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Chris_Clouser

Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« on: December 03, 2002, 09:15:10 AM »
Which one do you prefer?  Which one is more difficult to design?

In looking at some designs by many of the Golden Agers, I noticed that they seemed to employ both types on several courses, but the dropshot variety receives the lions share of the acclaim.  This is probably due more to the photographic qualities of the hole, but aside from that what makes one superior in design in your mind?  What are some prime examples you can compare and contrast?

Also, it appears that very few of the modern day architects are willing to traverse an incline with a par 3.  Is this merely because of the uncomfortable feeling we have with semi-blind or entirely blind shots to the green surface?  Or is there something more to this?  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Craig Van Egmond

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2002, 11:39:39 AM »

How many courses have one of each?

I recently played Dornick Hills and they do. #4 is an uphill par 3 of 150 - 190 yards and #17 is a dropshot of about 150 - 160 yards. The uphill one is very steep and you cannot see the green.

My home course has 2 uphill and 1 dropshot version, with uphill versions are not too severe where you cannot see the green.

I guess I prefer the dropshot because of the visibility, its much easier to visual your shot and then watching it fall from the sky is always amazing.  With the uphill hole there is always the anticipation of seeing how your shot turned out.

The guy I played Dornick with was a very low ball hitter and he had a hard time with the severe uphill #4, hitting the hill and rolling backwards.

Newcastle in Bellevue, WA has a mix of uphill/dropshot par 3's mostly due to the severe nature of the property. For the most part the downhill ones were better.




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

THuckaby2

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2002, 11:43:44 AM »
The infamous Lake Chabot GC in Oakland, CA has each variety - there's an enormous drop shot hole which is often pictured in architecture books (#9) and a fairly severe uphill one where only half the green at most is visible (#7)... there's also another fairly severe uphill one on the back nine (#17)... this site is hilly to the max, so it's not surprising this occurs.

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

Matt Dupre

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2002, 02:05:54 PM »
I've never really played (or seen) an uphill one-shotter that I enjoyed or thought was a good golf hole, compared to numerous downhill holes that are outright beautiful - nicely framed with no surprises.

The uphill holes always seem to be tinkered with as well.  Overbrook's (outside of Philly) 15th has been "redesigned" at least 3 times that I'm aware of, and it's still one of the worst par 3s in the area.

The 17th at Rees Jones' Tattersall GC is 185/160 with at least an 85-foot drop tee to green.  The green is tri-level, canted at an angle (allowing for numerous distance options), and well protected.  The fun part is pulling out a watch and clocking hang time! (around 6.5 seconds)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Stan Dodd

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2002, 03:21:02 PM »
Crail has one of each and they come back to back I believe. 150 ish for the drop shot and 200 or so for the uphill.  The up hill hole must carry some nasty stuff to a nicely contoured green.  Both good fun holes
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Ben Cowan-Dewar

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2002, 03:27:45 PM »
Good post Chris.

Cataraqui (Thompson) has one of each, they play parallel and traverse the same hill.  I believe these to be Thompson's best set of par threes (best in Canada) and these two offset each other well.

12


15


To a lesser extent, he did the same thing with seven and nine at Jasper as well.

I prefer the uphill par three, when done well.  The drop-shot has become quite common, I guess a result of natural beauty and general playability.

What are the best examples of each?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

THuckaby2

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2002, 03:30:04 PM »
Fine uphill par 3's do exist.  One of the greatest in the world has to be #3 at Pasatiempo... that is one hell of a golf hole... this describes it well:

http://www.pasatiempo.com/home/modules.php?name=Golf&file=shawntour#4

It's very uphill, which this doesn't show.. and is one hell of a tough golf hole.

Another fine uphill par 3 is #3 at Tehama GC outside Monterey (Clint Eastwood's club) and is sadly one of few decent golf holes on an otherwise pretty wretched course.  It's only 130 yards or so but plays a lot longer... the green is quite well bunkered and the internal contours are very cool.

I'm sure there are many others... yes, drop shots make for good photos, but they don't completely trump the uphill holes!
TH
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike Hendren

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2002, 03:45:41 PM »
Jack Nicklaus designed two uphill one-shotters and one drop shot par three at Richland CC in Nashville.  Both uphill holes play around 160 yards from the regular markers. Neither of the uphill holes is notable, but were required given the poor suitability of the site, as evidenced by a significant landslide during construction in the late 80's.  Perhaps it was caused by the dead architect of the original Richland CC rolling over in his grave.  One Donald J. Ross.  Yes, the same man jobbed on the Dead Architects Survivor Series.  

Regards,

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

Ben Cowan-Dewar

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2002, 03:46:05 PM »
Good call Tom, I am a picture posting machine today.



We have our virtual tour of Pasa up now, I think it looks quite good for the most part.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy 65

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2002, 04:16:44 PM »
To me, one of the most exciting shots in golf is to an uphill par three.  Maybe because of the element of blindness, which I treasure and you sure don't see much of in modern courses, maybe because the uphill shot doesn't tolerate a mis-hit, while on downhillers you can thin the shot and get away with it.  In addition to Pasatiempo no. 3, the 9th at Leatherstocking in Cooperstown, NY is a beaut.  9, close to 200 yards from the back tee and far from the clubhouse on this out and back design, shares a hill with the very short 12th going downhill in the opposite direction.  Also very neat to watch your shot to 12 hang there forever.  10 is a par four with a blind tee shot-Golden Age Heaven!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Michael Dugger

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2002, 04:49:40 PM »
chocolate or vanilla?

Both present their issues.  I personally prefer the drop shot because everything is in front of the player.  But, of course, if you do not have a problem with blind shots then you probably like uphillers.  I enjoy the subtle psychological factor involved with guessing how many clubs you must take off to play a drop shot hole.  

Exactly the opposite comments RE: uphillers.  Can we see the green?  How many more clubs do I need to reach the green.  

On our ideal course I would go for both
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

D. Kilfara

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2002, 05:43:11 PM »
Swinley Forest #4...now there's a peach of an uphill par 3! And I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Shinnecock #11 yet, which I'm fairly certain must be the king of this particular category.

Generally speaking, though, I much prefer the dropshot, just because there's something inherently dramatic about watching your ball stay in the air that little bit (or large bit) longer. One of my favorites is the 12th on the original course (non-composite) at The Country Club (Brookline), which comes in between the 9th and 10th holes on the composite course. About 140 yards to a truly tiny green with a huge back-to-front and left-to-right slope, and it has to be one of the few *blind* dropshot par 3s, at least from the back tee - the front end of the longish tee blocks the view of the green. Talk about a scary shot...

Cheers,
Darren

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

Brad Swanson

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2002, 06:13:41 PM »
Good topic, and although I tend to not have too strong of an opinion on many things golf, this is one topic that I do.  I am quite tired of the obligatory dropshot par 3.  Is is necessary that everything be layed out in front of the golfer before he/she hits a shot?  Perhaps, to make things even easier, each drop shot par three should have a scratch player stationed on the tee to hit your tee shot for you if you choose so.  I mean, we have to make the downhill par 3 as accommodating as possible, right? ;)  I love well designed uphill par 3s, one of the best I've played being Sand Hills GC #13.  

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

Mike_Cirba

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2002, 07:25:50 PM »
Some of my favorite holes in golf are uphill par threes, and the last two posts mentioned two superb ones, 11 at Shinnecock and 13 at Sand Hills (17 is uphill there as well).

A really great one is the 15th at Philadelphia CC by William Flynn, which is almost a three and a half shotter, and the 3rd at Merion is quite the interesting test, as well.

Alex Findlay seemed particularly partial to them, and despite Donald Ross's written contention that he liked visibility on par threes, many of his courses feature uphill par threes (Mark Twain GC has 4 of them!).

When I first started appreciating architecture, the dropshot par three was one of my favorite type of holes, for the obvious scenic and "hang time" reasons. Over the years, I've become much less enamored of them to the point where I find myself impatient with them, at times. They've become almost a cliche, in fact...oftimes not much more interesting than a photo op.

I see one and start looking around to see what went wrong with the routing that the architect now has to take me down a cliffside to continue my trek.

Or, worse yet, I'm carted back up a hill only to take advantage of what someone considered a gorgeous view, the playability and continuity of the golf course be damned. One of the worst offenders I've seen that describes this is the 13th and 14th holes at Pine Hill GC in NJ. After a downhill par four, with a "gorgeous view", architect Tom Fazio backtracks from that green about 190 yards back up the hill, only to create another visual extravaganza drop shot par three. Two holes later, he features another one.

I'm beginning to think that the drop shot par three is sort of like a kid's meal, filled with sickeningly sweet confections. They are only initially and temporarily satisfying, but over time and experience, one grows to develop more sophisticated tastes, and I think anyone who objects to their uphill counterpart because of blindness and fairness issues is simply missing out on some of the spirited adventure in the game.

Ironically perhaps, I find myself appreciating the drop shot par three more if there is some element of blindness involved, not so much involving the tee area blocking the view like the 5th at Stonewall, but perhaps more like the 5th at Inniscrone, with some natural feature fronting the green...perhaps a slight rise or valey, or some other element that tends to complicate depth perception as well as causing a twinge of doubt in the player's mind.

I don't mean this to sound harsh and I hope it doesn't. There just have been so many compromises made to architecture during modern times in the spirit of equity and elimination of uncertainty that I thought the opposing viewpoint should be strenuously stated.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:12 PM by -1 »

D. Kilfara

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2002, 07:46:53 PM »
I just knew someone would come out and deride the dropshot as a "cliche"...and sure enough, we've now had two such posts in a row! :) But of course, such concepts don't get to be cliches unless they have a certain amount of quality to them to begin with.

I think any reaction against dropshots has to do with the way that many modern architects use them - indeed, as cliches. I played a course in Napa Valley recently which required a large climb (in a cart, of course) to the waterfall-encircled tee of the "signature hole", a dropshot to the green surrounded by water - the green being not so much an island as a continent, and said green being about 40 yards from the green of the previous hole. Such a clumsy routing has little or no artistic or architectural merit to it, which is why such holes can so easily be reviled. The dropshot happens to be the type of hole which, I believe, can be screwed up by over-elaboration more easily than any other.

But that doesn't make the dropshot concept a poor one - it isn't. I grew up playing at Atlanta CC, and those of you who remember watching the old Atlanta Classic on TV may remember the dropshot 13th - 158 yards from the back tee, big stone wall fronting the (not at all overdone) waterfall running down the left side of the green, covered bridge behind the green, two-tiered green, slight swale to the right of the green, huge bank to the right of the swale (any miss to the right meant you had an awkward chip, with the water beyond the hole). There was no other shot on the course I looked forward to more...there was always a frisson of excitement as I approached that tee, wondering where the pin was going to be. (If I had a good score going, back-left was a psychological killer!) :) I haven't played my old home course in ages, but should I go back someday that would still be the one shot I'd look forward to playing the most.

My point being, a good dropshot hole can be fantastic, just as a bad one can seem particularly cliched and overblown. Don't knock the entire genre on account of its modern overuse - and remember that the concept of the "signature hole" was at one point, I believe, a supreme compliment before it became a marketing gimmick.

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

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2002, 08:26:18 PM »
If you like dropshot par threes Pinehurst #6, unless memory fails me, has four par threes and they are all drop shots.

I prefer the uphill ones.  And as I run through my catalogue of favorite par threes, none of which anyone here has heard of, they are all uphill but not always blind.  As someone said, it's vanilla and chociolate--but there's chocolate and there's CHOCOLATE!!!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2002, 08:53:50 PM »
The uphill one-shotter is certainly more rare. Mankind is more comfortable up high looking out. The psychological aspects run deep in our DNA. When the hunt was conducted it was often more advantageous to be low and hidden, but also more apt to be eaten by tigers. Adrenalin runs quick when we are low and our surrounds higher up. Animals can pounce on us. Golf as the modern day hunt brings about congruent feelings.

When we are high up we see everything and know our fate. If tigers come after us we will have time to react. In golf when we are high up there is a feeling of being "king" of the mountain, so to speak. It is exhilarating.

I, however, try to incorporate an uphill par-3 when possible. Although Les Furber is quoted in my routing book with a good point: "One should have an opportunity to see a hole-in-one and the uphill par-3 usually prevents this." Good point but...without an uphill one-shotter every once in a while it is possible to, as Mike so wonderfully points out, have an overdose of kids meals.

I posted a description of a realllllllly uphill hole on the discussion about long par-5s. Near Las Vegas we are designing a course that will sport a 380-yard par-5. The trek to the green is nearly 10 stories (100-feet). To the left is a deep canyon and along the right bisecting the fairway is a desert arroyo. And yes, the following hole is a dropshot par-3. But trust me, it's worth it. If a "kids meal" is includes one hellauva free toy!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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Doug Siebert

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2002, 09:28:49 PM »
Damn Brad, you took the words right out of my mouth.  In fact, I seem to recall you mentioning this when we played the obligatory short drop shot par 3 at Bos Landen a couple months ago!

I'm tired of the formula "photo hole" too many courses have, the drop shot par 3 with water fronting the green.  The water usually isn't even actually that close to the green, so it doesn't even offer that much challenge.  The drop shot is also (ab)used to allow for the one long par 3 poor designs think they need to have, without making it actually play any longer than the other par 3s.

The first par 3 I remember really intimidating me from the tee was on a little private 9 holer I got to play a few times a couple years after I first started playing.  It was maybe 175, dead flat until about 40 feet short of the green a sheer rock cliff 40 feet high sat there, with the green on top.  There were steep hills behind it so you couldn't really go over, and the entire green was rather bowl shaped so it actually wasn't that hard when you got up there.  But it was something to see, and as I still had trouble with the occasional topped shot back then made me really feel like I accomplished something to put the ball on the green!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Chris_Clouser

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2002, 05:51:45 AM »
Craig mentioned above the uphill and dropshot holes at Dornick Hills.  Here are photos of both.  The 4th is courtesy of Matt Cohn and the 17th is from the Dornick Hills
website.

http://students.ou.edu/C/Matthew.A.Cohn-1/courses/dornick/dornick4.jpg

4th

http://www.dornickhills.net/Dscn0681.jpg

17th

Maxwell seemed to be proficient at designing numerous versions of both.  Almost all of his courses seem to have at least one of either variety.  He used them to traverse abrupt changes in topography.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:12 PM by -1 »

Matt_Ward

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2002, 11:08:12 AM »
Chris:

One of my pet peeves with modern design is the overuse and duplication of the pro forma dropshot par-3. If you play enough modern courses you actually think that EVERY course must have at least one of these -- if not several.

Many of the dropshot par-3's are done to give the golfer the complete "visual" treat. It's as if anything other than complete gratification with "watching" your tee shot "soar" into the air is really not wanted.

I get very tired of having the pro forma dropshot hole with flanking bunkers that are as far from the target as Colorado is from California. Of course -- you also see the proverbial pond or water hazard right in front of the hole! Nuff said.

The uphill par-3 needs to have a resurgence. Kudos to the post on the 3rd at Pasatiempo. Let me also mention that among newer courses you have a real honey with the 220 yard uphill par-3 at Wolf Creek at Paradise Canyon (NV).

Mike Cirba is right on target. The downhill par-3 has become almost a yawn because there is little real incorporation of the hole into the natural routing of the course. It's almost as you must take a small "trek" to get to the favored location of the developer / owner to showcase you another poor creation of the dropshot hole. It's really time for the dropshot par-3 to be dropped or significantly re-evaluated as a "must" item for nearly every new course one sees today. Viva la uphill par-3!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

NAF

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2002, 11:40:04 AM »
I don't know if Paul Turner or Laun Middleton are lurking but my memory is that The Addington has the best variety of par 3s I have played on a course..Uphill, dropshot, wee pitch, full 3 wood, across a ravine, you name it and the Addington has it..

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

Andy Hodson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2002, 12:05:23 PM »
Chocolate or vanilla? Tomato or to-mah-to?

Hey, just come play golf in the Gulf Coast area, or Florida, and you won't have to worry about which to choose. All 3 pars are basically flat.

Although at River Oaks CC in Houston the third hole is an uphill short par 3 (150-160yds) and a downhill longer par 3 (175-195yds). It just depends which green they utilize that day. The downhill hole is better, but only slightly.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2002, 12:07:33 PM »
Chris,
 I think there are more options available when designing a truly uphill par 3 like #3 at Pasatiempo, especially one with some length. The ground game can come into play on this type of hole, something that I believe is harder, but not impossible, to create on a downhiller.
Possibly the most well-rounded type of par 3 is the "Volcano" hole as described here by Doug Siebert and discussed on another thread. They work in either configuration, uphill or down, but also when the tee and green are at a similar elevation.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:12 PM by -1 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

redanman

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2002, 05:06:36 PM »
Is there a shorter uphill 3 than the 4th at LuLu at 100 yds?

#3 at Philmont is a real nice one.    Top- of the flagstick.  #5 at the Valley is nut buster.  Nicklaus (Believe it or not) built one almost uphill at Great Bear Estates in the Poconos. (#6)  Seeing the top of the stick is so unsettling to some good players that it's funny.  (Hole won on the tee!) ;D  

Uphillers sure are rare, downhillers a dime a dozen.  Good visibility, though. ;D

Spare me another, if you please.

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

Chris_Clouser

Re: Dropshot vs. Uphill Par 3
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2002, 05:27:17 AM »
Redanman,

Actually, there is a course in my home town that features an uphill par 3 of 95 yards.  It is an interesting hole on a basically boring track.  But it is a cheap nine hole muni that I play many times when I just want to hit the little white ball around.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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