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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Is There an Inherent Reason
« on: August 15, 2009, 05:15:44 AM »
why a course should be more bunkered around the greens than the fairways?  On another thread Mayday stated that Flynn preferred the land to be the challenge from tee to green without giving a reason(s).  Is there any reason why, assuming the land is interesting enough to challenge the golfer, the land can't challenge the golfer around the green?  It has always been my belief that the better the land, the more likely one bunker in the fairway and/or one near the green does the job of creating a challenge OR perhaps no bunkers on the hole at all.   

What say you folks?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 08:26:02 AM »
From an "efficiency" standpoint, we know that any bunker near a green will come into play for all since its the final target, whereas setting a fw bunker at any particular length from the tee(s) means it will only come into play for a small percentage of players on any given day.

I agree greens could be just as easily be guarded by slopes of various kinds that stop or divert a golf shot without landing it in sand.  But, as much as some decry "definition", in truth, nothing defines a green like well arranged bunkers.  At least, I think that has been what happened over the years.  Looking at Hazeltine, back when it was a cornfield, if RTJ had just put wide gently rolling chipping areas around those greens, they would have been lost visually in the prairie.  And, many courses were/are built in cornfields and within future housing, where distinguishing the green from the surrounds and outer surrrounds was necessary.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Bill Brightly

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2009, 08:34:12 AM »
Sean,

This was discussed on a different thread, but I think bunkers are over used to defend greens, as if bunkers are put in because they are "SUPPOSED" to guard greens. Let's say a green site sits up high, above a 15' steep slope.  You can almost guarantee that a bunker is going to be cut into the bottom of that slope, when in fact, a ball hit short would never have a chance of making it to the green. I would speculate that it is safer for the architect to add the bunker, and it does add a color contrast, but from a playability standpoint, it probably makes it easier than the more varied lies you would get in rough on slopes.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 08:37:14 AM by Bill Brightly »

Adam Clayman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2009, 08:47:15 AM »
Aerial assualt reliance seems to be a major justification for well bunkered greens. Throw in the greens speed race and you have a prescription for flatter less ground movement boring golf.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Brent Hutto

Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2009, 09:31:30 AM »
Adam,

It seems to me that over-bunkered greens might cause an aerial assault game rather than the aerial game justifying the bunkering. For my own weak game, that benefits much from ground-game approach options, there are three things that will force me into attempting high (aerial) approach shots when I might wish to do otherwise. Water fronting a green, elevated greens with thick rough on the upslope (the least defensible of these three IMO) and sand fronting the green.

By comparison, a strong modern player who prefers to always throw lawn darts at the flag doesn't much care what's in front of the green unless the hole is cut 3-4 paces on the front or the greens are rock hard.

Sean,

I think cosmetics are sufficient so-called justification to explain the current style of multiple bunkers arrayed around each and every green. It is in fact simply a design cliche but ask most golfers to close their eyes and describe a favorite green complex or famous hole and they will be mentally picturing the sand as much as the green. It has become what we think a putting green looks like, a flat or contoured area of short grass surrounded by bright-white sand.

Tom MacWood

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2009, 09:32:31 AM »
I think it is only natural that golf architects would guard the ultimate target more vigorously. Plus drives are longer shots and require more room, more open space. The strategy of most holes starts at the green moves back progressively toward the fairway and then to the tee. There is more attention given to the design of the greens.

If you go back and analyze the early links courses you will find many of the greens were placed on top of dunes or in hollows surrounded by dunes. Greens being surrounded by trouble is inherent to the game.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2009, 10:32:51 AM »
Sean:

I tried to figure out a few years ago why the Slope rating on my courses always comes out so low, and one of the main factors was that I didn't bunker around the greens as much as normal.  The slope rating actually assigns "difficulty points" based on what % of each green is guarded by bunkers ... and on many courses, the number is upwards of 50%.

I had never realized that most courses had so many greenside bunkers.  Most of my designs tend to leave one side of the green bunker-free and a decent entrance in front, and I seldom bunker the back very much, so to the Slope system they are only 20-30% "guarded" -- even though trying to get up and down from most places around those greens is usually quite difficult due to the internal contours of the green.  I think that's the key ... if you've got good internal contours you don't need much bunkering.

Adam Clayman

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Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2009, 10:35:22 AM »
Brent, I was thinking back well over 100 years ago when the "best" players were the guys who could hit it higher then most.

It was that perception that altered the game and the grounds.

Why else is a hell bunker well short of the green? Or, Why Jack N. (or Tilly) use to build all his courses with fronting bunks>?

Tom, I wanted to start a thread on how wrong the slope/rating system is based on how difficult it can be to go low on your well contoured firm courses.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 10:38:17 AM by Adam Clayman »
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2009, 10:45:25 AM »
Adam:

I am not sure the Slope system is "wrong" there.  By preventing good players from making birdies, while letting average players make pars and bogeys, a place like Ballyneal smooths out the scoring curve and therefore SHOULD have a low slope.  It is not trying to rate the course against par; it's trying to show the relative difficulty for players of different handicaps.

The strange thing though is that I don't think Slope is really constant across all handicap levels, as the system posits.  For example, the difference between a +2 handicap and a 2 handicap at Pine Valley is not really exaggerated by the course ... the 153 slope is based on how hard the course is for a 10- or 15-handicap.  Likewise, at Ballyneal or Stone Eagle, I think there is a level of player (some +2 handicaps, but not all of them) who are able to shape approach shots and use the contours to their advantage, and those guys would break through the slope line and go REALLY low.  [On a calm day.  If there ever was one.]

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2009, 10:48:38 AM »


I am a keen advocate of fairway bunkers. These date back to the 19th Century with many reports (as I have mentioned previously) of bunkers being located and constructed some months after the course was formally opened.

The basis of this was to calculate where Members tended to take their shots, by the result of divots. Noting the proximity and clustering of said divots, the bunkers where then built.  I think this practice started to disappear by the time of the Golden Age designers believed that some of them had became the authority on golf design.  Bunkers were not the only hazards but just one weapon in the designerís arsenal.

[Also, ball travel was somewhat less back in those days so the hazards were far more effective. Thatís the penalty of not properly controlling technology - a thought, did the game advance because of improved technology being translated into the ability of ball travel or should technology be used just to maintain the quality of equipment with no additional improvement in ball travel. I say yes to advancement in the use of modern materials but not at the cost of the ball travelling longer. IMHO, balls travel should be rated to the pre 1900 balls to maintain stability and continuity. We just canít keep lengthening our courses].
Control of the ball in part dictates the hazards. No controls, then Greens become a WW1 Trench Bunker mentality or for me the hated island Greens (thanks to the evil of these types of water hazards).

Whilst not taking any real control of the game, have we allowed the overpopulation of bunkers around Greens? I believe the answer may go hand in glove with the long ball, to resolve one we have to address the other problem.

Why are stonewalls not used more often in preference to bunkers, maybe the wall can be more penal if the ball comes to rest near the wall which still may be the best part of a 200M plus from the pin. I fear the main reason is a lack of Will from both golfers and their governing bodies. Whilst easy appears to be acceptable today, the enjoyment in the past was generated by the hazards. Has our game really changed that much? I feel it has without anyone really noticing, the question does anyone really care anymore.

Letís not forget that Golf is a game and golfers want to play. It is not meant to be a simple/easy walk or drive in the park. In addition, hazards are as much part of the game as clubs and the humble ball.

Melvyn


Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2009, 11:10:58 AM »
Melvyn:

Have you seen much documentation on courses which built fairway bunkers as you describe, by digging bunkers where divots tended to be clustered in early play?  I have seen it suggested as an idea in several old books, but I don't know of many courses which actually claim to have done it that way.

Mike_DeVries

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2009, 11:24:09 AM »
Bunkers are beautiful and have their place, but contour is really a great hazard that affects the better player quite a bit more than the average player.  Average players are afraid of bunker shots and better players aren't.  Green grass, short rough or fairway, settles the nerves of the average player and gives them options for play -- pitch, putt, chip, flop, bump and run, hybrid, invent your own, etc. -- and those options create doubt for better players who aren't 100% committed to the shot they have chosen.  Therefore, I think all the elements are important but contour can level the playing field a little bit better than a proliferation of bunkers -- ultimately, it is the combination of the two that makes the difference.

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2009, 11:43:29 AM »

Tom D

I have IM you my reply

Melvyn

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2009, 12:33:41 PM »

Tom D

I have IM you my reply

Melvyn

Melvyn, I thought all the original bunkers were excavated by sheep burrowing down to get out of the wind.  Wrong, eh?

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2009, 12:56:12 PM »
Melvyn:

Have you seen much documentation on courses which built fairway bunkers as you describe, by digging bunkers where divots tended to be clustered in early play?  I have seen it suggested as an idea in several old books, but I don't know of many courses which actually claim to have done it that way.

Good question, I was wondering the same thing. I have seen that idea before, but haven't seen anything to substantiate it. Isn't Oakmont supposed to have come by some of their bunkers that way?
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2009, 01:28:18 PM »
Bill

As always you are spot on, yes the ORIGINAL were. Alas not all courses are original Links courses and the one I am referring to relate to inland courses built in the 1890’s.

The best way to gauge the quality of the Membership was to seek the Divots. That after careful consideration dictated the level and position of the bunker.
But please remember that the later courses although followed the lay of the land did not have natural bunkers, but did have stonewall, railway tracks, trees, buildings, streams and rivers, not to mention gullies. These early inland course copied the Links by including bunkers as well. Other items to mimic a Links course included mounds and dykes. As I keep saying, Bunkers are just one weapon available and tended to be placed after opening of a course due to all the other NATURAL (or existing) hazards.

I am not aware of a Links course that had its bunkers added later, just inland.

Hope that helps

Melvyn

PS Sorry Ed, can't help you re Oakmont
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 01:30:54 PM by Melvyn Hunter Morrow »

Jason McNamara

Re: Is There an Inherent Reason
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2009, 01:49:24 PM »
The best way to gauge the quality of the Membership was to seek the Divots. That after careful consideration dictated the level and position of the bunker.

It would be great to come across that sort of thing in a club history.  Melvin, have you ever been lucky enough to find a discussion along those lines?  "A minority of Members vehemently protested the Captain's decision to...."

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