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Brian Phillips

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How necessary is having "rough?"
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2003, 10:13:13 AM »

That is one area where I think Merion have got it all wrong.  When we played there last year and the rough was really, really thick.

All I could do sometimes was hack out to the side.  I realise that this is supposed to be an old US Open course but I felt a lot of the risk taking was taken out of a players hand.  The fairways at Merion could have been so much wider without much work.

The 5th is a great example.  I hit it past the fairway bunker on the right side where I thought it would then roll back to the middle of the fairway (not intentionally..) but it stayed up because of the thick rough.  

It was so thick that all I could do was hack it out to the bottom of the fairway.  Now if they had kept the rough 'playable' to give a flier lie then I would have tried to go for the green which might have resulted in me flying through the green or rolling right down to the bottom of that steep green on the left handside. Or I might have pulled off a great shot and just rolled onto the green..but the option was taken away from me.

There is so much witdth at Merion that isn't utilised by the club.

I think you can have a variety of rough, some of it not playable but most of it should tempt a player to try something special.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Bunkers, if they be good bunkers, and bunkers of strong character, refuse to be disregarded, and insist on asserting themselves; they do not mind being avoided, but they decline to be ignored - John Low Concerning Golf


Re: How necessary is having "rough?"
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2003, 01:17:11 PM »

Like what you post and I think our differences aren't that
F-A-R apart!

Just let me say this -- the more a course depends upon the nature of rough (don't know how one balances rough to the extent that Tom Doak desrcibed between keeping it from being too penal for the average golfer) the greater the likelihood the design qualities of the course are either overl;y protected or not present at all.

Rough does keep the costs down as TD mentioned, but too many times rough is used to bolster the "greatness" of a particular course when in reality if you strip it away you will often find a course that is "lite" in its overall uniqueness, character and appeal.

One last thing -- Shivas, I can appreciate what you say but you seem to be from the William Fownes school of thought -- I certainly want to "differentiate" shotmaking and there are ways to do that beyond growing "hay" that is put right next to fairway cuts. I hope the powers-that-be heed this because in setting up Bethpage Black for the '09 Open there is a better way to showcase that gem of a layout beyond going the route they went in '02.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim Thompson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How necessary is having "rough?"
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2003, 07:50:51 PM »
What a question.  It's so good I'm forced to answer in Sybil fashion. So here goes.  The character in my mind precedes each answer.

The Player says:  Rough is necessary, and the older, shorter, and tighter the golf corridor the more penal it has to be, as the courses can't significantly be stretched in either length or width.  The old courses in particular seem trapped in their borders.  I think it’s harder to hit out of dense 2" rough than 3" wispy grass.

The Course Operator says:  You bet we need rough.  We’ve got to much bent grass already.  I just have to provide bent grass fairways to compete these days and it just saps the funds of my bottom line.  I tell my super to keep it as close to 1 1/2" as possible so folks can find their ball and think they hit recovery shots like the pros.  My customers like thinking they're better then they are and that keeps 'em coming back.  I wish the fairways could go back to poa.  I'd cut it at 3/8" for a fairway and 1 1/2" all the way to the trees I'm just afraid local folks would ask me to discount my prices again and that I'd lose my destination golfers.

The architect wannabe says:  Rough, we don't need no stinking rough.  Let's cut bent as tight as possible from wall to wall and use undulation to create strategic options.  Players don't realize how hard it is to hit off a tight lie with the ball below their feet.  Miss the preferred line by ten feet now and the shot is ten times tougher. The accountant will never go for it though.  He's so tight.  If I could just convince him that people would love this place and pay for it.  As for the old courses, if I could just convince the memberships to get out the chainsaws we could fix everything.

The idealist:  Bent grass has prevented golf from reaching its full potential.  There should be a law that it can only be used on greens and tees.  How do I educate the public that that's OK when they see Augusta every year on TV?

Dr. Katz help!!!!

Shivas, Mike and all the other Philosophically inclined:

We spend a lot of time here recommending books to read.  
I recommend the following:
“Finite & Infinite Games” by James P. Carse
Available from Barnes & Noble for just $6.99

From the Publisher:
An extraordinary book that will dramatically change the way you experience life.

Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life, the games we play in business and politics, in the bedroom and on the battlefied — games with winners and losers, a beginning and an end. Infinite games are more mysterious — and ultimately more rewarding. They are unscripted and unpredictable; they are the source of true freedom.

In this elegant and compelling work, James Carse explores what these games mean, and what they can mean to you. He offers stunning new insights into the nature of property and power, of culture and community, of sexuality and self-discovery, opening the door to a world of infinite delight and possibility.

"An extraordinary little book . . . a wise and intimate companion, an elegant reminder of the real."

— Brain/Mind Bulletin

From The Critics:
The New York Times Book Review - Francis Kane
In {this work} marvelous if unintended ironies abound. In a work that celebrates that poet in all of us who 'reduces nothing,' everything is reduced into two simple categories. . . . Another irony: the infinite player eschews all seriousness. (Mr. Carse doesn't say how lightly one is to take fascism.) Yet I cannot recall a recent book that was more pretentious or took itself so seriously. . . . I suppose, though, that in this self-indulgent age this work will create its own disciples, and one could dismiss my objections as the cavils of a cranky old Confucian who little understands his ever-youthful Taoist colleague. So be it. For those of us who remain unconverted, we can take heartin one final irony. Since the infinite player takes nothing seriously, we can assume that not even books like 'Finite and Infinite Games' can escape the fate of being just a game.

After reading I would expect one of you to start a "Golf: Finite or Infinite Game?" thread.


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

paul cowley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How necessary is having "rough?"
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2003, 08:16:05 PM »
...i think if a hole is strategically designed using trees,bunkers,water, and unplayable terrain,...rough[especially penal rough] shouldn't be a key design feature.
....but rather a way which one transitions from highly to lesser maintained areas.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
paul course architect/asgca


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