News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Peter Pallotta

Many of the early/classic GB&I links courses featured rumpled and rolling/contoured fairways.  The architects of that day didn't create as much as utilize these natural rumples, but they seemed to appreciated them as important aspects of the overall design.

My question: what purpose do you think these types of rumpled fairways served back in the day? How did they function in the context of and in relationship to other aspects of the design (e.g. green shapes/sizes, hazards etc)? What were their effects in a typical round of golf by a good player, and how did they affect those golfers?     

Sometimes I find myself thinking that the slightly uphill/sidehill/downhill and generally uneven lies of these fairways served as much a strategic role as did cleverly placed bunkers -- a subtle complexity-and-challenge-and-options-in-a-bottle that Nature had generously gifted the early architects free of charge, for them to use as best they could.

Back then, for golfers and critics alike, did some of the playing qualities and overall architectural quality of the best links courses have more to do with the effects of the rumpled fairways than we might realize?

I will be glad to hear the thoughts of the many here who know these courses (and the history) better than I do. I am trying, in getting an answer to these questions, to get a better sense of what was lost when rumpled fairways went out of vogue and/or were flattened out of existence.

I can only think of a few modern courses where the architect utilized/was willing and able to extensively incorporate these kinds of rumpled fairways; and, while folks in their reviews do mention this feature, I am wondering if maybe the rumples add even more to the overall design quality and playing experience than we might recognize.

Peter 

           
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 11:40:25 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 06:26:09 AM »
Peter,


Not sure this answers your question but when I first started playing in the UK and in the Far East as a kid there was pretty much no irrigation except very occasionally by handheld hosepipe on the greens.


You quickly learnt that there weren't many ways to stop a ball on a green or even on a lay-up so landing shots into upslopes to kill speed became second nature......."bump, hop and stop" or "the bank shot" we used to call it.


Similarly deliberately landing shots on downslopes to get a bit more forward progress. Even cutting shots into banks to gain a softer landing. Or deliberatley hit a shot too far and have the ball roll back towards the pin or roll sideways or whatever was needed to get close.


I never had to myself but I've been told by pre-WWII players that on really hard and fast summer greens they would even cut across putts to try to hold a putt against a severe side slope.


Playing on a severely frosted/frozen course would be a good comparison.


At other times or during the winter/wet season when ground conditions were considerably softer you quickly learnt that flying shots all the way onto greens or even up to the pin was possible.


Have a look at some old golf videos's on Youtube, even ones from the 1960'-70's, and you'll see the ground game being used more and slopes and rumpled fairways and humps and hollows were key to this way of playing the game.


Ground conditions are also one of the seasons why very old irons had thin blades with almost no bounce or flange....much easier to pick a ball off tight, bone hard ground than with a club with a wide sole and a bunch of bounce.


'Bounce', key word in more than one respect.


Atb





Joe Zucker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 07:32:21 AM »
Peter, I really like your notion that the rumpled fairways can be as strategic as well placed bunkers.  In my eye, golf in the UK is all about playing the game, getting the ball into the hall.  The weather is a huge part of that and during the Open we always talk about what kind of player can handle these challenges.  The uneven lies of rumpled fairways are another way to emphasize playing the game over swinging the club.


I would say the effect of this feature is that it creates golfers who can score and be creative.  This is opposed to the driving range like fairways of America that create beautiful swings.  Pot bunkers, weather, huge greens, and rumpled fairways are part of the ethos of Scottish golf that forces people to think about trajectories and bounces rather than swing plane and wrist angle.  When the game was more imperfect because of featheries and hickory shafts, I think these features made the game enjoyable because a repeatable swing was harder to achieve.

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 07:38:34 AM »
Whether intentional or not, they created the "natural" or "feel" golfer, as opposed to the perfect swings we see today. I was a feel golfer and in my day, I loved the challenge of the "quirky" fairway and its lies. As a matter of fact, that creative aspect of the game is much more what I excelled at as opposed to the treee lined, dead straight 420 yard par 4's which sometimes bored me to death.


The uphill, downhill, sidehill lies requires the golfer to adjust his stance, weight, posture to conform with the anticipated natural movement of the ball off these lies. It requires the golfer to modify his club selection, swing, follow thru, weight distribution and much more. It is why the European Golfer does so well on these type golf courses.


I'm often wrote about "quirk", and the 345 yard hole with tons of quirky lies was my all time favorite.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 08:40:45 AM by cary lichtenstein »
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

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2016, 09:12:00 AM »
Of course, ground contours had a much greater effect on the game 100 years ago than they do today.  Not only were the fairways not irrigated, but the playing equipment of the day made it MUCH more difficult to get the ball in the air.  Most people landed the ball short of the green out of necessity, and if the approaches favored a run-up from a certain angle, that added to the challenge.


The coolest feature of The Old Course is the number of sharp swales or ridges just in front of the greens.  Many are set at a slight angle to the line of play, instead of perpendicular, so a running ball played over or through them is deflected off line.  Sometimes you can play to one side of the fairway so you can play straight across the swale, but more often than not, you've got to allow for the deflection on the line you're playing.  There is much more to The Old Course than bunkers.

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2016, 09:22:12 AM »
The advent of shaping fairways brought about much of the unnecessary expense and poor  golf courses of the last 30 years.  When fairways were not shaped, one had to find the right routing and not create it.
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2016, 09:46:47 AM »
Rumples are there own reward, right?  They were there before the golf and rumples don't trouble themselves to help or hurt you.  They just rumple on.     Rumples rule. 
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 09:48:35 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2016, 09:49:13 AM »
Rumples are there own reward, right?  They were there before the golf and rumples don't trouble themselves to help or hurt you.  They just rumple on.     Rumples rule.

Rumpels Still Can :)
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Stewart Abramson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2016, 09:52:47 AM »
Rumples are there own reward, right?  They were there before the golf and rumples don't trouble themselves to help or hurt you.  They just rumple on.     Rumples rule.

Rumpels Still Can :)


They still can here.



Ballyliffin Old #1 h approach

Peter Pallotta

Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2016, 10:11:30 AM »
Thanks, gents.

For a few decades at least, golf and rumples were nearly synonymous - they went hand in hand. Golfers back then must've taken them almost as much for granted as they did greens and gorse and fairways.

I can't quite get over that thought/image, i.e. that for decades bad bounces and uneven lies were as integral to the game, as much a part of the playing of it, as putting.

That means something, I think, but I'm not sure what.

In one sense, it might mean that there was no "let up" in any of those early links, or with the game of golf itself i.e. every single shot from tee shot to the last putt was an adventure, a challenge, a question mark, a problem. 

No wonder the greens were big -- not only to allow for the wind, but to give those golfers a rest!       

I wonder if architecture started adding problems right around the time that inland golf and the machine age had started taking away the rumples.   

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2016, 10:52:40 AM »
Dont forget that the rumples ruled the greens as well.  Rumple Rumple.  :)
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2016, 01:49:53 PM »
With Rumples you do not need water, trees, etc., and makes for exciting golf
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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2016, 07:31:06 PM »
I just played Kington again today and marveled out how often I had roly poly lies mixed with fairway slope. There simply aren't nearly enough courses which offer this combo as a defence.  Trying to control ball flight becomes far harder even with 3-5 inch elevation changes in the fairway...something which Kington has in abundance.  Add in that much of the time greens aren't receptive, but are angled and Kington can become a great challenge for a course which doesn't hit 6000 yards from the back tees.


Ciao   
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2016, 09:12:28 PM »
Sean,


what you point out at Kington is one of the things that has been lost in the modern era and this mainly due to large machinery and timid constructors. Some of my favourite courses have this feature in abundance such a Boat of Garten or Kilspindie. However, it is not just on the fairway where this has disappeared but also on the greens where very few modern courses have anything like the subtle breaks and movement of the earlier stuff.


However, the thing that has harmed the game more than anything else in the UK is irrigation. Most courses would be much more interesting and fun to play with just quick couplings and no fairway irrigation.


Jon

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2016, 09:39:50 PM »
I just played Kington again today and marveled out how often I had roly poly lies mixed with fairway slope. There simply aren't nearly enough courses which offer this combo as a defence.  Trying to control ball flight becomes far harder even with 3-5 inch elevation changes in the fairway...something which Kington has in abundance.  Add in that much of the time greens aren't receptive, but are angled and Kington can become a great challenge for a course which doesn't hit 6000 yards from the back tees.


Ciao


+1
yet another indictment of "modern" agronomy
or the tyranny of the vocal minority
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2016, 09:45:23 PM »
Jon:


I agree with you, but not entirely.


Modern courses generally don't have the natural "wrinkle" of ancient links, but it's not always the fault of modern equipment.  True links benefit from being grazed down by animals so that machinery was not necessary to remove a lot of vegetation.  Most inland courses have to be cleared of vegetation, so even if we want to leave the rumple alone, it's hard to do, because you've got to fix so many disturbed areas.


Usually when you do see "rumple" on a modern course, it's stuff that has been added by shapers and finish guys who are really trying to imitate Nature.  It's really hard to do well, but occasionally we manage to pull it off.


You and Jeff are right though, a lot of the problem is that most people in modern times [owners, contractors, golfers] have different expectations.  And they want to drive a buggy across it all!

Peter Pallotta

Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2016, 12:02:19 AM »
T -
I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but the 8th at Crystal Downs is lovely because of its setting, compelling because of its uphill wind, challenging because of its angles and choices and green, but *exhilarating* because of its rumples.

Maybe *that* is what the golfers of the day got from the original rumples way back when, and what perhaps they took for granted -- exhilaration.  It's better that strategy, and more satisfying than ocean views.

P

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2016, 05:20:02 AM »
Jon:


I agree with you, but not entirely.


Modern courses generally don't have the natural "wrinkle" of ancient links, but it's not always the fault of modern equipment.  True links benefit from being grazed down by animals so that machinery was not necessary to remove a lot of vegetation.  Most inland courses have to be cleared of vegetation, so even if we want to leave the rumple alone, it's hard to do, because you've got to fix so many disturbed areas.


Usually when you do see "rumple" on a modern course, it's stuff that has been added by shapers and finish guys who are really trying to imitate Nature.  It's really hard to do well, but occasionally we manage to pull it off.


You and Jeff are right though, a lot of the problem is that most people in modern times [owners, contractors, golfers] have different expectations.  And they want to drive a buggy across it all!

Ahhh, yes, the buggy.  Well, that doesn't work so well at Kington  8)  I rode with a pal who couldn't walk once and I wish I was issued with mouth guard (gum shield for Brits).  Jeez Looeeeze is the ground bumpy and the golfer probably won't fully appreciate how much until they get in a buggy.  Its like driving over constant speed bumps that don't line up.   

To be honest, I don't know how a shaper could replicate Kington's bumps unless it was by hand.  Anyway, I am pretty sure there isn't an archie on the planet that would want to create Kington bumps, I think golfers would howl.  The bumps introduce too much chance into the game for most to cope with.  You can get some very weird bounces, deflections or shots plain killed....mainly little bump n' runs.  It all adds up to a few things

1. The guy who can hit greens and control the spin of the ball well has a huge advantage; the advantage of the aerial game has always been thus and it is no different today

2. Playing along the ground requires a lot patience, experience and a sense of humour...it is incredibly easy to leak shots when you don't think you hit a bad shot

3. Either way greens are approached, it is often difficult to get near the holes, but for good players it is easy for the club to set up 18 difficult pins to limit birdie opps

Incidentally, Kington is working on the 18th green to replace a broken pipe and raise the green to help with drainage.  There is a temporary well right and short of the green.  One gets a great idea of what the land is like on the temp...it hasn't been softened and man oh man is the green knobly...very interesting.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2016, 05:43:23 AM »
A couple of points.


That's a very fine and very typical photo of Ballyliifin Old fairway above. Thanks for posting Stewart. A comparison photo of a typical Glashedy fairway made by modern big machines would be useful.


As to Kington, the continuous bumps are old ant hills...how long have they been there though? Decades, 50 yrs, 100 yrs and pre-course? The bumps also seem to play very 'soft', ie a shot lands on one and the pace is killed off very quickly, even if the ball lands on the downslope side. This makes playing the ground game even more unpredictable. The bumps don't seem to dry out much either, normally very springy.


Many courses of the modern era were built on fields that were used for agriculture and agricultural farming what with ploughing etc will soon flatten out any micro-contours that may once have been present so the canvass for the golf architect/constructor is already bland.


Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2016, 06:01:16 AM »
ATB


There are plenty of firm bumps at Kington.  Its not the firmness which deflects shots (or not), it is the micro contour aspect of the bumps. If you want predictable bounces the bumps/hollows need to be far larger than 6-12 inches x 6-12 inches.  I saw some wild bounces against the slope yesterday. The thing is that its 50-50 if you are helped or hindered.  Either way, patience, experience and a sense of humour will take you a long way at Kington.  It also helps to know/understand how the conditions effect angles.  There are a few holes which are counter-intuitive in softer conditions.  For instance, on 6 it is usually better to be middle of the fairway, perhaps slightly right so the green is opened up by the slope.  However, if one can hold the green for whatever reason, driving up the left leaves a much better shot where the green is in full view, there is less elevation change and the entire green can be uitlized because it faces up the left.  However, if the hole is up front, it never pays to come in from the left.  Kington is really loaded with this sort of thing that rater types just don't get in a few visits. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2016, 06:21:17 AM »
That's a very fine and very typical photo of Ballyliifin Old fairway above. Thanks for posting Stewart. A comparison photo of a typical Glashedy fairway made by modern big machines would be useful.
Exactly what I saw when I saw that photo.  The contrast is extraordinary, and rather sad.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2016, 07:48:30 AM »
I appreciate that there any many firm bumps at Kington Sean, it was the old ant hills I was focusing on.
Your wording of being in a buggy at Kington is splendid.😄
Hope you didn't get rained on there yesterday, unlike us at the very end of a round at one of your other hilltop favourites.
Atb



Don Mahaffey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2016, 09:48:40 AM »
Those "added" rumples, indistinguishable as natural or not can be part of the storm and golf drainage, as well as adding golfing interest. When you are building on heavy soils with little internal drainage, you have to move the water on the surface. If you are building on a site with little topo relief, you are either going to add a lot of drains, or shape a lot of eath to drain, or do some of both. 

Great if you are on an awesome sandy site and you don't have to do any of that, but most of that golf is for the top 5%. If you want to build closer to population centers on land that was probably of a different use at one time, and on less than ideal soils, you are going to have to move the water off the grass. Shaping in some rumple and tying it in to the drainage plan is one way to add interest without an abundance of other features such as bunkers and water features. Some may say that shaping in that rumple adds cost or isn't pure, I say hogwash because you are going to have to drain it one way or another and bunkers in heavy soils on land with little topo relief are really expensive to build and maintain. Rumple can replace bunkers, as long as it isn't obvious that you were tryng to do that...ie...don't overdo the rumple right where the obvious bunker positions would be.

Peter Pallotta

Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2016, 01:30:11 PM »
Don - thanks for the good post on the functional aspects of rumples. As per my post above, in terms of playability, the most thrilling and satisfying golf shot I have ever hit was the 3 wood 2nd shot off the upslope of a rumple on the 8th at Crystal Downs. Talk about a rabbit feeling like a tiger - I was at that moment, when the ball landed safely in the middle of the fairway, the most exhilarated tiger-rabbit who ever lived! It's a win win, drainage and golf...I imagine much like what you all managed to achieve at WP
« Last Edit: October 16, 2016, 01:41:55 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What were the Functions/Effects of the Original Rumpled Fairways?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2016, 04:30:00 AM »
Photos of Ballyliffin Glashedy from Charles Lund. Fairways by big machines.








« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 04:32:13 AM by Thomas Dai »

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back