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Dan_Callahan

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The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« on: June 22, 2022, 11:54:41 AM »
The USGA (I'm assuming it was the USGA) made the brilliant decision to put the short par 3 back into the composite routing for the US Open. The hole plays as the 12th in the everyday Clyde/Squirrel layout, but was the 11th in the championship routing. "Brilliant" might be giving the USGA too much credit. At the US Am in 2013, which was the first time I'd seen the composite, I was stumped as to why, out of 27 available holes, the short par 3 would be skipped. It is, in my opinion, the best short par 3 in America. Yes, better than the 7th at Pebble, which admittedly is a great hole, but take away the ocean background and it really isn't anything special. Here are some pics from a few different angles and elevations at the US Open:











Thinking about template holes and their use on some of the great courses in the world, I'm surprised this hole isn't copied more often. Or maybe it is and I just missed it. But unlike the 7th at Pebble which is made by the ocean background, or the Postage Stamp at Troon, which is embraced by spectacular dunes, the short 3 at TCC could be reproduced almost anywhere, I would think. It's fun, challenging, and a cool contrast to the requisite long par 3s that most modern courses seem to require.


I read somewhere that on Sunday, the hole played 108 yards and had a stroke average over par. If that's true, and these are the best players in the world, it proves that a hole doesn't have to be long or tricked up to offer supreme challenge.

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022, 12:01:00 PM »
I read somewhere that on Sunday, the hole played 108 yards and had a stroke average over par. If that's true, and these are the best players in the world, it proves that a hole doesn't have to be long or tricked up to offer supreme challenge.
Yes. This hole, the 10th at Riviera (even if you expanded the green a bit), etc. make a good case against rolling back the ball.  ;)

Also, part of what makes the hole is the downhill nature, so it may not be able to be reproduced "almost anywhere" (lotta flat golf courses in the world). The 11th has about a 30 foot drop over 100 yards.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Ian Mackenzie

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2022, 12:20:17 PM »
I had the good fortune of playing a few rounds at TCC in June of 2021 at a member/guest.


The results WE experinced were directly related to the pin position on that green. (Played it 3 times.)


1. It's just not a hard green to hit. The green is large and the wind is shielded by the surrounding terrain.


2. When the pin was all the way back (like on Sunday), then there were a ton of 3-putts and others (who went long like Scheffler) as the green has a ridge that is hard to access.


3. But, if the flag was middle or front, and you were playing for a 3 and not getting too aggressive, then we found this to be a manageable hole.

Adam G

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2022, 12:31:59 PM »
Agree with Ian, although how shielded it is depends on the wind direction. It was playing downwind for them most of the week which I think increased the difficulty.


The USGA found four good hole locations. Thursday was front right, but on a little knoll that made it hard to get close. Friday and Saturday were all the way back where you were worried about firmness and the first hop going over. Sunday they found a spot on the front left lobe there (the green slopes front-right except for the very front left section which slopes front left into the bunker). That is a really hard hole because most putts are uphill, over the crest, and then downhill towards the bunkers and its easy to spin it off the front.


But with other hole locations or less firmness they would have eaten it alive.

Robert Mercer Deruntz

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2022, 12:32:50 PM »
Having played several great short par 3's, The CC one should be in the conversation, but the greatest, that is a possible reach.  What about LACC 15th, LACC old 17th, NGLA 6th, LuLu 4th, Glens Falls 9th, Myopia Hunt Club 9th, and certainly not least, Old 14th at Engineers.
Of course I am biased, but I think Engineers is even better than TCC's short hole.  It has not had major competition since the 1920 US Am.  But it was at that event that scores actually ranged fron 2 to 20 in the qualifying.  In recent years, the hole played comfortably above bogey during qualifying for match play in the Long island Am, and the most difficult pins were saved for the later rounds

Carl Nichols

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2022, 12:55:19 PM »
Serious question:  What makes this a great hole?  I'm not suggesting whatsoever that it isn't one, just curious what folks think makes it great.     

Dan_Callahan

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2022, 01:28:43 PM »
Serious question:  What makes this a great hole?  I'm not suggesting whatsoever that it isn't one, just curious what folks think makes it great.     


To me, it is a combination of factors, but starts with the way it presents a challenge to a golfer holding a wedge in his hands. The combination of elevation change and the pushed up nature of the green ... the contours of the green. And where it falls in the routing, coming just after a tremendously difficult brute of a par 4 (or par 5 for members ... but even as a par 5, that hole is a beast). Standing on the tee, it shouldn't be all that hard of a shot at just over 100 yards. And yet there is no bail out, as there shouldn't be from that distance. It's just one of those holes that when you get to it, you can't help but smile.

Kalen Braley

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2022, 01:58:11 PM »
Dan,

Do you think a return to the penal school of architecture is the next fad in the biz?  Because while its undoubtedly a gorgeous little thing, from my eye its also clearly a vicious "hit and hope" hole, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But if you build a green small enough, surround it with nasty drop-offs, make them account for a large elevation drop, and then surround all that with hazards, of course even the best in the world will still struggle.

Dan_Callahan

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2022, 03:21:44 PM »
Dan,

Do you think a return to the penal school of architecture is the next fad in the biz?  Because while its undoubtedly a gorgeous little thing, from my eye its also clearly a vicious "hit and hope" hole, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But if you build a green small enough, surround it with nasty drop-offs, make them account for a large elevation drop, and then surround all that with hazards, of course even the best in the world will still struggle.


I wouldn't call the 11th a return to the penal school, or praising the 11th is necessarily advocating for more penal golf architecture. I mean ... at 100-130 yards, you've got to add some danger. Otherwise, even hacks like me are expecting to birdie. And it isn't at all a hit and hope kind of hole. The elevation change I believe is about 30 feet. I think I read that Pebble's 7th is 40 feet. If you can flight a wedge, finding the middle of the green isn't a tough shot. Put that same elevation change and green size on the driving range and someone under a 10 handicap is hitting the green far more often than not.

PCCraig

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Re: The 11th Hole at The Country Club
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2022, 03:25:43 PM »
It's an easy 3 - the tee shot really isn't that hard. If the pin is tucked and you are shooting for a 2, well that's when you can get into trouble.
H.P.S.

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