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Sean_A

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Suffolk Sojourn: Sold on THE SACRED 9 New
« on: June 03, 2013, 09:41:49 AM »


Before playing, its always best to seek a weather update.  Although judging by where this barometer is located in the corner near the sinks, the members of Worlington are not overly bothered.


The card of the course is somewhat confusing.  The SSS and stroke indexes are treated as if this were an 18 hole course!  Furthermore, a look at the stroke indexes will reveal a socialist tendency of the club.  The 9 capper will, over the course of "18 holes", receive a shot on each of the nine holes!  I don't believe the club should make any apologies or concessions for being a 9 holer.  By my reckoning the card should read par 35; bogey 37 and SSS 36.  Now we have to determine who plays against bogey and who against par...


The usually spot on James Finegan was quite dismissive of the opening hole, a sub 500 yard par 5 playing along the road.  The club deems the road bothersome enough to issue Golfers Insurance with a paid green fee!  Bunkers to the left crowd the fairway letting the golfer know he is in the game before hitting a shot.  If playing downwind the green is within two blows, but 2 putting for a birdie is an entirely different matter.






#2. The photo below is taken from well in front of the tee.


A view of the domed par three green from the 3rd tee.


More to follow.

Ciao
 
« Last Edit: August 30, 2021, 07:26:07 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

John Mayhugh

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 10:12:10 AM »
Thanks for doing this photo thread.  Tony Muldoon and I had talked about the need for one, and you beat him to it.

Though the road along the first fairway isn't busy, the OB on right and bunkers on the left make for an uncomfortable first swing.  The green makes the hole. The back left hole location we got sure was not easy to get to with either a wedge or putter.



Sean_A

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC New
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 11:14:51 AM »


Sheehy sent this poor woman into the realms of BISTRO MATHEMATICS! 

TOUR CONTINUED

#3: While slightly longer, the hole plays easier from behind the 2nd green rather than alongside it as Dickinson illustrates. 




Given the narrow fairway, it is probably best if most golfers lay back. Further up the fairway things become dicey if one is off-target.




#4: Staying well clear of the trees down the right allows the blind bunkering to do its best.


As if being watched by a colossal pair of eyes, it is difficult to know which we should respect more; wood or sand. These bunkers do double duty with #s 4 & 6. 


If we continue down the left, eventually a toll will be exacted.  Notice the OOB to the rear and right of the green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 02:00:06 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

John Mayhugh

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 12:48:13 PM »
Brian,
I would say it played about as firm as any of the other courses that I played on that trip (Brancaster, Hunstanton, Woodhall Spa).  There were some wet spots outside of the fairways but generally very good considering the amount of rain there had been.  I didn't realize that Mark had posted a tour as well - must have missed it. 
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48309.0.html


The second green is a tough, tough target.  It's about 220 yards, and the green is sort of an overturned saucer.  As Sean notes, there is dead ground short of the green, so it's tough to bounce one up.  Long is no good either, and with the hole on the the right side the bunker makes for a tough recovery - either from it or over it.  The photos do not do justice showing the elevation of the green.

These first two holes are a nice introduction to how intricate and clever the design is.  The land isn't real exciting, but the course starts with two strong holes made so by the green complexes.


Sean, really wish you would go slow posting the remaining holes.  It would be nice to see some comments before all the holes get posted.  I imagine that the 5th will get plenty.

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 05:10:31 PM »
I’ve been searching through the literature.

 Herbert Warren Wind described it as “..far and away the best nine-hole course in the world” to which Tom Doak added “and I must simply nod in assent.”  Doak  continues “The genius of the course is to see how the scarce natural features of the property are employed several times each within the nine.” “Every design student should spend some time pondering how well this course works.”
Incidentally there’s a common mistake about the date of Colt’s work repeated by Doak, Finegan etc.  His report to the Club was in the 20’s and he made clear he hadn’t previously seen the course. The earlier date occurs in Colt & Co.

Normally I have lot of time for Finegan and he certainly went with high expectations “I could scarcely wait to get to the 1st tee. Alas, I walked off the 9th green profoundly disappointed.  Four holes are prosaic, 1, 4, 7 & 9.”  I think the clue is he apparently  only played it once.  My guess is he scored badly couldn’t see why and moved on in a bad mood.

He then speculates its reputation arises from those who were students at Cambridge (Doak sort of agrees with this sentiment and then awards it a nine!). 

Steel said that if asked to choose a course on which to play the remainder of one’s golfing life, as long as he could choose two, one seaside and “my ideal inland retreat would, without and doubt, be Royal Worlington and Newmarket. Rather like St Andrews, at first sight it may not quite measure up to all the tributes paid to it but the more familiar it becomes the more the special quality of the golf becomes evident and never for a moment is one deterred by the thought of playing the same holes eight times in a weekend. Rather the opposite.”
The second “a long short hole whose green is about as hard to stay on as a policemen’s’ helmet”.  (This line is stolen from Dickenson).


More to follow.
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

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC New
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 05:31:41 PM »
TOUR CONTINUED

As previously mentioned, the 6th shares a fairway with the 4th.  After the "front" nine the effect of the trees down the right cause concern for the approach.  As a counterbalance, one may find himself aiming much further left than previously.  Trying to gauge where the bunkers are on this blind tee shot is perplexing.  In the photo below one can see how the approach is endangered by the trees.  Bailing way left off the tee has the knock-on effect of creating a longer 2nd and left greenside bunkers guard this avenue.

Just short of the green is zig-zag swale.  A sympathetic soul drained what was a stream!  I believe this water at one time ran to the left and behind the green.  It then connected to the depression running shy of the 7th green.  I wonder too if this same water course didn't traverse the 1st fairway and somehow join the ditch in front of the 3rd green? 


Let us briefly return to the 4th.  The photo from the 5th tee clearly testifies to the meddlesome OOB not ten paces from the hole.   


Our digression continues on the fifth....one photo does the job.  However, it is interesting that recently some light has been shed on why this hole is awkwardly placed.  It would appear that Dunn created a Short Course (which makes up much of the current Sacred 9) and a Long Course with holes beyond #s 3 and 4.  The Long Course was abandoned by 1895, but the one hole which was saved and incorporated into the Short Course was the 5th.  It has long been assumed that Colt was responsible for much of Worlington, but very few of suggestions from his February 1920 report were actually  implemented. 







More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 01:28:20 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Phil McDade

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 05:35:47 PM »


Normally I have lot of time for Finegan and he certainly went with high expectations “I could scarcely wait to get to the 1st tee. Alas, I walked off the 9th green profoundly disappointed.  Four holes are prosaic, 1, 4, 7 & 9.”  I think the clue is he apparently  only played it once.  My guess is he scored badly couldn’t see why and moved on in a bad mood.



Tony:

I'm not sure this is fair to Mr. Finegan. I've read most of his books, including his detailed ones on the courses of Scotland, England/Wales, and Ireland, and I've never had the impression he lets his success, or lack of, at any particular course affect his judgement of the course. He loved Stonehaven, for instance -- a course many describe as goofy -- and had little time for Carnoustie, a course viewed by several folks as the best overall test in the championship rota. And, since you invoked Tom Doak in comparison, Mr. Finegan at least played the courses he wrote about; Doak in the CG rated some courses he had only walked.

 

James Boon

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 06:26:50 PM »
Sean,

Glad you've finally managed to get to see Mildenhall! A wonderful course that may well be the most famous 9 hole course in the world but still suffers from it it seems as people only refer to it in this way and forget that its a good golf course in its own right. The club and clubhouse are equally wonderful. One of the old members came in for lunch after his first nine with his friend, leaving his golden retriever outside, and then proceeded to polish off a whole bottle of red on his own (his friend stuck to a pot of tea) before venturing out for his second nine of the day...

Also, I think the insurance may be more to do with the road that crosses the 9th? A car came bombing across in front of the 9th green when I played and he never saw me and I only saw him at the last minute.

Thanks for doing this photo thread.  Tony Muldoon and I had talked about the need for one, and you beat him to it.

John,

You and Tony are hard to please...
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,43169.0.html
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48309.0.html
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/england/rwn/
 ;D

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Jaeger Kovich

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 02:45:57 AM »
From an email a wrote to the club after they hosted me for a round in March:

I found "The Sacred Nine" to be absolutely a world class course, and no doubt worthy of a visit by anyone interested in golf course design. While it appears very simple, it is an extremely well thought out piece of architecture, as the property is barely large enough for 8 good holes, and you have 9 world class holes. Aside from the great greens and simple features which fit the land and produce great golf, one of the most charming features of the course is how social a game it becomes through the way the course has been routed. By playing over and across the previous greens, and the usage of shared fairways, the way one group of golfers interacts with not just the course, but the other golfers is wonderfully unique, and compliments the small and homely feeling of the membership and its clubhouse. Perhaps only The Old Course, with the its crossovers and shared fairways gets close, but due to the public nature, the homely feeling isn't the same. Royal Worlington and Newmarket also shares in the claim as being one of the best alternate shot courses, just adding to its genius and social atmosphere

Sean_A

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Re: ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GC New
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 06:09:24 AM »
TOUR CONTINUED

Leaving the secluded trio of holes behind we now make a run for home.  It could fairly be said the last three holes are not quite of the same quality as the previous holes, however, all three are quite different and use hazards very well.  The 7th is visually rather plain.  If there can be only one over-riding criticism of Worlington it is the monochrome green of the course.  There isn't much texture provided by heather, gorse or high profile bunkering.  Consequently, a hole such as the 7th is often dismissed as common.  In truth, it is a fine knob to knob par 3 with a considerable (many of the greens are generous in size) plateau green.  Just shy of the green is a large, deep swale.  In this photo the proximity of the 3rd green and two hidden bunkers is more apparent.  Due to the compact nature of the design, The Sacred 9 exudes an ambience of bonhomie where holes comfortably bleed into one another.   


The tee shot for #8. Notice the yellow tee marker in the middle of the chipping area for the previous green. Details such as this distinguish Worlington as a highly memorable course.   


A rather crude gap was cut through the trench bunker.  Not that a view of the flag shortens this mondo 460 yard par 4. 


The final 50 or so yards leans through the green making an approach from the left a bit messy.  Again, we have a great feature in that the slight scoop right of the bunker can entice golfers to use its shape in slinging a runner to a far left hole location.   


The 9th demonstrates one of the most maddening aspects of maintenance; allowing trees to block a view, especially when one may be more tempted to commit an indiscretion of judgement if the target can be seen.  If one plays safely left he can see the target and more easily access a right side hole location...if he finds a decent lie in the rough.  I am usually not an advocate of rough, but in this instance it works well.   


From the middle of the fairway shy of the road the approach is obscured.  One knows the ground fronting the green rises to a lip, but it is challenging to gauge the correct landing spot.


In earnest I didn't know what to expect previous to arriving at Worlington and I certainly didn't expect to encounter three All England candidates (#s 2, 5 & 6) or such a strong connection to the early days of the game. 


My first view of the course from the road raised the possibility of promise, but not overly so.  The opening tee shot was somewhat engaging, but when reaching the third tee I was sold on The Sacred 9.   1*  2013

Colt's 1920 Report.

Page 1


Page 2


Page 3


Page 4


Ran's Review.
http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/england/rwn/

Suffolk courses

Thorpeness
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70168.0.html

Flempton
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,69788.msg1678711.html#msg1678711

Aldeburgh
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70170.0.html

Woodbridge
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70107.0.html

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 24, 2022, 04:25:13 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

Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: Sold On The SACRED 9
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 07:49:34 AM »
Good tour, as usual, Sean.

Sean_A

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 08:58:42 AM »
Brian

The greens...for me, not as good as Beau Desert's or Woking's, but still of high quality.  We didn't get to see them at their best, but I reckon if they roll at 9ish and are firmed up all havoc could break loose. One thing which bugged me about the greens, and this is a knit pick, there was a clear division between green and fairway.  I would have preferred a bit more bleeding between green and fairway especially when the green is raised.

Yes, even with the course not terribly keen the ground game was in force.  I remarked to Neil that if heathery bunkers could be strewn across the the deep dip shy of the green people would oooh and ahhh over this hole.  I am shocked that Finegan completely missed the boat on Worlington.  Calling the 7th "featureless" and "the overall terrain - a pleasant meadow - is of no distinction" is criminal. I thought there were loads of interesting features crammed into the design.  I even liked the trees down the right of #s 4 and 6!  Very clever they are.

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

Michael Whitaker

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 09:09:37 AM »
Sean - I loved the tour, as always, but I must ask... did you receive some type of archaic thesaurus for your birthday?   ;D
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Phil McDade

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 10:17:49 AM »
Sean:

Thanks again for another wonderful tour.

I've looked at every thread here on GCA on Royal W&NM, tried to find notable writings of the course (including Darwin, Finegan and Doak), looked at aerials, and compared it to some of your other course tours. I haven't played it, of course, so take the following with as many grains of salt as you please.

Overall, I have to crib from replies #7 and 8 from this thread: http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48309.0.html

I just don't get it.

This is really the best nine-hole course in the world? Worthy of a Doak 9?

Some neat elements of quirk (teeing over greens, shared fairways, bunkers with multiple purposes). Interesting half-par holes, as Ran points out in his write-up: http://www.golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/england/rwn/ Some very interesting greens -- they appear to be the strength of the course.

Hole #1 isn't all that different, it appears, than #2 at Merion East -- a par 5 early in the round with a road lining the entire side. Interesting to me that the hole swings away from the road at the end, diminishing some of the terror (and interest) that a green hard by the road might hold. #2 looks like a long, stout par 3 with an inverted tea-cup green -- solid, yes, but I've seen and played what appear to be much better versions of a long par 3 that requires more than iron play off the tee. #3 -- OK, there's a less cluttered view the closer one is willing to play near the forest right, but it's a hole of 361 yards -- most folks are coming into that green with a short iron. The green looks fairly benign. #4 -- a solid half-par hole, but with some hard-to-understand OOB quite near the green for those wishing to have at it with their second shot in hopes of a birdie/eagle. I like the use of the terrain directly in front of the green to "hide" it and make approaches more difficult, but this is hardly unique or bold or inventive, particularly on 100+ year old courses.

What to make of #5? I have a high tolerance for quirk. The narrowness and smallness of the green at 5 seems appropriate for a par 3 of less than 160 yards. There's nothing wrong with a hole that requires an exacting shot onto a small surface surrounded by trouble (see hole #6 on this thread I did of a course not long ago: http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49805.0.html) But the contours of the 5th green at R W&NM suggests its comes close to being over the top. If, as Ran points out in his thread, an accomplished golfer can hit this green off the tee and walk off with an 8, is that a sign of greatness, or something else? James Finegan was too polite to call it goofy: "As to its basic fairness, that's not a question I would care to debate."

#6 is a stout par 4 -- another half-par hole -- but the Principal's Nose bunker complex that Ran praises looks out of reach for all but the most Tiger-ish of golfers. It looks like a solid hole, but again nothing remarkable or something I haven't seen before. #7 -- again, some nice use of land to deaden a short approach. But at 163 yards, does it come into play all that often? The green, by R W&NM standards, looks dull. #8 -- some very nice bunkering schemes, and a fall-away green. This looks like a fine, tough half-par hole.

The course concludes on what appears to me a fatally flawed hole. More oddly placed OOB, meddlesome trees that ruin the tempting view (which a hole of this length should encourage), and a horrifically placed road (I get that they can't move it, and roads are integral parts of many courses; this one appears to be right where you wouldn't want one).

Subject of three GCA threads by three estimable reviewers, and a full review by GCA's founder, and admired by golf writers for nearly a century, R W&NM is certainly deserving of such scrutiny. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to play it.



« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 10:20:25 AM by Phil McDade »

PPallotta

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2013, 10:47:53 AM »
SA -

1) Yes, I'm sold on the Sacred 9. When I think of the Sacred I think of the Spirit. The ancient Greek work for Spirit is Pneuma, from which we get the word Breath. Is it a coincidence that the impression I get is of a course that "breathes", and that allows a golfer to breathe. (Even the visually 'plain' holes are part of that - nothing forced, nothing in your face). No, not a coincidence I think.

2) More excellent work from you. Thanks!

Peter

John Mayhugh

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2013, 11:10:44 AM »
James,
I never claimed to be the most observant guy around!  Your tour was active for about three days and reappeared for a couple more.  Mark's, too, was active for about three days.  It's not unusual for me to go without checking the site for a a few days, and when I do I rarely look at more than the first page. When people complain about off-topic threads or too many on a single subject, I understand as it can lead to threads like Mark's and yours disappearing too soon.  Hopefully those checking out this one will go to the other tours and see the additional photos and comments.

Now to talk about the course.

The third fairway is tougher to find than it might seem from the pictures.  The fairway is sort of hogs-backed, and if you try too hard to avoid the trees on right, you will have lots of trouble playing from the hollow on the left.  The fairway gets narrower the longer your drive.  A safe 220 yard tee shot has a 45 yard wide landing area and will leave you 150 in.  If you want a short approach, you have to contend with a 25 yard landing area and serious trouble on both sides.  The small bunker front left swallows poor approaches.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2013, 11:47:39 AM »
Pietro

Cheers. Dickinson's quote at the end is telling.  I didn't find Worlington overly difficult, just more, much more nuanced than I expected. 

Phil - thanks for the reply. 

I didn't come close to capturing all that Worlington is or can be.  That job is well beyond my powers.  I do, however, feel I have done a very poor job of it if folks can't see Worlington at least hints at being special.  It could be we are seeing eye to eye because I think the course is just about a Doak 7.  Though I would need to see Worlington at near its best and worst to be completely happy with that assessment.  Either at 6 or 7, this is one of my favourite courses I have seen.  The quality is plenty good enough for me and there are elements which give it that extra fizz.  In addition, the house is lovely and the green fee is reasonable. 

1. Worlington's green trumps Merions's 2nd by quite a margin.  Other than that, your analysis is quite accurate.

2. I generally dislike long par 3s, but in my experience this one is unique because the landing zone is blind.  Its interesting when the smartest play on a short hole is possibly to not go for the green.

3. Yes, its a 225 lay-up and whatever iron from there.  But the view from the tee is obscured and the fairway is fairly tight.  Add in wind and we may not always have the opportunity to lay-up.  I nutted a driver all of 220 yards (I expect in no wind it would have went a comfortable 250ish) and it wasn't even that windy.

4. I too couldn't figure out the OOB on the ditch right of the green.  Be that as it may, for those banging home on this long par 4 the danger lurks.  Very impressive hole which makes the golfer think about all the trouble.  There isn't anyway to avoid taking on some hazard or another.   

5. I discount anything Finegan writes about Worlington.  He was having a bad day or something because he is so clearly mistaken about some of his dismissive comments that his review is tainted.  The 5th is without doubt awesome. 

6. I was much more respectful of this hole the second time round.  Not really sure how best to play it.  The double bunker you speak of is in play for players longer than myself (240ish hitter) or if conditions are firmer.  Its a great approach because it must be spot on.

7. The plateau green can be troublesome if its firm or strongly downwind.  It must be carried.  The green as you say is flatish.  If I had my way it would be combined with the third green - keeping the bunker between the two.

8. Is a solid hole as you say.  Its easy to keep left away from the optimal angle left near the trees. 

9. I disagree - the hole isn't fatally flawed.  The trees should come down even if its just because they are ugly.  Everything else is fine.  The road, while a pain, combined with the OOB makes the hole. 

Ciao

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

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2013, 12:46:03 PM »
Phil,
I didn't care for the OB right and behind the 4th green and right or the 5th.  I'm not sure why it's necessary in either of those cases.

As for the 9th, getting rid of the cluster of trees on the right would be nice as they are not very attractive.  It's far from fatally flawed, though.  For a short hole, the angle of the tee shot combined with the huge left to right slope of the green works perfectly.  I can imagine some interesting changes in the outcome of matches on that hole.



Phil McDade

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Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2013, 01:25:31 PM »
Sean:

Thanks for the reply, and informative answers. My sense is that R W&NM is subtle, in a way that perhaps a Kington is not (bold, severely contoured land), and so the features that make it worthwhile may not come through in a photo thread, and probably are best (and perhaps only) appreciated by playing it. I'm fine with that, and withhold final judgement if and when I play it.

But Machrihanish -- a course I have played -- was rated as a Doak 7, and in candor I just don't see how R W&NM holds a candle to Machrihanish (and I don't discount  R W&NM because its only nine holes; courses should be judged on what they present, either 9 or 18 -- or 12 ;)!) I don't see anything in the greens at R W&NM that isn't just as good (or better, in several cases, like #2) at Machrahanish. And while the front nine of Machrihanish is justly famous for the routing through the tumult of the dunes, the back nine has some wonderfully subtle holes, and a stout par 3 that looks just as good as the 2nd at R W&NM. Some argue Machrihanish ends weakly, but no more so than R W&NM, and the very last hole at Machrihanish has some interest and gambling options for matches that reach the final hole.

Sure, there is subtlety, but Ran's recent view of Royal St. David's (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/wales/royal-st-davids-golf-club/) truly shows how land that some might view as flat can display rumples and rolls that truly impact one's shot and lie, something I don't see much of at R W&NM. (I've looked at all of the GCA threads on R W&NM, and I don't see anything that dissuades me that Finegan's view of the terrain as a "pleasant meadow" is off the mark. One with a good golf course on it, but the description seems apt. And where do folks come off insinuating that he must have had a "bad day" when reviewing R W&NM? His reviews in his books have always struck me as even-handed; one of his virtues, it seems, as a reviewer is that he doesn't let conventional wisdom influence his views on a course.)

I'll conclude with this thought -- I'd rather play any 9 holes at Kington than R W&NM, based on your course reviews.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2013, 04:27:15 PM »
Phil

I like Machrihanish, but I don't think it is any better than Brora or Silloth and especially Pennard.  I think of all of them as 6s with Pennard being the only one which I think threatens the neighbourhood of 7. 

As you probably know, Kington is my favourite course on the planet...that I know of, yet I don't believe it better than Worlington.  In fact, at the moment I would say if forced to pick the better course I would say Worlington pips Kington.  But like you, if I had to choose to play one it would be Kington. 

Concerning Finegan, well, we shall just have to disagree.  I think he is miles wide of the target.  That isn't the first time I thought this.  His remarks about Pennard are wildly favourable to the point of being almost fantastical AND I LOVE PENNARD.  Anyway, one can't agree with a reviewer all the time.  I am not saying Worlington is worth a trip overseas just to see it, but I do think it is worth an overnight detour. 

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

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2013, 05:51:14 PM »
This is a course that you can't judge from pictures or descriptions. It looks boring and relatively straight-forward. You have to play it. I don't think anyone who has played it ever came away less than impressed.

Ulrich
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 05:53:05 PM by Ulrich Mayring »
Golf Course Exposé (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2013, 09:16:00 PM »
I agree with Ulrich - photos and descriptions don't impress nearly as much as a round there.

It's probably worth playing for the fifth hole alone.  The green is less than 20 yards wide and around 40 yards deep, with serious run-offs on each side.  To add to the challenge, the narrow green is also at a bit of an angle to the tee and a little uphill.  If I were in a stroke play event, I might just opt to play just short of the green where there is more width and take my chances on getting down in no more than three. Here's one additional pic from behind the green.




And a group from the front.  Note the player putting from the hollow on the left. I think keeping on the green is more of a goal than up and down.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2013, 08:38:37 AM »
Tucky

I too thought playing short on the 5th may pay dividends in the long run, but my idea of short is the front of the green.  My first go was an indifferent 8 iron to the front which left a tricky putt up the steep slope.  My second go I decided this wasn't a bad play.  I flushed the same 8 iron (Neil wouldn't let me borrow his) to nearly pin high.  It was obviously a lucky mistake because aiming for that back section of the green is really a hopeless play for someone of my rather limited abilities.  No matter what one chooses to do off the tee, recovering from short of the putting surface is easier than being pin high left or right.  Great, great hole.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 01:22:21 PM by SArble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Gene Greco

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2013, 12:45:18 PM »
    At quick glance I think RWN resembles Southampton Golf Club! (Or vice versa)
"...I don't believe it is impossible to build a modern course as good as Pine Valley.  To me, Sand Hills is just as good as Pine Valley..."    TOM DOAK  November 6th, 2010

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sold On THE SACRED 9
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2013, 05:22:29 PM »
Tucky

I too thought playing short on the 5th may pay dividends in the long run, but my idea of short is the front of the green.  My first go was an indifferent 8 iron to the front which left a tricky putt up the steep slope.  My second go I decided this wasn't a bad play.  I flushed the same 8 iron (Neil wouldn't let me borrow his) to nearly pin high.  It was obviously a lucky mistake because aiming for that back section of the green is really a hopeless play for someone of my rather limited abilities.  No matter what one chooses to do off the tee, recovering from short of the putting surface is easier than being pin high left or right.  Great, great hole.

Ciao

Sean, John,

That is one of the great beauties of the hole. Short may be the safe play, but then you think its got no bunkers and I've only got an 8 iron  8) in my hands so I may as well go for it!

Phil M,

I can understand how from photos alone the magic of RW&N doesn't shine through. I think Sean's point, which Brian picks up on, about texture has a lot to do with it. If the hollow short of the 7th was full of gorse and pink heather with a couple of those quaint  rough looking gravel paths winding through it, then it would be a lot more visually appealing and therefore easier to see the love heading its way???

Referring to Doak's analysis in the Confidential Guide, I wonder if he mixed up Woodhall Spa and Worlington?  ;D One (RW&N) is about a 7 or 8 and worthy of inclusion in the Gourmets Choice. The other is worthy of a 9 (not me personally but an awful lot of people think so) but not really Gourmet material...

James,
I never claimed to be the most observant guy around!  Your tour was active for about three days and reappeared for a couple more.  Mark's, too, was active for about three days.  It's not unusual for me to go without checking the site for a a few days, and when I do I rarely look at more than the first page. When people complain about off-topic threads or too many on a single subject, I understand as it can lead to threads like Mark's and yours disappearing too soon.  Hopefully those checking out this one will go to the other tours and see the additional photos and comments.

John,

Yes, the likes of Mark Rowlinson and I don't have the star status of Mr Arble to keep our tours on the first page for several weeks...  ;D

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

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