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Jason Topp

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The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« on: August 17, 2015, 10:10:38 AM »
While is is not exactly a fully formed opinion, the feature I find most irritating on Pete Dye courses are the very severe artificial slopes, usually in the rough.  Whistling Straits, ASU Karsten, and PGA West Stadium are examples of courses using this feature extensively.
Hitting a shot with a ball at your waistline or well below your feet gets tiresome pretty quickly.  I recall being a fan when first exposed to Fazio's work in the 80's in large part because he softened those slopes I had experienced on Dye courses. 
The reason the opinion is not fully formed is because I do think steep slopes can be a wonderful feature - Langford bunkers, natural dunes, etc.  Dye courses also usually have plenty of room to avoid the steep humps and bumps off of the fairway and there is no doubt that he is very good at creating strategic interest with them.  Nonetheless, because of their look and playability, I doubt I would build them if I were in charge.
What are your thoughts? 

RJ_Daley

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2015, 10:23:16 AM »
I find that the Langford/Morreau slopes adjoining their long sweeping bunkers are every bit as steep and high as many of Dye's.  The difference in my view is that Dye uses them everywhere to the extreme.   Dye's tend to be more abrupt and adjoining smaller bunkers that are nested rather than long and sweeping gull winged.   When DH hit the infamous shot into the one that they covered with grand stand this year, Dye said, "well he shouldn't have been there in the first place".   Yes, that is true fr a tournament player.  But not much off line for the average guy, it seems to me (I know that particular bunker well).   Those abrupt slopes and humps adjoining bunker nests, or volcano-like bunkers with slopes up and into the deep bowls at WS please those that enjoy the S&M golfstyle.  But, there seem to be enough of them willing to pay the big bucks to be whipped and flogged.   ::)
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.

cary lichtenstein

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2015, 10:24:34 AM »
I guess it depends on your audience. Personally I love them, but it doesn't appear to discourage the average golfer from paying and playing at Whistling Straits. I loved the challenge but if I were a high handicap, I guess I'd consider it too hard


Goofy and quirky can be good however, as I hate a 420 straight tee lined hole, bores me to death and it's certainly more fun than playing something like Oakmont whose rough is totally unforgiving.
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 10:28:35 AM »
At WS its an attempt to mimic the steep slopes found on some Irish courses, covered with fescues, etc., but modernized.  Yeah, TPC doesn't look like that.  In most places, long flowing slopes do a better job of imitating nature, but WS is purely artificial, trying to emulate somewhere else in the world.

I agree with the general premise, though.  I used to use a lot of mounds figuring anything grass was preferable to sand.  When I watch average golfers play, those side hill lies cause almost as much trouble as sand.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2015, 10:32:25 AM »
Memo to Superintendents with many acres of native roughts:    Have a couple hundred thousand people tramp through the native or about a week, to keep the native thin enough to have playable lies in that native rough....  ;D
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.

Josh Tarble

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2015, 10:39:41 AM »
I think this is one issue that GCA in general can be a bit hypocritical.  How can a feature that has seemingly been around as long as golf architecture, now be a bad thing since Pete Dye did it?


For example, look at this shot from Ran's tour of Yeamans:



Or this shot of the GCA-beloved 10th hole at Yale (with this slope being directly in the line of play, not even behind a green):





Or this at the Alps at NGLA (blind shot into the green no less):





I'm definitely a Pete Dye apologist, but I think his use of steep slopes and fearsome hazards is borderline genius.  He has given golfers pretty ample room to play in most situations and in my opinion, no one is better at designing interesting courses from different sets of tees.  It's just the golfers who choose to play from the wrong sets - for better or worse. 

Rees Milikin

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2015, 10:46:31 AM »
Part of the appeal of Dye, MacRayBanks, and L&M is the variety & excitement of recovery shots that you encounter from the steep slopes.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2015, 10:49:48 AM »
Josh,


Good points. All images are greenside that necessitate a less-than-full swing. Do you have any fairway rough steep slopes from golden-age beloveds, to sustain the premise?


RM
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Matthew Sander

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 10:53:57 AM »
I think this is one issue that GCA in general can be a bit hypocritical.  How can a feature that has seemingly been around as long as golf architecture, now be a bad thing since Pete Dye did it?


For example, look at this shot from Ran's tour of Yeamans:



Or this shot of the GCA-beloved 10th hole at Yale (with this slope being directly in the line of play, not even behind a green):





Or this at the Alps at NGLA (blind shot into the green no less):





I'm definitely a Pete Dye apologist, but I think his use of steep slopes and fearsome hazards is borderline genius.  He has given golfers pretty ample room to play in most situations and in my opinion, no one is better at designing interesting courses from different sets of tees.  It's just the golfers who choose to play from the wrong sets - for better or worse.


Josh,


While my initial reaction to the post was similar to yours, I think we need to be fair in characterizing the initial post. If I'm not mistaken, I think Jason is primarily referring to the severe slopes that are common along and just off of fairways. The green side slopes are a different animal as the nature of recoveries around the green are quite different from those adjacent to fairways in the approach areas.


Personally, I don't mind them as part of a mix of features throughout a course. At the risk of pre-judging, I am a bit skeptical regarding the ridge top fairways and severe slopes featured at Dye's French Lick course. They seem to be a recurrent piece of the presentation there.

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2015, 11:06:21 AM »
I'm definitely a Pete Dye apologist, but I think his use of steep slopes and fearsome hazards is borderline genius.  He has given golfers pretty ample room to play in most situations and in my opinion, no one is better at designing interesting courses from different sets of tees.  It's just the golfers who choose to play from the wrong sets - for better or worse.
Josh - it is exactly the features shown in your picturesthat give me hesitation in my viewpoint.  However, I do think there is a fundamental difference between your examples and the type of terrain you see on the sides of fairways at Whistling Straits or PGA West.
 

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 11:14:22 AM »
When you compare a steep slope and mound adjacent to a MacRaynor or L&M FW feature sand or grass bunker, you have a structure that is long and oriented in a general direction with the slopes all sort of pointing or guiding down the line of play or at least in a more consistently oriented direction.  But with a nest of bunkers of varying shapes, sizes, and depths, as found most specifically at WS, you more often have pots and ditches and bunkers that orient and slope every which way, yielding many more varied and frustrating stances and lies.  With Dye, you often get a small little deep pot only big enough to hold one angry man and his niblick, right next to and separated by two feet of turf, to a deep gapping large bunker, perhaps with one wall shored up by RR ties.  That is so different to the slopes, humps and bunks of the golden age guys...
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.

Josh Tarble

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 11:17:49 AM »
When you compare a steep slope and mound adjacent to a MacRaynor or L&M FW feature sand or grass bunker, you have a structure that is long and oriented in a general direction with the slopes all sort of pointing or guiding down the line of play or at least in a more consistently oriented direction.  But with a nest of bunkers of varying shapes, sizes, and depths, as found most specifically at WS, you more often have pots and ditches and bunkers that orient and slope every which way, yielding many more varied and frustrating stances and lies.  With Dye, you often get a small little deep pot only big enough to hold one angry man and his niblick, right next to and separated by two feet of turf, to a deep gapping large bunker, perhaps with one wall shored up by RR ties.  That is so different to the slopes, humps and bunks of the golden age guys...


so different....



Josh Tarble

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2015, 11:20:45 AM »
I'm definitely a Pete Dye apologist, but I think his use of steep slopes and fearsome hazards is borderline genius.  He has given golfers pretty ample room to play in most situations and in my opinion, no one is better at designing interesting courses from different sets of tees.  It's just the golfers who choose to play from the wrong sets - for better or worse.
Josh - it is exactly the features shown in your picturesthat give me hesitation in my viewpoint.  However, I do think there is a fundamental difference between your examples and the type of terrain you see on the sides of fairways at Whistling Straits or PGA West.




Jason, I agree, there are a lot of steep drop offs at WS and even TPC, Kiawah, etc. (I haven't been to PGA West)  But what makes that great is they are right on the aggressive line.  What you're missing, and many miss with TV coverage because pros are only taking aggressive lines anymore, is that the other side is relatively benign.  Dye gives players the opportunity to make an easy bogey, just no one actual takes that approach.

Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2015, 11:26:01 AM »
I'm definitely a Pete Dye apologist, but I think his use of steep slopes and fearsome hazards is borderline genius.  He has given golfers pretty ample room to play in most situations and in my opinion, no one is better at designing interesting courses from different sets of tees.  It's just the golfers who choose to play from the wrong sets - for better or worse.
Josh - it is exactly the features shown in your picturesthat give me hesitation in my viewpoint.  However, I do think there is a fundamental difference between your examples and the type of terrain you see on the sides of fairways at Whistling Straits or PGA West.




Jason, I agree, there are a lot of steep drop offs at WS and even TPC, Kiawah, etc. (I haven't been to PGA West)  But what makes that great is they are right on the aggressive line.  What you're missing, and many miss with TV coverage because pros are only taking aggressive lines anymore, is that the other side is relatively benign.  Dye gives players the opportunity to make an easy bogey, just no one actual takes that approach.

I agree with that point Josh and made it in my original post.  I am not, however, a big fan of the choice of hazard.   

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2015, 11:26:49 AM »
Josh, does that photo depict original design configuration, or an evolved 'upholstered look'.   ;D
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.

Josh Tarble

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2015, 11:42:04 AM »
Jason,


Would you prefer they were a water hazard?

Jason Topp

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2015, 11:48:15 AM »
Jason,


Would you prefer they were a water hazard?
No but there are many other options.

Josh Tarble

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2015, 11:51:58 AM »
Such as?


I believe the steep slope rides that line of fearsome/playable. 




Jason Topp

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2015, 12:01:05 PM »
Such as?


I believe the steep slope rides that line of fearsome/playable.
Bunkers, thin wispy long grass, less awkward slopes, regular rough, desert, waste bunkers - whatever fits the location.

Rees Milikin

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Re: The steep goofy slopes on Dye Courses
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2015, 12:10:41 PM »
Such as?


I believe the steep slope rides that line of fearsome/playable.
Bunkers, thin wispy long grass, less awkward slopes, regular rough, desert, waste bunkers - whatever fits the location.

For these pros that isn't much of an incentive to avoid an aggressive line.  Hitting out of sand, wispy grass, rough, etc is child's play for these guys. 

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