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MikeJones

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If you had to design...
« on: September 20, 2011, 09:44:24 AM »
If you had to design a facility which was solely for the purpose of bringing new players into the game and getting them 'hooked', what features and design traits would you employ on both the practice facility and the course?


Anthony Gray

Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 09:54:08 AM »


  I would take them to Cruden Bay first and just walk the course.

  Anthony


Scott Sander

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 10:09:53 AM »
Cost and acreage no consideration?

I'd absolutely include a short loop of par 3 holes that have interesting greens and few hazards.  The game will grow if we make the game available to our children.  Taking them to the range or the putting green -might- turn them into golfers, but actually giving them a place to play alongside mom or dad will go much further in guaranteeing it.  Similarly, many spouses and friends would be more inclined to play if they were given the chance to learn on a much less intimidating playing field.  Make the holes fairly long and wide and the beginning golfer will learn to hit shots both off the tee and the turf.  If those holes also have interesting greens, the golfer nurturing the neophytes will be excited to play there, too.

Modified to add: 
Some might say that's what par 3 and executive facilities are for.  True, and kudos to them.  But if the opportunity is there, I'd contend that such a setup is much more effective as a recruiting/retaining tool if it is part of a larger facility geared toward high-quality golf.  These holes should be maintained in the same manner as the big course.  Playing them should involve checking in with the starter.  It ought to feel... important, for lack of a better word.  The experience should provide ample doses of wonder and awe for the young/new golfer, and the rituals are a large part of that. 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 10:22:34 AM by Scott Sander »

Sean_A

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 11:20:54 AM »
Mike

You know what, I honestly don't know, but I suspect aesthetics and a design which makes it easier to charge a relatively cheap green fee would play a role.  It doesn't sound like a good investment opportunity.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 11:54:48 AM »
No rough. Plant the entire course with bluegrass (here, in Canada) and mow everything, aside from the greens, at the same height of cut (fairway).
jeffmingay.com

J Sadowsky

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 12:00:48 PM »
If you had to design a facility which was solely for the purpose of bringing new players into the game and getting them 'hooked', what features and design traits would you employ on both the practice facility and the course?



1) Price
2) Width (preferrably width that let them still aim at one side of the fairway so that they felt that they were interacting with the course rather than just hitting at 14 of the same fairway).
3) Fun greens that have easily perceptable contours but are relatively flat other than those contours, sloping at a fair speed.
4) Do nothing that would "choke" pace of play.

For very beginner players, the key is to keep it simple and cheap, while still making the game as enjoyable as possible for someone whose execution will be, to put it mildly, random.

Ben Voelker

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 01:05:54 PM »
I would move little to no earth, use push up greens, select relatively low maintenance grasses, etc. to keep the initial price as low as possible.  I would prefer to find an open, hilly site where I could vary the direction of holes and minimize the number of bunkers I would need to place and trees I would need to clear.

My one cost indulgence might be to install grass tees for the practice range.  Especially as a beginning golfer, I always despised hitting off artificial mats because I would go play after hitting balls and be surprised how many times I was hitting it fat!

Mac Plumart

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2011, 01:52:08 PM »
Simply replicate the principles of Pinehurst #2 or The Old Course.  Bingo, bango, bingo...golf is back.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Ian Andrew

Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2011, 04:22:09 PM »
There is one in the City of London (Fanshawe) set in an old gravel pit.

9 greens on grade
No bunkers
No tees
There are fairways
No possibility of losing a ball
The longest hole is 80 yards and there are nine holes

We had to drag our kids to the car the last time we went there.
They would rather play there than the better courses in the area because its FUN.

Beginners want less than we think.

Marty Bonnar

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2011, 04:27:08 PM »
What Ian Andrew said

+

An EXACT copy of the Himalayas.

Winner!

FBD.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

MikeJones

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2011, 06:56:46 PM »
Thanks for the great responses so far. Martin - it's interesting you should mention the Himalayas because I was taking my dog for a walk close to a local public course last week. The course was empty mid afternoon, (I didn't see one person playing) but there was a large family  (from small kids to grandparents) on their putting green which was a smaller scale version of the Himalayas. You're obviously onto something!

As lovers of golf I'd hope that we are also champions of this great game and as such, introducing new players to it should be one of our goals. I wish more threads on the site would focus on this rather than the particular shape of a bunker which to be honest only golf geeks like us really notice.

Keeping things simple seems to be the way forward to start with but I'm not sure you would keep those players hooked as their skills improve.
At what point would hitting a ball into a wide open area cease to be much of a challenge and therefore less fun?
What are the first obstacles that you would place to make their game more interesting while avoiding enthusiasm sapping frustration - undulating terrain, rough, bunkers etc?
Do you think they would notice the aesthetics at all and if so (given a fairly plain and boring site) what man made features would you add if any?

RJ_Daley

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2011, 10:05:19 PM »
I think even beginners can have a knack for putting.  Of course guys like me have been playing too long to be such a lousy putter...  :-\  But the think is, that even beginners will take to the fun of putting and the imagination and touch it takes, which is more fun and less frustrating for the beginner to miss putts than badly mis-hit tee balls and long fw or from rough shots.  So, I'd put the emphasis on interesting greens, and enough width to keep the progress of the beginners game going, easy to find balls, and not many bunkers.  I'd really try to keep water hazards to the bare necessity.  Maybe 30 or so bunkers, and a few bunkerless holes with just interesting contour.  Like Jeff Mingay says, dwarf blues and wide roughs cut low.  Mimimal brush, and if coniferous spruce and low cedar trees, cut them underneath so one can even take a punch out swing.  Easy maintenance to foster bargain green fees, and keep them moving.  Always have plenty of signage, including directing where carts should be driven around greens before putting out, and get them off to the next tee efficiently.  Maybe some time elapsed signs as well (you should have reached this tee in 1 hour from time you teed off, etc)  If you can afford it.. helpful rangers that keep them moving but also help find balls, and are customer friendly to 'help' the beginner get around.  Some beginners really don't know where to go, how to move about a green, etc.
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Mike_Trenham

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2011, 10:41:19 PM »
Two courses together

6 full lenth holes 200 yard to 420 yards, sand greens, one height of cut with bermuda or zoysia, no sand in the bunkers.  This is for learning the full length shot part of the game.  Six Holes lets you play it 3 times for 18 holes.

10 pitch and put holes 60 - 210 yards in lenght with challenging sand bunkers and over the top contours on the greens which never get very fast due to the buget constraints.  10 holes because this works for a nassau, got teach people how to play match play.

A big practice putting green.

Honor system or credit card swipe, small building with restrooms, a covered area, vending machines, and a few basketball hoops and tennis courts on a parcle of land over looking the golf so that you attract other people to the game.
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Alex Lagowitz

Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2011, 10:45:08 PM »
I would probably have a small indentation around the entire edge of the cup to help feed balls into the hole.  Think of it as 1-2 inches all the way around the cup, the ball will feed into the hole.  Nothing is more frustrating than shooting high scores in the beginning, and a larger hole will make the player feel "dumb".  This small addition can make the player feel happier and most will admit lower scores = enjoyment

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2011, 10:59:18 PM »
I thought PPallota confirmed that Wolf Point was the answer to most questions here, especially this one.
Cheers
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil, Dr. Childs, & Tiger.

MikeJones

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2011, 04:12:41 AM »
I thought PPallota confirmed that Wolf Point was the answer to most questions here, especially this one.
Cheers

I've got no problem with self promotion Mike, but you're going to have to do a little better than that. Why is Wolf Point beginner friendly and what % of the players who visit there are first timers?

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2011, 09:33:46 AM »
Thanks Mike
Wolf Point is beginner friendly because there is 80+ acres of fairway (the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits about 23ish)
2 heights of cut with little rough/native in play.
There is only one forced carry to a green, the 17 other allow run up shots.
There are only 7 greenside bunkers and 3 bunkerless holes.
It is easy to walk and can be played short.
There are little loops to play shorter versions.
There is no one else to complain about the beginners!

The % of first time visitors is higher than most.
The #'s are so low it is not statistically significant.

Cheers
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil, Dr. Childs, & Tiger.

Bill Satterfield

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2011, 10:31:14 AM »
Driveable Par 4s

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: If you had to design...
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2011, 10:36:01 AM »
I will agree with no rough and anything else that can reduce frustration.  I will agree with high aesthetics no matter how achieved.  And, if we could arrange for every tee time to be near dawn or dusk, that would certainly go a long way to convince people that there is no prettier place to be than a golf course with some natural scenery.

I don't think the minimalism is the ticket, with ground level greens, etc.  All the beginning golfers I know and have known seem to want to "graduate" to a nicer course than a learners course very quickly, and know the difference immediately.

Again, no lost balls, few forced carries (challenge lite) but no shortage of aesthetics.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

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