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Stephen Davis

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Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« on: May 26, 2012, 01:25:52 AM »
I was speaking to the head pro of my local course today and we were talking about his recent tournaments. He just got done playing at Eugene and said with a dreamy look in his eye that the course was in incredible shape. I said something like "Yes, I have heard that next to the Bandon courses, Eugene is the cream if the crop here in Oregon." This illicited a 10 minute long tyraid against the courses at Bandon and how these "new kinds of courses" are ruining golf. He was frustrated that these courses can still penalize good shots, were as other courses would reward those same shots. At one point he said "I would take Eugene CC, Columbia-Edgewater, Porland CC and Royal Oaks over Bandon everyday of the week and I would be content to never set foot on Bandon again." This was about were my jaw dropped. Now, I have never had the privilege to play any of these four courses, so I can't comment on them, but I LOVE Bandon and love the golf there. I was lucky enough to get down there on three separate occasions this last winter, and wished I could have gone more.  Bandon embodies so much of what is great about the game of golf and I enjoy the type of golf that designers of the various courses there have shared with us.  Just curious on what your thoughts on this are. Is this just someone stating their disdain for the ground game that links style golf requires or does he have a point?

Sam Morrow

Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 01:28:54 AM »
First off I don't see any argument that Bandon is bad for the game. Many people don't share the views of the average GCA'er and that's fine, everybody is entitled to their own opinion even if you think they are wrong. The only thing I would take from this conversation would be to never ask your pro for advice on where to play when traveling.

David Ober

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 01:39:30 AM »
LOTS of competitive golfers dislike courses where "bad bounces" are a significant part of the game. I do not share that opinion, but I'm just telling you that if you spend any time with pros or competitive ams, this will come up over and over and over again.

Many of them want bowling alleys and not naturally conceived and routed golf courses.

Sad.

Stephen Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 01:46:47 AM »
Sam,

His basic premise was "these types" of courses are bad for the game because:

1) they are too difficult. He sited that they don't reward you for a good shot. It is impossible to practice the types of shots they require, especially putts. Who likes to 3 putt. Who likes to 4 putt.
2) it takes too long, mainly because you 3 and 4 putt so much.
3) it is too expensive.

I tend to think that these are more fun do to the fact that they are different and cause you to think about the game in a different way. They inspire creativity. I would love it if golf was cheaper, but I don't see that changing any time soon. Plus, I recognize it is expensive to run a quality golf course.

David,

I think you nailed it on the head. iLife I said, I haven't played the other courses and have only heard really good and even great things about them, but I think you are right.

Michael Dugger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 02:01:53 AM »
Okay, Bandon is too expensive yet Eugene CC is a private Country Club.

Links golf was around long before dart throwing at spongy PAC NW greens.

What course is that pro from? Idiot with an opinion.
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

David_Elvins

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 04:11:26 AM »

1) they are too difficult. He sited that they don't reward you for a good shot. It is impossible to practice the types of shots they require, especially putts. Who likes to 3 putt. Who likes to 4 putt.
2) it takes too long, mainly because you 3 and 4 putt so much.

Stephen,

Points 1) and 2) are clearly ridiculous.  Bandon requires different types of shots but the idea that you can't develop and practice these shots is ridiculous.  The courses at Bandon are not difficult if you have the shots to  play it.  If the only shot you ever hit from 70 yards is a 3/4 lob wedge, of course you will struggle though.  If the only recovery shot in your arsenal is the flop shot, of course you will struggle.  But the idea that chips, putts, punch shots etc cannot be practiced and perfected is ridiculous.

But seriously, You can't practice putting? What is this guy on? 
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Mike_Cocking

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2012, 04:25:02 AM »
Hardly surprising to hear a golf pro complain about a course that doesnt suit their game.

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2012, 05:04:02 AM »
Bandon is a throw back to the older style of links golf... it is what it says on the tin.

You will never please everyone and whilst 5 out 10 may like the greens 5 out of 10 may not. Different things we all like is what makes playing different golf courses great, experiencing as many dfferent ones is going to be high on anyones lists.

I certainly dont think it would be bad for the game, although I do think difficult golf courses make people give up, not on one round but if a golfer plays badly he may not play or a while if he plays well he has a 'when can I get out there and play next attitude', generally speaking golfers like fun and fun does mean low scoring rather than high scoring. Pro's and better players like to be able to hole putts from inside 30 feet, thats how the ride above each other, quite simply if you take away 'their edge' they wont like it and heavily countoured greens will take that edge away. 3 putting and 4 putting is definetly not fun and putting and lots of putting adds a lot of time to a round of golf, quick golf courses to play do have flatter greens as one of the factors, contoured greens need consideration and the more considering the more time.
We keep coming back to that word FUN. Everyone just gets turned on in a different way and we just need to respect that some like water in frnt of greens, some carts, and some like the ground game.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2012, 07:50:07 AM »
The courses at Bandon present different challenges, especially in medal play, than a course like Portland CC.

Portland CC is more "predictable", less "variable" for day to day play.

I suspect that the medal play Pro seeks stability from the courses he competes on, and the courses at Bandon aren't static.

The "wind" alone is a huge variable.

"Wind" is probably the most unsettling element medal play golfers face, hence i view his comments as objecting to the playing conditions with "wind" being the primary culprit, rather than the individual and collective architectural features.

Golfers also tend to view golf courses solely from their perspective, rarely undertaking an attempt at developing a  global perspective of the course, especially golfers who compete at a high level.

Their myopic vision limits their data base, ergo their perspective.

Frank Hannigan, for whom I had the utmost respect when it came to golf, once told me that the last people in the world to listen to when it came to golf courses were the best players, the elite amateurs and PGA Tour pros.  My  experiences since our conversation in Atlanta, decades ago,  on this topic, have proven his admonition to be spot on.

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2012, 08:15:02 AM »
Stephen,
The Pro isn't different than any other player, no one likes a bad bounce that ruins a good shot, everyone prefers a good outcome.

He just isn't very accepting of the variables.

"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Brent Hutto

Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2012, 08:22:10 AM »
A young man I know made a trip to play the British Amateur Championship at Princes and Sandwich. He did not make it to the match play and when he got back home I asked how he liked his first taste of links golf.

He did not criticize the courses (nor make any ridiculous claims about ruining "The Game" whatever that means) but said he had no desire to return. His take on it was that everything about his game was honed for competitive golf in USA and had not worked at all on the links courses. He could not control his ball flight properly, he had to use different shots around the green than his usual ones and he needed to rethink his entire strategy and shot selections to play well over there.

The conclusion he reached was that instead of three days before the tournament it would have taken several weeks of playing over there to figure out ways to be competitive. But then to turn around again, come home, and probably not play in that environment again for years. It just would not be a good use of time to learn a whole different game for just at most a handful of tournaments in his lifetime.

I think that's a perfectly reasonable conclusion for purely competitive, tournament golfer. The very things that make it fun for me to go over there and play for a week once a year make it basically a non-sequitur in the career of my young acquaintance. I think the fun of being confounded by bounces on a links course is only one among many pleasures a "serious" golfer might choose to forgo in order to hone his game for success on the different sort of highly specialized courses used in USA for top-level competition.

Mac Plumart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 08:27:16 AM »
This illicited a 10 minute long tyraid (by the pro) against the courses at Bandon and how these "new kinds of courses" are ruining golf. He was frustrated that these courses can still penalize good shots, were as other courses would reward those same shots.

Was the pros name Joshua Crane?
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2012, 08:30:28 AM »
Brent and Stephen,

Do you think that's because they suffer from a lack of imagination, an inability to adapt ?

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2012, 08:32:19 AM »
When this forum has to ask if Bandon is good or bad for golf we are out of things to talk about...
Just play golf... ;)
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Brent Hutto

Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2012, 08:47:51 AM »
Brent and Stephen,

Do you think that's because they suffer from a lack of imagination, an inability to adapt ?

I think my young friend was able, to a certain extent, to imagine the shots he needed. He just wasn't prepared to execute them to a level of proficiency that he expects. It pretty much took him his three practice rounds to figure out that he wasn't going to be able to play his customary game.

That left him just his two tournament rounds to develop touch and judgement of running chips and pitches that he would seldom use back home. More importantly, he seemed (to me) indecisive on his shot selection from the fairway. My reading of it was the combination of super tight and firm lies (it was the kind of week where every iron shot raised a puff of dust from the fairway instead of a divot) and 15-20mph wind had him guessing wrong all week when hitting approach shots.

He did make one comment after the first tournament round that "I was just trying to hit the wrong shots".

His preferred way of "adapting" is to go out and very systematically figure out what works and what doesn't work and then hone the thing that works until he feels confident in it. I think a "feel" type player would be able to fake his way through an unfamiliar situation better than a "practice and preparation" type player. Think Faldo or Hogan versus Freddie Couples or Bubba Watson, this fellow is firmly in the former camp.

Neil White

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2012, 09:54:50 AM »
Stephen,

The Pro at my home course has a similar view of links golf - he played in the British Open at St Andrews, missed the cut and has a dour view of the course.  Comments such as 'not knowing where to go' and 'unfair bounces' frequent his memories when brought up in conversation.

He has the same thoughts about Brora and Cruden Bay - yet he enthuses over Parkland style courses he has played on the Senior PGA tour.

This thread reminds me of a comment made by Rory Mclroy as not feeling it necessary 'to change his game for one week' during an interview at last years Open.

Neil.
Courses played 2020 - ................!

Stephen Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2012, 10:39:36 AM »
Patrick,

I think a lack of flexibility is just as much the culprit as is a lack of creativity. BTW I love what your friend said about great players being the last people to ask about golf courses. I have found that they have a hard time separating their play that weekend from the design of the course. I remember the first time I played at Bandon I naively asked one of the caddies if they see a ton of pros out there. He pretty much laughed and said that they never see pros. He said if the course isn't on their dtournament schedule then they have very little desire to play it.

Dan King

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2012, 11:23:43 AM »
Bandon is already crowded enough. Why try to encourage people to like it?  Accept that people have different tastes, and be thankful there is a place like Bandon for those that prefer more natural golf.   Remember, they make wallpaper for a reason.

Cheers,
Dan King
Quote
They are the same people who knock the pyramids because they don't have elavtors.
 --Jim Ferree (On players who complain about St. Andrews)

Dave McCollum

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2012, 12:01:01 PM »
After my first golf trip to Scotland I was chatting with a golfer who asked “Did you play that horrible mess of a course at St. Andrews?”  He went on to describe blind shots and bunkers, tight lies, firm greens, shaggy rough, and a whole litany of other nightmares.  All I could say was “So, you were too cheap to hire a caddie, right?”  Bingo. 

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2012, 03:58:48 PM »
This question is akin to the proverbial "which courses best identify the best golfer".  Courses are neither good or bad for golf - they just are.  Folks can takem' or leavem'. 

I hate it when folks go on about bad bounces or good shots being penalized - what a load of tosh.  Bad or unlucky bounces very rarely occur - anywhere.  Good is a relative term so it doesn't come close to describing what the "problem" is.  I can understand if a guy says a shot should be accommodated - meaning the shot was marginal, but still should be in play.  I can't understand a guy saying a good shot was penalized - that makes no sense. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Joel_Stewart

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Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2012, 04:11:00 PM »
I've met a few people who didn't like Bandon.  In all fairness to them, they have never played anything like Bandon and don't understand it.  When you grow up playing a lush tree lined course, it can be difficult to adapt. 

For a pro to say this is really strange but then maybe not?  Many well known pros have said unkind things about the Open courses and have refused to play over there.  Bobby Jones took some time to appreciate links style golf. 

Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2012, 05:20:47 PM »
This question is akin to the proverbial "which courses best identify the best golfer".  Courses are neither good or bad for golf - they just are.  Folks can takem' or leavem'. 

I don't agree with this at all. I can think of a lot of courses, usually affordable munis with a good design and encouraging of junior play, that are definitely good for golf. They grow the game and make it accessible.

Likewise, I haven't been to Bandon, but the fact that places dedicated to great, pure golf are open to the public is a significant "good" for a game that often sees its best courses restricted from the player without private club money or connections. Bandon isn't cheap, but there's something wonderfully democratic about a course that lets anyone through its doors. It's the same way I feel about Pebble Beach, though they're very different courses obviously.

I can understand anyone not liking any course. I can't even say for sure that I'd love Bandon (though I suspect I would). But the idea that a place that brings people from all over the world in the exclusive pursuit of golf being "bad for the game" is a bit silly.
"There will always be haters. That’s just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Dan Herrmann

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2012, 05:41:05 PM »
I love Bandon as much as the next guy.

But to me, the prices have made this heaven on earth beyond the reach of people that work for a living like me.

If you want to see how much prices have risen, check out the 1999 prices listed here: http://web.archive.org/web/19991005102031/http://bandondunesgolf.com/teeoff-time.htm

Or - to make it easier:
1999 Green Fees:
May through October...................$100
November through April.................$75
Oregon Residents Nov-April............$35
Second Round Season....................$50
Second Round Off-season..............$35

2002:
June - Sept
Hotel Guest $160
Other   $200
Replay   $80

2007:
May-October
Hotel Guest   $195
Oregonian   $250
Others   $250
Replay   $100


Today:
May-October
Hotel Guest   $230
Oregonian   Special rate discontinued
Others   $275
Replay   $85

Obviously, the folks at Bandon are there to make a profit.  I fully support that.

But are these increases "good for the game"?  Selfishly (because I really want to go back) the answer is 'No' for me.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 05:48:01 PM by Dan Herrmann »

Sean_A

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Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2012, 05:50:58 PM »
This question is akin to the proverbial "which courses best identify the best golfer".  Courses are neither good or bad for golf - they just are.  Folks can takem' or leavem'. 

I don't agree with this at all. I can think of a lot of courses, usually affordable munis with a good design and encouraging of junior play, that are definitely good for golf. They grow the game and make it accessible.

Likewise, I haven't been to Bandon, but the fact that places dedicated to great, pure golf are open to the public is a significant "good" for a game that often sees its best courses restricted from the player without private club money or connections. Bandon isn't cheap, but there's something wonderfully democratic about a course that lets anyone through its doors. It's the same way I feel about Pebble Beach, though they're very different courses obviously.

I can understand anyone not liking any course. I can't even say for sure that I'd love Bandon (though I suspect I would). But the idea that a place that brings people from all over the world in the exclusive pursuit of golf being "bad for the game" is a bit silly.

Jason

You are confusing courses with the policies of those who own courses.  We aren't going to start blaming courses for charging high green fees now are we?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Bill Gayne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Bandon- Good or Bad for the Game?
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2012, 05:53:59 PM »
Bandon is great for golf in North America because it's emphasizes the ground game and is the only opportunity that many of their visitors will have to play links golf. It may even inspire some of them to go play some of the original links courses in the GBI.

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