National Golf Links of America
NY, USA pg. II

Sixth hole, 135 yards, Short; One of Ben Crenshaw’s favorite short holes, the green is eccentric and a thorough original with nothing like it anywhere in the world thanks to a small mountain in the center which makes it effectively play as three small ones. A player on the opposite side of the green from the hole should happily take three putts. The front left corner of the green is quite good at gathering aball and feeding it into the front bunker.

The wild green contours of the Short hole are evident from the tee with the green’s sweep up to the left seeming to dwarf the golfer on the front of the green.

Seventh hole, 470 yards, St. Andrews: Macdonald’s version of the Road Hole is of similar length to the one in Scotland, which was considered a par five as recently as forty years ago. The green complex captures the merits/terrors of the 17th at St. Andrews better than any of the subsequent copies that Macdonald and Raynor made of the Roadhole. The bunker angled along the right and rear of the green is particularly noteworthy as it provides almost as difficult (though less unique) a recovery shots as the road on the original hole.

With the 8th in the distance, the relatively flat approach to the 7th reveals little of the trouble that lurks…

…such as the seven foot deep Road Bunker guarding the front-left portion of the angled green…

…and this even deeper bunker hugging the back right. Unlike most other back bunkers on Road holes which average only a few feet in depth, the steps leading into this one indicate its more penal nature, in keeping with the difficulty of the road at St. Andrews.

Eighth hole, 420 yards, Bottle; Fairway bunkers (i.e.bunkers that are surrounded on all sides by fairway) are a crucial componentto any strategic design. Yet, greater than 95% of the courses built since WWII don’t possess a single fairway bunker. Instead, modern architects placed the hazards on the sides of the fairways where they add little strategic value. Patterned after Willie Parks’ 12th at Sunningdale (Old) which opened in 1899, this strong two shotter is the only hole that Nick Faldo bogeyed on his tour of the course in 1986. An echelon of seven bunkers encroaches into the fairway from the lower left and effectively divides the fairway into a left and right portion in the landing area off the tee. While the right side may be the more direct route, the left side provides a more level stance and a better angle into the green.

This string of bunkers divides the 8th fairway into a left and right portion.


The left side of the 8th fairway is more elevated than the right and the green is oriented to an approach from this angle. The distinctive bunkers above are 15 paces from the front of the green.

Tenth hole, 460 yards, Shinnecock; Given National’s out and back routing, the golfer heads for home when he stands on the 10th tee. If he enjoyed downwind conditions on the front, then the back will be a tough battle into the wind. The fairway short and right of the green and the right-to-left slope of the green make for fun pitch shot (a common shot when into the wind). At over 10,000 square feet, the green is slightly bigger than an Olympic size swimming pool. Gil Hanse admires the green complex so much that he replicated it on his business card.

As bold as the design of the National is, many of its features are low profile and sit close or below the ground, as highlighted in this view from the 10th tee.

The direct approach to the 10th green must carry all the trouble but Macdonald did provide …

…plenty of room to the right as seen in this picture from behind the 10th green.

Eleventh hole, 430 yards, Plateau; The golfer has covered some thrilling topography to this point but the next two holes are over more pedistrian land. Macdonald knew exactly what to do though and the Double Plateau green created here and the steeply pitched green on the 12th are two of the most severegreens on the course.

The berm in the foreground hides the road (notice the white speed sign?) which bisects the 11th fairway. In between the berm and the Double Plateau green is the Principal’s Nose bunker complex, visible in the right center of the photograph above.

With the 11th green complex in a field, Macdonald needed to create interest. The Double Plateau green, with its two plateaus divided by a lower middle section, accomplishes just that. The day’s hole location is on the front left plateau, which is at least a 1/2 stroke easier than a hole location on the back one.

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