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Nigel_Walton

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2003, 02:19:43 PM »
Does anybody know if this hole was patterned after a specific hole in the UK?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

AWTillinghast

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2003, 02:23:00 PM »
Pat Mucci
You said donít see much strategy at all in the 18th holes at Shinnecock, Merion, Friars Head, and Riveria, just herculian drives followed by long second shots, to difficult greens and surroundings.

I understand your response regarding Shinnecock and Merion, but not Friarís Head and Riviera.  Yes they are both very challenging finishing holes, but I perceive them as very strategic as well.  You get very well rewarded with a far superior angle for challenging the tree line down the right side at Riviera.  At Friarís Head, you can take the safe route out to the right for a long iron or fairway wood approach, a more aggressive line to the left for a middle iron approach or a most aggressive line with a draw/hook for a short iron or even wedge approach.  Both appear very strategic to me.  What am I missing or would you agree on second thought?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2003, 03:13:14 PM »
Tom Paul needs to get back from Florida ASAP to get in on this one.

1) I prefer Joel Stewart's BIAS regarding finishing holes (plus he's a very nice guy) but I agree that NGLA #18 is a superb strategic hole. †It happens to be the 18th but so what? †I'd like to see Pebble finish on #'s 9 or 10 instead of the current 18th but that's also a wonderful strategic hole despite the Stupid Trees.

2) Rich Goodale: †I can tell that you're underwhelmed by the par 5's at National and perhaps I make more of them than many - too many 7's and 8's at the wrong time, I guess.

But # 18 an "uphill slog"?? †I can't see that. †Even a small left-to-right breeze makes a direct shot at the green dangerous from either side of the fairway. †And chipping/pitching to that green DOWNWIND towards the bay after a left side bailout second shot??? †Scares me to death.

Admittedly, much/all of the strategy on the tee shot is gone for the long hitter as the left bunker is now easily carried by many more golfers due to technology. †But many still need to play for position near the bunker off the tee to get the best angle for the 2nd shot (myself included).

Methinks you're an awfully confident half wedge player to not be impressed by #'s 7 and 18 at National.

As a comparison, do you consider #16 at Dornoch to also be an uphill slog?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:04 PM by -1 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2003, 03:52:38 PM »
Rich Goodale,

Fear not, redemption is near.

I'm going to try to email the picture to Paul Turner and see if he can post it.  I will then try to explain in detail some elements of the picture which are not readily apparent, such as elevation changes, pitch of the fairway, etc., etc..

Don't look at the strategy of the hole in the narrow band of PGA Tour players.  Consider them, but expand your thoughts to every level of golfer.

While I love Pebble Beach, isn't # 18 a curved bowling alley ?
One side Ocean, one side OB, center cut = prime location.

AWT,

The skill necessary to execute the "strategic" drive at #'s 18 at Riviera and Friar's Head may be well beyond the capability of most golfers.

Riviera requires a fairly difficult carry over a rapidly ascending
ridge, with the drive avoiding any ball going slightly right.
I don't know that as a percentage, many people are capable of executing the "prefered" tee shot.

Friar's Head presents a similar task with the driver with a different landform providing the challenge/impediment.
Carry is necessary as is avoiding the rapidly ascending landform that serves as the blocking agent in the elbow of the dogleg.

Both holes then require laser like shots to relatively small targets, with a miss, green high left at Friar's Head, spelling disaster.

I would say that birdie's are difficult to come by at both holes.
I would say that Pars are difficult to come by at both holes.

Paul Turner,

I will email you the picture in a few minutes.

If you post it, I will try to comment in as much detail as possible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

AWTillinghast

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2003, 04:02:00 PM »
Pat Mucci
How far is it to the left bunker (ignore the uphill) from the back tee at NGLA?
How far is the carry over that bunker from the back tee?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Steve_L.

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2003, 04:12:59 PM »
AWTillinghast...

Are you sure you want to debate inspirational par 5 design?

Cheers,

Steve
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2003, 04:23:49 PM »
AWT,

I think par 5's contain "inherently" more strategy then par 4's,
just as I feel that par 4's contain "inherently" more strategy then par 3's.

With respect to the left side fairway bunker complex, I'll measure the distance from the back tee to the begining of the bunker and to the crest of the bunker.

One can't ignore the added carry required on an elevated obstacle, but I'll do my best to provide the exact yardages when I get the opportunity.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2003, 04:36:18 PM »
Paul Turner,

I emailed the photo.

I do have a digital camera, I just haven't been to NGLA since I bought it, and I would prefer that someone far more skilled than I, take the pictures.

However, I do have two additional low aerial pictures of NGLA in my office, which I will scan and send tomorrow, just to give more people a flavor for the course.  The pictures are of 14, 15 and 16 and the other is of # 2.

Joel Stewart,

I believe # 18 at Cherry Hills is a par 4, # 17 is the par 5.
And as Gene pointed out, "Stategically" is the operative word that appears in the title of this thread, and is the basis for which the discussion should be conducted.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

AWTillinghast

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2003, 05:07:26 PM »
Steve L
Not debating inspirational par 5 designs.  Definitely not challenging Pat Mucci's opinion about the 18th hole at NGLA because it's a great hole.  Just challenging his assessment that the 18th holes at Riviera and Friar's Head lack strategy.  At Riviera, I believe that both shots require a lot of thought and the same goes for the home hole at Friar's Head.  I don't know how many times he has played FH, but there are a lot of options on that last tee shot in club, shot and target selection, and those options are not available just to the bombers.  It is a very difficult hole, as is the 18th at Riviera, but that doesn't mean that strategic options aren't present!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2003, 06:07:12 PM »
AWT,

Let's discuss each hole seperately,

Tell me of the strategic options that exist off the tee at Riviera ?

At 454+ yards, uphill, I don't see numerous options and †strategy in trying to make par.

There is but one choice, a heroic drive that must carry a difficult obstacle that doesn't allow for any alternate way around it, it must be confronted and carried.

Compare that drive with the various options available on the drive at # 18 at NGLA. †There must be a dozens of choices.

The same exists for the second shot at # 18 at NGLA.

Even the third shot leaves you a variety of options, and club selections.

In comparison, the 18th at Riviera pales, strategically.
Wouldn't you agree ?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:04 PM by -1 »

Paul_Turner

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2003, 06:27:45 PM »
Here's Patrick's photo:



Is it a skyline (or sealine?) green, or are those trees still visible at fairway height?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2003, 07:11:24 PM »
Paul Turner,

Thanks for posting the picture.

The green is a skyline green from afar, but the trees in the backround become visible as you get closer to the green.

The picture you see is from the begining of the second fairway, beyond the leftside fairway bunkers that create most of the decisions off the tee.

The fairway continues to rise until it reaches a point about even with the large flag pole on the right. †The path you see near the flagpole, are steep steps heading down to a practice tee.

The right side rough/fairway falls off sharply, perhaps 100 feet down to the shore line. †Anything hit right of the flag pole is usually gone.

There is a catch bunker behind the green, but it is not large, and that too falls away dramatically, to oblivion.

The left side fairway cants toward the bunkers and continues falling beyond the bunkers.

The left side of the green feeds into a swale and a bunker, with the recovery shot facing nothing but outer space.
You cannot see the bushes, which are below the fairway level on the right. †Remember, this is an aerial.

The west wind is in your face. †Any southerly wind pushes the ball toward the bay.

The offset nature of the fairway bunkers makes it difficult to gage where they are, since they are invisible from one's drive.

The closer to the flag pole, the better the angle for the 3rd shot, but who has that control or courage.

The putting surface has a small tier, and cants more than one can usually see.

When the pin is back, it takes great courage or great stupidity to attack that location. †Successful shots are deemed courageous, failed shots stupid. †Results are important.

Even a short shot from next to the bunker short and left of th green is dicey. †And, the further back the shot, the dicier and scarier it gets. †So while laying up, can be sound strategy on your 2nd shot, it creates havoc with your third shot.

Unfortunately, I don't have a low altitude aerial of the entire hole, like I do on # 15. †If I did you would see the genius of the hole. †But, if you do have "Scotland's Gift", go to the schematic in the back of the book and you will see exactly where this photo begins on the hole. †Or, page 135 and 136 of "The Evangelist of Golf" will give you a similar schematic and picture to piece together with the photo I've provided.

Armed with those renderings and pictures it may assist you in understanding the hole.

For those of you who haven't seen the hole, I'd be happy to try to answer any questions you have. †Hopefully, George Bahto is lurking and can provide even more information.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:04 PM by -1 »

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2003, 07:19:43 PM »
Trees not visible at all from anywhere more than 50 yards from the green and, even then, one has to look for them.  Nor can you see much of the bunkers on the left side (if at all) when playing the hole.

Alas, this picture doesn't show the first 275+ yards of the hole including the left side bunker being discussed.

Aerials just can't communicate the "flavor" of a hole to me - the hole is much more complicated than it appears in this picture.

Similarly, who could know from an aerial that #15 at Pine Valley is (arguably) the greatest par 5 ever built?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Steve_L.

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2003, 07:21:54 PM »
Pat,

Great description and terrific photo...  How was this photo taken..?

I hope AWT knows I was not serious in my prior post...  Seems that this hole "outstrategies" 18 at Riviera hands down.  I don't necessarily think this is the BEST finishing hole as this thread's subject might claim, but it is among the most interesting/sophisticated and it's setting is amazing.  I can't imagine a better finish than 18 at Pebble Beach - it's hardly a left-bending bowling alley...  And the waves crashing along the left side adds to the sensory experience.

Thanks for the further enlightenment on this hole.  I'd like to see your photo of #15 posted too...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2003, 07:48:29 PM »
Steve L,

It was my understanding that this picture was taken from a balloon.  As was my picture of # 15 and # 2.

Strategically, I think this hole out performs # 18 at PB because there are so many options on each shot, yet they all have a substantial effect on the next shot.

I won't say it's tantamount to playing chess, but you do have to think ahead, especially if you're playing when it counts for something special, match or stroke.

The semi blindness of the 2nd and 3rd shots can be very disturbing to the golfer, that hitting to the unknown, or trusting your caddy.

The mental and physical hazards abound.

It is so much fun playing this hole.

On occassion, after an event, I've played it 10-20 times, over and over again, until it gets dark.  I could play this hole alone, for the rest of my life, and be very happy.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Steve_L.

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2003, 08:07:00 PM »
I've played PB, haven't played NGLA...

My impressions:
Pebble Beach = don't go left (Ocean)
NGLA = don't go right (down the hill - gone forever)
Pebble Beach = if you do bail right you have a tough pitch with bunkers and tree...
NGLA = if you do bail left you have the clubhouse and an awkward angle of approach, but a less distinct compromise than a right bail at Pebble...

And Pebble has the crashing surf...

Both are great - I just can't imagine a higher sensory experience than the rugged coastline and crashing waves at Pebble...  Based on experience it's a one sided viewpoint - but that darn Pacific Ocean is a pretty awesome edge to a golf hole...!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2003, 08:21:40 PM »
I would rather play a reachable par 5 as a finishing hole, yet there are some short par 4 finishing holes that offer many strategic challenges, ie 18 at Olympic, 18 at Inverness, and even the much maligned 18 at Cypress Point.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

ForkaB

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2003, 11:38:17 PM »
Pat

Thanks for the elucidations.  I don't yet feel redeemed, but it's only 364 days until the next Easter....

I have no doubt that 18 NGLA has multiple options for all classes of players, but I also think that as you move down the handicap food chain, virtually ANY golf hole has multiple options.  For example, the 1st at TOC must strike fear into the heart of the 24 handicapper who worries about slicing it OB off the tee and/or topping his or her second into the burn. To the non-Baker-Finch pro it is just a question of how close can you get your wedge to the pin.

I'd like to know, from people like yourself who have played the hole many times, in competition, and with some skill:

What strategies are going through your mind when you stand on that 18th tee?  How does the state of your round/match alter how you choose between those alternative strategies?  Depending on your execution of the tee shot, how do those strategies change?

My limited experience at NGLA doesn't give me any confidence in being able to answer those questions myself.  On the other hand, I know PB #18 somewhat better, and while it might have been a "bowling alley" in the good ole' days of balata and persimmon when 99.9% of the players layed up, I think it is a very rich hole now, strategically, when the best players can visualise hitting Driver, 4-iron to the green.

Chipoat

Seeing the picture that Paul T posted, I'm glad I didn't have a mental image of the hole the one time I played it.  I personally think that any hole which is sharply uphill is a "slog," and the blindness which inevitably accompanies uphillness diminishes any such hole's strategic interest, to me.

As for the 16th at RDGC, I'm on record as saying that the tee shot (which you can see in all it's glory in front of you) is one of the classic "strategic" shots in golf.  As for the 2nd to the horizon green, no matter which strategy you choose off the tee and how well you execute it, is just a "hit it straight and get the right distance" sort of "slog."  Of course, the "slog" over unbroken fairway with a 9-iron from position A is dramatically different than the "slogs" with a 4-iron from the bottom of the rise in the middle of the fairway, or with a 6-iron over the quarry on the left, which is why that tee shot is so "strategic"............
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2003, 04:25:19 AM »
Rich Goodale,

I'll try to answer you questions, strictly from my perspective.

I think, had NGLA been a tournament site, like Pebble Beach, that the 18th tee would have been moved back to the limit, to accomodate the big boys.  My contention is, that to precisely preserve the angles of attack and strategy off the tee, you must take any extended tee as straight back as possilbe.

In playing in the National Singles Tournament, I've been one down, one up, and all even in my match play matches, and, that did alter my strategy in playing the hole.

In addition, in the qualifiying stroke play portion of the tournament, if you've teed off late, knowing what you have to make to qualify for the Championship flight can affect your play of the hole.

Unfortunately, my photo doesn't show the tee shot, the left side fairway bunkers and the right side bunker and drop off.

But, on the tee, Terry McBride, an exceptional golfer, has told me that there are two (2) rules to the tee shot.
Rule # 1 - don't hit it in the left fairway bunker.
Rule # 2 - go back and re-read rule # 1.

You can hit anything off the tee from 3-iron to driver.
And, depending on which club you hit, you can pick your target on a fairly wide fairway that is begining its ascent which slopes left to right.

Depending on where you hit your drive, you can now select anything from a driver to a mid-iron to position yourself for your 3rd shot.   The key is, which target area do you want to get to.

I think that you can see in the photo, five (5) major target areas.
1    the fairway in back of the clubhouse far from the green
2    the fariway next to the flag pole closer to the green
3    the fairway between/parallel to the two sets of bunkers
4    the fairway just short of the green
5    the green.

While the wind is a factor on the tee, as you ascend the fairway, getting closer to the green, I believe that it becomes more of a factor.  

To help you understand the picture better, let me provide some yardages.

The green is 34 yards deep.

From the tee side bottom of the lower left hand bunker which isn't entirely visible, to the center of the green is 220 yards.
From the greenside-top of the lower left hand bunker to the center of the green is 190 yards.
From the greenside-top of the right hand bunker to the center of the green is 139 yards.
From the greenside-top of the middle left bunker to the center of the green is 107 yards.
From the tee-side back of the closest of the two left hand bunkers short of the green to the center of the green is 67 yards.

Not visible, but discussed, is the left side bunker complex off the tee.  If you can clear that farthest bunker, you have 267 into the green, from an uphill slightly left right lie, to a skyline green that you can't see from that position.  In other words, you are hitting it into the sky, with possibly the pin visible if you've hit a huge drive up the left side.

Lost in this picture is the elevation changes, which have an impact on your visual assessments and ability to play the hole.

Back to strategy.

I think the key thing for me is, how do I feel, and how do I feel about my game ?  How has it fared over the last 17 holes and how confident or defensive do I feel.

At the tee, Terry McBride's two rules are paramount no matter how you stand.  You must avoid the set of leftside fairway bunkers at all costs, especially the farthest one which has an 8-10 foot lip on it.  It's a deep bunker, and the closer you are to the green in that bunker, the worse off you are.
From the front of the first left fairway bunker, to the greenside-top of the second fairway bunker is about 40 yards, uphill.  And that greenside top is 47 yards from the start of the left side fairway bunker in the photo.

So, as Clint Eastwood would say,
" are you feeling lucky today, punk, well, are you ?

Is the wind helping, hurting, left to right, right to left.
How have you been driving ?  Is the air heavy or light ?
Can you hit the draw towards the right side junk and draw it ?  Are you heeling/fading your drives today.  Hitting them low (you won't carry the left side bunkers)  All of these things and more enter your mind, as does your position on the tee and your opponent's at match play, and the field's at stroke play.

Wherever your tee shot lands, you now have a myriad of decisons to make, similar to the choices that went through your mind on the tee, only now, your ball isn't sitting on a tee, it's probably on an uneven, uphill lie.  And now you're faced with trying to place it amongst the bunkers, tall grass and the end of the planet that occurs on the right side, which is what my picture shows.

Assuming that you've hit a good 2nd shot, you now have to decide HOW and WHAT you're going to approach the green with, and, that process gets complicated by the wind, your opponent's play, or how the field has done, because the scoreboard is by the first tee which is next to the 18th green.

From 120 yards, I've hit wedges, 8-irons, 6-irons depending on the type of shot that I thought would maximize my chances of getting close while minimizing my chances for disaster.

It is a scarey green to approach from 190 yards, 160 yards,
130 yards, 90 yards, 60 yards, 30 yards, depending on your angle of approach and the pin location.

If the pin is right, bailouts left are left with a frightening looking shot.  If the pin is back, everyone is left with a frightening shot.  If the pin is left, few see the devious nature of  a shot hit slightly left of target, which funnels down into a chipping swale or bunker.

If you get the chance to play NGLA, and the time and circumstances permit, go play # 18 as often as you can.
You'll never stop enjoying the challenge and the fun.

Strategically, I think it's one of the best finishing holes in golf.

P.S. If you can hear that flag snapping...you're in big trouble  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ForkaB

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2003, 06:05:08 AM »
Many thanks,Patrick.  I hope to be able to play NGLA again before I die (after I die I know that I will be able to play it daily, either with my "A" game, or my normal game, depending on whether I head north or south on judgement day........).

Let me know what you think of Pacific Dunes #18 after you play there.  I kinda see it like 18 NGLA on steroids.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #45 on: April 22, 2003, 06:06:45 AM »
I'm not sure if the 18th at NGLA is the "best finishing" hole in golf, but it is most definitely quite strategic and fraught with peril.

Aesthetically, the word that comes to mind is "majestic".  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #46 on: April 22, 2003, 06:07:27 AM »
Patrick:

Why is #18 only one of the "best finishing holes in golf" IYO?

Why not just "one of the best holes in golf" - period?

I would agree with the latter.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: #18 NGLA - Strategically - The best finishing
« Reply #47 on: April 24, 2003, 07:19:38 AM »
Let's freshen this up for Tom Paul's inspection.  He appears to have returned from warmer climes.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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