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V. Kmetz

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No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« on: July 20, 2019, 08:41:17 PM »
This is primarily intended for those who critique the USGA or the Masters for their treatment of classic design to produce a challenge for the elite competition...


In principle I agree with you, and golf courses are indeed for the other 3500 days between majors but RP today (and most of Friday/half of Thursday) has been laid bare by these guys, as the weather lays down...


Case in point...the new 17 (old 15?) is a fricking joke...with chips and 125 foot pitchs for eagle on a 410 yard hole.


Again, I'm not demeaning the old girl, it looks like great fun for ME to play from the White Tees, but no tournament has outlined the need for a rollback more than this one...


In a more general design musing, I have always wondered about the weighting/admiration of links golf (GBI or otherwise) as opposed to the parkland designs. To me a lot of that debate changes or differs if a capricious climate of the locale is necessary to make it great...


In making this comment, I'm saying that a lot of brilliance in links golf design is reliant on climate, whereas parkland/inland golf is not.



"The tee shot must first be hit straight and long between a vast bunker on the left which whispers 'slice' in the player's ear, and a wilderness on the right which induces a hurried hook." -

Peter Pallotta

Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2019, 09:08:29 PM »
I often agree with you VK, but not this time.
There's one word that comes to mind as I watched (and now read your post):
Honest.
As in: an honest test; an honesty of intention; and honest to goodness design; an honesty in presentation; an inherently honest links course; and honest results -- with poor ball strikers, and those having an off week in this regard, missing the cut; fine ball strikers (having mediocre putting weeks) prominent on the leadboard; fine ball strikers who are also putting well near the top of that leaderboard; and a fine ball striker who is putting well and recovering just as well and who knows links golf/Portrush better than just about anyone leading the way.
An honest picture of an honest championship, befitting the good and honest people of Northern Ireland!

James Brown

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2019, 09:22:10 PM »
There are three 4 holes at TOC that are routinely driven in Open Championship that can be driven depending on the wind and itís no big deal.  #10 is like 390 now and they still drive the green when itís down wind.  320 carry and 70+ yard run out.  You canít wish for firm and fast and worry about this. 

Mike Sweeney

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2019, 09:23:02 PM »
In making this comment, I'm saying that a lot of brilliance in links golf design is reliant on climate, whereas parkland/inland golf is not.


First off, the distance conversation is a combination of technology, fitness, and agronomy. The order or percentage of influence can be debated, but it is all three.



In terms of design, Bethpage in the rain (2 times) and Shinnecock in the dry firmness (2 times) show that every course, including those built on sand, are subject to weather conditions. Take this conversation to the soupy nature of Congressional on clay in the steamy heat of a June US Open, and we are on a whole different planet.


Reality is there is only one Major that can sort of fool Mother Nature. That is Augusta National as it is played every year on the same course at the same time, so they can pretty much dial in the greens.


This tournament proves two things:


1) I need to play more Harry Colt courses;


2) I want to see more majors on Harry Colt courses.


Oh yea, and we have another day of golf coming in Ireland. I say Fleetwood makes a run at him in the wind, rain and pressure of playing for Mother Ireland....
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If weíve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. Weíre no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Kalen Braley

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2019, 09:55:11 PM »
VK,

Another excellent post, but I hope you didn't speak too soon in light of what is forecast for tomorrow.  I also agree on 17,  the pros made a complete mockery of it.

 All the talk of tradition and such seems pretty shallow in light of the whole course going under the knife Joan Rivers style just to host one event and two holes rebuilt just to better accommodate a tent city.  Colt must be rolling over in his grave to see how these pros are eviscerating it with current equipment and balls. (But then again they did keep the internal OB on 1 and 18 to keep tradition alive I guess  ::)  )

P.S.  Peter interesting post, but I'm not sure I understand what "honest" means in this context.  Perhaps an example of a dishonest event as a counter point?

Mike_Clayton

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2019, 09:56:39 PM »
Mike


Technology 80%
The other 2 - let's give them 10% each but even that's debatable - agronomy especially but that's country/course specific.
The ball runs way less at Royal Melbourne now they have 1/ put in fairway watering (1987) and 2/ chosen a grass that limits run.
Does anyone seriously think Jack,Arnie,Sam, Greg,Seve, Woosnam... wouldn't be hitting it 310 average (up 30+ from where they were) now with modern clubs and ball?



Tom_Doak

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2019, 02:21:02 AM »

In making this comment, I'm saying that a lot of brilliance in links golf design is reliant on climate, whereas parkland/inland golf is not.


VK:


Well, duh.  But you sound like you still do not understand this.


Links golf courses have to be designed with difficult weather in mind, because that's what you frequently get.  If you made the pros play Augusta or the TPC at Sawgrass on a day like Portrush is going to get today, some would walk off in disgust.  You just can't put water and bunkers right up against the fronts of greens, and run greens at 12, in normal links conditions.


But that does mean that when you get a few days of calm, soft conditions, today's players are going low.  Those guys are really good, and no course is very long for them anymore.


I'm one of those in favor of an equipment rollback, precisely so guys like you don't overreact and demand we build courses that are impossible to play anytime there is some weather.

Thomas Dai

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2019, 04:26:33 AM »

If VK's final comment were re-phrased would comments be different? - "The brilliance of parkland courses is essentially reliant on the skill of the designer/constructor. The brilliance of links courses is essentially reliant on nature."


atb



Mike Sweeney

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2019, 06:55:19 AM »

The brilliance of links courses is essentially reliant on nature."



Closer for sure, but still a no for me as nature did not create this Lahinch green, entirely. You can even see a small puddle:



Mike Clayton,

I would have thought something like 60/20/20, but you would know better on many levels. Thanks for chiming in.
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If weíve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. Weíre no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Adam Clayman

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2019, 08:26:16 AM »
I've found very few examples of brilliance on parkland golf.


Perhaps if golf had stayed on links, or more accurately, hadn't catered to the game minders and the lowest common denominator, no one would care about the final score, but more importantly in how it was achieved?


Overcoming Nature's challenges, is vastly superior (more satisfying) to all the heroic opportunities architects can throw.


The fluidity of the bar that constitutes a great shot, is another cherished aspect not wasted on the sportsman.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 11:00:24 AM by Adam Clayman »
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Jim Nugent

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2019, 10:36:28 AM »
If a course needs bad weather to test the top pros... and you can't count on that bad weather materializing... you're playing craps with a major event.  Wonder what the odds are that Royal Portrush gets wind/rain/tough conditions during any particular OC? 


 

Peter Pallotta

Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2019, 10:53:07 AM »
But Jim -
the weather (maybe save for today) hasn't been all that bad, and except for the leader -- who as an announcer just said is 'playing the course exactly as it was intended to be played' -- most everyone else near the top is at -7 to - 10. At Erin Hills, a course tailor-made to host the US Open and set up to the exact specifications of an organization determined to 'test the best in the world', the winning score was -16. And at Pebble it was -13. Portrush is more than 'holding its own' (if that's even important).
I honestly don't know what VK is on about with this one. With a seaside links course in Northern Ireland, noting that the course plays easier in good weather than it does in bad seems akin to saying that it plays easier during the day than it does at midnight.

 

« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 10:54:58 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Thomas Dai

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2019, 12:04:19 PM »
I suspect VK will chip in soon but I canít help but think that thereís misinterpretation of what heís trying to get at.
Atb


PS - what Jim suggests is a puddle in the photo posted above is I believe a bunker.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 12:15:07 PM by Thomas Dai »

David_Tepper

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2019, 12:27:48 PM »
Nice to see Francesco Molinari post the low round of the day at -5 and move way up the leaderboard. Good for him.

Jim Nugent

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2019, 12:29:08 PM »
I agree with VK.  Today we have worse weather, and the course shows some teeth.  Not so the first three days, when one player was 16 under par... another was double digits... and a slew of players stood at 7-to-9 under. 

1st three rounds you could spray your tee shots and shoot fantastic scores.  Spieth e.g. hit 38% of fairways yet was 7 under.  Lowry shot 63 yesterday hitting only 50% of fairways. 

Doak is right, of course.  It all rests on technology.  Not a new story.  Similar complaints go back to the 19th century IIRC, and in the 1920s Tillie said TOC could no longer stand as a championship course. 

We think Koepka and DJ are long.  My sense is the new generation of young golfers will out-long them, just as Tiger left everyone else in the dust.  Grim prospects for the courses we love to see hold major championships.   

 

George Pazin

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2019, 12:45:00 PM »

...
Case in point...the new 17 (old 15?) is a fricking joke...with chips and 125 foot pitchs for eagle on a 410 yard hole.


Whatís wrong with this? Whatís wrong with what is essentially a really long par 3? Donít all players have to play it and feel the pressure to make 3?


Why the focus on par/score? Why not focus on interesting shots, which always seem in abundance at most Open venues?
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Kalen Braley

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2019, 12:50:05 PM »
As purely a comment on the TV Coverage here in the states...

I can't understand why they didn't show more Tony Finau.  He's been in the top 5 the last two hours, and now in 3rd place, but I only saw one shot of him. Instead we get deluged with the Koepka/JB shit show hole after painful hole....

George Pazin

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2019, 09:15:54 PM »
They do that to torture me, Kalen. Sorry youíre an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire. :)


I realize VK likely hasnít looked in yet, but Iím open (no pun intended) to hearing othersí thoughts on my supposition. I personally would rather see any kind of drive and long chip than bomb drive stock 9 iron/wedge into a green. At least a long chip on most links is moderately interesting, as can a long drive on a roly poly links course as well.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 09:20:00 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

V. Kmetz

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2019, 09:38:47 PM »
Whatís wrong with this? Whatís wrong with what is essentially a really long par 3? Donít all players have to play it and feel the pressure to make 3?
Why the focus on par/score? Why not focus on interesting shots, which always seem in abundance at most Open venues?
A litany of 85-55 yard chips, pitches on the penultimate hole is not interesting... and "the pressure to make 3"?! Who's focused on score or what the hole par is...you KNOW that until 15-20 yrs ago, a 415 hole did not regularly bear these outcomes... hence my comments on rollback.
At Erin Hills, a course tailor-made to host the US Open and set up to the exact specifications of an organization determined to 'test the best in the world', the winning score was -16. And at Pebble it was -13. Portrush is more than 'holding its own' (if that's even important).
I honestly don't know what VK is on about with this one. With a seaside links course in Northern Ireland, noting that the course plays easier in good weather than it does in bad seems akin to saying that it plays easier during the day than it does at midnight.




Well what I'm on about is two items:
#1. All these OC" links" are no test without weather...of scoring, of anything... for the world's best...(maybe nothing is and that's a fair point) but this part is that Portrush without weather defense (like Erin Hills I suppose, which isn't a parkland course, but an expensive over-sold manufactured mess of patronage) is a piece of tissue paper. This is technology's fault and this week's watching showed that so convincingly, I had to draw and sharpen our notice.


#2.  That the long man-love of links designs have this limitation (expressed in the thread title) that make me appreciate the inland and parkland designs all the more... and no Tom D, the parkland world is not limited to ANGC and TPC Sawgrass...how about WFW/E with nary two or three holes of water... I guess I'm saying it takes a lot more to route and design a parkland course than one with the perceived advantages of climate, humpty-bumpty land and caprice of those by the sea.


Other than that, I want to express that I'm ever more reserving my appreciation of design and practice for the wonders worked on such land without advantages, with property confines and costly environmental contexts way that are under the radar...I'm more eager to see GCAs work their reno-magic on medicore--shit designs and build anew on unexceptional land... For example I LOVE what Gil Hanse did with  rather plain Tallgrass' property...Tom D, lemme see you renovate Hampshire or Willow Ridge or Rye Golf Club or what you could do for the Westchester publinx.... that to me is a greater test than the tabula rasa..."I chose the best 18 pf 130 holes (Sand Hills)" type thing... on properties of great advanatge...


And to be clear, I don't give a shit what the winning score is or what par is for a classic hole.I'm not demeaning Portrush for allowing 16 under and a shooting gallery, it's that without the weather, it's no particular world's finest (compared to other course outcomes I've seen)...and if we didn't have all the shamrock waving and Xander Schaffle won it, you'd be bored to tears.


The ball and the driver must come back 15-25%...the excelling public exhibition of the game is nearly lost.
"The tee shot must first be hit straight and long between a vast bunker on the left which whispers 'slice' in the player's ear, and a wilderness on the right which induces a hurried hook." -

Bernie Bell

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2019, 10:10:36 PM »
Reserving your appreciation?  I hope Royal Portrush will survive the blow. 

Peter Pallotta

Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2019, 10:51:29 PM »
I hear you, VK, but perhaps -- and at least on a course like Portrush -- the excelling public exhibition of the game is not 'lost' but instead has become more *subtle*.
It may not be coincidental that Schauffele *didn't* win, and that major champs like Dustin Johnson or Brooks Koepka didn't win either, and that a power player/long hitter like JB Holmes struggled badly today in the poorer weather -- all while an Irishman (who possessed/could hit *all* types and manner of the golf shots required to play a classic seaside course) *did* win, and that Englishmen (and seasoned links players) like Fleetwood and Rose and even an aging Westwood were all up near the top.
As I say: maybe (absent a roll back) the best we can expect is a more subtle form of excelling exhibition -- and that such exhibitions will only take place on precisely these so-called 'weather dependent' courses like Portrush.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 10:59:07 PM by Peter Pallotta »

V. Kmetz

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2019, 11:09:43 PM »
Reserving your appreciation?  I hope Royal Portrush will survive the blow.


It's a discussion board BB...nothing has ever hinged on it... but they did eliminate two holes, change the routing, build new holes, keep internal OB for fatuous reasons. That's the blow, they rendered.
"The tee shot must first be hit straight and long between a vast bunker on the left which whispers 'slice' in the player's ear, and a wilderness on the right which induces a hurried hook." -

Ira Fishman

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2019, 11:10:52 PM »
And so we go down the Rabbit Hole again. The top pros are so great that assessing a course/hole/green by how they play it is a fool's errand.


As it relates to rolling back the technology,  I am a proponent. However, let's not assume that it does not have consequences for Amateur players. As Lee Trevino said, not even G-d could hit a One Iron, but Hogan actually could. The gap between Pros and Amateurs would grow larger.


Ira
« Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 11:12:27 PM by Ira Fishman »

Thomas Dai

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2019, 03:27:49 AM »
Thanks for chipping in VK. As I suspected your initial post has been misinterpreted and continues to be as regards point 2.

Question - Where does the real skill and ingenuity of the designer/constructor/maintainer show up best?

On naturally bumpy, rippled links* land with sandy drainage and seashore views ..... or on a flat pancake, featureless clay soil inland property with houses and industry nearby?

Good general point about that the ball needs to be rolled-back circa 15-25%. The game needs protecting. The game is more important than the equipment manufacturers.

atb

* or inland sandy area

PS - as to 1-irons, anyone know the loft on Hogan's one from his Merion Open win? Exact loft please. No speculation.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 03:30:18 AM by Thomas Dai »

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: No Wind, Weather... No Test... Shooting Gallery...
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2019, 04:03:13 AM »
Well itís both:


- on natural land, routing and subtlety can be more important
- on flat as a pancake land, creativity and vision can take a front seat

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