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Mike Hendren

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Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« on: December 30, 2010, 10:21:24 AM »
best served by trying to figure out how to squeeze a few extra strokes out of one's score?

Mike
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 12:14:55 PM »


Michael

Best served by enjoying the game,  - squeeze zits or pimples or anything else has no business on a golf course.  Its just plain wrong, perhaps that explains many of the modern designs in a nutshell.

Melvyn

Adam Clayman

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 12:27:42 PM »
I'm with Melvyn, if he means having fun. If that fun translates to the lowest score possible than I'm with you, Michael.
 
Hitting the creative shot is also a form of fun, for some.

I find great satisfaction, on my virgin trek around a course, when I can predict what the architect has blinded me to. And then use it to my advantage. When I'm wrong, I'm way wrong (and he's a bad architect) (Just Kidding)
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

JMEvensky

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 12:46:05 PM »

best served by trying to figure out how to squeeze a few extra strokes out of one's score?

Mike

Yes,if one considers the architecture a test and one's individual score as a grade.

IMO,it's an interesting question.

An architect designs a course and says "you can get from A to B several different ways and I've built in some risk/reward along the way".

Presumably,inherent in this,is that the reward is an easier path to B (fewer strokes).The trick is identifying and overcoming the risk.

Jason Topp

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 12:59:38 PM »
I say yes. 

On several courses, I have learned the hard way that the best strategy for me by far is to take a conservative line off the tee and with approach shots - particularly if water is involved.  To my mind - such a course fails to provide an interesting test of golf and I am forced to choose between fun and score.  A great course makes the decision less straightforward.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 01:29:51 PM »
I think the study of good architecture is, Mike -- and in fact that might be the best test/definition of good architecture I've ever read.

Peter

Mac Plumart

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2010, 04:21:49 PM »
Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture... best served by trying to figure out how to squeeze a few extra strokes out of one's score?

I would say it depends on which side of the table you are on.  As a player, yes.  But if you are the designer, I think you want to golfer walking off the course saying, "Huh.  I thought I played much better than that.  Why didn't I have a better score?"  Therefore, the designer is trying to get you to drop a stroke here or there if you his the nuances of the course.  Maybe?  What do you think?

Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Gary Daughters

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 04:34:00 PM »
Mike, that is a fascinating question.  I went through a phase a few years back of "hitting the shot I knew I could hit."  Fun for awhile, then tepid.  By your hypothesis via question, I may have been cheating myself of the architecture.  Your question is easily tested, and I believe the answer is probably yes.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 07:57:59 AM by Gary Daughters »
THE NEXT SEVEN:  Alfred E. Tupp Holmes Municipal Golf Course, Willi Plett's Sportspark and Driving Range, Peachtree, Par 56, Browns Mill, Cross Creek, Piedmont Driving Club

Rob Bice

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2010, 05:08:22 PM »
best served by trying to figure out how to squeeze a few extra strokes out of one's score?

Mike

What a great question.  Yes, probabilistically.
"medio tutissimus ibis" - Ovid

Brett_Morrissy

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 05:57:20 PM »
I think it a really good place to start, and it would be a positive way for club members to grow their education.

Can I pose an opposing question to you Michael?

Is the intention of good archtitecture to add strokes to you score?
@theflatsticker

Carl Rogers

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 06:43:53 PM »
I think it is a function of playing the course repeatedly with players of a variety of abilities under different weather condtions and observing the results.

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2010, 07:02:43 PM »

Why do we play the same courses in poor or bad weather if its all about the score. Don't fall for the old crap, I can see why so many buy Range Finders and use distance aids, its to improve your score even in bad weather.

Think this idea of "squeeze a few extra strokes" is dead in the water as you have missed the most obvious reason why  it can't be.

Melvyn

Kyle Harris

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 10:20:08 PM »

Why do we play the same courses in poor or bad weather if its all about the score. Don't fall for the old crap, I can see why so many buy Range Finders and use distance aids, its to improve your score even in bad weather.

Think this idea of "squeeze a few extra strokes" is dead in the water as you have missed the most obvious reason why  it can't be.

Melvyn


I do not agree with the premise that one is playing the same golf course when they are playing in poor or bad weather conditions.

Weather conditions are fundamental to integrating player and golf course. Attempting to squeeze an extra shot into a strong headwind is met with different conditions than attempting to squeeze an extra shot on a calm day on the same hole.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2010, 10:58:13 PM »
Mike:

The answer to your question is yes and no.

Yes, as most here have commented, the strategy of the holes is best assessed by trying to figure out the best way to score ... although, across the whole spectrum of players, and not just oneself.  [See the current thread about the par-3 with a tree in the way at Keller G.C. for an example of how something can be fine for one player and awful for another.]

However, what no one has pointed out yet is that there is much more to golf architecture than just the strategy and details of the individual holes.  If you want to understand golf course architecture, you are nowhere without understanding how a course is routed, and you're not going to get anywhere looking at it one shot at a time.  You have to see what the other possibilities might have been.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 11:17:00 PM »
Tom - good post of course, and undeniably true (in fact, I myself have made that same point about routing many times  ;)).  And yet, reading your post, I found myself wondering for the first time whether "what could have been there" is in any way "real" (for lack of a better word), i.e. whether those possibilities, given that they are in fact only possibilities now (after the courses has been design as it actually was instead of how it might have been), cease to have any meaning.  In other words, is potential a real thing once it hasn't been realized and made manifest?  Is an unwritten novel in any way more valuable or real than a novel that has been written but that could've been written differently?

Ah, just some late night musings...and mostly rhetorical....but I'm gonna post it anyway so at least it won't remain as merely a potential post

Peter 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2010, 11:26:59 PM »
Peter:

I agree with your point, to a degree ... I think it's foolish for most people to even try to understand what the other possibilities for a course might have been.  They just don't have the experience to be able to understand all the consequences of a change here or there.  [Heck, often I can't visualize what may have been in place before a hole was built.  I complimented Bill Coore for building up one of his greens at Lost Farm so it would stand against a great backdrop, and he grinned and said there was really a dune there from the beginning, he just cut off the top of it and filled in toward the next smaller dune to make his green.]

But, if Mike is saying he wants to understand the architecture of a course, then skipping the part about routing the holes is missing the big picture altogether.

Sean_A

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 03:22:52 AM »
Mike:

The answer to your question is yes and no.

Yes, as most here have commented, the strategy of the holes is best assessed by trying to figure out the best way to score ... although, across the whole spectrum of players, and not just oneself.  [See the current thread about the par-3 with a tree in the way at Keller G.C. for an example of how something can be fine for one player and awful for another.]

However, what no one has pointed out yet is that there is much more to golf architecture than just the strategy and details of the individual holes.  If you want to understand golf course architecture, you are nowhere without understanding how a course is routed, and you're not going to get anywhere looking at it one shot at a time.  You have to see what the other possibilities might have been.

Cha ching - from the horse's mouth.  I have been saying this for some time now.  Nearly all of us (except for archies) and the very odd guy with a specific project can't really rate architecture as a pure form because we don't know enough to do so.  What we are really doing is rating the quality of the site, finish work, greens and yes, the bunkers and other hazards mixed in with a heavy dose of preference.  I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing because the bottom line is in fact the course regardless of how it came to be or what the constraints were.  What this does mean however is that we should take extra care to talk about courses and not the capabilities of archies so much.  So, perhaps Bogey is right in terms of evaluating a golf course rather than its architecture.

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

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2010, 08:37:37 AM »
Michael,

Well, RTJ II seemed to think so when he wrote his book....or at least his publisher did, since it was subtitled to that effect.  No doubt many golfers never get past that level.

That said, I think gca is worth studying as an art form itself, regardless of one's personal score.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2010, 09:17:04 AM »
Michael,

Well, RTJ II seemed to think so when he wrote his book....or at least his publisher did, since it was subtitled to that effect. 


Jeff:

I'm sure you can blame the publisher there, and not Bobby.  My publisher for The Anatomy of a Golf Course originally wanted a similar sub-title; he settled for a quote on the back jacket about how the book helps the average player "read" a course.  Publishers all think the only reason anyone would buy a golf book is to shoot lower scores!

Adam Clayman

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2010, 09:45:46 AM »
Peter, On most of the courses built over the last 50 years, seeing what could've been isn't necessarily that hard. Looking at the existing terrain, is the easiest way. When the course looks nothing like the terrain outside of the corridor, that's obvious. Even when the terrain is mundane, it likely would've yielded a better course (for less $) than the one that's been built up on top of that terrain.

Seeing a different route, is likely not that easy without a topo map or an intimate knowledge of the specific site.

This whole notion of basing the enjoyment of this sport on score, is a fundamental flaw, and is likely a carry over from how our society has devolved since the halcyon days.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Rob Bice

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2010, 09:51:42 AM »
Peter:

I agree with your point, to a degree ... I think it's foolish for most people to even try to understand what the other possibilities for a course might have been.  They just don't have the experience to be able to understand all the consequences of a change here or there.  [Heck, often I can't visualize what may have been in place before a hole was built.  I complimented Bill Coore for building up one of his greens at Lost Farm so it would stand against a great backdrop, and he grinned and said there was really a dune there from the beginning, he just cut off the top of it and filled in toward the next smaller dune to make his green.]

But, if Mike is saying he wants to understand the architecture of a course, then skipping the part about routing the holes is missing the big picture altogether.

Tom-
How does the average golfer who is interested in assessing the big picture go about this particularly on the newer courses which most likely do not have some type of published histories or easily accessible pre-construction maps, etc.?  I guess you can review what you played and think about how the course flows, uses the land and fits together.  Although without understanding the "canvas" pre-construction it seems almost impossible to adequately assess the big picture.
Rob

"medio tutissimus ibis" - Ovid

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2010, 09:55:41 AM »
Tom Doak,

I have no doubt you are correct.  While I probably shouldn't relate such a personal story, one of my life highlights is Bobby taking me to dinner during the 1995 Ryder Cup Matches in Rochester.  I picked him up at the hotel, where RTJ Senior made a point of coming down to meet me, although he was too tired to go to dinner (Old world manners!).  He went through a pretty detailed recollection of his actual work at Oak Hill that night, some of which Bobby disagreed with. I can tell you that Trent seemed awfully sure about what he did!

But the relevant point is that the book had just been out about a year and Bobby asked me what I thought.  When I gave some detailed responses he seemed both pleased and surprised.  I specifically recall questioning his passage about fooling distance perception, and citing an uphill 18th at the UWisconsin course he had designed.  However, all he said was for the "golfer to beware" of such a trick, without really describing what to be aware of or how he accomplished that goal.

He said he would look into that for the second edition, but I haven't checked to see that he did!
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Rob Bice

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2010, 10:08:27 AM »
This whole notion of basing the enjoyment of this sport on score, is a fundamental flaw, and is likely a carry over from how our society has devolved since the halcyon days.

Adam-
I agree, but isn't part of the game figuring out how strategy could possibly make the hole easier and therefore make you more likely to shoot a lower score?  This enjoyment is more from figuring out the hole/course than from the number of strokes it takes you to complete the hole/course.

Happy New Year.
Rob
"medio tutissimus ibis" - Ovid

Mike Hendren

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Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2010, 10:39:46 AM »
I think it a really good place to start, and it would be a positive way for club members to grow their education.

Can I pose an opposing question to you Michael?

Is the intention of good archtitecture to add strokes to you score?

Good question.  My initial response was only the penal school but that's overly simplistic.  I don't think good architecture "intends" to add strokes to your score, but rather gives you (whether by seduction or challenge) the opportunity to do so yourself.

Mike
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Melvyn Morrow

Re: Is the Study of a Golf Course's Architecture...
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2010, 10:40:51 AM »
Adam

Some seem to bask in making golf complicated, utilising their ignorance to continue dulling the full enjoyment of the game, at times overwhelms me.

Some seem to want to justify their involvement in golf instead of playing the real game, yet when they come upon courses like Machrie, Askernish Brora Cruden Bay they seem totally shocked that such places can still exist in our modern world.

The problem is that once we had far more courses that displayed the true merits and magic of the game, but of course these were just too difficult, required some degree of skill, yet screamed golf with a capitol G.

To ignore the real beauty of the game for the modern trends of playing golf without breaking into a sweat defined the rear state of the Game. Fair weather players who prefer to sit back and let the machines do the work, calculate the shots and then show them the plan home. These self-confessed players are the closest relatives there are to the extinct dodo bird of Mauritius. They will no doubt survive but may kill the game of golf for others in the process.

GCA is not about figuring out how to squeeze a few extra strokes out of one's score? That purely the resolve of some golfers. Our average golfers plays the same club week in , week out come rain, wind or snow, score cards take care of themselves certainly more so when the game is enjoyed in fine conditions.

But then Golf is no longer a Game but now a worldwide business shame on those who take money without trying to maintain some of the traditions of The Game. IMHO Golf Course Architecture has surpassed Archaeology, in that the excavation inherently destroys a site and no matter how much top dressing and faking is introduced cannot capture its original beauty which attracted the designer in the first place.

Why are so many players scared of going back to basics, does all this complicated crap hide their own inadequacies, so what, until you learn to enjoy and relax not much will come to you  - hope some of you architects/designers take note.

Melvyn  

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