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Patrick_Mucci

Jeff,

I think wide fairways and the visuals they present instill confidence in the golfer.

Now it may be that the green complex could be one of the most difficult they'll face, but, on the tee, where each hole begins, a golfer forms an image or a headset regarding the hole, and the challenge he faces, and wide, generous fairways start the golfer off on a condident foot.

Put the same golfer on a tee, confronted by a narrow fairway, almost irrespective of what flanks it, and the image/headset is one of tension and difficulty, even if the green complex is one of the most benign that he'll ever encounter.

First impressions count.

And in golf, on the tee, the golfer gets his introduction and first impression of the hole.
It's either favorable, unfavorable or neutral.
Wide fairways inherently produce favorable reactions or mindsets.

Think of the 3rd and 16th fairways at NGLA versus the 14th and/or 15th fairways at NGLA.

I always feel more comfortable on # 3 and # 16 than I do on # 14 and # 15.

The 1st at Prestwick has to produce tension in the golfer's mind.
Especially if a train is passing by.

Perhaps a better local image is the first 8 holes at Quaker Ridge, with OB on the right on every hole.
Versus the fairways, as viewed from the tees at the first 8 holes at Garden City GC. 

For the last few decades, or perhaps much longer, fairways have been narrowed.

It started with the introduction of automated irrigation systems and has continued in the name of protecting the challenge.

Club afer club, terribly misguided by USGA/PGA preparations for their championships, narrowed their fairways for those events and then, didn't return them to their pre-tournament widths once the events were over.

Seeing the narrowing on TV, green committees/boards mirrored and perpetuated the misguided course configurations.

WHY would a golf club want to prepare and present USGA OPEN/PGA Tour course configurations, meant for the best players on the planet, to their memberships, whose handicaps probably average 18 ?

WHY alter the architect's original design ?

WHY present a challenge that's far beyond the membership's ability ?

Is not WIDTH, one of the primary architectural elements, inherent in enjoyable challenges ?

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Pat,
 Many of the first 8 holes at QR terrify me, as it's not so much the lack of width, but the penalty for missing.(OB right in this case)
My scores in events there reflect my terror.
As good of course as it is, it does feel a bit repetitive for me in the early going.

Ironically, Old Oaks and Apawamis have(or at least had) incredibly narrow tree lined fairways, but no OB and I have competed  successfully there.

I do agree that width sets up relaxation and good results, but for me width is less about fairways and more about golf course :o :o
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 09:44:43 PM by jeffwarne »
"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

Patrick_Mucci

Jeff,

I love to practice, I find it very relaxing.

I won't say that I've never hit a driver on the practice range, but, almost never, and when I do, it's usually because someone has asked me to try their driver.

I've always equated hitting a driver on the practice tee/range as driving on the golf course without fear of consequence.

There is NO pressure on the range, hence we tend to perform better than on the golf course.

Wide fairways represent that broad, expansive, no consequence range for most.

Narrow fairways, almost irrespective of what borders them, create tension and fear.
Obviously water hazards and OB exacerbate that fear factor.

Wild Horse was generous off the tee, as was Sand Hills.
I think that's one of the reasons, maybe even the primary reason that golfers enjoy those courses.

I've never played Ballyneal.
Some say it's Tom Doak's best work.
My understanding is that it has width.

Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes have width.

I've never played Old Macdonald, but, I understand that it has considerable width.

Is that the inate feature that attracts golfers ?
Is that the feature that makes golfers comfortable enough to travel a long and circuitous route to play those courses?

I know that I love playing Seminole in any wind, direction and strength, because the width of the holes accomodates larger margins of error.

As one's handicap increases, they need larger margins of error and wide fairways provide that element.


Anthony Gray



 Muser friendly = one ball per round.


jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Pat,
I enjoy wide fairways which have the hazards contained within them.(Sebonack would be one example of this)
i.e. fairway bunkers actually in the fairway.
narrows focus and demands you pick a target directionally and distancewise.

I really dislike wide fairways surrounded by disaster as there's nothing to narrow your focus on.
"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

Patrick_Mucci

Jeff,

That was one of the features I enjoyed at Wild Horse.

What's really amazing is how the 3rd hole at Hidden Creek transitioned from a benign second shot hole to a seemingly ferocious second shot hole with the addition of a rather small, but tactically placed centerline fairway bunker.

The hole is VASTLY improved by this rather minor bit of construction.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Patrick:

The best example of width in golf architecture is a course you haven't brought up -- Royal Melbourne.  I guess you've never been there, sadly. 

They did not narrow it up for the President's Cup, and they didn't need to.  But, that's not a medal play event.  A lot of the issues with "tournament courses" go back to the fact that the governing bodies are too focused on a winning score.

Patrick_Mucci

Patrick:

The best example of width in golf architecture is a course you haven't brought up -- Royal Melbourne.  I guess you've never been there, sadly. 

Tom,

I've heard so many good things about Royal Melbourne, and you're right, sadly, I've never had the opportunity to play the course.


They did not narrow it up for the President's Cup, and they didn't need to.  But, that's not a medal play event.  A lot of the issues with "tournament courses" go back to the fact that the governing bodies are too focused on a winning score.

I think you're right.  Protecting par and defending against low scores seems to have had a permanent negative effect on width at most courses.
Merion, Shinnecock, Winged Foot, Baltusrol, Oakmont and others all narrowed their fairways and never returned them to their original widths.

That's unfortunate as width seems to be a universal asset.

On my last play at Sebonack, I only recall two holes that weren't as wide as the others and I think you may have done that deliberately, to create a "change of pace".

I hope they don't narrow the course for the Women's Open.

Your thoughts.


Melvyn Morrow


The rarity of an albino  8)

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