News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


ward peyronnin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Truly Awful Opening Holes
« on: March 21, 2023, 01:30:18 PM »
If some of you deem starting a topic based on negativity please indulge me. Wouldn't truly stumbling on an opening preage an designers grasp of his project and of design altogether? And then color an assesment of the work or site that follow?
Opening holes set a tone: offer the handshake whether gentle or tough: make the first impression of what is to come and much more. They are important, almost as important as the finish.

So I ask what is a truly terrible opening hole that you out there can adequately describe and assess?
The opener at Secession immediately stands out. One stands on a tee fronted by a marsh(borrow) pond of considerable length and breadth. The green sets on the far right corner and presents as a dog leg with the normal players approach from the ribbon of fairway directly ahead. The lefthand border of the course commences off the corner of the tee as a combination carpath/causeway/dike sealing the hole from the sea and is probably 150 yds long. To me it is simply Dali-esque appearing; totally forced, and severely penal in the standard whipping wind. Don't know how a woman or child can play the hole as designed. Butt that is kind of the vibe of the place truth be known.
The other dreadful beginning I think of is at Old Stone in KY. It is a 90 degree dogleg left. One hits to the bend over a deep gulch that guards the the left side of the hole and snakes along the inside bend and then turns back in front of the green. This green is a volcano green perched on an egg shaped top of small tall dome that rises 50 feet above the facing gulch and nearly as much on its sorrounding sides; most recovery shots from anywhere are blue sky haill Marys. Impossible to hold with any kind of crosswind. If one chooses the wrong angle off the tee out of bounds awaits the over hit or sliced tee ball and ob continues all along the right of the hole to the green. Not as artificial and imposed as Secessions but still a goofy incorporation of severe features all in one hole and the opener. Full disclosure I made an eleven to start one round; try recovering your joy after that.
Neither of these courses, although admired in some quarters, then go on to fall far short of my criteria for a worthy design after these initial missteps alas.
Anybody else want to vent?


"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2023, 03:03:39 PM »
Ardsley CC-340ish par 4 with tee shot blind over a hill that drops significantly to landing area below. The right side up and through the green from about 150 out is flanked by a pond which bleeds into the fairway making the tee shot a forced layup. I remember hitting 5 iron off the tee and 8 iron on the approach. There is too much risk to swing away off the tee so you are handcuffed on the first swing. Itís a shame because there are a lot of good holes that follow.

Tim Gavrich

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2023, 03:06:46 PM »
Ward--


The inclusion of Secession #1 in your post fascinates me. I have liked the hole and have had success on it the handful of times I've played, potentially due to mostly mild winds when I've been there.


I wonder if Secession #1 might have particularly strong lefty-righty splits in terms of performance and overall impression. I've personally always felt relatively comfortable over that tee shot because I know that a slight pull or slight to moderate push/block off the tee will still result in a fairway hit and a relatively short approach. The right-handed golfer is staring that expanse of interior wetlands straight in the face, knowing both that any sort of miss right has no hope, and that a pull could run through the fairway into marsh, too. I can definitely understand seeing it as very penal. That said, I do think it is a fitting start in that it introduces several of the course's aesthetic themes.


To me, the least forgivable opening holes are the ones that are boring or a clear afterthought, meant to just launch golfers away from the clubhouse relatively efficiently. I'd rather be offended by an opening hole than completely unmoved by it. An architect has only 18 chances to impress the golfer; conceding one - let alone the first one - is a grave sin, IMO (I'm a little more sympathetic if the course doesn't have a driving range).
Senior Writer, GolfPass

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2023, 03:19:39 PM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Pete_Pittock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2023, 03:25:34 PM »
This one has been replaced. Glaze Meadow, which is at Black Butte Resort in central Oregon. Double dogleg par 5, most likely played with fairway wood, mid-iron, mid-iron. 
Pretty sure John VDB is with me on this one. (He thought it was 6-i, 9-i,9-i).
« Last Edit: March 21, 2023, 04:02:02 PM by Pete_Pittock »

V. Kmetz

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2023, 03:57:46 PM »
Ardsley CC-340ish par 4 with tee shot blind over a hill that drops significantly to landing area below. The right side up and through the green from about 150 out is flanked by a pond which bleeds into the fairway making the tee shot a forced layup. I remember hitting 5 iron off the tee and 8 iron on the approach. There is too much risk to swing away off the tee so you are handcuffed on the first swing. Itís a shame because there are a lot of good holes that follow.


a perennial
"The tee shot must first be hit straight and long between a vast bunker on the left which whispers 'slice' in the player's ear, and a wilderness on the right which induces a hurried hook." -

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2023, 04:54:17 PM »
The three worst that come to mind in no particular order or time for descriptions but consider yourself forewarned.


Mount Airy Lodge (PA)
PGA National (Fazio) (FL)
Eagles Crossing (PA)


Came across another doozy recently that I can't quite recall but perhaps Joe Bausch does.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2023, 05:06:23 PM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff Segol

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2023, 06:14:20 PM »
I'll go with Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA. The first hole is a par 4 that goes straight up a hill, requiring the approach shot, which I have to play with a mid to long iron, to be played from a severe uphill lie. Combined with the second hole, a downhill par 4 often shrouded in fog, I've started double-double on many occasions, basically ended the round before it starts, in terms of scoring.

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2023, 06:24:48 PM »
The good news about a first hole that goes straight up a hill is that it is likely that the 18th is parallel and coming down the same hill, rather than being the traditional uphill hole.


From my own work, if a forced carry on the first (and 10th) is bad (and I agree it is) then 1 and 10 at the Legend of Giant's Ridge qualify.  Sometimes, forced carries are forced on the architect (and hence the name?) by clubhouse location and enviro regs.


In my remodel work, I once corrected an opening hole that doglegged at 5 iron distance, and then required a 3 wood to the green, which seems unnatural to me.  I was able to move the tees back, remove some trees, and add an optional carry bunker on the inside corner to create a choice of 3 wood safe tee shot and a driver carrying that fw sand bunker.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2023, 07:17:41 PM »
"I'll go with Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA."

Jeff S. -

I have not played there in 25-30 years, but yes, #1 at Tilden immediately came to mind. #1 at Lincoln Park is a bit of an uphill stinker as well.

DT
« Last Edit: March 21, 2023, 07:42:19 PM by David_Tepper »

Pete_Pittock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2023, 07:40:27 PM »
Painswick, but what is the alternative?

Tim Leahy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2023, 09:07:06 PM »
I'll go with Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA. The first hole is a par 4 that goes straight up a hill, requiring the approach shot, which I have to play with a mid to long iron, to be played from a severe uphill lie. Combined with the second hole, a downhill par 4 often shrouded in fog, I've started double-double on many occasions, basically ended the round before it starts, in terms of scoring.
I love that hole because it's so unique and I have never seen a hole anything like it. I learned to hit a 3 or 5 wood to get height and distance which leaves a short iron.
Pacific Grove starts with a short par 3 which slows down play immediately.
I can't think of one but starting with a reachable par 5 would be bad because again it would slow down play with players waiting in the fairway just in case they actually might hit the green in two. :P
« Last Edit: March 22, 2023, 05:07:43 AM by Tim Leahy »
I love golf, the fightin irish, and beautiful women depending on the season and availability.

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2023, 09:20:04 PM »
Compared to what comes after it, I thought the opening hole at Pebble was very pedestrian. Iron off the tee. Condos looming over you. Not at all what I expected.

Brett Meyer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2023, 06:39:49 AM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao

Definitely agree with West Hill.

I'd also agree that the Addington's first hole isn't a good opener. But it isn't a bad hole. There's a premium on accuracy with the deep but narrow green, which is reasonable for a hole of that length. It's a good contribution to one of the most varied and best sets of par 3s that I've seen.

I'd say something similar about the first on Walton Heath's Old. It's a good long par 3, but too long and tough for the first hole. The par 3 1/2 that starts the New is also an odd first hole, but not a bad one in its own right.

Painswick is a classic choice but I don't mind it because it's so eccentric and unlike other very eccentric holes, at least it's all in front of you.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2023, 06:44:58 AM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao


At least the Addington thing should change when the restoration is finished.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2023, 08:05:26 AM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao


At least the Addington thing should change when the restoration is finished.

I assume there won't be much difficulty in getting planning permission for a new house?

Another terrible opener, The Glen at North Berwick. A dull and severely dull hole.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2023, 08:35:09 AM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao


At least the Addington thing should change when the restoration is finished.

I assume there won't be much difficulty in getting planning permission for a new house?



I don't know to be honest, but Ryan is proceeding in such a way that suggests he thinks there won't.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

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

Paul Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2023, 08:55:06 AM »
Maybe not truly awful, but 1st at Pebble Beach is subpar for the course.
Paul Jones
pauljones@live.com

Anthony Butler

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2023, 11:00:41 AM »
Not a huge fan of Par 3s as Opening Holes. The first at Berkshire Blue (225yds) is an example.

Also I find the first at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne to be out of character with the rest of the course even though at 266 yds, it's a Par4.

I assume the criteria for nomination here is a hole that is disappointing compared to the rest of the course, not a preview of 17 equally strange/dull holes to follow...
« Last Edit: March 22, 2023, 11:02:54 AM by Anthony Butler »
Next!

ward peyronnin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2023, 11:25:37 AM »
Apologies to Chris Shaida but I too thought of Ardsley's stinker.
I stand by Secession too. It is visually confusing and entering a course as if you were one of the Israelites following Moses along the very long causeway is jarring and at the very least archly artificial and maybe even a wee bit creepy. And yes in the winds I have played in there most players have a very difficult time aiming over water left with water/land eventually right and controlling their ball in the air.
And yes a hole that does not presage ( I misspelld in original post) the rest of the design definitely begins the downward spiral of merit
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2023, 11:26:16 AM »
Not a huge fan of Par 3s as Opening Holes. The first at Berkshire Blue (225yds) is an example.
. 👀

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2023, 11:30:13 AM »
I'll go with Walton Heath New, which is a par 3 with road on your right. Long is in a yard.  Only hole on that side of the road as well. Always out of place IMO.

Old?

North Wales has a poor opener legging left adjacent to housing protected by a fence.

West Hill's opener with blind water at the bottom of a sharp downslope isn't one that earns any stars.

Addington's uphill short hole is not an opener which sets a good tone.

Ciao
Yes apologies it is Old, not New.  I don't like the opening par 3 myself.  I actually enjoy the opener on the New short par 4.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2023, 11:36:54 AM »
I think we need to make the distinction between truly awful opening holes...and truly difficult ones.

While nothing comes to mind for the first category, (although I've played my fair share of very mediocre ones) I can certainly think of a few in the latter one.

P.S.  I've played Tilden a few times too, and while the 1st hole is certainly not awful it is perhaps the toughest opening hole I've ever played.

Steve Lapper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Truly Awful Opening Holes
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2023, 12:05:56 PM »
Despite an absolute bias towards the club and its history, the former 1st hole at Paramount CC was unquestionably abysmal.  It was so bad, we swapped nines and made it the current #10. It was easily the worst "opening handshake" I'd ever seen.


At 400yds this HCP 1 Par-4 tee shot crossed a busy Zukor Rd at 260yds and led to 50yd long fairway extension before turning straight uphill (30+% slope) to a blinded ample green severely tilted back-to-front. Tilly used this hole to get to the other side of the property and what is now a major N-S artery was once little more than a horse and buggy supply route. Even so, he must've been hitting the flask hard to conceive of this level of insanity & difficulty. Sadly, we have very few viable pin positions--all have to be on the back 1/4-- due to the green's serious slope and any shot, or putt, decently behind any of those pins runs the risk of 2x or 3x bogey easily!


I love Paramount for sure, yet have to nominate the old #1 as a truly, truly awful hole. Frankly, I hope to retire it one day, regrade the green and make it a practice putting green.
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back