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Rick Sides

  • Karma: +0/-0
Penal Designs
« on: August 14, 2013, 12:38:45 PM »
Im down in Florida today and played the Raymond Floyd bunker-less course called Raptor Bay.  Although it was in great condition, it may have been one of the most penal courses I ever played.  There were a large number of blind tee shots, the fairways were narrow with thick native just off the cart paths with no chance to find a ball, and  most carries were 185+ yards over water/ native.  My question: is this bad architecture because it penalizes players to much?  With a 125 slope, I will tell you I have played 150 slope courses that seemed a lot more fair.

Andrew Buck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 01:09:21 PM »
I can't speak to that course, or why the slope was so low, but I definitely find courses with fairly narrow corridors (<40 yards) that have lost ball situations on both sides to be zero fun. 

Sometimes, it's all the architect is left with, so I'm not sure it's always their fault, but I certainly don't consider it good architecture.

A slope of 125 seems really low for a course with that harsh of penalty on misses.

Carl Johnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 01:11:58 PM »
Im down in Florida today and played the Raymond Floyd bunker-less course called Raptor Bay.  Although it was in great condition, it may have been one of the most penal courses I ever played.  There were a large number of blind tee shots, the fairways were narrow with thick native just off the cart paths with no chance to find a ball, and  most carries were 185+ yards over water/ native.  My question: is this bad architecture because it penalizes players to much?  With a 125 slope, I will tell you I have played 150 slope courses that seemed a lot more fair.

I'd say that, as you describe the course, 125 sounds too low.  Maybe a rater could chime in.  I know they try to use objective factors.  The course tour on their website does make it look a little intimidating.

It does not sound like good architecture to me if the course developer wanted to attract the typical recreational player.  If the developer wanted a penal course, then the architecture sounds right on point.

David Kelly

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 01:49:40 PM »
There might not be bunkers at Raptor Bay but there is plenty of sand there with waste areas around the greens on almost every hole. 

You never know what restrictions the architects had to work under but all we as consumers can do is judge the finished product and there are way too many courses in Florida like Raptor Bay.
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Matthew Petersen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 02:46:54 PM »
The back tees measure 6478 per the website. 125 still feels pretty low just looking at an aerial of how much water they have and the narrow corridors for many holes. But I suspect that low number is mostly coming from the relatively short length.

Under 6500 yards and with par 5s of 599, 567, and 550!

SL_Solow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 03:03:50 PM »
Matt;  good call.  Course rating starts with length which accounts for the bulk of the rating.  Slope is derived from rating in large measure

Carl Johnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 03:04:43 PM »
The back tees measure 6478 per the website. 125 still feels pretty low just looking at an aerial of how much water they have and the narrow corridors for many holes. But I suspect that low number is mostly coming from the relatively short length.

Under 6500 yards and with par 5s of 599, 567, and 550!

Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the shorter length relate more to course's rating than to the slope?  My understanding is that slope is supposed to reflect - to some degree at least - difficulty for the bogey golfer, based on such features as hazards, blind tee shots, blind approaches, and forced carries.  For a long time I've thought about learning some detail about how ratings and slopes are figured, but haven't (yet) taken the time to do so. [Written before reading SLS's post immediately above.]
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 03:06:23 PM by Carl Johnson »

Andrew Buck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 03:12:28 PM »
Just looking at the aerial and website, I think the majority of the holes actually look like they offer about 75 yards of width, certainly not the worst I've seen.  I think it would be a little cramped for my liking, but yeah, the relatively short length and number of par 3's and short par 4's probably keep the slope low.  I wonder if the measurements at landing area's (250 for scratch, 200 for bogey, for rating purposes) are wide enough that they barely consider the penalty.

When I look at the closest tees from my two clubs they are as follows (6313/70.7/129) and (6305/70.2/124) I find it very hard to believe either would not be at least a full shot easier than Raptor at (6478/70.4/125).  Does anyone know if they might judge a landing area that has 40 yards between trees as more difficult than one that has 60 yards between hazards?

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 03:13:06 PM »
the biggest difficulty for the bogey golfer is length. Therefore, length dominates slope rating.

At least that's the USGA/Pope of Slope view of it.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Andrew Buck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 03:16:11 PM »
The back tees measure 6478 per the website. 125 still feels pretty low just looking at an aerial of how much water they have and the narrow corridors for many holes. But I suspect that low number is mostly coming from the relatively short length.

Under 6500 yards and with par 5s of 599, 567, and 550!

Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the shorter length relate more to course's rating than to the slope?  My understanding is that slope is supposed to reflect - to some degree at least - difficulty for the bogey golfer, based on such features as hazards, blind tee shots, blind approaches, and forced carries.  For a long time I've thought about learning some detail about how ratings and slopes are figured, but haven't (yet) taken the time to do so. [Written before reading SLS's post immediately above.]

I know the slope is supposed to define the difference between a scratch golfer and a bogey bogey golfer from a given set of tees.  Length would play a part in that as well, and since a bogey golfer could likely reach most holes on a 6,400 yard course, and have reasonable shots at the 5 par 3's that will help.  

I don't know how much forced carry's come into play.  I know the bogey golfer is supposed to hit the ball 200 yards for rating purpose, but I don't know if a 60 yard landing area with 165 yards carry is judged easier than the 40 yard landing area with no carry.  

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 04:01:46 PM »
I was curious about this 'bunkerless' course so I googled it and there seems to be sandy waste areas and, okay, maybe you can ground your club in them, but to me this doesn't really count as genuinely bunkerless.

However, the current Royal Ashdown Forest thread, got me pondering, what are other genuine bunkerless-sandless courses in other parts of the world?

All the best

SL_Solow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 04:18:57 PM »
If you lok at the USGA website and explore the handicapp section, there is a oretty good summary of the factors that go into course ratings and slope.  There is a far more detailed hadbook that is used by those who do ratings but the basics are contained at tne website.  But note, the largest determinig factor is length as that has proven to have the greatest impact on score.  I might add that it is also the factor which requires the least amount of judgment.  Other factors can make incremental differences.

Jim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 04:29:16 PM »
Slope is confusing and misleading.  They should drop it altogether.  In its place, put the bogey rating.  That will make it immediately clear how hard the course is supposed to be for the average golfer. 

SL_Solow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 05:16:06 PM »
Jim, as you probably know, slope is a variation on the bogey rating with an attempt to apply a constant to allow a better comparison of courses.  Other than changing the numbers, I am not sure how it would help to use it.

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2013, 05:42:27 PM »
In what way is slope misleading and confusing?
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

John McCarthy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 06:29:03 PM »
Most courses are rated when new.  It takes a while for native areas to grow in.  

My home course got rated after the native stuff grew in and I think the slope went up by 5.  I know another new course that won't rerate because the members like to have higher handicaps.  

As an at best bogey golfer I prefer water hazards to native areas - at least I get a drop!
The only way of really finding out a man's true character is to play golf with him. In no other walk of life does the cloven hoof so quickly display itself.
 PG Wodehouse

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2013, 06:33:59 PM »
John,

As best a bogey golfer why don't you run far and fast from that course?

Your implication is that native areas are lost balls. Therefore, a logical conclusion would be that rounds take longer there due to ball searches.
The slope going up by five also implies lost balls in native areas. Why can't the native areas be maintained so that they don't result in lost balls? It seems Chis has modified maintenance at Dismal Nicklaus to correct that kind of problem. Why not your course?
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

ChipRoyce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2013, 06:41:51 PM »
(snip)

SL_Solow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs New
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 11:26:52 PM »
USGA requires periodic rerating.  In Chicago we have a good crew and a lot of courses. We generally rerate every 5 years or so.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 09:17:50 AM by SL_Solow »

Jim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2013, 12:08:37 AM »
Garland, slope is confusing because the number doesn't tell you how hard the course is for bogey (average) golfers).  It just shows you the difference between bogey and scratch, and then throws in a multiplier to make things even less accessible.

i.e. a course with 130 slope can be harder for bogey than another course with 140 slope.  

Bogey rating (which slope is partly based on) shows the average golfer exactly how hard any course is supposed to be for him.  If you also know the CR, you also know exactly how much harder the course is supposed to be for bogey vs scratch.  

Shel, the constant is a multiplier.  It magnifies the difference between CR and BR.  There is no mathematical reason for it, and no practical reason either, except to make a fairly small number look bigger.  Also, they artificially cap slope at 155.  Why??

As it stands, bogey golfers would do better paying attention to CR than slope, if they want to know how hard any course will likely be for them.  IMO they should forget slope, and instead list CR and BR.  

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2013, 07:15:00 AM »
Jim:

I like your idea.  If courses had to post their bogey rating instead of their slope, there would be less interest among owners for a high slope to signify a strong course.  You could still compute handicaps exactly the same ... just eliminate the number that makes a difficult course for the bogey player sound macho.

Rick Sides

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Penal Designs
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2013, 08:34:55 AM »
I like the bogey rating too!  The funny part about Raptor Bay is the fact it's a resort course!  Generally resort courses are suppose to be more forgiving to allow faster play and more fun.  I'm an 8 handicap and I lost 8 balls!  No fun :(

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