Golf Club Atlas => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: V. Kmetz on March 16, 2021, 02:20:55 AM

Title: The Perfect Hole - IV
Post by: V. Kmetz on March 16, 2021, 02:20:55 AM
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Like the previous (III) Perfect Hole, this one is a ruler straight, bunker-less hole with death on one side.

One difference between the two is that the death here is neighborhood OB left, not LI Sound right...

Another distinction is the raw distance of the two; Perfect Hole III is 135-40 yards longer...

The previous one also ascends nearly straight up to the pin, this one is played over a blind "rainbow," climbing sharply some 30 feet in elevation before tumbling nearly the same amount down to the green...

Oh yeah, a final contrast is that Perfect Hole III is found on one of America's most honored and special courses, a cherished feather in anyone's cap -- while this one, Perfect Hole IV, is on an arcane, humble ghost town that just about nobody plays anymore, and is cared for by a father-daughter duo and their gang mower.

Yet both are perfect...
So, first, the wild topography of this innocuous looking (in 2D aerial) hole.... I'll give you three looks and then detail:

Looking due North, (dot) tee on the left, (dot) green on the right:
Looking NW,
Same NW view, with rough Topo lines

When I was a young golfer, I didn't think too much of this hole except that I had enough 5w distance to get a hit over the peak and down to the green and because the card said "4"... there was a possible Double Eagle-Ace in the offing. Trouble was, I rarely fact it what must be over 750-800 playings of this course in my life, (and the ability to produce that same distance to "go" with as little as a 4 iron) I've actually only been on the green once... and I didn't make the 2....

...and I cannot tell you how many OB 7xs...block slice lost balls ("where the fuck is it? it's ought to be right here...I'm going to drop one, fore...") and "bladed wedge give me a 6"s I have had. My stroke average must be 5.5, if I honestly counted; though as a youth I ignored the price of prospective glory.

Here's some more painted features imposed:

As I hope you can tell, the experienced adult mind simply knows, that despite having enough distance to achieve the green in one blow, it's just about damn near impossible to do safely... you'll either overdraw/hook it ob or get stymied against the boundary rock wall and its tree branches... or you'll blow to the right down into the "Quarry of Sin" which itself is a further 25 feet below the green and  impossible to hold a small green with no depth...or get stuck on the side of the wicked (5-6%) slope with a partial sand wedge out of irregularly mown clover...

The plain truth is that there is no stable place to hit it when you're seeking a one-shot solution, at least one that isn't close to one of several random difficulties and extreme scorecard danger. (One great remaining thing about antique courses like this is the companion randomness of how any one condition might play... F and F over here... and 10 feet right or left...heavy grass)

So what do you do?

I suppose the "perfect" shot would be a 195 yard draw that lands about 12 yards inside the left OB...receives a perfect kick towards the small, small speedy channel that might throw the ball through the imperfect clover and burned out thatch (there is no "fairway" at this course, just 15 or 115 yard swaths of gang mowing) tumbling down onto the 21d x 17w pad.

Trouble is, you have to execute this shot blind, as you tee off from the bottom of a sharp escarpment (almost facing a sheer wall of upslope - will add a photo of this down the line) over a small flat area 100 yards out...

This is what you would face is your tee shot travelled 125-130 yards and wound up on the first flat, before the "peak" of the rainbow and down to the green. This is the shot that many short hitters or mishits invariably face...


You can see the problem with this 2-shot approach to the shoot 140 to 115, usually downwind blind yards to a sunken green (and that's if you're deciding carry all the way to the green) where the best line is the most dangerous, nearest the OB left and only 25 feet laterally from a death shot where a likely 5 at best awaits...

In a two shot model, this is the single best spot to arrive off the tee, about 165 -70 yards on a tiny (1000 sq feet patch) about 90 yards in, from the elevation peak of the hole. Because its steeply uphill and blind, to end up here requires as much skill as achieving the green at the 12th ANGC..


Even a bit further down...about 65-70 out... the awkwardness of a partial wedge off sloped ground, brings that fear of BLADE sailing off into the eastern horizon... that's an "X" as well... many, many an otherwise brave soul will chip a 7-iron from this spot... and still walk way with 5.

Here's a dawn shot of the 90 yard approach from the top of the hill... gorgeous view that because of the hour, few probably ever see. (Years ago, they used to let me out at 5:45 if I gave them a heads up):


One unique thing about this beguiling, unrepentant beauty is that it also is a counter-intuitive swipe at that which we otherwise KNOW is a sound GCA principle...that the hole flow from its green backwards to the tee. 

Here the 21 x 17 green is plain and anti-climactic, its got some old subtle rumples in its small pad, but otherwise is a smooth 6.5, untroubling in the main plot. 

Instead THIS hole is all about your strategy and execution of the tee shot, everything flows from HOW you decide to play it and how well you play what you decide.

I always like to devote a last bit on these Perfect holes to that ubiquitous factor...that such a hole be a sound golf proposition which a wide, wide variety of players can tackle one another honestly, and equitably...

What would a Tour pro do on such a hole, how would he or she play it?... as a matter of today's number crunching sciences, even though I surmise BDC would end up hitting a 7 or 8 iron, figuring if he were a little off he could still bear it. But he better have that sextant aligned correctly as I think the hole could frustrate the elite player's rational sense of fairness -- but I'd love to see him execute it...and I'd love to see it the second time...

It's mostly blind, grossly exacting for just the tiniest of errors and subtly exacting for the best of your execution.  At times the tee is so abused you have to turn over a long iron to pound in the peg.  It's only 265 yards has no bunkers and a flat, if small, green, yet it provokes so many 5s and 6s, as to make one laugh. It's an old hole, on a dismissed, anonymous 9-hole course with a shit reputation...

Yet, it's perfect.

Title: Re: The Perfect Hole - IV
Post by: Thomas Dai on March 17, 2021, 04:51:22 AM
Seems like a hole which when played from the mens rear tees is within golfs 250-300 yd 'ego/vanity' gap. Also a hole with options to play but plenty of trouble around including some rocks in fairway. Imagine it probably plays very firm-n-fast at some times of year.

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Title: Re: The Perfect Hole - IV
Post by: V. Kmetz on March 17, 2021, 08:03:07 AM
Seems like a hole which when played from the mens rear tees is within golfs 250-300 yd 'ego/vanity' gap. Also a hole with options to play but plenty of trouble around including some rocks in fairway. Imagine it probably plays very firm-n-fast at some times of year.

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As perhaps the board's chief proponent of holes in that distance range (for me it's 240 - 290)... it is, as was the first Perfect hole...and likely a few others before I complete the exercise.

This course (both in its topography and its budget) must accept whatever conditions prevail... in March. April, May and October, the course tends to play lush in its clover... in the other summer seasonal months, it can play hardpan/burn out fast.  This hole is probably the fastest overall, in all months, due to the nature of the center hill it plays over.
Title: Re: The Perfect Hole - IV
Post by: David Harshbarger on June 25, 2022, 06:49:11 PM

I agree that the 4th is the Belle of the Ball at SH. And thank you for this smart analysis.

I hate to admit that I am itching to get another crack at this course.

The GHIN says that me and my 14.1 index should be able to get around in 76 green high seems entirely fanciful. Nonetheless Iím eager to try.