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ed_getka

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2007, 07:23:35 PM »
Chris,
   I'm just throwing ideas out there. Eventually I'll stumble onto some that work. :)
   Speaking of parcel size, Kingston Heath was a revelation. Had I not known going in that it was a small parcel I would have never noticed. If I moved to Melbourne the first thing I would do is put my name on the list to join KH.
    Another way of looking at the size of the courses and the use of the land is perhaps Mackenzie did "waste" some of it. Howevere, which is clearly considered the best course? Maybe sometimes you have to sacrifice elasticity for more good holes or better flow or whatever reason Mackenzie had for using the land the way he did.
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Neil_Crafter

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2007, 07:23:47 PM »
Here's John Green's piece:

Who's Afraid of Ernie Els?

Dr Alister Mackenzie created golf holes but did not give them a par rating - many of his holes would fit into the four and a half or three and a half par category, thereby making them ideal match play holes.  Mackenzie also showed no interest in ‘defending the par’ of his courses and was quite happy to see a record of 64 or 65 for a course under seven thousand yards, which in his day would have had a par around 77.  He saw this as a case of accurate and excellent play having been rewarded.  Mackenzie regarded a high course record as almost invariably a sign of a bad course. Therefore, those who believe that there is much to learn from Mackenzie, and any wishing to debate whether, or not, the West Course at Royal Melbourne should remain as a Mackenzie course, should all look at the average scores rather than just the exceptional ones.  However, the latter do have importance because they show if it is indeed a course where good play gets rewarded.

There are those who consider the West Course at Royal Melbourne to be vulnerable because of the state of modern equipment, where all the par fives are reachable with two shots – however, Mackenzie always intended that they should be so.  In the Club Championship in 1999, where the handicap limit was 12, the best score around the West was 69, while the average score was 88.  In 2006, the scores were better, with the average score for the Championship and the Council Cup (handicap limit 12) being 85.5, and with two scores below 70.  However, it needs to be noted that one was played in winter and the other in summer.  In the eight years between 1999 and 2006, there have been only eight scores below 70. These are hardly the scores from a vulnerable course.  

Lest people think that this is a reflection on the ability of those playing the Club Championship at Royal Melbourne, from the scores in the qualifying rounds of the 2005 Australian Amateur Championship it is clear that the West Course fulfilled its role admirably by Mackenzie’s standards.  On Day 1, half the field played the West Course with the best score being 66, while the average of the field was 76.0.  On the final day of qualification when the whole field had been cut to one third, the best score again was 66, but as would be expected, the average dropped to 73.2.  This was an elite amateur field, especially for the last two days, and included many top quality overseas players.

Probably nothing has more stirred those who believe that par must be protected than when Ernie Els scorched a course record of 60 around the Composite Course on the first day of the 2004 Heineken Classic.  The average score for that day was 71 - it was also the only Day 1 of the four Heineken Classics without at least one score in the eighties.  The Day 1 scores for the four years of the Heineken Classic were:
2002 – Best Score 64, Average 72.8  
2003 - Best Score 65, Average 72.7  
2004 - Best Score 60, Average 71.0  
2005 - Best Score 65, Average 71.9

Here again, is the confirmation that both the West Course and the Composite Course (combining selected holes from the West Course with holes from the Alex Russell designed East Course) conform with the criteria by which Mackenzie judged a good course – accuracy has been rewarded, but loose shots have disadvantaged the player so that making par becomes more difficult, and if the player tries to be too smart he may lose more than one shot.

People who are concerned about the distance that players can now hit the ball should remember that this is only partly due to the equipment, and applies to a limited minority of club members.  Most of the players hitting these very long drives spend considerable time on the practice fairway and the gym, and have had their swings developed from an early age by coaching and video surveillance.  Those who do not fit into this category, but are still long hitters, usually spend ample time in the trees and are not likely to be a serious threat to any course record.  So to compete, do members of clubs like Royal Melbourne want to spend more time on the practice tee and the gym, do they want to spend money updating their clubs every two years or so, or do they just want to go out and enjoy a hit with their friends?  Because, if it is the last of these, then the courses should respect the golfing needs and abilities of the majority of club members, and not be changed just to contain the few with exceptional talent and skill.  

Around our courses at Royal Melbourne, if those gifted players score well, then they have played well and have earned their reward of a low score.  It is worth remembering that Mackenzie asked for the ages and handicaps of the Royal Melbourne members before he began laying out the West Course with the assistance of Alex Russell – it has always been primarily a members course, and that it also remains to this day an excellent test for the best golfers is a credit to his skills.  If Mackenzie did not consider it was necessary to protect par then why should we agonise over good scores on one of his courses?  The course has achieved a high world ranking and has stood the test of 75 years of play from golfers of all abilities.  

Back in November 1956, young Royal Melbourne amateur Tom Crow (and later founder of Cobra Golf) shot a course record round of 63 on the West Course on his way to winning the Olympic Year Amateur Medal. Bogey for the course was then 73. After his son Jamie, also a fine player, came to grief on the Composite Course during a tournament, Crow advised his son on how best to play Royal Melbourne, advising him, "You need to treat this course like a grand lady.  Show her respect and you can try to seduce her - try to rape her and she will fight back."

Remarkably, Crow's record of 63 around the West has never been bettered and was of 50 years standing last November – and what better evidence can be found for the current relevance of the West Course?

At Royal Melbourne, the members are proud of their Mackenzie course, which they and any visitors find highly enjoyable.  By his own criteria the course is still achieving what he intended it to do.  Therefore, it should be best judged according to his criteria and not transformed by penal features and hyper-championship tees so that it can be judged by completely different criteria – and criteria that when the current fad dies, are likely to be found to be flawed.  Finally, it should not be lost sight of that Ernie Els staggered around the front nine of the Composite Course in 42 strokes in the final round of that 2004 Heineken Classic – going to the tenth tee his record breaking round of 60 just three days earlier must have seemed a very distant memory!

by Dr John Green


Dr. John Green is a retired medical practitioner and a single figure golfer. A 55 year member of Royal Melbourne, John has a special interest in the history of the Club and its courses.

Mark_F

Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2007, 07:59:12 PM »
Good point about the native vegetation. Happy to hear you are out golfing, the arm healed well I take it.
You too with the free pass, eh? Please list a dozen courses you have played in your travels that are better.

Ed,

Yes, the arm is fine now. Thanks. Has been for some time, although work don't realise that yet.  ;)

Maybe we are on a different wavelength in regards as to Free Pass.  By that, I mean the obvious bits and pieces of RM that don't gell or work get glossed over simply because it is RM.

Royal County Down is better.  :)

I don't particularly like the first because it is just uninteresting.  I don't buy the argument that a first hole has to perhaps have qualities other holes don't, because it's objective may be to get the field away, etc., so it should perhaps be wide, and reasonably hazard free, or whatever.

Compare it to the first at Dornoch.  Dornoch's is much shorter, allows a wider range of clubs off the tee, appears as easy as the first at RM, yet has a little more going on with the fairway bunker and the green.

Mike;

What is so fantastic about 11 and 12?

I would agree they are very good holes, and I don't want to nitpick, but they are hardly all-world.  


Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2007, 08:07:59 PM »
I've never been there  :-\ but doesn't #11 look a lot like #13 at Augusta National?  Of course I have no idea what the topo is like, and there's no creek, and maybe it's not a short risk/reward par 5, but perhaps it's the precursor of #13 ANGC in the same vein as #10 at Alwoodley!  ;D

Could one of you Down Under guys post a card to match up with that nice layout diagram?  Some of those holes lay out a lot like the Valley Club.  #2 for example, is a hard dogleg short par 5 much like #2 RMW looks to be.

Chris Kane

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2007, 08:39:46 PM »
Its not really anything like the 13rd at ANGC Bill - there is no reason to lay-up and the green isn't anything spectacular.  I can see why you might think so based on the map though!

So when are you going to visit?

Justin Ryan

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2007, 08:57:26 PM »
Are you advocating moving the bunkers out further only, or adding more bunkers to those that already exist? I only saw the course one time but I don't remember any bunkering that I thought was completely useless, like you guys are implying with your jam tin flyers.
Hello Ed, the bunkers on holes like 2,4 and particularly 18 are fixed in the slope.  They can't realistically be moved forward and given this limitation I think the question asked by Chris about whether this is a routing flaw is valid.  As seen in his design principles, Mackenzie realised that distances would continue to advance.  Given these bunkers cannot be realistically shifted there is a good argument that extra length should have been left behind these bunkers to ensure continued relevance.  They are now irrelevant for a large proportion of golfers.

And even by the standards of the time the course lacked a long par five.  It is also reasonable to argue that space should have been left behind one of them to be extended to a decent length.  

However, the rough on the right hand side of 2 poses a problem for the longer hitter not striking his shot into the perfect place, and in fact isn't it the rough/native plants which serve as a driving hazard for the better player on many holes?

Eg. 2,3,4,6,10,11,12,18?
Mark, do you think the use of rough/native plants is a valid means of challenging golfers from the tee?  I have seen it posited elsewhere recently that the only true means of challenging the tee shot is with bunkering.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 09:02:33 PM by Justin Ryan »

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2007, 09:31:33 PM »
Justin,
   I think the use of native vegetation is a good thing at RM. As I remember it, there is generally a way around it so a foozler can roll it most of the way around the course if so inclined. How are the studies and house coming along? Have a great summer with the kids.

Mark,
   I can buy that. I have heard RCD's praises sung enough, by people who love GCA, to know that you are on firm ground there. I need 11 more courses though. ;D I haven't been to Ireland yet, but rest assured I will see RCD when I go there. It will be the focal point of the trip.
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2007, 10:31:11 PM »
Its not really anything like the 13rd at ANGC Bill - there is no reason to lay-up and the green isn't anything spectacular.  I can see why you might think so based on the map though!

So when are you going to visit?


I have used up my allotment of overseas travel for 2008 with Buenos Aires in January, Scotland in June, and Paris / Provence in September.  This all works for me.  

I am thinking of January 2009 and wonder who might want to accompany me down under of the GCA wunderkind.  Let me know...... ;D

Kevin Pallier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2007, 10:43:41 PM »
Might this be different if Mackenzie had routed the course in a way which allowed another 300-500m to be added over the years?  There is an abundance of space on the site, so he might have built a more elastic course if he wished.

Before I'm accused of rocking the boat for the sake of it, I should point out that RMW is my second favourite course in the world.  But does it (and Mackenzie) get a free pass?  

Interesting questions Chris and I think Mackenzie would be flabberghasted to see how the advancements in equipment have impacted on the playing of his courses over the years.

Certainly - RMW elasticity is inhibited by the boundaries affecting / bordering many of the holes. I confess I dont know enough about the history of the design (with the boundary issues in mind?) but I would suggest that I wouldn't consider it "poor" that he designed some of the holes without too much room for additional length to get some of the holes into the routing he has.

The opening stretch of holes from 2 - 6 are my favourites. Holes 2 and 4 could be extended - but that would impact on the 17th East ? Interestingly, the stretch of holes from 8 onwards pretty much have elasticity issues in most of them:
8 - green is virtually aginst the boundary
9 - tee is almost against the boundary and one cant extend the green otherwise you would impact the tee shot on 10 !!
11 - the tee and green are pretty much against boundaries as most definitely is 12
13 - 16 - all pretty much have boundary issues and it's not until one gets past the tee at 17 that the elasticity issues are aside.

Still - within those stretch mentioned above he has created some marvellous holes 13, 16, 17 being my favourites. I think Alex Russell's six holes on the East could be considered equally as good use of the land but they again have boundary's impacting / bordering some way or another on most of them.

Yes - he could have routed the course a differently but then again as I would suggest in my original sentence - he couldn't have forseen the marked increases in technology over the years. I wouldn't say he gets a "free pass" because of that - but I also wouldn't crticise his routing too much given some of the holes he's produced.

Mark_F

Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2007, 12:25:18 AM »
Mark, do you think the use of rough/native plants is a valid means of challenging golfers from the tee?  I have seen it posited elsewhere recently that the only true means of challenging the tee shot is with bunkering.

Justin,

I don't see why not.  Especially, as when used at RMW, it is generally blind from the tee - eg 2,4,10 to some degree, 12 and 18 - which generally induces some doubt in many players.

And if you have ever driven it into gorse -or the horrendous blackberries, old TV sets, rusted-out cars, burnt goats   and other assorted crap sprouting off many links' dunes - you wouldn't be saying that bunkering is the only true means of challenging a tee shot.

Isn't the use of tea-tree and scrub as a driving or tee shot hazard rather widespread on National Old? :) (2,3,7,16 at least).

Mark,
I can buy that. I have heard RCD's praises sung enough, by people who love GCA, to know that you are on firm ground there. I need 11 more courses though. ;D

St Andrews Beach. :)
Prairie Dunes - hopefully!

As I was playing RM yesterday, I idly wondered several times whether Barnbougle may in fact be better than RM. It doesn't have the directional change of RM, nor a par four as good as 6 at RMW, but it struck me as to how reliant green-centered RM - and possibly all courses best desribed as second shot courses? - are on having greens at their optimum each day they are played for them to "work" properly.

Barnbougle still has the odd stances, a little more depth perception to worry about, a green (13) equally as vexatious at any speed, a few more  fairway slopes to carry the ball away from its intended position, (1,3,5,9,15) to provide challenge even if the greens aren't at desired pace because of weather conditions.

RM West's greens, of course, are still pretty good, but even I parred 2,5,6,11 and 13, and birdied 12, on my second outing in four months, and with a back that required a higher dose of Voltaren pre-round than my Doctor had prescribed... :)

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2007, 03:27:42 AM »
Here's John Green's piece:

Who's Afraid of Ernie Els?

Dr Alister Mackenzie created golf holes but did not give them a par rating - many of his holes would fit into the four and a half or three and a half par category, thereby making them ideal match play holes.  Mackenzie also showed no interest in ‘defending the par’ of his courses and was quite happy to see a record of 64 or 65 for a course under seven thousand yards, which in his day would have had a par around 77.  He saw this as a case of accurate and excellent play having been rewarded.  Mackenzie regarded a high course record as almost invariably a sign of a bad course. Therefore, those who believe that there is much to learn from Mackenzie, and any wishing to debate whether, or not, the West Course at Royal Melbourne should remain as a Mackenzie course, should all look at the average scores rather than just the exceptional ones.  However, the latter do have importance because they show if it is indeed a course where good play gets rewarded.

There are those who consider the West Course at Royal Melbourne to be vulnerable because of the state of modern equipment, where all the par fives are reachable with two shots – however, Mackenzie always intended that they should be so.  In the Club Championship in 1999, where the handicap limit was 12, the best score around the West was 69, while the average score was 88.  In 2006, the scores were better, with the average score for the Championship and the Council Cup (handicap limit 12) being 85.5, and with two scores below 70.  However, it needs to be noted that one was played in winter and the other in summer.  In the eight years between 1999 and 2006, there have been only eight scores below 70. These are hardly the scores from a vulnerable course.  

Lest people think that this is a reflection on the ability of those playing the Club Championship at Royal Melbourne, from the scores in the qualifying rounds of the 2005 Australian Amateur Championship it is clear that the West Course fulfilled its role admirably by Mackenzie’s standards.  On Day 1, half the field played the West Course with the best score being 66, while the average of the field was 76.0.  On the final day of qualification when the whole field had been cut to one third, the best score again was 66, but as would be expected, the average dropped to 73.2.  This was an elite amateur field, especially for the last two days, and included many top quality overseas players.

Probably nothing has more stirred those who believe that par must be protected than when Ernie Els scorched a course record of 60 around the Composite Course on the first day of the 2004 Heineken Classic.  The average score for that day was 71 - it was also the only Day 1 of the four Heineken Classics without at least one score in the eighties.  The Day 1 scores for the four years of the Heineken Classic were:
2002 – Best Score 64, Average 72.8  
2003 - Best Score 65, Average 72.7  
2004 - Best Score 60, Average 71.0  
2005 - Best Score 65, Average 71.9

Here again, is the confirmation that both the West Course and the Composite Course (combining selected holes from the West Course with holes from the Alex Russell designed East Course) conform with the criteria by which Mackenzie judged a good course – accuracy has been rewarded, but loose shots have disadvantaged the player so that making par becomes more difficult, and if the player tries to be too smart he may lose more than one shot.

People who are concerned about the distance that players can now hit the ball should remember that this is only partly due to the equipment, and applies to a limited minority of club members.  Most of the players hitting these very long drives spend considerable time on the practice fairway and the gym, and have had their swings developed from an early age by coaching and video surveillance.  Those who do not fit into this category, but are still long hitters, usually spend ample time in the trees and are not likely to be a serious threat to any course record.  So to compete, do members of clubs like Royal Melbourne want to spend more time on the practice tee and the gym, do they want to spend money updating their clubs every two years or so, or do they just want to go out and enjoy a hit with their friends?  Because, if it is the last of these, then the courses should respect the golfing needs and abilities of the majority of club members, and not be changed just to contain the few with exceptional talent and skill.  

Around our courses at Royal Melbourne, if those gifted players score well, then they have played well and have earned their reward of a low score.  It is worth remembering that Mackenzie asked for the ages and handicaps of the Royal Melbourne members before he began laying out the West Course with the assistance of Alex Russell – it has always been primarily a members course, and that it also remains to this day an excellent test for the best golfers is a credit to his skills.  If Mackenzie did not consider it was necessary to protect par then why should we agonise over good scores on one of his courses?  The course has achieved a high world ranking and has stood the test of 75 years of play from golfers of all abilities.  

Back in November 1956, young Royal Melbourne amateur Tom Crow (and later founder of Cobra Golf) shot a course record round of 63 on the West Course on his way to winning the Olympic Year Amateur Medal. Bogey for the course was then 73. After his son Jamie, also a fine player, came to grief on the Composite Course during a tournament, Crow advised his son on how best to play Royal Melbourne, advising him, "You need to treat this course like a grand lady.  Show her respect and you can try to seduce her - try to rape her and she will fight back."

Remarkably, Crow's record of 63 around the West has never been bettered and was of 50 years standing last November – and what better evidence can be found for the current relevance of the West Course?

At Royal Melbourne, the members are proud of their Mackenzie course, which they and any visitors find highly enjoyable.  By his own criteria the course is still achieving what he intended it to do.  Therefore, it should be best judged according to his criteria and not transformed by penal features and hyper-championship tees so that it can be judged by completely different criteria – and criteria that when the current fad dies, are likely to be found to be flawed.  Finally, it should not be lost sight of that Ernie Els staggered around the front nine of the Composite Course in 42 strokes in the final round of that 2004 Heineken Classic – going to the tenth tee his record breaking round of 60 just three days earlier must have seemed a very distant memory!

by Dr John Green


Dr. John Green is a retired medical practitioner and a single figure golfer. A 55 year member of Royal Melbourne, John has a special interest in the history of the Club and its courses.


Neal

Thanks for posting the letter.  It certainly helps explain matters that I intuitively understand, but can't place numbers to.  I especially admire the concept that a great course will yield a wide scope of scores even among the best players.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

Shane Gurnett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2007, 04:08:34 AM »
Interesting thread. If the question is that RM is poorly routed because the fairway bunkering is not in play, and cannot ever be so because of the land limitations, then the answer is a probably yes. Would holes like 2, 4 and 12 benefit from the tee going back 40-50 meteres, again a yes, but only in the context of the tournament or elite player. A quick look on google earth shows the bunker carries on these holes to be no more than 200 metres, so yes Mark even you would be able to carry them, assuming you hit a rare straight one  ;)

Having played there perhaps 30 times over the last 20 years, starting in the persimmon era right the way thru to 460cc of titanium, I havent noticed a huge difference in my scores over that time. I think the reason being that there are so many tempting holes at RM West that you cant help but pull thew driver out a lot more often than you really should, seduced by the apparently wide open fairways. The real key at RM is to play conservatively from the tee and when well placed then aggressively to the flags, on most holes. And of course to have an all world short game and putt very well too. Moreso than any other course I can think of, RM West delilvers more bogeys and more birdies to the good player who might still put together an even par round (if 72 HAS to remain as par when its really a solid par 70)

Chris, hopefully your insights into the course will guide me well as a caddy at next weeks Vic Am.  ;D

Mark, how was the condition of the West course - I keep hearing that it is in poor shape. The few holes on the East that I walked on Monday looked fine for golf, albeit a bit patchy to the eye of the couch grass pursists.

Shane

Mark_F

Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2007, 05:30:01 AM »
...shows the bunker carries on these holes to be no more than 200 metres, so yes Mark even you would be able to carry them, assuming you hit a rare straight one  ;)

From Jam tin to 200 metres in less than a week.  It couldn't have been me that said steroids would have nil effect for a golfer...


Mark, how was the condition of the West course - I keep hearing that it is in poor shape. The few holes on the East that I walked on Monday looked fine for golf, albeit a bit patchy to the eye of the couch grass pursists.

Shane

Shane,

Most of the greens had a lot of poa in them, whether this is a bad thing or not I am unsure. I had a good day with the putter, so I can hardly complain.  :)  They were a little soft, but not overly so.  

Most of the fairways were fairly patchy, generally absolutely bone dry, but a few - 6West, for one - the bare spots were both dead and very spongy, which was odd.

There is a lot of dead grass and cracked turf around. It's a shame to see.

David_Elvins

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2007, 05:53:46 AM »
Chris,

I think one thing worth remembering is that the existence of the composite course has meant that there hasnt been any real pressure to lengthen the west course.  If the west course was the championship course then I am sure it would have been lengthenned and there are plenty of holes where and extra 10-30 yards could be added. Although in some cases it probably would have involved sacrificing elements of the east course and/or purchasing property.  
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Matthew Mollica

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2007, 08:48:28 AM »
This is a really interesting thread Chris. Somewhat corageous too.

I tend to agree with David's post (immediately above). A quick run through holes would have me finding an extra 350m for the course, being modest with the increase on 2W.

Whether it satisfies your premise I'm not sure, but RMW at 6350m and a par of 70, would you still question the routing?

I understand your point in that one looks at 6W, 11W, 12W 17W and thinks - "I can't find any more length!" but to suggest that inelasticity of the course is a sign of it's poor routing is not right for mine.

The quality of the stretch from 3 - 6, then 10, 11 and the final 2 holes is just too good for me to ever doubt the routing. Especially if we believe that MacKenzie was hemmed in to some degree by a club which held hopes for additional holes at the time of the West being designed and built.

MM
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

Bill_McBride

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2007, 09:55:16 AM »
Does the fact that the composite course can be modern "championship length" make it not essential that either the East or the West be any longer?  Are there events staged on the individual courses where the 1/10th of 1% for whom modern equipment and competitive situations really make a difference could complain that the courses are too short?

Most of the MacKenzie courses I've played have par 5s that top flight modern players think are too short.  Pasatiempo solved this by changing #1 and #2 into par 4s and the layout a par 70.  The RM composite course apparently solves the situation by clever choice of the available 36 holes into a playable routing.

Chris Kane

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2007, 12:53:18 PM »
Dave, Matt and Bill, the main point of the thread isn't about the total length of the course, or even its resistance to scoring.  Its about the relevance of fairway bunkers to the tee shots of competent or semi-competent players.  Mackenzie clearly intended that these bunkers should challenge the golfer, yet they don't, and haven't come close to doing so for a very long time.  These holes don't play anything like it was intended.

Whether the irrelevance of these bunkers makes the course easier, or inferior to what it might be, is a subject for another thread.

Matt, I've been through the holes myself and could add quite a bit of distance, but the increases are primarily at the holes which don't need them!  2, 4, 9, 12, 15 and 18 all need significantly more length for the fairway bunkers to become relevant again, yet finding extra length on these holes is difficult.  

Kevin, interesting thoughts, thanks for answering the question.

Shane Gurnett

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2007, 03:45:46 PM »
Matt, which holes specifically do you reckon you can squeeze another 350m out of?

Philip Gawith

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2007, 04:36:06 PM »
I am a little late to this topic but it is still worth remarking that the festive spirit is clearly infusing our Australian friends when messrs Ferguson and Kane are displaying such mutual civility; and for the general absence of the rancorous/beating each other to a pulp flavour which one normally associates with a discussion of one of Australia's jewels. Remember the routing of Kingston Heath discussion??!! Still, it is early days and perhaps I speak to soon.

Sadly when I played the course so many holes were being messed around by the problems with the greens (dec 2005) that i don't really feel qualified to comment on the substance of the topic. Pleased to hear, though, Chris that Commonwealth returned to former splendours!

Shane Gurnett

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2007, 05:10:59 PM »
Philip,

This thread has not yet sunk to those typical lows associated with Australian course discussion, possibly because:

a) Mark Fergusons golfing ability has not been brought into question, perhaps because RM is the one course in Melbourne where he can challenge the fairway hazards from the tee and carry many of them.
b) Woodlands hasn't yet been dragged into the argument, or for that matter Kingston Heath, both of which have consumed many pages of web space in the pointless discussion over which routing is better.
c) the elusive James L has yet to enter the fray with his stirring stick.

But there is still hope as we are only on page 2.

I would be interested to see what RM's co-resident architect Tony Cashmore would have to say about the routing and positioning of the bunkers on the West course. Tony I believe is a member of the GCA discussion group but rarely if even posts. His input here would be of interest.

Shane.

Mike_Clayton

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2007, 06:16:36 PM »
The fairway bunkers are too often lumped together and accused of being out of position - and that is a generalization that does nor stand up IMO.
At the 2nd they are short and they could perhaps go further down - but why and who wants to take on that job and be acused of doing work that would inevitably be accused of 'not being as good as what was there.'
And on the Composite routing when it plays at 10 you can build a little tee at the back of 17 east (9 Composite) and drive over the edge of the previous green.
Then the bunker is 290 yards to carry and the hole is 570 and a great par five - and the problem of the tee being bombed with 2nd shots on 17 E is gone.Arguably it would be the best long hole in the country - and shows there is room to go back.

The fairway bunkers are perfect at 4 - what a dramatic shot it has always been to hit over them and remember what MacKenzie said about the thrill of driving over a dramatic looking hazard and there is no way to move them further down because you couldn't see them..

6W bunkers are still perfect because you only just want to be over them to get the best line.

The fairway bunker at 10 is the best and most influential hazard in Melbourne - still.What genius.

11 - the left fairway bunkers still work there.

12 - like 4 they are in the top of the hill - fun to hit over and where else could they go?

17 - The left bunker is still perfectly positioned to influence the play and arguably even more so now players can drive over it - something nobody ever thought of.

18 - see 4 and 12.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 06:18:01 PM by Mike_Clayton »

Mark_F

Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2007, 06:47:11 PM »
...the general absence of the rancorous/beating each other to a pulp flavour which one normally associates with a discussion of one of Australia's jewels. Remember the routing of Kingston Heath discussion??!!

The Good Old Days, Philip.  What fond remembrances I have.

Shane;

A). Not true. Many at KH and Woodlands are in play for me too. I haven't played the others, excepting Commonwealth, where I can't remember if the hazards are perfectly positioned for my classic fade, but if you are offering....

B) Other Australian poster's comments on my golfing ability have no bearing whatsoever on my rigorous yet apparently bilious examination of said people. That notion is as ridiculous as the one that St Andrews Beach has small greens.

C) It could never be called a pointless discussion on whether Woodlands or KH has the better routing, since there is no clear cut answer.

C) a - By the way, it's Woodlands.

C) b - A discussion of whether Woodlands or KH has the better routing is a far more valuable use of web space than on how many times out of ten you would split a shag between Megan Gale or Jennifer Hawkins.

C) c -The answer is clearly 10 to Jennifer.  Even if she had been dead for three days.

D) It is odd how three courses on such small blocks of land - Woodlands, KH and Commonwealth, that is - can find ways to lengthen their courses, yet the club on the largest acreage has the situation that is the topic of this post.  

E) James L has entered the fray.  He was being his polite normal self, as opposed to the ill-mannered little troll he occasionally transmogrifies into.

F) Brian Walshe has yet to enter the discussion. He appears to be somewhat reticent to bear his soul these days.

G) MacKenzie made the decision to route 2 and 4 West.  12 was obviously a par four, and he was stuck with 15.  Given that even 17E can be reached with a short iron second these days, does it matter if a course doesn't have a long par five?

Shane Gurnett

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2007, 06:59:11 PM »
Mike, is this where you would put the tee on 2W? It is indeed 290 yards to carry from back there.



Mark, we agree on few things but Jennifer Hawkins is surely one of them, but I would split them 9-1 just to say I had, a bit like playing Moonah Links.


Neil_Crafter

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Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2007, 07:37:12 PM »
Chris
This is your first post to start this thread off:

3. ...the course should be arranged so that in the first instance there is always a slight walk forwards from the green to the next tee; then the holes are sufficiently elastic to be lengthened in the future if necessary
(Mackenzie's design principles)

This makes it quite clear that Mackenzie contemplated that his courses might need to be lengthened to combat the advances in equipment technology, indeed he wrote about how equipment was changing the game at the time!

Royal Melbourne West is a great golf course, but many of the holes obviously don't play as they were designed.  With the ball flying much further than it did eighty years ago, many of the ground hazards which challenged tee shots don't do so anymore.

At 6023m, RMW is desperately short, and more a course to challenge the members than the champions.  Might this be different if Mackenzie had routed the course in a way which allowed another 300-500m to be added over the years?  There is an abundance of space on the site, so he might have built a more elastic course if he wished.

Before I'm accused of rocking the boat for the sake of it, I should point out that RMW is my second favourite course in the world.  But does it (and Mackenzie) get a free pass?


I find it hard to accept when you say the main point of your thread is  RMW's fairway bunkers and their relevance to the tee shots. Please re-read your thread opener and while you mention this aspect it could hardly be considered your thread's main point. Surely your main point was that RMW is too short and that Mackenzie's routing did not build in enough flexibility to allow for future lengthening. I think this thesis has been disproven.

I agree with Mr Clayton's assessment of the bunkering and he has played these holes far more in tournament and other conditions than the rest of us put together I would expect.

And its Hawkins over Gale by 5 and 4.

Rich Goodale

Re:Has time shown that RMW is poorly routed?
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2007, 11:05:21 PM »
Sorry to interrupt the Annual Aussie (Closed) Pissing Championship, but I have to say that the article above by John Green is the best piece of GCA writing I have seen in a very long time.  Thanks, Neil.

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