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1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« on: May 14, 2003, 06:25:39 AM »
Continuing the post above, the same discussion turned to our fairway bunkers, which have a MacKenzie flair, including some depth.  The 18th hole of the course we reviewed has bunkers short left and long right of the landing area, on a 530 par 5 into the wind.  All have enough depth to possibly, depending where your ball ends up, get out with only a nine iron.

The pro felt that fairway bunkers should create a "1/2 stroke penalty" and I agreed.  But he defined the half stroke as a 50% chance of either reaching the green, or advancing to within 100 yards of the green, to maintain the chance for birdie either way.

I defined the half stroke penalty as a 50% chance of hitting a nine iron out 100 yards, still requiring one great or two average shots to get home, possibly resulting in par or bogey, and a 50% chance of advancing to short iron range, requiring a good, but longer pitch likely resulting in par, or with a great shot, a birdie.

So which half stroke penalty should prevail - from no penalty to one stroke, ie still can birdie, but may par?  Or still can par from bunker with a great recovery , and may bogey.

And what should be the nomanclature?  I suggest that bunkers that allow reaching the par 5 green in two be considered(eagle/birdie option) 1/4 stroke hazards, and birdie/par options be called 1/2 stroke, and perhaps my bunkers (causing the par/bogey option) be called 3/4 shot hazards?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach


Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2003, 07:58:04 PM »

I prefer a fairway bunker that presents you with either .25,.5 or .75 depending on either good or bad luck on how your final location in the bunker results....nothing like knowing you're screwed on your stroll to the bunk..but not yet knowing how bad.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Dan Grossman

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Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2003, 09:37:24 PM »
Maybe its because I am not that great of a player, but, in my mind, a fairway bunker on a par 5 that offers ANY chance of reaching the green in two, is a ZERO stroke penalty.  

Jeff - I agree with your definition.  I view a 1/2 stroke penalty as being one where I (on a par 5) have the ability to hit it far enough to have a difficult shot into the green, from maybe 200 - 230yds.  Birdie is unlikely from that distance without a great shot.

A full stroke penalty is a bunker where you have to hit out sideways and you have the same shot, just from the fairway.

Not sure about the 1/4 or 3/4 penalties.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2003, 10:50:03 PM »
Hard question, but I agree with your half stroke more than the pros.  

But the most important idea, is that you have variety in your designs.  Bunker depth should not have a formula and a course should not have all of its bunkers be pitchouts. With a lot of trouble around the green it is possible to tempt a good player to do something he should not be doing.

I personally like the idea of deep fairway bunkers on a reachable par 5.  This puts a higher emphasis on the tee shot.

But again variety is important and Jeff, make the bunkers as deep or as shallow as you feel like as long as variety presists throughout the golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 11:11:26 PM »
I agree with variation. If the bunker is to be on the slightly deeper / penal side, the following would be my ideal;

On a reachable or semi-reachable par 5, being in such a trap should render all bar an amazing shot from Tiger no chance of reaching the green. The bunker has been put there to trap the player who has missed the ideal target in the fairway when trying to reach the green in two. Afterall, that is the choice presented to him on the tee.

His miss becomes pointless if that opportunity has not been taken away from him. He should be praying for it in the air to stay out of the bunker.

But unless the bunker is intentionally trying to be particularly severe, then there is no reason why from the middle of the trap, he couldn't still advance the ball greater than 100 yards. Obviously if the trap is required to be very penal, he faces a pitch out.

If the trap is designed to merely trip him up a little rather than penalise him, then maybe a slight chance of still reaching the green is possible. But only if the green complex or area in front of the green has enough risk to make such a shot appreciably more difficult than one taken from in the fairway, 15 yards further ahead.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2003, 11:34:21 PM »
I like a lot of what Andrew Roberts said--most important of all being NO FORMULAICS. Mix it up like this, as an example;

On a very reachable par 5 the use of a shallower fairway bunker would be fine in combination with far more difficult bunkers around the green. This way you might encourage a tempting recovery shot all the way to the green. A great shot would be rewarded well and a poor or marginal shot dealt with perhaps more harshly than a conservative lay-up.

Or, alternatively, a bunker directly guarding the spot of the ideal tee shot to reach the green in two that's riskier and  can exact a greater penalty than the foregoing example.

To create hazard situations (bunkers) by mixing it up like this  is to go in the complete opposite direction of "formulaics" in penalty in certain spots.

And ultimately the result of doing something like this (really mixing up penalty situations) would be to do what Max Behr proposed for hazard use;

"What then should the function of hazards be? The answer is to attack skill through the mind."

Formulaics in architecture such as 1/2 shot penalties in completely expected and recognizable places doesn't really do that. But mixing it up does. It makes a golfer think more and deal more intelligently with experience which generally needs the unexpected or unknown to function most effectively.

Of course something like this would probably be more controversial with pros. They prefer the known and formulaic and certainly not the unexpected.

But to do more of the unexpected by mixing up the penalty situations on various holes and various parts of holes creates more of an intelligent purpose by creating more interesting unity between bunkers in relation to each other on any hole.

Again, as Behr implied, it's more interesting to attack skill through the mind instead of the golf ball.

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

Chris Kane

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Re: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 Stroke Penalty
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2003, 04:49:11 AM »
On a par-four, I like the idea (for a good player) that you can still reach the green, but you'll have to clear the lip by the barest of margins (say three inches) in order to do it.  So going for the green constitutes a huge risk.

Perfect example was on the 72nd hole of the Australian Masters this year at Huntingdale: Peter Lonard had 160m to the flag, but was in a bunker with a fairly steep lip.  Needing a par to make the playoff, he chose an 8-iron and had to swing as hard as he could.  The ball just cleared the lip, and he reached the green to make his par.  It was a perfect risk/reward situation.

Reachable par-fives?  Don't like the idea of having to splash out with a 60 degree wedge, but on the other hand, there needs to be a penalty.  This is where slightly more penal hazards have a place on strategic courses, IMO.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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