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Scott Warren

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What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« on: April 24, 2022, 08:15:32 PM »
Mike Whitaker calls it "The question mark hole", in the Confidential Guide Ran (I believe) refers to it as "a buttonhook par five", my own reaction was that from above it resembles a boomerang.

Whatever you call it, there's no question that this was a template hole that Mike Strantz repeated from place to place, and the method in which it was applied also seems very deliberate:
  • At Bulls Bay (2nd hole) and True Blue (5th), it's on the edge of the property and at Tobacco Road (11th) it's essentially on the edge as it flanks the driving range (albeit in the middle of the property)
  • The ratio of card distance to tee-green direct line is in all cases between 1.49 and 1.68 (531/356 at Tobacco Rd, 548/359 at True Blue and 601/379 at Bulls Bay)
  • In all cases the green is angled perpendicular to a direct line from the tee
  • In all cases a thick grove of trees prevents play down the wrong side of the hazard around which the hole bends
  • In all cases the green is obscured by trees from the tee
I'm not sure if this was the direct inspiration, but a lot of its features echo the 6th hole at Arnie's Bay Hill in Orlando.

My experience of the hole was mixed. I loved the 11th at Tobacco Road, was pretty unimpressed by the 4th at True Blue (hence the lack of pics below which are all I took) and unfortunately had 10mins of driving rain arrive as I played the 2nd at Bulls Bay, though I liked the trees inside the dogleg off the tee as a go-for-broke option to try to get home in two.

The green on the 4th at True Blue felt a bit sandwiched between the lake and the road, leaving nowehere very good to miss around the green, which the Tobacco Road and Bulls Bay holes offered more interesting misses and recovery options.

Tobacco Rd has easily the most dramatic putting surface of the three, which fits into the land it is built on and also the fact that it's the only one without water guarding the layup and green.

I also liked that the Tobacco Road and Bulls Bay versions offer a wide bail-out area on the drive and lay-up that allows you to play away from the hazard but sacrifice distance and angle in the process. The True Blue version felt like a bit of a tightrope walk the whole way.

An aerial and some pictures of each hole:

TOBACCO ROAD





BULLS BAY






TRUE BLUE


« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 09:15:23 PM by Scott Warren »

Dan_Callahan

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2022, 08:47:55 PM »
Second hole at Royal New Kent is almost identical to TRís 11th.

Scott Warren

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2022, 09:27:03 PM »
Thanks, Dan.

Having not played the hole, I can't do any better than an aerial and also the hole ratios out just like the other three: 357 yards direct line tee to green and about 570 following the middle of the fairway as a three-shotter for a ratio of 1.59.

It's also on the edge of the property, with trees blocking the view from tee to green and preventing play down the inside of the hole.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 09:28:55 PM by Scott Warren »

Sean_A

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2022, 01:57:15 AM »
I am so so on the concept and certainly don't think it's worthy of being a template. I did find TR and BB to be a bit clunky. Although I like the heroic nature combined with beauty at TR. There could be more room left for a bailout second at TR. I also didn't care for the angle of the green not allowing me a putt at a back hole location from front right of the green. This happened to me twice in one round. On another course I may like the hole more, but TR has a lot going on including tons of doglegs.

TR and BB have other holes not that dissimilar. TR 4 is quite similar to 11.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 25, 2022, 02:14:32 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

Scott Warren

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2022, 02:23:12 AM »
Agree, Sean. 4 at TR is a good shout. Itís not the foundation of a great template though I really enjoy the TR version for the reasons you mention as well as the ability to escape from sand vs the terminal nature of a ball in the water.


I almost threw 13 at Bulls Bay in with this template but the drive is more or less straight before it does that absurd hook turn around the 90ft-tall trees.




Sean_A

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2022, 02:39:03 AM »
Agree, Sean. 4 at TR is a good shout. Itís not the foundation of a great template though I really enjoy the TR version for the reasons you mention as well as the ability to escape from sand vs the terminal nature of a ball in the water.


I almost threw 13 at Bulls Bay in with this template but the drive is more or less straight before it does that absurd hook turn around the 90ft-tall trees.

Yes, BB 13 is a variation of the concept...less graceful, more forceful and one I really dislike. Probably one of the worst holes I have played on an otherwise excellent course.

It's very difficult to pull off severe turns/U holes. It strikes me as an idea to pull out when desperate.

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

A.G._Crockett

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2022, 09:05:22 AM »
All three shots matter A LOT on these holes, which is not at all easy to do IMO.  Weíve all played hundreds of par 5ís on which the second shot really doesnít matter much, and there have been numerous thread on GCA over the years about this very common design failure on par 5ís


At TR #11, or TB #4, there are decisions to be made on the second shot, whether you are going for the green in two or trying to lay up correctly.  The feeling of relief and satisfaction from a well-executed 2nd shot on those two holes, even if itís only a mid iron shot, is pretty unusual.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Peter Sayegh

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2022, 09:30:25 AM »
Re: Sean Arble on the lack of leftside layup on TR #11, I'll disagree. There's plenty of room there; after playing out of the quarry my first two times, I just aim at 12 tee and putt from there.

I agree the back right pin only accepts the BEST played shots.

Scott, as much as I love True Blue, I've never had an affection for #4. I always tell first timers to just "find grass" on each shot. (Your comment about the rightside encroachment of the road is spot on).

TR #11 is much more enjoyable.



Scott Warren

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2022, 05:07:17 PM »
All three shots matter A LOT on these holes, which is not at all easy to do IMO.  Weíve all played hundreds of par 5ís on which the second shot really doesnít matter much, and there have been numerous thread on GCA over the years about this very common design failure on par 5ís


At TR #11, or TB #4, there are decisions to be made on the second shot, whether you are going for the green in two or trying to lay up correctly.  The feeling of relief and satisfaction from a well-executed 2nd shot on those two holes, even if itís only a mid iron shot, is pretty unusual.


This is a really good point, looking at what it achieves separately to how it achieves it.


If a par five has three interesting shots and a good green, can it be a dud hole?

Ronald Montesano

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2022, 06:55:06 PM »
Leatherstocking's 18th hole is a golden-age example of this sort of hole. You have to play it once to really get a feel for it. Folks rarely chew off the proper amount on the first go, unless they are great golfers or thinkers. It's also easy to nibble off too much on the second shot, after hitting a nice tee ball, and watch your dreams of a memorable score drift away.

I'd call it Humility or I'd call it Grit or Buck Up, or something like that. You must be committed from start to finish, and that's just the fairways! I don't recall the putting surfaces, but they should be interesting albeit not diabolical, given what you've gone through to get there.

It's not my favorite type of hole, but I have to get through it when I play. I've played the Strantz ones at TB, TR, and RNK. Tot Hill Farm doesn't have one, nor does Caledonia.

If I could interview the late Maverick, I'd ask him about his penchant for those water carries on 18, the question-mark hole, and seven other things. I'd then post the interview on GCA, since I'd make untold millions from people clicking through.
Maybe for 2022
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Edward Glidewell

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2022, 11:56:23 PM »
I think the 2nd at Bull's Bay is a good hole -- there's a realistic chance to reach the green in two, but there's also a safe play that leaves a reasonable third shot and takes the water out of play. I don't see any issue with the design.

The 13th, on the other hand, is funky and easily the worst on an otherwise excellent course. Everyone is forced to hit their second shot to the same layup location; there's really no other option. It's the one place on the course where clearing out trees (the area scribbled in red below) would improve the hole by offering an option to go at the green. They could make that area a waste bunker if they wanted a penalty for people who choose the aggressive line and come up short.








John Mayhugh

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2022, 08:07:26 AM »
Tobacco Road's works much better IMO because sand provides the obstacle, not water. Score wise there might not be much difference on average, but the perceived risk is less, making it more tempting and for a broader range of players.

A.G._Crockett

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2022, 08:33:05 AM »
Tobacco Road's works much better IMO because sand provides the obstacle, not water. Score wise there might not be much difference on average, but the perceived risk is less, making it more tempting and for a broader range of players.


Interesting point, and one that makes me rethink the premise of using these particular two holes as examples of a ďtemplateĒ.




They flow in opposite directions, have a completely different ďhazardĒ and penalty, and the greens are VERY different. I would also rate the second shot at TB if one is laying up as at least somewhat less demanding than the second at TR.




The only commonalities are the very general shape, and the extent to which placement of the second shot really matters, far more than on most par 5ís.  Thatís not a template, at least to me.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Scott Warren

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2022, 11:15:53 PM »
AG ó per the OP of the thread, the shape is more than ďgenerallyĒ the same. The ratio of hole length to tee-to-green distance is so alike that it cannot be a coincidence.


Adding in the second hole at RNK makes four holes that offer so much thatís the same that itís more than a likeness, even if not as pure a template. Two go right, two go left. Two (the ones that go right) use sand and two use water.


I was told elsewhere that Strantz had described these holes as his take on a Cape, but applied to a par five with the traditional Cape decision and strategy applying to the second shot onwards. Iím not sure of where or when he said that (and I take it on faith that he did say it at all), but it does make some sense when viewed that way.

Jason Topp

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2022, 12:46:11 PM »
What I like of the Tobacco Road Version is the opportunity for the shorter hitter to gain an advantage through an aggressive line rather than purely distance.  The use of sand rather than water makes that option more attractive even if the results can be more punishing.  At the same time, another player can tack around the pit and wind up ahead in the end. 


The design makes for interesting golf, more interesting than a similar hole winding around a lake.  The 18th at the Harvester plays in a similar manner, albeit around water and with less bailout on each shot.

A.G._Crockett

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2022, 02:10:54 PM »
AG ó per the OP of the thread, the shape is more than ďgenerallyĒ the same. The ratio of hole length to tee-to-green distance is so alike that it cannot be a coincidence.


Adding in the second hole at RNK makes four holes that offer so much thatís the same that itís more than a likeness, even if not as pure a template. Two go right, two go left. Two (the ones that go right) use sand and two use water.


I was told elsewhere that Strantz had described these holes as his take on a Cape, but applied to a par five with the traditional Cape decision and strategy applying to the second shot onwards. Iím not sure of where or when he said that (and I take it on faith that he did say it at all), but it does make some sense when viewed that way.


Questions:


1. Do you consider the layup distances and difficulty to be the as similar as the overall yardages for #4 at TB and #11 at TR?


2. Do you consider the second shots on those two holes to be similar for the longer hitter going for it in two?


3. If the answer to those questions is no, then isn't that more important than the overall yardage and general shape?


4. Would you agree that the greens and fringes on those two holes are completely different in terms of both size and being receptive to a long club on a second shot?
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Scott Warren

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Re: What do we make of Strantz's par five template?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2022, 06:20:22 PM »
AG,


I think the holes this thread is about are more alike in nature than the collection of Cape or Redan holes at National, Fishers Island, Yale and Yeamans Hall, or the Biarritz holes at the final three of those four.


Template holes are not facsimiles.

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