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DMoriarty

Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« on: January 03, 2003, 10:13:30 AM »
I know, it is blasphemous to suggest such a thing about one of the greatest strategic par fours ever built. †But, as Geoff Shackelford explains in The Captain (p. 161), Thomas originally conceived of the hole without greenside bunkers, then added them a year after the course opened for play. †

As I look at the picture on p. 162 and the Geoff's sketch on p. 163, I wonder if the hole have been more strategically interesting without most or all the bunkers. †(The one I think might be most important strategically is the bunker in the left rough, well short of the green.)

Please explain to me why the hole is a better strategic hole with the bunkers. †
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:01 PM by -1 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2003, 10:55:28 AM »
Meant to say "bunker in the left rough" and edited to so reflect.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2003, 11:00:34 AM »
"But, as I look at the picture on p. 162 and the Geoff's sketch on p. 163, I wonder if the hole have been more strategically interesting without most or all the bunkers. (The one I think might be most important strategically is the bunker in the right rough, well short of the green.)

Please explain to me why the hole is a better strategic hole with the bunkers."  

David:

How about if you explain to us first why you think the hole might be more strategically interesting WITHOUT the bunkering?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2003, 11:04:07 AM »
All of the strategic options (plus some) are there without the bunkers.  Only they are less obvious.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2003, 11:17:26 AM »
The golfer would have to overcome his instictual need to play the line of charm.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2003, 11:18:41 AM »
If there were no bunkers, there would be no bunkers for Fazio to ruin. †
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2003, 11:22:15 AM »
David;

On your first argument, I was dubious.

On your second, you swayed me convincingly! ;)

p.s. Great card with the pic of your newborn, David.  Thanks for brightening my day yesterday!  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2003, 11:50:27 AM »
"The golfer would have to overcome his instictual need to play the line of charm."

I'm not certain I understand that if you're talking about that happening if the bunkers were removed.

I'm a real devotee of the thinking of Max Behr (the man I believe conceived of the idea of 'line of charm'). Max was a very convoluted writer so it's a bit difficult to understanding exactly what he was driving at sometime.

But my understanding of Behr's idea (line of charm) was to put something (bunker) in that very area where a golfer instinctively wanted to hit the ball, thereby taking that area away from him as a choice.

If you did that in a playing field of plenty of width (another necessary requirement of Behr's 'line of charm'), like the overall size of the width of fairway of #10 you then forced the golfer to consider other options (up to four of them) of playing the ball elsewhere.

In this way, I think Behr's idea was somewhat misunderstood. People think the "line of charm" is the ideal landing area. Behr called that the "line of instinct" and believed taking that area away from the golfer created the "line(S) of charm" which were other interesting areas possibly coming near but avoiding the bunker ("line of instinct") somehow! Sort of looking at both sides of a coin in way.

But to create those lines of charm something like a bunker in the line of instinct was necessary.

In a real way the entire concept of #12 Rustic Canyon was to do exactly what you're suggesting for #10 Riviera, Dave, which was removing all fairway bunkering. Just give the golfer a big open fairway off the tee and make him figure out for himself what it was all supposed to mean--ie (the green and green-end was what it was about)!  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim Weiman

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2003, 11:52:51 AM »
David,

Good question.

In theory you could build the hole without bunkers and achieve much of what Thomas accomplished. The key ingredients would simply be the length of the hole, the angle and slope of the green.

However, I do feel the bunkers add something. For me, at least, the big right side fairway bunker has an unusual magnet like effect. It calls out for a tee shot aimed further right than any golf architecture student knows makes any sense. On the other side, the left side bunkers raise fears of the long bunker shot you will face if you hook the ball while attempting to drive the green.

#10 at Riviera is a great example of where golf might be more fun if you are a good but not great player. Most 18 handicappers donít really have the ability to drive the green, so that option doesnít come into play. By contrast, it seems that in recent years the professional player just bombs away without too much fear.

Itís the high single digit guy who I think has it best. He has the ability to reach the green, but probably not the long ball consistency or confidence to do so. †Thomas gets into his head and I think most of the bunkers play a significant role in doing so.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2003, 12:56:12 PM »
TEPaul

I thought I might have been using the term incorrectly. †What I am referring to is the line that the player instictually wants to take when he steps on the 10 tee. †I am not sure in this case whether that is the line of charm or line of instict. †

Without the bunkers, I think the golfer would instictually want to hit straight toward the green, even though this is probably the wrong thing to do. †

Geoff had mentioned to me that Riviera 10, pre-bunkers was the initial inspiration for Rustic 12 (I think he has mentioned this on threads, as well). †That is what got me thinking about whether the bunkers really added anything strategic to the hole at Riviera. †

In Geoff's book, he mentions that Thomas wrote extensively about Riviera 10 in a golf periodical, and explains his decision not to include bunkers. †That would make for some interesting reading.

Quote
However, I do feel the bunkers add something. For me, at least, the big right side fairway bunker has an unusual magnet like effect. It calls out for a tee shot aimed further right than any golf architecture student knows makes any sense.
Tim,
Just think how powerful the "magnet like effect" would be if the right side consisted of nothing but a large expanse of inviting fairway. †

And think of the "magnet like effect" of the green, just over 300 yds away, with nothing but inviting fairway in between. †

Instead of a sucker's pin placement, it would be a sucker's fairway. †
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim Weiman

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2003, 01:04:19 PM »
Dave:

As I said, I share your view that most of the strategy of this hole could be accomplished without the bunkers.

The bunkers just add an additional pyschological factor that influence good or average players but probably not the great ones.

Though a very different hole, #6 at Ballybunion might be what you are looking for. It holds up nicely without a single bunker.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2003, 01:27:19 PM »
I think the hole would be more interesting and fun for the average player if the greenside bunkers didn't exist, but for the better amateurs and tournament professionals with today's balls and clubs it would suck a lot of challenge out of the hole.  Davis Love III and Joey Sindelar were driving it to the front of the green in the mid-80's. Today it would be a drive and chip for a lot of the field.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2003, 01:38:02 PM »

Quote
. . . but for the better amateurs and tournament professionals with today's balls and clubs it would suck a lot of challenge out of the hole. †Davis Love III and Joey Sindelar were driving it to the front of the green in the mid-80's. Today it would be a drive and chip for a lot of the field.

Isn't it a drive and a chip anyways?

Which shot do you think would be more difficult for the tour pros:  A bunker shot from the right-front bunker; or, a pitch from about 20-30 yards short/right of the green? (I am assuming that, without the bunker, the rough in right-front of the green would be mowed at fairway or fringe height, and a short-right driver would roll back to about this distance.)


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Bob_Huntley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2003, 01:43:28 PM »
David:

An interesting proposition but I do not think it an improvement. A straight blast down to the right of the green would require a delicate wedge, but with the bunker in place the required shot becomes exquisitely demanding. If memory serves me right the middle of that green is less than ten paces wide.

To me the bunker makes the hole.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Pete Lavallee

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2003, 01:48:35 PM »
David;

Great topic, this thread should get some really insightfull replies. Unless one is playing with a member or caddy for the first time at Riviera, I would imagine that if the golfer felt that he couldn't drive the green, he would play to the center of the fairway. The V-shape of the 2 carry bunkers really makes the center of the fairway seem to be the ideal place to be, the line of instinct for the hole. Left with a wedge the player would then surely go for the flag, however, when he arrives at the green he would most likely find that he has bounded through the putting surface because his second shot landed on the downslope. Logically he would now see that to get even a wedge close to the flag he must come in from the left, so he is playing down the length of the green. From that point on, it would seem unlikely that the golfer would ever play to center of the fairway intentionally again. Without the presence of the front right greenside bunker it would probably have been possible to play a run up shot, similar to #6 at TOC, and get close to the flag, but with only the most perfectly executed shot. Unfortunately with the Kikuyu, I doubt that option would work today. Did the bunker help to hide the fact that the green was sloping away from the golfer, and thus lure more players to center, away from the optimal attack angle? It seems to me that the green determines the strategy of the hole and that the bunkers try to camouflage it. Like you said, the left hand bunker almost in the rough, is really the only one that is situated in a spot were you would actually want to be.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"...one inoculated with the virus must swing a golf-club or perish."  Robert Hunter

Mike Benham

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2003, 01:51:11 PM »
The Pros and scratch players would prefer the green side bunkers than having to negotiate any length of bump and run (green elevation similar to Pinehurst #2 would be good).

Even if the golfer plays it safe, leaving a half to 3/4 wedge to a small bunkerless Pinehurst type of green will be quite a challenge.

Mike
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"... and I liked the guy ..."

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2003, 01:58:49 PM »
Perhaps it is a drive and chip for most of the field today.  I haven't been there since '94, but it sounds realistic.  

Even if the area around the green were grass instead of sand and the grass was glass-like, I couldn't see a ball rolling back 20-30 yards.  (Perhaps I'm remembering the greensite incorrectly).

If a pro doesn't hit it in the right greenside bunker he's faced with a precise pitch to a narrow, firm green.  A drive too far right, leaving a short pitch won't allow him to spin the ball with authority.  Without the bunkers he'd be able to play an assortment of approaches (so long as the grass is cut short...as in the photo).

One of my most vivid early memories of Riveira (84) was watching Jim Colbert driving it through the fairway and into the rough on 10, and I thought...God awful shot.  Well, he was in great position, hitting into the full length of the green.  Without the bunkers I doubt he, or most tour pro's would have played it so far left.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2003, 02:35:24 PM »
Dave Moriarty,

I wonder, with Riviera built in 1927 and Sarazen's sand wedge, first used in 1932, when exactly Thomas added the bunkers to that hole, and could there be any relationship between the two ?

With the absence of irrigation systems I'm not so sure that the hole was as challenging to approach without bunkers.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2003, 04:21:03 PM »
One of the wonderful things about #10 Riviera is even for very good players the options can be so varied in actual tournament play which is sometimes unusual on tour in this day and age.

I'll never forget the final group in the 1998 LA Open of Tryba, Woods and Love on that hole. Tryba went to the left, Woods straight over the middle bunker with an iron and Love hit a driver just in front and a little right of the front greenside bunker. Tryba birdied, Woods parred and Love stuggled to just make par after hitting a perfect little L-wedge over the right bunker onto the green and into the left bunker and just got up and down for par.

This hole has just the things Shackelford admires most--a number of options that really get used and some great temptation to boot!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

brad_miller

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2003, 04:33:26 PM »
Many ways to play, know one the right or only way to play it, fun for all levels of golfer, driving it is an option, does it get much better! I like the bunkers, and believe they require even more thought while on the tee.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Daniel Wexler

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2003, 09:11:47 PM »
Pat Mucci:

Good thought re: Sarazen, but Thomas actually added the bunkers in advance of the 1929 LA Open, the first that the club hosted...

DW
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2003, 08:56:45 AM »

Quote
. . . It seems to me that the green determines the strategy of the hole and that the bunkers try to camouflage it. . .
Interesting.  I agree that the green determines the strategy, but would have said that the bunkers UNMASK that strategy, not camouflage it.  The "left strategy" becomes readily apparent the first time the golfer actually sees the green.  It is surrounded by bunkers on three sides-- with the opening pointing toward the ideal angle of approach.  Sure, one could say the same thing about the shape and contours of the green, but I think it is much easier to consider visible bunkers on subsequent plays than the contours of the green, especially when, from the tee, the "unprotected" green is taunting you, only 300 yds away.  

Quote
I like the bunkers, and believe they require even more thought while on the tee.
Brad (or anyone else),
Could you expand on how you think the bunkers require more thought on the tee?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2003, 09:21:12 AM »
Here is what Thomas had to say about this hole in Golf Architecture in America, pp. 52,55:

"The strategy of golf is the thing which gives the short accurate player a chance with a longer hitter who cannot control his direction or distance. It is this factor which permits the brilliant putter the opportunity of recovery; but the flat greens, or the greens with only slight roll, do not supply this interest, for on such nearly everyone is able, as a rule, to go down in two putts, or to hole reasonably long ones.
. . .

The poorest of all holes are the short two shotters, where a missed first shot allows a recovery to the green that is only a mediocre shot. By reducing the size of the green, by tilting it up from one side to the other, or back or front, so as to require a placement or the drive for a shot which can be played toward the higher part, by making it narrow and long with the opening opposite the carrying trap, it is easy to insist a fine first shot to make the second one reasonably possible. . .  This arrangement is most difficult to accomplish In short two shotters.

The more exacting the test, the more skillful will be the golfers developed; but a really fine test for a long player is likely to make the second shot too penalizing for the short man, especially on short two shotters.

A partial answer to this problem is found by the 300 yard new No. 10 at Los Angeles Athletic Club course, where the green is narrow, yet opens in the line of the short player, but is raised several feet above the adjacent fairway, and with no traps near it. This makes it very difficult for the short man to hold the green; yet he is not punished by traps close by, while the long man must produce a fine second to bold the putting surface unless his drive is an exceptionally long ball."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2003, 10:07:31 AM »
"Interesting. †I agree that the green determines the strategy, but would have said that the bunkers UNMASK that strategy, not camouflage it. †The "left strategy" becomes readily apparent the first time the golfer actually sees the green. †It is surrounded by bunkers on three sides-- with the opening pointing toward the ideal angle of approach. †Sure, one could say the same thing about the shape and contours of the green, but I think it is much easier to consider visible bunkers on subsequent plays than the contours of the green, especially when, from the tee, the "unprotected" green is taunting you, only 300 yds away."

David;

I agree with you on this. I feel the bunkerless offering is actually a far more sophisticated strategic offering but because it is such it's probably consigned to being far more misunderstood.

Not that that should really matter though. What should matter is a hole that allows the thinking golfer to succeed as best as possible and for the unthinking golfer to fail because of his thoughtlessness or inability to evaluate the risk/reward factors of his own reactions and decisions regarding temptation.

We tried to actually break this kind of thing down numerically to some extent a while ago on here. The idea was that holes that create a large scoring spectrum over time have something really good (architecturally) going for them. †


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:01 PM by -1 »

Lynn Shackelford

Re: Riviera No. 10: Better Without the Bunkers?
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2003, 01:00:26 PM »
Tim W.  I don't know many players who try and challenge the green with a driver.  Maybe 1% of the members.  Maybe 30% of the Tour pros in the Nissan.  Obviously with today's ball more try than in the 1980's.

It is my opinion that this hole may have cost Ernie Els the 95 PGA Championship.  For 3 days, on #10, he laid up and birdied the hole at least two of those days.  On Sunday, leading and everyone thinking the tournament was his, he decided to use driver since the hole was cut on the front of the green (sucker hole position).  He made a disappointing 4 and lost all momentum.  He seemed deflated from that point.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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