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Jordan Beasley

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Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« on: July 06, 2022, 02:53:09 PM »



I recently played a round at Metropolitan Golf Links, one of the better affordable courses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Designed by Johnny Miller and Fred Bliss and built on an old landfill next to the Oakland Airport, it only partially earns the word "links" in its name but does offer a handful of interesting holes.


Hole #16, pictured below, contains a design feature that I'm surprised I haven't seen more on other courses. It is a relatively short par-4 (~370 from the back tees) with OOB all the way up the left side, and in the landing area is a set of dunes oriented diagonal to the line of play. In the picture below I have circled them in yellow. Their orientation is such that the further you shy away from the OOB left, the longer you need to hit your drive to clear the dunes and win both a flat lie and an unobstructed view of the green for your approach. On this most recent play, I bailed right and ended up needing to climb the right-most dune and hit my approach from its peak.


The idea of crossing a fairway with a set of dunes/mounds strikes me as an easy/cheap way to add a lot of interest to a hole, both in terms of initial construction and ongoing maintenance. Contrasting it with fairway bunkers, it seems not only more economical but more fun, as it can produce a wider variety of outcomes for the approach shot.


A similar but inverted example can be seen at a much more famous Bay Area hole, #14 at Pasatiempo. There it is a grassed barranca crossing the fairway, diagonal to the line of play. The line of charm is also up the left, though unlike #16 at Metro, that side requires the longer carry over the ditch.


Where else have you all seen this design feature? Any why don't we see more fairway mounds/trenches/dunes (constructed or natural) in lieu of fairway bunkers?










Tom_Doak

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2022, 03:38:09 PM »
I would suggest this happens multiple times per round on many links courses, but we don't notice because there is not a boundary close by to highlight the diagonal line, and/or because frequently bunkers are stuck into the dunes.


For example at Barnbougle Dunes there is a diagonal line of dunes separating the upper and lower patches of fairway on both the 3rd and 4th holes, and also at the 15th where it is highlighted by a bunker.  Indeed the 15th is a more dramatic mirror-image version of the hole in your photo.





Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2022, 03:48:13 PM »
On most links land, dunes form in relatively uniform ridges parallel to the sea.


Just think through all the courses you know and consider how they are routed. The least interesting courses continually use the valleys between the ridges. The most interesting ones frequently traverse the ridges, even better when at an oblique angle creating a diagonal to the line of play.

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2022, 04:05:30 PM »
I for one love this type of feature on a golf course.
Wasnt it rather popular with Langford and Moreau in many of their original designs and Colt has used it a good deal on the heathland courses around London and beyond.
My all time favourite like feature would be Sunningdale #12 I think it is

David_Tepper

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2022, 09:36:56 PM »
Jordan -

Having played "the Metro" a good number of times, I know the 16th hole. Yes, the crossing dunes do add a good element of interest and strategy to the hole.  The further right you hit your drive (to stay off the dunes and maybe get  closer to the green), the tougher the angle into the green for your 2nd shot.

Robin Hiseman created to similar feature when he designed 5 holes to be added to the Struie course at Dornoch. Except his diagonal dune ridge was in the landing area for the 2nd shot on the par-5 9th hole.

DT
 

Pete_Pittock

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2022, 09:56:58 PM »
Probably were some at The Machrie. The 16th at Littlestone. The 4th of Pacific Trails.

Michael Felton

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2022, 01:28:23 PM »
A couple of similar-ish examples that spring to mind.


The 5th at Royal St George's, where the left bunkers play the role of out of bounds and the ridge in the fairway that differentiates between the brave shot near the bunkers which leaves you a potential view of the flag and a flat shot, vs the safer tee shot down the right which leaves you with a longer blind shot off an upslope. This shot always gives me conniptions.


The other, which I haven't seen in approaching 20 years and I may be misremembering is the 17th at Hunstanton where if you hit your drive up the left side you have a clear shot at the green, but if you hit it to the right, you have to climb up to the green.

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2022, 02:47:27 PM »
Probably were some at The Machrie. The 16th at Littlestone. The 4th of Pacific Trails.


The 17th at The Machrie is the very poster child for this (and an utter joy to play too!):
https://themachrielinks.com/the-golf/hole-17/


Woohoo!
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2022, 03:28:26 PM »
Seems like just about any kind of diagonal feature is pretty good irrespective if whether itís a dune, a stream, a bunker, a ridge, a valley etc etc.
Atb

Robin_Hiseman

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2022, 11:39:38 AM »
I played Hayling last night and this links does this in abundance. Little wonder when you understand that Tom Simpson laid it out.


Sometimes the ridge is only a foot or two high, but its enough to matter. A glance at Google Earth can see how the holes approach many of the shallow valleys between dune ridges at a slight angle.
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Ira Fishman

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2022, 02:42:36 PM »
Seems like just about any kind of diagonal feature is pretty good irrespective if whether itís a dune, a stream, a bunker, a ridge, a valley etc etc.
Atb


Agree especially when it produces good risk/reward option. Diagonals are one of reasons to like doglegs too.

Jason Topp

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2022, 05:47:23 PM »
Bandon Trails has one, I can't remember the hole number but I recall it being around the middle of the front nine.  Hills ridges have a similar effect on play but it really sucks if you do not have the length to carry the ridge. 


Pete_Pittock

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2022, 05:49:23 PM »
Bandon Trails has one, I can't remember the hole number but I recall it being around the middle of the front nine.  Hills ridges have a similar effect on play but it really sucks if you do not have the length to carry the ridge.
I mentioned it earlier. It is the 4th hole. I have to choose between hitting a blind second shot over the dune, or trying to play a cut over the left edge because any other ball flight will kick into the left gunch. Never considered laying up on the first two shots and playing for bogey.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2022, 05:52:50 PM by Pete_Pittock »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Crossing dunes diagonal to line of play
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2022, 08:09:57 PM »
Bandon Trails has one, I can't remember the hole number but I recall it being around the middle of the front nine.  Hills ridges have a similar effect on play but it really sucks if you do not have the length to carry the ridge.


I plan to steal that hole for a new course in Florida.  One of my favorite holes from Bill's body of work.

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