The proposed 13th at Red Deer
There are a lot of occasions where you are invited out to review a golf course and get invited to explore all opportunities. You find out from the club that they are open to making changes either for improving the overall quality of the course or to find much coveted length. Often this leads to the exploration of alternative ideas to improve holes, a chance to review strategies, or even the occasional look for an entirely new hole. When I do this, I tend to sketch my thoughts in the field and these “doodles” are often fairly accurate reflections of what I end up doing later.
The image at the top is for the new green site (which is actually the original green location) for a hole at Red Deer Golf & Country Club. When reviewing the course I determined the club had a great opportunity to shorten one of the fours into a drivable par four to add more balance to the layout. When I looked at the green site and circumstance I immediately thought of the 7th green site at Scarboro. That hole is a really great short par four by Tillinghast, and it offered a great solution on how to make the hole at Red Deer complicated and dangerous at 315 yards.
The cleverness of this hole comes from the green and the bunkering. The green is narrow and very difficult to hit from anywhere but directly in front. The narrowness demands great accuracy and makes the choice between laying-up and trying to hitting it real close a tough decision. The fact the green is elevated with a strong back to front pitch and the false front adds additional challenge for better players who spin the ball. That’s why I often turn to the great holes and green sites for inspiration; there are so many good ideas from which to draw the best answer for the club. You just have to be familiar with the holes and able to recognize where they fit best.
3rd at Kawartha
The image above is the other side of drawing ideas in the field. Working drawings provide the basic scope and general direction for the work, but the reality is many holes are altered in the field to make sure that the what you see in your head makes it all the way to built form. These are called field fits and they are done to tie in work properly, ensure visibility, create the intended slopes, provide more movement, add dramatic flair, and generally add more of the architects imagination and creativity than any plan could explain. all I find they occasionally require some doodling to work the ideas out in my head or to explain to a shaper the concepts as opposed to the grades. I was at Kawartha today removing all the mounds and trees from a recent renovation to the 3rd fairway and trying to make a situation where the tee shot still fit the rest of the course despite a much wider clearing. The concept explains much of what I’m trying to do with fairway movement and bunkering to use the width provided and still create strong strategies that work on that site.