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Niall C

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2022, 08:05:18 AM »
I think very complex or severe contouring, where it is difficult to predict how the ball will react when it hits the ground, is likely to work towards persuading golfers to go aerial. I had this thought at St. Patrick's sixth hole which I loved, but where the amount of contour immediately in front of the green led me to conclude that trying to run a shot onto the green was a very risky play and it would be safer just to go over it.


Spot on. Plateau greens are a great example. Somewhere in the back of my cupboard I have an old VHS tape with Seve explaining his thoughts on the short game, and one of the things that has always stayed with me was that he advocated landing the ball on the green irrespective of distance from the green and whether there was just short grass between the ball and the green. His reasoning if I remember correctly was that the green would generally have less contour and a more consistent reaction. On that second point I think he was thinking more about playing on inland courses with soft verges but I think equally it would apply to severely contoured links.


Niall

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2022, 08:31:13 AM »
I think very complex or severe contouring, where it is difficult to predict how the ball will react when it hits the ground, is likely to work towards persuading golfers to go aerial. I had this thought at St. Patrick's sixth hole which I loved, but where the amount of contour immediately in front of the green led me to conclude that trying to run a shot onto the green was a very risky play and it would be safer just to go over it.


Spot on. Plateau greens are a great example. Somewhere in the back of my cupboard I have an old VHS tape with Seve explaining his thoughts on the short game, and one of the things that has always stayed with me was that he advocated landing the ball on the green irrespective of distance from the green and whether there was just short grass between the ball and the green. His reasoning if I remember correctly was that the green would generally have less contour and a more consistent reaction. On that second point I think he was thinking more about playing on inland courses with soft verges but I think equally it would apply to severely contoured links.


Niall

But that's Seve. What about other the 99% of golfers.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Niall C

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2022, 08:36:33 AM »
Sean


If Seve tried to make things easier for himself then why wouldn't the rest of us ?


Niall

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2022, 09:09:19 AM »
I love ground contour and micro-undulations on links courses. Iím a low spin player who plays by feel and I cannot always stop balls on green, especially down wind. I pride myself on creatively playing different shots. I love seeing the ball dive up, down and over.


But all other things equal, I use the ground more on courses with LESS undulation.


This is not an absolute. There are examples of undulations which encourage use of ground, whether it be kick-plates or stances or lies. But on balance, contour does not encourage the ground game. This oneís a myth brought about by people tying contour in with firm conditions, wind and wide areas of short grass.

Jason Topp

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2022, 11:19:33 AM »
I would say yes at least if the contours are broad enough to give the player a reasonable chance when he aims for them or regular enough to allow some predictability in what the ball will do on the ground..  Speed slots in fairways and kick plates on greens encourage an approach on the ground.  Similarly, a ball along the ground can be controlled if there is a depression to aim for because the ball will spring forward if short and slow down if long.   


Not an absolute answer as Ally states in his last post but I don't envision much control along the ground on a flat surface.  Undulation is what gives the opportunity to control a shot along the ground.





Mark_Fine

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2022, 11:32:21 AM »
Jason,
I was at the Masters one year and watched Mickelson play a flop shot on the lower part of the 14th green (he was on the green) to the back left corner.  He flopped it to take all the contours out of play.  Hit it to three feet and made the putt. 

Jim Sherma

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2022, 11:38:59 AM »
Tilt and broad slopes can encourage the ground game. Undulation and busyness can add too much complexity and incentivize going over it as best you can.


As much as contour affects the decision green speeds make more of a impact. Fast greens will always make aerial choices with spin a better bet. Let's face it, if a 20 foot putt is scary why would you think you can bump a 7-iron in from 30 yards off the green and get it to stop close to the hole?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 01:02:15 PM by Jim Sherma »

Mark_Fine

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2022, 12:52:13 PM »
Nicklaus once said a bad putt is always better then a bad chip.  I guess he thought differently then Seve 😊

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2022, 12:49:00 AM »
Sean

If Seve tried to make things easier for himself then why wouldn't the rest of us ?

Niall

Again, the rest of us are not Seve. There is the small matter of skill to consider.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 12:50:56 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2022, 01:48:37 AM »
Tilt and broad slopes can encourage the ground game. Undulation and busyness can add too much complexity and incentivize going over it as best you can.


As much as contour affects the decision green speeds make more of a impact. Fast greens will always make aerial choices with spin a better bet. Let's face it, if a 20 foot putt is scary why would you think you can bump a 7-iron in from 30 yards off the green and get it to stop close to the hole?


I'm with you Jim. If I can get some air under the ball I will try to take out as much of the slope as I can and I love the ground game.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Niall C

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2022, 02:28:40 AM »
Sean

If Seve tried to make things easier for himself then why wouldn't the rest of us ?

Niall

Again, the rest of us are not Seve. There is the small matter of skill to consider.

Ciao


And again, why make things harder for yourself ? That holds true irrespective of whether you are Seve or some hacker.


Niall

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2022, 02:42:56 AM »
Sean

If Seve tried to make things easier for himself then why wouldn't the rest of us ?

Niall

Again, the rest of us are not Seve. There is the small matter of skill to consider.

Ciao


And again, why make things harder for yourself ? That holds true irrespective of whether you are Seve or some hacker.


Niall

And again, there is a huge skill divide. Seve could hit the ball much further than me, carry the ball much further than
Sean

If Seve tried to make things easier for himself then why wouldn't the rest of us ?

Niall

Again, the rest of us are not Seve. There is the small matter of skill to consider.

Ciao


And again, why make things harder for yourself ? That holds true irrespective of whether you are Seve or some hacker.


Niall

And again, I mention skill. Seve could hit the ball further than me, carry the ball further than me and apply spin/control run-out much better than me. It shouldn't be surprising that I often need to land the ball short of plateau greens (and grade level greens for that matter), assuming I can carry the green which often isn't the case.

One of the biggest problems with discussing golf architecture is far too often the discussion centres around how the best golfers in the world play.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2022, 03:49:42 AM »
One of the biggest problems with discussing golf architecture is far too often the discussion centres around how the best golfers in the world play.
Ciao
It does indeed and also how the individual writing the words plays or how his/her usual gang of mates play.
Easy to overlook that every player male, female, old, young etc etc has different levels of strength, skill, desire, stamina, expectations etc etc and that the game and courses ought to cater for such differences.
atb

John Chilver-Stainer

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2022, 06:02:11 AM »
Jason,
I was at the Masters one year and watched Mickelson play a flop shot on the lower part of the 14th green (he was on the green) to the back left corner.  He flopped it to take all the contours out of play.  Hit it to three feet and made the putt.


I was at the Open one year and watched Mickelson play a...............
It was at the Par 3 4th at Muirifield and he had missed the green pin high to the left.
His ball had settled at the bottom of the steep side slope of the green. The surface of the green was well above his head and the flag not more than 3 yards from the edge of green and the side slope transition.
For us spectators it was a juicy situation.
How was he going to get the ball close, and hold on the firm tilted green with little green to work with?
The side slope was enormous.
Would he chip into the bank and pop it up? Would he putt?
This is Phil of flop fame - surely he'll go the arial route.
Phil and Bones conferred for a long time and based on their recent links knowledge at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart and then winning it, he decided to go the Scottish way along the ground.
We half expected the putt to excruciatingly not reach the top of the slope and run back to his feet. But he judged it well and the ball rested about 4-5 feet from the hole.
He saved par and eventually went on to win the Open.


As an after note I managed to get him later to sign my " Rustic Canyon" cap I was wearing. The now hand embroidered signature and cap are my prize possession!!!


Niall C

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2022, 06:03:54 AM »
Sean


We're discussing Seve's thoughts on the short game therefore distance isn't really a factor. Seve's view was that if he was a couple of yards from the edge of the green and the hole was near the middle of the green for instance, then he'd use perhaps a 6 or 7 iron to chip the ball on to the front of the green and let it run out to the hole. If he was further from the green then he'd use a higher loft club and land it in the same area and again let it run out. He wasn't loading the ball with spin or talking about some fancy lob shot which he no doubt was capable of doing.


His thinking was that he wanted to avoid landing the ball on the verge or even trying to run it through the verge due to the inconsistency of the surface ie. soft over-watered ground, longer grass. The same thinking could apply on a links course with a view to avoiding contours and/or rough ground. And lets be honest, outwith championship courses prepared for a big event, the green surrounds on most links courses can be fairly rough a bobbly compared to the green surfaces.


Niall 

Jeff Johnston

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2022, 07:27:04 AM »
I think very complex or severe contouring, where it is difficult to predict how the ball will react when it hits the ground, is likely to work towards persuading golfers to go aerial. I had this thought at St. Patrick's sixth hole which I loved, but where the amount of contour immediately in front of the green led me to conclude that trying to run a shot onto the green was a very risky play and it would be safer just to go over it.

Now of course, if conditions and the shot with which you are presented make it basically impossible to stop an aerial shot, you are between a rock and a hard place (I didn't think that was at all the case at St. Patrick's before Tom intervenes :) )


Funnily enough Adam (before you posted - honest) I thought of that example at St Patrick's too, and also say the similar contouring fronting the 8th green (and similar to yourself I loved both of them).


As a counterpoint how about say the par 3 5th at St Patrick's, with the general right to left cant around / on the green and the bunker encroaching on the left - behind or towards which I am guessing the hole will often be cut. To me the combination of the left bunker, fairly open approach (once over the other bunker sitting fairly short) and ground movement called to mind a long right to left pitch and run of a tee shot to creep up to a middle / back pin (even played at c 160/170 yards). All of the foregoing on recall from one sight / play so feel free to call me out on it! Know you've been there Ally, interested in your thoughts as a feel player.

Garland Bayley

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2022, 08:16:48 AM »
...
Are there examples of courses (usually links admittedly) where violent contour reduces the amount of time you find yourself using the ground on approach shots?

Back to Pacific Dunes again. 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18 seem to me to discourage ground assaults. Others would seem to only encourage a ground assault from prime locations. But, 17 (Redan) has ground assault written all over 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

Sven Nilsen

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2022, 11:50:41 AM »
...
Are there examples of courses (usually links admittedly) where violent contour reduces the amount of time you find yourself using the ground on approach shots?

Back to Pacific Dunes again. 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18 seem to me to discourage ground assaults. Others would seem to only encourage a ground assault from prime locations. But, 17 (Redan) has ground assault written all over it.


As someone who has seen a little bit of play on Pac, I disagree with pretty much every one of these assessment except for #11.  If you get the ball to the prime locations, the ground game is fully in play on all of the other holes noted.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 11:59:02 AM by Sven Nilsen »
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Mike_Trenham

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2022, 04:33:38 PM »
Nicklaus once said a bad putt is always better then a bad chip.  I guess he thought differently then Seve 😊


Watch the 1971 US Open playoff, worst wedge play ever by a great golfer playing well.  Nicklaus was horrible with a wedge, kind of like Mickelson with a driver.
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Garland Bayley

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2022, 10:21:53 PM »
...
Are there examples of courses (usually links admittedly) where violent contour reduces the amount of time you find yourself using the ground on approach shots?

Back to Pacific Dunes again. 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18 seem to me to discourage ground assaults. Others would seem to only encourage a ground assault from prime locations. But, 17 (Redan) has ground assault written all over it.


As someone who has seen a little bit of play on Pac, I disagree with pretty much every one of these assessment except for #11.  If you get the ball to the prime locations, the ground game is fully in play on all of the other holes noted.

Sometimes it is dependent on the skills of the player. Sometimes it is dependent on the knowledge of the course. Sometimes it is dependent on the vision of the player.

I would suggest that I like many average players seldom get the ball in prime locations, so the average player would seldom see the approach from the prime positions. For example, one time I got the tee shot in prime position on #2, and discovered an easy ground approach resulting in a 3. Other times I truly struggled on the hole.

And, some of us are too cheap to hire an expert to give us advice that we can't follow through on most of the time. ;)
"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

Tom_Doak

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2022, 09:59:22 AM »
I think very complex or severe contouring, where it is difficult to predict how the ball will react when it hits the ground, is likely to work towards persuading golfers to go aerial. I had this thought at St. Patrick's sixth hole which I loved, but where the amount of contour immediately in front of the green led me to conclude that trying to run a shot onto the green was a very risky play and it would be safer just to go over it.

Now of course, if conditions and the shot with which you are presented make it basically impossible to stop an aerial shot, you are between a rock and a hard place (I didn't think that was at all the case at St. Patrick's before Tom intervenes :) )


Funnily enough Adam (before you posted - honest) I thought of that example at St Patrick's too, and also say the similar contouring fronting the 8th green (and similar to yourself I loved both of them).


As a counterpoint how about say the par 3 5th at St Patrick's, with the general right to left cant around / on the green and the bunker encroaching on the left - behind or towards which I am guessing the hole will often be cut. To me the combination of the left bunker, fairly open approach (once over the other bunker sitting fairly short) and ground movement called to mind a long right to left pitch and run of a tee shot to creep up to a middle / back pin (even played at c 160/170 yards). All of the foregoing on recall from one sight / play so feel free to call me out on it! Know you've been there Ally, interested in your thoughts as a feel player.




I agree with Ally that generally it is easier to use the ground game when there isn't much undulation on the approach.  [It seems kind of obvious when you say it that way.]  So, if we want to reward a running approach, we may smooth out some of the contours short of the green to make it more inviting.  Other times, we may leave them to keep the hole more natural and reward the guy who plays through the air.


For the examples from St. Patrick's it was some of each. 


At the 6th [which BTW was the only green built after I left, because we were screening the sand and loam for the other greens there], Eric Iverson raised the green from its natural grade, so that it would tie in better with the ramp up to the next tee.  The steep ramp and little up and over in front of the green make it a very difficult approach shot . . . so you are better off coming in from far away [and running all the way up the slope] or chipping, than with say a 7-iron where it is difficult to run the ball up the bank but also difficult to hold the green if you don't.  I really like that aspect because the hole rewards hitting a good long second shot, which many par-5 holes do not.


At the 8th, I actually cut away some steep ground on the left side of the approach so you could bounce it in over there, making the green a bit more visible from the fairway.  But I felt that the mound short right was an integral part of the hole and we kept it, even though it makes it harder to bounce the ball on.  It's a short drive and pitch hole, so asking you to hit a pitch to that part of the green seems reasonable.


The 5th hole can play quite long, so we felt like we needed a relatively smooth approach area, especially considering the big contour from right to left in the green.  Not by coincidence, that's exactly what we had on the ground.  The only complication was Clyde [I think it was Clyde] adding that little bunker in the front right to make you decide whether you were flying it or going around it.

Clyde Johnson

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 1: Contour and Ground Game
« Reply #46 on: May 20, 2022, 03:56:31 PM »
The 5th hole can play quite long, so we felt like we needed a relatively smooth approach area, especially considering the big contour from right to left in the green.  Not by coincidence, that's exactly what we had on the ground.  The only complication was Clyde [I think it was Clyde] adding that little bunker in the front right to make you decide whether you were flying it or going around it.


Eric Iverson.


Complicates is a good word, especially if you're trying to chase one on from the back tees. I also like the contrast of scale versus the enormous sand pit short of the approach.

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