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Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #50 on: September 06, 2022, 08:47:32 AM »
When we played there was only one other group walking that we could see. The rest of the field was riding, often with loud music blaring out of the cart.


Even pulling up to a green with two carts and two songs competing with each other as we are teeing off just beside…. Honestly don’t see the attraction…. At all


Thanks for this thread guys. 


I was very curious before it; became certain I should make the effort after reading this, and then CRASH! Two days of listening to other peoples music whilst outdoors playing golf. OMG!



on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #51 on: September 06, 2022, 11:09:07 AM »
Tony,


It really wasn’t that bad. Only one incident of what I noted above and generally they were far enough away that we barely heard the music (plus it was because it was one particular group just behind us).


There were lots of moments of tranquility as well. It shouldn’t put you off.

Buck Wolter

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #52 on: September 06, 2022, 11:12:01 AM »
Tony,


It really wasn’t that bad. Only one incident of what I noted above and generally they were far enough away that we barely heard the music (plus it was because it was one particular group just behind us).


There were lots of moments of tranquility as well. It shouldn’t put you off.


This is not an issue just at daily fee courses in the US -- rude/morons everywhere. I'm fine if you want to play music but if you pull up to a close tee/green use the f'ing pause button or at least turn it down.
Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience -- CS Lewis

Eric_Terhorst

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2022, 11:44:40 AM »
Tony,


It really wasn’t that bad. Only one incident of what I noted above and generally they were far enough away that we barely heard the music (plus it was because it was one particular group just behind us).


There were lots of moments of tranquility as well. It shouldn’t put you off.


Ally's correct, you shouldn't let our comments deter you.  It's a bit unlucky to draw a tee time playing directly in front of music-blaring cretins who, to say the least, care nothing about their fellow golfers' experience.


Possible tricks to avoid them:


  • Try to tee off early--fewer people on the course by definition and The Loop's serenity really makes an impression in the early morning hours.
  • There is often a lull in big groups teeing off on The Loop between 11:30am and 1:30pm, because visitors are often trying to play two rounds in one day, one on the Dunes course and one on The Loop, divided into tee times from 8-10am and 2-4pm.
  • Friday and Saturday are often saturated with golfers, including the large Buddy Trip groups of 16-24, mostly riding and often blaring.  If you can, schedule around those busy times.  The downside of playing earlier in the week is that the course is typically top-speed fast late in the week due to maintenance routines.

Joe Zucker

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #54 on: September 06, 2022, 03:28:03 PM »
Can a course be considered an architect's masterpiece if it is not one of the top 3 he built?  I've not heard a lot of people say the Loop is better than Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, St. Andrews Beach, Tara Iti, Rock Creek, St. Patricks, etc.  I'm not really sure what "masterpiece" means in this context, but it's hard for me to square that adjective for the Loop against several Doak courses that I would prefer to play.


That being said, I'll agree with everyone that the Loop is incredible and it's fascinating to see how the course works in both directions and how different holes play into the same greens.  And I'll also generally agree with the NLU complaint that the course is unforgiving.  They make the claim that "good shots are not rewarded" and I would agree with that (I know the rebuttal, I guess it wasn't a good shot then).  If I had to boil my feeling down, it's that the slopes rarely seem to help a ball.  They are much more likely to repel it.  Compared to other rumpled courses like St. Andrews where it feels like you get to watch your ball randomly feed to the hole as much as away from the hole.


If I lived within driving distance, I'd love to visit every year.  But to me, it is not Doak's masterpiece because there are a few other courses he's built I'd rather play.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2022, 03:45:32 PM »
Can a course be considered an architect's masterpiece if it is not one of the top 3 he built?  I've not heard a lot of people say the Loop is better than Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, St. Andrews Beach, Tara Iti, Rock Creek, St. Patricks, etc.  I'm not really sure what "masterpiece" means in this context, but it's hard for me to square that adjective for the Loop against several Doak courses that I would prefer to play.



I haven't seen the Loop so I have no dog in this fight, but as we know the most important factor governing the ultimate quality of a golf course is the land on which it sits, it seems clear to me that it is perfectly possible for a course to be its architect's greatest achievement without actually being his best course.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Sean_A

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #56 on: September 06, 2022, 03:54:21 PM »
Can a course be considered an architect's masterpiece if it is not one of the top 3 he built?  I've not heard a lot of people say the Loop is better than Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, St. Andrews Beach, Tara Iti, Rock Creek, St. Patricks, etc.  I'm not really sure what "masterpiece" means in this context, but it's hard for me to square that adjective for the Loop against several Doak courses that I would prefer to play.



I haven't seen the Loop so I have no dog in this fight, but as we know the most important factor governing the ultimate quality of a golf course is the land on which it sits, it seems clear to me that it is perfectly possible for a course to be its architect's greatest achievement without actually being his best course.

Cha ching. A design can be great and result in an ok course.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Sean_A

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #57 on: September 06, 2022, 04:07:39 PM »
Can a course be considered an architect's masterpiece if it is not one of the top 3 he built?  I've not heard a lot of people say the Loop is better than Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, St. Andrews Beach, Tara Iti, Rock Creek, St. Patricks, etc.  I'm not really sure what "masterpiece" means in this context, but it's hard for me to square that adjective for the Loop against several Doak courses that I would prefer to play.


That being said, I'll agree with everyone that the Loop is incredible and it's fascinating to see how the course works in both directions and how different holes play into the same greens.  And I'll also generally agree with the NLU complaint that the course is unforgiving.  They make the claim that "good shots are not rewarded" and I would agree with that (I know the rebuttal, I guess it wasn't a good shot then).  If I had to boil my feeling down, it's that the slopes rarely seem to help a ball.  They are much more likely to repel it.  Compared to other rumpled courses like St. Andrews where it feels like you get to watch your ball randomly feed to the hole as much as away from the hole.


If I lived within driving distance, I'd love to visit every year.  But to me, it is not Doak's masterpiece because there are a few other courses he's built I'd rather play.

My experience was very different. I thought both courses were very playable for my level of 15ish handicap...even from tees that were slightly too long to gain the max enjoyment. The courses were fairly firm and fast, but not overly so...close to ideal condition. I played with Ally who routinely hit greens pin high and I think he is about a 4 capper that probably played tees a bit too short to really test him. I don't recall thinking that any of the holes or shots were simply beyond my capability. The courses are a constant test at the greens, but nowhere near ott. I reckon with a few plays I would know where not to go and where to go.

I think the NLU boys played a special summer event known for jacking up the conditions. It's probably meant for very good and or Loop experienced golfers.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Pete_Pittock

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #58 on: September 06, 2022, 05:45:03 PM »
checkers, chess, 3-D chess. 
Tom, where do you think the design process of The Loop falls in that scale, or more likely beyond?


P.S. When will loudspeakers be built into the green complexi? :P

Joe Zucker

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #59 on: September 06, 2022, 07:54:35 PM »
Adam and Sean,  I agree with your point and think it's certainly possible.  But it still feels like an unsatisfying resolution for the greatest achievement to be decent step below the greatest course. Though not surprising since we all know how a site dictates what can be achieved.  Would this distinction be true for any other architects?  Where their greatest achievement is no near their best course.


I also definitely don't think the course is over the top or there are any holes that are impossible.  But it seemed very hard to hit the ball close in my 3 rounds there.  Part of that is probably conditioning, as no one in North America is used to playing on wonderful firm turf and it can take awhile to adjust to it.  I'd venture that handicaps would go up on the Loop if played regularly, but would love to see data on it.



Pete, they already have speakers built in at Forest Dunes!  Though it's only on the par 3 course...

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #60 on: September 06, 2022, 08:41:00 PM »
Can a course be considered an architect's masterpiece if it is not one of the top 3 he built?  I've not heard a lot of people say the Loop is better than Pacific Dunes, Ballyneal, St. Andrews Beach, Tara Iti, Rock Creek, St. Patricks, etc.  I'm not really sure what "masterpiece" means in this context, but it's hard for me to square that adjective for the Loop against several Doak courses that I would prefer to play.


I am uncomfortable using the word "masterpiece" to describe any of my courses . . . the Robert Trent Jones course at Treetops is marketed as "the Masterpiece" and it sounds very pretentious, so northern Michigan already has one of those. [oof]


Years ago, in a thread here, I suggested that every architect nominate three courses where his work is zealously preserved, rather than being subjected to numerous renovations and restorations.  When I think about my own work, the first two courses that come to mind are not any of my "top 100" entries, but The Loop and St. Andrews Beach.  St. Andrews Beach is the course I'd like to have in my backyard -- ironically it is in Mike Clayton's backyard -- and The Loop is something I'd dreamed about for a long time, but never thought I'd get to pull off.  So, like Sean's lists, they are FAVORITE courses of mine, no matter what everyone else thinks are the BEST of my work.  [And I'm not surprised at all than Sean shares this sentiment.]


What would my third entry be?  Most likely, Pacific Dunes, because of its meaning to my career, and the fact that I've never wanted to change anything about it.  Although most of the courses Joe Z name-checked would fall into that camp as well.  Honestly, it's hard to believe that places like Stone Eagle and Cape Kidnappers don't even get a mention.  I have lived a charmed life.

Tom Bacsanyi

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #61 on: September 06, 2022, 09:42:28 PM »
Most unfortunate about the music...carts r one thing blaring music another.  We live in an era of non stop noise pollution.  From doctor's offices to restaurants to shopping a constant barrage of intrusive music - pretty sure not Baroque or jazz...If Liv influences golf it will only be negative and music on the course is likely...


I think LIV golf is an extension of Godwin's Law.


"Godwin's law, short for Godwin's law (or rule) of Nazi analogies,[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.["


Thus it follows that as an online discussion on GCA grows longer, the probability of a LIV golf reference approaches 1.


« Last Edit: September 06, 2022, 09:44:29 PM by Tom Bacsanyi »
Don't play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.

--Harry Vardon

Sean_A

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #62 on: September 07, 2022, 08:04:57 AM »
When we played there was only one other group walking that we could see. The rest of the field was riding, often with loud music blaring out of the cart.


Even pulling up to a green with two carts and two songs competing with each other as we are teeing off just beside…. Honestly don’t see the attraction…. At all


Thanks for this thread guys. 


I was very curious before it; became certain I should make the effort after reading this, and then CRASH! Two days of listening to other peoples music whilst outdoors playing golf. OMG!

If carts are predominant ya pretty much have to put up with music on US public courses these days. A lot of hootin and hollerin as well.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Sean_A

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #63 on: September 07, 2022, 08:09:49 AM »
Quote

BTW, nothing to do with Tom, but I like Meadowbrook a load.

Well of course you do. You love Huntercombe and that was Andy’s principal inspiration for that project.

Meadowbrook is comfortably better than Huntercombe. There are some terrific front to back greens.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Charlie Goerges

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #64 on: September 07, 2022, 09:13:52 AM »
I am uncomfortable using the word "masterpiece" to describe any of my courses . . .


I can't blame you for feeling this way, but maybe if we take the definition back to its original usage in the old European Guild system (with some expansions from there) it might make for an interesting discussion. By its original meaning the masterpiece was the piece that fully inaugurated you into the profession. It was like your senior thesis or maybe your bar exam. By this very strict definition there can only be one answer, in this case your first course. If we start to expand the definition a bit, from memory, the masterpiece wouldn't likely involve a case of working with the finest raw materials (but it wouldn't involve junk either, it was meant to test one's ability across a number of disciplines). So it would be a good but not great site, would have to be excellent work, and would have to be produced with far less assistance than what a typical full professional would get. Or I would argue, would evoke similar feelings in you to what you felt when your produced your very first work that you could call your own. Would the Loop qualify in any of these senses, or would something else be a better example?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 09:16:16 AM by Charlie Goerges »
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #65 on: September 07, 2022, 11:28:18 AM »


By its original meaning the masterpiece was the piece that fully inaugurated you into the profession. It was like your senior thesis or maybe your bar exam. By this very strict definition there can only be one answer, in this case your first course. If we start to expand the definition a bit, from memory, the masterpiece wouldn't likely involve a case of working with the finest raw materials (but it wouldn't involve junk either, it was meant to test one's ability across a number of disciplines). So it would be a good but not great site, would have to be excellent work, and would have to be produced with far less assistance than what a typical full professional would get. Or I would argue, would evoke similar feelings in you to what you felt when your produced your very first work that you could call your own. Would the Loop qualify in any of these senses, or would something else be a better example?


Well, by that definition, clearly my masterpiece was High Pointe.  I was the only one on site who had ever built a golf course before, other than Neal Iverson the irrigation designer and installer.


Since then I pretty much always have had a lot more help.  I guess I got similar feelings out of the three courses I named, so you're on the right track:


Pacific Dunes -- proving I could build a course at the highest level
The Loop -- making a concept work that I'd dreamed about
St. Andrews Beach -- which any of my crew will tell you, was my dream job in terms of speed and minimal change


Hopefully I get those feelings again if I get to rebuild High Pointe.

George Pazin

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #66 on: September 07, 2022, 01:18:49 PM »
Quick question (apologies if I missed it in the terrific responses):


Does playing the course in two directions affect the maintenance more or less than a standard course? I saw the parts about more playable ground around the greens and tees, but other than that, is there a significant difference versus a standard, one way course?


-----


Just saw Tom's last post, so another question:


What is the status of St Andrews Beach? Does it still exist? I remember doing a Google search awhile ago, and it seemed to still be around. Just curious.


I'm sad with my weird life that I haven't made it to any of Tom's courses other than Rawls, but I'm especially sad I haven't made it down under. For personal reasons, I feel a strong attachment.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Anthony Butler

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #67 on: September 07, 2022, 02:02:44 PM »
Most unfortunate about the music...carts r one thing blaring music another.  We live in an era of non stop noise pollution.  From doctor's offices to restaurants to shopping a constant barrage of intrusive music - pretty sure not Baroque or jazz...If Liv influences golf it will only be negative and music on the course is likely...


I think LIV golf is an extension of Godwin's Law.


"Godwin's law, short for Godwin's law (or rule) of Nazi analogies,[1][2] is an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.["


Thus it follows that as an online discussion on GCA grows longer, the probability of a LIV golf reference approaches 1.


On the bright side, the chances of Greg Norman parachuting into the 18th green at the Loop (as he did at the LIV Boston event this past weekend) are hovering at right around zero..
Next!

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #68 on: September 07, 2022, 03:32:48 PM »
Quick question (apologies if I missed it in the terrific responses):


Does playing the course in two directions affect the maintenance more or less than a standard course? I saw the parts about more playable ground around the greens and tees, but other than that, is there a significant difference versus a standard, one way course?

-----

Just saw Tom's last post, so another question:


What is the status of St Andrews Beach? Does it still exist? I remember doing a Google search awhile ago, and it seemed to still be around. Just curious.



Hi George:


Last question first:  St. Andrews Beach is thriving under new ownership as a popular, reasonably-priced public course.  It's had some of its thunder [and even its Gunnamatta name] stolen by our redesign of the Ocean course at The National close by, but it's good enough that when we had the Renaissance Cup at The National, and played St. Andrews Beach the day before -- after playing Royal Melbourne the day before that! -- there were still people coming up to me at the event buzzing about how much they liked St Andrews Beach.


As to your question about maintenance, one downside of a reversible design is that you have to have more area of maintained turf, because if you were hitting over native stuff off the tee on one hole, it would be on the approach the next day.  At The Loop it is almost continuous turf . . . if you started on the first tee of the Red course, you could putt your ball all the way to the 3rd green . . . the only real breaks are at the par-3 holes where you are sometimes playing a par-3 either way over some native stuff.  [We did add a break on the par-4 8th Red just for variety's sake.]


So, if I recall correctly, there is something like 33% more irrigated turf at The Loop, compared to my other courses.  This would be cost-prohibitive [or at least raise the green fee significantly] with certain types of turf being used on fairways . . . you wouldn't want to turn Winged Foot or Congressional reversible at the level of maintenance they expect.  But with fescue fairways, it doesn't add that much to the overall cost.  The same would be true of St Andrews Beach, by the way . . . Bermuda that goes dormant part of the year is not so expensive for additional fairway acreage.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #69 on: September 07, 2022, 04:27:11 PM »
More short grass areas, especially if little or no irrigation is needed or excepted, sounds like another benefit to having reversible courses.
Playability by more and less opportunities for lost balls. Like Mackenzie advocated near 100 yrs ago. Interesting that Mackenzie’s unbuilt design for El Boqueron in Argentina was a reversible course (wasn’t an initial design of his for the short course at ANGC also reversible?).
Atb

Ben Stephens

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #70 on: September 08, 2022, 05:49:34 AM »
Quick question (apologies if I missed it in the terrific responses):


Does playing the course in two directions affect the maintenance more or less than a standard course? I saw the parts about more playable ground around the greens and tees, but other than that, is there a significant difference versus a standard, one way course?

-----

Just saw Tom's last post, so another question:


What is the status of St Andrews Beach? Does it still exist? I remember doing a Google search awhile ago, and it seemed to still be around. Just curious.






Hi George:


Last question first:  St. Andrews Beach is thriving under new ownership as a popular, reasonably-priced public course.  It's had some of its thunder [and even its Gunnamatta name] stolen by our redesign of the Ocean course at The National close by, but it's good enough that when we had the Renaissance Cup at The National, and played St. Andrews Beach the day before -- after playing Royal Melbourne the day before that! -- there were still people coming up to me at the event buzzing about how much they liked St Andrews Beach.


As to your question about maintenance, one downside of a reversible design is that you have to have more area of maintained turf, because if you were hitting over native stuff off the tee on one hole, it would be on the approach the next day.  At The Loop it is almost continuous turf . . . if you started on the first tee of the Red course, you could putt your ball all the way to the 3rd green . . . the only real breaks are at the par-3 holes where you are sometimes playing a par-3 either way over some native stuff.  [We did add a break on the par-4 8th Red just for variety's sake.]


So, if I recall correctly, there is something like 33% more irrigated turf at The Loop, compared to my other courses.  This would be cost-prohibitive [or at least raise the green fee significantly] with certain types of turf being used on fairways . . . you wouldn't want to turn Winged Foot or Congressional reversible at the level of maintenance they expect.  But with fescue fairways, it doesn't add that much to the overall cost.  The same would be true of St Andrews Beach, by the way . . . Bermuda that goes dormant part of the year is not so expensive for additional fairway acreage.


I am one of the fortunate few that has played St Andrews Beach - it is a very good course and enjoyable/challenging to play first time round then I played the Dunes by Tony Cashmore which was tougher and looking back wished I had played St Andrews Beach again

George Pazin

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2022, 10:58:53 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough answer, Tom. Less native grass sounds fantastic to me.


And I'm thrilled to hear SAB is thriving. I look forward to getting there...someday.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

BCrosby

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2022, 01:11:27 PM »


"I haven't seen the Loop so I have no dog in this fight, but as we know the most important factor governing the ultimate quality of a golf course is the land on which it sits, it seems clear to me that it is perfectly possible for a course to be its architect's greatest achievement without actually being his best course."
Adam Lawrence

Well said.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2022, 01:23:31 PM by BCrosby »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #73 on: September 08, 2022, 06:21:45 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough answer, Tom. Less native grass sounds fantastic to me.


And I'm thrilled to hear SAB is thriving. I look forward to getting there...someday.




We actually left more native grasses close to the fairways than normal there, because there is so much of it for straight hitters.  It's not uncommon to lose a ball or two if you're unfamiliar with where the ball ought to be.  That's actually one of the things I like about the course, it does make you keep it between the lines on a few of the tee shots.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Is 'The Loop' Tom Doak's masterpiece?
« Reply #74 on: September 09, 2022, 06:05:25 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough answer, Tom. Less native grass sounds fantastic to me.


And I'm thrilled to hear SAB is thriving. I look forward to getting there...someday.




We actually left more native grasses close to the fairways than normal there, because there is so much of it for straight hitters.  It's not uncommon to lose a ball or two if you're unfamiliar with where the ball ought to be.  That's actually one of the things I like about the course, it does make you keep it between the lines on a few of the tee shots.


In the case of The Loop, I too liked that we were playing down corridors for much of the course, albeit wide, playable ones. The holes nearest the starter’s hut (1-4 R / 15-18 B and 1-4 B / 15-18 R) have an English heathland vibe to them, albeit without heather. Then in the middle of each nine on both routings, you move in to this really clever sequence with more open views, changes in direction (with some greens played at from 90 degrees to the other course as opposed to closer to 180 degrees) and as a result, more short grass outside the normal corridors of play.


It adds good variety to the look and feel.


The heavy fescue rough when we were there was ball-findable and playable but it was definitely to be considered. It wasn’t just “open your shoulders and you will be in play”.


Ally

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