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Scott Warren

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National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« on: April 18, 2020, 09:31:51 AM »

I had the fortune of spending a few days at The National Golf Club outside Melbourne in February, playing the brand new Gunnamatta course by Renaissance Golf Design.

The course has stuck in my mind -- and being locked up in isolation for the past five weeks has given me plenty of chance to reflect on it!

Mostly, I feel like photos don't do it justice, although some of Will Watt's drone shots for Caddie Magazine go close: https://www.instagram.com/caddiemag

The pictures below were chosen top give a bit of a taste of the course, and perhaps for those on here more well-placed than I to expand on some of the really special holes and features.

The flow of the course is a real highlight, not just in the routing across the property, but how and where the moments of real difficulty and challenge are placed, punctuating a lot of birdie chances loaded with fishhooks for those who don't correctly strategise or execute.

I didn't play the back tees, but glancing around to them made clear that those who lament "it's too easy" from the blue tees can easily solve that problem. For me, this was a course where the occasional comparison between golf and surfing stands up: just a perfect place to go out, have fun and work with the day's conditions to try some things that may or may not come off but will put a smile on your face either way.

1 -- a reachable par five in the right conditions or by using the speed slot down the right hand side. Though I came to find that if you pursue that RHS kick forward and don't reach it, it's a hell of a tough layup or hero shot to the green for your second swing of the day. The first tee is a wonderful place to stand, take a deep breath of the salty air and feel good about the walk you're about to take.


2 -- an opportunity to start eagle, eagle. This hole is very much driveable, but the risks are clear in the form of the bunkering short of the green and the OOB fence snug to its left. The expansive use of fescue around the greens shows off its value here, bringing slopes up to 30 metres off the green into play for second (or third...) shots to access certain pins. On my first round, my playing partner and I were within five metres of one another but he chose to use the kicker slope toward the back right to get at the flag, while I opted for the one on the front. So many choices, depending on the shot the player wants to hit.



3 -- the hole above all others on this course that can't be explained in photos, but here's two anyway. Put the pin on the lower front-left third and you want to drive it way right, but shift it 50 feet away on the back tier and a drive to the left flank is A1. In between, there's probably 50 other permutations that I'll need to keep playing this hole to discover. And with the combinations of angles at play, the slopes around the green can be your friend one day and an enemy the next.


4 -- long uphill par four and one of two occasions (along with 14) where the course interrupts your quest for birdies to find out just how good you are at hitting two really f**king good full-swing golf shots in a row and then reading subtlety in a green.



7 -- the only uphill short four I have ever cared for. The simple but brilliant green is the key, resembling -- to steal a friend's description -- a castle in the front front-right position surrounded to the left and back by a guarding moat. The smart drive is going to vary wildly, and often take you away, if you can bring yourself to, from the line of instinct



8 -- the combination of the incremental downhill slope and shifting winds means that you'll approach this hole with as little as a half wedge or as much as a mid-to-long iron. The green is brilliant in how it accommodates the long approach while also requiring precision or creativity to get close from inside 100 metres. I am not convinced the feeding slope at the rear of the green is quite tilted enough to properly feed the ball to pins left of the bunker around which the green is built. Perhaps as the turf matures it will come to do so, and if not, it's probably only a liberal topdress or three away.


10 -- the landscape of the Mornington Peninsula "Cups Country" presents itself here. Maybe not as dramatically, but as you move out to the far reaches of the Gunnamatta and Moonah courses, there's a hint of Sand Hills or Ballyneal in the scale, expanses of rolling dunes and general solitude. There's acres of fairway right of the drive bunker, but it's just so tempting, so as you stand in it trying to find a way to save par, you'll know in your heart that you were pretty stupid to take it on.


12 -- I've not encountered another design firm that builds as many iconic greens as Renaissance does. This is as good as any of them, on the end of a stout par four. And as with the second green, the slope you use to feed your ball to the hole is dependent on your imagination and shotmaking ability moreso than what the architects intended. It seems to me this green wasn't built with right and wrong ways to approach it in mind, but rather a handful or opportunities to express yourself and have fun. It's a shame the shaggy grass left of the fairway is such a ball-eater (a minor quibble that I am sure as the course matures will be addressed).


13 -- rollicking is the only word to describe this par five. One of the more dramatic moments on the course.


16 -- longish par three. Late afternoon, meet the ocean! The imposing nature of the bunker left of the green will mean that a lot of shots end up in the front right collection area, and the fantastic green contours will mean that a lot of recoveries from the collection area will end up in the bunker! It's "just" a mid iron to a reasonably large green, but those features combined with a reliable crosswind and its placement so close to home will -- I am confident -- make this a regular cardwrecker.


17 -- another short four, probably the most driveable of them all, and another where those with enough brains and discipline will often ignore the line of instinct and play right and short for a reasonably simple pitch on. There's enough going on either side of the green to make X without much even going wrong. And then once that's in your head, good luck swinging freely on that aggressive tee shot.


When isolation is over, flights resume and the state borders reopen, I reckon the first tee at Gunnamatta is one of the first places I will find myself.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 09:33:25 AM by Scott Warren »

Mike Bodo

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2020, 11:06:56 AM »
Thanks for sharing the photos you did of Gunnamatta. The course looks AMAZING! I see a lot of Mackenzie/Maxwell and ANGC influence with the green complexes, however. The 3rd green reminds of the the 18th at ANGC. The 4th green is a near replica of the 5th green at ANGC. You got the boomerang green on the 8th, which is a Mackenzie trademark and were you to remove the bunkers to the right of the 12th green and replace them with hillocks/mounds you'd essentially have the 8th green and surrounds at ANGC.


I don't fault Renaissance for going this route, as the greens in each instance fit the lay of the land or were made to fit it. All that's missing are tall pine trees, pine straw, some pretty flowers and flowering trees and a creek meandering around and through the course. LOL! In all seriousness it looks like a fun and playable course with the greens presenting the biggest challenge, as the fairways seem plenty wide.
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Tom_Doak

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2020, 12:23:54 PM »
Thanks for sharing the photos you did of Gunnamatta. The course looks AMAZING! I see a lot of Mackenzie/Maxwell and ANGC influence with the green complexes, however. The 3rd green reminds of the the 18th at ANGC. The 4th green is a near replica of the 5th green at ANGC. You got the boomerang green on the 8th, which is a Mackenzie trademark and were you to remove the bunkers to the right of the 12th green and replace them with hillocks/mounds you'd essentially have the 8th green and surrounds at ANGC.



I've never been shy about telling people where I got my ideas for various holes.  I can tell you I never once thought of Augusta while we were working at The National, and I'd be surprised to hear that any of my crew did.  If we needed any more MacKenzie influence than we already had, there are plenty of fine examples local to Melbourne.


I guess you can see whatever you want to see, but since you haven't been there, it's kind of silly.  Hopefully Jeff Warne, who grew up in Augusta and played in the recent Renaissance Cup, will see this thread and comment.


Yes, the course is VERY wide -- it's even wider than we usually build, because it is a windy place, but also because golfers don't like to look for their balls in the rough when there might be snakes about.  [We have never found anywhere near the number of abandoned golf balls we found at The National, because golfers abandon them so easily down there.] 


Ben Stephens

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2020, 01:08:51 PM »
Thanks for sharing the photos you did of Gunnamatta. The course looks AMAZING! I see a lot of Mackenzie/Maxwell and ANGC influence with the green complexes, however. The 3rd green reminds of the the 18th at ANGC. The 4th green is a near replica of the 5th green at ANGC. You got the boomerang green on the 8th, which is a Mackenzie trademark and were you to remove the bunkers to the right of the 12th green and replace them with hillocks/mounds you'd essentially have the 8th green and surrounds at ANGC.



I've never been shy about telling people where I got my ideas for various holes.  I can tell you I never once thought of Augusta while we were working at The National, and I'd be surprised to hear that any of my crew did.  If we needed any more MacKenzie influence than we already had, there are plenty of fine examples local to Melbourne.


I guess you can see whatever you want to see, but since you haven't been there, it's kind of silly.  Hopefully Jeff Warne, who grew up in Augusta and played in the recent Renaissance Cup, will see this thread and comment.


Yes, the course is VERY wide -- it's even wider than we usually build, because it is a windy place, but also because golfers don't like to look for their balls in the rough when there might be snakes about.  [We have never found anywhere near the number of abandoned golf balls we found at The National, because golfers abandon them so easily down there.]


Tom


Would you say the design approach is similar to what was done at St Andrews Beach nearby? I have played SAB and the National Gunnamatta feels quite similar judging from the pics overall however each hole has their own identity


Look forward to seeing Jeff Warne chipping in


Cheers
Ben

Mike Bodo

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2020, 01:52:09 PM »
I guess you can see whatever you want to see, but since you haven't been there, it's kind of silly.  Hopefully Jeff Warne, who grew up in Augusta and played in the recent Renaissance Cup, will see this thread and comment.
Agreed and know that I meant no umbrage or slight in my thoughts on the green complexes. Those were simply the images the came to my mind from the photos Scott posted. As I originally stated, I think they look fantastic and blend in beautifully with the surrounds. You and your staff did a masterful job (no pun intended).


If I'm ever fortunate enough to make the trek to OZ this will be a course on my list to play along with Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm, Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2020, 01:55:23 PM by Mike Bodo »
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Thomas Dai

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2020, 01:54:46 PM »
Thanks for posting Scott.
Love the width and the potential options given the windy location, the intriguing looking greensites and the relative lack of greenside bunkering. When I saw so much short grass the possibility of snakes and the ease of their visibility were one of the things that came to mind!
atb

Greg Gilson

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2020, 09:36:55 PM »

Scott, thanks for taking the time to file this report. I would be interested in your thoughts on 11 (uphill 200 metre +/-, long carry Par 3). Amongst the membership, by far, the most discussed & polarising hole on the course.  Here are some random thoughts from me as a clubmember.


(1)Its actually difficult to play G'matta without thinking back to what was there before. The Ocean (TWP's original course)  was quite unpopular with many members. It was also easy for guests and non-members to moan about the challenging greens - especially the number & severity of the false fronts. FWIW I always enjoyed the challenge of playing the Ocean. If you posted a good score there you have played very well. I guess the point here is that many (but not all) members were ready for & open to something different


(2)Personally, I was away from the club for 8 months until January 2020...so pretty much the entire build/growin/opening phase...so I missed much of the labour pain & all the anticipation. By the time i got the chance to play the course (Jan 1 this year) the course was already pretty settled in and in great shape.


(3) The new course really is VERY different to the other 2 (& what was there before). Before G'matta came along I always felt like , no matter which course you played onsite, you better be ready to play. I came to realise that more after G'matta came along. Compared to the other 2 (3) a round on G'matta is something to relax & enjoy...not grimace & grind. That's a real positive


(4)My 2 most regular playing buddies (good & very , very regular players) were in the "keep the Ocean" camp & against investing in the change. Right through until opening day they were moaning about what the club had done. When I got back & played G'matta with them once or twice a week through January their tune had changed. They had converted to the "lots of options", "enjoying trying to figure it out" camp. Small sample size but dramatic turnaround from couple of key members of the target market


(5)Consistent with my buddies' opinion above, the wider membership seems to be voting with their feet. I do not know the round numbers between the 3 courses...but, based on my experience trying to book tee times, G'matta feels like very much the most played course onsite. Member feedback from my circle of friends is overwhelmingly positive, especially enjoying the "greater playability" aspect of the new course


Happy to host anyone heading this way (albeit NGC, like other Victorian clubs/courses) is closed right now!

jeffwarne

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2020, 11:35:34 PM »
Thanks for sharing the photos you did of Gunnamatta. The course looks AMAZING! I see a lot of Mackenzie/Maxwell and ANGC influence with the green complexes, however. The 3rd green reminds of the the 18th at ANGC. The 4th green is a near replica of the 5th green at ANGC. You got the boomerang green on the 8th, which is a Mackenzie trademark and were you to remove the bunkers to the right of the 12th green and replace them with hillocks/mounds you'd essentially have the 8th green and surrounds at ANGC.



I've never been shy about telling people where I got my ideas for various holes.  I can tell you I never once thought of Augusta while we were working at The National, and I'd be surprised to hear that any of my crew did.  If we needed any more MacKenzie influence than we already had, there are plenty of fine examples local to Melbourne.


I guess you can see whatever you want to see, but since you haven't been there, it's kind of silly.  Hopefully Jeff Warne, who grew up in Augusta and played in the recent Renaissance Cup, will see this thread and comment.


Yes, the course is VERY wide -- it's even wider than we usually build, because it is a windy place, but also because golfers don't like to look for their balls in the rough when there might be snakes about.  [We have never found anywhere near the number of abandoned golf balls we found at The National, because golfers abandon them so easily down there.]


Sorry-actually had to work today-albeit remotely
Tee times for the first time in our history with the recent Cuomo clarification spent the entire day arranging social distanced, same household tee times for our return to golf tomorrow-the old fashioned way.And for once I didn't delegate it!


As Tom mentioned, I had the chance to play 45 holes at The Guanamatta course at National, and walked an additional 20 plus spectating and learning the course by walking it as my back was out for much of the trip.
it was interesting playing with a 3/4 swing most of my time there,took a few rounds to figure out the timing  of that and putting wasn't a lot of fun. By the first day of the matches I had it pretty synched up and had the ability to go probably 85-90 % sparingly-which makes a difference in carry yardage and height of approaches when called for.


I found the course more strategic every round I played, and we played/walked it in three different winds. The width-not evident to me the first go around-opens up different avenues for different pins. Some of that width was accessible via ability to carry the ball, and by the time of the matches I had more of that firepower, which made it a lot more fun. At lower speeds with 3/4 swings,due to lower spin and trajectory, less of that width was evident. Examples being 1,2,3,4 12 14,15 where ability to carry a bunker or take on a semi blind corner were apparent with knowledge and healing-and ideal for accessing certain pins.Some of these angles such as 13 I discovered by seeing others hit wild shots (Cedric miles right on 12, way left on 7), but also by looking back from the greens 3,15.


To the question at hand when reading Mike's post, I did kind've perk up at the ANGC comparison.
I think the angles being not from the direct line of approach threw him off. #3 did not remind me a bit of #18 at Augusta, but when I went back to look at the picture it sort've resembles it from that angle, taken from left of the green-other than the massive difference in elevation change that ANGC has and orientation to the fairway...4 green to me did not remind me of 5 at ANGC, but I don't think that was taken from approach angle either? (it does kind've look like 5 in the picture). I can tell you 5 at Augusta is a severe (now softened)tabletop with the surrounds running away. Having missed 4 green at Guanamatta right I can assure I NOT chipping uphil but rather impossibly downhill over a steeply pitched slope away(sorry Angela)
as far as 8 at ANGC, that has always been one of my favorite par 5's as before it was so reachable, the layup to the right was always key depending upon pin and there was ample room to create the angle. nowadays, there's less of that as they all can reach so it's probably worth the risk to go straight at it, but long(now an option) and right is always better than short and or left. 12 at Guanamatte is more collective on all sides, but very difficult to get the ball close if driving it on wrong side of fairway depending on pin. I drove it over near/in 13 fairway and hit a tight approach to a left pin on my second round after seeing a player in a practice round (Cedric) spray a drive over there to what was fairway over a mound/rough area.
8 at ANGC has its challenges but the main thing is to avoid being left.
That saud, looking at the old ANGC pictures Thonas posted #8 at ANGC does look like 12 at Guanamatta.
12 at Guanamatta requires different tee shot placement for  different pins, but there is an element of containment/imagination to the green you can use  which vurrent Augusta 8 doesn't really have unless pitching from long or right.
8's at Guanamatta a cool green-having been on the wrong side of the boomerang behind the bunker in our first round, and having/missing a 4 footer from just the other side in our third round match, but I can't say images of Mackenzie came to mind, but maybe a comparison to old #4 at ANGC?


I should probably stop here, but on the Doak courses I've played, I'm not reminded of Mackenzie greens(I probably don't know much about Mackenzie greens because in the UK they often use that term to describe a wild green)-Palmetto being the one Mackenzie course I've played the most.I'm probably butchering this but it seems Palmetto always has more of an overall tilt and slope and less internal contours than the courses I've played of Tom's. I've mentioned this to him before I think. Hopefully my check cleared because after this commentary Brian Schneider(who actually built most of the greens) may have to find another partner-Hopefully not because he played GREAT.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 08:09:29 AM by jeffwarne »
"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

Peter Flory

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2020, 12:41:38 AM »

(5)Consistent with my buddies' opinion above, the wider membership seems to be voting with their feet. I do not know the round numbers between the 3 courses...but, based on my experience trying to book tee times, G'matta feels like very much the most played course onsite. Member feedback from my circle of friends is overwhelmingly positive, especially enjoying the "greater playability" aspect of the new course

That is really what matters, especially after spending money to redo something that was in the least demand.  Even if a member happens not to like it for whatever reason, they should be happy that others do so that it absorbs play. 

By the way- how does the membership like the clubhouse?  I can't say that I've ever been in one similar to it with the modern design and high ceilings, etc.  But most clubs don't have thousands of members either.  The view from it is incredible. 

Greg Gilson

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2020, 02:09:02 AM »

Peter, I am even less qualified to rate clubhouse architecture than I am course architecture. however, I think its safe to say that an overwhelming majority of the members would rate the clubhouse a D-.


Huge locker room space basically unused because of poor location.


Hundreds of golfers each day "wash up" in a tiny toilet space tucked behind the kitchen


Very uninviting main space with no attempts over the years to create some kind of atmosphere


Best views in the clubhouse are from the cart barn


Ö.but the underground car park is pretty good

Mark Pearce

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2020, 04:43:04 AM »
I have loved what I have seen of this course to date and this thread just makes me want to play it more.  Having played both the other courses on site (I missed the Ocean on my one visit) I can see that this compliments the others nicely.  I can also see why it might be the most popular of the three with members, though it will be interesting to see the balance as the novelty wears off.  I assume it plays firm, so that the shaping is as influential on play as it looks as if it would be?
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

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2020, 05:04:19 AM »
Could someone please post a course routing, the more detailed the better. I havenít been able to find one on the web and there are a few courses close together in that area and satellite maps donít seem that up to date. Thanks in anticipation.
Atb

Sean_A

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2020, 05:32:54 AM »
The thing which stands out to me is that so many greens have zero or one bunker.  Even the one bunker greens have some which are quite separated from the green.  From photos, it looks like a few of these may tempt players to play closer to the bunker and hope for kick...which makes me think the opposite side of the greens may be terrible recovery positions...but that is just a guess.  Anyway, I very much appreciate the lack of sand around greens and it seems to flow well with the more open concept of the fairways.  In this way, I do see see similarities with the original AGNC.

Scott...thanks for taking the time..very much appreciated!

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

Scott Warren

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2020, 06:42:48 AM »

Scott, thanks for taking the time to file this report. I would be interested in your thoughts on 11 (uphill 200 metre +/-, long carry Par 3). Amongst the membership, by far, the most discussed & polarising hole on the course.

Tee to green, I love the 11th. It's a great shot, with enough space to accommodate the wind and the side slope feeding the putting surface.

The green itself, I am not a huge fan of. A bit too much going on for me, given what you've needed to accomplish to get there.

There's a few similar holes in GB&I -- Berkshire Red #10 comes to mind -- and they tend to ask less of you once you get to the green than 11 at Gunnamatta does.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 06:46:44 AM by Scott Warren »

Scott Warren

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2020, 06:53:46 AM »
I assume it plays firm, so that the shaping is as influential on play as it looks as if it would be?


There was a lot of discussion among the group I visited with about how impressively firm and fast it played given it only opened a few months earlier. I assume it will only get moreso. Combined with the expansive use of fescue in the approaches and greens surrounds, it plays as British as anything south of Rye.

jeffwarne

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2020, 07:57:10 AM »
I assume it plays firm, so that the shaping is as influential on play as it looks as if it would be?


There was a lot of discussion among the group I visited with about how impressively firm and fast it played given it only opened a few months earlier. I assume it will only get moreso. Combined with the expansive use of fescue in the approaches and greens surrounds, it plays as British as anything south of Rye.


Im no agronomist but newer courses tend to play the firmest,especially greens as they have an absence of thatch.The Guanmatta course was most definitely firm-difficult to find a mark.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 09:10:59 AM by jeffwarne »
"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

Brian Walshe

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2020, 08:37:43 AM »
Good review Scott.


11 is my favourite hole on the course.  It's a 230yd par 3 and I have hit everything from 5 iron to driver on it.  The carry isn't as far as it looks as you can aim 20yds left of the green where the carry is only 175yds and the ball will kick forward and right.  Downwind your line is left of the green and probably a club shorter than you think.  Into the wind I'll aim right with driver and move the ball back and use the left to right, back to font slope on the green to hold the ball.  It's a tee you could stand on for an hour trying different clubs and lines. 


The real beauty of the hole is that the back tees are about the same distance as the member tees but they are 20yds right which means you can't use the slopes left of the green and suddenly your carry is close to 215yds.




Tom_Doak

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2020, 08:44:50 AM »


Tom

Would you say the design approach is similar to what was done at St Andrews Beach nearby? I have played SAB and the National Gunnamatta feels quite similar judging from the pics overall however each hole has their own identity





Hi Ben:


Half the field for the Renaissance Cup played at St. Andrews Beach on the day before the event started at The National -- many thanks to St. Andrews Beach for hosting us gratis.  The feedback on St. Andrews Beach was VERY positive, to the point that several people kept asking me questions about why it wasn't more highly regarded, and that was the day after the same group had played Royal Melbourne (West) in perfect condition!


Obviously, I'm a minimalist by nature and the two properties are relatively similar in terms of undulation -- The National is a bit hillier, where St. Andrews Beach is more a bunch of ridges and valleys.  So it's not surprising they are somewhat alike.  But we try to avoid building the same product twice.  Since St. Andrews Beach had relatively small and gentle greens by my standard, we went the other way at The National, with pretty large greens divided by some big breaks.


Putting fescue around the greens was actually something Mike Clayton and I had done at St. Andrews Beach, and then Royal Melbourne took it to another level a few years later when they re-grassed their greens.  [That was before I started consulting there, but they did tell me they'd got the idea from St. Andrews Beach.] 


At The National, we were more conscious of using those surrounds as backboards and sideboards for approach shots and chips, instead of just assisting the running approach.  A lot of the greens at St. Andrews Beach sit in pockets, but there aren't many of them where you would use the apron on your approach shot, as at the 2nd or 3rd or 5th [or a bunch of others!] at The National.  That also has to do with the bigger greens and broader movements that provide good-sized targets for bank shot options.

jeffwarne

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2020, 09:24:03 AM »

Scott, thanks for taking the time to file this report. I would be interested in your thoughts on 11 (uphill 200 metre +/-, long carry Par 3). Amongst the membership, by far, the most discussed & polarising hole on the course.

Tee to green, I love the 11th. It's a great shot, with enough space to accommodate the wind and the side slope feeding the putting surface.

The green itself, I am not a huge fan of. A bit too much going on for me, given what you've needed to accomplish to get there.

There's a few similar holes in GB&I -- Berkshire Red #10 comes to mind -- and they tend to ask less of you once you get to the green than 11 at Gunnamatta does.


I loved #11.
So happy to see such a hole where the 10 tee police have not eliminated an all or nothing tee shot OR a nice wide bail.
Reminded me in some ways of Callamity at Portrush, but also of 16 at Cypress Point.
I'm always amazed when I see a 240-260 par 3 from 80 years ago, nowadays the 10 tee police would neuter such a hole , rendering the need for a clever or a strategic bailout moot. Loved that there was the thrill of going for it, of hedging, or playing safe without  our white tee(where we played the event) pandering to us and eliminating clever options.
perhaps the green was too tough- :) never made a three there!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2020, 08:20:30 PM by jeffwarne »
"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

Thomas Dai

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2020, 09:43:07 AM »
Found some videos on YouTube. Not much but better than nothing.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wicAtqUXwps
And
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NZtEWq2bPgY
Atb

Greg Gilson

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2020, 02:55:39 PM »
Jeff, what is "the 10 tee police"?

Tom_Doak

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2020, 04:06:33 PM »
Jeff, what is "the 10 tee police"?


I understood him to refer to those people who think there should be enough tees so that every golfer faced the same decisions as the scratch player from the back tee.  Which is sometimes impossible when you're dealing with terrain.


We were not immune to that at The National.  There were some howls from the women's section about the 11th forcing them to hit driver and some being unable to reach the green.  I pointed out the same was true for the 20-handicap men, but that did not soothe them much.  The forward tee is down low there, so you have to hit over a big bunker and UP to the green or UP to the left-hand fairway, which is very intimidating for certain players.  Some actually play around the bunker to the right, then straight up the slope!


It's hard to make a hole like the 11th work for everyone, because of the sharp drop-off and the carry from the tee.  Some of the better women players thought they should play it as a par-4 from the 220-yard tee, but I pointed out that the higher handicap women could not carry the ball over to the left fairway from there, so it would be a brute for them.


Luckily, I did not feel like the hole was invalid because not everyone would like it.

Brian Walshe

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2020, 06:41:34 PM »
One of the interesting things on Gunnamatta is how much people's lines off some tees have changed in the months since it opened.  Early on everyone was right centre to right edge on 4, now you see people left centre and left edge and taking the quarry out of play as well as picking up a few yards.  Most have now worked out that the lay up on 17 is right edge and that left leaves you with a much harder pitch.  A lot fewer attempts at the green off the tee as well.  Another is 14 where the pocket short left of the driver bunkers gets a lot more interest into the wind.  Still surprisingly few takers for the right shelf on 15 even though it gives a much better view and line into the green. I keep hoping they tidy up the area short right of the right drive bunkers on 8, it's the best place to get to the left pin from.

jeffwarne

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2020, 08:14:02 PM »
Jeff, what is "the 10 tee police"?


Example
Par 3 where Black tee 240, Blue, 210, white 180, green 160, brown 140...........red 100
Attempting to create the same "challenge" for every level mythical player.
A 220 yard par 3 can be a really cool 1 shot hole (16 at Cypress Point) or a cool drive and pitch hole for some or all in some conditions(16 at Cypress Point) Sometimes it's really cool to have a really hard hole(in relation to par and ability)


edit: I just saw Tom's post. somewhat more eloquent than mine...
« Last Edit: April 20, 2020, 05:56:21 PM by jeffwarne »
"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

Scott Warren

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Re: National (Gunnamatta) by Renaissance Golf Design
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2020, 11:27:55 PM »
Still surprisingly few takers for the right shelf on 15 even though it gives a much better view and line into the green.


This is a perfect example of how difficult the brilliance of Gunnamatta is to show in photos. From memory we had a LHS pin on the first day of matches. I recalled your comment the previous day and banged it up over the trees from the tee to see what it left me and it was a ridiculously simple flat half wedge with the backstop behind the pin.

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