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Shane Gurnett

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Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« on: March 26, 2007, 05:35:25 AM »
We were all poor players once. Many still are. How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples.

cary lichtenstein

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2007, 06:27:49 AM »
Great question
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Lloyd_Cole

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2007, 08:41:26 AM »
I suppose the poor player would need to play with the better player to see...
Then he might notice that his 30 yard hook left a realtively simple pitch whereas the better player's near miss is plugged in the face of bunker.
And so on.

George Pazin

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2007, 08:55:02 AM »
We were all poor players once. Many still are. How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples.

It all depends on the golfers ability to recognize others' playing characteristics and then visualize appropriately.

Let's face, we're talking golf here, not astrophysics - or Shakespeare, for the English majors out there.

A poor golfer might not be able to hit the shots, but it doesn't take that much imagination to be able to visualize them.

Also, given the inconsistencies in most golfers' game, there is a good likelihood he has in fact hit some darn good shots.

I think, if anything, the poor player tends to overemphasize the ball striking ability of top players, and underestimate their short games. Heck, even Michelle Wie does that, and she's not a poor player! :)

Also, it might be the ultimate form of condescension that so many on here think that a poor player isn't capable of relating architecture to the elite player.

I personally don't think there is any obvious connection between playing ability and architectural appreciation.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2007, 09:02:14 AM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Mark Bourgeois

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2007, 09:00:50 AM »
Different tees can help with that. Like over a forced carry.

TEPaul

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2007, 09:08:10 AM »
"How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples."

George:

I'm quite sure the best and most accurate example I could give would be for the poor player to sit down and talk to the elite player about how he looks at the architecture!   ;)

I think any poor player would be quite surprised what he would learn about architecture through the eyes and mind of the elite player by doing that.

This notion that good players and tour pros and such "don't get" golf architecture is one of the most preposterous notions ever foisted on golf and golfers.  

It may not be all that common for a really good player to look at architecture through the game of the poor player but even that isn't completely rare.

Perhaps the best and most realistic outlook I've ever heard of how architecture really does affect the poor player came from Nick Faldo. On a golf course that man just might be the most observant person (of everything) I have ever seen in my life.

A few years ago on this site Tom Doak mentioned how surprised he was and how much he learned about how, and perhaps how much, a tour pro looks at architecture by sitting down and just speaking with one about it.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2007, 09:14:14 AM by TEPaul »

TEPaul

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2007, 09:20:12 AM »
George:

I'll give you an example I noticed that I'm totally convinced was not coincidencal at all.

The first time Mickelson won the Masters, the course was set up on Sunday just perfect---eg the IMM with firm and fast greens on which even the best could not go pin hunting by trying to stick it.

Hole after hole Mickelson hit approach shots into those greens to the ideal spots to filter the ball around using the architecture of those greens.

It was just a thing of beauty to watch because Mickelson was not just technically executing well struck shots, he (and obviously his caddie Bones) were reading the architecture of that golf course and playing it like a symphony.

Peter Pallotta

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2007, 09:40:40 AM »
Shane,

"once"?

I beginning to think gca is a bit like grade-school geometry: most of us already knew what a right-angle triangle looked like, but we were then taught the term, and a bit about its deeper implications. The ones who went on to become mathemeticians loved the subject and dug deep into those implications; the rest of us just remember the right-angle triangle, and can still spot one when we see it -- on those occasions when we think it's important enough to look for in the first place.

Which is to say, I think most who play the game with any interest at all can see at least a part of what's happening out there, at least in a general sense, and to the degree that it's relevant to them. There is, I think, a "selection process" going on for most players all the time, i.e. a partly conscious-partly unconcious choice of what features to even notice, let alone focus on; and this choice has much to do with their level of skill, or imagined skill.  A looming fairway bunker draws almost everyone's attention, and with just cause; a very cleverly and strategically-contoured green might go un-noticed by the poorer player, who is simply hoping to get the ball on the putting surface in something close to regulation.

I worked on a golf course when I was 17, the kind that would let a newcomer like me cut the greens and the hole locations. I had rarely played golf before, and I didn't know the slightest bit about gca, at least consciously. But I could watch the play of others day after day, and I realized pretty quickly that the fairway bunker on the left side meant that players would tend to hit their drives to the right side of that fairway...and that therefore a pin placement on the right side of the green would make for a more difficult approach shot, especially if there was a greenside bunker on that side.

I'm sure I missed many, many nuances of the design (and that I still do).  But I think I could see even then -- as most everyone can -- its basic and fundamental aspects, especially as it applied to my particular game.  

I also think the better players do know and see more of the design features and strategies, if for no other reason than that they HAVE to; their game brings those features into play.  

Peter

Patrick_Mucci

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2007, 09:43:46 AM »
We were all poor players once. Many still are. How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples.

Shane,

Seth Raynor and other prominent archittects who WEREN'T golfers might provide some insight.

I think it has to do with the inherent intellect of the individual, combined with experience and exposure to other elements of the game.

PThomas

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2007, 10:00:25 AM »
I wonder if many of them care!  they very well might be more worried about their score
197 played, only 3 to go!!

Padraig Dooley

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2007, 10:39:13 AM »
It might be better for the good player to appreciate architecture as it applies to the poor player :).
There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
  - Pablo Picasso

Ken Moum

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2007, 11:09:24 AM »
It might be better for the good player to appreciate architecture as it applies to the poor player :).

I'm currently a 12 and have played more than a little with players whose handicaps range from about +1 to 40, and I'm inclined to agree with you.

It seems far more likely that the poor player will understand the way certain features relate to the best players than the reverse.

For one thing, it's much more common for better players to negotiate a course on autopilot, thinking only of where they want their ball to go. If they ever play with average golfers, it's rare to see them spend much time observing the hacker's game, in fact, it's pretty likely that they'll try to ignore what's going on.

Hackers, OTOH, have a lot of interest in where the better players are hitting it, and how they approach the problems on the course.

In my experience it's rare for either group to spend much time thinking specifically about the architecture, and why or how it affects their game. Nevertheless, I seriously doubt that any of the really good players I know give a hoot about how golf course design impacts the 20 handicapper.

K
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

JeffTodd

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2007, 11:13:04 AM »
How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples.
My father is a poor player who never gave much thought to golf architecture or strategy. I took him to the Crump Cup for an afternoon and it was as if a light switch had been turned on. He finally understood elements of golf architecture and playing strategy after not giving them much consideration previously.

Watching first rate amateur players navigate one of golf's finest designs is an invaluable lesson, perhaps even more worthwhile than watching tour professionals carve up the course of the week. Unlike the tour caliber professional, the amateurs are more likely to hit less than perfect shots so they will be forced to engage with the penal features of the design. Further, the amateur players do not have every shot in the bag like a tour professional. Instead of watching a professional overpower the course, or force shots wherever they need them to go regardless of the courses defenses, the architecture is more likely to dictate play and influence decision making of the amateur, and that is obvious to the spectator.

It is hard for a poor player to relate to an elite player on any level, and golf architecture is probably no different. However, I think that viewing a high level, non PGA Tour event, at a venue that has first rate architecture is a great place to start.

George Pazin

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2007, 11:48:42 AM »
Tom P, I have no doubt that top players can understand architecture extremely well, especially as it relates to their own games, but that's not really what Shane seems to be asking, imho. That's an interesting point from Tom D, though, I'd love to hear more from him on the topic.

Jeff T -

Interesting story re: the Crump Cup. The only question I'd have is, how did your father know what the intentions of the players were? I'd guess his eyes were opened more by the greatness of Pine Valley than by the particular play of the top ams that participate.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Jeff Doerr

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2007, 01:28:19 PM »
I think that one of the really great exercises is to watch a tourney on a course you know well or have at least played before. The USGA spreads around their events, and then there are many college & regional events that allow spectators.
"And so," (concluded the Oldest Member), "you see that golf can be of
the greatest practical assistance to a man in Life's struggle.

Mark_F

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2007, 11:01:36 PM »
Shane,

What a stupid question.

Do you have to know how to write and direct a movie to critique it, or appreciate the craft behind it or understand its theme and subtext?

Do you have to know how to paint to understand art?

Assuming the poor player has eyes and a brain, I would have said it was pretty easy to appreciate how the architecture applies to the better player, merely by watching where they choose to hit the ball and what features do or don't come into play.

Of course, a rudimentary understanding of psychology comes into play, but since that is often part of an Arts degree, we can rule out any poor players with a Arts degree, since only useless dummies do an Arts degree.

How do you explain the number of good players who fail to appreciate architectural features?







Shane Gurnett

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2007, 11:29:18 PM »
Obviously touched a raw nerve there Mark. ::)

Mark_F

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2007, 12:02:03 AM »
Far from it, Shane, since I don't have an Arts degree.

You stated in another post not so far back that my anger and negativity was one of the highlights of GCA, so far be it for me to disappoint my large and ever growing fan base.


Shane Gurnett

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2007, 12:11:13 AM »
There is certainly no shortage of anger there Mark, but its the context I worry about. So long as you think your cred is on the increase then all is well..


Mark_F

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2007, 08:54:20 AM »
Dr Gurnett,

I am amazed that someone from the Business Faculty has the linguistic ability to deconstruct my prose and find anger where there is none.

I would have called it mild amusement.

By the way, don't you need to understand photography to be able to appreciate good pictures?


Cassandra Burns

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2007, 10:08:24 AM »
We were all poor players once. Many still are. How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player? Give examples.

What does it take to gain an appreciation for golf architecture in the first place?  Or art, photography, or even building architecture?  I think appreciation comes with some kind of knowledge.  Like Mark says, one doesn't need to paint to appreciate paintings, but at the same time the appreciation of the painter will differ from the general audience, as will the appreciation of an afficianado from the generally clueless.  The clueless still know what they like and what they don't like, but they may not know why.

The people on this board all have different golfing skills, and only a few are talented golf architects, yet everyone here can really appreciate golf architecture and how it can apply to golfers of all handicaps - with a little bit of imagination.  

So how do people gain knowledge of golf architecture?  Unlike paintings and other obvious art forms, I think a lot of golfers aren't even aware of "golf architecture" in the first place.  Jeff Todd's story of his father is telling; it wasn't until "a light switch had been turned on" that he even considered such things.  I know that I didn't even think of golf architecture until a few months ago, when I discovered the notion on the internet.  

Some golfers become aware of "golf architecture" on their own, either playing the game or watching it.  Others may need more erudite sources.  Once the knowledge has been gained, it takes creative imagination to consider how the architecture works (or fails to work) for the play of others, not to mention oneself.  That, in turn, takes knowledge of the different kinds of golf shots that are possible.  

Here the golfer may have a more profound appreciation than the non-golfer, and the skilled golfer even moreso than the average golfer.  How many golfers even consider the kinds of ground game shots that may apply on a given hole?  I never thought of the ground game until last year.  I always - always! - approached greens aerially, looking for the perfect pitch.  My game has improved and my appreciation for the subtleties of golf architecture has expanded now that I've developed an appreciation and some skill for the ground game.  And that in turn has started to impact how I prepare to play the hole from the tee, preparation which necessarily must consider the architecture.  Fancy that.


Shane Gurnett

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2007, 05:14:47 PM »

I would have called it mild amusement  


This may explain why you are in the bad books with so many of the locals.(and yes I know that you don't care).

Cassandra,

Nice rant, however you didnt read the question properly. All you have done is relate the architecture as it applies to you. The questions asked was:

Quote
How does the poor player appreciate the architecture as it applies to the elite player?

If you cannot execute the shots as they apply to the elite player, are you saying that your imagination is enough? Moreso, if the anwer is a "yes" then is walking the course sufficient and is playing the holes therefore not required?

The whole argument about appreciating art/photography etc just by looking at it is nonsense - golf is a game that is played on a different landscape every time under different conditions. There are variables at play every time. There is input from the admirer every time. To appreciate the game and its architecture the course must be played not simply admired from a distance using your imagination.

George Pazin

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2007, 05:28:02 PM »
If you cannot execute the shots as they apply to the elite player, are you saying that your imagination is enough? Moreso, if the anwer is a "yes" then is walking the course sufficient and is playing the holes therefore not required?

Then I'd suggest you read Patrick's answer.

It depends on the golfer - some people can look and envision with little effort, others will never understand.

The logical extension of the lesser player not being able to appreciate the shots of the better player is that Tiger Woods is literally the only person on the face of the earth that can appreciate and understand his game, and is the only person that can understand how to relate architecture to his game.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Shane Gurnett

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Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2007, 05:35:18 PM »
George,

If imagination is enough, then why play?

The Woods example is interesting. Sure he is the best golfer in the world at the moment. But does that mean that say Mickelson cannot appreciate the architecture as it applies to Woods. No way! I am talking about the quantum difference between poor and elite players - hardly the tags you would allocate to Woods and his sub peer group (Mickelson etc).


Mark_F

Re:Architectural appreciation by the poor player
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2007, 05:36:04 PM »

This may explain why you are in the bad books with so many of the locals.(and yes I know that you don't care).
Quote

Quite right, I consider it a badge of honour.

Quote
The whole argument about appreciating art/photography etc just by looking at it is nonsense - golf is a game that is played on a different landscape every time under different conditions. There are variables at play every time. There is input from the admirer every time. To appreciate the game and its architecture the course must be played not simply admired from a distance using your imagination.

Utter rubbish. Photography, especially of the landscape, changes almost with every passing second. There are a huge number of variables - what film, what lens, what filter, what composition, what focus, exactly when do I push the shutter, do I come back another day?

Photographing golf courses can reveal more about the architecture than playing it . Observing the play of light across the ground reveals all the fascinating details that may be missed in the harder light of later in the day and which a player may never go near.

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