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Carl Nichols

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2010, 03:50:11 PM »
Carl:

How is the version of ANGC we see today better than what was there previously ?

You say WF/W is no way a legitimate candidate. Really? I'll tell you this -- WF/W can be played as is and does just fine. One of the really under-appreciated four round totals in all of golf is what Davis Love shot there in winning the '97 PGA. WF/W can be played with stellar golf and those who do it have won there. The problem is that so much of the lore of the place is tied to the massacre story in '74. If Lefty had won there -- of course he blew it by his execution on the 72nd hole -- things would be seen differently by quite a few people.

You can easily make a case for PD in Kansas -- but Carl, please don't prove take your ignorance there and make a stupid comment that says "seems unlikely" PD is a fantastic course and has demonstrated that in a range of ways -- including woman and senior major events.

Carl, with all due respect, people bump up ANGC because it's The Masters -- look deeper and ask is the course we see today really the one that made you can't wait for the telecast as it did when Nicklaus and Watson were in their primes? I think the answer is obvious and the resulting "improvements" we have seen recently have only distorted what was there previously in my mind.

Mike:

Live in the world you wish -- if you see the existing ANGC as the best version of what can be then by all means lives comfortably in your world of ignorance.

If you had your eyes open when you were there 20 years ago you would have noticed the kind of layout that made a clear statement on why winning there was so special. You must have skipped what I wrote before -- let me try it again for your benefit. After Tiger lit the place up in '97 the folks there wanted to Tiger-proof the place. That's when the silly "second cut" and the bowling alley fairway widths with silly pines being planted along with fake mounds that would make Anna Nicole Smith proud happened. People running the show had a major beef against seeing just a few players hit short irons into a few holes -- they made it sound like Cory Pavin and Larry Mize were doing it too.

Mike, for what it's worth -- ANGC was the signature course for strategic design -- it encouraged the bold play and when executed flawlessly rewarded it -- that doesn't happen anywhere close to what it did previously. Like I said the folks who run the show HAD to soften the pins for the weekend or you'd get those hot and exciting rounds of 1 or 2 under par and everyone playing that edge-of-your-seat chair 3rd shot into the 13th and 15th holes. Mike, ANGC didn't need to be changed -- it worked well minus the lengthening of just a few holes. End of story ...


Matt:
Half of your post is a bunch of straw-men.  I made pretty clear that I'm not talking about the changes to ANGC, and I'm not saying that it's better than it was.  I'll even grant you that it's not as good as it used to be, but that's irrelevant here, since I'm just talking about the course as it presently exists.  I'm also not suggesting that WFW can't be "played as is" and wouldn't "do[] just fine." 

It's really quite simple.  Do you think the 2010 version of WFW is better than the 2010 ANGC, yes or no?  What about the 2010 version of Prairie Dunes?  I realize that a "case can be made" for all sorts of things, I'm just trying to get you to take an actual position on the actual question posed by this thread. 

Gregg Evans

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2010, 04:16:42 PM »
For the member or guest it is still classic. And I have zero problem with those guys hitting from the way backs in April.  I assume the members still have a 'classic course" to play. I wish I could respond on a personal basis, even though I did have the pleasure to play there in 1989. If you have only seen it on TV, I would tell you I found the landscape far more beautiful from the tees, fairways and greens than you get as a spectator from the ropes. I have been there twenty out of the last 25 yrs as a fan.. cough, cough .....patron.
I didnt think much of the changes when they were made but the course is much tougher for the tournament and it has certainly given us some surprise winners , i.e. Zach Johnson or Immelman who won it with beautiful wedge play as much as anything else. I think it has been a plus and to damn the change indicts Fazio . I think he did what he was asked.
As far as the classic thing, didn't Oakmont have thousands of trees removed ???   and Bethpage Black of course  received an extraordinary makeover. Look at what they did at Shinnecock  in the middle of the OPEN  and the USGA has years to ready a course where as AN gets tested every year.
No course anywhere gets undressed and inspected like ANGC, every year ad nauseum.
I love it at Augusta when the wind blows and the greens hit max on the stimp.  It's supposed to be hard to win a major. So in my mind it is classic on two levels now.

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2010, 04:21:45 PM »
Carl:

Look, you don't get it - I don't see the current "version" of ANGC as being compelling architecture -- certainly not worth a top ten placement as so many simply concede. The Masters provides a top tier platform and so many people are just assuming ANGC has to be there among such courses no matter what they do to the course.

In sum -- I see the 2010 version of WF/W and PD as more compelling architecture.

Let me ask you a question -- for a similar straightforward answer -- do you believe the changes instituted by the folks at ANGC during the Hootie era make the golf course better than from years prior? If you say no -- then clearly other courses -- I listed two -- can make a case to move further up the food chain. If you say yes -- then candidly you never really understood why ANGC was so highly thought of to start with.

Carl Nichols

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2010, 04:52:08 PM »
Matt:
Subject to the qualifier that I've never been to Augusta, based on all I know about it, I agree with you that the old ANGC was better than the current version.  But there's no way that I would have WFW ahead of it right now, so we can disagree on that.  That's no knock on WFW, a course that I love (and may be my favorite course I've played) -- Augusta just looks that good.

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2010, 04:57:34 PM »
Carl:

I can appreciate your take but when one analyzes golf courses and you say, "Augusta just looks that good" -- what are you speaking about? I would hope you are talking more than just the flowers and the scenery.

You also need to explain to me how WF/W is less so -- given all the smart moves made there recently in eliminating the profusion of trees and the like.

Keep this in mind, places like ANGC and Pebble Beach benefit from the added exposure. WF/W is only seen every ten years or so.

Carl, I readily concede that the pre-'97 ANGC version is better than WF/W but I'll take the Mamaroneck layout now over the one that has been twisted in so many ways from the version you see today.

Doug Wright

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2010, 05:09:04 PM »
I haven't played many of the courses in the top 20, but from what I saw of ANGC in my one and only site visit a year ago I wouldn't drop it. Yes, there are issues with what they have done (in particular I think #7 is a disaster), but the greens and greensites are still amazing.
Twitter: @Deneuchre

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2010, 06:01:26 PM »
I haven't played many of the courses in the top 20, but from what I saw of ANGC in my one and only site visit a year ago I wouldn't drop it. Yes, there are issues with what they have done (in particular I think #7 is a disaster), but the greens and greensites are still amazing.

So if Mike Davis comes in and does a cameo at Augusta and they play #7 from the ladies(ummm..forward) tee can we hold off the replacement?
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2010, 06:19:43 PM »
And if the 2010 Masters was won with 63-64-62-62 everyone here would be saying dump ANGC it's not worthy of hosting a major. The course has had to change to keep up with developments in the game.
Cave Nil Vino

Link Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2010, 06:45:10 PM »
I know this is getting off the original topic somewhat.  But Matt, do you honestly think Augusta National at the traditional 6985 yardage would challenge the pros today at all?  It would be a joke.  I didn't like it when they started adding the yardage, but the fact remains that it's a different game than it was 20 years ago.   

And don't forget that the Masters has seen pretty horrible weather quite a bit over the past few years since the most recent changes were implemented.  Last year was the first time that it played firm and fast and I don't remember any of the pros complaining about it (although I could be wrong).

I'm going out there on Monday this year for the first time since 2004.  So I will be interested to see what the changes to 7 and 11 look like in person.  7 is the one that bothers me most since it was such a cool short par 4.  And I would love to see every blade of grass on the entire property cut at fairway height again.  But on the other hand, they had rough back in the past.  All you have to do is watch some of the old Masters highlight films to see it.   

Lastly, it's not as if the course was never changed before 1997.  Heck where the old tee was for #11, the pros would probably be driving the green by now.   And they had to put a sign up one year at #8 green apologizing for how bad the green and its surroundings looked.  Now, I think it's one of the most underrated uphill par 5s in the game. 

Adam Russell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2010, 08:01:57 PM »
I have seen ANGC a couple of times as a spectator, and of course, on TV. I am a member at Prairie Dunes. I cannot see PD ever being ahead of ANGC, and I think PD could be top 10.


I think you're giving ANGC too much credit and being too modest in regards to Prairie Dunes. ANGC has the memorable, iconic holes but also some clunkers in their current form. PD pushes to have two great holes but also has about 12 or 13 above average ones. It's a coin flip in my book. The reason I'd switch places has more to do with tournament pedigree and the absence of a Midwest style of architecture in the top 15. All the other contenders to switch are Northeastern or parkland or both.
The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life's most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it. -Lewis Grizzard

Carl Nichols

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2010, 08:50:42 PM »
Carl:

I can appreciate your take but when one analyzes golf courses and you say, "Augusta just looks that good" -- what are you speaking about? I would hope you are talking more than just the flowers and the scenery.

You also need to explain to me how WF/W is less so -- given all the smart moves made there recently in eliminating the profusion of trees and the like.

Keep this in mind, places like ANGC and Pebble Beach benefit from the added exposure. WF/W is only seen every ten years or so.

Carl, I readily concede that the pre-'97 ANGC version is better than WF/W but I'll take the Mamaroneck layout now over the one that has been twisted in so many ways from the version you see today.

I'm definitely talking about more than just the flowers and the scenery (though I do think aesthetics matter).  I don't think this is really the right way to compare courses, but if you compare:
(1) site/topography -- ANGC gets the nod
(2) greens -- this is what everyone says makes WFW such a great course, but are they really better than ANGC's?  i'd call this a push 
(3) tee shots/demands -- not sure about this one, but perhaps WFW is more demanding [which may or may not be a good thing].  slight nod to WFW? 
(4) strategy -- I didn't find WFW that strategic in the scheme of things (except for always needing to think about being below the hole, which is obviously important at ANGC too).  seems like a push at best for WFW.
(5) variation -- WFW struck me as slightly monotonous with many pushup greens (a result of the topograhy), but it also may have more variation in par 4 length than the current ANGC.  But overall ANGC seems to require more different kinds of shots -- uphill, downhill, swirling winds, pitches from tight lies, etc., etc.  Nod to ANGC
(6) aethetics -- I love WFW, but is there any question here?

So that's how I see ANGC over WFW.  Fire away!

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2010, 10:47:58 AM »
Jeff:

Mike Davis has done a fantastic job in resurrecting a very tired and frankly boring concept in how US OPen sites are prepared. His involvement has done a stellar job in that regard.

I'd like him or his concepts to be used at ANGC.

The 7th hole was NEVER designed to ba a 450-yd hole and then further complicating matters is to leave the green as is.

The change to what it once was is more sensible in a range of ways.

Mark C:

Wake up -- partner.

I never said no changes were in order. But ANGC was not meant to have trees protruding all over the place on several holes and then for choke points to be placed (see #15) to be carried out. Ditto the second cut and the other mounding that has been done. Lengthening the course was fine -- but the extra tag to holes such as #1, #7 and #11, to name just three were excessive in my mind.

The Masters --- i.e. ANGC -- is about entertainment -- watching people four-putt and then struggle to shoot par is not what made ANGC and The Masters the event / course it was.

Carl:

No doubt ANGC has the better site -- but you failed to mention this -- WF/W is one of the finest courses in the world inspite of having land that is fairly pedestrian.

The greens at WF/W are, in my mind, superior to what you see at ANGC -- the difference isn't much by I give the Westchester layout the slightest of edges.

WF/W gets more of a "slight nod" in the tee shot category. One needs to work the ball and hit it a sufficient distance to attain the proper angles into the pear-shaped targets. ANGC gives plenty of leeway -- WF/W requires your attention from the moment you arrive at the 1st tee.

The strategic elements are likely a wash in my mind. ANGC used to be ahead considerably until the post Hootie changes.

Carl, the range of shot you play at WF/W is much more than you opined. I don't know if that's tied to a single visit when you played there. I have played the course for well over 30 years and I know the elements you ascribe to ANGC can be found there.

I concede ANGC has the aethetics but that's tied to hosting a major every year and the nations' desire to finally connect with springtime which ANGC does so well.

Carl, if ANGC could return to what it was -- prior to '97 (with the exception of some added length) I'd keep it in the high echelon of courses -- just not now and certainly not ahead of WF / W and the smart changes they made there recently.


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