The 9th tee, notice the cedars on the left protect the 8th hole and on the right protecting the 18th hole
So finally we come to my dilemma. At Peterborough Golf and Country Club the 17th green, 18th tee, 9th tee and 8th green lie all within about 100 yards. The 8th and 17th greens are original Thompson greens with restored bunkering around them and represent some of the best remaining examples of his work at Peterborough. There is definitely no where to go left of the 17th green since the 15th hole is already too tight on that side. Fortunately the planting of large spruce helps to mitigate this proximity from being a bigger problem. To separate the holes for more safety, the only possible direction is to shift all the holes after 17 green to the right. The 11th green would also have to be relocated and is another of the (few) original Thompson greens left and a real beauty. Spreading the holes out towards the right and shift the 11th green right of its existing location will reduce the risk but it will not get eliminate the problem. If this change is made, all three Thompson greens would be gone (something I wanted to avoid if I could) and all the existing trees between the 18th, 9th, 8th and 11th would be removed with the readjustment of holes. There would have to be replanting of this area for safety and separation.
Looking down the 11th hole with the 8th green on the left, note the close relashionship.
The next option I looked at was to move the tees forward which would pull them out of the bottleneck, but badly weaken the holes by removing the length on these strong par fours. This would definitely lessen the chance of these tee shots finding the adjacent 8th and 17th fairways, but would increase the possibility of the approaches from the 8th and 17th (both par fives) hitting the players on the shorter tees. I think this is simply an exchange of one problem for another. As an architect I would become liable for creating the new problem.
The 17th hole with a line of cedars on the right seperating it from the 18th hole
The last option is what to do about the planting of cedars and maples between the holes. To deal with many issues I have removed all the trees between holes to make the safety issue clearly visible. This allows the player to be clearly forewarned about the risk they are about to enter into, and also makes it easier for an adjacent player to yell a warning from the tee. This works to solve a lot of issues, but in this particular case it comes with a risk. For the full tee shot or ball that has a proper flight this would be the answer. Where this increases the risk at Peterborough is with the quick hook where the ball will take off at body height. The cedars do an effective job of knocking almost all these types of shots down and making the holes safer against this particular type of miss. Also, on the approach shots to both par fives, the cedars do a nice job of knocking down the drifting approach from getting into the adjacent fairway. The tightness of the cedars on the 17th in particular encourage players to play a lay-up rather than risk losing a shot in the cedars if they have a difficult approach of a tough lie. If the area was opened up, many more players would be attack the green from out of ideal positions and would pose a greater risk for the players on the tee on holes 9 and 18.
So as you can see as an architect, I literally have a question without a correct answer, and yet I will be liable for whatever I write. This is not such a simple job as you think is it?