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Sean_A

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"Random Bunkering"
« on: January 11, 2016, 08:02:29 PM »
I understand the concept of random bunkering being those that seem as though they are not placed with a specific player in mind and depend more on land form opportunities rather than strategic merit.  However, I find it hard to believe there are many bunkers actually like this, let alone entire schemes...I think archies nearly always have something in mind when using sand. Interestingly, Augusta is the one course where I think the concept may have been fully embraced, though I cannot be sure.  All I do know is the early bunker scheme wasn't like anything I have ever seen and it makes me wonder if this was down to randomness. The extremely low number of bunkers could help sell the idea of randomness. 


Do folks think the concept of randomness is real and relevant?  If so, do you have examples?  If so, do you think the idea can work with a ton of bunkers?  At what point does random become repetitious?


Ciao
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 04:28:04 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

archie_struthers

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 08:16:06 PM »





Having had the good fortune as a student of architecture to build a course makes one wonder , what if ?


For sure my taste would be for more random bunkering were I to design / build  another course. It's really easy to worry to much about everything being strategic when in fact everything will be.  Watching the tournament of champions yesterday confirmed this , as the guy who shot -30 (J Spieth ) might have been snared more than a few times if randomness was in play (lol) .  Think his second on 18 final round.




When I caddied at Pine Valley  all those years ago I often wondered why there were tiny bunkers hidden deep in the woods . Little did I imagine that the bunkers were there before the trees.  Here's hoping many of them are saying sayonara as we speak here I the forum . I'm looking forward to seeing same .


Sean , random is good , very good !

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 08:59:34 AM »
Martin Hawtree had a go at it on the 18th at Balmedie International but can't say I was too impressed with that effort  ;)


Niall

Mike Nuzzo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 10:46:27 AM »
Hi Sean
I believe randomness becomes repetitious when it loses its variety.
The original bunker configuration of Augusta was far more random than today's, which isn't at all.
I am of the opinion that there are no pure random bunker configurations in America today.
I am also of the opinion that there is far to little variety in bunker configurations in America.


Here is a comparison between early Augusta (from the Byrdy book) to Wolf Point (which has far more than the normal amount of variety but not authentically random):


Total number of bunkers:
Augusta (1930s) 27   Wolf Point 59
Number of green side bunkers:
A 16     WP 12
Number of holes without bunkers
A 4      WP 3+ (the + is a partial bonus point because holes 11 & 12 share one bunker)
Number of bunkers on one shot holes
A 8      WP 6
Number of one shot holes without bunkers
A 0      WP 2
Most number of bunkers on a single hole
A 4      WP 10
Number of holes with 2 bunkers
A 6      WP 0


Edit*
Today's Augusta has 44 total bunkers, of those 32 are green side - not random.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 02:25:54 PM by Mike Nuzzo »
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil, Dr. Childs, & Tiger.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 02:34:01 PM »


I understand the concept of random bunkering being those that seem as though they are not placed with a specific player in mind and depend more on land form opportunities rather than strategic merit.
 
However, I find it hard to believe there are many bunkers actually like this, let alone entire schemes.
 
Sean,
 
It would appear that you've never played NGLA.
 
CBM's bunkering scheme, including what appear to be random bunkers, sometimes defies common sense, until you find yourself in one.
 
 
 
...I think archies nearly always have something in mind when using sand.
 
Interestingly, Augusta is the one course where I think the concept may have been fully embraced, though I cannot be sure. 
 
ANGC has very few bunkers when compared to many other courses.
There are 7 holes that come to mind that have no fairway bunkers.
 
All I do know is the early bunker scheme wasn't like anything I have ever seen and it makes me wonder if this was down to randomness. The extremely low number of bunkers could help sell the idea of randomness. 
 
The few bunkers that are in place at ANGC are very well positioned.
I don't think anyone with an architectural eye/mind would claim that they're random.

Do folks think the concept of randomness is real and relevant?
 
CBM and Ross thought it was real and relevant 
 
If so, do you have examples?
 
NGLA
PV
 
If so, do you think the idea can work with a ton of bunkers?
 
That would depend upon the topography and scale of the golf course 
 
At what point does random become repetitious?

If it was repetitious, it wouldn't be random. ;D

Ciao

Peter Pallotta

Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 03:26:31 PM »
Sean - while I know the meaning of 'random' as it's commonly understood, I tend to use it (as you do) in a more restricted and modest way when it comes to bunkers. That is: a bunker that does not appear to have either a directional, a strategic or a penal function for any level of golfer given the variety of skill sets and under normal/average conditions of play.

So, a bunker in (but on the left half) of the
fairway and 20 yards short of the green
on a straightaway mid-length Par 4 that plays with the prevailing wind would qualify as 'random', even when the green 'opens up' and is unprotected from the left side and when the prevailing wind is not all that prevailing.


But with so modest a definition of random, I still don't find myself encountering too many. In fact, on the courses I tend to play, I can't think of even one off hand.
Instead they are all directional (if sometimes also strategic and often merely penal).


Peter
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 03:31:38 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2016, 09:12:14 AM »
There are a couple of quotes attributed to me about preferring "random" bunkering but we never put one in without some reason for its position.  The point I was trying to make was that modern bunkering is far too predictable and anything different should be encouraged.  It's hard to fool the golfer's eye if he knows that all your bunkers are 265 or 285 yards from the back tee ... i prefer to vary them from 200 to 330 yards on different holes so everyone will encounter a handful that make them squirm.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2016, 09:35:28 AM »
It isn't random, but I get the impression that Mr Colt was far more concerned to find a natural landform into which he could build a bunker than he was about exactly how far that bunker was from the tee.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 09:52:48 AM »
There is some of that in Ross as well. It don't think either of them did it without reflection. It's more likely it was Colt's and Ross' way of obtaining the variety that TD talks about above.


Bob

JC Urbina

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 12:35:14 PM »
Sean A


In my opinion St Andrews is the poster child for random bunkering.  Certainly a few holes have some sense of preditcability but overall it's that variety that made me want to return over and over to find the primer from which the bunker layout had evolved.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 04:26:58 PM »
It isn't random, but I get the impression that Mr Colt was far more concerned to find a natural landform into which he could build a bunker than he was about exactly how far that bunker was from the tee.
Yes ... it is not well stated in any of the classic architecture books, but often the routing is actually driven by obvious positions for bunkering, and the tees placed with those bunkers in mind.  However the land forms do not always cooperate with yielding the distance you desire.

Matt MacIver

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 06:42:49 AM »
If we're throwing in modern courses Whistling Straits deserves a mention, there's probably every type of bunker there, including random.


And then there's courses with vast waste areas instead of bunkers, where does that concept fall?  PVs HHA; Kiawah and Tobacco Road; restorations like #2 and Mid-Pines. 

Ryan Farrow

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 12:34:00 PM »
It isn't random, but I get the impression that Mr Colt was far more concerned to find a natural landform into which he could build a bunker than he was about exactly how far that bunker was from the tee.
Yes ... it is not well stated in any of the classic architecture books, but often the routing is actually driven by obvious positions for bunkering, and the tees placed with those bunkers in mind.  However the land forms do not always cooperate with yielding the distance you desire.


Tom, do you ever force a bunker into a specific yardage and create a landform to support that bunker? Or will you just forego the bunker entirely?






Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 01:01:26 PM »
One thing that may have contributed to the perceived reduction in randomness is the RTJ style (and Wilson, Lee) of flanking bunkers on each side of a perceived landing zone. 

I believe, Ross, Colt and others mixed in a few as targets (usually behind the landing zone) and many more as angled carry bunkers, all for the approximate same tee shot.  I believe Ross used 200 yard dogleg points, whereas RTJ moved them to 250.  Ross may have planned for 225 shots later in his career, I don't really recall.

Add it the idea of staggering bunkers like far left and shorter/carry right, and bunkering becomes far less monotonous.

I think there is a balance to calculating out bunker locations.  Say I play on a 290 drive (about PGA Tour Average) with 275 carry.  I factor in wind and elevation changes which alters that, sometimes by 10% or more.  But, if I find a nice knoll at 259 or 306, etc., I easily put the bunker there, because almost no one hits it whatever the average distance for their "class of player."   I also figure that a bunker can catch a flying shot or rolling shot, which makes any exact distance placement not so critical.

As to forcing them in, it rarely seems to work.  You need a nice upslope, or at least level ground.  If the area happens to be on a downslope, you find it hard to put a bunker there.

I recall playing Bear Creek when I moved to DFW,  a Ted Robinson design.  He had a few fairway bunkers placed at the dog leg on the downslope, and the backing berms had over 20 foot of fill in them.  I really don't need a specific bunker to use that much fill, although I will say, in outdoor scale, its not quite as drastic as it sounds.  Also, on some hilly sites, you might face half the fairways in a situation like that and decide that once or twice you will invest the fill to have some bunkering variety where otherwise there would be few fairway bunkers to suit your taste.

Really, that is what architecture is about - literally hundreds of decisions balancing the play, the land forms, etc.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 01:22:35 PM »
From a strict philosophical definition, once an architect purposefully decides on the location of any bunker then it is not random.

Random would be an architect standing over a map of the course with a handful of pebbles and having tossed said pebbles onto said map from a distance letting their individual destinations locate synonymous bunker destinations on the golf course.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2016, 01:44:12 PM »
From a strict philosophical definition, once an architect purposefully decides on the location of any bunker then it is not random.

Random would be an architect standing over a map of the course with a handful of pebbles and having tossed said pebbles onto said map from a distance letting their individual destinations locate synonymous bunker destinations on the golf course.


That could produce some cool holes ... but more likely so if you tossed the pebbles first and then routed the holes based on their positions.


However it would probably NOT produce a good course visually; things would feel out of kilter because the landforms weren't based on natural forces.




Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2016, 01:46:20 PM »

Tom, do you ever force a bunker into a specific yardage and create a landform to support that bunker? Or will you just forego the bunker entirely?


I'm sure I have done so, but not very often.  Actually, though, you don't really have to create a landform for every bunker ... sometimes one can look good just sitting out there on its own.

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2016, 03:03:10 PM »
Mike,

It would probably be beyond the capabilities of most architects to leave those stone throw bunkers completely unchanged. 

While random is a good look, I think the human eye craves some sort of relationships.  Given your fixed view point on all tees, and even most LZ or fairway, and knowing you can create a picture, and need to lead the eye somewhat, at least a few of those random pieces would get thrown closer to the line of play or something, to arrange a random like pattern, that looks "natural" but still functions as golf elements.

One example would be if two or more bunkers ended up in line, and thus not visible.  Would you build the two behind the one you can see, given the cost?  Or move them slightly so you could see the second beyond the first?
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Kyle Henderson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2016, 08:07:37 PM »
If we're throwing in modern courses Whistling Straits deserves a mention, there's probably every type of bunker there, including random.


And then there's courses with vast waste areas instead of bunkers, where does that concept fall?  PVs HHA; Kiawah and Tobacco Road; restorations like #2 and Mid-Pines.

Whistling Straits has many (1000+ ) peripheral bunkers, but only a handful in the fairways (on 2, 10 and 15). Random bunkers would be more evenly dispersed (eg in the greens)
"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Lloyd_Cole

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2016, 10:17:46 PM »
From a strict philosophical definition, once an architect purposefully decides on the location of any bunker then it is not random.

Random would be an architect standing over a map of the course with a handful of pebbles and having tossed said pebbles onto said map from a distance letting their individual destinations locate synonymous bunker destinations on the golf course.


That could produce some cool holes ... but more likely so if you tossed the pebbles first and then routed the holes based on their positions.


However it would probably NOT produce a good course visually; things would feel out of kilter because the landforms weren't based on natural forces.

These conversations are why I still come by and read here.

Lloyd_Cole

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2016, 10:24:41 PM »
In electronic music the use of random control voltage generators is quite popular. But as a defining cornerstone to a piece I don't like to use them without regulation. Instead I prefer to allow random within an accepted window or watershed, so I can outlaw certain outcomes but allow instability within the ranges that I have determined to be acceptable. Then I can guarantee musicality and hopefully still encourage unpredictability.


Patrick_Mucci

Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2016, 11:58:58 AM »

Sean,

How much of the "random" bunkering at TOC do you attribute to the fact that the course now plays in reverse order from the original routing ?





Sean A


In my opinion St Andrews is the poster child for random bunkering.  Certainly a few holes have some sense of preditcability but overall it's that variety that made me want to return over and over to find the primer from which the bunker layout had evolved.
[/quote]

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2016, 05:22:12 PM »

Sean,

How much of the "random" bunkering at TOC do you attribute to the fact that the course now plays in reverse order from the original routing ?





Sean A


In my opinion St Andrews is the poster child for random bunkering.  Certainly a few holes have some sense of preditcability but overall it's that variety that made me want to return over and over to find the primer from which the bunker layout had evolved.



Pat


I really couldn't say about the reverse routing bunkering. Although, a ton of TOC's bunkers are in the "right" spots. If anything, there are rather too many pits down the right side of the course going out to be anything like random.  This is generally the problem with randomness...its hard to be random when tons of angles are are covered by sand.   


To me, some of the best random bunkers are those which rely on wind to bring them into play.  It is interesting to walk past a bunker and wonder how much tail wind would be required to make me take notice. I have been caught out by bunkers I take for granted as not reachable or easily carried...even on courses I know. 


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

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2016, 05:37:53 PM »
I am not sure that many of those bunkers on The Old Course are truly random.  Many of them were dug deliberately ... they were just dug long ago when golf was at a way different scale, and were dug with the intent of providing interest to different classes of players.  Many of them are quite short off the normal tees, unless they were dug for the reverse course; but the overall effect is "random" because there are so many of them and they cover such a wide range.

Don Mahaffey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: "Random Bunkering"
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2016, 10:18:52 AM »

Tom, do you ever force a bunker into a specific yardage and create a landform to support that bunker? Or will you just forego the bunker entirely?


I'm sure I have done so, but not very often.  Actually, though, you don't really have to create a landform for every bunker ... sometimes one can look good just sitting out there on its own.

This...THIS
Modern architecture has been overrun by maintenance, photogenic, and fairness requirements, so most bunkers are propped up in the air.
What I look for, and is almost impossible to find in modern courses, is a low lying bunker with no telltale "fat" around it that discloses either what was imported to build the bunker. or where the spoils from the bunker excavation were dumped and smoothed out.
I'm not saying every bunker should be like this, but they have their place IMO.  Although most in golf have long abandoned this approach.   

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