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Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
#15 at Crystal Downs
« on: May 21, 2003, 09:00:06 AM »
On a couple current threads, less than positive comments are made about #15 at Crystal Downs, a hole I fell in love with on my first visit.

But, it wasnít love at first sight; it was love at first inspection. That is to say that when I first approached #15 tee, I thought Mackenzie may have run out of gas or took a breather on a course otherwise filled with interesting, creative holes. For what lay in front of me was a wide open, apparently featureless fairway.

Still, something told me that Mackenzie was probably up to no good, that there had to be something deceptive about the appearance of this hole. Sure enough, I found it. The landing area proved to narrow significantly out around the 270-280 yard mark leaving me with real doubts about the best way to play this hole. Some kind of lay up, albeit one long enough that you donít leave yourself with a blind shot to the green. †Iíd estimate something right around 220 yards is about right.

Anyway, Iím wondering whether people familiar with this hole see it differently. Donít you find the landing area and the options for tee shots pretty cool?

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

Mike_Cirba

Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2003, 09:10:14 AM »
Tim;

#15 is mucho cool, and uses the big dip and swale in the landing area to great effect, as you mentioned in your fine description.  

What negative comments were made about #15?  

16 on the other hand, might generate more controversy!  ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

NAF

Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 09:14:40 AM »
I believe they call #15 Little Poison for good reason.  I really loved playing the hole. In some respects it reminds me of a Tillinghast short par 4 that is dangerous like the 5 and dime hole at R-wood or coincidently number #15 at Fenway.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

John_McMillan

Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2003, 10:45:17 AM »
Tim,

You'll probably enjoy one of the holes at the Red Raider course.  Tom Doak created one of the holes at Texas Tech after the 15'th at Crystal Downs.

It would be interesting to have Tom chip-in on the thread, and discuss which features of the hole were worth replicating, and how he chose that hole to fit into the Texas Tech routing.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2003, 12:46:03 PM »
John:

I am very interested to see Tom's interpretation of #15 at Crystal Downs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2003, 01:04:10 PM »
Unfortunately, I was forced to see the hole in a different light.  I snap hooked a 3 wood off the tee and wound up under the thick trunked hardwood tree on the left.  I could only chip forward a bit and still was in wispy rough very close to 13th fairway.  From there, it is an interesting shot and gives rise to the notion of hitting driver up 13 fairway for a lofted  approach to 15 with anything from 8 iron to wedge.  I heard the others commenting how neat the actual LZ was for 15, and after playing my approach from the far left near 13, I ran over to see the deceptive swale fronting the fairway bunker on left coming down from laid back high fairway on the right which has danger of hitting too far up right into more bunkering.  Indeed the swale with second cut rough on the left side of that possible area where one's drive could end up, makes for a nasty approach over the left greenside front bunkering.  But, it seems to me that iron or fairway metal off the tee 200-220 and holding the high right side fairway leaving the open right front of green might become a pretty mundane shot if the course is played often and one is becomes familiar with the features of the hole.  Then, difficulty of the hole becomes more about the Mawellian rolls in the green. ;D

As a routing exercise, it seems to me that 15 and 17 have similar demands off the tee in favoring the iron or fairway metal.  After long par 4s at 12 and 13, and a short devilish par 3 at 14, I think 15 is the place to have such a "little poison" sort of hole.  That leaves 17 as potentially the odd ball hole in the back 9 route that is too quirky,  repetively short (calling for less than driver off the tee) and perhaps over the top on the false front of that green.  I think one such short ball buster per 9 is enough.  

Can 15 be lengthened about 30-40 yards with a tee behind the current one at 327?  If the trees lining the opening to the LZ were trimmed and the corridor widened, would that destroy this hole?  I'm thinking of the drive to the ideal left high side being about 250-260 rather than 215-220, and one could still lay back with iron or fairway wood, leaving 150-160 rather than 110-120 which still works well in offering strategy options with modern ball and equipment for the safer approach up the right.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2003, 01:18:29 PM »
Dick:

There is quite a walk forward from #14 to #15 at Crystal Downs. So, yes, I believe it would be possible to lengthen the hole 30-50 yards.

But, I wonder if this takes us right to the entire debate about technology. Geoff Shackelford uses the term "in balance" in his latest book.

I think the question you raised is an example of what Geoff referred to: if we have to lengthen this hole just to accomodate modern technology, then what good really is modern technology? What real improvement has it brought if all it does is force us to change the golf course just to get back to what Geoff calls being "in balance"?

As for what it is like to play the hole on a regular basis and whether that would mean opting for the layup everytime, I don't know. That would be interesting to hear Tom Doak or Mike DeVries comment on.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Dan_Belden

Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2003, 05:01:32 PM »
That is a great comment about technology Tim.  Todd Eckenrode told me that Nicklaus said at the ASGCA meeting that he is desinging his course around the 6,500 range, then adding some tees that take it over 7,200.  
   The 15th at Crystal is a really fun short hole, and like so many of the really good older courses, the severity of the green is the defense.  It would be fun to take a poke at it now and then, but I certainly don't think that would be the best way to play it.  And I don't think it needs length.
   I see the same thing at Brookside when I play with the members.  Even if some members do hit it further, their handicaps don't come down because of the greens.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

brad_miller

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2003, 05:25:23 PM »
Tim, maybe you are right and I should have included the 15th in my PD/CD composite, great decision off the tee, fun 2nd shot, maybe it was the rough in front of the green to the right of the fronting bunker that drove me crazy. I think I did have 2 birdie puts in my 2 rounds though. Can't help but think that many of CD's greens are just shouting for mowed down chipping areas, something PD has done on 9 greens this spring (thank you Bill Coore, and the powers to be at PD, yes and one of golf's great General Managers-a former PGA professional.)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2003, 08:06:18 PM »
Dan Belden:

Credit goes to Geoff Shackelford. The words "in balance" are his, though I've thinking about the issue for the past several years. Tom Simpson's comments about "Attack and Defense" are what got me to thinking about the concept of golf holes, player ability and technology being "in balance". Then, too, visiting the course I grew up on - Pelham Country Club - and seeing some of the changes they have made just to accomodate technology also drove home the point for me.

It really is the "balance" that makes the game - not absolute length or making the playing field ever larger.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: #15 at Crystal Downs
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2003, 11:21:04 AM »
Tim:  If the wind is in your face on #15 then the tee shot is not a lay-up, for me, anyway -- you can hit driver to get to the crest of the landing area.  If the wind's behind, yes, I try to play for just past the crest, but not so far past that I leave myself a 75-yard wedge from an awkward stance.

It is simply a great golf hole, and one of the most interesting greens on the course.

As for the Texas Tech hole -- the eleventh -- I doubt most people would see the similarities, even though we did do the bulk earthwork based on #15 at Crystal Downs.  The landing area has some cool topo, but we had to flip around the bunkering at the green because of the cart path access (yuck) and other holes in the vicinity.  And we had to do without 75-foot trees all down the right side of the hole which have a lot to do with how it looks and feels.  At the end of the day I think it will be a good short par-4 but not in the same category.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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