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Ron Whitten on Shinnecock

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Thank you for thinking of Tom and I while you were reading the Shinnecock piece by Ron Whitten.  But if Tommy and I wrote that piece, we would not have wondered so much about why Flynn kept a Redan.  I'm not at all certain it is an original M/R Redan, more likely Flynn's adaptation especially considering the Flynn tee that makes that hole play far superior--too bad the club went back to using the M/R tee.  In addition, the bunkering is a lot different than Mr. Whitten states. Flynn built a number of Redans as well as reverse Redans.  

I wouldn't call the 6th at Shinnecock a clear copy of the Channel Hole at Lido.  Unless all alternate fairway holes are considered clear copies.  Maybe Paul Turner, Tommy Naccarato, Tom MacWood, or someone knows when the first alternate fairway hole was built.  Flynn's design of the 6th at Shinnecock Hills postdates and reminds us of his design for a reverse channel hole long par 4 at Opa Locka in Florida (there's an airport on the site now) which was built for Curtiss (of aviation fame) but folded soon after completion as a result of the land bubble bursting in FL and the 1926 hurricane.  

Most everything else Mr. Whitten wrote was not only quite good but quite accurate--except the 9th hole comment--I agree with you Jimmy.  Maybe it is his least favorite hole but I don't think it comes close to universal agreement there.  I'm hard pressed to think of a least beloved hole.  I think there are 18 great holes in the golf course with a routing iteration that flows really well.  I know Jim Finegan thinks the approach shot into 9 a great one.  The Flynn bunkers built into the hillside on this hole are reminiscent of Flynn bunkers on other courses such as Brookline and Pine Valley and add great color and texture to the hole.  The M/R version had no bunkers near the green.


What does worthy of a U.S. Open mean?

Has Mr. Whitten cutback on his specualting this year?

Although William Flynn may've had real admiration for Macdonald and Raynor and some of their holes there's no real reason to think that was why he retained some of their holes at Shinnecock!

If one carefully reads David Goddard's excellent chronicle of the evolution of Shinnecock's course(s) in the 1927 to 1932 time period (Goddard took some of his facts from Hugh Alison's review for Shinnecock of Flynn's preconstruction design plans) it's fairly plain to see there was probably another very functional reason for the retention of some of the Macdonald/Raynor holes---but only for a time in their preexisting form.

Basically Flynn built 12 new and original holes on land that was purchased in 1927 by Lucien Tyng in three lots or sections that include what is now the entire back nine (with the exception of present #18 which was not a hole but was on the club's property) and holes #4,5,6.

Initially, the new Flynn plan called for three nines retaining some of the old Macdonald/Raynor holes basically as one of the nines south and west of the clubhouse. Flynn's initial Shinnecock design blueprint iterations show not an 18 hole course but three nine hole iterations that were color coded as "nines". (Some of the proposed holes on one iteration were on the land to the north and east of #12, #13 and #15) and were not used as that land was not purchased (Alison's report labeled those holes as not on the best land).

For whatever reason----Goddard speculates due to maintenance costs or perhaps the fact that Rte 27 was not built exactly where Tyng thought it might be---=most of those Macdonald/Raynor holes were let go in favor of only 18 holes at Shinnecock.

But the real reason those six Macdonald/Raynor holes (#1,2,3,7,8,9) were somewhat reused (in landform use and partial green-site reuse) was the club was trying to keep 18 holes in play continuously with Flynn's new original 12! That is until Flynn came back in 1931 and redesigned in one way or another those six Macd/Raynor holes. (As they were being redesigned the club may have used some of the other Macdonald/Raynor holes to the south of the clubhouse during that one year 1931-32 as those holes were given up in 1932 when Flynn's redesign of the Macd/Raynor holes #1,2,3,7,8,9 came back into play after redesign)!

So it looks to me like the retention and partial reuse of app. six of the Macd/Raynor holes (#1,2,3,7,8,9) had more to do with routing considerations that included a continuous use of 18 holes in play at all times at a reasonable place than anything else.

Otherwise, I think Ron Whitten did a excellent job of research and writing of that Shinnecock article with one glaring exception---Flynn redans!! Ron says he's not aware of Flynn doing any redan holes. Flynn redan holes are all over the place---although they're very much Flynn's interpretations of the redan. He did reverse redans, including a good downhill reverse redan at Lehigh, two at Philly C.C and an excellent one at HVGC. Even Lancaster's #8 is a high mild reverse redan iteration. Flynn's HVGC redan (#3) is actually quite similar to Shinnecock's #7, in one way, as it's pretty hard to get a ball running up properly on its front slope!

And I agree with what Wayne said about Shinnecock's #6 being a copy of the famous Lido Channel hole. If it is it's a sort of loose interpretation. But the channel hole he did at NLE Opa Locha in Florida was a very exact copy of the Lido Channel hole, only a mirror image with the high risk tee shot out to the left.

Wayne & TE
When it was first introduced in 1930, the Pond Hole (#6) was compared to the Channel Hole. What is interesting--especially within the discussion of  the relative merits of #9 and #18 as a home hole--the Pond Hole was at that time the 10th hole.

The current 10th was the 1st hole, followed by the remainder of the back nine (then the front) until you got to the current 17th (at that time the 8th). From there the routing changed to the current 5th (then the 9th), the 6th (10th), followed by the 4th (11th), the 18th (12th), 1st (13th), 2nd (14th), 3rd (15th), 7th (16th), 8th (17th) and finishing with the 9th--the Macdonald/Raynor finish.

Regarding the first alternate fairway....I'll have to think about that one. It may be Macdonald at Lido....I'd say the genesis of the alternate route can be traced back to the Old course.

Scott Burroughs,

Donald Trump is very bright, hard working, and a visionary of sorts, but, just because his pockets are lined with gold, doesn't mean he sings well in the shower too.

But, he's a known achiever, against all odds, so I wouldn't take his dream or vision off the tote boards yet.

Anything is possible.

TEPaul & Wayne Morrisson,

Your work on Flynn continues to be exceptional, keep it up.


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