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Richard Choi

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Hole 11, 540 Yards, Par 4 (Yeah, you read that right)
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 10:15:56 PM »
Length

In almost every sport, display of strength is an integral part of competition. What would be baseball without home runs or basketball without dunks? Football is self-explanatory, and everyone marvels at velocity generated by Andy Roddickís serve and Federerís forehand.

In golf, it is all about length, and it is not just for show. There is a very high correlation between how high a player is ranked and how long that player is. Tiger dominated during his prime due to his long drives and mastery of long irons. Length matters. Length is an important part of golf.

Length is also very important for golf course architecture. Length is the easiest way to separate wheat from chaff, easiest way to identify extraordinary from ordinary.

So, is it any wonder that holes are getting longer and longer every year?



Tee Shot


This is a long hole from normal tees. This hole is practically a par 5 from the tournament tees (540 yards!!!). However, the added length adds a lot of interest for the hole.

The 11th fairway is dominated by the large mound (C) that is located in the middle of the fairway about 250 yards from the green. From the normal tees, you can carry this mound without too much trouble (~200 yards carry from blues), so it mostly serves as a visual intimidation. From the US Open tees, the mound is in the middle of the preferred landing zone about 280 to 300 yards away. This will force the player to choose a side, left or right, around the mound.


There is a shorter tournament tee about 30 to 40 yards short of the very back tees (and about 15 feet lower), but I believe this tee will only be used if there is significant wind from the north.

While I would love to say choosing a side (A or B) has unique risk/reward scenarios, but it does not. Approaching the green is more favorable from the left side (A) as you can use the sideboard (M and N) to your advantage more. If the pin is in the very back, you might have an easier time from the right, but the difference in difficulties is not great enough to overcome the fact that the left side fairway is about twice as wide as the right of the mound (B).

The only risk you are incurring when driving to the left side of the mound is that you may hit the rough ridge that intrudes into the fairway more than 300 yards away (F). If you drive into this ridge, you may have a very difficult second shot as the lie will be dicey at best. Your tee shot must be either short of this ridge, or aim more right (risking landing in the mound) to give yourself more room.


Driving to the right side of the mound (B) is more difficult as not only is it narrow, if you hit it long or right (D), the ball will run into some of the thickest rough on the course. Getting your ball to the green from this position will be impossible.

Approach Shot


The severe green site dictates everything you do with your second shot at the 11th. The green sits on a side slope, with a sideboard (M and N) coming down sharply from the right/back and the fairway rising up sharply (K) to meet the green from the left. Anything short or left of the green will kick down the side slope about 40 to 50 yards away from the green (J). Anything right of the green will kick hard from the sideboard and end up in the same place.


You are also hitting a very long iron shot. Most players will be hitting from about 200 yards to 250 yards away. Even with how long tour players are hitting these days, this is still a very difficult approach shot.

The ideal approach is a high fade that lands somewhere in the middle of the green and roll up the sideboard and gently ride it down back towards the middle of the green. This will give you the most margin for error even though the green is angled left to right. This approach works from both left and right side of the fairway.

The only variation is if the ball is place in the very front or very back of the green. If the pin is in the front edge, you can hit a lower trajectory draw that lands about 15 to 20 yards short of the green (L) and run uphill to the green. If the pin is in the back (especially back left), this shot can also work by landing somewhere in the front half of the green and letting the ball roll. This would be slightly easier to pull off from the right side of the fairway.

If you are in the mound or right side of the fairway, your best bet is to try to leave it under the green on the left side (J) where there is plenty of fairway. The chip shot from here is not the hardest shot to pull off. If you go directly at the green you may end up in the fairway bunker (G or I) about 30 yards short of the fairway.

One thing you CANNOT do under any circumstance is to miss to the right in the dunes (P). Not only will you have a very bad lie, the green is far below you and chances of you holding it is not good.

Around the Green


Most misses will end up on the fairway left of the green about 10 to 20 feet below the green, 20 to 40 yards away (J). This is not the hardest shot to pull off as your lie will be excellent (uphill, level) and there is a backstop. I believe most pros will be hitting a flop shot from here. You can hit a bump and run into the slope, but due to distance and how high up the green is, I donít think this will be a popular choice. This will make any pins tucked to the left side very difficult.

The easiest shot is short/right of the green where there is an area about 10 yards wide and 20 yards long (L) that is almost level with the green. A chip shot from here will be very straight forward, though back pins will be difficult to gauge the true weight due to a ridge that bisects the green back and front.


Anything in the back or right of the green will be a crapshoot. Ending up in the mounds surrounding the green right (P) and long will mean you have a severe downslope lie where you probably wonít get a clean ball contact. To hold the green, you MUST hit a high flop shot out of this lie that lands just inside the green. I donít think I am going out of line when I say, pulling this off is not likely.

Putting


There are three ridges; two that goes left to right that creates three sections and one center ridge that divides the middle section into two, creating four sections. From the highest point (middle back and right), everything runs away. The front section runs sharply back to front and slightly right to left. The middle right also runs back to front but is fairly level right to left. The left middle has a bit more left to right slope and slightly less back to front. The back section runs slightly front to back and significantly right to left.


These ridges means that it is very difficult to make a birdie across them. Your ball must be in the same section as the pin for you to have a reasonable chance of making the putt. The front half putts (3) are easier as the back to front slope is dominant and as long as you are below the hole, you can make some putts of length.

The back right (4) has two side slope to content with, from right side slope and left ridge. Even if you are below the hole, you may have to deal with a double breaking putt here.



The back left (2 and 1) is a very difficult putt to read. Depending on where you are, there are slopes to all four directions. The right to left is more severe than it looks, but closer you get to the left side, there is some slope that comes back. The front to back slope is also more severe than it looks and many will miss their putts long here.

There will be very few birdies made on this hole due to length and the difficulties with reading putts. However, I do not expect any big numbers here either as most chip shots around the green are relatively simple (if all you are trying to do is to get it on the green). This is a hole where you just survive and move on.

Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 10:56:45 PM »
Richard,

Lots going on with this hole.  You captured it nicely.  

My favorite part of this hole is the green complex.  One really has to think ahead to place ones ball in the correct section.  The slope on the right is really good - allowing many more options for approach and recovery.  The spine down the middle makes this green.  #11 could get interesting with long approaches and crispy green surrounds.

Holes 10-11-12 is a strong group of par 4s.

Jon Cavalier

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 11:19:14 PM »
This is one of the holes at Chambers on which the difficulty in determining where the fairway stops and the green starts is most apparent.





I hope to see someone attempt a 200 foot putt on this hole.
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Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 11:30:00 PM »
A testament to the design quality of this hole is you never get tired of playing it.  Each play unfolds a new wrinkle.  There are so many possible scenarios which add to the anticipation of playing #11.

Outside of Rich - has anyone else played this hole from the US Open tee at 540?  Thoughts? Talk about changing the dynamics of the hole, it's completely different from the standard navy / sand tees.  I can't remember another tee shot anywhere that feels like this - a forced carry of 250 with a mound in the fairway.

Nice photos Jon.  You can see the Open tee below the far right crane.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 11:47:10 PM by Brent Carlson »

Jon Cavalier

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2015, 12:49:44 AM »
One of the people I played with ended up on the back side of the mound in the middle of the fairway. It got ugly from there.
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Jim Nugent

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2015, 08:49:39 AM »
Richard, any prediction on the average score at this hole in the Open?  Sounds like it may end up closer to 5 than 4. 

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2015, 10:01:05 AM »
Jim, it will be definitely over four as birdies will be rare here. But it will be closer to 4 than 5 as I don't think doubles or worse are really in play. I am guessing 4.2 or 4.3.

Michael Essig

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2015, 01:47:01 PM »
Following the very good 10th, the 11th is another excellent hole.  Although this thread is about the US Open, I thought I would interject about how the hole plays for us regular folks.  What makes the hole outstanding, IMO, is the generous area left of the green for the player that doesn't have the length to get to the hole in two, and thus making the hole playable for a relatively easy five for the recreational player.  Despite the generous area left of the green, the pitch is uphill to the green, adding a bit of intimidation and challenge.  However, the player always has the option of using the slopes around the green to feed the ball back to certain locations.  But once on, depending upon the pin location, it is no guaranteed two putt.

All and all, it is a nicely balanced hole that is a difficult par, but a relatively easy bogey.

Matthew Essig

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 02:14:46 PM »
I love the sideboard right of this green. For the everyday play, you can work the ball onto the green using the sideboard from 200 yards or from 50 yards left of the green. This may be a hole where the sideboard becomes a hazard from 200 yards with the increased speed and firmness; however, if a player misses the green left during the US Open, the sideboard could still be used to help with recovery. It is a hazardous aid.

Following the very good 10th, the 11th is another excellent hole. 

All and all, it is a nicely balanced hole that is a difficult par, but a relatively easy bogey.

10 is a breathtaking par 4.
11 is a challenging par 4.5.
12 is a risk/reward par 3.5.

They complement each other so well. 10-12 is my favorite 3 hole stretch on the course.
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Zac Keener

Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2015, 08:46:00 PM »
First off; Rich these threads are great work. We all appreciate the fantastic read.

Outside of Rich - has anyone else played this hole from the US Open tee at 540?  Thoughts? Talk about changing the dynamics of the hole, it's completely different from the standard navy / sand tees.  I can't remember another tee shot anywhere that feels like this - a forced carry of 250 with a mound in the fairway.

Brent, we just hosted the Seattle U Readhawk Invitational on April 6th and 7th using the 540y tee. Monday the 6th (36 hole day) it played a little downwind turning into a cross wind in the afternoon and it played as the hardest hole (combined Rd1&2) at 4.75. Day 2 (Rd3) which played into a 10mph headwind (evil) and to no surprise it was also the hardest hole, playing 4.93.

Thanks again Rich!

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2015, 09:03:02 PM »
ZAC!!! Good to have you on.

Zac is an assistant at Chambers. I am guessing if you have any question about logistics for this Open, he is the man to ask.

I am very surprised that 11th played as the hardest hole. Where were the pins?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 09:07:57 PM by Richard Choi »

Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 10:47:21 PM »
First off; Rich these threads are great work. We all appreciate the fantastic read.

Outside of Rich - has anyone else played this hole from the US Open tee at 540?  Thoughts? Talk about changing the dynamics of the hole, it's completely different from the standard navy / sand tees.  I can't remember another tee shot anywhere that feels like this - a forced carry of 250 with a mound in the fairway.

Brent, we just hosted the Seattle U Readhawk Invitational on April 6th and 7th using the 540y tee. Monday the 6th (36 hole day) it played a little downwind turning into a cross wind in the afternoon and it played as the hardest hole (combined Rd1&2) at 4.75. Day 2 (Rd3) which played into a 10mph headwind (evil) and to no surprise it was also the hardest hole, playing 4.93.

Thanks again Rich!

Zac - Pretty cool that you can provide that inside info.  Thanks.  Good luck to you and the great staff at Chambers!  Wishing you guys/gals a successful Open!

John Kirk

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2015, 12:05:44 AM »
I'm very fond of the 11th green.  I've grown to like green complexes with big, broad and gentle slopes like this.  Since the hole is so long, it's nice to be able to bail out short and left, and have this inviting uphill third shot.  The 15th at Streamsong Red is similar, a very long par 4 with a big, broad shouldered green with a smooth (unbumpy) surface.

I really like holes like this.  It's hard to get yourself in serious trouble, and it's fun to wail away at a fairway wood trying for the green, knowing if I pull the ball left, I'll have an enticing pitch for my third shot.  I'll usually make bogey here, but it will be fun and painless.

Matthew Essig

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« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 11:23:54 PM by Matthew Essig »
"Good GCA should offer an interesting golfing challenge to the golfer not a difficult golfing challenge." Jon Wiggett

Jason Topp

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Re: Photo Tour - Chambers Bay - US Open Edition - 11th Hole
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2015, 10:27:19 PM »
It appears the leaders just blasted the ball over that mound in the fairway.  Should the tee have been moved back?  I am not sure what par would be on such a hole.

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