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David Stewart

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Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2012, 04:51:00 PM »

I will say that typically when I hear a course is "more fun" than another, it typically means it's not as good.  
 

Don't we play golf to have fun? Wouldn't a course that is "more fun" be better?

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2012, 05:32:46 PM »
Can a course be considered great if it offers zero options on the ground?

Any examples within the GOLF Top 100? (Answer is yes... what are they? Why are they consodered great?)


Yes, plenty of the better courses offer zero options. You dont always have to have a ground option.
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

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2012, 05:49:29 PM »
  Peachtree GC

What makes it great?

Design?
History?
Lineage?

1.  The site.  Gently rolling to heaving topography.
2.  The routing is sensible with reasonable green to tee transitions.  Generally, par is defended around and on the greens with length rewarded off the tee with many tee shots played downhill - fun.  Conversely, many greens are sited on higher ground, making approaches play longer and pin locations obfuscated.  Frequent uneven fairway lies reward the better iron player.  Judicious fairway bunkering.
3.  Excellent maintenance.  Significant tree removal to open up vistas and improve turf quality. Bermuda rough maintained at ideal height to exact no more than a half shot penalty.  Firm and fast fairways and greens. 
4.  Varied greens with a mix of subtle macro movements and bold micro movements (the first five are eye openers).  Butt-Pucker short putts require touch and concentration.
5.  Tough pars, relatively easy bogeys.
6.  Nigh near impossible to lose a ball. 

All that, plus an understated, casual vibe.
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Stephen Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2012, 05:58:27 PM »
  Peachtree GC

What makes it great?

Design?
History?
Lineage?

1.  The site.  Gently rolling to heaving topography.
2.  The routing is sensible with reasonable green to tee transitions.  Generally, par is defended around and on the greens with length rewarded off the tee with many tee shots played downhill - fun.  Conversely, many greens are sited on higher ground, making approaches play longer and pin locations obfuscated.  Frequent uneven fairway lies reward the better iron player.  Judicious fairway bunkering.
3.  Excellent maintenance.  Significant tree removal to open up vistas and improve turf quality. Bermuda rough maintained at ideal height to exact no more than a half shot penalty.  Firm and fast fairways and greens.  
4.  Varied greens with a mix of subtle macro movements and bold micro movements (the first five are eye openers). Butt-Pucker short putts require touch and concentration.
5.  Tough pars, relatively easy bogeys.
6.  Nigh near impossible to lose a ball.  

All that, plus an understated, casual vibe.

Now that is a reason :D

Keith OHalloran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2012, 06:08:05 PM »
Jared, no problem, I sent you a PM, check your messages.
In addition, I would take Tom Doak up on a visit to "open your mind a bit". Maybe he is the Timothy Leary of course design?

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2012, 06:59:33 PM »
Greg T:

To answer your question -- no, the ground game is not a must for any great course.  But, in my opinion, it's a lot easier to get to the level of greatness if you've got some of it.  A lot of people here think that courses with ocean views are overrated, but I think that a lot of the bonus they are given is really the wind and the playing conditions that go hand in hand with being by the ocean.

Okay, let's narrow the focus. How about a seaside course on pure sand that offers nary a run up option throughout? Still can be great? Not enough info? Missed opprtunity?

Just curious as to the general perception after stumbling upon this revelation about a particular course.

Greg:

Aha.  Now I understand your question.

That one is really about expectations.  If you have a seaside sand-dune setting, the people who first seek out such a course are projecting that it will be bouncy and linksy and ground-game-oriented ... just like the people who seek out Jack Nicklaus courses first are expecting a difficult test, and the people who seek out my courses first expect to find some wild greens.  [When I've built courses in a setting that I didn't think called for wild greens, they seem disappointed.]

So, my answer is still that the ground game is not a must for a course to be great ... but you are always going to run across some panelists who have their expectations for it.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2012, 07:11:34 PM »
Can a course be considered great if it offers zero options on the ground?

Any examples within the GOLF Top 100? (Answer is yes... what are they? Why are they consodered great?)



Is there a course with zero ground game options? 

Anyway, I think a course can be great and not ground games centered.  Thinking on it though, Merion is probably the only great course I have seen where the ground game isn't a particularly good or viable option.  I am not sure I can say that about any of the other great courses I know. 

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

Greg Tallman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2012, 07:35:56 PM »
Question was born from the aforementioned revelation about a seaside course set in sand dunes that I like very much. Until a recent dissussion it had never dawned on me that the approaches are exclusively aerial in nature seemingly contrary to the seaside dunes setting.

Thinking about it firther the grass chosen would have likley limited one's ability to utilize the ground game even if the design had allowed for it that may well have factored into the design.

 

Jared Kalina

Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2012, 09:33:29 PM »
Ha, I may need go back to lurking status for another 5 years.  Statements can get misconstrued around here in a hurry.  

Tom-
There was no backhanded compliment there.  I made no compliment towards BN at all.  I will now, though, when I say it is a great site and your team did a wonderful job with the place.  A real pleasure to visit.

I don't hold a key to any higher level in this game.  I am a peon in the industry.  I'll be the first to admit.  Of course we play golf to have fun, however, I do believe the term "more fun" is used far too often when comparing one course to another.  When that term is used, it is never followed up with any mention of hazard variety or shot value or WHY it is more fun.  It is just a blanket statement (as used earlier in this thread) without any justification of it.

To be honest with you Tom, my boss is thoroughly enjoying himself watching me try to wiggle my way out of these comments getting picked apart.  

I will say hi to Dick for you, he hasn't been here for a while.  Staying out of this nasty weather.  

I have been to your site down the road many times, it looks marvelous. I would love to tour it with you.  I hope that you guys finish the place because it could be special.  And I have hosted about half your crew out here at SH to play this summer, you picked a great group of guys.  
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 11:40:05 AM by Jared Kalina »

Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2012, 10:22:24 PM »
The ground game is there more often than not, but most experienced male players in today's era don't see it because it's so rarely the prudent play for them. I'm sure Old Tom Morris would see plenty of ground game opportunities at Pebble Beach if he were to play it. My mother certainly did. It was pretty cool watching her have one of her best rounds ever at Pebble, working her low ball flight around the course. She came within a few inches of acing the 7th and the 17th, both with running shots. How she was able to run one onto 7 I'll never fully understand, but I watched it happen.

As others have mentioned, it's not always on the approach shot that you see the ground game. My mother stood over her second shot at the 8th for a long time before realizing she could just go around the ravine to the left. She hit a cut shot (on purpose, as her usual flight is a draw) that went around the cliff's edge and ran down the fairway to about 60 yards short.

The ground game is usually there. It's just hard to see it when it isn't the prudent play, which it isn't on most holes for most golfers who hit the ball over 220 yards with equipment manufactured since 1997.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Donnie Beck

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2012, 07:07:56 AM »
Welcome to GCA Jared!!!  :)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 09:29:49 AM by Donnie Beck »

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2012, 09:19:50 AM »

4.  Varied greens with a mix of subtle macro movements and bold micro movements (the first five are eye openers).  Butt-Pucker short putts require touch and concentration.


Thread-jacking here a bit...

Bogey: I'm intrigued by this comment. Can you help guide me through your thoughts on subtle macro movements and bold micro movements on greens?

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2012, 10:07:27 AM »
Phil, thanks for your confidence in my ability to explain this, however misplaced it might be!

By subtle macro movements I simply meant broader tilts or mild slopes covering a significant amount of square footage.  By comparison bold micro movements are easily discernable, often abrupt and bold interior contours that segment the green to some extent - sometimes referred to here as greens-within-a-green.

Does that make any sense?

Peachtree's first five holes feature relatively bold internal contouring.  Thereafter, things settle down a bit.  IMHO it is a great golf course under any set of criteria.  As a relatively quiet club it flies below the radar screen but its modest lockerroom and simple dining facility define old school comfort. 

Bogey
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2012, 10:12:33 AM »
Bogey:

Thanks -- that does. I was thinking of some courses like Blue Mound, where Raynor really does "segment" many greens or has quite bold interior folds and contours on his green. Compared to Milwaukee CC, which for the most part doesn't have greens with bold micro movements but oftentimes greens with significant tilt, like the par 3 17th.

Peachtree does sound like a really good course, and one in which you're correct -- doesn't get much notice around here.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2012, 10:21:21 AM »
Greg - re your post #29, when you offer the hypothetical of a seaside course on pure sand that offers nary a run up option throughout. I'd imagine that in a case like that, the architect and/or client would have had to make a very clear (and quite bold) choice; having not a single run up couldn't happen by accident. And so we are left to judge the architect's choices -- and, like them or not, we have to admit that making these choices is what he's paid to do.  Can such a course be "great"? Sure it can.  There's a big difference -- when it comes to judging any art/craft -- between "this doesn't work" and "I don't like this". Sadly, very few, including those who should, seem to recognize that difference.

Peter
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 10:37:37 AM by PPallotta »

Charlie_Bell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2012, 10:36:06 AM »
Before seeing Bogey's reply I composed one which is eerily prescient. I did, however, make an empirical distinction which may call into question my competitive character...

I'm not Michael, but I immediately smiled with recognition at his poetic distinction.

"Bold micro movements" strike me as those which anyone can see -- obvious bumps, swales, ledges, and ridges like those on my home Raynor course. Their contour stands out from the rest of the green.  "Subtle macro movements" are probably those about which only the members know -- the almost invisible tilt of the land which leads a member to say, "It looks straight, but I'd be thinking right-edge" to a good friend playing the course for the first time and to remain silent towards those I will charitably call "others."

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2012, 11:46:47 AM »
Charlie, with apologies to the Isley Brothers "you ain't me and I ain't you. Check out the difference between the two."

Thanks for cleaning up my clumsy explanation with your beautiful prose.

Welcome.

Bogey
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Geoffrey_Walsh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #42 on: July 27, 2012, 06:11:45 PM »
Bethpage Black is one course that comes to mind.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 06:44:33 PM by Geoffrey_Walsh »

Carl Rogers

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #43 on: July 27, 2012, 09:35:59 PM »
If you live in a part of the world that has heavy thick organic soils (great for row crops or livestock) that means you can not have a great course? ... no matter other factors?

This will discount 99% of the North American Continent East of the 100th meridian and South of the 40th latitude. (exception the Sandhills of NC).
I decline to accept the end of man. ... William Faulkner

Gene Greco

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2012, 06:07:59 PM »
There is stuff I'm not enamoured with at BN (Ballyneal) too but I doubt I will ever share it on here.


                                                              Why not?
"...I don't believe it is impossible to build a modern course as good as Pine Valley.  To me, Sand Hills is just as good as Pine Valley..."    TOM DOAK  November 6th, 2010

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2012, 07:00:51 PM »
There is stuff I'm not enamoured with at BN (Ballyneal) too but I doubt I will ever share it on here.


                                                              Why not?

Sheehy-I`m with the Doc. What happened to frank commentary my boy? ;D

Philip Caccamise

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2012, 07:57:25 PM »
Bethpage Black is one course that comes to mind.

I think it depends on how one defines the ground game. If the course plays like it does in the midsummer on, holes like #7, #12, and #16 offer an opportunity to bounce a long approach up. However, #2, #3, #5, #15 don't. If it's all about low running shots, there are very few good courses in America that fit that description. But an occasional spot? Yes.

If every approach was flat to the fairway and open on the front, allowing for a poor player to skull a shot in, wouldn't that be universally panned as a mediocre course?

I think the ground game in American golf is overrated. Not saying being able to fly a 5 iron in and stop it on a dime is appropriate either, but let's face it, most of us don't live in an area where the weather allows sparse watering (especially this summer.)

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2012, 09:20:41 PM »

If every approach was flat to the fairway and open on the front, allowing for a poor player to skull a shot in, wouldn't that be universally panned as a mediocre course?


Well, depending on your definition of "flat to the fairway," there's the Old Course at St. Andrews.  I guess you can't bounce it in to the first green, but you can to the other 17.

Philip Caccamise

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2012, 01:18:38 AM »

If every approach was flat to the fairway and open on the front, allowing for a poor player to skull a shot in, wouldn't that be universally panned as a mediocre course?


Well, depending on your definition of "flat to the fairway," there's the Old Course at St. Andrews.  I guess you can't bounce it in to the first green, but you can to the other 17.

Was referring to stateside golf (which generally lacks the "randomness" that is so fun with British links), but isn't the greatness of St Andrews the tee shot setting up the ability to bounce it in on the approach based on where the flag is? i.e., on #3, if you drive it left, you can bounce it up... to the left of Cartgate and leave a potentially 200 foot (!) putt. Otherwise, to access a flag over the bunker, you're going to need to fly it in.

Disclaimer: I'm not advocating 18 straight aerial approaches or forced carries- in fact that would be even worse than 18 open greens. Just think it needs to be planned based on the lay of the individual hole. A 440 yard par 4 from the whites almost HAS to have a ground game access for an average player to enjoy it. A 340 yard par 4 doesn't always.

Gene Greco

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ground Game: A must for any great course?
« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2012, 04:20:36 PM »
     Thank you, Brian, for your honest assessment of the greens at Ballyneal.
Away from this site dozens of well-travelled and very knowledgable golfers have pointed this out as a negative TO THEM as well.  

Now, let's move onto something else.

Let's go with the walk at Sand Hills.
I greeted you on Ben's Porch after I had finished my 36 for the day. You were just about to head out for your first round.

It was 108 degrees.

108 (ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT) for those of you following along.

It felt similar to what it would feel like if one were to place a fan in front of their open oven door.

You were wearing long trousers.
These trousers appeared to be covered with vinyl or some other material more suited to keeping one comfortable on a rainy day in the British Isles.

And you walked without the services of a caddie.

Is this not correct?

I believe most of the caddies sensibly went to the community pool in Mullen about that time.

So let's rehash:
1. 108 degrees
2. No caddie so you couldn't possibly know where the little paths were for the simple green to tee walks.
3. You were wearing a moon suit.
4. You walked on a day unlike any which one would encounter on the Grande Olde Sod. For that matter, one which most Americans rarely experience.

So I agree, you had a tough walk. But common sense tells most that if you find yourself in the heart of Rome, one should think twice about ordering a burrito supreme.

Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

Firm in principle, flexible in procedure.






« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 10:07:16 PM by Gene Greco »
"...I don't believe it is impossible to build a modern course as good as Pine Valley.  To me, Sand Hills is just as good as Pine Valley..."    TOM DOAK  November 6th, 2010

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