








Kevin Lynch

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2011, 10:36:51 AM »
Thanks for the in-depth tour, Mark.

I live only 6 miles from the place, but have never seen it.  Looking forward to the rest.  Locally, it is regarded highly as the true "golfer's club" of the area (i.e. not the one for the casual 18+ handicapper).  A heavy percentage of Buffalo District Champions play out of Crag Burn.


Bill Hyde

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 11:08:21 AM »
I am a former member of Crag Burn and absolutely love the course. In fact, I still play it regularly (the house you can sort of see on 6 is my in-law's place...built by the Wyckoff's who were a founding family). This course is quite flat, RTJ added interest to the land with a series of highly-engineered ponds with a sophisticated pump system to keep water flowing. The first 7 holes reflect a modern parkland style, but after you tee off on 8, the place opens up to heathland. It could be said this course was a forerunner to the renaissance architecture we all admire today. There is generous room off every tee...but stray too far and you're in waist-deep "heather." It looks incredible in the late summer when the grass begins to brown out. It has a great collection of par 5s, 2-long and brutal, 8-a chance to recover a shot before the turn, 14-a wonderful risk-reward hole, and 16-another risk-reward that let's you regain some ground. It also has two wonderful short par 4s, 3-already featured and 11-a great short hole with the course's most vexing green. I hope there are some pictures posted of the clubhouse and outbuildings which are gorgeous 1920's clapboard buildings which served as the former stable for the estate across North Davis...you even eat dinner in the old stalls!! This is a low-key club with a lot of "regular guy" members and who love the game!! Amazing practice facility, too. Lastly, 15 is my favorite hole, not for architectural reasons but because it's where I asked my father-in-law if I could marry his daughter...his remark at the wedding dinner: "It took 14 holes before I hit a shot that put me in a good enough mood for Bill to ask my permission!!"

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2011, 01:49:53 PM »
Here's what I can add to 4-6:

Hole # 4
Exactly as Mark describes...RTJ SR draws your eye to the right side, bending the hole that way. To cement this false line of charm, he places bunkers on the left to push you back to the right. When you've found the trees more than once, you get a distance to the bunkers and play whatever club keeps you short of the sand, in the fairway. You have no more than a middle iron in to the green, where short is the best missed, as you go up the fall line on a putting surface that slopes from right to left. Long is thick rough, left and right are sand.

Hole # 5
Since the green wraps around the pond, there are a series of interesting hole locations. From front left and right to middle (on top of a ridge) to lower back left. The ball can be run (a la a redan shot) up the green, across the ridge and down to the left. Due to my miscommunication, sadly, Mark got the location of the hidden tee wrong. If you look at the first photo of number five, imagine going up the slope of rough to the left...it is in those trees where the hidden tee resides. The shot is 130 downhill yards ACROSS the pond...it is no more than a pitching wedge and shows a wide green (versus a deep one) as your target. I'll try to grab a shot and put it up.

Hole # 6
Of the first 6 holes, four are par fours and three of those four slide from left to right. The straight ball will always work, but the apparent optimum play is the fade. The 6th fairway sits high on the right and low on the left in the drive zone. It is another example of a hole where laying back, rather than challenging the length of the driving corridor, is the best play. The green is angled toward the fairway and will accept a long iron or hybrid. Finding the fairway and avoiding the trees, rough and water is optimal here.

Unlike a typical RTJ SR course, all six hole of the first third of the course can be played with putter from tee to green. The front of the putting surface is open (conducive to a run-up) on these holes.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

John Blain

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2011, 03:05:54 PM »
I agree with everything that Bill Hyde said in his post. Crag Burn is one of those really cool places in the golf world. It's not only a terrific, walkable, playable golf course, the club scores a "10" in ambiance. No swimming, no tennis, no weddings, just a great golf course, great practice facility, pure golf. I understand they have plans to add rooms to the clubhouse with the hopes of attracting a national non-resident type of membership.

I have a very good friend who used to work with RTJ, Sr. and he told my friend that of all the courses he did over the years, all over the world, Crag Burn may very well have been his favorite course.

In my opinion, if you just want a pure golf experience, it's the best club in upstate New York.

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2011, 06:01:03 PM »
Here's what I can add to 4-6:

Hole # 5
Due to my miscommunication, sadly, Mark got the location of the hidden tee wrong. If you look at the first photo of number five, imagine going up the slope of rough to the left...it is in those trees where the hidden tee resides. The shot is 130 downhill yards ACROSS the pond...it is no more than a pitching wedge and shows a wide green (versus a deep one) as your target. I'll try to grab a shot and put it up.

Ron,

I think I got the location correct.  My final picture of 5 is from behind the green.  I described the tee as to the right in the picture (ie left of the regular tee boxes).  I'm pretty sure you can see the shoot (sp?) and even a glimpse of the green in the right side of that final picture.  No?

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 6 Posted
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2011, 06:28:45 PM »
Hole 7: Par 3, 180 Yards.

After playing holes 2 and 5, with greens that appear very shallow but are actually quite deep, when one sees the 7th hole, the immediate thought is that the same visual trick is likely.  The 7th green appears very shallow, but I clubbed it as though the green was quite deep - It wasn't.  This is just a very tough green to hit.  Plenty of width, but you better get your yardage right.






Hole 8: Par 5, 511 Yards.

A very birdieable hole, provided one is not tempted to challenge the bunkers on this hole.  With the green in view from the tee and the tempting yardage of the hole, one immediately wants to try to carry the left-hand fairway bunkers for a chance to get home in two.  Fortunately I pushed my tee shot as there is no way in heck I was getting over those bunkers.  Those bunkers are a penalty for a shot missed left - they are not to be challenged.

The second shot plays quite a bit like the tee shot.  Once again, one is tempted to challenge the left-side bunkers.  Once again, this would be the wrong choice.  The preferred angle is not from the left.  Even if one manages to carry the bunkers, he will find nothing but thick rough.  As with the tee shot, the bunkers are a penalty for a shot missed left - they are not to be challenged.

Ron, please assist me in describing the green.  I remember it being interesting, but don't remember it well enough to provide details.














Hole 9: 406 Yards.

After holes 1 and 8 I had learned that fairway bunkers were not to be challenged at Crag Burn.  At 9, however, the opposite is true.  A well hit tee shot to the right of the bunkers will run through the fairway.  The ideal line is either short of the bunkers, or to challenge the first of the two bunkers (about 225 yard carry) to leave the ideal approach.  The third photo is of the area just over the fairway bunkers.  It may not look like it, but there is about 10 yards of very thick rough there.  I would love to see this mowed down so that a tee shot that just carries the bunkers is not penalized.






Dan Herrmann

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 9 Posted
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2011, 08:24:05 PM »
Aah, Crag Burn.  Back in my UB days, Crag Burn was this legendary course that schmucks (oops - starving college students :) ) could only long to play.  (Just having fun!)

I'm really happy to see the pictures.  Any chance other Buffalo area courses could be added in the future?  I'd love to see Country Club of Buffalo and Park.  And Niagara Falls CC has a special place in my heart from my Porter Cup days (as a gallery member!).  It was the first course I ever saw that made me think "whoa - this is different than the munis I've been playing, and it's GOOOOD!"

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 9 Posted
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2011, 09:54:13 PM »
Dan,

I have some pictures from CCB, though not enough to do a full photo tour.  I can post a few later.  The 6th is probably worth a thread of its own - what a spectacular golf hole!

JNC Lyon

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 9 Posted
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2011, 10:18:28 PM »
Wish I had seen this thread a bit earlier, as I've played Crag Burn three times and definitely enjoy the place.  3 is an absolutely dynamite short par four.  That green is very nifty, and it is not something you see often from RTJ.  5 is a decent long par three with some Redan characteristics.  I think it offers more than the average water par three (unlike 7, which I see as a tough, one-dimensional short hole).  9 is a fantastic par four, doglegging hard left around an old silo (or watchtower? I can't remember which).  The split fairway is well done here, with the shorter approach from the left offering an advantage over the right with the risk of a narrower fairway.  I thought the options were balanced well at the 9th, and it challenges 3 for my favorite hole on the front nine.

Mark, the bunkering layout you describe in your opening post qualifies as PENAL architecture.  In many cases, the holes at Crag Burn are penal in the typical Trent Jones way.  Bunkers penalize shots rather than challenging the good angles into greens and setting up strategic options.  However, what I see at Crag Burn a lot is a certain "line of charm" to be avoided.  On holes like 1, 2, 4, and 8, the golfer is goaded, either by the appearance of the flag on the horizon or the shape of the golf hole, into challenging hazards (varying between water, trees, and bunkers) and taking a direct line to the green.  In some cases, this challenge might pay off, but more often than not it can result it a high number.

Crag Burn is a penal golf course in many respects, but the course relies on deception and subtlety rather than straight brutality.  This elevates to a higher level than the average golf course and makes it worth playing and studying.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 9 Posted
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2011, 11:11:28 PM »
Wish I had seen this thread a bit earlier, as I've played Crag Burn three times and definitely enjoy the place.  3 is an absolutely dynamite short par four.  That green is very nifty, and it is not something you see often from RTJ.  5 is a decent long par three with some Redan characteristics.  I think it offers more than the average water par three (unlike 7, which I see as a tough, one-dimensional short hole).  9 is a fantastic par four, doglegging hard left around an old silo (or watchtower? I can't remember which).  The split fairway is well done here, with the shorter approach from the left offering an advantage over the right with the risk of a narrower fairway.  I thought the options were balanced well at the 9th, and it challenges 3 for my favorite hole on the front nine.

Mark, the bunkering layout you describe in your opening post qualifies as PENAL architecture.  In many cases, the holes at Crag Burn are penal in the typical Trent Jones way.  Bunkers penalize shots rather than challenging the good angles into greens and setting up strategic options.  However, what I see at Crag Burn a lot is a certain "line of charm" to be avoided.  On holes like 1, 2, 4, and 8, the golfer is goaded, either by the appearance of the flag on the horizon or the shape of the golf hole, into challenging hazards (varying between water, trees, and bunkers) and taking a direct line to the green.  In some cases, this challenge might pay off, but more often than not it can result it a high number.

Crag Burn is a penal golf course in many respects, but the course relies on deception and subtlety rather than straight brutality.  This elevates to a higher level than the average golf course and makes it worth playing and studying.

JNC,

I don't know if you read all of my hole descriptions, but I fully agree with everything you said in this post.  Though I only got to play it once, I thought Crag Burn was phenomenal.  I felt like I fell for every visual trick that RTJ provided.  He gives me a glimpse of the pin - I try to take the shortcut.  He makes the green look shallow - I believe him - (it isn't, it's deep).  He makes the green look shallow - now I think it's probably actually deep - it isnt, it's shallow. 

Despite all of the visual deception, the course still felt like penal architecture to me, but not traditional penal architecture.  I'm not sure exactly how to describe it.  The bunkering scheme is superb.  Bunkers don't just flank fairways, but they are placed to both tempt and penalize (for those that gave in to the temptation).

What is a "line of charm"?  Forgive my ignorance if this is a regularly used term.

I hope you continue to add insight to this thread as I finish the photo tour.

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 9 Posted
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2011, 09:41:10 AM »
Hole 10: Par 4, 410

Long, uphill and into the wind (and a bit boring), 10 was probably my least favorite hole on the course.  The tee shot is to a fairly wide fairway, with a single bunker on the left that must be missed. Similarly, the approach to the green is straightforward, with a long bunker protecting the left.









Hole 11: Par 4, 395 Yards.

A very fun hole with probably the most exciting green on the course.  Once again, the pin is in clear view to tempt the player to challenge the massive fairway bunker.  This one is carry-able (though not for me), but I am not sure there is great risk/reward there.  An approach from the bunker is difficult and even a shot that carries that bunker leaves an awkward yardage and angle.  Again, the prudent play is to resist temptation and take the safe line off the tee.












Hole 12: Par 3, 170 Yards.

Another par 3 over water, but this one with a very interesting green (and heck, it's pretty).








JNC Lyon

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 12 Posted
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2011, 10:50:54 AM »
Mark,

I agree, it's hard to describe the hazard placement at Crag Burn, but it usually falls someplace between penal and strategic.

Others might correct me here, but a "line of charm" is a visible direct line to the green that is "charming" to the eye.  Think of standing on the tee of a dogleg hole where the green is visible from the tee.  The golfer is drawn to go towards the flag, even if that line is irrational and fraught with danger.  There are many holes like this at Crag Burn, where you are drawn to the flag even though it might not be the prudent play. 

11 is one of those holes, where the huge bunker and fluttering flag on the horizon are just asking the player to take the direct line to the green.  Of course, this play is silly for all but the best of players, and it is usually bad news bears for balls that find the bunker (which looks the Scream from the air, if I remember correctly).  Of course, the green is wild and more receptive to short irons, so challenging the bunker, to some degree, is necessary.  Interestingly, with the exception of 4 at Spyglass Hill, Trent Jones is not known for his short par fours.  However, my two favorite holes at both Crag Burn and Seven Oaks (the latter due to extensive tree removal) are short par fours.  In this case, 3 and 11 are my two favorites at CB.

Unfortunately, 11 is sandwich between 10 and 12.  10 is a very dull hole, and I don't understand why the fairway bunker is not on the right hand side rather than the left.  This is the sort of bunker that I hate: anti-strategic and totally outside of the line of play.  In a string of good holes, 10 stands out as a dud.  12, on its own, is a good par three.  The green is interesting with one dominant slope from right to left.  This is the sort of green Trent Jones liked to build, and he constructed a few of them at Seven Oaks.  I have to say I am a fan.  However, 12's water theme is worn out at Crag Burn.  The three water par threes make the four one-shotters the weak link of the golf course.  I wish he had used more imagination on the 3s, as he did at Seven Oaks.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Front 12 Posted
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2011, 09:08:37 PM »
Hole 13: Par 4, 450 Yards.

A downhill tee shot over a diagonal water hazard (shouldn't be in play).  There is a large mound on the right side of the fairway that if one can carry, he can take advantage of a forward kick from the downslope.  However, to find this slope, one must risk finding the bunkers on the right, which are jail.

The green is surrounded by bunkers left, right and long.  They appeared to be doing some work on the bunkers, but I have to say, the grassed in bunker made for a very, very cool visual.  I have never seen this used on a golf course, but I really like the look.

The green itself juts out at each of the four corners.  It reminded me of a four-leaf clover.






Ronald Montesano

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 13 Posted
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2011, 09:36:35 PM »
Sorry for being AWOL for a few days. I'll pick up where I left off.

Hole 7
I think that this hole is better as no more than a mid-iron. The club recently added a deep tee that requires three-iron from even the best players. I feel that the green is not deep enough to hold that club, but evidently, the stronger players disagree. The green has a ridge running perpendicular to the green that separates it into left half/right half. It is a very puttable green that offers a fine opportunity for a one=putt, once you've reached it!

Hole 8
This par five has grown on me over the years. Deep rough right and a long bunker left shadow a wide fairway that begins to pinch around 300 yards off the tee. The hole moves gently left, then even more so around the green, although the green is never obscured. The putting surface itself is quite deep and set at an angle to the fairway. The fairway runs into the front right and the green moves diagonally left. It has some pitch and roll and has short, middle and long hole positions (2-3 in each third).

Hole 9
I don't think that this hole exists ANYWHERE else. The fairway runs straight out from the tee and is protected by bunkers left and right. It is only when you reach your tee shot that you realize the hole turns left, over the left-side bunkers, to a green located 165 yards away. It is possible to carry these parallel bunkers on the left, leaving a short iron in. The green is tiered from front to back and can be quite threatening.

I'll give some back nine info tomorrow.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Dan Byrnes

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 13 Posted
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2011, 10:05:34 PM »
Looks really nice.  Don't find myself in the area to often but may need a Western NY golf trip this summer.

Dan

Mark Saltzman

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 13 Posted
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2011, 11:22:20 AM »
Hole 14: Par 5, 505 Yards.

This hole is reachable in two, but only for a select few.  To be reached in two, the tee shot must be precisely placed between bunkers to the right and trees to the left and then will require a shot that is all carry over water.

The very long and somewhat narrow tee calls for accurate placement of the lay-up.  A front pin can really be approached from anywhere.  A pin on the left side of the green requires a player to flirt with the water on the layup to get the preferred angle.  A back right pin requires the player to flirt with the end of the fairway to find the preferred angle.














Hole 15: Par 4, 420 Yards.

The two hole foray back into parkland golf ends after the 15th.  Trees left and right (though there is more room than there appears) dictates decision-making from the tee.  The claustrophobic feeling off the tee, however, contrasts nicely with the open feeling on the approach.  The green open up from the right (the outside of the dogleg) and the very difficult back-left pin is really only accessible from the right.








Ronald Montesano

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 15 Posted
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2011, 11:10:41 AM »
And on I go...

Hole 10
I understand the sense that 10 might be a bit boring after the doglegginess of many of the prior par four holes. 10 is straight away, long and neither narrow nor wide. It seems to be a getaway hole from the clubhouse, to start the back nine. There is no question in my mind that the green is intricate and interesting. It has some depth and a pair of rear wings for tucked hole locations. It rises gently (as does the hole) from front to back. I do agree that the look of the fairway leaves something to be desired. Was RTJ Senior a cerebral or artistic architect/designer? I'm not sure and this fairway certainly doesn't illustrate either one.

Hole 11
Nifty par four. Temptation is to go up the right side to shorten things; avoid the temptation! You want a full shot in that you can spin. A half-wedge into this green is no fun at all. Play your tee shot out to the left; former pro Lonnie Nielsen always aimed for the pro shop as his alignment point. Approach from there will be 7, 8 or 9 iron. Four separate quadrants  to the putting surface make approach putting a challenging task. Shots hit left of the green find water. Long and right find high grass.

Hole 12
Not identical to #5, but similar. Easily played from right to left. Recovery from bunker right of green faces water directly. I've done it with a five-iron on one-club day, so it can be done. The major difference 'twixt 5 and 12 is the absence of trees/presence of wind. The putting surface flows very nicely from front right to back left.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

JNC Lyon

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Re: Crag Burn GC Photo Tour (RTJ, 1969 - NY) - Hole 15 Posted
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2011, 04:52:40 PM »
Ron,

10 is not uninteresting because it is straight away.  It is uninteresting because of boring hazard placement.  If RTJ had placed a bunker on the right hand side that was well into the line of play, this hole would be solid.  Currently, an intricate green cannot make up for a hole that is, otherwise, vanilla bland.

I like the shape of the hole on 13, which makes this a compelling long par four.  Is the left side or right side the better play?  I think it depends on what type of second shot you want into the green.

14's tee shot is awkward, and it seems like a vehicle to get you from the tee to the compelling choice on the second.  The bunker on the right acts as nothing more than a saving device next to the boundary.  I think the hole would be more interesting if the fairway were widened to give more drives the choice of going after the green in two.  The second shot is very interesting, with the pond acting as a centerline hazard to create several choices.  The long left shot is very enticing after a big drive, but it also requires a great shot to be successful.  A layup right is safer, but it gets tougher as the player gets closer to the green.  Of course, the central bunker short of the green determines the optimum layup distance on the second shot.  Oh yeah, this green is really cool too.  14 has some playability issues, as the water is difficult to negotiate for a weaker player.  However, this isn't as much of a problem at a players' club.  This is one of my favorite holes at Crag Burn.

15 is a neat hole, and it grows on me with more plays.  The tee shot tempts the player to cut the dogleg left, but the prudent play is out to the right, where the green opens up to a long approach.  The greensite uses a typical Trent Jones tool: it angles around a bunker on the left, but it falls off to the right, meaning players cannot sling a hook in from the right.  I've seen him use this green at 16 at Seven Oaks and 6 at Palmetto Dunes.  The charming aspect of the tee shot and the cool green make this a solid hole, but that falloff at the front right of the green is frustrating.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

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