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George Pazin

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Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« on: December 04, 2006, 05:54:01 PM »
Just kidding...kind of.

Anyway, week 2 in our series finds us at a type of hole that is rapidly disappearing from the scene - the highly interesting sub 350 yard par 4 that isn't really driveable.

From the website:

Green   340
Blue    325
White   317
Red    309



On this short par 4, a long iron off the teeing ground avoiding the ditch on the left and the bunkers on the right sets up a short iron to an infamous green.  You must approach your putt from below the hole; three putts are common from above it.

#5 handicap hole for the men

The bunker on the diagram just short of the green is a newly restored bunker. I was somewhat surprised, during my days at the Am, that no one I saw simply drove it long up the right side, allowing a better angle into the green. Everyone I saw laid up with a long iron, leaving one of the more treachorous wedge approaches in the game.

When discussing this hole with a friend, he related to me that the 2nd hole sometimes has a higher stroke average than the first, during the many tournaments which Oakmont is generous enough to host. I'm not surprised - the green has to be among the most sloped in golf. Many a poorly judged approach shot results in the ball coming off the green, ending up well short of the putting surface.

More to follow.
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:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2006, 05:56:17 PM »
From The Book, purchased at the 2003 Amateur:



What I find most interesting about the 2nd hole is how it plays as an interesting contrast to the 1st. Long par 4 with a fallaway green, short par 4 with a green sloped strongly to the front.

Let's hear your thoughts and stories, please.
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

Tom Huckaby

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006, 06:03:08 PM »
No stories, of course.  Hopefully some day.

But re your wonderment why the big boys didn't go long up the right for a better angle in, well... isn't it simply because they are so damn good with short irons that angle doesn't matter to them?  Even on this ungodly sloped green, it doesn't surprise me they just hit it to a comfortable distance.  Those guys can make short irons dance so much with today's equipment, angles to them are meaningless except from way way far away.

Now us normal guys, well... I know I'd want to have a decent angle in.  But I also do NOT want to be in that bunker that looks to be about 80 yards short.   Can't tell the distances for sure but I'd hit a club that gets me past the last one of the bunkers on the right while staying short of the nasty center one.   Then I'd pray to the golf gods for help on the approach shot.

VERY cool-looking golf hole, btw.

TH
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 06:04:53 PM by Tom Huckaby »

George Pazin

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2006, 06:19:24 PM »
But re your wonderment why the big boys didn't go long up the right for a better angle in, well... isn't it simply because they are so damn good with short irons that angle doesn't matter to them?  Even on this ungodly sloped green, it doesn't surprise me they just hit it to a comfortable distance.  Those guys can make short irons dance so much with today's equipment, angles to them are meaningless except from way way far away.

You will see, in June, the fallacies in this statement.

 :)
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

Cory Lewis

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2006, 06:28:26 PM »
My best Oakmont playing story involves the second hole:

The pin position on the day I played it was particularly difficult, I believe back right.  I had a fifteen foot putt straight up the hill, the two members I was playing with told me the only way I could make the putt was to hit it past the hole and let it roll back in.  Well I didn't listen and after making it to the edge of the cup I watched my ball roll back about twenty feet.   They told me that the pin position isn't used very often.  What a fantastic green, can't wait so see how people handle it in the Open.
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Ryan Farrow

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2006, 06:35:07 PM »
IMO one of the best looking holes on the course. And since I have some pictures I will share them with you. Just to note, a back extension was added to this green over the last few years. I really canít imagine how small it was before that took place; the green is a very small target with a severe false front. I guarantee a lot of wedge shots will be spinning off the green and down the approach during the Open.








Tom Huckaby

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2006, 06:41:40 PM »
George - in all seriousness - is the angle from the left really that bad?  Ryan's pics don't show that, but of course photos do level things.  Given they're gonna have wedges in pretty much no matter what, the slope off the left bunker would have to be very severe... And it would seem to have to be concrete-firm for this to matter... is Oakmont really going to get that way?

TH

Garland Bayley

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2006, 06:51:59 PM »
... the green has to be among the most sloped in golf. ...

Have to wonder how this could be. Oakmont is reputed to have some of the fastest greens in golf. Therefore, it seems impossible for them to also have the most sloped in golf.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

ed_getka

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2006, 06:52:09 PM »
George,
   It is interesting that in the pix the green doesn't seem to be sloped towards the golfer. What would you estimate the elevation change to be from back to front? Of the golfers at the Am who you saw play this hole was there a particular sort of shot or approach that seemed to work well? Or do you just want to get on the green?
    What is the most difficult hole location?
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Ryan Farrow

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2006, 06:52:12 PM »
There really is no angle to the left. I see everyone staying as far away from that ditch as possible. If you are talking past the ditch then they may be in trouble if they are in the rough. They would be coming in from a horrible angle if the pin is anywhere near the front of the green. Plus the bunkers guarding the front left are many, many feet deep.


And the course will play concrete fast unless it downpours all week.

Tom Huckaby

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2006, 06:54:30 PM »
Ryan - so for the great players, is angle in a consideration or not?  Or is it indeed that they just want to miss the ditch left, bunkers right?

Seems like another hole that looks purely penal... but I was convinced that #1 is far from that... so what gives this hole its strategic worth?

TH

SPDB

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2006, 06:57:01 PM »
George - I wonder. The sketches you include from The Book have yet to correspond to the hole renderings you feature.
What gives?

Jay Flemma

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2006, 06:57:56 PM »
Great analysis great photos

Mark_Fine

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2006, 07:04:19 PM »
George,
You are on your own defending this hole as the toughest 2nd hole in golf  ;D  I might beg to differ on this one.  I'll try to chime in later.
Mark

Ryan Farrow

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2006, 07:41:14 PM »
Tom, we are talking about Oakmont Country Club here. The name of the game is Penal. Like I said before its all about knowing where not to miss throughout each hole, you need to know when to try and carry, split, or play short of the hazards. If I was to recommend an angle for a PGA Tour player on #2 I would say right. They would not have any trouble clearing the bunkers on that side but then again they are going to grow the rough out 6 inches so the tee shot comes down to what distance you want for your approach. As far as a where not to hit the ball I would say left off the tee and long into the green. I will say the par 5's are the most strategic holes on the course but it is not the dominant theme at Oakmont, thatís just the way it is. Does anyone think that makes it a bad course?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 07:41:58 PM by Ryan Farrow »

Dave Bourgeois

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2006, 07:46:18 PM »
Ryan,

Thanks for posting the picture.  I am pondering where I would aim if I was lucky enough to play there.  I absolutely love holes of this length especially when they offer a few options off the tee.  

It is also remarkable to me how the bunkers add some much texture to the landscape.  I love how it looks so low profile from your shot.

Michael Ryan

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2006, 09:36:35 PM »
SPBD,

The reason the pictures and sketches don't match up is because the sketches are from the official yardage books done by George Lucas.  He simply sketches the holes in the parts that have relavance to the golfers and caddies (tees on the 3's, landing areas on the 4's and 5's, as well as possible lay up positions on 5's, and the green structures).  His books are the gold standard of yardage books and you won't find more accurate information, but if you are looking for sketches made to scale, its not happening from a book done by George....

George Pazin,

This is a great thread, and I look forward to the discussions on all 18 at Oakmont in advance of this year's US Open.  

Mike

George Pazin

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2006, 10:11:36 PM »
George - I wonder. The sketches you include from The Book have yet to correspond to the hole renderings you feature.
What gives?

One thing I've noticed with The Book is that it takes equal parts imagination and intellect to read and understand it. I'll try to expand on this tomorrow. My son is calling out to me!

Huck -

There's guys that played in the Am that play in the US Open as well. No one that I followed, including the eventual winner, treated the hole like a pushover, wedge or not. The green was tiny (haven't seen the enlargement), the slopes have to be seen to be believed.

Garland -

My statement was indeed probably inaccurate. What I should've said was that the combination of slope and speed make the green play as one of the steepest around. Hopefully that makes more sense.

Still, with the speeds they maintain, you wouldn't believe the green could be as sloped as it is.

Ryan -

Thanks for the additional photos and comments.

Thanks everyone else for the support. Mark, I was indeed joking about the 2nd being the toughest.

 :)
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

Kyle Harris

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2006, 10:32:45 PM »
Cut the fairway out to the ditch. The hole seems almost TOO narrow with the fairway cut as is.

Never seen it, just from Ryan's angles there should be some danger on a firm and fast day of an overzealous hook running into trouble.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2006, 10:42:38 PM »
I think #2 may be my favorite hole on the course.  After  tough opener you get to two and think birdie.  After three putts you go grumbling to the next tee.
For my money, though, two at PV is the scariest second hole on golf.
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JohnV

Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2006, 08:51:25 AM »
#2 is a wonderful hole.  Kyle, the fairway really is pretty wide if you layup with an iron.

As to how steep the green is, consider this.  At the 2003 US AM, a player hit a shot that stopped about 5 feet above the hole.  He came up, lifted the ball, cleaned it and set it back down where it was at rest.  Suddenly it started to move, rolled down the hill and into the hole.  The official who was there was called in and said that since the ball was at rest and nobody cause it to move, he had holed his previous shot for a 2.

This along with #5 are probably the most severe greens on the course, not that many if any could be considered anywhere near flat.  Since both are on short par 4s that seems like the right mix to me.  Oakmont has as great a set of short par 4s as any of the great courses I've seen.  Holes 2, 5, 11, 14 and 17 are all wonderful holes and all under 400 yards.

The changes since the Book that George has copied are probably the greatest on this green.  It is quite a bit bigger on the back left.

The last time I played there, I hit a good wedge to the green.  The next player hit and I saw a ball run off the green.  I said I was sorry that his ball didn't stay on there.  He turned to me and said he came up 20 yards short.  It was my ball which had rolled around for about 45 seconds before coming off the front of the green.

Mark Studer

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2006, 09:21:47 AM »
#2 is one of the  five short par 4's at Oakmont that was NOT lenghtened when we built the new tees in the fall/winter of 2001.  We did not make 2, 5, 11, 14, or 17 longer .  Each of these shorter holes is protected by severe bunkers and tricky greens. #2 was expanded (changed) as John V points out in the back right and was raised in the front right .  I was personally against  the changes because we could not  find photos to document that the #2 green was ever as proposed.  These putting green modifications were made after my term as greens chair.  As John V said, the safe play is with a 220 yard tee shot, short of the potential ditch trouble, leaving~ 135 yds.  Once on the putting surface- Good Luck!  It is the #5 handicap hole at 345 yds. from the member tees.  I think #2  at Pebble beach as a 4 par(as played in the '99 USAM and '00 USOpen) is much tougher.
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Tom Huckaby

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2006, 09:51:12 AM »
Ryan/George:

I guess my questions go toward trying to see if this hole is GREAT.  See, I know it's TOUGH - that's the assumption for every hole there at Oakmont.  But tough does not equal great, at least not as I see things... and I don't think George sees it that way either.

So this is a difficult golf hole, especially for it's short distance.  The green sounds incredible... I'm going to assume there are areas on which the ball will stay at rest.. because of course if not we've crossed the line into the absurd.

So yes, this sounds like a very tough golf hole.

But is it GREAT?  And if so, why?

BTW, just being so tough at such a short distance might be enough to make it great... Let's just hope that every hole on the course isn't like this, with the difficulty being the main selling point.  

See, George wants me to believe that Oakmont is better than Pebble Beach.  So far, I believe #1 is a great golf hole.  We'll see how it goes....  

George Pazin

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2006, 11:14:53 AM »
Huck, I'll expand more later, but one answer is, similar to the first hole, the hole is challenging for all levels of players. I can't think of too many other non-driveable, sub 350 yard par 4s where that's the case.

There certainly are options with decisions - favoring  side of the fairway brings the bunkers into play. A nonchalant layup to the left fairway yields a VERY difficult wedge shot, even for the best players. Some might say the fairway is too narrow to favor a side, but remember, most are teeing off with long irons or hybrids.

If I were Fred Funk or Joe Durant, I might even think about driver/half wedge, to keep the spin down.

I need to pull out my tape of the 94 Open, but I think in the playoff, all 3 guys were over par through 1 & 2, and I think someone even doubled one of them.

One thing is for certain - there's no hard par, easy bogey at Oakmont.

Everything's hard.

But also fun.

 :)

Thanks Mark, John and Ryan for the added info.
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

Tom Huckaby

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Re:Week 2: The toughest 2nd hole in golf? Oakmont #2
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2006, 11:19:55 AM »
George - gotcha - but you may have to indeed expand more.  So far at Oakmont, I am seeing a lot of hard.. but the greatness is more difficult to see.  Challenging for all levels of players is very cool... but fun reigns supreme for me.  And so far I am not seeing the fun at Oakmont, only the pain.  Although like I say, I was convinced by #1.  Still too many brutally hard holes strung together does not make Tom a happy boy.


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