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Penal Design


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#1 frosty

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 07:45 PM

Is a golf course that is designed with "no options", but which dictates the exact shot that must be played for every shot, and which tests every single type of shot in a golfers bag a sign of truly great architecture?



#2 Uncle_Leo

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 09:45 PM

frosty

How can a course that has "no options" test "every single type of shot"?



#3 elizabeth

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 06:55 PM

Jack,

I think Frosty is referring to things such as penal bunkering. For example, You have a 390m par 4, but there is a penal bunker at 230m which virtually forces you to lay up, because if you stray into it, you immediately take bogey or even double bogey. This leaves virtually everyone in the field with a long iron into the green because they had to lay up short.

In the above example, the designer may have wished to test a players long iron ability.

Not sure I agree with this philosophy - surely at some stage during the round a player will have a long iron somewhere - it could be on a 340 meter par 4 where they had to chip out backward after a bad drive...


Liz



#4 ttitheridge

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 04:28 PM

I don't like a whole course of this philosophy. But I can't go against some holes being ths way. Many of the great courses have par 4s and 5s that at some point, oblige every player to hit a particular shot, no other avenues offered, everyone in the same boat, no apologies made. If it becomes repetitive, then sure it should be criticised.

Don't forget that all par 3s do this of course, and there are many great par 3s. If the archie finds another such brilliant "exacting execution shot" in the routing, and happens to incorporate it into a par 4, it shouldn't be compulsory for them to dilute their intent (and possibly weaken the hole) with another option.

Like the fairway bunker thread, I agree that both of these ideals are solid and good practice to follow. But as lovers of architecture, our greatest enemy is the setting down of rigid formula that must be adhered to in at least 99% of occasions. It is the archie that every now and then escapes from the norm, but pulls it off and impresses as a result that has achieved something great, and without the use of a manual.



#5 peanuts

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 09:46 PM

I agree with the thrust of your point tithers, just a slight correction to your statement that all par threes require the same shot. Some excellent par threes give alternatives of flying to the green with the club that carries the distance as well as allowing for low runners along a certain route leading up to the green. This is especially popular on links courses or on courses where a lot of the members are relatively aged...



#6 henry

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 09:48 PM

tithers, does the Redan hole (properly maintained) oblige every player to hit the same shot?



#7 ttitheridge

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 06:49 AM

tithers, does the Redan hole (properly maintained) oblige every player to hit the same shot?

That's not what I meant. I refer to this post, as above, that implies that part of this "weakness' is in players having to hit their approach shot from a similar spot whenever they play the hole, due to reduced attractiveness of various other avenues off the tee. That element is not unlike a par 3. No amount of penal design in the landing area prevents an archie from creating (like a redan) a green complex with multiple options from the one point. peanuts, I think you get the thrust of what I mean.

Guys, I'm not against these points. Just that I will never rest if anyone comes along to try and enshrine them in stone as a set preferred procedure for every archie on every hole of every course they build. It may be ignorant clients that tell an archie to make them a par 72 with equal returning nines of two par 3s and two par 5s, but these constraints can sometimes be no less inhibiting to the archie than the well meaning pro-strategy rules laid down here. If the archie is good, they'll know these rules too, and know when they should be adhered to, and when something veering from this path will work or be fun when the situation arises.



#8 Uncle_Leo

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:03 AM

golf course that is designed with \"no options\", but which dictates the exact shot that must be played for every shot

tithers

Please re-read Frostys question. It refers very clearly to the terms "no option" and "exact shot". This does not allow for "no options from the fairway but options to the green". No does it refer to par, be it the course or individual holes.

Frosty states clearly the course has "no options". This implies only one "option" per shot. You either complete the shot successfully, or you are penalised - there is no in between.

Under this scenario, I argue that this such course cannot test "every single type of shot in a olfers bag" as surely there are more than 72 of them?

Jack



#9 ttitheridge

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:13 AM

Fair call. I guess I think these courses though don't do this on every single hole.



#10 Uncle_Leo

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:23 AM

tithers,

The American Express Championship (****) from Ireland on the weekend was a good(?) example of boring penal design.

10 minutes of watching this rubbish was enough for me...



#11 frosty

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:40 AM

Indeed I said "no options" and I meant no options. What I was getting at is that there is a place for different design to the risk-reward mantra that is chanted by all here. Yes it's one of the keys to good design, but there are occasions when other design philosophies can be employed.

Jack. I'd like to know how a course offering "options" can test as many shots in the bag as a well designed penal course. A smart player will be able to use these options to never have to face the shots they can't play. That is good golf, and we're taught that such course management is the key to improving your game. However, as an architect I may feel that I want to force the golfer to play a draw that travels 25m from right to left (sorry lefties), or to play a punch and run rather than a lob shot. It is possible to incorporate design elements that would not normally be considered good architecture to make the golfer play this shot, and to penalise them if they cannot play that shot.

Now to take this all to the extreme it would be possible to incorporate some truly bizarre design elements to force all sorts of shots all over a golf course, so that when it is played you would be confronted with 36 tee to green shots that must be played as the architect has specified them (low draw, high draw, low fade, high fade, snap hook etc etc) or else you will be confronted with a penalty. If you can play every shot specified you will have conquered the architect's challenge, but if you can't you will suffer.

I guess my question of Tony was, in the end do you consider this a design philosophy with merit in the right place, for the right audience?



#12 Uncle_Leo

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:50 AM

Frosty

A good (or even competant) architect does not force the shot that must be played, he allows the golfer the choice to decide on the line of play according to ones own ability. An architect who detemines that there is only one choice assumes that there is only one type of golfer - nonsense.

Have you seen the movie Groundhog Day? It reminds me of the example you have quoted :wink:



#13 _Andrew_

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 02:32 AM

frosty

,

It all depends on how difficult your 'Penal' course is going to be.

I live in Sydney & there are a stack of penal course due to the small, well bunkered greens; overly tight, tree lined fairways & kikuyu from tee through to green edge. These courses predominately only offer 1 option each hole, but are not overly difficult courses. They mostly only measure 5900 -6300m (Par 70 -72) so 'play' short enough for all levels of golfer to have a reasonable chance to play to their hcp.

In saying that, these are not great courses, & would be far better if they were less penal. Even with the small greens, many courses in Sydney would benefit by having less trees & faster playing surfaces.

Whether a course tests every shot is not the question. Golf is mostly a mental exercise & penal courses, offering only 1 possible shot do not exercise the mental aspect of golf. It becomes merely a physical game.



#14 frosty

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 08:59 AM

Jack. There are numerous examples of great (more than just competent) architects forcing the shot that has to be played. They do not always do it, but under some circumstances it is a worthy design method.

I do not believe an architect who will try and force a type of shot believes that there is only one type of golfer, but rather that there is 100 types of golf shot available to a golfer, and that every type of golfer should be able to play them. Is he indeed setting a "true challenge", that any golfer should enjoy taking on, for it should test every part of their golf game, and is bound to test the darkest corners of the psyche as well, when they must confront the shots they normally do everything to avoid.

OK. To clarify, I do not believe this is a preferred model for golf course design, but I believe the constant rehashing of "risk-reward" and the over-simplification or the requirement to place bunkers, and lakes and whatever else in exactly the same spot on every single hole, is to deny one of the great golf architectural movements. Yes it is not the best, but the status of courses such as Muirfield and Oakmont (which I believe are both considered penal designs, but since I have never played I may be wrong) indicates that there is indeed a place for this design philosophy. No, it may not be ideal for everyone, or for every day of the week. And yes it may not be as extreme as some of the examples I've tried to define in earlier posts, but it exists, and I believe is a valid tool in any competent or better architect. It's knowing when to use the tool and when to not that separates the truly great from the rest.



#15 John J Jones

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 09:23 AM

Frosty,

What's the average handicap at most clubs? 17 from memory. How many 17 markers can hit high fades and high draws on demand? The trouble with penal design that dictates certain shots is that the vast majority of people that play the hole are unable to play the shot required. Without choice and alternate ways of playing the hole (particularly for the less gifted players) you end up catering for a very small percentage of golfers and punishing the rest. Gee probably why they call it penal... :roll:

Personally I hate having shots dicated to me. I'll give you one example -1st hole on the North Course at Sahalee there is only one tee shot you can play - high draw starting down the right side. You come out of a narrow shute of trees and it doglegs a little left. If you aren't right side you are dead. Imagine being a member there for 20 years and every time you stand on that tee you have to hit the same shot. I can handle landing in the same spot if you can get there with a draw, fade or even something straight but one spot and one shot? BORING.

JJ






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