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Tommy Williamsen

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How many short par fours?
« on: September 22, 2022, 12:45:42 PM »
While Tom Weiskopf didn't invent the short par four, he did help to popularize it. In recent years most new courses seem to have at least one. Often there is one on each nine. A good short par four is a joy to play but, I think, difficult to design.
If there can be three or four long par fours why not have three or four short ones?
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Jason Thurman

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2022, 02:41:24 PM »
I think 3 or 4 is fine, but much more than that and I start to roll my eyes a bit.


My home course has three on the front nine that I've seen driven, personally. The first two are fairly similar in character, and it gets a bit repetitive. Especially since they're both uphill holes so big hitters who can get home get a serious advantage vs shorter hitters who hit into the upslope and might have a full wedge second shot.


The third of the three is more interesting - the green is tiny, built on rock, and benched into a very severe hillside. Someone who rips at it can easily get into a spot where they're still pitching for par. Playing it conventionally with a 200ish yard tee shot followed by a wedge approach is still dicey, but probably the better strategy for most players.


Point just being - you need variety. I suspect we're both thinking a bit about Landmand on this topic. It has four short fours, but I also think it has enough going on around the greens and enough diversity of design among them that it doesn't feel repetitive or like a series of pushover holes.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Ken Moum

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2022, 03:55:41 PM »
If a course has 14 par fours why can't there be six short (ish), six long and six in between?


I've played quite a few matches against players longer than me and I do not like mid-length par fours.


I've been out there with a wood in my hand while my opponent had a short iron.


Under 300 yards I probably have a wedge and he has a half shot.


Long par fours are just a par five for me and he's got a longer club, too. If he's better than me I'm probably getting a shot there, too.
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Kalen Braley

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2022, 04:31:15 PM »
If a course has 14 par fours why can't there be six short (ish), six long and six in between?


Ken,

Don't think the math works out there.  14 != 18, but I like where you were headed. 

P.S. I think this problem has already been solved hasn't it?  Move up a set of tees or two and you'll likely encounter 3-4 short 4s that are either reachable or driver with a flip wedge.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 04:51:17 PM »
Does every short par four need to be drivable? Maybe placement of the tee shot and a ticklish little second shot is what is needed.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Jimmy Muratt

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2022, 05:27:51 PM »
As far as "driveable" par 4s, I tend to prefer two....ideally one on each nine if the land allows.   What I'd like to see more of are the 350-375 yard par 4s, more of the drive and pitch variety.   That was a particular strength of Pete Dye, in my opinion.   Those holes are playable by all but test even the best players....if designed well.

jeffwarne

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2022, 06:12:20 PM »


 
Move up a set of tees or two and you'll likely encounter 3-4 short 4s that are either reachable or driver with a flip wedge.
.
Yep, the possibilities for short par 4's are endless.
just pick the set of tees and yardage you want.
One man's short par 4 is another man's unreachable par 4.
"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

Max Prokopy

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2022, 06:46:35 PM »
As far as "driveable" par 4s, I tend to prefer two....ideally one on each nine if the land allows.   What I'd like to see more of are the 350-375 yard par 4s, more of the drive and pitch variety.   That was a particular strength of Pete Dye, in my opinion.   Those holes are playable by all but test even the best players....if designed well.


Agree, Dye was really good with those length holes...


Mammoth Dunes had a couple with really great short 4's with excellent green variety that played in different directions and had different angles in.  Seems like DMK is really finding his stride.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2022, 07:01:48 PM »
Tommy,


I observed many years ago that all of my true favorite courses [St Andrews, Cypress Point, NGLA, Pine Valley, Crystal Downs, Merion, North Berwick etc] had not just one great short par-4, but three or four or five of them.  So I started looking to do that from my very first golf course.


High Pointe had a couple of pretty good ones, but Pacific Dunes and Barnbougle and Ballyneal and Tara Iti and St. Andrews Beach and Gunnamatta all have three or more great short par-4's, and they are generally considered some of the best holes I ever built.


I was never quite on the same page as Tom Weiskopf about those holes being drivable, I'm fine with drive and pitch holes or other variations on the theme.  But, ideally, there ought to be several holes where the short hitter has a chance to make par and the long hitter has a chance to make six.

Ken Moum

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2022, 07:59:24 PM »
If a course has 14 par fours why can't there be six short (ish), six long and six in between?





Ken,

Don't think the math works out there.  14 != 18, but I like where you were headed. 

P.S. I think this problem has already been solved hasn't it?  Move up a set of tees or two and you'll likely encounter 3-4 short 4s that are either reachable or driver with a flip wedge.


Duh... I'm a writer not an accountant.


Anyway, 6+2+6 is fine.


The first time the idea of wide variation in par length occurred to me was at C&C's Sugarloaf Mtn. in Fla. (NLE I think)


The shortest four was shorter than the longest three and IIRC the longest four was longer than the shortest five.


It was a revelation.


Then I played Elie with Mark Pearce.  Sixteen par fours? With more the 200 yards between longest and shortest!


Yay!!
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2022, 08:13:57 PM »
I always tried for 4-6 long, 4 short, and 4-6 medium length (whatever that is these days.....)  For the short ones, I don't think they all need to be drivable.   Maybe one is and another requires a precision tee or approach shot.  Maybe one has a huge green to lull them to sleep, heavy fw contours to deal with on the tee and approach shot, etc.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Michael Felton

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2022, 11:03:10 PM »
Tommy,


I observed many years ago that all of my true favorite courses [St Andrews, Cypress Point, NGLA, Pine Valley, Crystal Downs, Merion, North Berwick etc] had not just one great short par-4, but three or four or five of them.  So I started looking to do that from my very first golf course.


High Pointe had a couple of pretty good ones, but Pacific Dunes and Barnbougle and Ballyneal and Tara Iti and St. Andrews Beach and Gunnamatta all have three or more great short par-4's, and they are generally considered some of the best holes I ever built.


I was never quite on the same page as Tom Weiskopf about those holes being drivable, I'm fine with drive and pitch holes or other variations on the theme.  But, ideally, there ought to be several holes where the short hitter has a chance to make par and the long hitter has a chance to make six.


One of the best short par fours I've ever seen is virtually impossible to drive (#8 at Pine Valley). But it certainly meets the criteria. An 18 handicap could make a 4 and a 0 handicap could easily make a 6+ on it. It's a flick wedge, but by some margin the smallest green I think I've ever seen outside of pitch and putt silliness.

Mike Nuzzo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2022, 11:23:31 PM »

Wolf Point Ranch
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2022, 09:47:52 AM »

Wolf Point Ranch


Mike, that is a fascinating graph. I have never seen anything like it. It could be a fun exercise to do for some courses.
I do have to get there somehow.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Max Prokopy

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Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2022, 10:42:16 AM »

Thank you for your immense contributions to enjoyable golf.  I love #6 at Pacific Dunes...I'd also love #16 if I didn't go back and forth between the greenside bunkers to make double...nevertheless I agree they don't have to be drive-able.



Tommy,


I observed many years ago that all of my true favorite courses [St Andrews, Cypress Point, NGLA, Pine Valley, Crystal Downs, Merion, North Berwick etc] had not just one great short par-4, but three or four or five of them.  So I started looking to do that from my very first golf course.


High Pointe had a couple of pretty good ones, but Pacific Dunes and Barnbougle and Ballyneal and Tara Iti and St. Andrews Beach and Gunnamatta all have three or more great short par-4's, and they are generally considered some of the best holes I ever built.


I was never quite on the same page as Tom Weiskopf about those holes being drivable, I'm fine with drive and pitch holes or other variations on the theme.  But, ideally, there ought to be several holes where the short hitter has a chance to make par and the long hitter has a chance to make six.

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2022, 11:53:27 AM »

Wolf Point Ranch


Mike, that is a fascinating graph. I have never seen anything like it. It could be a fun exercise to do for some courses.
I do have to get there somehow.


Tommy,


Similar graphs have been used and shown, all the way back to some of the old guys.  I was actually a bit surprised.  When I saw Mike had posted, I figured he would be good naturedly lambasting me for suggesting any kind of "formula."  Architects understand that base distance doesn't always make a hole play differently, or even with different clubs, but trying to have all kinds of hole lengths is one starting point to making each hole have it's own character and providing playing variety IF the gca considers all the factors that alter what I call effective playing length.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How many short par fours?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2022, 01:11:55 PM »

Wolf Point Ranch


Mike, that is a fascinating graph. I have never seen anything like it. It could be a fun exercise to do for some courses.
I do have to get there somehow.


Tommy,


Similar graphs have been used and shown, all the way back to some of the old guys.  I was actually a bit surprised.  When I saw Mike had posted, I figured he would be good naturedly lambasting me for suggesting any kind of "formula."  Architects understand that base distance doesn't always make a hole play differently, or even with different clubs, but trying to have all kinds of hole lengths is one starting point to making each hole have it's own character and providing playing variety IF the gca considers all the factors that alter what I call effective playing length.


And here I thought I paid attention. I guess my teachers were right. I daydream.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

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