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Sean_A

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Re: St Georges Hill:
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2008, 04:07:47 AM »
The beast has surfaced....

Sean and I took pics from broadly similar pics so i am not sure i have improvements to offer, but i will check. Like Sean, I thought the course lived up to the hype. He is right to stress the sense of space the course offers, and the excellent greenkeeping with the trees and the undergrowth kept in good check - neither of us lost a ball despite a few wayward blows, and being able to find your ball certainly increases the pleasure of the round. In this respect, at least, i think the course is in better shape than any of its heathland peers - at least the ones i have seen in the recent past. I would think it probably also has more elevation change than any of the other heathland courses i can think of - possibly Sunningdale Old compares, but not as much i don't think.

I agree with Sean re SGH tending towards parkland with heathland features - I played Walton Heath a few days before and SGH certainly plays a lot less firm and fast than WH. Although the course is relatively open, it does still have a lot of tall trees - and the huge houses on the perimeter - and this combination, as well as the green set-up, do make it feel more parkland.

It was a bit frustrating to be pushed so far forward on certain tees, but then that is ofen the way with British courses - the immediate, eccentric assumption that visitors are always hackers! In the case of the 4th it certainly made it a driveable proposition - i tugged a 3 iron, but was pin high (remember, this hole is downhill). According the strokesaver, the front of the green is 227 from ladies, 248 from the mens and 257 from medal markers. I liked this hole -the shape of the bunkering/green made me think of Africa! When you are close to the green has quite a pronounced dome shape which looks intimidating. Strokesaver says the green is 28 yards long so not as much room for error as might be assumed - but there is also the landing area (narrow) in front of that which makes the shot more makeable.

One of the features of the course is the fact that a number of elevated greens make distance judgement difficult and hence it is not easy to get close to the hole - examples would include 1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13....

I did not have as strong a view as Sean about the second nine being the stronger. Put differently, I thought the first nine had a strong and varied first four holes - and i don't think there are any weak ones after that. The most straightforward was probably the (stroke one) 6th, but as Sean's photos show, that also has interest in the form pof a handsome bunker and the "valley of sin" ahead of the green.

I don't think the bunkering is as interesting as on some other heathland courses, but there were certainly a few holes with handsome bunkering complexes - such as five, eight (even in its modern diluted form, still an exceptional looking hole) and thirteen.

 

Philip

I didn't mean to imply that the front nine is anyway lacking, only that the back nine is exceptional. 

I would also agree that determining the distance to the flag is difficult on many holes.  It seems to me that this concept of obscuring the view by uphill approaches or tucking greens behind mounds etc is not very well thought of these days - at least I don't see many newish courses employing this sort of design method.  However, it could merely be a function of the land being somewhat hilly and a reluctance to alter the terrain too much. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

Philip Spogard

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2008, 08:39:54 AM »
Thank you for the great photos.

I played SGH in mid-July and was actually a bit disappointed with the bunkering and the (lack of) heather. I played it with a Client whom we are designing a 'heathland-inspired' golf course for in Turkey and he absolutely loved it. I think it is due to the fact that it is very accessible and relatively easy to play the first time around whereas most of the other heathland courses are more quirky and punishing until you know the layout.

I did like the variety in holes and green and will recommend it to anyone. Greenfees are 110 and 140 for all 27 holes.

The clubhouse alone is worth a visit.

Mike_Cirba

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2008, 09:52:50 AM »
Sean,

This is a tremendous photo essay.   What a wonderful looking golf course.

Thank you.   

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: St Georges Hill:
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2008, 12:29:47 PM »
The beast has surfaced....

Sean and I took pics from broadly similar pics so i am not sure i have improvements to offer, but i will check. Like Sean, I thought the course lived up to the hype. He is right to stress the sense of space the course offers, and the excellent greenkeeping with the trees and the undergrowth kept in good check - neither of us lost a ball despite a few wayward blows, and being able to find your ball certainly increases the pleasure of the round. In this respect, at least, i think the course is in better shape than any of its heathland peers - at least the ones i have seen in the recent past. I would think it probably also has more elevation change than any of the other heathland courses i can think of - possibly Sunningdale Old compares, but not as much i don't think.

I agree with Sean re SGH tending towards parkland with heathland features - I played Walton Heath a few days before and SGH certainly plays a lot less firm and fast than WH. Although the course is relatively open, it does still have a lot of tall trees - and the huge houses on the perimeter - and this combination, as well as the green set-up, do make it feel more parkland.

It was a bit frustrating to be pushed so far forward on certain tees, but then that is ofen the way with British courses - the immediate, eccentric assumption that visitors are always hackers! In the case of the 4th it certainly made it a driveable proposition - i tugged a 3 iron, but was pin high (remember, this hole is downhill). According the strokesaver, the front of the green is 227 from ladies, 248 from the mens and 257 from medal markers. I liked this hole -the shape of the bunkering/green made me think of Africa! When you are close to the green has quite a pronounced dome shape which looks intimidating. Strokesaver says the green is 28 yards long so not as much room for error as might be assumed - but there is also the landing area (narrow) in front of that which makes the shot more makeable.

One of the features of the course is the fact that a number of elevated greens make distance judgement difficult and hence it is not easy to get close to the hole - examples would include 1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13....

I did not have as strong a view as Sean about the second nine being the stronger. Put differently, I thought the first nine had a strong and varied first four holes - and i don't think there are any weak ones after that. The most straightforward was probably the (stroke one) 6th, but as Sean's photos show, that also has interest in the form pof a handsome bunker and the "valley of sin" ahead of the green.

I don't think the bunkering is as interesting as on some other heathland courses, but there were certainly a few holes with handsome bunkering complexes - such as five, eight (even in its modern diluted form, still an exceptional looking hole) and thirteen.

 

Philip

I didn't mean to imply that the front nine is anyway lacking, only that the back nine is exceptional. 

I would also agree that determining the distance to the flag is difficult on many holes.  It seems to me that this concept of obscuring the view by uphill approaches or tucking greens behind mounds etc is not very well thought of these days - at least I don't see many newish courses employing this sort of design method.  However, it could merely be a function of the land being somewhat hilly and a reluctance to alter the terrain too much. 

Ciao

What difference does it make if the architect (or nature) obscures the distance to the target by concealing the ground in between with mounds, bunkering, rough ground etc, if a large majority of golfers think there's nothing wrong with using a Sky Caddie or other range finder?

Just wondering, not trying to stir up the usual brouhaha.........

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2008, 01:32:16 PM »
Another excellent photo essay, Sean, and I am largely in agreement with most of the comments made, particularly about the bunkering. I know the course is Colt, but for some reason (maybe the par 3s) it reminds me more of the Berkshire Red than, say, Sunningdale (Old and New) or Swinley. I last played there in October 1999 and it was in fabulous condition.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2008, 05:22:13 AM »
Another excellent photo essay, Sean, and I am largely in agreement with most of the comments made, particularly about the bunkering. I know the course is Colt, but for some reason (maybe the par 3s) it reminds me more of the Berkshire Red than, say, Sunningdale (Old and New) or Swinley. I last played there in October 1999 and it was in fabulous condition.

Mark

That is quite an interesting post.  I would agree that the par 3s are unusually lacking for a Colt course the stature of St Georges Hill.  Are there any other aspects which remind you of Berkshire Red or Fowler/Simpson?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2008, 08:56:11 AM »
Sean, I think you could slip photos of the short 11th, the 13th and perhaps the 17th amongst photos of Berkshire Red and you could pull the wool over many an eye. It's probably nothing to do with the architecture but a similarity of terrain.

Chip Gaskins

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2008, 10:02:13 AM »
man, i have to think St. Georges Hill is near the top of my list to play.  that place looks stunning.

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2008, 01:18:20 PM »


Looking at old pics of the 17th green,  I'm pretty sure that the green has shrunk substantially through the years.  The green came out to include that bumpy bit in the front and was significantly wider, particularly on the left side.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Thomas MacWood

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2008, 01:36:39 PM »
Wasn't St. Georges Hill part of a housing development? Are the homes that were part of the original development still intact? Is it considered a fashionable place to live?

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2008, 01:40:12 PM »
Tom

Yes it's a fabulous estate.   The Confidential Guide Tom Doak quips that he wouldn't mind living there if he had a million quid to spare.  But it's probably at least double (triple?) that today.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Thomas MacWood

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2008, 01:48:46 PM »
Paul
The developer (Tarrant I think was his name) produced a pretty impressive pamphlet in the early stages. It was focused mostly on the housing development, a lot of architectural plans and sketches of possible homes that could be built. Some impressive architects were involved - their was a definite A&C feel to the entire project. There were also two nice essays by Darwin and Hutchinson discussing the golf course, though unfortunately no plans or photos.

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2008, 02:32:46 PM »
Tom

Yes it's a fabulous estate.   The Confidential Guide Tom Doak quips that he wouldn't mind living there if he had a million quid to spare.  But it's probably at least double (triple?) that today.

"Higher, higher".

http://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/details/property/203576

I believe this is one of 3 built on the grounds of an old house that was demolished. Tarrant originally spec'd them as each having an acre of ground.  About 2 years ago I was invited to tender to supply interior planting for one of them - bought by "the 12th richest Russian".   Not really my kind of work but I couldnt miss having alook inside - nothing came of it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 02:35:48 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2008, 02:46:12 PM »
Tony

Wow $20M! But that one is horrible, I wonder what was demolished.  Is the SGH estate the most expensive of its kind?

John Lennon lived in this one, a bit more like it should be (of course Lennon was an inverted snob about it and mocked it as his "Hansel and Gretel house":



Tom

I think I have that plan somewhere.  Another big housing golf plan was Moor Park, but not as posh as SGH.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 02:55:03 PM by Paul_Turner »
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2008, 03:05:59 PM »
Philip and I saw a fairly new house off the 12th fairway that was absolutely enormous.  Philip took a photo of it, maybe he will post the beast.  I don't think 20 million would have got you through the front door.  The problem with many of the new homes is that they are built on a scale and in a style that needs more land.  An acre or two doesn't cut for a mcmansion of these proportions.  There is no question the estate is very successful and well heeled.  The older homes on the estate are much more modest, but I bet you can't get a sniff of even the most modest of the lot one for less than 2 million.  One of the things that kept surprising me were the roads through the course.  Cars just go whizzing by as you are playing, but the roads aren't terribly noticable themselves.  Its a bit creepy really. 

Paul

I think you are right concerning the 17th.  The way the green just ends on the left is very odd.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2008, 03:11:46 PM »
Yes there should be room to have a pin placement on that left side.  It would be the best position on that green, tucked around that ridge.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

RJ_Daley

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Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2008, 03:43:40 PM »
There is obviously an influence by a modern day architect that must be the current architect of record as far as on-going course design work, remodelling and rebuilding of bunkers that need it after time. 
Forgive me if I missed it in the above commentary, but can you tell us which architect does the updating or remodelling work in recent times?
Or, is the maintenance meld and styling strictly due to on-staff greenskeeping crew?

There is a decidedly dual style look.  This crisp edging:



And this upholstered look:


Mike Cirba, do you make any distinction of the remodeled upholstry "Puffy" look here from your misgivings of the Merion remodelling styling some years ago?

I for one don't mind the two stylings, as both styles look like the bunkers are in apparent great strategic locations,
and they both have pleasing looks of blending with the heather in addition to overall eye appeal.

Well done Sean. 
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:47:25 PM by RJ_Daley »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Paul Nash

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Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2008, 03:52:09 PM »
Philip and I saw a fairly new house off the 12th fairway that was absolutely enormous.  Philip took a photo of it, maybe he will post the beast.  I don't think 20 million would have got you through the front door.  The problem with many of the new homes is that they are built on a scale and in a style that needs more land.  An acre or two doesn't cut for a mcmansion of these proportions.  There is no question the estate is very successful and well heeled.  The older homes on the estate are much more modest, but I bet you can't get a sniff of even the most modest of the lot one for less than 2 million.  One of the things that kept surprising me were the roads through the course.  Cars just go whizzing by as you are playing, but the roads aren't terribly noticable themselves.  Its a bit creepy really. 

Paul

I think you are right concerning the 17th.  The way the green just ends on the left is very odd.

Ciao
[/Sean - the houses going up along 12 and 13 were absolutely enormous - much bigger than that one featured in country life - but did you notice the one on the left of 17 or 18 - I think near the 18th tee - it looks like they have their own manicured paths weaving through a big hilly site - you wouldn't have to leave the grounds to go running! Mind you, there is one really horrible-looking house near the 10th - actually i think it is behind the 27th hole - looks a bit like Liverpool Cathedral crossed with a shopping centre!]

Tom Birkert

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2008, 03:58:01 PM »
There is obviously an influence by a modern day architect that must be the current architect of record as far as on-going course design work, remodelling and rebuilding of bunkers that need it after time. 
Forgive me if I missed it in the above commentary, but can you tell us which architect does the updating or remodelling work in recent times?
Or, is the maintenance meld and styling strictly due to on-staff greenskeeping crew?

There is a decidedly dual style look.  This crisp edging:



And this upholstered look:


Mike Cirba, do you make any distinction of the remodeled upholstry "Puffy" look here from your misgivings of the Merion remodelling styling some years ago?

I for one don't mind the two stylings, as both styles look like the bunkers are in apparent great strategic locations,
and they both have pleasing looks of blending with the heather in addition to overall eye appeal.

Well done Sean. 

RJ,

I'm not sure if it is deliberate, but the top pic is of the 13th of the New at Sunningdale, not of St George's Hill.

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2008, 04:39:49 PM »
I think at St George's Hill houses it is not width which matters so much as length. Perhaps that's why I live in a semi-detached house in the north of England,

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2008, 06:17:27 PM »
Many thanks Sean, a great set of photos. This is a course I have been meaning to play for some time, and after seeing these photos, it only makes me want to play even more!

The style of the "upholstered" bunkers, reminds me of what I saw of the ladies Open from Sunningdale recently, and some of their remodelled bunkers. Also, some of the recently redone bunkers at Notts look a bit upholstered, so its obviously the way to go with heathland bunkering? I'm not sure about the look myself, but I think when the heather grows in a bit more and if some of the edges are left to rough up a bit, they will look just fine.

Cheers,

James
2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Richard Boult

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2008, 09:22:44 AM »
Added to our GCA Photo Tour directory at:

http://delicious.com/golfclubatlas

wsmorrison

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2008, 10:41:12 AM »
Thanks so much for posting these photos and the accompanying thoughts.  I love the look of this course.  I don't know how the bunkering differs from the original, but I quite like this.  I can't wait to get back to England next year to meet up with PG, SA and others I've been fortunate enough to get together with.  SGHGC, Walton Heath, New Zealand, St. Enodoc and West Sussex are on the short list of new courses to play.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2008, 10:58:08 AM »
Thanks so much for posting these photos and the accompanying thoughts.  I love the look of this course.  I don't know how the bunkering differs from the original, but I quite like this.  I can't wait to get back to England next year to meet up with PG, SA and others I've been fortunate enough to get together with.  SGHGC, Walton Heath, New Zealand, St. Enodoc and West Sussex are on the short list of new courses to play.

Wayne

If you are going to make the trip to St Enodoc, and I strongly recommend that you do, please make an effort to join me at Burnham.  I don't think you would disappointed with the effort of Colt & Alison - among many other archies responsible for the course.   

Thinking back on St Georges Hill, other than the bunkering, I think the up and down nature of the routing is perhaps a bit repetitive.  There are several holes which feature similar uphill approaches and the parkland nature of the course makes it difficult to hit grounders to these greens.  This is probably a by product of the clubhouse sitting on hill as the 1st, 9th and 18th are quite similar in their approach shots.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

wsmorrison

Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2008, 11:01:19 AM »
Sean,

Count on it, and thank you for the offer. 

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