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Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
The Don'ts in GCA
« on: December 14, 2009, 11:42:14 AM »
We often hear what we like about a golf course: variety, a great set of par 3s, challenging green complexes, artsy bunkers, etc.  Perhaps we've done this before, but it might be a good exercise in helping us better understand golf course architecture by identifying aspects or features we don't like.

I'll start with one that I see more and more these days, the long walk back to a tee, sometimes 50 to 100 yards.  One type of hole that bothers me in particular is a long par 3 (200+ yards) where you go within 50 yards of the green enroute from the previous hole, walk/ride some 150+ yards to the tee, then return on the same path toward the green.  Any other Don'ts?

 

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 11:45:19 AM »
Don't have massively long forced carries off the tee with no bail-out options!

Don't put horizontally crossing creeks and hazards 200-220 yards off the tee from the members tees!!

Don't block the front of the greens with bunkers or otherwise on long par 3s, and 4s!

Don't build goofy par 4s where one is forced to hit 6 iron or less off the tee followed with a 3 iron approach to the green.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 11:47:00 AM by Kalen Braley »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 11:51:04 AM »
Lou,

One of my biggest criticisms has to do with having par 3's that play nearly the same.

Too many courses seem to have lengthened their par 3's to the degree that they essentially present the same shot.

They lack diversity.

One of the best sets of par 3's I've ever seen is at Preakness Hills, where the par 3's range from

6    190-240
8    140-160
16  160-185
18  120-140

Worse yet is where all the par 3's are 210-230.

As connectors, designing diverse par 3 length should be an easy task.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 03:06:07 PM by Patrick_Mucci »

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 11:56:02 AM »
One of the dont's that applies (possibly uniquely) in the UK concerns foursomes play and mixed foursomes in particular. Don't have all your short holes odd numbers (or even numbers), same with par 5s, same with testing tee shots.

Don_Mahaffey

Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 12:10:43 PM »
Not surprisingly my doníts come from a superís point of view.
My #1 donít I see all to often is failure on the architects part to properly design ingress and egress into green complexes.
I know cart golf concentrates traffic patterns since most are entering and exiting from the path, but still how about accounting for where golfers are going to be walking off the green?
Canít believe how often this is overlooked or just not considered all that much. 

Don't forget to factor in turf damage caused by traffic pinch points, be it foot, cart, or maintenance vehicles. Compaction is the super's, and the golfers, enemy.

Jaeger Kovich

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 12:13:28 PM »
Patrick - I completely agree, there is nothing worse that having to hit the same hybrid on 4 par3's

Don't build the same twice.

Don't angle tees OB.

Don't boarder fairways with white stakes.

Don't expect women to carry the ball even close to 150 yards off the tee.

Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 12:17:29 PM »
One of the dont's that applies (possibly uniquely) in the UK concerns foursomes play and mixed foursomes in particular. Don't have all your short holes odd numbers (or even numbers), same with par 5s, same with testing tee shots.

Major offenders:
Deal - 4, 8, 14.
Addington - 1, 3, 7, 11, 13, 17.
Walton Heath (Old) - 1, 7, 11, 17.
St Enodoc - 5, 8, 11, 15, 17.


There are a host more with four one-shotters that give a 3/1 split, which is probably unavoidable without compromising the golf course.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 12:51:06 PM »
Lou

I too really dislike walking back to play a tee.  On both of my courses there is one of these irritating walks and on both I think there should be a miles forward tee if one can't be bothered to walk back. 

I dislike greens surrounded by bunkers when the hole plays downwind and the bunkers are tight to the green that is often firm.

I dislike cart paths effecting play.  How many times have I watched a ball bounce off a cart path?

I dislike the apparent need to tailor courses to the 6600-6800 yard range.  I would prefer the target be far shorter. 

I hate cluster bunkering and grass island in bunkers. 

I don't care for raised rear of the green bunkers. 

I think that is enough for now.

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

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2009, 01:02:23 PM »
Sean,

I don't know, how many times have you watched the ball bounce off a cart path?  In my 42 years of golf, I could probably count a dozen or so, and a third of those gave me more distance!  Even if its 20 times, I figure that is about once a year at most.

As to the green surrounding bunkers in a downwind situation, aren't we really saying that the gca (or super) shouldn't create a hole that virtually anyone CAN'T play?

And, in general, with this group, I would think the answer could be summed up as anything that has been repeated often enough to have become "formula" (bad take on common sense) would fall into the category of things gca's think they must avoid, no?
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2009, 01:13:36 PM »
For me the big DONT is too not to block the exit routes from the green to the next tee with a bunker or a hazard so the traffic concentrates and the turf thins out..... very common mistake from the golfpro designer who thinks purely about how a hole will pay rather than understanding the fuller picture.

I dont mind the all the short holes or the fives being odd or even. I think tees of the day are better if they are close to the previous green, but its not always possible. TOC has a lot of the back nine with big walks back to the champ tees since they have been 'adding'.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 01:32:32 PM by Adrian_Stiff »
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2009, 01:16:59 PM »
My biggest pet peeve is fairways that are built up above the tree line, so that anything missing slightly wide goes bounding off, never to be seen again. Many new courses in New England have this feature, and I assume it is caused by building in areas with bad drainage. Whatever the reason, I hate it.

Cristian

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2009, 01:39:19 PM »
Is there ever an excuse for symmetrical bunkering? (except perhaps on very short holes, or very big greens).

Almost every archie does it several times a round, but I hate it.

Jud_T

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 01:40:58 PM »
Jeff,

re-cart path bounces:  you're either are a very good golfer or don't get out nearly enough... ::)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 01:48:24 PM by Jud Tigerman »
Golf is a game. We play it. Somewhere along the way we took the fun out of it and charged a premium to be punished.- - Ron Sirak

Michael Huber

Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2009, 03:54:21 PM »
Don't force a half assed 310 yard par 4 instead of a quality par 3 or a goofball 475 yard par 5 instead of a solid par 4 so that your scorecard shows "par: 70" instead of "par: 69"

Tim Pitner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2009, 03:58:40 PM »
(1) Par 5s that force you to lay-up off the tee (i.e., where you cannot reasonably hit driver). 

(2) Multiple drop-shot par 3s. 

(3) Completely superfluous bunkering (e.g., Whistling Straits). 

Don_Mahaffey

Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2009, 04:39:36 PM »
Some more of what I see which I wish was on more "don't" lists...
1. When you have a hole that falls in elevation, it's OK to keep the green on elevation and let it fall away as well. One of the ugliest sites in GCA is the green sloping back to front when everything else is sloping the other way. Not only does it screw up the drainage, it's ugly. If your going to route 'em down hill, build the whole thing downhill.

2. Everything around the edges is choppy, ragged and natural looking, and then the fwys and greens are completely smoothed out.  Modern mowers can handle abrupt micro changes, you don't have to drag and spin it until you can play pool on it. Don't call it "natural" or "minimal" when the only thing natural is where you can't play the game.  

3. Why can't the tees most often played be the ones closest to the previous green? I don't want to walk past the 7500 yard tees to get to the ones my friends and I play. If they're good enough to play the tips, make them walk back to some little nook where you stick the tees no one plays.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 04:42:31 PM by Don_Mahaffey »

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2009, 05:15:17 PM »
Lou,

1. I would say cart paths in general unless carts are needed for climatic reasons.
2. excessive bunkering
3. trying to tilt all the greens from back to front instead of going with the lay of the land.
4. Cute little stone arched bridges on any course other than TOC


Don't put horizontally crossing creeks and hazards 200-220 yards off the tee from the members tees!!




Kalen,

do you mean horizontal creeks as apposed to vertical ones ;)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 05:56:28 PM by Jon Wiggett »

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2009, 05:45:10 PM »
KBM,

You are probably joking, but I've heard architects and superintendents state with a straight face that they don't put much weight on what the average golfer thinks.  BTW, I've spoken to more than a couple of superintendents who don't think highly of the architect's instructions on how to care for the course. 

Pat Mucci,

The connector holes as some people refer to par 3s are very important in my book, and I like them to be all different.  This is helped when the direction and terrain are varied, but I've played some that though the yardages are staggered, they tend to play similarly (short ones into the prevailing wind, long ones down wind).  I think that the superintendent can help with variety in the way he sets the tees and pins relative to the conditions, but I typically find that little consideration is given in this regard.

Don,

I suppose that banking the green toward the incoming shot is commonly done for playability.  Down slope and down wind, it is hard for most golfers to keep the ball on the green.  Do you have an issue with a tee shot to a valley and the approach back up to a perched green set to fit the upslope?

Jon,

Cart paths are a necessary evil in most places, but very special care must be given in tight areas near boundaries.  I am reminded of the cartpath adjacent to a par 5 green at Maderas GC with a drop-ff to a canyon.  Not real good design in my opinion.

Another Don't which is a variation of ones already mentioned: a par 5 that requires a long drive to a small landing area in order to then clear a water hazard with a solid, long subsequent shot, otherwise requiring a short club lay-up then a long iron approach to the green.
 

JC Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2009, 06:02:25 PM »


Don,

I suppose that banking the green toward the incoming shot is commonly done for playability.  Down slope and down wind, it is hard for most golfers to keep the ball on the green.  Do you have an issue with a tee shot to a valley and the approach back up to a perched green set to fit the upslope?


What if they landed it short of the green and let it run up?
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2009, 07:04:21 PM »

Don't give surveys to golfers asking what they don't like about a course.

That's true, especially since golfers tend to express their views in the context of their game.
They're rarely able to take a step back and approach evaluation from an arms length perspective.

But, that doesn't mean that valid criticisms don't exist.

Steve Wilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2009, 07:19:21 PM »
Don't make a habit of providing me with downhill lies to uphill, elevated greens, especially if a long club is required.

One is a challenge, two are toil, and three are drudgery.

Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Charlie Goerges

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2009, 07:53:09 PM »
3. Why can't the tees most often played be the ones closest to the previous green? I don't want to walk past the 7500 yard tees to get to the ones my friends and I play. If they're good enough to play the tips, make them walk back to some little nook where you stick the tees no one plays.


+1
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

Andrew Summerell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2009, 08:28:01 PM »
Par 4ís & Par 5ís that have fairway bunkers on the same side the green is bunkered because it looks better. I can accept this once in 18 holes, but not 5 or 6 times like I have seen on various new courses over the last few years.

Mike McGuire

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2009, 08:51:20 PM »

I don't like bunkers that are a long way from the green


A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The Don'ts in GCA
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2009, 09:13:32 PM »
OB lining both sides of a hole more than once or twice on a course. 

Just left a club that had OB on EVERY hole, and OB on both sides of more than half the holes.  And the owners advertise this on the club website as if it is a plus!
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

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