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Bill_McBride

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #50 on: March 11, 2009, 11:31:46 PM »
Nice work sir.

I found #12 compelling in that the green opens up the longer and closer to the creek you dare to go. Play up the left and have perhaps a shorter shot, but you are effectively blind and the "Huckaby angles" are all screwed with respect to the running shot. I would love to spend some time there play it multiple ways, and crack the code. Thinking you could hit 3-5 different clubs off the tee and play out a very interesting golf hole with any one of them.

Unfortunately the bunker at the 190 mark, with today's equipment....is effectively meaningless. Having said that, kudos to the club for not bringing in Fazio to put bunkers between 220 and 280 on the right side adjacent to the creek ;).

#11 is one of the more stunning greensites I have seen on a short hole. My only gripe was that it was the 3rd short iron in a row into a par 3.

Maybe for you - I hit hybrid 4-iron to the back left corner of the green!  IIRC it was playing 175 yards.

James, nice analysis of #12 fairway bunker.  Since you do have to carry the bunker 'heroically' to get that 'strategic' benefit, it may be a hybrid feature!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 11:34:23 PM by Bill_McBride »

David Stamm

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #51 on: March 11, 2009, 11:36:46 PM »
.

 
#11 is one of the more stunning greensites I have seen on a short hole. My only gripe was that it was the 3rd short iron in a row into a par 3.


Jon, I agree with you to a point. The only deficiency I see with the par 3's is the fact that you have (if from the tips), a wedge, 8 iron, 7 iron, 6 or 7 iron. Not as diverse a collection as CPC or Pasa, but individually, they are great holes.
"The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball."- Max Behr

Patrick Kiser

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #52 on: March 12, 2009, 12:11:36 AM »
I think grassing over the "slide" on the 10th was a good call.  It was probably easier and more cost effective, but it actually adds more interest and when you reach the top ... nice panorama into the green.
“One natural hazard, however, which is more
or less of a nuisance, is water. Water hazards
absolutely prohibit the recovery shot, perhaps
the best shot in the game.” —William Flynn, golf
course architect

Ryan Farrow

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #53 on: March 12, 2009, 02:33:29 AM »
I thought that bunker on 12 looked new.



IMO the hole worked just fine before, hugging the right side you bring the creek into play but gain a better angle into the green. Anyways, it was one of my favorites there.

James Bennett

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #54 on: March 12, 2009, 05:46:14 AM »
That fairway bunker was not there in March 2007!

Here is a photo of the 7th tee, with the sixth green in the background.  The short grass usage is apparent (yes, that is a tee-marker, not a golf ball in the foreground).




I am looking forward to #13 and #14 (and #15 for that matter).

James B
Bob; its impossible to explain some of the clutter that gets recalled from the attic between my ears. .  (SL Solow)

Sean_A

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #55 on: March 12, 2009, 06:26:25 AM »
I think grassing over the "slide" on the 10th was a good call.  It was probably easier and more cost effective, but it actually adds more interest and when you reach the top ... nice panorama into the green.

Patrick

I couldn't agree more.  Once I saw the "slide" it occurred to me that most of the rest of the course could do with a slide. 

It looks to me like left of the 11th has been seriously regraded.  I prefer the old look with a kick in from the left.  If the hole was changed, was it because of drainage issues?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

Bill_McBride

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #56 on: March 12, 2009, 08:53:34 AM »
That fairway bunker was not there in March 2007!
I don't remember that bunker ever, even back in the '60s.  Ditto for the short fairway bunker on #15 that was on the original plans but grassed over decades ago.

Phil McDade

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #57 on: March 12, 2009, 12:29:41 PM »


Unfortunately the bunker at the 190 mark, with today's equipment....is effectively meaningless. Having said that, kudos to the club for not bringing in Fazio to put bunkers between 220 and 280 on the right side adjacent to the creek ;).


Jon:

You may not know this, but I'll ask anyway. To what extent is the fariway bunker on #12 strategic and/or heroic for the membership? At 195 yds, even with today's equipment, it seems well-placed for most golfers -- a solid carry for those willing to be bold and risky, but also room to go around or slot a tee shot between the bunker and left rough.

It looks like a marvelous hole; lots of stuff going on in interesting ways for a shortish par 4.


John Mayhugh

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #58 on: March 12, 2009, 01:31:03 PM »
Shame that the Valley Club is so far up the road or you guys would no doubtedly included it in the KP this year.   ;D ;D

I really like the greensite on the 11th, but think I like the version shown in the old photo even better.  The rough, gnarly hill looks like it's just off the back of the green in that pic. 

Again, great job mixing quotes with old & new pics.  I do love this quote:

"A first class architect attempts to give the impression that everything has been done by nature and nothing by himself, where as a contractor tries to make as big a splash as possible and impress committees with the amount of labor and material he has put into the job."- Alister MacKenzie


James Bennett

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #59 on: March 12, 2009, 06:44:24 PM »
That fairway bunker was not there in March 2007!
I don't remember that bunker ever, even back in the '60s.  Ditto for the short fairway bunker on #15 that was on the original plans but grassed over decades ago.

Bill

that short fairway bunker on #15 comprised two bunkers in March 2007 - I was looking at the pic last night.  It is a tiny little thing.  It wasn't grassed over two years ago.

James B
Bob; its impossible to explain some of the clutter that gets recalled from the attic between my ears. .  (SL Solow)

Bill_McBride

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #60 on: March 12, 2009, 08:15:33 PM »
That fairway bunker was not there in March 2007!
I don't remember that bunker ever, even back in the '60s.  Ditto for the short fairway bunker on #15 that was on the original plans but grassed over decades ago.


that short fairway bunker on #15 comprised two bunkers in March 2007 - I was looking at the pic last night.  It is a tiny little thing.  It wasn't grassed over two years ago.

James B


That's about when they put in the bunker on #15, #12 sometime in 2008.  Neither was there three years ago, restoration in progress!

Bill
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 12:57:35 PM by Bill_McBride »

David Stamm

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (parts 1 and 2)
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2009, 10:01:23 PM »
We now conclude our look at The Valley Club by crossing over to the West side of Sheffield and stepping onto the 13th tee. As stated earlier, the land is more subdued (with the exception of 14) on this side, but the work done is no less impressive. There wasn't much to work with on this side, but somehow MacKenzie and Hunter were able to make some very memorable holes.


We start with a medium length 383 yd par 4 that's green is slightly uphill. The land is non descript, but the hole is not.


"No hole is a good one unless it has one or more hazards in a direct line of a hole. Max Behr, who is one of the best American golf architects, states that the direct line to the hole is the line of instinct, and to make a good hole you must break up that line in order to create the line of charm."- Alister MacKenzie









Closer to the bunker that "breaks up the line"





The green




The downhill 179 yd par 3 14th. The greensite is located near the 2nd tee and 1st green, where the photo previously shown on this presentation highlighted the closely mown areas around the greens and tees.





And a couple of vintage photos for comparison






Looking back to the tee.



We now head towards the clubhouse with the 510 yd par 5 15th.

"The bunkers on the route of the scratch player are evidently not there to punish his bad shots-some of his worst will surely escape them. There are there to call forth the best that is in him. To his weaker brethren they may be the voice of the tempter and the song of the Siren, but to him they are rowels which goad him on to acheivements that seem divine. These are the hazards that make golf dramatic. Without them there would be no enduring life in the sport, no vital interest, no delectable thrills- nothing worthwhile to achieve nor anything worthy to be conquered."- Robert Hunter




After an ideal tee shot



Closer to the green





The green



To the right of the green


The green from the 16th tee




We now head back down the slope and will return shortly to complete the round. The difficult 460 yd par 4 16th.




Looking out towards the 17th green



If drawn too much off the tee, the bunker that awaits



From the fw



Closer




Looking back



The 381 yd par 4 17th.





The cross bunkers



The greensite





Looking back



We now come to the conclusion of our journey with the 411 yd par 4 18th. Just to the left of the tee in this first photo is the green that is used as an extra par 3 for those wishing to play nine on the West side of Sheffield. One must pick their line carefully when climbing back up to the clubhouse, as there are many hazards to contend with.


"A hazard placed in the exact position where a player would naturally go is frequently in the most interesting situation, as then a special effort is needed to get over or avoid it."- Alister MacKenzie



Closer to the bunkers that must be hit over or around.







If the bunkers are cleared



From the left



Closer to the hazards



The greensite



From the 16th tee




The perfect ending to a perfect day






Thus ends our tour of a truly great course by one of golf's all time greatest architects and his very capable assistant. Valley Club is also a truly special place with a wonderful aura about it. It is elegant, and although the land is different on both sides of Sheffield, it flows harmoniously. We know MacKenzie to be truly great at taking advantage of natural features such as the 2 hills on the East side, but I was just as impressed with what he was able to extract from an essentially featureless area of ground on the West side, an area of his design ability that is overlooked. The greens are smaller and more subtle than CPC or Pasatiempo, two of his other California masterpieces, but they fit the course. The bunkers are less rough edged than CPC or Pasatiempo, but it appears from the old photos that they were accurately reproduced, from what I can tell. They are of a more rounded nature and this was the hand of Hunter at work. But above all, the routing is brilliant to me, one of the best I've seen. The way the 2 hills are used and the way that the holes flow below the clubhouse without being boring on the basically flat ground is fantastic. And as mentioned at the start, the French Norman style clubhouse is one of the best I've experienced and compliments the course very well. If pressed with the question, "If you could be a member anywhere....", The Valley Club would be in the running and I'm not sure if it wouldn't come out on top. It affirms my admiration for Mackenzie all the more and I felt very lucky to experience such a sublime place with such great company. The day after playing, I couldn't help but think of these two quotes by MacKenzie and Hunter that epitomize The Valley Club.



"It by no means follows that what appears to be attractive at first sight will be so permanently. A good golf course grows on one like a good painting, good music, or any other artistic creation."





"Do not let certain standards become an obsession. Quality, not length; interest, not the number of holes; distinction, not the size in the greens-these things are worth striving for."









Note: I want to thank Jon Spaulding for allowing me to use alot of his pictures for this presentation. Thanks bud!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 12:04:49 AM by David Stamm »
"The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball."- Max Behr

Kyle Harris

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito (part 1)
« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2009, 10:14:27 PM »
Thanks David - this is great work.

I do not recall playing a course with tee areas that are mown at the same height as the fairway and flow directly into them in places.

Is it a bit strange at first?

Is this a walking only course? Great to see all the lads with their push carts. Seems like the VC is a real classic - ie) a very unique experience


Is it strange at first?

Im, sorry I really did laugh when I read that. But seriously its one of those things that makes you wonder why every course doesn't do it. And then you realize that cart paths and lawyers ruined it for everyone. After seeing it on the 3rd or 4th holes, (maybe both) I was sold. Glad to see it continued throughout the round when possible.

Ill post some of my pictures when i get a chance.

Nice thread David.

Why every golf course doesn't do it?

Ryan,

How do you budget for an additional dozen or so acres of .350-.500 cut turf?

Who will bear that cost?

Ryan Farrow

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2009, 10:39:48 PM »
Kyle, Its obviously not going to happen on every hole. And certainly not when there are 2 minute cart drives to the next tee. 3rd it will take about 1/100th of the time to mow as opposed to "hand" mowing 4 or 5 different tee boxes on every hole.

I don't know where you are seeing additional maintenance costs? Help me out here.

Kyle Harris

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2009, 11:04:01 PM »
Kyle, Its obviously not going to happen on every hole. And certainly not when there are 2 minute cart drives to the next tee. 3rd it will take about 1/100th of the time to mow as opposed to "hand" mowing 4 or 5 different tee boxes on every hole.

I don't know where you are seeing additional maintenance costs? Help me out here.

Fertilizer and pesticides. Short grass is more disease prone.

Neil_Crafter

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #65 on: March 14, 2009, 01:26:00 AM »
David
An excellent and thorough tour and thanks for committing the time and effort to bring this to us.

A couple of comments. You state:

"Thus ends our tour of a truly great course by one of golf's all time greatest architects and his very capable assistant."

Given that Mackenzie relied on Hunter to be the "project architect" if you like, and oversee its construction, so much so that Hunter moved to Santa Barbara and joined the club, would it be fair do you think to give Hunter top-billing here - with Mackenzie more as Hunter's assistant? Or is that an exaggeration in the opposite direction? While the Valley Club was being designed and built in late 1928 and 1929 (opening on Dec 30 1929), Mackenzie was very busy, and travelling frequently. Hunter was able to devote time to the Valley Club project, something that Mackenzie was unable to do. The experience out here in Australia is that Mackenzie relied on Russell to get Royal Melbourne designed and built (by Morcom) in his absence and I see a similar thing with Hunter in California, especially Valley Club which appears to have been a project that captured Hunter's heart and soul. Interested to hear your thoughts on this.

The last item is a small one, in your photos of Hole 18, the drive bunkers appear to have fairway running right up to the front of them, giving the impression of them jutting out into the fairway. The second shot bunkers on the left, appear lost in a swathe of rough and look divorced from the fairway. I have to question such different treatment of fairway bunkers on the same hole. Your thoughts?

Well done again and makes me want to jump on a plane and come play VC.
cheers
Neil


Tom_Doak

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #66 on: March 14, 2009, 01:40:51 AM »
Neil:

I think I can get you on The Valley Club if you come across again.  However, I will not do it if you continue to embark upon who deserves first billing for the golf course.  Dr. MacKenzie was not there very much ... the same as Augusta National or Royal Melbourne or Cypress Point or any course he built apart from Alwoodley and Pasatiempo.  Each of those had different collaborators ... and each has only one thing in common.

Others:

There were a number of comments about the "landslide" on hole 10 and some of the work done on hole 11.  The hillside to the left of those two holes (and number 12) is composed of an unstable clay soil that has proven its capriciousness over the years.  The original bunkering on number 11 was wiped out by a mudslide in the mid 1930's, before the creek to the right washed out the green site and forced it to be entirely rebuilt.  We did the best we could to restore it, considering that we were working off a different baseline.  As for #10, I advised the club that working in the landing area seemed pointless when it is highly possible the clay will slide again sometime in the next ten years.

Also, note that Jon Spaulding's criticism of the three par-3's being of similar length is partly the result of James Bennett's observation that two of those three have tees which back into the same hillside, making them impossible to lengthen.  (The other par-3 in question is #14, whose back tee is up against the property line.)

Also, if anyone has a copy of my oft-criticized bio of MacKenzie, you'll find an analysis of the routing of The Valley Club and how it uses the two hills as discussed here.

Neil_Crafter

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2009, 02:31:29 AM »
Tom
My comments about Mackenzie and Hunter and how they worked together were not intended to denigrate anyone at the expense of another. I was just trying to better understand the dynamics of how these two worked in partnership. If you re-read what I wrote I was posing this as a question to David, not making a sweeping statement. This is what I wrote:

"would it be fair do you think to give Hunter top-billing here - with Mackenzie more as Hunter's assistant? Or is that an exaggeration in the opposite direction?"

I am certainly not "embarking" upon anything regarding credit for this course, I was just commenting on David's use of the phrase "capable assistant", as I think Hunter was quite a bit more than that. Of course the common element was Mackenzie.

Bill_McBride

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #68 on: March 14, 2009, 09:40:22 AM »
Neil:

I think I can get you on The Valley Club if you come across again.  However, I will not do it if you continue to embark upon who deserves first billing for the golf course.  Dr. MacKenzie was not there very much ... the same as Augusta National or Royal Melbourne or Cypress Point or any course he built apart from Alwoodley and Pasatiempo.  Each of those had different collaborators ... and each has only one thing in common.

Others:

There were a number of comments about the "landslide" on hole 10 and some of the work done on hole 11.  The hillside to the left of those two holes (and number 12) is composed of an unstable clay soil that has proven its capriciousness over the years.  The original bunkering on number 11 was wiped out by a mudslide in the mid 1930's, before the creek to the right washed out the green site and forced it to be entirely rebuilt.  We did the best we could to restore it, considering that we were working off a different baseline.  As for #10, I advised the club that working in the landing area seemed pointless when it is highly possible the clay will slide again sometime in the next ten years.

Also, note that Jon Spaulding's criticism of the three par-3's being of similar length is partly the result of James Bennett's observation that two of those three have tees which back into the same hillside, making them impossible to lengthen.  (The other par-3 in question is #14, whose back tee is up against the property line.)

Also, if anyone has a copy of my oft-criticized bio of MacKenzie, you'll find an analysis of the routing of The Valley Club and how it uses the two hills as discussed here.

Dr Mackenzie was without a doubt the inspirational force behind all the courses with which he's associated.  He was fortunate to have such gifted local talent to bring the projects into reality, but he deserves full credit and top billing for his entire portfolio. 

IMHO of course!

With regard to the length of the par 3s, I think #11 and #14 play more alike than the front nine par 3s.  Only a young flat belly like Jon would think of #11 as a short iron hole!  It's 176 from the middle of the tee if I recall correctly.  Only to the top 1% of players is that a short iron.  #14 is just slightly shorter. 

#4 is indeed a short par 3, downhill as it is.  #8 is just a bit longer but plays at least a club more because of the slightly uphill nature of the shot.

So there is, at least for the average player, quite a bit of variety between the par 3s.  What they have in common is being part of a quartet of outstanding short holes.

Richard Boult


David Stamm

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2009, 11:50:57 AM »
David
An excellent and thorough tour and thanks for committing the time and effort to bring this to us.

A couple of comments. You state:

"Thus ends our tour of a truly great course by one of golf's all time greatest architects and his very capable assistant."

Given that Mackenzie relied on Hunter to be the "project architect" if you like, and oversee its construction, so much so that Hunter moved to Santa Barbara and joined the club, would it be fair do you think to give Hunter top-billing here - with Mackenzie more as Hunter's assistant? Or is that an exaggeration in the opposite direction? While the Valley Club was being designed and built in late 1928 and 1929 (opening on Dec 30 1929), Mackenzie was very busy, and travelling frequently. Hunter was able to devote time to the Valley Club project, something that Mackenzie was unable to do. The experience out here in Australia is that Mackenzie relied on Russell to get Royal Melbourne designed and built (by Morcom) in his absence and I see a similar thing with Hunter in California, especially Valley Club which appears to have been a project that captured Hunter's heart and soul. Interested to hear your thoughts on this.

The last item is a small one, in your photos of Hole 18, the drive bunkers appear to have fairway running right up to the front of them, giving the impression of them jutting out into the fairway. The second shot bunkers on the left, appear lost in a swathe of rough and look divorced from the fairway. I have to question such different treatment of fairway bunkers on the same hole. Your thoughts?

Well done again and makes me want to jump on a plane and come play VC.
cheers
Neil





Neil, I think Hunters role in relation to the effort cannot be underestimated. Afterall, he wrote one of the best (AM stated THE best) books on the subject and MacKenzie trusted him to carry out the work. However, as Tom pointed out, there is a constant throughout AM's career. While he has been very fortunate to have the right men at the right time at the right places, the ablility to identify that sort of individual and communicate what he wanted is a talent that AM obviously possesed in spades. The role Hunter played at Valley Club was important, but I feel that MacKenzie was the designer and allowed Hunter some self expression along the way, just like Thomas and Bell.




As for the second set of FW bunkers, keep in mind that just to the left is the practice range. I do agree to some extent that it seems to make more sense to maintain that area in the foreground at fw height. It would seem to me that the blindness that those bunkers create should one go too far left after carrying the first set would be sufficent enough penalty. Perhaps Tom can offer some insight to this.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 11:52:47 AM by David Stamm »
"The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball."- Max Behr

Neil_Crafter

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #71 on: March 14, 2009, 04:19:52 PM »
Thanks for the reply David.
Mackenzie certainly had that ability to select and then communicate with his partners, the end results are testimony to that. And thanks for the comments on the 18th, its hard to pick up the hole's feel just from photos but I was curious of the different treatment those two fairway bunker complexes received.
Neil

Mark Bourgeois

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2009, 10:48:20 AM »


I find this Dali-esque "sliding" aspect of Mackenzie and Hunter's CA designs, incorporating bunkers into the visual, very interesting.  He / they did this, memorably, at Cypress and Pebble 8 green, too, didn't they?

I understand Tom Doak's explanation of why this design element has been lost but it is a shame just the same.  What do you suppose was the design intent or purpose behind creating this sliding effect, as well as the apparent use of bunkers to highlight it?

Does anyone else find it reminiscent of Dali's clocks?

Mark

Rich Goodale

Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2009, 01:04:35 PM »
Mark

I think it was the photographer that was sliding in that shot.  He probably ended up at the bottom of the barranca.  As for Dali, the best GCA imitation of melting clocks I have ever seen was the whole of Painswick, which is why I gifted them one with the money I raised from participants at BUDA II.  Hmmm....persistence of memory.  I can remember every hole at Painswick in psychedelic detail.  What other courses are like that?  Valley Club?  Maybe.....

Rich

Neil_Crafter

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Re: The Valley Club of Montecito, updated (complete)
« Reply #74 on: March 21, 2009, 05:06:43 PM »
Mark
Have to agree with Rich - the photo clearly has not been taken with a horizontal horizon - see the golfers as a check, they are all sloping to the right. But I do understand the principle of what you are getting at. Gravity defying bunkers! How do they stay there?
Anyway, I popped the photo into iPhoto which has a correction tool for this and straightened it up - the correction rotation was 2.1 degrees by the way - and here's the result. Definitely less Dali-esque!



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