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mike_malone

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What factors make a great routing?
« on: March 01, 2024, 10:52:47 AM »
 Fried Egg recently lauded Flynn on his routing capability and mentioned placing holes in different directions and using the land well for green placement.




   What are other things that make a routing great? How important is the routing in the analysis of a course?
 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 11:13:09 AM by mike_malone »
AKA Mayday

David_Tepper

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2024, 11:50:23 AM »
Mike -

On a practical level, it certainly does not hurt to have relatively short distances between greens and the next tees.

DT

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2024, 12:09:08 PM »
If you have decent topography, one of the keys is to use it in different ways. What I mean by that is by going over rolls and often on diagonal orientations.


When looking at a new site, those kind of choices are not always the most obvious. The most obvious are often through valleys, along a ridge or straight uphill or downhill. But as Tom Simpson said, the best choice is rarely the most obvious one.

Phil Young

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2024, 01:10:04 PM »
The memorability of each hole and how they flow together. A routing can be great while individual holes aren't. The better each hole is the better the routing becomes.

Dan_Callahan

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2024, 01:10:10 PM »
Here's a related question I've often wondered about: conventional wisdom puts a premium on course routing, especially holes going in different directions so that the wind affects holes differently. And yet ... some of my favorite courses (Dornoch, North Berwick, National) are out-and-back routings. Setting aside complex sites where the architect has to navigate around environmental constraints, drainage, etc., is routing, especially as it pertains to changes in direction, overrated?

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2024, 01:23:04 PM »
Some of the terrain that architects are building courses is severe. Ballyhack is hilly with many holes using the vertical rise. It is a property with virtually treeless, with gullies and creeks. I wish it were more walkable, but it is a course of merit because Lester built the best holes. It is a cart course, although when I was younger I did walk it. Not every course can have greens and tees close together.
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Charlie Goerges

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2024, 02:10:49 PM »
is routing, especially as it pertains to changes in direction, overrated?




Changes in direction overrated? Yes I think so, for the reasons you mentioned and probably some more. Just give me the best holes (that make the best use of the land) possible. Wind can, and does, change direction and strength throughout the day. Do not give me a worse par 3, just so you can make sure one goes East or whatever.
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

Joe Hancock

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2024, 03:00:12 PM »
I believe the routing reveals more about the architects preferences than any other aspect of the design. Safety, sense of adventure, athleticism, appealing to the masses, etcÖÖ
" 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_malone

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2024, 05:41:16 PM »
If you have decent topography, one of the keys is to use it in different ways. What I mean by that is by going over rolls and often on diagonal orientations.


When looking at a new site, those kind of choices are not always the most obvious. The most obvious are often through valleys, along a ridge or straight uphill or downhill. But as Tom Simpson said, the best choice is rarely the most obvious one.


Which shows that the routing is not constrained by the land. Much creativity can be used. I love how Flynn often chooses to go along the ridge rather than up and down the hill.
AKA Mayday

Tom_Doak

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2024, 07:14:30 PM »
Fundamentally, routing is about finding a bunch of good holes that fit together and make the best of the terrain.  After that, there is a lot of scope for art, but the art will go unnoticed if the golf holes arenít really good.

Wade Whitehead

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2024, 07:41:20 PM »
Par threes that face in difference directions.

This would seem to be a reasonable goal on just about any site.

WW

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2024, 08:01:28 PM »
I tend to care very little about the ins-and-outs of routings, and tend to see it from a mostly practical standpoint and less artistically, but I'm no architect so I'm sure I'm susceptible of being blind what I'm not educated enough to notice. Still, where I notice routings is in the final hole, and less so, with the first hole and the turn.

I am strangely passionate about final holes, and I see very few courses that I think do them very well. To me an interaction between the clubhouse and 18th green can give a hole a character rarely seen in causal golf. If I ever have Bandon money, I would want to build a course where the 18th green was tucked into a horseshoe-shaped clubhouse (with the building in play) overlooking the green so everyone could watch people play in. Most courses seem to leave a significant interlude between the course and the bar, or just dump people into the parking lot.

I wrote about one of my favorite first holes (#1 at Lions Muny), and the reason why I think it works is that the routing puts the first tee right in the middle of everything. That everyone at the course is watching you take a tee shot is a good way to make and easy shot feel hard, and turn a gentle handshake into a firm one (note that the middle and front tees are progressively father a way, so the pressure of being watch diminishes for less skilled players).

Returning nines is practical, but, again, I think a routing that ignores that has room for giving a course a unique personality. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a nut for a halfway house, again because I see a halfway house as rare opportunity to impart the tone/brand of a course through its architecture, and without that halfway house, you can only do that with the clubhouse.

The last thing I would add is that pace of play can be significantly impacted by routing. Looking at the subject through, I guess it should be called "gate theory" of pace, it'd be interesting to try to use the routing to add/remove "gates" depending on the current pace issues. I think it would be interesting experiment, but I don't think most people take that stuff seriously.
 
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Tim_Weiman

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2024, 11:54:32 PM »
I tend to care very little about the ins-and-outs of routings, and tend to see it from a mostly practical standpoint and less artistically, but I'm no architect so I'm sure I'm susceptible of being blind what I'm not educated enough to notice. Still, where I notice routings is in the final hole, and less so, with the first hole and the turn.

I am strangely passionate about final holes, and I see very few courses that I think do them very well. To me an interaction between the clubhouse and 18th green can give a hole a character rarely seen in causal golf. If I ever have Bandon money, I would want to build a course where the 18th green was tucked into a horseshoe-shaped clubhouse (with the building in play) overlooking the green so everyone could watch people play in. Most courses seem to leave a significant interlude between the course and the bar, or just dump people into the parking lot.

I wrote about one of my favorite first holes (#1 at Lions Muny), and the reason why I think it works is that the routing puts the first tee right in the middle of everything. That everyone at the course is watching you take a tee shot is a good way to make and easy shot feel hard, and turn a gentle handshake into a firm one (note that the middle and front tees are progressively father a way, so the pressure of being watch diminishes for less skilled players).

Returning nines is practical, but, again, I think a routing that ignores that has room for giving a course a unique personality. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a nut for a halfway house, again because I see a halfway house as rare opportunity to impart the tone/brand of a course through its architecture, and without that halfway house, you can only do that with the clubhouse.

The last thing I would add is that pace of play can be significantly impacted by routing. Looking at the subject through, I guess it should be called "gate theory" of pace, it'd be interesting to try to use the routing to add/remove "gates" depending on the current pace issues. I think it would be interesting experiment, but I don't think most people take that stuff seriously.


Matt,


If you have a passion for finishing holes I think you would enjoy the 18th at Stonewall. The approach plays downhill with the old stone farmhouse to the left very close to the green. Absolutely beautiful scene providing a fun final shot.


If I lived near Philadelphia, Stonewall is definitely a club I would want to join.
Tim Weiman

Sean_A

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2024, 02:57:25 AM »
I am yet to be convinced that a regular Joe like me knows enough about routing a course that I can determine itís quality. As a guy who pays green fees, I look for

good and varied green sites
good use of the natural features
varied use of terrain
good walk

Stuff like wind changes, not finishing into setting sun, taking advantage of views, offering boozer loops etc is icing on the cake. Although the older I get the more I value boozer loops.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

mike_malone

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2024, 07:54:34 AM »
I am yet to be convinced that a regular Joe like me knows enough about routing a course that I can determine itís quality. As a guy who pays green fees, I look for

good and varied green sites
good use of the natural features
varied use of terrain
good walk

Stuff like wind changes, not finishing into setting sun, taking advantage of views, offering boozer loops etc is icing on the cake. Although the older I get the more I value boozer loops.

Ciao


+1


Sean,


  I think I feel a great routing and donít know why. Thatís why I asked the question.
AKA Mayday

Tom_Doak

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2024, 08:07:04 AM »

Par threes that face in difference directions.

This would seem to be a reasonable goal on just about any site.





It's a reasonable goal, but it is often a very limiting goal.


We often have to use par-3 holes to get across difficult terrain, or to bridge the gaps between other holes, because they are the easiest holes to create from scratch [you don't have to find a reasonable fairway].


If you put this restriction on that you want them all to face different directions, you compromise the ability to fill in the gaps.  The most noticeable impact is that the green to tee walks will probably suffer.


Sure, on a flat site where you haven't got much else going for you, hitting all the compass points makes sense.  But on a site with a lot of topographic interest, you've got to follow the topography.

Mike Feeney

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2024, 08:33:08 AM »
Easier to spot lack of masterful routing abilities.  Haven't we all played a bad-or-mediocre layout, with impressive property aspects, and asked ourselves, "man, what could a Ross, a Coore, or a Doak, done with this property?"   Walkable routings (a high priority for a lot of us), before today's environmental restrictions and golf cart path requirements, must have been a lot easier. 

Ira Fishman

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2024, 08:51:04 AM »
Great routing offers variety without dissonance. The individual holes offer varied looks, strategies, challenges but the whole is coherent.

Cal Seifert

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2024, 04:24:42 PM »
Par threes that face in difference directions.

This would seem to be a reasonable goal on just about any site.

WW


This is something people say as a downside of NGLA but I think its set of par 3's is pretty much perfect.

Ian Cox

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2024, 04:46:59 PM »
Thereís no doubt (probably) a lot of good answers to this, therefore is there a right one?


That the architect makes the best/most of the routing to create/capture the best/most enjoyable/fun/interesting holes that the site allows, whilst to some degree (where possible) not comprising the flow/walk/ride of the round.
Ian

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2024, 07:42:03 PM »
Thereís no doubt (probably) a lot of good answers to this, therefore is there a right one?


That the architect makes the best/most of the routing to create/capture the best/most enjoyable/fun/interesting holes that the site allows, whilst to some degree (where possible) not comprising the flow/walk/ride of the round.
Ian


Well yes, thatís pretty general but is also correct:


EVERY routing is a series of compromises. No routing can pick 18 individual holes without consideration to where the other 17 lie.


Perhaps back in the day when Old Tom routed the original 12 hole course at Prestwick, he could lay each hole out with no concern about crossing or indeed playing straight back down a previous corridor. But even then, one hole had to follow another.


Mike said it above but awkward routing is much easier to spot than masterful routing. But even then, you have to truly consider the alternatives before lambasting it as poor.


I have threatened before to kick off an Armchair Architecture competition on here with a (real) tight and difficult site. I think it would be much more enjoyable for participants and judges alike than trying to differentiate between entries on a wide, expansive site with limitless options.

Thomas Dai

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2024, 11:28:17 PM »
In this day and age of colour photographs, video, drones, social media etc I canít help but wonder to what extent routings etc are influenced not as they perhaps once were by predominantly golf related factors but by ďmake it look goodĒ marketing hype?
Atb

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: What factors make a great routing?
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2024, 01:52:48 AM »
If you have a passion for finishing holes I think you would enjoy the 18th at Stonewall. The approach plays downhill with the old stone farmhouse to the left very close to the green. Absolutely beautiful scene providing a fun final shot.

If I lived near Philadelphia, Stonewall is definitely a club I would want to join.
An interesting hole. It looks like a similar set up on the north course too.
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

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