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Matt_Ward

The Role of Rough ?
« on: June 22, 2006, 05:50:24 PM »
I have thought for a bit of time that courses that overdose on the rough equation are usually, but not always, going to be weak in terms of their pure architectural merits.

I believe rough is simply added as a penal deterrent and only serves as a prop to a design that is likely on the lite side when all other elements are considered.

In sum -- when all else fails - simply grow rough to cloud the fact that the actual design merits of a given layout are in need of such a crutch. For example, while I am a huge fan of Dunluce 18 at Royal Portrush I simply believed and said as much that the narrowness of the fairways and the desire to have hay-like conditions encroach so close to the line of play was a bit much and failed to further the considerable charm and qualities of the layout.

Be interested on how others view the role of rough and whether or not the propensity to include it is necessary or simply overdone.

*Please note: I understrand that key events (e.g. US & British Open) rely upon its usage -- but I speaking more about the day-to-day events that Joe Sixpack and company might encounter.

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2006, 06:38:50 PM »
Matt,
to me, Rough isn't just "added as a penal deterrent". Seems to me that at the very least it is also added as a visual statement. One which perhaps is employed to help define areas of closer-mown grass, whether that is for playability, for purely aesthetic value or for some combination of both.

If I may, let me also use this thread here and now to confess to my perversion that I like rough - where it is of the amber waves of grain variety - WHEN IT IS FOR VISUAL USE. There is also a VERY useful by-product of this use which is purely about habitats. We NEVER discuss here what the design of golf courses might mean in terms of effects on local fauna. Good design must also take into account what the potential effect might be on wildlife.

My Home Course leaves great swathes of uncut grass IN OUT OF PLAY AREAS which must be phenomenally good places for mice, voles, bugs and birds to hang out. Now I'm no environmentalist, but I do think it's very cool to assist old Mother Nature whenever possible. Rough can contribute to that.

Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm,
FBD

PS Bu**er, Arble beats me to a reply to a thread - AGAIN!!!
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Matt_Ward

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2006, 06:46:25 PM »
Sean / Martin:

I hear what you are saying -- but I am speaking more than just a visual component to a course.

Too many times the reputation of "acclaimed" courses stems from the idea that rough needs to be hay-like to add to the core architectural merits. Like I said I enjoyed Dunluce / Royal Portrush but the idea that fairways be as narrow as an Irish street simply overtakes what the actual design provides in terms of playing angles and the like.

When I hear people extol the virtues of a course and the mentioning of rough is near the opening sentence or two I have to question if the person saying such things really sees what rough obscures and if the actual design is protected through its usage to such a degree.

Voytek Wilczak

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006, 06:54:17 PM »
I love the hay in Scotland where the errant ball is easily lost (and if you find it, you just pray you can hack it back into the fairway).

But such a severe penalty must be for an equally severe mistake.

Growing penal rough everywhere is just another manifestation of the growing chasm between "professional golf" and the game of golf.

paul cowley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2006, 07:19:16 PM »
I think rough should be synonymous with out of play areas.
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2006, 07:51:49 PM »
Blame irrigation for rough.....
As PC says, IO don't thinkit was ever meant to be part of play....
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2006, 07:33:06 AM »
The amount of rough you need to make a course interesting is in inverse ratio to the course's architectural quality.

Bob

« Last Edit: June 23, 2006, 10:56:29 AM by BCrosby »

Marc Haring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2006, 07:42:39 AM »
I agree with everyone but just to add my bit, I do think that courses, especially those with high aspirations however unfounded, tend to over do rough on a large scale and I think the problem is growing. The reasons for this unwelcome trend are I would suggest as follows:

Environmental.
Aesthetics.
A perceived need to create ĎChampionshipí conditions and therefore elevation of status.
A degree of one-upmanship from rival clubs and superintendents. (We want the toughest course)
A certain amount of strategic value.
Financial, although I think this is a minor factor.

The trend is regrettable and will not benefit the game because it leads to long rounds, expensive loss of Pro Vís and lowered self esteem following another round in the high 70ís, 80ís, 90ís etc (delete as appropriate).

Having said that I know that the huge environmental benefit is very important and will help the image of the game immensely. But I would suggest courses either cut and collect their rough on a regular basis to thin it out or even better remove the nutrient rich top soil and overseed with fescue which should then stay light and wispy but will actually be of greater benefit to wildlife as it creates a more open sward that is perfect for biodiversity. Also they need to get the real long stuff out of the way of play if they can and/or leave it on one side but not both for added strategic value.

Thatís my opinion and here is a nice picy of some light fescue rough where we ripped out the topsoil five years ago surrounded by the impenetrable cabbage where we didnít.



TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2006, 07:59:18 AM »
Matt Ward:

In my opinion, the real role of rough is it's just basically a very low cost architectural feature to create difficulty in a single shot sense or in a single shot incremental mind-set.

Obviously, there are some holes that have had been narrowed by having rough added because they aren't particularly good strategic holes but there are others that are wonderful strategic holes with plenty of original fairway that've had rough added too.

Why is that? In my opinion, it's because most modern golfers and even some modern architects have come to view golf and strategic golf only in single shot increments and not in a "whole hole" strategically unified sense.

In other words, they think that a golfer must face a basically one dimensional situation that highlights his skill or lack of it in only single shot increments. Once that problem has been solved by one dimensional execution, the golfer is to go on to the next separate single shot problem in the same one dimensional sense.

Where multiple "whole hole" unified strategies hinge entire holes on various choices and shot options. Behr described it well where a bunker up by the green on a par 5 might be the single most salient problem with which the golfer on the tee might concern himself and his "whole hole" strategy.

The excessive use of rough can essentially destroy a hole's potential "whole hole" strategic UNITY of various options and shots along the way.

If you want a couple of good examples of the compromising effects of rough to a hole's strategic potential read what Geoff Ogilvy said about TOC's #17. And if you want an excellent description of how a lack of rough enhances a hole's strategic potential read what Ogilvy said about TOC's #18.

This is what I mean be "whole hole" strategic unity---or lack of it compromised by excessive rough.

paul cowley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2006, 08:15:50 AM »
Quote TPaul above "This is what I mean be "whole hole" strategic unity---or lack of it compromised by excessive rough.".

Tom, while agree with the entirety of your post, I think the use of "whole hole" to describe a strategy might need some rework .....when I repeated it five times in a row it became hard to take seriously..... [although it did lighten my mood considerably].
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

Sean Remington (SBR)

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2006, 08:58:52 AM »
  Not until the 40's or 50's where there much more than two heights of cut for fairways and rough on most courses. Looking at most of the aerial phtographs from the time you see how wide open and uniform the fairways are. I would agree that rough in the modern era is a crutch and has replaced contour and angles in most designs.

TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2006, 09:28:29 AM »
"Tom, while agree with the entirety of your post, I think the use of "whole hole" to describe a strategy might need some rework .....when I repeated it five times in a row it became hard to take seriously..... [although it did lighten my mood considerably]."

Paul:

When you repeat "whole hole" five times real fast it begins to sound like "Ho Ho" and people probably think you're some kind of Santa Claus. When you think about it there's nothing wrong with that. Matter of fact, it starts to play into GeoffShac's philosophy that golf course architecture needs to be reimbued with more humour---eg FUN!  ;)

Matter of fact, Paul, have you ever seen a golf hole where golfers may stand on the tee the first time they see it and be reduced to mirthfulness or just uproarious outright laughter? Well, if not, do I have a "concept" for you. We can probably get away with naming the hole "Blue Hen" (with an explanation of the etymology of the term, of course).  ;)

wsmorrison

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2006, 10:15:54 AM »
What are your feelings for rough being used to interrupt fairways?  If it fits into the terrain and course design, it can be effectively used to influence club selection off the tee making the risk a little less for possible rewards as compared to water or sandy waste.

While Flynn designed interrupted fairways on paper, they were not always built that way or did not remain that way for long.  I happen to like the feature and note that it was returned on a few holes at The Cascades and still exist at Kittansett.  I can't remember any more clubs that have restored the interrupted fairways but I am probably forgetting a handful.

TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2006, 10:34:17 AM »
Wayne:

As we know, Flynn's "interrupted" fairway concept (something he actually advertised) undeniably came from his connections to Pine Valley. Obviously that concept has its draw-backs for a certain level of player which is clearly why it sometimes wasn't actually built off his designs or didn't last long. Also, as we know sometimes he used the "HHA" bunker complex design across fairways to basically accomplish the same "interrupted" concept. Such was his original iteration of Shinnecock's #16 and another par 5 iteration at Shinnecock that was never used. However, as we can see he made #16 a partial bunker iteration when he actually built it.

Wasn't it the Army/Navy course design that he clearly advertised the concept?

Of course Tillinghast used the "interrupted" concept too with both bunkering and large areas of grass covered mounds, particularly on his par 5s. The concept very well may've even emanated from Tillinghast's concept of the "Real Three Shotter" (par 5s that should be virtually unreachable in two by anyone). I guess one could make a strong case that Tillinghast convinced Crump to do this on PVGC's #7.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2006, 10:39:20 AM by TEPaul »

wsmorrison

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2006, 11:25:22 AM »
Tom,

Flynn was clearly influenced by the concept from his familiarity with and work at Pine Valley.  As you've demonstrated, Tillinghast was a highly probable factor on the introduction of HHA on the par 5 7th.  Tillinghast also had a fairway interruption with rough, pot bunkers and mounds that no longer exist on the current 7th at Philadelphia Cricket Club.  

I don't think it was the USNA course where he discussed the concept of interrupted fairways, I'm almost positive it was at Yorktown CC in the brochure to prospective members.

What do some of the members of this site think of the use of rough to interrupt fairways?

wsmorrison

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2006, 03:31:52 PM »
I was looking at a copy of the original drawings of the Country Club of Scranton.  Travis had five holes with interrupted fairways, though I cannot recall if the features were restored or not.  I hope Ian Andrew will let us know.

TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2006, 06:58:30 PM »
You know, how would you like to see a whole golf course of just fairway and all kinds of areas of rough?

Rough shaped like bunkers? Rough lines in all kinds of angles? Mounds of rough? Rough that acts like a pond or a lake? Rough for all kinds of features and strategies?

Talk about cheap and maintenance friendly and easy to build. If you didn't like what you have just change it and in about a month you could have something else.

I've been seriously eying about a fifteen acre field on my place with this kind of thing in mind.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2006, 06:59:25 PM by TEPaul »

wsmorrison

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2006, 07:09:04 PM »
I hope its not the 15 acres of wacky weed  8)

TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2006, 07:19:15 PM »
Hey, how cool would that be? If we didn't like some rough feature we could smoke it.

JESII

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2006, 07:48:08 PM »
Tom,

Your reply #15 suggests that Pine Valley, with its many interrupted fairways, was possibly not ideally intended for higher handicap players. I have first hand information from one Patrick The Mucci (not sure if you've heard of him) that this is certainly not the case. In fact Pine Valley is so accommodating, says Mr. The Mooch, for the higher handicapper that it is only a remotely possible occurrance (such as sighting Haley's Comet) for one of these higher handicappers to actually miss a fairway. Now you are going to have to prove without an ounce of a doubt that George Crump designed that course for a higher caliber of player than a standard bogey golfer. This may sound like an easy task, but remember you are going to have to argue your point with a guy waiting for the next Hale Bop Comet to come by so he can drink the special sauce.

p.s. He uses the first hole as his evidence of its accommodative nature. Thought that would be useful info.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2006, 07:48:22 PM by JES II »

TEPaul

Re:The Role of Rough ?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2006, 09:50:37 PM »
Sully:

I don't have to argue any point with Pat Mucci that PVGC was not designed for the higher handicapper. If he thinks or maintains it was concieved of and designed by Crump for high handicappers he's simply dead wrong on every count. It doesn't matter a whit to me how much he wants to maintain such a preposterous belief---the fact remains he's just dead wrong. The evidence he gave on that point is nothing more than hilarious.

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