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JNC Lyon

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2011, 11:02:06 AM »
Stroke play itself is not the problem.  The issue is when golfers let their score interfere with their judgment of the golf course.  When a good player objects to a golf course by saying "the course doesn't reward good shotmaking," he's saying that he doesn't think the course rewards his game.  This is a terrible way to judge a golf course, because "shotmaking" is a very arbitrary word that means something different to everyone.  Additionally, shotmaking only applies to a small percentage of the golf population.  Most golfers who are worse than scratch can't call themselves "shotmakers."

If anything, a course that doesn't reward shotmakers might be the ideal golf course: it gives lesser players ways to make pars and bogeys while hitting less than perfect shots, and it doesn't hand out birdies to those who consider themselves "shotmakers."
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

John Kirk

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2011, 11:02:51 AM »
Or Alex, a complex golf course like Old Macdonald yields a broader spectrum of shot results, so the chances of shooting a lucky good score is greater.  And that will generally disturb the better, score oriented player.


I have to drop out of the discussion for a bit.

Jason Topp

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2011, 11:58:53 AM »
Nice topic.  I think all courses reward good shotmaking but the interesting question is whether certain courses place a greater emphasis on the skill than other courses. 

One example of a course that diminishes the skill to my mind is a course with lumpy greens without a theme.  One course in my area has greens that resemble moguls with little discernable ryme or reason as to their placement.  If you are on the wrong side of a mogul, you have to make a 15 foot putt at minimum to two putt.  The problem for me, having played the course infrequently, is that standing in the fairway I have no idea what side of the hole leaves a good putt and what side of the hole leaves an impossible putt.  Nonetheless, even on that course, the good shotmakers score better than me.

A second type of course where I think shotmaking ability is devalued somewhat is on a course with gigantic flat greens.  My weakness tends to be iron shots, but on a course that fits this description, I can hide the weakness by aiming for the middle of the large greens and hit a large percentage of them. 

Both of these views are heavily dependent on my individual skill level.  Gigantic flat greens still reward the player that can get the ball close enough to the hole to make a ton of birdies.  For me, those days are rare.


Ben Sims

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2011, 12:13:08 PM »
I don't have a problem with someone keeping score.  I don't think anyone is saying that here.  My argument is that it has become too much of the focus.  I think the singular focus of par is a bad way to gauge the game for 95% of the golfing population.  For the 5% that are legitimate sub-5 handicap golfers, that can play well in tournaments, or post a number at their member-guest, I'm fine with it.  

The problem that develops when stroke count is such an integral part of the game, is that those that have no business worrying about score, start worrying about their score.  It leads to market overload of any number of products promised to lower your score, slow play, over-expectation in regards to conditioning, etc.   I believe that for a majority of the golfing population, focus on medal scoring muddies the water.  

What this has to do with John's friend is long connection, but I'll try to make it.  My overlying problem with his assessment of Old Mac is, "who gives a flip?"  I feel that so many good to great players look down on a course that allows poorer players to have fun and score decent for no good reason.  Is he just mad that he can't self gratify himself for his abilities against other golfers?  Where is it written that great architecture stratifies the abilities of golfers?  I thought the US Open was made to identify the best player, not a resort course in Oregon.  

JESII

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2011, 12:16:09 PM »
Ben,

Would you agree that golf course architecture must aim to present some form of challenge to getting the ball into the hole?

Ben Sims

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2011, 12:53:05 PM »
Ben,

Would you agree that golf course architecture must aim to present some form of challenge to getting the ball into the hole?

Jim,

Let's not get into absolutes here.  But when a good golfer pans a golf course for not rewarding shotmaking, I read that to mean their pissed that they can't showcase their exceptional skills, rather than they think the architecture flawed. 

Ed Oden

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2011, 12:59:36 PM »
Ben, again, i believe you are misreading his concern.  Based on what John has posted, his friend thought his score was better than his shotmaking deserved and felt the failure to punish his mistakes was a strike against the course.

JESII

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2011, 01:02:29 PM »
I agree with John's statement in his opening post...it's an invalid statement. At some level it must reward shotmaking...did the ball ever go in the hole?

But your objection to keeping score unless you're a 5 or lower is mindblowing...how else would someone know if they've improved a shot or two on average? Or how about the addictive nature of trying break 100 or 90 for the first time?

Ben Sims

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2011, 01:04:45 PM »
Ed,

I read his concern to mean that there isn't enough of a "difference" between good and bad players.  Maybe I'm making an assumption there, but nearly every time I hear this argument, it's been in the context of average golfers scoring low and good golfers scoring around their normal--no matter how they struck the ball.  Hence that they feel there is no benefit to being a good striker of the ball on that particular course.

Mark Pearce

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2011, 01:05:22 PM »
Ben,

Would you agree that golf course architecture must aim to present some form of challenge to getting the ball into the hole?
Jim,

That's undoubtedly right.  However, we don't know how this player (who sounds like a real player and must be a scratch golfer, I assume) made his 73.  It's possible he got some great helpings of luck.  What I know from my few experiences of playing with very low handicap players is that, on the whole, they have games very resistant to high scores.  Chuck in a couple of lucky breaks and a C+ performance by a scratch golfer might well equate to a 73, particularly on acourse where he mighnt shoot in the 60s playing well.

Obviously the difficulty we have is that we just don't know how he played or how he made his score.
In June I will be riding the first three stages of this year's Tour de France route for charity.  630km (394 miles) in three days, with 7800m (25,600 feet) of climbing for the William Wates Memorial Trust (https://rideleloop.org/the-charity/) which supports underprivileged young people.

Ben Sims

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2011, 01:13:19 PM »
I agree with John's statement in his opening post...it's an invalid statement. At some level it must reward shotmaking...did the ball ever go in the hole?

But your objection to keeping score unless you're a 5 or lower is mindblowing...how else would someone know if they've improved a shot or two on average? Or how about the addictive nature of trying break 100 or 90 for the first time?

Jim,

The mindset has so permeated the psyche of the American golfer that we have special sections--in every issue--of Golf Digest that are dedicated to breaking 100, 90, 80.  I understand the appeal.  Doesn't mean I agree with or eve like it. 

When's the last time you read an article on, "how to beat the guy that drives it longer than you" or, "how to play against a good putter"?  I am not saying that we should never keep score, heavens no.  But making it the focus of the game to the extent that it drives slow play, straight forward architecture, expectations of perfect conditioning?  I think that's the Golf Channel syndrome and part of golf's problem moving forward. 

Golf needs to be more fun, less penal, less about a number and more about getting outside and spending time with friends.  Play against friends, not par.


JESII

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2011, 01:17:47 PM »
Ben,

We agree, I would just argue it differently...I think all those byproducts you mention can be put in perspective along with trying to lower your score/handicap. They can be mutually exclusive.



Another reason John's friends statement is invalid is...how would he know? Assuming this was his one trip that is...

Ben Sims

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2011, 01:27:28 PM »
Ben,

We agree, I would just argue it differently...I think all those byproducts you mention can be put in perspective along with trying to lower your score/handicap. They can be mutually exclusive.



Another reason John's friends statement is invalid is...how would he know? Assuming this was his one trip that is...

Jim,

Whew.  So glad I don't have to collect my thoughts any further on the topic.  Ha! 

I like courses that give guys like me a chance, which is why Tom's courses appeal to me.  He has even said as much in explaining his design ethos in regards to match play.   I have heard the argument that wide, contoured, "linksy"  (whatever that means) courses don't do enough to separate golfers of different abilities.  When my opinion is that true shot makers are revealed in these conditions, rather than just guys that can hit a ball high and straight every time. 

But yeah, they can be separate but equal philosophies of golf. 

Tim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2011, 01:29:14 PM »
I'm a bit confused by the premise that if a course doesn't punish poor shot making somehow it doesn't reward good shotmaking.  Is he saying that all shotmaking is baseline good and is differentiated by the degree that poor shots are punished?

Perhaps, not understanding the strategy of the course, this golfer mishit shots to where he should have hit good shots but just didn't realize it and if he had managed to hit it where he was aiming, he realized that the result would have been poor.  

That said, I don't think that an architect is demanding a high level of shotmaking when he puts in a punchbowl green and to assume that he is, well that's just an erraneous assumption, nothing more, nothing less.
Coasting is a downhill process

Dan King

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2011, 01:34:07 PM »
I don't know the player and have not made it up to OM just yet.

Good golfers in general are not the sharpest tools in the tool box. They get into golf because they feel it doesn't require much thought process. Many of them would prefer to just take their range game to the course. On the range they know if they hit a good shot or a bad shot and they just want the same treatment of shots out on the course. To them the course should require no more thought process than hitting balls on the range. Faced with a course that requires strategy they claim it doesn't reward good shots. If they are 170 yards from the hole and they hit a perfect 170 yard shot they expect a birdie putt. If it doesn't, then it must be something wrong with the golf course. It would never occur to them that they should plan how to play a golf hole.

I see this as the big difference between golfers. There are those willing to think their way around the golf course and there are those that believe the golf course is just an extension of the driving range.

This gets into the whole range finder phenomenon, golf courses as just a collection of 18 holes, grand conditioning, slow play, the obsession by the USGA with the card and pencil game, etc... In other words, the Americanization of golf.

Cheers,
Dan King
Quote
I owe everything to golf. Where else would a guy with an IQ like mine make this much money?
  --Hubert Green

JESII

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2011, 01:36:08 PM »
For what it's worth, I've always been capable of grinding out decent scores on tough courses or when I don't play very well but have rarely been able to shoot very low scores on courses many people think are easy. There are several factors, but none of them actually tell me whether or not a course is any good.

It should be fun to try to shoot low scores on a course that allows it and at the same time, it is defintely fun to me to work hard on a round on a tough course.

JESII

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2011, 01:36:59 PM »
Dan,

I hear that type of stuff all the time around here and I couldn't disagree more.

That attitude permeates every level of golfer.

Dan King

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2011, 01:44:14 PM »
Jim Sullivan writes:
That attitude permeates every level of golfer.

Of course it does. Many American golfers, regardless of ability, want to be just like the pros. They will use the same clubs, move just as slowly, try the same shots and measure themselves against the best at the game. If the best at the game aren't given any reason to think their way around the old golf course, neither should they. If the pros get exact yardage from their caddy then everyday golfers should also have a mechanism for exact yardage.

Cheers,
Dan King
Quote
Golf puts a man's character on the anvil and his richest qualities - patience, poise, restraint - to the flame.
  --Billy Casper

Kyle Harris

Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2011, 02:01:59 PM »

What John's friend is probably saying is OM is too easy for a 15 to break 90 but too hard for the scratch to shoot par.


Ding ding ding.

Double this. Don is on a roll today.

This is also the logic of "defending par" in my opinion.

Kelly Moran also has me re-learning how to spell erudite!
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:04:58 PM by Kyle Harris »

Niall C

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2011, 02:02:04 PM »
Our country is so obsessed with stroke play.  It's one of the most disheartening trends in America re: golf today.  

Why? I don't understand this attitude. I have played since age 8 and typically keep my score. For the most part I would say golf has always been one of the greatest pleasures of my life...whether I played stroke or match. Keeping count is one way for me to measure how I did. I wouldn't say it is a trend, I would say keeping score has been the way most American golfers have played the game since its beginnings here.

Kelly

I agree with your comments. People keep score all over the world, not just the US. A lot of golfers keep score even in matchplay, myself included. Its one way of keeping concentration and confims how you're playing or gives you a goal to achieve.

Niall

ps just about to post and saw your last post which I also agree with.

Chris Johnston

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2011, 02:02:49 PM »
Ben,
I donít disagree that it could be a problem for you playing behind a 30 handicap player who insists on putting out every stroke, who bears down on each shot as if it might be his last on earth. However, what strikes me is the number of ďcrisisĒ moments in golf described here and on many other threads. It seems everything is a reason for the decline of golf. If it is not keeping score, itís riding a cart, it's using a rangefinder, itís taking a practice swing, itís slow conditions, itís Rees Jones, itís 14 clubs, itís the PGA Tour, itís spitting on greens, itís architects, itís overshaping, itís taking another practice swing. Everything is a crisis.

A beginning player reading this website would do well to avoid it or they may be too discouraged to continue playing. He may think well gee I am tired sometimes and like to take a cart, that Rees Jones course was kind of fun, I like knowing my score, it helps me to take a practice swing, but Iím beginning to think Iím the problem according to all these experts on golf who post here.

For many of us golf is good 99.9% of the time, itís never been so good, and that is certainly is not because of a bunch of people hanging around a website all day! So what this expert golfer does not like Old Mac. So what he decries the lack of shot making required. Do you like Old Mac? Yes? Well then go play it and have fun!

It is amazing the amount of disrespect shown to the game on this website. People on here live in a perpetual state of crisis. It is exhausting and psychologically demeaning.


KBM

Best post I have read here!  Nicely played.

Golf is about fun and/or enjoyment, not perfection.

I've been searching all my life for a course that rewards bad shotmaking - that would be sweet!


CJ
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:09:12 PM by Chris Johnston »

JESII

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2011, 02:03:37 PM »
I don't know the player and have not made it up to OM just yet.

Good golfers in general are not the sharpest tools in the tool box. They get into golf because they feel it doesn't require much thought process. Many of them would prefer to just take their range game to the course. On the range they know if they hit a good shot or a bad shot and they just want the same treatment of shots out on the course. To them the course should require no more thought process than hitting balls on the range. Faced with a course that requires strategy they claim it doesn't reward good shots. If they are 170 yards from the hole and they hit a perfect 170 yard shot they expect a birdie putt. If it doesn't, then it must be something wrong with the golf course. It would never occur to them that they should plan how to play a golf hole.

I see this as the big difference between golfers. There are those willing to think their way around the golf course and there are those that believe the golf course is just an extension of the driving range.

This gets into the whole range finder phenomenon, golf courses as just a collection of 18 holes, grand conditioning, slow play, the obsession by the USGA with the card and pencil game, etc... In other words, the Americanization of golf.

Cheers,
Dan King
Quote
I owe everything to golf. Where else would a guy with an IQ like mine make this much money?
  --Hubert Green



Dan,

This whole post reads as an indictment of the better player...do we agree that the instant gratification mindset appears at all levels?

Dan King

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2011, 02:13:01 PM »
Jim Sullivan writes:
This whole post reads as an indictment of the better player.

It is good to see I was successful at getting my point across.

do we agree that the instant gratification mindset appears at all levels?

Yep, but the problem starts at the top.

Cheers,
Dan King
Quote
Golf is the only game where the worst player gets the best of it. He obtains more out of it as regards both exercise and enjoyment, for the good player gets worried over the slightest mistake, whereas the poor player makes too many mistakes to worry about them.
  --David Lloyd George

JESII

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2011, 02:22:26 PM »
Why?

There are alot more bad players than good.

George Pazin

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Re: "The Course Doesn't Reward Good Shotmaking"
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2011, 02:22:48 PM »
It seems to me the comments so far are focusing on the wrong thing.  It doesn't sound like this is a case where a good golfer is ticked off because well struck shots turned out bad.  Rather, John said he thought his friend had a bad ballstriking day but still posted a good score.  It is the opposite concern of that described in most of the replies and, in my opinion, a far more interesting question.  At what point does a failure to punish bad shots reflect poorly on a course?  For what it's worth, I do not believe this is a concern at Old Mac.  I suspect John's friend just had one of those blessed days when good fortune smiled on all his misses.  More likely than not, tempting fate again with similar poor play won't be treated as kindly.

Maybe John's friend underrates his own strategic thinking and execution. Maybe he had his C+ game but coupled it with A+ thinking and that is the real reason he still scored relatively well.
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

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