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Ron Farris

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Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« on: June 25, 2008, 11:28:28 AM »
Recently I played golf with an ex-mini-tour player on a course.  After nine holes he stated that he was worn-out from having to think so much.  I took it as a compliment that the course offered many options and he was faced with choices.  He commented that he concluded that the best plan of attack was to not try to over-power the course and play smart.  The following day he shot 65.

Have you been worn-out by architecture and the need to think on a course recently?

Kalen Braley

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2008, 11:31:52 AM »
As much as I would like this to be the case, it usually isn't because as a higher handicap, I'm usually just trying to get the ball in the fairway and on the green. 

I can look at the architecture and try to imagine how it would be to interface with that bunker 270 yards off the tee, but in my case more than not just trying to make a par or bogey and avoid a big number.

Tom Huckaby

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2008, 11:34:12 AM »
Ron:

I have never been worn out by the need to think.  As great as strategic choices are, I have faced very very few on which I can't come to a decision fairly quickly.  It's not rocket science.  Oh on many holes I find later that I may have been fooled; or that the truly best choice only reveals itself over time.... But no way does the thought process ever get so difficult as to be fatiguing.

I think that this mini-tour player just faced a course that required some choices, which for him was UNIQUE.  That is, he typically wouldn't have been playing courses that were anything but penal, I'd guess; and also when one has game like him, well... choices are even easier given there are few places he can't accurately get his golf ball too if he so desires.

One thing is certain:  I most DEFINITELY get worn out by courses that require difficult shot after difficult shot.   That is fatiguing - and depressing, to me.  But worn out by the need to think?  No way.  That's fun.

TH

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 11:46:08 AM »
I'm with Tom - courses with severe greens and hundreds of bunkers have physically worn me out, or caused me to lose interest in playing.

As someone postulated here, the thrill of golf is in the "not knowing" (i.e., hang time until you are sure the ball is safe.) I also think "not knowing" how you are going to play a hole is part of this enjoyment.

I will say I strive not to overdo it in design.  Simple choices are usually the best. I once started a thread here called something like "Is two bad choices good architecture?" I can imagine being worn out choosing (more than a few times) between:

Between only bad and worse choices.
Unclear Choices (as to advantage or doability, i.e. blind shots)
More than Two Basic Choices
 
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Ken Moum

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2008, 12:04:42 PM »
Have you been worn-out by architecture and the need to think on a course recently?

No, never.... But then I think too much on EVERY golf course. IMHO, that's a top-level player's problem. Most of them play best on autopilot.

My brother, the scratch hdcp'er often asks me, "What do you think about that s---t for? Stop thinking about that s---t and hit the golf ball."

OTOH, I do get worn out looking for golf balls in dense rough, by squeezing the grip trying to get a ball in the fairway, and having to hit fairway woods for all my approach shots.

Ken
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 12:18:52 PM by kmoum »
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2008, 12:10:36 PM »
Do these count as strategic decisons:

Trying to figure which side bet will work best on this hole?
Trying to figure hit it nearest the cart girl?
Trying to decide whether to fart before, during or after your swing? (or your opponents?)

I know guys who wear out trying to figure these things out...... :(
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Kalen Braley

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2008, 12:13:47 PM »
kmourn,

That reminds me of my funniest quote I heard at the last KP.  When I was playing at ODM with Huck, one of the guys in the group was fiddling, testing the wind, really grinding away in thier mind over a shot.

Tom leans over next to me and says in a hushed tone "Just hit the f$%^ing ball already"

Funny stuff, and I had to stop myself from cracking up out loud and interrupting his pre-shot analysis.

JC Urbina

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2008, 12:15:22 PM »
Ron
I think a course can be overpowering to a person who is always trying to shoot under par.  Mackenzie warned of that person, affectionately know as the person with a " Card and Pencil Spirit"

Tom Huckaby

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008, 12:16:29 PM »
LOL.

That was in the spirit of a very fun match, with very fun opponents and a very fun partner.  It's also something my college buddies and I give each other crap about all the time so it was just a normal utterance for me.

But yes, I do also believe that over-analysis leads to worse results, for us hacks anyway.

 ;)

Kalen Braley

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2008, 12:18:45 PM »
LOL.

That was in the spirit of a very fun match, with very fun opponents and a very fun partner.  It's also something my college buddies and I give each other crap about all the time so it was just a normal utterance for me.

But yes, I do also believe that over-analysis leads to worse results, for us hacks anyway.

 ;)

It was fun spirited Tom, wasn't trying to suggest otherwise.

It was just funny cause we were all there watching, and waiting, and waiting, so your timing was just perfect!!!  ;D

Hell, if you can bust your buddy's balls on the course then what good is it to play with your buddies!!!

Jed Peters

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2008, 12:19:29 PM »
Most of the really GOOD players I know (Matt Cohn excepted  ;) ) care actually very little about the architecture and more about the length, playability/scoreability of the course, the conditions of said course, and the fact that they don't much appreciate/favor "quirk" and want everything laid out in front of them.

Ken Moum

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 12:20:28 PM »
kmourn,

That reminds me of my funniest quote I heard at the last KP.  When I was playing at ODM with Huck, one of the guys in the group was fiddling, testing the wind, really grinding away in thier mind over a shot.

Tom leans over next to me and says in a hushed tone "Just hit the f$%^ing ball already"

Funny stuff, and I had to stop myself from cracking up out loud and interrupting his pre-shot analysis.

Actually, my brother used the same term to describe the golf ball, although I suspect the possibility of it actually doing that are pretty remote.

K
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Lloyd_Cole

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 12:47:46 PM »
Personally I like to play golf when I have a ball in play. This means, as Mr Mucci puts it I 'interface with the architecture' as a means of bettering my score only. When I try to do more than that, for example studying the course hole by hole as I play it, I am worn out easily. My ideal day would be to walk the course - have lunch and then play the course. I'm not much of a multitasker, at the best of times, though.

Brent Hutto

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2008, 12:56:35 PM »
I'm with Lloyd, playing golf might wear me out if it's a hard walk or bad weather or if I'm in a tough match that goes down to the final putt or if I'm fighting my swing (and my temper concerning my swing). But I've not seen a course yet that leaves me exhausted because of the thinking it requires of me to play 18 holes.

But trying to take pictures and think forward to the discussions about the course that I might expect to participate in here and play golf at the same time is exhausting. Too many things at once, each distracting me from the others.

Ron's mini-tour friend may have been both playing as well as trying to map the course out for future conquest(s) by understanding all of the options that might come into play under various conditions. I've talked a lot with the best player I know about how he thinks his way around a course. If he's familiar with the course and is only thinking about the options for each shot that are in play on that particular day (given the weather, course setup, etc.) a lot of those options don't even enter his mind. But when he's mapping out a course during a practice round for a four-day tournament he's trying to process every possible alternative and commit it all to memory or notes. That is a hard day's work, playing a round of golf is easy by comparison.

Carl Nichols

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2008, 01:35:49 PM »
I, too, agree with Tom.  I played Atlanta Athletic Club a few months ago; its sheer difficulty wore me out.  That's not to say that there weren't a few well-designed holes, but for the most part, they were just difficult and didn't appear to present that many strategic options.  Of course, I slapped it around that day, which probably had something to do with my mood!

Mark Bourgeois

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2008, 08:21:57 AM »
Yes, playing Royal Melbourne Composite earlier this year.  At issue were the second shots.  A golfer having an excellent day off the tee is "privileged" to take a shot of great challenge, such as a wood or hybrid up a hill to a flag protected by a deep bunker, lightning greens, and a false front -- a miss may produce as much as a two-shot penalty; alternately he may choose a conservative route.

Given the complete absence of water and penal rough, plus a terrain that is not flat but not particularly demanding physically, the pressure is of a mental nature, cumulative, and ultimately very fatiguing.

Most expect a great drive to open up an easier second shot; RM-C promises only the unlocking of a second shot not available after poor drives.  Unlike other privileges, these carry an implied charge against the debit side of the golfer's scorecard ledger.

In general and additionally, I would think short grass around greens produces potential fatigue, as more options, and therefore tougher decisions, are called for.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2008, 08:40:07 AM »
Good post, Mark.

It wore me out just reading it, if you take my meaning...

Peter

Lloyd_Cole

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2008, 10:02:37 AM »
Yes, playing Royal Melbourne Composite earlier this year.  At issue were the second shots.  A golfer having an excellent day off the tee is "privileged" to take a shot of great challenge, such as a wood or hybrid up a hill to a flag protected by a deep bunker, lightning greens, and a false front -- a miss may produce as much as a two-shot penalty; alternately he may choose a conservative route.

Given the complete absence of water and penal rough, plus a terrain that is not flat but not particularly demanding physically, the pressure is of a mental nature, cumulative, and ultimately very fatiguing.

Most expect a great drive to open up an easier second shot; RM-C promises only the unlocking of a second shot not available after poor drives.  Unlike other privileges, these carry an implied charge against the debit side of the golfer's scorecard ledger.

In general and additionally, I would think short grass around greens produces potential fatigue, as more options, and therefore tougher decisions, are called for.

Mark

Methinks you protest too much, however your basic point is fair. For the amateur visitor, RM asks for too much local knowledge for immediate gratification. I guess if you can bomb the ball 300+ through the air, you can fly over the issues that we must deal with... but I don't know another course where, even when playing with a good member, and listening to him, one can be so stymied by being 5 yards left or right of the ideal line.
My only good round around the West, BTW was my first when I struck the ball quite nicely and frankly, just got lucky all the way round!


Adam Clayman

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 10:11:46 AM »
I've felt fatigue after competition rounds. The courses architecture were not as responsible as the game that was being played and my unfamiliarity with that course.

Also, when it's really windy there's a fatigue felt once inside the clubhouse. I'm not sure if it's the wind's affect on the body, or, the extra thought needed to over come it.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Mark Bourgeois

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2008, 11:00:41 AM »
Yes, playing Royal Melbourne Composite earlier this year.  At issue were the second shots.  A golfer having an excellent day off the tee is "privileged" to take a shot of great challenge, such as a wood or hybrid up a hill to a flag protected by a deep bunker, lightning greens, and a false front -- a miss may produce as much as a two-shot penalty; alternately he may choose a conservative route.

Given the complete absence of water and penal rough, plus a terrain that is not flat but not particularly demanding physically, the pressure is of a mental nature, cumulative, and ultimately very fatiguing.

Most expect a great drive to open up an easier second shot; RM-C promises only the unlocking of a second shot not available after poor drives.  Unlike other privileges, these carry an implied charge against the debit side of the golfer's scorecard ledger.

In general and additionally, I would think short grass around greens produces potential fatigue, as more options, and therefore tougher decisions, are called for.

Mark

Methinks you protest too much, however your basic point is fair. For the amateur visitor, RM asks for too much local knowledge for immediate gratification. I guess if you can bomb the ball 300+ through the air, you can fly over the issues that we must deal with... but I don't know another course where, even when playing with a good member, and listening to him, one can be so stymied by being 5 yards left or right of the ideal line.
My only good round around the West, BTW was my first when I struck the ball quite nicely and frankly, just got lucky all the way round!



Lloyd, yes that's a very good observation about the narrowness of the "privilege" corridors. 

Even so, to be in one of those corridors is still to receive the challenge, isn't it?  The shot I guess is easier in the corridor than out, but it's not necessarily easy -- at least not for this chopper!

There are many many holes that embody this, I think; off the top of my head to start off the rounds there are the second shots on RMW 2 & 4 and on RME 1 & 2.  2 & 4 RMW demand well-struck tee shots on bold lines -- and for that achievement you are privileged to try a shot I can pull off only about half the time, with failures producing horrible results.  (Even missing those deep bunkers on both, i.e., going long, is a heartburn-inducing affair.)

For that matter, the same principle -- I guess this really is down to just aggressive vs. conservative route, there's nothing really new here, just not designed so well too often -- applies on the par 3s and the 10th RMW, too.  The point of the tees is to give the golfer an "unearned" pass of sorts and advance him directly to the Corridor of Privilege for the approach shot -- good luck to those who will attack a front-right flag on 7 RMW!

We will have to ask the likes of Philip G what it's like to bomb 300+ drives...although I will say, reading Tim Gavrich's comments on Scotland, I feel a sense of sympathy for those whose games are so good they are unable to experience the joy of how a great classical course challenges the golfer on a day when he is playing his best game.

Mark

Brent Hutto

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2008, 11:17:13 AM »
We will have to ask the likes of Philip G what it's like to bomb 300+ drives...although I will say, reading Tim Gavrich's comments on Scotland, I feel a sense of sympathy for those whose games are so good they are unable to experience the joy of how a great classical course challenges the golfer on a day when he is playing his best game.

With due respect to Tim Gavrich, a friend I watched play in the Amateur at Royal St. George's two years ago is likely even more accomplished than Tim and can overpower many courses including some great ones. From the tournament tees at Sandwich he had all he could handle (and then some) under windy conditions during the stroke-play rounds. Now put him up on the visitors tees and I imagine he could have 4-ironed his way around the course in a lot fewer strokes, pace Tim's earlier comments.

Should there be an extra top-shelf of "greatness" for the few courses which refuse to be overpowered by those who can hit the ball straight and hit it 300 yards? I'd say that Royal St. George's ought to be placed in that supra-great stratum and in truth I feel that it's possibly the finest course I've ever seen given its resistance to overpowering by Tiger and Co. in the recent Open there. I've never played at Sandwich but I've played the Ocean Course at Kiawah and it too seems to be able to handle highly accomplished bombers, at least when there's some wind.

I've always insisted that a course can be "great" for one class of player and "near great" for others. There are just too many disparities between an elite player, a decent low-handicap club player and a bogey golfer to pretend that they require the same characteristics of a golf course other than perhaps playing from various tee-box distances. So if what makes Royal Melbourne great is its extreme requirements for positional play and if that can be rendered moot by someone who can fly the ball on his desired line 270 yards in the air I have no problem at all with declaring that it is one of the world's finest courses for all but the biggest hitters but only a moderately fine one for the strongest players. Given the preponderance of weaker players in the world's golfing population that would hardly be damning with faint praise.

cary lichtenstein

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2008, 11:41:55 AM »
I don't think I've ever been worn out by the architecture, but I've become bored by the repetiveness of the architecture and either gutted it out or walked off.

Usually, the more the architecture causes me to think, the faster the round goes.

Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

tlavin

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2008, 11:44:43 AM »
I regularly get worn out by the architecture at Butler National, principally because of the difficulty imposed by the appropriate angle(s) of attack into the greens.  It surely is the most difficult golf course that I've played, even if I am playing it at 6500 yards.  It seems that every single hole has an ideal place to "come in from" and ascending levels of difficulty the further that one is from that ideal place.  It does wear one down.

Eric_Terhorst

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Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2008, 08:47:24 PM »
I've become bored by the repetitiveness of the architecture

This can happen if you elect to play all four Pete Dye courses in a long weekend at the American Club.  When I did this (once), as I was coming off the last course on the last day, the friendly staff greeter asked "How did it go?" and I said, "Pete Dye won."

It's a weakness of the resort--that Mr. Kohler chose to have all Pete Dye on the 4 courses.  As a guest, the solution is to play just the cream of the crop--River and the Straits courses--and enjoy a nice meal or a massage instead of playing the other courses.

Carl Rogers

Re: Can a course architecture wear the golfer out?
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2008, 09:29:58 PM »
Tom D,

The only real good course, Riverfront, has brought out that comment from people I have played with there.  Generally, they are good golfers that play there seldomly and are used to a fairly simple straightforward shotmaking.  On the greens  they are used to the possibility of every putt being holable.

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