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MClutterbuck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Would you sub design the first hole?
« on: November 02, 2023, 03:23:28 PM »
Most architects talk about designing a certain rhythm into the design, starting low key (and gentle) and building into a crescendo, or two.


Also many architects talk about finding the best natural holes the terrain gives them.


So what happens if the constraints of the land and the terrain give him a fantastic/dramatic opening hole and there is no way around that being the opening hole?


Would the architect tone down the design of such hole?

Does great natural "found" hole trump criteria of building a rhythm in the routing?

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2023, 03:28:31 PM »
To the contrary, if all else was equal, I think it is important to get off to an exciting start. If the first few holes blow you away, it sets the tone in your head. And whilst you may be gently let down by some of the rest of the course, you are coming at it from a positive state of mind.


Starting low key and simple is just about having a gentle handshake (for me)Ö get the juices flowing early!

Thomas Dai

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2023, 04:10:56 PM »
There are some links courses, out-n-back ones, where the terrain nearest the starting/finishing points and Clubhouse are the flattest, most featureless holes on the course. Westward Ho!, Borth & Ynylas, original Enniscrone, maybe even TOC come to mind. The Ďhookí effect of the coastline is usually the cause. Doesnít mean the holes towards the start/finish are poor holes, far from it, just that the most dramatic terrain comes at the far end of the course.
Atb

Charlie Goerges

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2023, 04:27:00 PM »
This post gets at some of what I was thinking about with the other first hole post.
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

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2023, 08:37:04 PM »
Most architects talk about designing a certain rhythm into the design, starting low key (and gentle) and building into a crescendo, or two.

Also many architects talk about finding the best natural holes the terrain gives them.

So what happens if the constraints of the land and the terrain give him a fantastic/dramatic opening hole and there is no way around that being the opening hole?

Would the architect tone down the design of such hole?

Does great natural "found" hole trump criteria of building a rhythm in the routing?




Maybe the best opening hole in the world is the 1st hole at Machrihanish.  It's certainly the best hole on that course.


You hit the tee shot diagonally over the beach with the Atlantic Ocean rolling in . . . and the more you bail out, the longer the second shot into a not-easy green with IIRC a single guardian bunker.


Is that toned down?  Maybe . . . I suppose someone else might have bunkered it more heavily, but it's not like you were going to make the second shot anywhere near as exciting as the first, and that first shot makes the second hard if you aren't aggressive.


In the end, you have to take the good holes where you find them.  If it's the first, it's the first.  But there are lots of other decisions in play about what to do with the hole you've found, and my instinct says if it's the opening hole you're not going to do as much with it as if it was the 18th.  Which doesn't mean it isn't still a great hole.

Ben Sims

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2023, 12:45:34 AM »
Most architects talk about designing a certain rhythm into the design, starting low key (and gentle) and building into a crescendo, or two.

Also many architects talk about finding the best natural holes the terrain gives them.

So what happens if the constraints of the land and the terrain give him a fantastic/dramatic opening hole and there is no way around that being the opening hole?

Would the architect tone down the design of such hole?

Does great natural "found" hole trump criteria of building a rhythm in the routing?




Maybe the best opening hole in the world is the 1st hole at Machrihanish.  It's certainly the best hole on that course.


You hit the tee shot diagonally over the beach with the Atlantic Ocean rolling in . . . and the more you bail out, the longer the second shot into a not-easy green with IIRC a single guardian bunker.


Is that toned down?  Maybe . . . I suppose someone else might have bunkered it more heavily, but it's not like you were going to make the second shot anywhere near as exciting as the first, and that first shot makes the second hard if you aren't aggressive.


In the end, you have to take the good holes where you find them.  If it's the first, it's the first.  But there are lots of other decisions in play about what to do with the hole you've found, and my instinct says if it's the opening hole you're not going to do as much with it as if it was the 18th.  Which doesn't mean it isn't still a great hole.


Iíve probably fallen too far down the rabbit hole with hole comparisons lately, a good hole is a good hole. But Iíve always wanted to ask: was Machrihanish 1 on your mind for Ballyneal 1? When you describe it the way you did above, it sounds similar.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2023, 12:47:38 AM by Ben Sims »

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2023, 01:21:01 AM »
Take what the land gives u.  Today as opposed to the golden age, they probably fins the ostentatious clubhouse location first and build sroudb that.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2023, 01:23:07 AM by Jeff Schley »
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

MClutterbuck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2023, 10:20:16 AM »
Most architects talk about designing a certain rhythm into the design, starting low key (and gentle) and building into a crescendo, or two.

Also many architects talk about finding the best natural holes the terrain gives them.

So what happens if the constraints of the land and the terrain give him a fantastic/dramatic opening hole and there is no way around that being the opening hole?

Would the architect tone down the design of such hole?

Does great natural "found" hole trump criteria of building a rhythm in the routing?




Maybe the best opening hole in the world is the 1st hole at Machrihanish.  It's certainly the best hole on that course.


You hit the tee shot diagonally over the beach with the Atlantic Ocean rolling in . . . and the more you bail out, the longer the second shot into a not-easy green with IIRC a single guardian bunker.


Is that toned down?  Maybe . . . I suppose someone else might have bunkered it more heavily, but it's not like you were going to make the second shot anywhere near as exciting as the first, and that first shot makes the second hard if you aren't aggressive.


In the end, you have to take the good holes where you find them.  If it's the first, it's the first.  But there are lots of other decisions in play about what to do with the hole you've found, and my instinct says if it's the opening hole you're not going to do as much with it as if it was the 18th.  Which doesn't mean it isn't still a great hole.


This is good and clear. So basically, the good looking woman is there, will not tell her to go away, but maybe advise that not all the jewelry and make-up go on.


So going back to the other thread, there is a slight designer bias against "showcasing" the opening hole as one of the best on the course, but we should still recognize its good bones.


Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2023, 11:07:00 AM »
Tom, I like the first hole at Pacific Dunes. It works well as a first hole. It has challenge around the green but won't beat anybody up. It gives the player a taste of what is to come.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2023, 08:14:49 PM »
First hole at Eastward Ho!

Maybe not the best hole on the course, but it is far from the worst. Elevated tee shot descends to fairway, then rises to green.

No reason to tone it down. It is phenomenal, and the rest of the course backs it up.

If the first hole is your only great hole, then ask your sugar-mommas to reconsider the location of the clubhouse!!
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2023, 02:12:42 AM »
Iíll go back to what I said earlier. Donít underestimate the importance of a strong first hole to set the tone in a golferís head. (By strong I mean exciting, not difficult)


Marcus - personally I donít like putting too much jewellery on, wherever a hole sits in a round.


You take what the land gives you. You donít move the clubhouse if your 1st hole is your strongest. Tomís 1st at St.Patrickís is on probably the wildest land on the site.

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2023, 07:18:33 AM »
Is #1 at Machrahanish really the BEST hole on the course?
Or simply the best natural view and setting..
I will agree it is the best opening hole in golf, due not only to the Capelike strategy,(which includes the ability to bail out being the first hole) but also to set the mood and setting for the round.

There are some pretty amazing holes and topography on that course.


Of course my argument falls flat when pressed to cite a better hole at Machrahanish, I do remember some real cool topography and holes-in particular a dogleg left somewhere on the front-5?....It's been too long(2009)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2023, 07:49:09 AM by jeffwarne »
"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

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2023, 09:05:29 PM »

Of course my argument falls flat when pressed to cite a better hole at Machrahanish, I do remember some real cool topography and holes-in particular a dogleg left somewhere on the front-5?....It's been too long(2009)


You are remembering the par-4 5th, which is a really strong par-4.  I am also a big fan of the 2nd and 4th holes . . . they used the most dramatic land for the starting holes.  But then it slowly fizzles out as it progresses.  I am surprised it keeps making the top 100 list because of that, even though I love the place.


Interestingly, one of the old GOLF ILLUSTRATED articles I found from the 1920's had the 18th hole at Machrihanish listed as a great finishing hole . . . I believe that for at least a brief period, the 18th green must have been out on the point, and the first tee possibly crossing over it from closer to the clubhouse.  But I don't have a club history and I have never verified this.

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2023, 10:46:17 PM »
Machrihanish probably proves my theory above: Get them off to a strong start and theyíll be so enthralled with the place early on that theyíll forgive any later transgressions.


First impressions count. Most raters have secretly decided what they think of a course by the time they reach the 7th hole.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2023, 04:37:50 AM »
Most raters have secretly decided what they think of a course by the time they reach the 7th hole.
That long!! :)
atb

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2023, 09:29:36 AM »
Machrihanish probably proves my theory above: Get them off to a strong start and theyíll be so enthralled with the place early on that theyíll forgive any later transgressions.


First impressions count. Most raters have secretly decided what they think of a course by the time they reach the 7th hole.




I like to get them earlier than that.


It was not a planned thing that Pacific Dunes delivered you to that first great view of the ocean at the 3rd green . . . the routing evolved several times before we landed on that in the final version, but clearly everyone loved it, and loved turning along the coast from there to the 4th.


Since then, it's not been entirely a coincidence that most of my highly regarded courses have a similar moment fairly early in the round:


the 3rd through 6th at Cape Kidnappers
the 4th at Barnbougle, Reg's Hut, and the path above the beach
the 3rd tee shot and walk over the dune at Old Macdonald
the 3rd green and 4th tee at Tara Iti
the 3rd green to 4th tee transition at St Patrick's


It's not like I am insistent on making it work out that way -- often it is just an embarrassment of riches, that the land is good enough we can use something like that early in the round, because there's plenty more of it later.  But I agree with you that generally I know what I'm going to think of a course after the first few holes, and seeing the detailing of the greens and the bunkers, and sort of assuming there are going to be some more dramatic holes saved for later in the round.  That's why I'm not sure I agree about Machrihanish, it doesn't live up to that promise at the end.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2023, 10:46:18 AM »
RTJ was always criticized for the first few holes at Spyglass being along the ocean rather than the last.  I can see why, but on the other hand I always remember the story of Decca Records rejecting the Beatles when they decided to save their best songs for last in their audition.  And, model homes don't save the big wow for when you are leaving, headlines come before the text in news stories, etc. 


You only get one chance to make a first impression, but also, an attractive first hole will be seen after the round from the bar.  I recall many cases where I made the first attractive but not particularly difficult, a few times by doing a gentle dogleg right with target bunkers down the left side that looked good, but weren't as likely to come into play, and grass bunkers or similar on the right to hopefully not impede play too much.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2023, 11:18:51 AM »
Two thoughts:


One thing that is very different about golf today is that the driver has gone from the hardest club in the bag to hit, to the easiest.  The old idea that you ought to build a shortish opening hole because players aren't ready to hit driver off the first is a relic.


Second, a better case study for this thread than the first at Machrihanish, would be the first at The Berkshire (Blue Course).  That is one of the best looking par-3 holes in the UK, in my opinion, but at 215 yards it is very uncomfortable for most people as an opening hole, even though it is designed clearly with the idea that the uncomfortable player can bail out to the fairway with a fairly short iron and play from there, instead of risking sailing a 3-iron or hybrid into the heather.


For me, that makes it even better as the first hole than if it were somewhere later in the round, when no one would hit 7-iron from the tee for fear of looking like a weenie.


But the hole has never gotten the attention I feel it's due, because it makes so many players uncomfortable.  Indeed, the Blue course is generally overshadowed by the Red, which is much more player-friendly [ie. easier], right down to its own [much less demanding] par-3 18th hole.

Ben Sims

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2023, 11:51:20 AM »
Tom,


Iíll press and ask if you saw my question above asking about Ballyneal 1 as a comp to Machrihanish 1.


The crazy thing to me is how good the first at Ballyneal is and how little I hear people talk about it. It might be my second favorite hole on the outward nine. If it was sub-designed, itís only because of the site and the holes that come later.


But as you say, the driver isnít very hard to hit and a bad push at BN 1 still leaves a mid iron, even though its likely blind.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2023, 11:54:16 AM by Ben Sims »

Kalen Braley

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Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2023, 12:18:06 PM »
I guess Cypress would be the counter point to this, as the course doesn't really get going IMO until the par 5 5th. 

And certainly the sublime stuff comes at the very end...15 thru 18.

Perhaps standing on 1 green is the necessary primer as you get a terrific view of what is to come starting with 8 and on.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2023, 01:27:35 PM »

Iíll press and ask if you saw my question above asking about Ballyneal 1 as a comp to Machrihanish 1.



Hi Ben:


No, I didn't think of the opener at Machrihanish when we were building Ballyneal. But from that little tee on the dune, it IS a diagonal tee shot, which is much more interesting for the opening tee shot than from where everyone else plays.


It's a good example for this thread because the hole IS deliberately toned down as the opener.  No fairway bunkers of real note . . . the ones down the left are generally no worse to be in than it is to pull the ball down into the rough there.  Nothing on the right side to stop you from bailing out, other than the second shot is blind from over there and the right-to-left tilt of the green is not helpful.  If it was the 18th hole I probably would have made it tighter, but as the first hole I thought it was plenty challenging without many bells and whistles.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2023, 04:27:45 PM »
1st hole at Portstewart (Strand course).
Gorgeous tee location, scenic views, beach, distant headland etc etc and immediately adjacent to clubhouse.
Decidedly bland hole though. Boringly so.
Atb

Mark Mammel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Would you sub design the first hole?
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2023, 07:13:52 PM »
First hole at White Bear Yacht Club. Steps from the Golf House bar, tee adjacent to putting green, and a complete view of the hole, from an elevated tee to the elevated green, with a huge bunker well below the green. Not a gentle handshake but a chance to get the blood flowing. Not the best hole on the course, since those following are built on remarkable land well-used.

So much golf to play, so little time....

Mark

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