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Tommy Williamsen

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2022, 01:29:09 PM »
I was at a course this summer where the forward tees required a forced carry of 150 yards. My wife can no longer carry her tee ball that far. I don't like the word "unfair" but that was unfair. I had her tee it up in the fairway, but that was unsatisfying for her.

There were no other options? One day, I played with top players in my club from the back tees. When facing a forced carry on a par 3, I hit 8 iron right of the pond, and then wedge to the green. If the better player makes the carry, but can't hold the green on the hole, he has an extremely difficult up and down. I have seen players put it in the water while trying to get up and down from behind.


There were no other options. They were the most forward tees.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

David_Tepper

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2022, 04:49:50 PM »
I am going to push back a bit on the consensus a bit. I don't buy the argument that "everybody is playing the same course," so no one has an advantage or is disadvantaged.

I think there is a problem if a course is presented/maintained in such a way that a less than perfect shot is punished far out of proportion to the size of the miss.  Two examples (forgive me if the details are not quite accurate):

Payne Stewart's uphill putt on the 18th green during the US Open at Olympic in 1998. His putt from 30ft. below the hole rolled almost up to the hole and then rolled all the way back to his feet.

The par-3 7th hole at Shinnecock during one of the US Opens there, when the vast majority of players could not hit a shot that stayed on the green. Yes, a few players could and did, but when the vast majority of the very best players in the world could not, something is wrong.

No doubt luck plays a part in golf. I prefer not see luck overwhelm skill in determining an outcome.       



   

Richard_Mandell

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2022, 05:59:39 PM »
Guys,


Just to be clear, I do not like the word fair nor do I design to "be fair."  I'm more like McDonald:  quit crying about fairness in architecture.  I do cite some examples that could be considered unfair yet I still think that the Principle of Playability is more of a discussion along those lines (yes, there is a Principle of Playability chapter).  I also believe there are distinct differences between fairness, playability, and difficulty (and yes, there is a chapter on the Principle of Difficulty).


I hope everyone can read the entire chapter and they will see my context for Fairness.  It is mote appropriate on the conditioning side than architecture.


I think Jeff B. hit the hammer on the nail when he said he bought the book to see what else I said on the matter.  Just an observation.


I'll post both the chapters on Difficulty and Playability in the next few weeks.  Or go ahead and buy the book now.

Jeff Segol

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2022, 06:10:27 PM »
I would agree there's no fairness issue per se. The only issue is how a course plays relative to the target audience for that course. It appears to me that play at Baylands, in Palo Alto, has shifted significantly to low handicappers and younger players, since Forrest Richardson's renovation opened in 2017. It's just a much harder golf course than it was before, for two reasons:


1) Because the Palo Alto City Council required 10 acres from the course to be set aside for future alleged soccer fields, the course is now much more east to west, which means more holes play directly upwind or downwind. Holes into the wind are tough on older players and higher handicappers.


2) California Fish and Game required extensive planting of bunch grass and other native plants as part of the project, and no trimming was allowed. Consequently, shots that miss the fairway mostly result in a lost ball or an unplayable lie, which is much different than how the old course played.


The end result of these factors is that the competitive club at the course also has lost a lot of older members and higher handicappers, and is now much more comprised of younger guys that hit the ball longer. That's just the reality.

Jeff Segol

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2022, 06:23:26 PM »
I am going to push back a bit on the consensus a bit. I don't buy the argument that "everybody is playing the same course," so no one has an advantage or is disadvantaged.

I think there is a problem if a course is presented/maintained in such a way that a less than perfect shot is punished far out of proportion to the size of the miss.  Two examples (forgive me if the details are not quite accurate):

Payne Stewart's uphill putt on the 18th green during the US Open at Olympic in 1998. His putt from 30ft. below the hole rolled almost up to the hole and then rolled all the way back to his feet.

The par-3 7th hole at Shinnecock during one of the US Opens there, when the vast majority of players could not hit a shot that stayed on the green. Yes, a few players could and did, but when the vast majority of the very best players in the world could not, something is wrong.

No doubt luck plays a part in golf. I prefer not see luck overwhelm skill in determining an outcome.       



   


David, I agree with you about Payne's put at Olympic, but not about Shinnecock, since the winner of that tournament, Retief Goosen, was able to hold that green by hitting a draw into the dry slippery green. That's one of the shots that won him the tournament.

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2022, 06:24:34 PM »
What I am saying is the use of the word fair is incorrect. The problem you illustrate isn't an issue of fairness. As Jeff suggests, it is more an issue of practicality, reasonableness or even intelligence...if the goal is for a wide variety of abilities to play the hole. Fairness is not the issue.
I'm simply saying how many golfers will use the word "fair." You see it in rules discussions all the time, despite the fact that the Rules are the same for all.

As Tommy illustrates a few posts down.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Kalen Braley

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2022, 06:36:30 PM »
As a point of nuance to this discussion as it pertains to the OP.

I think it should be noted that when a player claims "unfair" its almost always coming from the viewpoint of that one player and his relative abilities.  (Yes you may have a GCA nerd out there who trys to see it from multiple viewpoints, but we know they are the exception.)  ;)

As compared to an architect, who when designing I would think they keep in mind as many different player abilities as possible and at least attempt to accommodate/offer options for them in some fashion.

Mark_Fine

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2022, 08:29:00 PM »
Here is my position along with Forrest's on "fairness" from our book on Hazards:


"The Concept of Fairness"

The modern pursuit of fairness and equity has not necessarily been good for the game of golf. A pastime that once had only two rules, golf has now evolved to where a typed booklet of over 150-pages is required to explain the game. Ever since it was decided that “play it as it lies” and “the rub of the green” needed to be tweaked, the game seems to have suffered.  Far too much time, too much money, and too much attention is now directed to making sure every good shot is rewarded and that perfect playing conditions leave no one with an “unfair” disadvantage. This mindset has led to expensive maintenance practices and less creative and more sterile playing grounds. Heaven forbid that two similar shots could potentially result in two distinct outcomes—one good and one bad. That would just not be fair—or would it?


Have golf architects and the clients they work with forgotten what golf is really all about? The game was never meant to emulate physics, where every action equates to an equal and opposite reaction. As with life, golf is expected to have ups and downs. Some days a golfer might do everything right, and yet the result still turns out bad. Other times, a lucky bounce or carom might lead to good fortune even when the swing and all its results should have led to an awful mess. Golf can teach us many lessons about life, but only if we allow skill, luck, and fate all to remain part of the game.

If all the uncertainty and unpredictable outcomes are conditioned away, what tests and challenges will remain? Aren’t those bumps in the road of life just like the hazards of golf? In many ways it is the triumph of overcoming setbacks that keeps us energized. Were it not for ordeals, it would only be a matter of time until we would become complacent and our lives (or rounds) filled with boredom.

When we think of “fairness,” we are reminded of a situation that occurred at The Old Course at St. Andrews. Walking up the 18th fairway after hitting our final tee shots, one member of our group cringed at the site of his ball lying in the middle of Grannie Clark’s Wynd, a macadam road that crosses the 1st and 18th fairways. The thought crossed his mind, “Here we are playing the grandest of all golf courses and this perfectly struck drive on the final hole has found a lone stretch of rockhard road in the center of the fairway. What a bad break. What poor luck to deserve such an unfair fate.” You see, in Scotland, and especially on The Old Course, you still play it as it lies, and this little macadam path is considered an integral part of the golf course. There is no free drop to gain relief. No automatic allowance that says you can place the ball back on forgiving turf to play your next stroke. No, you are stuck with the situation and you deal with it the best you can.

As the golfer prepared to play his shot from the tightest of lies, one couldn’t help but notice the spectators watching his misfortune from the fence rail along the hole. As his club swept toward the ball and picked it cleanly off the hard dark surface there was a sense of elation as it rose quickly and somehow managed to scurry up onto the green surface, coming to rest about 30 feet from the flagstick.

The golfer’s walk to the green was neither one he nor his playing partners would ever forget. Every one of the on-lookers had applauded the shot. Two putts later, the golfer scored one of the greatest pars, and most memorable moments of his golfing career. And all thanks to what looked like a dire and “unfair” circumstance.

But that is golf. Many of the elements that add so much richness to the game may be lost in our pursuit of “fairness.” There is too much at stake. The concept of fairness must be tempered at all cost.


Padraig Dooley

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2022, 08:55:20 PM »
The principle of fairness comes from a misconception of what golf is, the ultimate goal of golf is to get a ball from A to B in the least number of strokes.

Most golfers think that golf is about hitting the ball well and if you hit the ball well you should get rewarded for hitting that good shot. The results of this are, for example, I hit a good tee shot on the fairway, I should be rewarded by getting a good lie, this is always the point of golfers who think ending in a divot is unfair, I hit the ball straight, I shouldn't end up in a bunker if I do that, the point from golfers who don't like centre line bunkers, and I hit a great shot from a long way out, my next putt shouldn't be difficult, the sloping 10 foot putt is unfair.
When the golfer thinks it's only about how and not how many the fairness discussion will always come up, it also interesting to hear most who give out about perceived unfair results on their shots never seem to have a problem when one of their bad strikes gets a 'good' bounce.
Most times trying to convince a golfer to change their mind on 'fairness' is a futile process, they rarely change their mind, mainly I just like to say golf is about getting from point A to point B and overcoming obstacles along the way.
I think the more the introduction of new golfers is on the course as opposed to the practice ground or the driving range the more likely they are to look at the game in a different manner.
There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
  - Pablo Picasso

cary lichtenstein

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2022, 09:06:42 PM »
This thread brings to mind my opinion of Pebble Beach v. Oakmont. I always loved every minute on the course at Pebble, it has it all. As for Oakmont, all it has is difficulty. I'll take Pebble 100-1
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Mark Pearce

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2022, 08:10:01 AM »
I was at a course this summer where the forward tees required a forced carry of 150 yards. My wife can no longer carry her tee ball that far. I don't like the word "unfair" but that was unfair. I had her tee it up in the fairway, but that was unsatisfying for her.

There were no other options? One day, I played with top players in my club from the back tees. When facing a forced carry on a par 3, I hit 8 iron right of the pond, and then wedge to the green. If the better player makes the carry, but can't hold the green on the hole, he has an extremely difficult up and down. I have seen players put it in the water while trying to get up and down from behind.


There were no other options. They were the most forward tees.
Did she still have to make the carry from where she teed it in the fairway?
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Ira Fishman

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2022, 08:47:22 AM »
Re long forced carries with no options, ask my wife about Yale 9.


I do not think that she has ever used the word "unfair"; she accepts it for what it is. However, she does think less of courses with too many long forced carries to reach the fairway.


Ira

Michael Felton

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2022, 02:04:15 PM »
I would think fairness has more to do with course maintenance than design. Couple of examples - I remember Nick Faldo complaining about a course (which shall remain nameless) where the greens were about 100 years old and had "hot spots", where if the ball landed on a hot spot it would bounce hard and high and if it landed on a soft spot, it would stick. That made it impossible to judge where to land a shot and meant that it didn't really matter how good you were - it was just luck. The other is when the greens are bone hard and the fringes are soft. So you can't fly the green and you can't run it up. I don't think that's fair either. Neither has anything to do with design though.

Garland Bayley

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Re: The Principle of Fairness
« Reply #38 on: Today at 12:52:36 AM »
Now, having read the chapter, I see that fair is defined as "in accordance with the rules or standards." It seems to me that this definition is more applicable to tennis which has much more definite rules and standards about constructing a competition venue.

Marriam-Webster has as its first definition "marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism." Marriam-Webster marks the rules or standards definition as being synonymous with "allowed".

It seems to me that "marked by impariality" is a better match to how fair is used in golf.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

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