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Peter Pallotta

Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2018, 04:08:47 PM »
My experience with pitiful bunkering is the same as George's, but I draw a different conclusion.
The trouble with most bunkers (and sandy vistas) is that they are *not* black and white; in fact they're not even on the greyscale, but more like beige (in colour and interest both).
In my experience, 'carry bunkers' are are almost always much too easily carried, offering neither significant risk nor satisfying reward; and, like their corresponding green-side brethren, are usually so shallow that -- compared to alternatives like tightly mowed hollows and humps or old fashioned rough -- they exact on even just average golfers like me not a 'full shot' penalty nor even a half-shot, but some nuanced little quarter shot based on sometimes leaving us a slightly longer par putt than we might otherwise have. In this context, I'd take black & white instead, in a heartbeat.
In short: my honest answer to Joe's question is that, in the hands of most architects, they are not worth either the trouble or the expense, and long ago became merely crutches for them to use so as to avoid overt criticism.
Eye candy at its worst -- actually no, worse than that, since their long term & ubiquitous use has also spawned this current trend in vast vistas/blowouts of sand, to my eyes a kind of meta-level acknowledgment on the part of some architects that one might as well offer the prettiest and most unnecessary eye candy possible, and then double-down further by providing an even more excessive amount of it.
IMHO


« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 04:12:39 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2018, 08:41:22 PM »
Pietro

To be fair, most "blowout" bunkers are on sandy sites.  On some level, because the cost is far cheaper, I don't see this as such a big issue on sandy sites. What are the alternatives?  The main alternative is rough.  In many cases harsh rough, lost ball rough.  If a blowout waste bunker can be built instead it might prove to be a more useful feature.  At least the ball can be found and played.  There are a few such areas on my home course which have been recently cleared to reveal the sandy soil. Because nothing was done to keep the vegetation out rough is taking over again.  It looks awful and is unplayable.  It isn't as if these are in our face areas of play, but balls do make it this now and again because these fairways are narrow.  Anyway, I am all in favour of creating huge bunkers for these two areas...it will never happen though.  Rough will grow and in a few years it will be cleared again...seems stupid to me.

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

Peter Pallotta

Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2018, 09:10:11 PM »
Sean, I appreciate your fair mindedness, and it's important to be fair, and despite my occasional bit of bombast I am trying to be. It just seems to me that, except on actual sand dunes, as one might find in the Sahara Desert, sandy soils just about everywhere will be naturally covered with some kind of scrub and wild-grasses and other kinds of vegetation. Now, if the fairways - i.e. the areas of maintained and manicured turf - were to be only 30+ yards wide, I would agree that in some cases going to the time and effort to 'de-naturalize' these areas and create vast sand blowouts during construction and then to continually maintain them afterwards - against the natural re-encroachment of such wild-grasses and scrub etc - might maybe be worth it.  But when the fairway/maintained turf is going to be 50 to 60 yards wide, then for me that 'look' (and all that it requires during construction and afterwards) is completely unrelated to any sane and reasonable sense of playability -- and for that reason alone is unnecessary.
If I miss a 60 yard wide fairway so badly that, even on a treeless site, I might not be able to 'track' and then find my golf ball amidst some scrubby vegetation, it does not seem a harsh penalty at all. It seems like golf. 
Peter 

« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 09:15:18 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 09:36:33 PM »
Pietro

I hear ya, but I ask, where does one draw the line for aesthetics?  It sounds like, at least for sand on sandy sites, you draw the line at or near the boundary of wide fairways.  Maybe this is a sound approach if there is room for exceptions.  Generally speaking, I would prefer archies err on the side of a light touch.  What is interesting with this opinion is that I am quite happy to see work done which will generally not effect play, but will improve aesthetics...especially access to interior and exterior views.

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

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2018, 04:45:42 AM »
I do wonder what some of the modern era "sand-n-width" courses will be like in a decade or twos time. Will the open sandy areas still be sandy or will there be scrub and trees there? Self seeding, irrigation vapour etc.
atb

David Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2018, 11:40:59 AM »
Having just returned from my first experience with true desert courses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai I'll take sand any day of the week over deep rough. I would think sand blow-out areas are easier to maintain in the desert though I'm certain the wind causes quite a bit of maintenance on the these areas as well in some way or another.


I also really like the look of the Links course with sand blow-out areas and native areas. In fact, that is probably my favorite visual aspect of links golf.


Tom,


if you see this maybe you can further qualify your statement. You say the most important areas are the short grass yes most certainly agree but that almost sounds as if you are suggesting the bunkering and natural blowout areas are then not important. However, they are an integral part of all of your highest rated designs and am I'm of course thinking of Tara Iti, Barnbougle and Pacific Dunes to name a few. Take away the sand and blow-out areas there and as good as the courses are I would argue they would not be as popular or successful.



Next up: open to ideas!

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www.top100golfcourses.com

Joe Hancock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2018, 12:21:55 PM »



if you see this maybe you can further qualify your statement. You say the most important areas are the short grass yes most certainly agree but that almost sounds as if you are suggesting the bunkering and natural blowout areas are then not important. However, they are an integral part of all of your highest rated designs and am I'm of course thinking of Tara Iti, Barnbougle and Pacific Dunes to name a few. Take away the sand and blow-out areas there and as good as the courses are I would argue they would not be as popular or successful.


David,


Thanks for that. Itís a telling post that hints to the fact that the sand visuals may be as much, or more, for marketing/ customer experience than it is a superior growing medium for the best golf turf. I also read into your post that every architect, when given a sandy site, is going to shoot for the moon on providing the wow factor....Iím sure it would be a struggle not to!
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2018, 12:40:56 PM »
I do wonder what some of the modern era "sand-n-width" courses will be like in a decade or twos time. Will the open sandy areas still be sandy or will there be scrub and trees there? Self seeding, irrigation vapour etc.
atb


And here we get to an incredibly valid point. It takes effort to keep a natural blowout once there is managed turf very near to it.


I went out my way to leave the original sand scars at Carne. I'm talking about not touching them at all. But the ones that are next to fairways or greens are now establishing some grass. So the question is, do you leave the grasses that are coming in. Or do you do what is needed to "clean" each blowout?


And that is on completely natural open sand areas. Most golf courses we are talking about have "created" open sand areas.


Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2018, 12:46:14 PM »
i think we've already established in this group that naturalism is not letting the course do whatever it wants.


It takes hard work, dedication, and a decent budget to prevent the course from being natural...

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2018, 02:37:53 PM »
I'd be very interested to know if, given the right site, Tom Doak could be persuaded to build a course without bunkers, using running ground as his main defence. I probably remember old courses through rose tinted glasses but it did seem to me that 40/50/60 years ago the running approach was the go-to shot on most holes on most courses. I don't feel that nowadays. Maybe that's because my golfing days are over.

Dave McCollum

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2018, 03:01:56 PM »
Very interesting topic to me because the evolution of my thinking about sand and bunkering more or less marks my journey in learning about golf architecture.  I hesitate to comment because I only have personal experience and no grand wisdom.  If anyone cares about my anecdotal journey, and I canít imagine many do, it goes somewhat along this path:  worried about losing mature trees that had a significant strategic role in how our course played, I had an epiphany and wondered what would happen if we replaced all these trees with sand.  I knew a little bit about strategic design and proceeded to look at every hole on the course in terms of tree removal and replacing the strategies with a combination of bunkers and sandy waste areas.  I didnít add sand to every hole.  In fact, as I sketched out my ideas, I thought I was being very conservative and frugal with the use of sand.  However, when satisfied with my efforts, Iíd added over 50 sand features.

Weíre a sand-based golf course, but our sand is ďblow sand,Ē a very fine sand that has been deposited here by thousands of years of desert winds.  An architect called it ďsiltĒ because it so fine it compacts into a surface that looks like hard pan and plays like almost nothing else.  It is an extremely difficult playing surface for all golfers.  As it turned out, my imagined bunkering scheme had a common theme:  sand (presumably playable imported sand) was used more often than not as transitions from fairway/rough to native.  I didnít have a plan or goal to do this; it just seemed to my eye that the bunkers should go there to replace trees or add interest to playing the course.  This also was about the time I decided I needed to learn much more about gca, bought a bunch of books, joined this site, saw a few courses, etc.

I wonít bore you with the evolution of my thinking about sand and golf design.  I imagine mine was fairly typical:  the more that I learned, the less I knew for certain, and the more I admired and respected professional golf architects.  My amateur bunker doodling also evolved into a full future course master plan, done by pros and based on an optimistic future.  Simultaneously, as all of this learning and creative thinking was taking place, the golf business was going rather the opposite direction.  Not that great things couldnít be doneóin fact the last 20 years have been sort of a golden age of designóthey just havenít been done by ordinary people for regular golfers.   

Put another way, when I look back at my bunker doodles given all Iíve learned since, they are surprisingly good.  Clearly, they wouldnít be built as drawn.  Pros would take good ideas and make them much better and get rid of bad ones as a waste of time and money.  The primary reason they wouldnít be built, however, is there is absolutely no way our golfers, the golfers we know and support our course, would pay for the construction and maintenance these new features.  My doodles would be very expensive to build and maintain.  Does that mean our golfers wouldnít like them if we built them anyway?  No.  It just means these golfers can afford or choose to play a much more modest version of the game than the sprawling fields of sand and immaculate turf.  No matter how brilliant the design, how much it advances the art, one would simply need to find other, more affluent golfers to pay for most of these brilliant new designs (including well funded developers willing to take bold risks).   Donít know if this is an honest opinion.  I feel it is realistic.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2018, 03:10:11 PM »
I probably remember old courses through rose tinted glasses but it did seem to me that 40/50/60 years ago the running approach was the go-to shot on most holes on most courses. I don't feel that nowadays. Maybe that's because my golfing days are over.
My recollection as well. The running shot was usually the first option, fly the shot higher in the air the second.
A pet peeve of mine these days has become links courses with watered approaches, especially with modern grooves. You expect a shot deliberately landed short of a green and a little low in trajectory to land and release. Instead it grips and stops. Arghhhhh!
Atb

Peter Pallotta

Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2018, 04:09:22 PM »
Edited down - to this!
P
   
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 12:13:41 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Matt MacIver

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2018, 07:17:37 AM »
Wasnít Pine Valley much wider 80 years ago, and the rough has been allowed to grow up and into bunkers, with trees too?  If PV canít or wonít manage this maintenance problem than you will or can?  Guess they donít have to -hasnít hurt the perception of their course, but it could all the lesser ones - I.e. all of them.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2018, 10:02:46 AM »
Just like in the garden or the backyard, best remove any unwanted growth on an ongoing annual basis, when it's very small, or else it'll cost a bunch of £$ and take a long time to do so when it grows into underbrush and trees.
Or you could use (periodically) sheep and goats etc. Mind you quite a few big meat eating species would happily feed off the livestock in many areas of the world....which would still leave the tree and underbrush issue!
atb

Craig Moore

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A New Year...Letís be honest about sand!
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2018, 02:14:51 PM »
Not me ... I'm on your side here.  The most important parts of the golf course are the closely-mown areas.  But, as you imply, they don't photograph well.

They photograph very well. Just not many great photographers out there taking the photos.


Not sure there is a more inspirational time on a course than Morning sunrises and evening sunsets when magical course contours are revealed from a distance with definition....


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