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George Pazin

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Oakmont photos
« on: December 15, 2003, 05:21:21 PM »
Well, I can read behind the lines of Brad Klein's personal attack on me - he was calling me out to offer something of actual GCA value. :)

To that end, I offer the following photos that I took this past summer at the US Amateur at Oakmont. I used disposable cameras in case some security guard chose to confiscate them and I shot one roll of black & white and one roll of panoramic photos.

The majority of the b&w photos I have are of a few select holes - mostly 6, 8, 10 & 12 - because these are holes that I thought were both incredible holes and (sadly) somewhat unique in American golf.

I will start with some of the more random shots:

#1 green from left side - appraoch is from right, note how green slopes to back


"Big Mouth" - DEEP greenside bunker fronting the right side of 17


#3 green from right rough - note how it appears that Fownes simply shaved off the top of a hill for this incredible green


#3 green to the rear


#5 approach shot - damn that green looks small!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 05:23:12 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2003, 05:27:03 PM »
Now some shots of #6, a mid-length par 3 that you don't hear much about. About 160-180 depending on hole location yards, slightly downhill I think.

#6 from the tee - note extreme right to left slope of green


#6 from behind green, slightly left looking back


#6 behind green, slightly right looking back, #7 fairway in background
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 05:28:48 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2003, 05:33:13 PM »
Some shots of #8, a par 3 that looks to be approximately one mile long, but actually is about 250, depending again on hole location. Most of the guys I saw hit woods, but a few hit irons.

#8 Tee shot - note how green appears to be but a sliver, fronted by a bunker with a big lip (okay you can barely see the bunker on the pic - in person it looks more formidable)


#8 behind bunker that appears to front green - holy cow, look how much room there is to run the approach in!


#8 green looking from the right rough short of green


What a par 3!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 05:34:22 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2003, 05:40:54 PM »
Now some shots of #10. A lot of action occured on #10. It was won by more than a few players with a bogey. The fairway goes relatively straight, but the dramatic drop to the last 150+ yards, coupled with a green that slopes a lot front to back, meant that the approaches had to be well thought out. Someone (I think JohnV) told me he heard Vijay practiced a lot of chip shots from the back left of the 10th green, because he knew there was a good chance he'd end up there. And Tom P has a good Hogan line about being past the 10th green - I'll let him share it.

#10 fairway from left


More of rolling 10th fairway


#10 green from left - note front to back slope


#10 green from back left - you can almost see the ruts Vijay left behind :)
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2003, 05:46:58 PM »
Some shots of #12, quite obviously the best par 5 in North America!

From the right rough, looking back up the rollercoaster fairway


12th fairway from the left rough, the contours and rolls are more impressive in person


Another shot of the 12th fairway


The incredible 12th green from the back right rear (as viewed by photographer)


#12 green from back left rear - yes, it is sloping that much front to back


Again, this hole was decided quite a few times with pars and bogeys - yet Trip Kuehne eagled it during stroke play!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 05:48:16 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2003, 05:54:00 PM »
#13 is a shortish par 3 that plays much longer due to the fact that it is significantly uphill. The green slopes severly back to front.

#13 green


The 15th green as viewed from about 50 yards out to the left


The winner gets a victory hug


The award ceremony - Mark Studer's somewhere back there :)




I hope you enjoy these photos one-tenth as much as I enjoyed my time spent at Oakmont. It's hard - no, impossible - for me the imagine a better championship venue. Don't listen to Tom D - this one is a definite 10! Each hole is a challenge in every way possible. Tough to par, tough to bogey from the wrong place, yet capable of yielding the odd birdie or three with strong play. Wow, what a true treasure of American golf.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2003, 05:55:42 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Anthony_Nysse

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2003, 07:03:25 PM »
Where these pics taken at this summer's. U.S. Am?
Anthony J. Nysse
Director of Golf Courses & Grounds
Apogee Club
Hobe Sound, FL

Brad Swanson

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2003, 07:06:46 PM »
   Thanks for taking the time to post the pics, George.  Man the rough looked impenatrable.  It will be interesting to see how the big boys handle Oakmont its next go-around at the U.S. Open.
   After looking at all of the pics and thinking of them as a whole, I don't recall one tree coming into view as being in play, or crowding the course.  The tree removal program appears to be working well.

Cheers,
Brad Swanson

MargaretC

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2003, 09:10:20 PM »

George:

Thank you very much for posting the photos.

My husband and I also attended several rounds of the 2003 US Amateur.  Oakmont is one my favorite golf courses.  I've had the good fortune to play it twice.  It's incredibly difficult, but I just love it.   8)

Paul Richards

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2003, 10:35:16 PM »
George:

Great picture of "Big Mouth." ;)

I had to play out of that thing!! :-[
"Something has to change, otherwise the never-ending arms race that benefits only a few manufacturers will continue to lead to longer courses, narrower fairways, smaller greens, more rough, more expensive rounds, and other mechanisms that will leave golf's future in doubt." -  TFOG

ForkaB

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2003, 12:33:23 AM »
Excellent stuff, George

Even though you brazenly broke the "3 hour" rule TWICE in your first 3 posts, there's enough in there about architecture to get you back into Dr. Klein's good graces, I think....

I've yet to see a cogent argument as to why Oakmont is NOT one of the very top (i.e. Pine Valley/CPC/Shinnecock/Pebble) courses in the US, possibly even worthy of, from time to time, being crowned as THE best.  Is it just the Pittsburgh syndrome at work?

Paul Richards

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2003, 06:56:40 AM »
Rich:

Good point.

Oakmont should be in the 'top 5.'

Mine would be: Cypress Point, Pine Valley, Pinehurst #2, Shinnecock and Oakmont.
 ;)
"Something has to change, otherwise the never-ending arms race that benefits only a few manufacturers will continue to lead to longer courses, narrower fairways, smaller greens, more rough, more expensive rounds, and other mechanisms that will leave golf's future in doubt." -  TFOG

TEPaul

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2003, 07:16:36 AM »
"I've yet to see a cogent argument as to why Oakmont is NOT one of the very top (i.e. Pine Valley/CPC/Shinnecock/Pebble) courses in the US, possibly even worthy of, from time to time, being crowned as THE best.  Is it just the Pittsburgh syndrome at work?"

Rich:

That's because there isn't a cogent argument. If one is looking for the top tournament golf course of an old style in America Oakmont is at or very near the top and has been for years. There's no question of that.

Some, like Ran, think of Oakmont and the playing of it as sort of cold and unfriendly. There's a good reason for that--it is sort of cold and unfriendly to one's score if you're not damn careful on it.

I think Oakmont is pretty unique in American architecture due  the way its designed when one considers its age. It's basically a center directed golf course off the tees and the approaches are all about some really slick basically on grade greens.

They've pretty much always tried to keep Oakmont firm and the basic strategy to play it correctly since it is so center directed is a lot more about distance strategy than direction strategy. Pretty unique that way, particularly for its age.

GeoffreyC

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2003, 09:18:46 AM »
George

Thanks for sharing those pictures.

Oakmont looks fantastic.  I think the photos and your descriptions point out well to us many of the the features of its architecture that allow it to remain a competitive test of golf for the best and yet require thought and good course management for all.

A refreshing thing to see on here lately.

Tim Liddy

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2003, 09:18:50 AM »
Great photos. In talking to a friend who made it to match play last year, he complained about the many blind tee shots and approach shots. Is he correct?
timliddy.com
twitter: timliddy
Instagram: timliddy1

Mike_Cirba

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2003, 09:31:07 AM »
Rich & Tom Paul;

I'm shocked and astonished at you guys!   :o

Are you two actually suggesting that there should even be such a thing as a "Top Five"??   ;)

Are you guys rating courses again!??   ;D

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2003, 10:24:17 AM »
Anthony -

Yes, these photos were taken during the Amateur. I tried to avoid the action so I would cause any problems, but you obviously will see some people in some shots. The photo of the 3rd green in particular I took because I thought the people lining the side of the green more clearly delineated the curvature of the ground.

Rich -

I hadn't thought of my violation - I did it because my ISP is new to me & I wanted to be able to check that things were going smoothly. As to why Oakmont is not top 5, I couldn't say. Maybe if I saw Cypress, PV, Augusta, Shinnecock, etc., in person, I'd think they were better, though I doubt it - more likely I'd just thin they were different. But I think two things hurt Oakmont: no ocean :) and the fact that most folks probably feel beat up upon completion of their round! Some posters on this very site have commented to me that they wouldn't want to play Oakmont every day - I can think of bigger problems to have!

Tim Liddy -

I didn't notice many blind shots in the traditional sense - ie. blocked out by trees or large landforms - but there are definitely quite a few instances where one is driving over ridges, both downhill and uphill. The fairway widths looked pretty reasonable to me, but obviously I wasn't in the competition. The USGA discriminates against high handicappers through its application process. :)

To everyone -

Thanks for the kind words regarding the photos. I will be posting the panorama shots in a few days. All I can say is that the course is much more impressive in person, these shots hardly do it justice.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

ForkaB

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2003, 11:10:21 AM »
Mike

Good to see you out of hibernation and as non-logorrheic as ever!

Tom P and I were referring to other people's "Top 5" lists, which we continue to despise.  We remain pure.

Mike_Cirba

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2003, 11:43:32 AM »

I've yet to see a cogent argument as to why Oakmont is NOT one of the very top (i.e. Pine Valley/CPC/Shinnecock/Pebble) courses in the US, possibly even worthy of, from time to time, being crowned as THE best.  

Rich;

Good to be here.  Thanks!  

Now, how can one read what you wrote above and not construe it as "comparing" courses to find "THE best"?

You're into the very heart of the ranking system!  ;)   ;D  

ForkaB

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2003, 12:30:57 PM »
Mike

It was a tyop.  I meant to say "THE beast." ???

TEPaul

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2003, 01:26:56 PM »
"In talking to a friend who made it to match play last year, he complained about the many blind tee shots and approach shots. Is he correct?"

Tim Liddy:

Where's that friend of yours from--flat Florida or some desert floor? Man, if he thinks Oakmont has many blind shots tell him to stay out of the northeast entirely. One could call Oakmont many things but 'many blind shots' would sure be a new one on me--that is if that young man is insisting on seeing the bottom of the pin on every hole.

TEPaul

Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2003, 01:36:39 PM »
Mike Cirba:

I'm not into rating and ranking at all---the only thing I was suggesting is no matter what a bunch of numb-skulls raters and rankers are even they could hardly fail to see that Oakmont is in a group of a handful (including a couple of fingers shot off in a gun accident) of championship courses in America. Shinnecock is right after Oakmont's ass these days and we'll see how it all shakes out in the years to come! That mundane thing on the Monterey coast with about 12 good holes and some pretty views will be toast!

Tim Liddy

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2003, 01:47:55 PM »
TE Paul

His list:

#1 –shot to green, #3- shot to green, #4- second shot to green (par 5, so this does not count to me), #7- shot to green, #9- tee shot and shot to green if pin is right, #10- tee shot, #16-tee shot, #17 –tee shot.

Speaking of Indiana -Go Colts
timliddy.com
twitter: timliddy
Instagram: timliddy1

Forrest Richardson

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2003, 02:05:13 PM »
Oakmont has some partially "blind" shots, but these are self-inflicted. The tee shot at 17 is only blind for the long hitter attempting a better position. The others on Tim's friend's list involve blind surfaces, but hardly what we would call blind shots.

Nice photos.

I remind all of you, again, that the wonderful No. 8 green is the
"modern" work of Jack Snyder responding to members — and pro Lou Worsham's — concerns on the severity of the slope on the green which was there prior to 1952. Jack rebuilt No. 8 and held the right side up higher...allowing a well executed shot to stay rather than falling off as so many were. The integrity, however, was upheld and the hole plays — trust me — devilish and without out regard for "almost".
— Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

George Pazin

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Re:Oakmont photos
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2003, 03:48:58 PM »
Forrest -

Did Jack do any work to the surrounds on #8, or just the green surface?
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

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