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Jason Topp

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Jay - here is another sourse for you - the profile starts at page 25.  It is not the greatest source but it does show the changes since 2002 (which it looks like that aerial photo is from).

http://msp.imirus.com//Mpowered/imirus.jsp?volume=mga09&issue=2&page=1

Charlie Goerges

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Here is a gallery with a bunch of minnesota golf courses:

http://golfing.mn/wpg2
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

Bill_McBride

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Was it Dave Hill who compared it to farmland, and said all it needed was a few cows?

Or was that Sam Snead talking about TOC?

There must have been quite a tree planting program starting in 1970 after Hill's remarks!

Richard Hetzel

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I think they sent Mr. Magoo to take the pictures:)

Jason, Medinah and Whistling are the other "2 PGA/1 Ryder deals."

I hear three is a decent hole, I just can't see it from the pix!

Anybody have architectural analysis of this course?

Yes. Yes, Oakmont that course indeed!
Last 15 Played:
Stoatin Brae GC (MI), Crystal Downs CC (MI), Diamond Springs GC (MI), Perry Park (KY), Lakota Links (CO), Copper Rock (UT), Little America GC (WY), Erie GC (PA), Skyway (NJ), Ferry Point (NY), The Bridge (NY), Montauk Downs (NY), Totteridge (PA), Hillsboro Elks CC (OH), Smock (IN)

Matthew Runde

I was raised in Minnesota, and I attended the 1991 U.S. Open at Hazeltine.  I was only 11, but I remember it being a big, bright, hot place with millions of tents.  It was relatively spectator-friendly, as you could get around the course easily and could get close views of the players (I remember the thrill of seeing Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin).  I also remember how much attention Minnesotans placed on the preparation of the course.  It seemed as though everybody was asking the players how the course conditions compared with the conditions of other courses. I really wish I'd known I was going to develop an interest in GCA!

A few months ago, I was flipping through a magazine, and I saw a preview of this year's PGA.  Having studied GCA for some time, I was surprised and disappointed by how penal the course appeared.  It seemed like a long slog with nothing but predetermined, do-or-die shots.

Combine the information from those experiences, and it appears to me that the course simply meets the PGA's minimum requirements, while the enthusiasm and care of local residents makes it relatively easy to host a large event there.

George Pazin

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Hazeltine takes a lot of crap, but judging solely by TV from the recent PGA and US Am, it looks like a very nice piece of land. Not Bandon-like, or Nebraska-like, but if Oakmont can be a top 10 course on western PA land, almost any land will work, given the proper attention to detail.

I can't speak as to whether Hazeltine has that attention to detail. But I'd be surprised if it weren't a lot better than the all knowing cognescenti say...
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

JR Potts

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I intend to let fly at Medinah in my PGA Championship preview as well as point out the shortcomings of HazNat.  There are a lot of similarities on several levels.  I'll partly let fly because I want to use the pieces I write to promote GCA, and partly because I think Medinah makes itself an easy, funny target, and partly because a lot of other writers feel the same way.

Why not let it rip?  It fits perfectly with your agenda.  What, "Medinah makes itself an easy, funny target, and partly because a lot of other writers feel the same way?"  Seems to me to be a whole lot of group think going on with your proposed "article."  What, are you trying to ingratiate yourself to the other "writers"? Why write an article about a course that has little to no relevance to this year's PGA because "other writers feel the same way"? 

That's a solid journalistic basis for a story.....keep up the good work.

BTW - When did you play Medinah?

JR Potts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Hazeltine takes a lot of crap, but judging solely by TV from the recent PGA and US Am, it looks like a very nice piece of land. Not Bandon-like, or Nebraska-like, but if Oakmont can be a top 10 course on western PA land, almost any land will work, given the proper attention to detail.

I can't speak as to whether Hazeltine has that attention to detail. But I'd be surprised if it weren't a lot better than the all knowing cognescenti say...

And George, Hazeltine is a good golf course and good test for quality players.  There are trees on the property, that cannot be ignored.....but as many on here fail to grasp, trees can be an effective hazard and not all golf courses that are tree lined are bad....some people may even, gasp, like them.

I find that most of the criticism about long tree lined courses comes from those that aren't good enough to set foot on the first tee.  And when we're talking about a private club like Hazeltine, the course doesn't have to be playable to everyone....only those who choose to join the club and those who are playing in PGA Championships and Ryder Cups.  If it were up to me, the Jay Flemmas, Geoff Shackelfords, Bradley Kleins and other non-paying "guests" wouldn't set foot on my private course...unless of course, they were paying guests of a member.

Dan Kelly

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I would argue that holes 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16 and 17 are very good holes and that there is not a bad one in the remainder.  The greens are good to very good with several interesting and unconventional contours.  The course is a pretty good one for a PGA because it allows players with different strengths to contend - just look at the leaderboard from the last PGA - it included long hitters, short hitters, ballstrikers and short game guys.   

Well said, Jason. I think 3, 6, 7, 10, and 14 are wonderful golf holes, both for the members and for the pros.

I also like holes 5 and 13.

As I've said before: I liked Hazeltine better in its original, wild-and-woolly incarnation. 1, 9 and 18 were all more interesting holes, in my opinion, as sharp doglegs than are their straight replacements. The much wilder greens were more interesting. And I particularly loved the old, 345-yard 17th (the hole PJ Boatwright reportedly said had to go or the USGA would never return) -- and I would restore it in an instant if I could. Make Hazeltine a par-73!

Some of the snobbery on this thread is just astonishing to me. I'd play Hazeltine any chance I got.

I'm not saying it's the greatest course in the world, but it doesn't merit anyone's scorn.
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010
"Rankings are silly and subjective..." -- Tom Doak, 3/12/2016

John_Conley

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Hazeltine
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2009, 10:06:00 PM »
If anyone works the archives well they will find the same thread from 2002, only the participants are Barney and me instead of Flemma and Topp.

I'm from the Twin Cities and think the area has several great tracks.  I don't think Hazeltine is one of them.  That said, I find it peculiar that I'm always defending Hazeltine.  It is a lot better than you are led to believe.

First off, the site is not flat.  Somehow Barney was certain it was.  In fact, the course sits on the highest point in Carver county.  (I sound like Klaven.  Pretty sure it is true.)

As for the holes?  #1 is a nice starting hole.  As mentioned before, #3 is pretty cool because you have a swale for the second shot landing area, causing awkward approaches.  I think #6 is a cool par 4.  #8 is a good short par 3.  #10 is a hole with a great approach shot down the hill to the green near the lake.  #11 is open, but has enough of a shape to it to require accurate approaches to reach in two.  #16 is obviously one of the more photographed holes anywhere and was immortalized in a Bud Chapman painting.  #17 is where it turned against Scott Simpson in the playoff with Payne Stewart, a pretty god par 3.  While #9 and #18 are numbingly boring holes, but they are testy and make you earn a par.  Fitting final holes.

Bad course?  Hardly.  Best in the area?  No.  In line with several other tournament venues?  Yes.


Matt_Ward

Guys:

Let's be clear -- Hazeltine is not a top tier layout in terms of pure design elements -- to the tune of Shinnecock Hills, Oakmont, Pebble Beach, etc, etc.

I would not place it among the second tier of gems either with such places as OH/S, WF/W or even Bethpage Black.

It's more in line with places like Congressional, Medinah and others of this type.

It does offer a solid test and will not tolerate half-ass play. The location is a good one as I previously mentioned because the local folks LOVE golf to the max. The PGA has to its considerable advantage a proven site in terms of actual logistics and being able to host a major event of this type. Rees Jones also fine tuned a few elements -- the 16th is, for me at least, one of the finest mid-length par-4's you can play in the States and it's one heavily talked about hole that lives up to the considerable hype.

Hazeltine is a solid layout in terms of providing a quality test but anyone making the leap off the high building ledge to believe that it's overall design is worthy of top 100 status is sipping some strong kool-aid. I don't have scorn for the layout because the people in the area are some of the finest and nicest you can ever meet. Hazeltine gives the PGA a proven reliable site -- it's not love for sure but it's clearly a good one given the clear needs for high level championship play.


Jay Flemma

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I intend to let fly at Medinah in my PGA Championship preview as well as point out the shortcomings of HazNat.  There are a lot of similarities on several levels.  I'll partly let fly because I want to use the pieces I write to promote GCA, and partly because I think Medinah makes itself an easy, funny target, and partly because a lot of other writers feel the same way.

Why not let it rip?  It fits perfectly with your agenda.  What, "Medinah makes itself an easy, funny target, and partly because a lot of other writers feel the same way?"  Seems to me to be a whole lot of group think going on with your proposed "article."  What, are you trying to ingratiate yourself to the other "writers"? Why write an article about a course that has little to no relevance to this year's PGA because "other writers feel the same way"? 

That's a solid journalistic basis for a story.....keep up the good work.

BTW - When did you play Medinah?


1988, that's when I played it.

That's a first...someone ragging on a article I haven't written yet:):)   

I'm looking forward to meeting the Minnesotans and spending a pleasant ten days there.  I think a lot of the comments I've seen on the thread that are fair...that HazNat will be a fine host, and like Matt says won't tolerate half-assed play...but it's not the greatest course...and certainly not one to host twice in seven years over Oakland Hills, Oak Hill, Whistling, Southern Hills, Baltusrol...
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

John_Conley

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Ten thousand, three hundred and sixty-four posts and finally one where Matt's dead on!

 ;)

Your comments are perfect, Matt.  Funny thing is that nobody has touted Hazeltine as one of the greats.  Some folks just want to take shots.

It is a great tournament venue for all the reasons you mention.  They can pack 50,000 or more people onto the course and sell loads of corporate tents.

JR Potts

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I'm pretty bummed out that John just beat me to it but I agree with your post Matt.  (although I've never played Winged Foot West so I can't opine on that tier of courses).

To go back to Jay, 1988?????   And complaining about me criticizing your stated objective to rip a course that has little to no relation to this years PGA is also quite interesting.

You want to find something that's interesting about Jay's diversity of thought.....google "Jay Flemma" and "Medinah".  A man can write what he wants and I'm clearly a Medinah stooge, but when one can find a reason to insult the clubhouse (which is absolutely stunning) and negatively incorporate it into an article, you've lost your objectivity and any credibility you might have had.  

1988.......that's funny.  Good luck with your article.  I'm sure your writer buddies will think it's hilarious.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 10:48:30 PM by Ryan Potts »

Jay Flemma

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I'm pretty bummed out that John just beat me to it but I agree with your post Matt.  (although I've never played Winged Foot West so I can't opine on that tier of courses).

To go back to Jay, 1988?????   And complaining about me criticizing your stated objective to rip a course that has little to no relation to this years PGA is also quite interesting.

You want to find something that's interesting about Jay's diversity of thought.....google "Jay Flemma" and "Medinah".  A man can write what he wants and I'm clearly a Medinah stooge, but when one can find a reason to insult the clubhouse (which is absolutely stunning) and negatively incorporate it into an article, you've lost your objectivity and any credibility you might have had.  

1988.......that's funny.  Good luck with your article.  I'm sure your writer buddies will think it's hilarious.

oh...they changed it since 1988?  what was wrong with it then that they had to tear up 17, (and then again)?  or did they "re-perfect" it.

Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

JR Potts

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What was wrong with it?  You played it.  Tell me.  I know the answer.

Tell me how the current version plays/looks worse?  In fact, tell me how it's different at all.

Come on "expert", dazzle me.


PThomas

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Patrick -

Your views are near identical to mine. I have a hard time remembering any of the holes at Hazletine and really did not like it. Of the courses I played in Minnesota, it was the one I liked the least.

Paul -

Since you found it a good course, what did you like about it?

Jim, to mention a few, i like the uphill 5th, the pitch to the well-guarded 6th, the downhill approach to the 10th, par 3 13th, where water guards the left side, 16...

there's some elevation out there, its a good strong test....
198 played, only 2 to go!!

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Guys:

Let's be clear -- Hazeltine is not a top tier layout in terms of pure design elements -- to the tune of Shinnecock Hills, Oakmont, Pebble Beach, etc, etc.

I would not place it among the second tier of gems either with such places as OH/S, WF/W or even Bethpage Black.

It's more in line with places like Congressional, Medinah and others of this type.

It does offer a solid test and will not tolerate half-ass play. The location is a good one as I previously mentioned because the local folks LOVE golf to the max. The PGA has to its considerable advantage a proven site in terms of actual logistics and being able to host a major event of this type. Rees Jones also fine tuned a few elements -- the 16th is, for me at least, one of the finest mid-length par-4's you can play in the States and it's one heavily talked about hole that lives up to the considerable hype.

Hazeltine is a solid layout in terms of providing a quality test but anyone making the leap off the high building ledge to believe that it's overall design is worthy of top 100 status is sipping some strong kool-aid. I don't have scorn for the layout because the people in the area are some of the finest and nicest you can ever meet. Hazeltine gives the PGA a proven reliable site -- it's not love for sure but it's clearly a good one given the clear needs for high level championship play.



Perfect description

JR Potts

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What was wrong with it?  You played it.  Tell me.  I know the answer.

Tell me how the current version plays/looks worse?  In fact, tell me how it's different at all.

Come on "expert", dazzle me.



That's what I thought.

Jay Flemma

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Excuse you, but you'll get my response when my article is done...and not before. 
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

JR Potts

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I can't wait.

Jay Flemma

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Never mind fighting about medinah...check you're IM, we actually might have some cool things to talk about...
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Jeff_Brauer

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I will also have to agree with Matt on this one!  A perfect description that encapsulates the elusive "know it when you see it" ranking of a golf course somewhere below the top.  I think we would have a consensus on this board, and really, even throughout golf.

I saw HazNat as a newly minted gca nut (all of age 15) at the US Open in 1970.  We had friends in MN and they got us tourney tickets.  I was interested in seeing an RTJ course, from his name, and because he personally responded to a snot nose kid interested in gca (me) the month before, with a very nice encouraging letter.  I was shocked at the cornfield comments, but even just looking with my own eyes could see I wasn't as impressed with this big time tournament course as I was with the only other one I was familar with - oddly for this discussion, Medinah No. 3.

It just seemed that every hole had multiple fw bunkers on both sides of the landing areas and it was repititious.  I hadn't even considered all the doglegs being bad at the time.

funny story - At the time, Trevino advertised Faultless golf balls, but rumors were that he played Titleist anyway.  He hit one in the left rough on 7,  right at my feet.  Semi buried in the rough, I leaned over to see the label but it was facing down. I must have been looking longer than I thought, because before I knew it Trevino was standing over me saying, "Move back son, a 7 iron to the forehead is no kind of souvenir to take home from the US Open!"

I played it again a few years ago.  I have to say I liked it a lot, a lot more than I thought I would.  Rees did some nice things there, the trees had grown up, and actually, I learned a lot about how RTJ approached green contouring.  In reality, many of the greens are tiered, but the tiers always swerve in and out, vary in hieght, and go at angles other than 90 degrees to the green edge.  I figured out how he made those diabolical tournament greens and thought overall, they were fantastic.

While Rees did a lot of good there, I never liked 16 because I don't like water hazards on both sides of the fw.  I thought the old arrangement was better, although old 17 had some problems.  But, I think they also needed corporate tent room.

There are probably hundreds of courses that are similar in quality.  Haznat has the advantage of the MSP location, being a stern test, the membership liking the tournaments, etc., that make it a great tournament course, even without technically great design.  But, design is an opinion thing - not all designs can be tournment tough and architecturally interesting with options, etc.  Sometimes, you give one to get the other, and this is what Haznat represents to me.

Short version again, Matt is right on, but its better than most give it credit for.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Jay Flemma

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Hey Jeff, good to see you!  I'll call you soon...
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Bruce Leland

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I have played Haz. Nat. numerous times in all of it's states of remodel / redesign. It has always reminded me of Medinah No. 3 in that both are extremely demanding brutish tests that are relentless from the first through the 18th.  Interestingly enough, I will be at Hazeltine on Monday to break some tees with an old high school golf team mate. 

I'm not a huge fan of the penal school of architecture thus not a huge fan of Haz. Nat. but it will be interesting to see this iteration of the course with the new bunkering and narrower fairways.  I'm sure my opionion of the course will be unchanged after Monday but I am looking forward to it none-the-less.  And I think that Matt is spot on with his assessment.
"The mystique of Muirfield lingers on. So does the memory of Carnoustie's foreboding. So does the scenic wonder of Turnberry and the haunting incredibility of Prestwick, and the pleasant deception of Troon. But put them altogether and St. Andrew's can play their low ball for atmosphere." Dan Jenkins

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