Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Neil Johnston on May 17, 2014, 03:42:09 PM

Title: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Neil Johnston on May 17, 2014, 03:42:09 PM
I was reading the non-photo tour of Beverly thread, and was struck by the use of this term (which I'm presuming is a Ross quote) to describe Ross'  approach to the first hole. It is certainly true at the Ross course I have played most often here in Chicago (Ravisloe).

Are there many courses beloved on this site where the opener is more of a punch in the gut than a handshake? Is that ever a preference? It is generally not mine.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Kevin_D on May 17, 2014, 03:42:59 PM
Streamsong Red
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Bill_McBride on May 17, 2014, 03:52:29 PM
Pasatiempo as a long par 4 versus the original par 5.  Not a gentle handshake at all, more a cuff to the ear.  2 and 3 are no easier. 
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Nigel Islam on May 17, 2014, 03:52:48 PM
Oakmont and its awesome!
Pasatiempo (Beat me to it Bill)
Crystal Downs
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Paul Gray on May 17, 2014, 04:01:28 PM
I can think of a few good par 3s which start rounds off at come quality courses. Never exactly a gentle handshake having to rifle a two iron into the wind!
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Greg Taylor on May 17, 2014, 04:12:22 PM
Prestwick... Tough tee shot with the wall.

Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Mark McKeever on May 17, 2014, 04:22:25 PM
1st hole at Jeffersonville (also a Ross) is a beastly par 4.  Also 1 at Bethpage red comes to mind.

Mark
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jackson C on May 17, 2014, 04:31:24 PM
I was reading the non-photo tour of Beverly thread, and was struck by the use of this term (which I'm presuming is a Ross quote) to describe Ross'  approach to the first hole. It is certainly true at the Ross course I have played most often here in Chicago (Ravisloe).

Are there many courses beloved on this site where the opener is more of a punch in the gut than a handshake? Is that ever a preference? It is generally not mine.

Neil,
Kingsley and Prairie Dunes.
Both start off with 2 difficult holes.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 17, 2014, 04:36:54 PM
The 1st hole, par-5, at Royal Jersey.

Tee-off from the right side of the putting green (red flag) across the 18th green (yellow flag). The stunning beach is immediately on the right, the prevailing wind is from the left and you're tee shot needs to find the fairway between the old fort on left side of the fairway and two WWII gun emplacements on the right just above the beach.

(http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/4615/img1130kd.jpg)

See - http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,55239.msg1279934.html#msg1279934 - for more
and also the Royal Jersey GC website - http://www.royaljersey.com/

atb
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jim_Coleman on May 17, 2014, 04:43:33 PM
   Philly Cricket.  #3 handicap, I think.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Tom_Doak on May 17, 2014, 07:20:24 PM
Ross was not always gentle.  The first at Franklin Hills is a long, difficult par-4, and so is the first at Oakland Hills, though I don't know how much Mr. Jones changed the latter.  It's a rule of thumb, but sometimes you have to get to the next ridgeline, and it's more than 400 yards away.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jon Cavalier on May 17, 2014, 08:01:01 PM
The first at  Oakmont (as someone mentioned) is a great one.

The first at Philly Cricket (as someone also mentioned) is very tough.

Merion's first is a gut check for a bit of a different reason, but still no slouch purely as a hole.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jaeger Kovich on May 17, 2014, 09:23:54 PM
The 1st hole at Winged Foot West normally plays as the 2nd hardest on the course during the Open.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Wade Whitehead on May 17, 2014, 09:39:44 PM
Welcome to Ballyhack.

WW
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Terry Lavin on May 17, 2014, 09:57:53 PM
Olympia Fields South. 460 par-4 into the prevailing breeze with a huge swale in front of the green. Better make par because #2 is even harder.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Pete Balzer on May 17, 2014, 10:12:17 PM
Royal Liverpool

Prairie Club Dunes
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: J_ Crisham on May 17, 2014, 10:13:45 PM
Played one today twice- The Dunes Club- great test out of the gate. FYI Terry- course looked and played really good - the boys were wowed.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Mark Pearce on May 18, 2014, 02:57:24 AM
The first at Muirfield may be the hardest hole on the course, especially if the prevailing West wind is blowing.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 18, 2014, 05:08:56 AM
The first at Muirfield may be the hardest hole on the course, especially if the prevailing West wind is blowing.

Good call Mark.

I was mischieviously wondering if a certain Open Champion, a native of Australia, would pick the 1st at TOC as his call should he post against this thread!? :)

atb
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Steve Lapper on May 18, 2014, 05:18:38 AM
Paramount qualifies

Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Matt Bielawa on May 18, 2014, 06:39:20 AM
Dye often opens with a gentle handshake as well.  I like the strategy as a way to get pace of play off to a good start in addition to the obvious benefits of giving the player a warmup.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Ronald Montesano on May 18, 2014, 08:54:15 AM
The first at CC Buffalo used to be a gentle handshake, as the bunkering up the right side was less conspicuous (the acreage doglegged right at the 150 from green/210 off the tee- point) and golfers typically went straight at the green. Now, a new back tee stretches the hole to 390, it's more difficult to go over the trees that separate hole from driving range on right and the bunkering up the right is much more plentiful and conspicuous. All of this conspires to force golfers left, with the wind, toward the adjacent road and its oob status. If that weren't enough, an expanded green (think Raynor-squared corners) offers a number of tempting yet deadly edge hole locations. It's the hole that you used to walk off disappointed with par and now, might go low to the gut with a nice 6 or 7 if not careful.

Ergo, play an iron to 150, punch an 8 to green center and take your chances from there.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Ben Voelker on May 18, 2014, 09:18:28 AM
1st at Bethpage Red is probably the most difficult on the course.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Dean DiBerardino on May 18, 2014, 03:19:30 PM
Ross was not always gentle.  The first at Franklin Hills is a long, difficult par-4, and so is the first at Oakland Hills, though I don't know how much Mr. Jones changed the latter.  It's a rule of thumb, but sometimes you have to get to the next ridgeline, and it's more than 400 yards away.

Tom:

The Donald Ross Web Library on the Tufts Archives website has drawings of both golf courses in the 1920’s with the “card” of the courses included(OHCC in 1922 and FHCC in 1926). While neither drawing includes the intended par for each hole, the length of the first hole at both courses is the third longest hole on each course. Is it possible Ross intended both of these holes to be built as a par five or even a “gentle handshake” opener par five?
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Dan Boerger on May 18, 2014, 03:28:15 PM
To Tom Doak's point, the first hole at Ross' Aronimink is a firm handshake. #2 significantly more gentle.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Nigel Islam on May 18, 2014, 11:35:10 PM
The first at French Lick's Hill course is certainly one of the tougher par 4s on the course (5 and 18 are tougher and maybe 12).
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Matthew Petersen on May 19, 2014, 12:36:48 AM
#1 at We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro) is tough. 469 from the tips. Downhill drive to an angled fairway that falls away on the right. Second shot requires a carry over a wash, the only place this is required on the course. Green runs hard into bunker right, actually better to miss there than to miss in the short grass left. Tough par.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 19, 2014, 04:49:21 AM
I mentioned the 1st at TOC above.

I've just seen a Gary Player interview on TV where he said his first ever shot in The Open was played at TOC - and he snapped hooked it but was saved from going OB left by hitting one of the OB marker posts and coming back into play. So much for IB-F's shot many years later.

atb
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Carl Rogers on May 19, 2014, 08:15:24 PM
Welcome to Ballyhack.
WW
huh??  First Drive is very disconcerting.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Carl Rogers on May 19, 2014, 08:18:43 PM
Tom D's & Team 1st at Riverfront is a wide open drive, only to be rudely shocked into a very prececise approach with no particularly easy pin locations .... no. 3 handicap hole
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Sean_A on May 20, 2014, 03:13:57 AM
Birkdale's opener is tough as nails.  Saunton East's is a brutal hello.  Believe it or not, but Church Stretton's opener will quickly dispell ideas of a birdie fest based on a short yardage card.  Not necessarily tough, but Painswick's can literally kill folks with a weak heart.

Ciao
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: David Ober on May 20, 2014, 12:02:53 PM
I greatly prefer gentle handshakes to start a round. Nothing too long, certainly. I don't like having to really swing at a driver on the first hole. As a working man, rarely do I get enough time to fully warm up prior to a round, and I prefer to bump a hybrid or a 4-wood down the fairway than having to really get into one right off the bat....
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Keith Grande on May 20, 2014, 12:14:01 PM
Bethpage Red, 470 yard par 4, green located atop the hill alongside the Black's 18th tee.  A stout driver, 3-wood start.  A good bogie hole!
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Brent Hutto on May 20, 2014, 12:26:38 PM
The first hole at Pitlochry is 376 yards from the visitor tees I played and 384 from the medal tees.

(http://www.pitlochrygolf.co.uk/images/hole1.jpg)

You can't tell from the picture but the tee shot landing area (between the two sets of cross bunkers) is about 20-25 feet uphill from the tee and your ball lands on an upslope. Then uphill another 15-20 feet to the green. Prevailing wind is in your face or just a bit from the left. That's an OB fence line on the right. Green has a false front.

For a course that's under 5,700 yards from the tips (albeit Par 69) that opener plays as long and as hard as any hole on the course.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Guy Nicholson on May 20, 2014, 12:55:10 PM
Highlands Links has a tough opener. Uphill, usually straight into the wind, bush on both sides, no range.

http://www.highlandslinksgolf.com/golf/proto/highlandslinksgolf2/hole01/hole01.htm
https://www.flickr.com/photos/guynick/3816371374/in/set-72157610577915489
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Brad Tufts on May 20, 2014, 02:19:58 PM
In the Boston area...

Essex #1 is 430 par 4  (may not be a Ross original hole)
Salem CC #1 is 420 with a blind second shot
Charles River #1 is about 420 with a blind pond at the bottom of the hill
Weston #1 is about 430

Brae Burn, Wellesley, Winchester, Vesper are all short par fours...Woodland is a short 4 too but he may have inherited that one. Concord CC is a short 5.

Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jim Sullivan on May 20, 2014, 02:39:37 PM
Pine Valley's first is one of the more difficult holes there...potential monster score on the opener.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Michael Felton on May 20, 2014, 02:43:32 PM
Pine Valley's first is one of the more difficult holes there...potential monster score on the opener.

My lasting memory of that place is that every hole had a potential monster score on it.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Michael Tamburrini on May 22, 2014, 04:03:26 AM
Wentworth... for years the 1st was the longest par 4 on the course (although I think the 15th is longer now). 
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 22, 2014, 05:10:02 AM
One lesser known course is the wonderful Huddersfield GC known locally as Fixby. I has many good holes on it including a brutal 1st hole. Also York GC known locally as Strensil has a tough opener. But up here in the Highlands I am really struggling to think of a tough opening hole.

Jon
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: archie_struthers on May 24, 2014, 06:46:18 AM
 ;D :D



Depending on the audience , the architect should design accordingly .  You can take more liberties on a lightly played private with no revenue needs.  In our area Pine valley and Galloway would qualify for this .   Otherwise I prefer a gentle opener with a few good pin positions and a longer back tee that can be used for tournament play if desired.

The wider the better for the opening tee shot , let the player get moving and enjoy !
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Patrick_Mucci on May 24, 2014, 10:36:23 PM
I wonder, when they were first designed and built, if there was any relationship between the difficulty of the first hole and the lack of a practice facility.

Some courses, like BFF and Wannomoisett have difficult openers, others are more benign.

It would be interesting to hear the architect tell us why they designed the first hole the way they did.

AWT seemed to favor par 5's as some of his starting holes.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Mark Steffey on May 25, 2014, 05:23:03 PM
In the Boston area...

Essex #1 is 430 par 4  (may not be a Ross original hole)


Brad,

It is my understanding that the nine's as we play them now are flipped from Ross' time there.
Title: Re: "A gentle handshake"
Post by: Bill_McBride on May 25, 2014, 05:29:18 PM
I wonder, when they were first designed and built, if there was any relationship between the difficulty of the first hole and the lack of a practice facility.

Some courses, like BFF and Wannomoisett have difficult openers, others are more benign.

It would be interesting to hear the architect tell us why they designed the first hole the way they did.

AWT seemed to favor par 5's as some of his starting holes.

Most of Mackenzie's California courses start with par 5s except for Cypress Point.  Of them - CPC, Pasatiempo, The Valley Club, Meadow Club - only the Meadow Club seems to have had space set aside for a formal driving range.