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Jim Sherma

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Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« on: July 25, 2022, 02:19:24 PM »
Many of the more modern examples of architecture with width tend to have binary outcomes on either side of the wide fairways. By binary I am referring to short distances from fairway to areas that do not readily lend themselves to recovery shots; e.g. potential lost ball gunch, trees, native, etc.


I believe that this trend in architecture/maintenance meld leads to the unintended consequence of bimodal scoring based on the disparity in expected score for shots that encroach up to and beyond the edges of the fairway. When playing courses like this I find that I still make my 3-5 driver swings that don't do what I want (HDCP index cycles between the mid 3's and mid 5's and I consider myself a pretty good driver). On the standard North Eastern parkland courses my scores tend to be about the types of recoveries I can make either around/over or from within some trees. On the binary types of courses I'm discussing here the scores are dependent on whether my misses are found or not. Based on the potential for penalty strokes I end up with my scores either clustering at or inside of my handicap, or 5+ shots above my handicap.   

Ben Hollerbach

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2022, 02:36:28 PM »
Many of the more modern examples of architecture with width tend to have binary outcomes on either side of the wide fairways. By binary I am referring to short distances from fairway to areas that do not readily lend themselves to recovery shots; e.g. potential lost ball gunch, trees, native, etc.

Couldn't this sentence apply directly to a course like Pine Valley?

Steve Lapper

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2022, 02:57:38 PM »
There are quite a few courses that present this dilemma: Prairie Dunes, Pinehurst#2, Jupiter Hills and, as mentioned; Pine Valley. The common theme is: should you find your ball, you have little or no recovery shot. I love all the architecture at the aforementioned courses, yet agree that the binary penal nature of missing a wide fairway is a bit much. There is little fun flirting with such harsh edges.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 07:38:57 PM by Steve Lapper »
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Ben Hollerbach

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2022, 03:55:39 PM »
I love all the architecture at the aforementioned, but agree that the binary penal nature of missing a wide fairway is a bit much.
How much of a difference is there in a 60 yard wide fairway that goes straight into dense trees; and a 40 yard wide fairway, flanked by 10 yards of rough, and then dense trees? The corridor is still 60 yards wide. A rough buffer may help to limit the number of very wayward drives from reaching the trees, but will require a much more accurate drive to find the fairway. So what is the trade off compared to a very wide fairway but a higher potential for a vary wayward drive to end up in the trees?

Joe Hancock

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2022, 06:51:17 PM »
This discussion also is mostly applicable to ďadventureĒ routings; routings the have each as an individual component to the property. Courses like Siwanoy CC, which occupies somewhere around 90 acres, is a more compact course which eliminates, for the most part, the issue.


It does seem to be that many of the modern designs are of the ďadventureĒ type. Iíll just say that I think golf is a social game, and I prefer routings that allow you you to intermingle with golfers other than the ones only in your group.


Sorry to go off-topic, but itís important to understand how the routing creates the dynamics.
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Connor Lewis

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2022, 10:12:14 PM »
Well that just made my podcast decision a little easier.


Next week I release ďThe Rise and Demise of MacGregor GolfĒ & was wondering what would be the next story to follow.


The Ben Hogan Company just jumped into the first position.

jeffwarne

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2022, 07:56:07 AM »
Many of the more modern examples of architecture with width tend to have binary outcomes on either side of the wide fairways. By binary I am referring to short distances from fairway to areas that do not readily lend themselves to recovery shots; e.g. potential lost ball gunch, trees, native, etc.


I believe that this trend in architecture/maintenance meld leads to the unintended consequence of bimodal scoring based on the disparity in expected score for shots that encroach up to and beyond the edges of the fairway. When playing courses like this I find that I still make my 3-5 driver swings that don't do what I want (HDCP index cycles between the mid 3's and mid 5's and I consider myself a pretty good driver). On the standard North Eastern parkland courses my scores tend to be about the types of recoveries I can make either around/over or from within some trees. On the binary types of courses I'm discussing here the scores are dependent on whether my misses are found or not. Based on the potential for penalty strokes I end up with my scores either clustering at or inside of my handicap, or 5+ shots above my handicap.


IMHO far less fun to play


IMHO the best courses, certain holes share their width with other holes, or other naturally or randomly cleared areas, providing social interaction, long views, strategy and yes playability.
Not every hole mind you-holes occasionally running off by themselves into tight or unique corners or areas of the property have their place as well, but 18 holes selfishly and proportionally spreading themselves across a property, consistently providing the same dimensions on both sides for safety and gone, become simply a law of averages or numbers game, rather than periods of soul freeing creativity swing and thought freedom, balanced by intermittant periods of demanding focus, strategy and/or skill.


Those are the courses I want to play, not a large scale 60-80 yard corridor on every hole where one perfectly struck shot is nearly as good as another, and missing the corridor by a yard is a disaster.
Give me variety, options, creativity, freedom and yes even fear induced white knuckles, but don't give me 18 of the same challenges.


IMHO, much of the greatness of Pine Valley individual holes is masked in this presentation, where the frame becomes more important than the painting to most.


I played PV in 1992, when I certainly was much more of an architectural neophyte, but probably at the height of my playing ability.
I remember strictly following my caddie's advice and hitting a series of similar 1 irons, 3 woods and maybe 2-3 drivers.
This was in an era where it was normal to hit a lot of drivers.


I seem to always played better when the shots are dictated to me(see Blairgowrie a week ago), but I rarely enjoy the lack of variety [size=78%]and logical temptation.[/size]





"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

archie_struthers

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2022, 08:03:28 AM »
 8)


One of the issues with having unfettered borders on golf course comes down to budget and water. The thought of having 125-150 acres of manicured turf is quite a commitment, and water restrictions are an issue that will only become harder to manage as we go forward.


An architect should think of not only the finished product but what the stewards of same will be able to do when he/she leaves. The perception of a "good design " is often confused with conditioning, perhaps unfairly , but that's reality. Many an architect would love to control the water at course they design but very few have that clout after they are finished.


So , while perhaps  ideal the "binary option" being discussed might just be quite intuitive!




p.s.   interesting that Jeff above details what I believe to be the one reason that Pine Valley's unique ranking could be assailable, "take out those bunkers on #4  lol
« Last Edit: July 26, 2022, 08:06:41 AM by archie_struthers »

Ira Fishman

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2022, 08:09:15 AM »
The thread is directed at Modern Courses. I understand the logic behind not preferring the binary option, but I am having a hard time coming up with Modern courses where it applies. Specific examples welcome.


Ira

jeffwarne

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2022, 08:17:16 AM »
8)


One of the issues with having unfettered borders on golf course comes down to budget and water. The thought of having 125-150 acres of manicured turf is quite a commitment, and water restrictions are an issue that will only become harder to manage as we go forward.


An architect should think of not only the finished product but what the stewards of same will be able to do when he/she leaves. The perception of a "good design " is often confused with conditioning, perhaps unfairly , but that's reality. Many an architect would love to control the water at course they design but very few have that clout after they are finished.


So , while perhaps  ideal the "binary option" being discussed might just be quite intuitive!




p.s.   interesting that Jeff above details what I believe to be the one reason that Pine Valley's unique ranking could be assailable, "take out those bunkers on #4  lol


Archie, Modern golf courses tend to have more "maintained/irrigated/sprayed" acres of turf  than ever.
My opinion is we need a bit less "maintained/irrigated/sprayed" and a bit more gang mowed/occasionally bush hogged or grazed.
I.e. more shots from minimally maintained but somewhat playable areas.
the golf world became enamored with the look of "waving fescue" sometime in the late 80's, clashing with the wide corridor "width police" of wide perfectly maintained fairways of today"
ick-to say nothing of lyme's disease.
"Definition" has become the culprit.
"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

archie_struthers

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2022, 09:30:11 AM »
 ;D


Jeff I'm totally on board with less is more but the public doesn't agree...so o we build for us or them? 


Pity Twisted Dune didn't work out quite the way I wanted in that it was going to be a real test of what people would accept for our area.. water would have been minimal for sure

jeffwarne

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2022, 09:36:24 AM »
;D


Jeff I'm totally on board with less is more but the public doesn't agree...so o we build for us or them? 





Why us of course ;) ;D
The good news is the UK is littered with the stuff I'm talking about, and always for far less $$ so there's a nice separation of personalities...
"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: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2022, 10:07:23 AM »
;D
Jeff I'm totally on board with less is more but the public doesn't agree...so o we build for us or them? 
Why us of course ;) ;D
The good news is the UK is littered with the stuff I'm talking about, and always for far less $$ so there's a nice separation of personalities...
Generally the better the conditioning the more costly to build/maintain and the greater the price to play whereas the more rustic the less costly to build/maintain and the lower the price to play.
The yee olde question. Where is the tipping-point between where if itís too rustic not many will play to where if itís too costly not many will play? And what influences such a tipping point?
Many folks donít seem to like courses grazed by animals but they munch away at the grass cheaply and produce a terrific height of cut to play from and non-regimented width too. Canít be used everywhere admittedly.
Atb
« Last Edit: July 26, 2022, 11:56:14 AM by Thomas Dai »

Jason Topp

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2022, 11:14:44 AM »
My two primary courses fall on each end of this spectrum.  Windsong features 60 yard wide corridors but long grass fertilized by rich soil if one fails to find them.  Late in the year, one is essentially playing down a corridor of OB stakes.  The course has taken to cutting the long stuff in certain areas to provide some relief.


Northland features wide corridors and rarely requires a search for a ball.  One can often drive it almost anywhere but must be below the hole with the approach in order to expect par.


My scoring average is about the same on both courses but the way in which the courses challenge the player is completely different.  If I am having a bad day off the tee, I would much rather play Northland.  Guests definitely enjoy Northland more.


 At Windsong, I can pretty much assume a group of 15 handicap guests will feel beaten down on the walk to 14 tee.  The most difficult stretch of holes remain to be played at that point. 


I find I like the contrast.  If I were to choose one, it would be Northland. 

Matt_Cohn

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2022, 11:33:24 AM »
The binary option where missing the fairway immediately leads to a lost ball doesnít seem great. I donít think anybody enjoys lost balls, although sometimes, at a place like Prairie Dunes, thatís just what the natural landscape is.


Poppy Hills is a great example of a course with generally wide fairways and basically no rough, but if you miss the fairways even slightly youíre in real trouble. Most holes go immediately from fairway to those thin Monterey pines that grow pretty close together. It seems like a pretty fair deal to me: weíll give you 40+ yards to hit it. If you donít, youíll find your ball but you wonít like it.

Sean_A

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2022, 01:14:23 AM »
This discussion also is mostly applicable to ďadventureĒ routings; routings the have each as an individual component to the property. Courses like Siwanoy CC, which occupies somewhere around 90 acres, is a more compact course which eliminates, for the most part, the issue.


It does seem to be that many of the modern designs are of the ďadventureĒ type. Iíll just say that I think golf is a social game, and I prefer routings that allow you you to intermingle with golfers other than the ones only in your group.


Sorry to go off-topic, but itís important to understand how the routing creates the dynamics.

I Agree. New big name courses tend to have large properties which lend themselves to complete hole separation and therefore "no golf areas" in the interior of the property. Although there are many old courses like this. Muirfield is a good example even though there is a visual connection to much of the course on most holes.

I am not sure I agree about P2 as an example. It's difficult to lose a ball around there. One of the reasons I think Kingsbarns is so well liked is because of the intimacy of holes. Except for the water holes, the course is quite lenient for lost balls and this is partially due to the priximity of fairways, but the course is in no way a shooting gallery.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 27, 2022, 01:21:54 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

Thomas Dai

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2022, 03:53:34 AM »
Does anyone enjoy looking for balls in longer length grass including the manicured rough variety.. especially when it's a playing partner or opponents ball?
Does anyone enjoy waiting on the tee or on the fairway while the group in front search for their golf balls?
Short grass is good, the more of it the better. Longer grass including the manicured rough variety is a pain, the less of it the better.

atb

Michael Felton

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2022, 07:58:51 AM »
The thread is directed at Modern Courses. I understand the logic behind not preferring the binary option, but I am having a hard time coming up with Modern courses where it applies. Specific examples welcome.


Ira


The Bridge springs to mind. The playing corridors are 70-80 yards wide, but if you miss them you're reteeing. A yard off the fairway and your ball is gone.


The opposite example that occurs to me is St Georges on Long Island. It has several holes where the fairways are contiguous - 2 and 18, 4 and 6, 13 and 14. You never want to be in the other one though. I think that's a wonderful example of width that's playable, but not just a free-for-all.

Jim Sherma

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2022, 09:53:55 AM »
As much as the lost balls along the edges increase the binary aspect of these types of courses I also believe that modern agronomy is at play as well. Being 20-30 yards left or right in the fairway has virtually no impact on my expected score in most cases where the green are holding.


This past weekend I realized this while playing a new course for me that met this criteria. I had an ok driving day missing 4 fairways. These resulted in 2 lost balls, one in a fairway bunker (bogey), and the last one I drove through the fairway into some deep primary rough that I should have laid up in front of (bogey). The genesis of this thread was a hole on the back 9 where I missed my drive 40 yards left of my aiming point and ended up in the left side of the fairway, another 10 yards and it's a likely unplayable/lost ball. From the fairway I had 180 5-iron that I hit to 30 feet. If I had hit my target line I likely would have had a 6 or 7-iron. The angle impact was muted by the greens holding and another 10 or 20 yards does not impact my expected nearly as much as primary rough, flanking bunkers, or tree trouble would.


It struck me at that point that this type of architecture was really testing your ability to avoid extreme misses. Also, the drives become more one-dimensional since making the holes tighter results in making the almost unplayable for lesser players. Also, having the binary outcomes consistently on both sides of the fairway makes the center line almost always the preferred line off the tee. On many parkland courses your are more likely to find you ball amongst some trees with a punch out or the like - architecturally this allows for a more graduated penalty along the fairway margins. this can result in more good-side/bad-side strategy, or convincing yourself that challenging one side or the other can be worth it.

Ben Hollerbach

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2022, 11:45:23 AM »
The genesis of this thread was a hole on the back 9 where I missed my drive 40 yards left of my aiming point and ended up in the left side of the fairway, another 10 yards and it's a likely unplayable/lost ball.
This is where I struggle with the premise of this discussion. A ball that is 50 yards off of the intended line of play is such an extreme miss. How often does it happen and why should a player who misses the ball this poorly not be penalized with an unplayable/lost ball?

If we're speaking of a miss of this magnitude, I wonder if the point isn't so much modern course design vs. classic course design, but rather contiguous routings vs linear routings. For most contiguous course routings (modern or classic), a ball 50 yards of the intended line would be in or near another fairway. Which would greatly limit the lost potential, but greatly increase concerns over player safety.

As for agronomy, Isn't the ability for one to produce a recovery shot from the trees more greatly influenced on the canopy height / under brush of the trees than anything else? Thus, the maintenance of the border is the primary determinate of a binary penalty.

Jim Sherma

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2022, 01:43:46 PM »

Ben - exactly my point. It was a lousy drive. I was trying to hit a cut into the right half of the fairway and while I hit it solidly I double crossed myself well left of my target. And the penalty for it was ... essentially nothing. However if I had been 10 yards or so further left the penalty would have been stroke and distance or some hack out if I had been fortunate enough to find it. The variance of the two outcomes is 2-3 strokes on average. It is clearly a maintenance issue but I also think that it is driven by the architecture of these types of courses.


I think a lot of the big-dune courses/holes in Ireland have this same issue with very binary outcomes along the edges of the fairways. these tend to be driven by the steepness of the dunes that the holes are cut through. Enniscrone's newer holes are an example of this.

The genesis of this thread was a hole on the back 9 where I missed my drive 40 yards left of my aiming point and ended up in the left side of the fairway, another 10 yards and it's a likely unplayable/lost ball.
This is where I struggle with the premise of this discussion. A ball that is 50 yards off of the intended line of play is such an extreme miss. How often does it happen and why should a player who misses the ball this poorly not be penalized with an unplayable/lost ball?

If we're speaking of a miss of this magnitude, I wonder if the point isn't so much modern course design vs. classic course design, but rather contiguous routings vs linear routings. For most contiguous course routings (modern or classic), a ball 50 yards of the intended line would be in or near another fairway. Which would greatly limit the lost potential, but greatly increase concerns over player safety.

As for agronomy, Isn't the ability for one to produce a recovery shot from the trees more greatly influenced on the canopy height / under brush of the trees than anything else? Thus, the maintenance of the border is the primary determinate of a binary penalty.

Ben Hollerbach

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2022, 03:07:03 PM »
Jim,
If your drive was 20 yards into the rough vs. in the fairway, would your impressions of the situation changed? The corridor is still the same width, but the fairway would now be 1/2 as wide.

Jim Sherma

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2022, 11:23:16 AM »
Ben - I think that it would make a difference in that it would focus me into a tighter landing area. I'm not advocating for proportionality in and of itself. Firmer turf making angles more meaningful would help. I get that water and OB are very binary as well. The part of my OP that hasn't been discussed is the impact that this type of architecture has in terms of driving bimodal score distributions with the outcome not necessarily due to one round having shots that are meaningfully worse than another. Certainly luck always plays a role in the small sample size of a round, the binary nature of this maintenance/architecture style makes luck the dominant determinant in many cases.

Sean_A

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2022, 12:57:34 PM »


I think a lot of the big-dune courses/holes in Ireland have this same issue with very binary outcomes along the edges of the fairways. these tend to be driven by the steepness of the dunes that the holes are cut through. Enniscrone's newer holes are an example of this.

Big dune courses present a double edge dilemma. Often pretty and dramatic, but inherently less playable and tend to prevent the same challenge.

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

Michael Felton

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Re: Width With Binary Outcomes Along The Edges
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2022, 03:20:32 PM »
The genesis of this thread was a hole on the back 9 where I missed my drive 40 yards left of my aiming point and ended up in the left side of the fairway, another 10 yards and it's a likely unplayable/lost ball.
This is where I struggle with the premise of this discussion. A ball that is 50 yards off of the intended line of play is such an extreme miss. How often does it happen and why should a player who misses the ball this poorly not be penalized with an unplayable/lost ball?

If we're speaking of a miss of this magnitude, I wonder if the point isn't so much modern course design vs. classic course design, but rather contiguous routings vs linear routings. For most contiguous course routings (modern or classic), a ball 50 yards of the intended line would be in or near another fairway. Which would greatly limit the lost potential, but greatly increase concerns over player safety.

As for agronomy, Isn't the ability for one to produce a recovery shot from the trees more greatly influenced on the canopy height / under brush of the trees than anything else? Thus, the maintenance of the border is the primary determinate of a binary penalty.


50 yards offline is quite a lot, but it's not that extreme. I posted this in one of the other threads:


It's cut off at 50 yards on either side, but there are still plenty of balls out there. This is from mygolfspy's driver testing. I imagine that they use reasonably good players. There was a shot pattern floating around at one point of Jason Day when he was world number 1. 20 shots hit on a trackman, I think back to back and it was 70 yards from furthest left to furthest right. Driver shot patterns are large.


I was playing Timber Point today and I hit one about 55 yards right on 16. Combination of wind into and off the left and water left that I didn't fancy messing with. 90s shooters hit them that far off line regularly.

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