One of my favorite long par threes is the 4th at Riviera. The hole was conceived as a redan with players facing the option of flying the ball over the massive front bunker or hitting a draw to use the natural contour of the fairway right of the bunker and green to feed the ball down onto the putting surface. Thomas created a daunting carry with the placement of the front bunker, but gave such an open and inviting alternative by adding fairway right of the bunker for the player to use the natural slopes to funnel the ball around the bunker. The only unfortunate thing about Riviera is the infestation of the Kikuya grass really has ruined the viability of this clever approach. What makes the redan so good is that the concept is not land driven, although that makes them easier to build, but driven by the green and approach which can be manufactured in flat land.
I have seen personally seen redan’s by Colt, Thomas, MacDonald, Raynor, Tillinghast and Flynn. Some are not set in great pieces of land, but still play just as well. Flynn in particular used the concept almost exclusively on longer threes since it made most players come into the green along the ground. He felt players would always take to the air unless they had no choice, and only length made the alternative to bounce the ball in a better option.
The 4th at Riviera
To better understand the Redan concept , please click on this link to the previous blog on the origins of the Redan:
The next concept that also is adaptable is the Biarritz. The Biarritz is a concept where the green site and bunkering can be done on any property. The bunker is simple flanking in nature, the green is raised up as a plateau above native grade, and the green contours are the key. Great ones like Yale also have great settings, but others like Fox Chapel (Raynor) are set on plain land. The green itself features a high front plateau, a deep pinnable swale, and high back shelf. The hole is all about accuracy and creativity to find each separate elevation. The interesting thing about the Raynor and MacDonald version of this hole is that they are long just like the original. This once again suggests the option to bounce the ball into the wide open front to access certain pin positions. It also provides options for both the average player and the scratch player.
The Biarritz green at St. Louis CC
To fully understand this idea you may need to read the pervious blog on the origins:
This is just two, there are other concepts that can be drawn in. So as you can see, many of the great concepts of golf can be adapted for a longer, and potentially running approach, so that a long hole is more than just……well…… long.
My final long hole is the long downhill par three: http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2006/12/9th-at-jasper-park-cleopatra.html