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Jeff_Brauer

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What if I hit it HERE?
« on: May 14, 2003, 06:12:44 AM »
Two recent tours of my courses - one under construction and one existing, one with a tour pro and the other with a contractor who works with Tour Pros reminds me of how much good players critique courses with this question.  Examples:

On a green resembling MacKenzies Sitwell (?) Park green - toned down, but clearly a kissing cousin, the reviews snorted, "Well, if I've gone over the green back left, and the pin is THERE, I can't get it close!"  

In a backing bunker, sloped up at the back, the pro walks in, praises the first 15 feet as being flat, but then continuing to the back 15 feet of the bunker, which slopes up, says, "With a miracle shot, I might get it to 8 feet from here."

On a driveable par 4, the pro praises the options of driving the green or going left of some bunkers, but he mentions he might take all hazards out of play by playing to 160 yards, and feels the upslopes of that area might cause too much spin, and feels it should be level for the Ultra Conservative shot.  Again, I agreed in principle, but frankly I didn't  consider that good players would consider a 160 yard layup.  

I don't disagree with the premise of trying to create fairness, but I do think you could go to any course and find similar situations.  In the 160 fairway situation, we couldn't import fill into the floodplain, for instance, and had to grade and drain the flat area with catch basins.  Naturally, if you want to see any backing bunker, and he agreed he did, the lip must be raised, which causes a downhill bunker lie, if you over shoot the pin location there by 15 yards, etc.

How many of you - especiallly the good players - use the "What if I miss here" criteria to evaluate golf courses?

Do we have to consider every possible combination of misses and pin locations, or do players just have to know certain areas are death on certain days?

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Rick Shefchik

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2003, 07:53:06 AM »
My caddie at Pebble Beach two weeks ago continually pointed out the ideal line of play to me on each tee. That's not how I play. I want to know, "Where do I not want to miss?" or, "What if I hit it HERE?" I struggled trying to hit the ideal line; two days later I played much better on my own, having been over the course once and knowing what would happen if I hit it THERE.

I realize this isn't the think-positive mindset that mental gurus teach, but I don't think you CAN think positive until you've played a course a few times and satisfied yourself that you know what happens when you hit it there...or there...or there.

I don't think an architect owes it to the player to equally reward every decision the player makes, even if he pulls it off. If the pro in question wants to lay up to 160 yards on the hole in question, but the terrain doesn't reward the shot, he'd better make a different decision the next time he plays.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Golf is 20 percent mechanics and technique. The other 80 percent is philosophy, humor, tragedy, romance, melodrama, companionship, camaraderie, cussedness and conversation." - Grantland Rice

George Pazin

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2003, 07:53:35 AM »
It's comments like the ones Jeff received that make me extremely skeptical of the rave reviews of a course like Quail Hollow. I didn't watch much - not much excitement, plus golfable weather in the Burgh - so I can't comment on the course, but I am cynical enough to say that I don't put a whole lot of stock in the pros comments, with regard to whether QH is suitable for the US Open.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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

A.G._Crockett

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2003, 07:53:51 AM »
I agree with Shivas; its the only way to play well.  Another version of the question would be to look at the hole and ask yourself "Where can I absolutely NOT afford to miss?"

I think good players who aren't truly excellent let rounds where they are playing get away (in terms of a final score) by forgetting to ask the question in the excitement of the moment.  Many times this seems to happen on the exact type of hole Jeff Brauer is talking about; a driveable par 4.  The risk/reward gets lost in the rush of swinging well and scoring well, and all of a sudden a large number creeps in.  All from NOT asking the question.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 07:58:01 AM »
Jeff,
I think the latter, players just have to know certain areas are death on certain days.

If you opt for the ultra conservative shot why should the area be flat? Why should you expect that not challenging the hole leaves you in a perfect position? I don't know the situation at all but it doesn't seem to me that an uphill lie from 160 out is too much of a price to pay for opting out of going for it in one.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

George Pazin

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2003, 08:05:17 AM »
I think you guys ('cept Jim K) are missing Jeff's point/question.

I think he's asking about how you evaluate the course in a judgemental sense, not how you evaluate it for playing purposes.

Comments like the ones he received reek of the quixotic pursuit of fairness on the golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »
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

Rick Shefchik

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2003, 08:25:06 AM »
Shivas: His name was Dennis. He was a great guy, and we all enjoyed his company, but I didn't miss him when he wasn't there.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »
"Golf is 20 percent mechanics and technique. The other 80 percent is philosophy, humor, tragedy, romance, melodrama, companionship, camaraderie, cussedness and conversation." - Grantland Rice

A.G._Crockett

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2003, 08:28:35 AM »
George Pazin
I think I understand what you are saying, and you might be right.  I guess its two shadings of the same thing; the way I "evaluate" a course is, to some extent, a product of the way I play the course, the question "What if I hit it HERE?" is the way I play.  More options as to where to hit it, including the 160 yd. layup, make for more enjoyment from the course
and a course that will be evaluated favorably.

I must say, though, that when asking the question I'm NOT looking for "fairness".  I ask it because I don't want to have to look for my ball!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2003, 08:59:28 AM »
AGC -

I don't think many on this site do look for fairness, I just thought you guys were answering the wrong question. It's clear from the various responses that you guys all believe there are some places that the player must avoid, so you don't believe that you should be able to have a decent shot from anywhere. Sounds like Jeff's pro doesn't understand this concept.

C'mon, Jeff, out the touring pro! I'll have a talk with him at the Pennsylvania Classic this fall. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
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

Mike Benham

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2003, 09:07:55 AM »

Quote
On a green resembling MacKenzies Sitwell (?) Park green - toned down, but clearly a kissing cousin, the reviews snorted, "Well, if I've gone over the green back left, and the pin is THERE, I can't get it close!"  

In a backing bunker, sloped up at the back, the pro walks in, praises the first 15 feet as being flat, but then continuing to the back 15 feet of the bunker, which slopes up, says, "With a miracle shot, I might get it to 8 feet from here."

Both of these responses reek of the fairness that the pros expect, require and demand on the golf course.  Bunkers and rough are suppose to penalize those who stray into them.

If their complaint is that they can't hit their recovery shot close from those locations, DON'T HIT THE BALL THERE in the first place.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"... and I liked the guy ..."

ForkaB

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2003, 09:14:34 AM »
Jeff

This is a great, and as yet largely unappreciatred, thread.

To me the existence of places (mostly near the green) where even a pro has trouble thinking about "how can I get it within 8 feet" is what great architecture is all about.

Also, as shivas and Rick say, golf for 99% of us is all about misses.  If Hogan only hit 2-3 perfect shots a round, what about us hackers?

Great courses have some sort of "line(s) of perfection" on ALL shots which, if we visualize and execute them properly, will give us a chance for a score.  They also have penalties for straying fom those lines, as well as alternative routes if we don''t have the cojones to take on the risks which accompany failure to achieve perfection.  They also have really interesting recovery shots where even the most elite players will say to themsleves, "how the hell can I make par from here!"
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

BCrosby

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2003, 09:19:30 AM »
Over the years I have developed a bad habit of dismissing out of hand the architectural opinions of friends and acquaintances who talk about the "fairness" of a course. When I hear them use the word, a rebuttable presumption arises that they don't know much about gca. As I said, it's a bad habit, I'm not proud of it and it is a presumption that IS rebuttable. And it sometimes is rebutted. But not often.

I'm not sure what "fairness" means when used in the context of gca. Usually it serves as a substitute for thought. (Exhibit A: Mark Lye on the Golf Channel.) It's one of the strengths of Golf Club Atlas that the concept is comes up so rarely.

Jeff's question is really about how you respond to someone who says your course is unfair. I can't think of a more disheartening afternoon for an architect than to hear an accomplished player criticize his course because some misses offer hard/impossible recovery opportunities. Sheesh.

Bob  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »

Dan Kelly

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2003, 09:36:17 AM »
Quote
On a green resembling MacKenzies Sitwell (?) Park green - toned down, but clearly a kissing cousin, the reviews snorted, "Well, if I've gone over the green back left, and the pin is THERE, I can't get it close!"  

In a backing bunker, sloped up at the back, the pro walks in, praises the first 15 feet as being flat, but then continuing to the back 15 feet of the bunker, which slopes up, says, "With a miracle shot, I might get it to 8 feet from here."

High praise!

P.S. Furthermore: I see no reason why you "should" reward a player for an "ultra-conservative" shot.

What a little baby that pro is, pouting about the need for flat lies!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010
"Rankings are silly and subjective..." -- Tom Doak, 3/12/2016

Michael Dugger

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2003, 10:46:02 AM »
I find the golf course that affords 18 chances at birdie to have a serious flaw.  Some holes are suppose to be difficult.  Some are suppose to be really difficult.  When a course does not have a rhythm to it, a la TEPaul's description of Merion playing like 3 acts, it takes away from the overall finished product, IMHO.

Thus, I find the "what if I hit it HERE" process of evaluating a golf course to be sort of stupid.  Some places are suppose to be "jail".  Point being, DON'T GO THERE.  Don't risk it.  It's not worth it.  The whole notion is essential to strategic golf.  Dare a hazard, reap a reward.    

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2003, 04:37:27 PM »
Jeff,
From a purely playing standpoint I don't think more than 10% of my rounds are encumbered with thoughts of "what if I miss it here." If I were playing for million dollar purses that number would quickly jump tenfold.
You miss out on too much fun when you have to think about the negative aspects of what your inevitable misses leave.
I don't think it matters for lots of other golfers either. They just go where their shots take them and try to make the best of it. The poor bastard that has the downhill bunker lie just walks in, gripes and then bangs away. I honestly believe it is a simple as that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Mike Benham

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2003, 04:49:10 PM »

Quote
Jeff,
From a purely playing standpoint I don't think more than 10% of my rounds are encumbered with thoughts of "what if I miss it here."

I don't think it matters for lots of other golfers either. They just go where their shots take them and try to make the best of it. The poor bastard that has the downhill bunker lie just walks in, gripes and then bangs away. I honestly believe it is a simple as that.

Jim - I agree with you that a small percentage of the golfers think about the "what if I miss here" (or would it be there?) aspect of a shot.  The exception being where there is a severe hazard, such as a lake that must be carried.  Factor in the fact that most golfers can't control their shots, either direction or distance well enough to have it really matter ...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"... and I liked the guy ..."

Joe Hancock

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2003, 06:52:42 PM »
Jeff,

Some of us guys who have the opportunity to hang out with you architect types don't know any other way of getting in your head. We ask "what if I hit it here" to try to figure out what you are thinking. I enjoyed a couple hours with an architect of a new course under construction in southern Michigan recently. I asked several of those "what if" questions. I asked more from the perspective of where shots might end up, rather than recoverability.

A great example of good..maybe great design that doesn't neccesarily allow one to "get close":

The 9th at Kingsley. From the left tee, the green slopes from left to right. The right portion of the green is shallow front to back, with a bunker in front and in back. Very steep slopes around the front, right and rear of the green complex. If the pin is on the right, and the greens are firm (which they always are!), then one plays to the left side of the green, takes whatever roll from left to right that the green gives....you take your 2 putt and move on, happily.

Joe

p.s. Sorry about your Stars. They ran into the same buzzsaw that took out our Redwings!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Mike_Cirba

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2003, 07:18:13 PM »
Jeff;

Great question and a sad commentary.

Perhaps your response to the gentlemen in question should have been, "You're right...let's eliminate all of this ambivalence and thinking and I'll just dig a pond HERE!"

Sheesh!  ::)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

tonyt

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2003, 05:41:01 AM »
Like the thread about the degree of penalty in bunkers, the tour players' sentiments are all about uniformity in all it's ugliness. A lake is final. Penalty drop. Wrong side of OB stakes is final. Penalty drop. So why does a bunker have to have uniformity of penalty throughout it's entire expanse?

Just like being in a fairway trap far enough back to play your choice of club, or being up the front and needing 9 iron to clear the lip. It isn't uniform. So the SMART PRO attempts to take the POTENTIAL of steep penalty out of play, or calculates his risk knowing that if he fails, rub of the green may accentuate his plight.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

kalamine

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2003, 06:14:16 AM »
well what i love about playing on a golf coures for the first time is standing on the tee and just looking at the hole that greets me. on one par three, i was dumbfounded as to how to play the hole today, tomorrow if the pin was set over there i would have a totally diferent approach.

the question 'what if i hit it here' is what invites me to play the course again, and again and again...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

T_MacWood

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2003, 06:44:18 AM »
Jeff
You provide the options...if the pro doesn't like your choices or he feels changes would make your hole a little more logical or equitable...tough. Every choice has some consequence, even the 160 yard lay up. Is there formula that states the safe lay up should leave a totally inconsequencial approach? That wouldn't be very interesting. I would think his enemy - the upslope - is the friend to the duffer who might end up in that same location. You dictate the choices and their consequences, not the other way around.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2003, 08:52:40 AM »
Tom Mac,
I think an architect can extract a great deal of useful information from the Pro. Look at the obvious benefit of Jeff's association with the Tour player in his post. He(Tour player) has identified a nuance of architecture that might negatively impact him while helping the average guy. What a lucky block to stumble over! Same for the bunker example, the Pro doesn't like to hit from the downslope but the average guy who rarely takes enough club for his approach will probably never-ever see the inside of this bunker.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Norbert P

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2003, 10:35:30 AM »
Quote

How many of you - especiallly the good players - use the "What if I miss here" criteria to evaluate golf courses?

Do we have to consider every possible combination of misses and pin locations, or do players just have to know certain areas are death on certain days?


  By your request in first line quoted, I shouldn't even chime in but... I use it as I'm playing and interacting but not near to the tour players discerning eye.  I'm usually focused on advancing the ball, not really worried about too much spin on ball.  

 Like Kalamine alluded to...  It's the moments of discovery that give the course features charm.

 I assume these courses are Pro Competition Style Courses and not a Resort or Muni.  

  Last time I was at Pacific Dunes I hit it left on 6 on my drives.  Absolutely the wrong place to be.  But, hallelujah! I got the happiest fours of my rounds.  Will I go left again?  I hope not - that bottle of lightning is empty.

  What does it say to us that the pro didn't like a bunker because he couldn't get it close from there?  Is he saying he'd play it away from that hazard or is he chastising the design?  If the latter, I think he's wanting too much fairness, even catering to strengths.  Bunkers have really become too easy for the most proficient.  Bring back sod hollows.

 What a year for Anaheim, eh?  Sorry about the (North)Stars. Your Mavs are looking good.  Man, they can shooot!  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »
"Golf is only meant to be a small part of one’s life, centering around health, relaxation and having fun with friends/family." R"C"M

A_Clay_Man

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2003, 08:44:08 AM »
Jeff- I feel the evaluation of the architecture has nothing to do with the question of missing it here. The golfing mind thinks like that often but using it to evaluate fairness or the gca is silly.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: What if I hit it HERE?
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2003, 03:15:47 AM »
mdugger said;

"When a course does not have a rhythm to it, a la TEPaul's description of Merion playing like 3 acts, it takes away from the overall finished product, IMHO."

M:

That's interesting and must be the reason golf architecture effects different people so diversely. The so-called "three stretches of Merion" (three acts) in my mind is one of the golf course's greatest assets and probably the single reason it's routing may be considered one of the truly great ones in all of golf architecture. The way one stretch effects how a golfer plays the other stretches is just fascinating and very unique as far as I can tell. If by rhythm you mean a golf course that a player can sort of settle into a particular style or mode of play, you're right, Merion is anything but that and is completely interesting because of it, in my opinion. The course sort of makes a golfer continually adjust as he plays through those three stretches.

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

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