This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
One of our favorite mantras around here is how wide fairways provide plenty of strategic value. There have been many discussions on this subject, but let's do it again - this time by posting your favorite wide fairway hole and sharing why you find it so strategic.I would have begun the discussion with the study of the 5th hole at Chambers, but that hole, tragically, no longer fits in this category.So, let me start off with a great hole from a course FULL of great wide fairway holes - 13th at Ballyneal.From the tee box, you are overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the fairway. It is probably about 100 yards wide and looks even wider from the tee box. It is almost impossible to miss this fairway (although I may have, a time or two...) and some may wonder, how could a hole where you cannot miss a fairway could possibly be strategic, and better yet, fun to play everytime you play it.Let me count the ways...The most obvious place to hit it is down the middle. You get the most level lie there and the best view into the green. However, the landing area in the middle is squeezed by a pair of bunkers on the left and an ENORMOUS bunker on the right. If you hit either of those, your approach will be severely limited.One of the best place to hit it is actually down the left side. If you can squeeze it between the bunker and the native grass on the left, you will get a speed boost and you will have a very short approach to the green with the best angle to the pins on the right. However, you may not have a level lie and worse, your view may be blocked by the rising fairway. Decisions, decisions...If you want to play it really safe (or wind is howling), you can leave it short of the huge fairway bunker on the right. You probably have about 80 yard wide space there. However, if you end up there, you will probably have to fly the native grass area that guards green on the right side and you will have a completely blind approach with rightside pins.We are talking about 3 or 4 very distinct landing zones with distinct risk/reward scenarios. When you add the contours on the green (which are SEVERE!) and corresponding pin positions, the strategic combinations go through the roof. The hole plays differently every time you play it. It is one of those rare holes where playing it more and more will make you appreciate it more and more.What are some other great examples of strategic wide fairway holes?
It's funny Richard, you're right about that being a mantra around here yet I recall one of the bigger knocks on The Prairie Club being it's width.
Tom, that's kind of what I wonder, and what I thought when reading Matthew Peterson's post earlier on WeKoPa. I think we tend to call things "strategic" when there's a strategy to playing a hole, and I think that's a misnomer. Every hole has a strategy, even the long straight bunkerless par 4 surrounded by trees and tall rough.For a fairway's width to be strategic, there have to be multiple options regarding which part of the fairway you're aiming for, ideally varying depending on the day's conditions and pin position. This is why I don't see Matthew's description of the hole at WeKoPa as strategic. I haven't played it, but Matthew's description implies that the correct play is ALWAYS up the left side. I don't see anything strategic about that. If you can rough in an entire side of the fairway and not change the ideal line for a player familiar with the course regardless of the day or condition, the fairway width just isn't strategic. It's not good or bad, but it's not strategy. It's the same thing that I saw over and over again at Dormie Club: holes with a wide fairway and a correct strategy to play the hole, but not strategic because the strategy is the same every day regardless of conditions or pin placement.Re: 10 at Riviera, it seems that the strategic choices stem not from the fairway width but from the bunkering scheme. Having the wide fairway in front of the bunkers looks great, but it's not strategic since no one would ever purposefully aim for the right side (if they're familiar with the course and reasonably intelligent).
I was actually thinking of the 10th at Riviera when I came here to post, but to ask whether it is a good example of a strategic wide fairway, or not.Yes, it has a wide fairway. Yes, it is a great strategic hole. But, the wide fairway is a bit of a red herring ... there is never a time when any player really WANTS to be in the right half of the fairway, or even the right two-thirds. There are two good plays ... up by the green if you're long enough, or left side. So is having all that fairway to the right really a great thing if it doesn't fool very many players? Or is it just a waste of maintenance?
Wouldn't the 10th at Riviera be the epitome of strategic width? It seems to me that the tee and green would aim you up down the right side of the fairway. On first glance, the right side should give you a shorter approach, but that's completely contrary to the best way to play the hole. Granted, I haven't played it but just looking at pictures, that seems like what would happen on the first time around.
Matthew, if the left side requires a more difficult tee shot, then you're right. That's strategic. Your original post doesn't mention that and I don't know anything about how dangerous the left side is since I haven't played the course. What about the left side makes it more treacherous?