Wednesday, November 07, 2007

10 Things I Don’t Like – #3 - Two Bunker styles

















I like the courses that I used as examples - I'm not trying to criticize them - only to illustrate what I won't do. After all, others may really like what they see.


Playing a course is like a journey down a meandering path. It may be full of deviations and amazing surprises, certain sections that are more difficult, others are more comfortable, but there are also many consistencies like the width of the path or the setting of the walk. In nature there is as much variety as there is repetition – and since great architecture comes from reflecting what we see in nature – golf architecture must have some repetition and consistency too.

In golf architecture most would select variety as the key component to creating superior golf courses, but you also need consistency to link it all together. The variety is usually found in the hole design or playing experience whereas the consistency is in the style or aesthetics of the course.

On most great courses, the bunkering is what links the course together. It is particularly useful when there is a transition from one setting to a completely different one on the golf course. The key to the success of a course like Cypress Point is the linking of the dunes to the forest to the ocean side through the bunkering.















I have gone to see a couple of really good courses recently where the bunker work was done in multiple styles. I found that despite some great holes and some really good bunkers, the architecture felt disjointed. Eagles Nest is a really well designed layout – probably my favourite by Doug - but the use of traditional pot bunkers in combination with expanses of sand rather than complimenting each other conflicts. I would like the course more if the one choice was made simplifying the look of the course.

Another interesting layout I went to see was Dakota Dunes - a nice course by Wayne - where I was taken by the natural blowout bunkers that he routed holes around. What I did not understand was where he added new bunkers and built them to be circular pot bunkers which run in such stark contrast to the natural blow outs. You can add an element that contrasts the land but you can't do that when the other one compliments the site - it doesn't work when used in combination.

















Cypress Point manages to flow through three unique habitats as one consistent golf course – all because of the bunkering Mackenzie built.

















I think its very important to point out that I probably have created an example of this too. This is Ballantrae where the project required "waste" bunkers to collect all run-off and have the water infiltrate naturally into the sand sub-soil as part of the approvals. The rest of the bunkering is more formal creating a contrast in styles.

41 comments:

Jeff Mingay said...

For the sake of discussion, I'd sure be interesting if Carrick and Carleton responded to your comments re Eagle's Nest and Dakota Dunes. I'm certain they have their reasons for the contrasting bunker styles. Again, I'd be neat to hear from them. Though I doubt it'll happen!

Ian Andrew said...

Jeff,

Doug felt that blowouts and pot bunkers were both found together common on many links courses - so I doubt he woulad agree with my comment.

Again - this is all subjective - isn't it.

Jeff Mingay said...

It certainly is subjective, Ian. Yet, I graviate more toward your thoughts on the subject.

henrye said...

"Eagles Nest is a really well designed layout – probably my favourite by Doug - but"...but so far it has all 3 of your "10 things I don't like": 2 bunker styles, target bunkers & containment mounding on steroids.

Anonymous said...

How would someone even come up with the idea to have two bunker styles?

What is the benefit?

Let's have both square tees and free form tees -- I think it would be cool.

MN

robertthompson8 said...

I think the contrast on the bunkers at Dakota Dunes actually makes the course less appealing -- I'd forgotten how odd the two bunker styles look together until I saw that photo.

Ian Andrew said...

Mike,

I've seen that done too!

Their idea is these are designed as links courses - pots and blow outs are found together on real links.

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