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Mike Hendren

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George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« on: November 11, 2022, 01:56:50 PM »
In Golf Architecture in America the Captain writes:


For a spoon shot or cleek, or a long iron to a green which is, roughly, from one hundred and eighty to two hundred yards, the minimum of the green should be ninety feet in depth, by eighty feet in width; but, preferably, it should be one hundred and ten feet by ninety feet; and carrying traps, if used, should be thirty feet short of the green, in which event give thirty feet of fairway behind green.


That is consistent with many of his drawings which reflect fairway extended behind the green.  He felt the timid player falling short of the green benefited from a simple pitch from a good fairway lie while the bolder player, going long was penalized by bunkers or rough.  He writes: ...for a man who has fallen short of the green is thereby enabled easily to run his ball up to the pin, whereas the man who has made a bold stroke, possibly lighting on the green with his ball, and running over the green is given a more difficult lie after a finer effort.  To offset this situation, it is advisable in many cases where there are long second shots to a green, to make a fairway beyond the green, so that the man who goes over has at least as good a chance to play as near the hole as the man who falls short after an indifferent stroke.


This theory breaks down where the Biarritz is fronted by chasm or in the case of Yale, the pond.   Yet it seems to me the swale at Yale and relatively small back tier serve the same purpose as Thomas' fairway behind the green.  The green is in essence a putt-back hole for the bold player, or perhaps the player with less confidence and/or talent who timidly plays by taking too much club to avoid the pond. 


I would love to see a shot dispersion pattern from 100 or more golfers of varying skills.  I would suspect the swale saw even more action in 1926 when few players had the ability to hit high long-irons that would hold the front tier.  Arguably Yale has the anti-Biarritz with the forced carry as opposed to other versions featuring fairways to and through the swale.  I can't help but wonder how Yale's version would play if the swale and back tier were maintained as fairway.   Did Macdonald throw the golfer a bone by at least letting him putt back rather than pitch back?

Where did Your tee ball finish?.  The swale for me.
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Tom_Doak

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2022, 06:19:20 PM »
I thought you were talking about George Thomas PLAYING Yale, which I would have been surprised to hear.


The Yale Biarritz is one of a kind, although I will quibble with you in that most Biarritz holes have a cross-bunker short of the front plateau, so they are a forced carry of sorts.


The back hole location is harder than the front.  [I guess you saw the front one.]  You can't really run the ball through the swale coming down from on high, so you've got to fly it all the way back there, which is scary.  And there is a fairly significant tilt to the left, as well.


I do like Thomas's idea of having short grass behind the green, although more to encourage the short hitter to be bold, than to reward the long hitter for a solid shot that was too strong.


Tim Martin

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2022, 06:56:27 PM »
For a front pin most mortals play to the swale yardage to avoid a ball in Greist pond.



Ira Fishman

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2022, 07:20:07 PM »
Four putted from the swale to front pin which in my defense (ok, not really) was toward the slope into the swale. Best double I made that day.


I have played only a few Biarritzs. Is Yale among the deepest of the swales?

Richard Hetzel

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2022, 07:27:12 AM »
Tough hole, even before you get to the green. My tee shot ended up short right, pitched up to the back level (where the pin was)and my pitch rolled back into the middle swale. Two putts for a solid bogey. Hitting the green could be worse than being just off of it.


Last Ten Played: 
Old Toccoa Farm (GA), Thoroughbred GC (KY), Urbana CC (OH), Dayton CC (OH), Maysville CC (KY), Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Old Toccoa Farm
Chas Muni

Bret Lawrence

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2022, 10:02:36 AM »
Mike and Ira,


You guys would have liked the pin on the last weekend of the year!






Ira Fishman

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2022, 11:09:05 AM »
Bret,


Lol. It looks as if green recovered from the summer? True generally?


Ira

Niall C

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2022, 11:50:27 AM »
In Golf Architecture in America the Captain writes:


For a spoon shot or cleek, or a long iron to a green which is, roughly, from one hundred and eighty to two hundred yards, the minimum of the green should be ninety feet in depth, by eighty feet in width; but, preferably, it should be one hundred and ten feet by ninety feet; and carrying traps, if used, should be thirty feet short of the green, in which event give thirty feet of fairway behind green.

 ...for a man who has fallen short of the green is thereby enabled easily to run his ball up to the pin, whereas the man who has made a bold stroke, possibly lighting on the green with his ball, and running over the green is given a more difficult lie after a finer effort.  To offset this situation, it is advisable in many cases where there are long second shots to a green, to make a fairway beyond the green, so that the man who goes over has at least as good a chance to play as near the hole as the man who falls short after an indifferent stroke.



Apologies for going off at a bit of a tangent but is the above not a bit counter to Low, MacKenzie et al with regards hazards catching the slightly bad shot as opposed to the wild shot ? Granted they were talking more about wing hazards but the idea that the better player should be penalised for a nearly good shot would surely encompass a shot over the back the green ?


Thoughts ?


Niall

Bret Lawrence

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2022, 09:04:24 AM »
Bret,


Lol. It looks as if green recovered from the summer? True generally?


Ira


Ira,


The greens did make a nice comeback in the Fall. The same spots seem to pop up every year on the same greens, but this year was a little more extreme The turf and subsoil at Yale are ready for a restoration!


Bret

Ira Fishman

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2022, 10:29:56 AM »
Bret,


Good to hear. I only hope that I can swing a club by tme restoration is finished.


Ira

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: George C. Thomas, Jr. and Yale's Biarritz
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2022, 02:13:40 PM »
from one hundred and eighty to two hundred yards, the minimum of the green should be ninety feet in depth, by eighty feet in width; but, preferably, it should be one hundred and ten feet by ninety feet;


I haven't read Thomas in a while, and recall the fair green behind long par 4 holes to encourage bold play, and recommendations to widen greens in cross and headwinds, and narrow them downwind (which reduces side spin) but didn't recall that he had an apparent formula for sizing greens.


GT's was 110 feet (37 Yards) deep and 90 feet (30 yards) wide for a 180-200 yard shot. 


For a 190 yard approach shot, the USGA Slope guide for 2/3 of players to hit the green recommends: 


For low handicappers, a depth and width of (75 / 48 feet.) 


For high handicappers, it is (112 / 94 feet), about a yard more than Thomas' guide in both directions.


Assuming he was knowing what he was doing, it seems that the basic shot dispersion patterns for high handicappers hasn't really changed much in a century, if that is the metric he was using.

Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

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