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Patrick_Mucci

The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« on: September 28, 2008, 09:35:44 PM »
Is it due to medal play ?

No matter how diabolical a feature or hole, no matter how quirky, how unique, the worse that can happen to a golfer during match play is the loss of but ONE SINGLE HOLE.

Whereas, under medal play, the same feature or hole can produce an X, effectively ruining a fair to good to great round.

Has medal play accentuated the focus on quirk, resulting in its elimination from existing and future golf courses ?

Does a feature or hole that tends to produce a great range of scoring, read large numbers, come under heightened scrutiny, leading to its ultimate neutering or demise ?

The second green at Pine Valley has to be one of the most unique greens anywhere, but, I wonder, if it existed on another golf course, how long would it last before it was altered/disfigured ?

Chris Kane

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 09:37:22 PM »
The second green at Pine Valley has to be one of the most unique greens anywhere, but, I wonder, if it existed on another golf course, how long would it last before it was altered/disfigured ?

What is the prevailing format at Pine Valley?  Do they play more or less medal play than at other golf courses?  (I will explain how this is relevant to your contention once you've answered).

Ed Oden

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2008, 10:26:54 PM »
Pat, I do not play any meaningful tournament golf.  Rather, my perspective is primarily that of regular member play.  In my experience, the typical "game" for routine play usually has roots in match play, such as a nassau, skins or wolf.  I honestly can't remember the last time I played a round involving any form of bet or competition where the winner was determined by strokes, whether net or gross.  So it would seem to me that in order for medal play to be the primary cause of the demise of quirk, medal play would need to be the rule and not the exception for normal everyday competition.  At the end of the day, isn't it normal member play that drives architectural decision-making at all but a select few clubs?

Ed

Mike McGuire

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2008, 10:36:21 PM »
Pat-

I believe the answer is yes.

I was talking to Dan Moore (a poster here) about our front nine being longer and much heavily bunkered in 1930 than it is today. He offered that match play mentality meant you wanted - or dealt with -  a more challenging course because no one cared - or asked - what you shot.

Watching the Ryder cup match play event was so compelling I did not tune in to the tour championship until very late the final round. Medal play is not as interesting as match play - to watch or compete in.

Does the USGA handicap system make us focus to much on medal play? Is there any way out?



 

Phil_the_Author

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2008, 10:46:48 PM »
No Pat, that wasn't the cause. Too many great courses were built over the many years since the early teens of the 20th century. So many of them were filled with greens of quirk, character and a great deal of contour. That was when Open tournaments decided by score became the vogue. Think Texas & Eastern Opens; in fact by the early 1920's annual open tournaments with prize funds in the $6-10,000 range became established across the country.

It was the money tournaments themselves that were supported by those who attended them to pay the prize funds that brought about the demise of match play.

As the public became enamored with the great players of the day, professionals became the heroes of the game and the ones to be imitated. That their greatness was measured by the stroke play tournaments in which they competed changed the mentality of both the style and preferred method of play for amateur golf and golfers.

Technological advances in shafts, clubheads and golf balls changed the game from one where the ground game mattered to one where it was played through the air. It is this that has caused the design changes that has taken much of the "quirk, character and contour" out of modern design and redesign...

Improvements in maintenance equipment allowed greens to be cut lower increasing green speeds and even changing the way players putted. I am convinced that Arnold Palmer stopped winning both majors and tournaments, not because he couldn't hit great shots or that his game suffered from tee to green, but simply because he couldn't adapt his pound the ball into the ground style of poutting to the quicker green speeds of the 1960's & 70's.

If you want any of the old matches on the golf channel you will see that this putting style was quite common and that even Nicklaus employed it very early on. What set Jack apart was his ability to learn how to roll a ball rather than strike it when putting...
« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 10:48:58 PM by Philip Young »

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2008, 02:21:46 PM »
Pat, I think stroke play is part of the problem. Heavy equipment another.

It's one reason I like working in Europe (not building carts paths another. They play Stableford, so you can find or create holes or courses that take more than one round to figure out.

Unfortunately this advantage has rarely been utilized.

tlavin

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2008, 02:38:08 PM »
I think that the marketplace has put an emphasis on downplaying quirk in golf course architecture much more than any influence by medal vs. match play.  I think the customers who hire the architects are not as interested in quirkiness as the early golf course developers were.  Tony is on to something when he says that heavy equipment is a big component as well, but you have to have a client who has the courage to accept quirk in a modern design.  The 14th at Bandon Trails is a  prime example of a quirky hole that would have been built that way ninety years ago but would very seldom survive now.  It has survived with only minor changes despite controversy.  Keiser is willing to accept the criticism and is happy to accept the quirk in a modern design.  I'm sure the architects hereabouts can give us other examples, but this is a pretty solid one, it seems to me.

Peter Pallotta

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2008, 03:01:22 PM »
Patrick -

I think the easy/obvious answer is that, since quirk, character and contour are all attributes of nature and of the natural world, it was the decades-long and progressive devaluing of nature on American golf courses that led to the (temporary) demise of those elements.  An undue emphasis on the so-called "demands of the game" came at the expense of the "experience of the sport", and was aided by (as Phil notes) a professional ethos that was ever-more influential and by (as Tony notes) heavy equipment that allowed an architect's ego to obliterate nature's wisdom.

PS - And I'd like to think that I've got both Dr. Mackenzie and Max Behr watching my back on this one. 

Peter
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 03:06:37 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Michael Wharton-Palmer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2008, 03:07:50 PM »
I think another reason is the fear of criticism or non acceptance from the general public, who simply think that quirky is "unfair"

Whoever said this game had to be fair..and who determines what is fair.
Some of the best holes at Sand Hills and Ballyneal have "quirky" putting surfaces that some would say are ubfair...heck no...just tough.
For example...I just played Sand Hills and on number 13 from the back tee into the wind I nailed a number 2 hybrid...strauight into that yucca which is 6 feet from the putting surface on the lip of teh left bunker....it was a perfect shot, would have hit the bank of the bunker and been really close but no...unplayable..fair..no way...quirky..absolutely..awesome...yes, even though it meant a bogey.

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2008, 04:02:53 PM »
Patrick:

How many people play stroke play in a casual round?  In my experience, almost none.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2008, 04:11:12 PM »
Patrick:

How many people play stroke play in a casual round?  In my experience, almost none.

Jason,

Do you mean match play?  I rarely play match play and is usually reserved for GCA type events as I don't participate in any real tournaments other than corp sponsored 4 man scrambles.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2008, 04:27:54 PM »

How many people play stroke play in a casual round?  In my experience, almost none.

Most club's require golfers to post scores, irrespective of the nature of their round, casual, serious or tournament..

That's how golfers obtain an accurate, current handicap.

If you only post selected rounds, that's cheating, isn't it ?

Some clubs will post a round for a member NOT returning their card/score



Jay Flemma

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2008, 04:31:44 PM »
I love that second green at PV and I have always wondered when people would repro that.

I also love 9 at Oakmont.  On the day I build a golf course, expect to see that.

...and a biarritz too...

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2008, 04:34:56 PM »
Patrick:

I think the demise of quirk and character and contour can be attributed to only two things:

1.  The ability to remove it with equipment, and
2.  The lack of value placed upon it by most architects of the past half-century.

There is no reason you can't build a course with such features anymore.  It's just that most architects don't want to.  Presumably they shy away from quirk because they are afraid of criticism, or perhaps because their clients don't want it, but the reasons lie with architects individually.

I'm sure I have lost out on many potential jobs because the client thought my work was too quirky, but oddly enough, I can only remember one client who DID hire us who expressed concern about too much quirk and contour -- and that one client was Mike Keiser!

Jed Peters

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2008, 04:40:47 PM »
Pat:

I believe the quest for "score" does indeed take away from the Game as some of us love it.

Every weekend we have multiple games--there are usually 2 groups that play off scratch (or close to it) and create pairings/teams accordingly. We then will have a low gross game as well.

Yesterday, we did a 6/6/6 game with team specs, and then did the typical gross game.

My triple on 17 pushed me to 8 over and killed any chances of winning.

The whole round we were obsessed with how many over everyone was, where everyone was sitting, etc.

For the afternoon round, a guy and I went out and did a "winner picks next tee" game--and did a purely match play game, playing the course HOW and WHERE we wanted to play from.

It was some of the most fun I've ever had....we were playing the women's tees on some holes, and the back of the back tees on other holes. In fact, we played NEIGHBORING holes tee boxes on another hole. making an entirely new golf hole than we've ever played.

And guess what, not worrying about score, but rather putting the ball in the hole first, was quite fun.

And it brought back the "fun" to our course--it's not always fun playing a course that's flat and 7300+ yards. It's way more fun to try to cut corners, drive greens, go for par 5s in two, hit to a far away fairway/spot, etc. etc.

 

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 04:41:20 PM »
Terry, you're right about the owner. Another plus for Europe. If you have an idea that doesn't fit the general prescriptions you can sell a developer on the idea. You've got to sell it, and be enthusiastic... believe it.

Sometimes that isn't enough. I think I lost one project in the mountains embracing their site instead of bulldozing it. It required a significant amount but they were adamant about flattening many of the best contours. They visited one of my projects and asked why I didn't bulldoze a short par-4 flat so you could see the green. I just couldn't get through to them the roll of the land made the hole.

Michael, I was going to put "ratings and rankings" on there too. I think some are afraid a quirky hole could spoil the image. Instead of explaining it, better not to build it.

Mail-in designs don't loan themselves to quirk either. It can easily slip to quack.


Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2008, 05:53:33 PM »

How many people play stroke play in a casual round?  In my experience, almost none.

Most club's require golfers to post scores, irrespective of the nature of their round, casual, serious or tournament..

That's how golfers obtain an accurate, current handicap.

If you only post selected rounds, that's cheating, isn't it ?

Some clubs will post a round for a member NOT returning their card/score



Patrick:

We have very different experiences.  At both my muni and my country club, almost every round is a match play round.  I have played little stroke play since college (20 years ago) and have very rarely had someone even suggest a stoke play wager.

Handicap posting rules accomodate this approach - you are required to post match play scores.  You may pick up if you are out of a hole or have reached your max (usually the same thing).  Even if you have not reached your maximum score but are out of a hole, you may pick up and post the score that you reasonably believe you would have achieved.  In my experience, most people play out the hole, unless they are at their max or have a short putt that is meaningless in the context of the match. 

I would be interested in knowing the percentage of groups that every player finishes out every hole.  I would guess less than 1 percent.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2008, 06:10:24 PM »

We have very different experiences.  At both my muni and my country club, almost every round is a match play round.  I have played little stroke play since college (20 years ago) and have very rarely had someone even suggest a stoke play wager.

Handicap posting rules accomodate this approach - you are required to post match play scores.  You may pick up if you are out of a hole or have reached your max (usually the same thing).  Even if you have not reached your maximum score but are out of a hole, you may pick up and post the score that you reasonably believe you would have achieved.  In my experience, most people play out the hole, unless they are at their max or have a short putt that is meaningless in the context of the match. 

Let me see if I understand this.

You play matches at your club, for money, against your fellow members.

But, you're allowed to control your handicap by posting a score that you deem would be achieved had you continued to play the hole ?   ?   ?

That's a formula for disaster and cheating.
It's probably one of the easiest ways to pad a handicap.

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable playing against anyone from your club.


I would be interested in knowing the percentage of groups that every player finishes out every hole.  I would guess less than 1 percent.


I can't speak to the rest of the universe, but, in the game I've been playing in for many years, everyone finishes the hole.

WHY ?

Because, in order to form a more perfect handicap assessment for everyone, in addition to having a low ball match, we also play a high ball match.  Thus, everyone fights to the finish, and we almost always play in under 4 hours.  The group has been composed of golfers from zero to 24 handicaps, so, that's a decent spectrum.



Bart Bradley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2008, 06:15:52 PM »
I have recently played Ballyneal and Sand Hills...The rumors of the demise of quirk, character and contour are greatly exagerated.

Bart

Jim Briggs

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2008, 06:25:15 PM »

We have very different experiences.  At both my muni and my country club, almost every round is a match play round.  I have played little stroke play since college (20 years ago) and have very rarely had someone even suggest a stoke play wager.

Handicap posting rules accomodate this approach - you are required to post match play scores.  You may pick up if you are out of a hole or have reached your max (usually the same thing).  Even if you have not reached your maximum score but are out of a hole, you may pick up and post the score that you reasonably believe you would have achieved.  In my experience, most people play out the hole, unless they are at their max or have a short putt that is meaningless in the context of the match. 

Let me see if I understand this.

You play matches at your club, for money, against your fellow members.

But, you're allowed to control your handicap by posting a score that you deem would be achieved had you continued to play the hole ?   ?   ?

That's a formula for disaster and cheating.
It's probably one of the easiest ways to pad a handicap.

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable playing against anyone from your club.


I would be interested in knowing the percentage of groups that every player finishes out every hole.  I would guess less than 1 percent.


I can't speak to the rest of the universe, but, in the game I've been playing in for many years, everyone finishes the hole.

WHY ?

Because, in order to form a more perfect handicap assessment for everyone, in addition to having a low ball match, we also play a high ball match.  Thus, everyone fights to the finish, and we almost always play in under 4 hours.  The group has been composed of golfers from zero to 24 handicaps, so, that's a decent spectrum.



Pat,

I hear what you are saying about completing holes and handicapping.  However, see the below from the MGA site in the posting scores section.
 
Posting Scores - Frequently Asked Questions
 

INCOMPLETE HOLES
 

A player who picks up and does not finish a hole, must record a score for handicap purposes using the following procedure(s):

 

A player whose score will have no effect on the outcome of a hole, should help speed up play by picking up! If a player picks up before he has completed a hole, he shall record the score he most likely would have made had he completed the hole, not exceeding the maximum allowable under Equitable Stroke Control (ESC). Picking up before a hole is completed does not require or entitle a player to automatically post his ESC maximum.
When a player's next stroke is conceded, the same procedure applies. For handicapping purposes the player shall record the score he most likely would have made had his next stroke not been conceded, again, not exceeding the maximum allowable under ESC.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2008, 06:26:32 PM »

We have very different experiences.  At both my muni and my country club, almost every round is a match play round.  I have played little stroke play since college (20 years ago) and have very rarely had someone even suggest a stoke play wager.

Handicap posting rules accomodate this approach - you are required to post match play scores.  You may pick up if you are out of a hole or have reached your max (usually the same thing).  Even if you have not reached your maximum score but are out of a hole, you may pick up and post the score that you reasonably believe you would have achieved.  In my experience, most people play out the hole, unless they are at their max or have a short putt that is meaningless in the context of the match. 

Let me see if I understand this.

You play matches at your club, for money, against your fellow members.

But, you're allowed to control your handicap by posting a score that you deem would be achieved had you continued to play the hole ?   ?   ?

That's a formula for disaster and cheating.
It's probably one of the easiest ways to pad a handicap.

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable playing against anyone from your club.


I would be interested in knowing the percentage of groups that every player finishes out every hole.  I would guess less than 1 percent.


I can't speak to the rest of the universe, but, in the game I've been playing in for many years, everyone finishes the hole.

WHY ?

Because, in order to form a more perfect handicap assessment for everyone, in addition to having a low ball match, we also play a high ball match.  Thus, everyone fights to the finish, and we almost always play in under 4 hours.  The group has been composed of golfers from zero to 24 handicaps, so, that's a decent spectrum.



Pat

I don't think handicapping per se is the reason for softening courses.  Speed of greens is a case in point.  Some features have to be removed if greens are to run at 12.  I do think the idea of fairness and its associated meanings is pervasive.  For instance, bunkers not blind, greens nor running front to back, bunkers not in centre of fairway.  However, I see this idea crop up in both medal and matchplay (non qualifier for handicap) so I don't think handicaps are in any way to blame.  Besides, handicaps have been around as long as architecture has.

I do agree with you concerning matchplay.  Under no circumstances should a player post a score in which he didn't hole out.  The entire idea of a score in matchplay is nonsense and should be creyed doon.

Ciao    
« Last Edit: September 29, 2008, 06:29:42 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Patrick_Mucci

Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2008, 06:30:27 PM »
JBriggs,

The problem is that so few golfers pick up and stop playing a hole.

In a perfect world the MGA language makes sense, but, ask yourself, do you want to play every hole, or pick up and only complete one third of them ?

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2008, 06:45:23 PM »
JBriggs,

I'm also not sure if I can go along with "the score I would have recieved".

Hell I can't even count the #of times I've been 20 yards from the green and skulled one into the bunker or over the green, hit the next on, and two putted.  And by the same token, just as much I've knocked that pitch stiff for a nice up and down.  Unless you have a short putt (3 feet or less) the variance would seem to be too large to make a guess, especially for high cappers.

Jim Briggs

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2008, 06:50:24 PM »
JBriggs,

I'm also not sure if I can go along with "the score I would have recieved".

Hell I can't even count the #of times I've been 20 yards from the green and skulled one into the bunker or over the green, hit the next on, and two putted.  And by the same token, just as much I've knocked that pitch stiff for a nice up and down.  Unless you have a short putt (3 feet or less) the variance would seem to be too large to make a guess, especially for high cappers.

Kalen,

I agree (with both you and Pat).  I tend to finish out every hole with the exception of when I have hit my max (which unfortunately still tends to happen more frequently than I would like), or when I am conceded a put in a match play format.

I didn't even post what the MGA handicapping FAQ's has with repect to Incomplete Rounds.  If you only play say 14 holes, its acceptable to enter the scores you reasonably would have had on the remaining 4.

Jim

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The demise of quirk, character and contour ?
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2008, 07:11:25 PM »

We have very different experiences.  At both my muni and my country club, almost every round is a match play round.  I have played little stroke play since college (20 years ago) and have very rarely had someone even suggest a stoke play wager.

Handicap posting rules accomodate this approach - you are required to post match play scores.  You may pick up if you are out of a hole or have reached your max (usually the same thing).  Even if you have not reached your maximum score but are out of a hole, you may pick up and post the score that you reasonably believe you would have achieved.  In my experience, most people play out the hole, unless they are at their max or have a short putt that is meaningless in the context of the match. 

Let me see if I understand this.

You play matches at your club, for money, against your fellow members.

But, you're allowed to control your handicap by posting a score that you deem would be achieved had you continued to play the hole ?   ?   ?

That's a formula for disaster and cheating.
It's probably one of the easiest ways to pad a handicap.

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable playing against anyone from your club.


I would be interested in knowing the percentage of groups that every player finishes out every hole.  I would guess less than 1 percent.


I can't speak to the rest of the universe, but, in the game I've been playing in for many years, everyone finishes the hole.

WHY ?

Because, in order to form a more perfect handicap assessment for everyone, in addition to having a low ball match, we also play a high ball match.  Thus, everyone fights to the finish, and we almost always play in under 4 hours.  The group has been composed of golfers from zero to 24 handicaps, so, that's a decent spectrum.



 Patrick -

Apparently, you have never read the USGA's guidelines on establishing a handicap.  We do it correctly.  It has never posed a problem in my experience. If it did, that person would have a hard time finding a game.


From the USGA Handicap Pamphlet

http://www.usga.org/playing/handicaps/understanding_handicap/RIB.pdf


Incomplete Holes or conceded strokes

If you pick up on a hole or are conceded a stroke, record the score you most likely would have made. This most likely score is the number of strokes (including penalty strokes) taken thus far, plus the number of strokes it will take you to complete the hole from that point. An “X” should precede the score on the scorecard(i.e. x-5).

Holes Not Played

When a hole isn’t played, your score for the hole is par plus any handicap strokes to which you’re entitled, based on your Course Handicap™. This also applies to any hole that you do not play by the Rules of Golf.

Equitable Stroke Control™

Equitable Stroke Control™ (ESC)™ keeps an exceptionally bad hole from changing your Handicap Index® too much and sets a maximum number that a player can post on any hole depending on the player’s Course Handicap™. For handicap purposes, after the round you are required to adjust your hole scores (actual or probable) when they are higher th a n
your maximum ESC™ number you can post.

All scores, including tournament scores, are adjusted for ESC™.  There is no limit to the number of holes on which you can adjust your score for ESC™.

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