Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? - Highly Contoured Greens











Not my best image, but one that shows rolls through a green creating compartments.

The question I get most is, what will an Ian Andrew Golf Course look like? My initial answer is that depends on the site because everything from the routing technique through to the architectural style will come as a response to the site. Golf course routings depend on everything from contour to soil type to wind to vegetation. When you throw in the different possibilities of public through to private from resort through to tournament play and each delivers some different conditions on what should be thought about.

I’ve decided to produce a series of sketches to explain what an Ian Andrew Golf Course will look like. Each day that I post will feature an image that will be used to explain the ideas that are likely to be consistent through my design style. Nothing is written in stone and a new course on a flat site may bring highly contoured greens where an extremely wild site may reduce the contour is response to the severity of other features. As I said before a good design must responds to the site rather than impose itself.

The first thing you will notice about all my original work will be the greens. I do not believe in flat greens and in fact I think that interesting green contours are one of the consistent qualities of the great courses. There are a few exceptions on great sites with lots of drama, but the courses on average sites all have one thing in common – interesting and complicated green contours.

In a day and age where many of the best known designers continue to push courses back looking for excessive length, they have forgotten that green contour is the great equalizer in the game. A more complicated green surface requires a player be more careful about position off the tee in order to access very complicated pin areas.

If you have more contour, not only do they now have to avoid certain positions or risk a three putt, but a miss around the green can be further complicated by getting on the wrong side of a feature like a prominent roll. The key to defense, the key to the pleasure of the game is found in the small contours, not in the big ones.

14 comments:

Vic Ferrari said...

What importance do place on green speed?

Henrye said...

"The key to defense, the key to the pleasure of the game is found in the small contours, not in the big ones."
happy New Year Ian. This may be obvious to you, but by "small contours" do you mean "subtle contours"? As strange as this might sound, I sometimes enjoy the big contours which look a lot tougher than they are - at least you get a chance to sink a tough looking 15 footer once in a while. That's not a rule, but it works sometimes.

JG said...

What are your thoughts on sloped greens, like the 10th or 15th at Garden City? These do not have "complicated" contours, but greatly complicate the approach, and by extension the tee shot.

Ian Andrew said...

Vic,

Excessive green speed leads to dull greens and dead turf.

Henry,

I like lots of pitch in my greens since it helps the average player and makes things quite complicated for a good player, particularly when it comes to spin. I’m not a fan of subtle contours, although I think they have their place, I prefer a strong distinct pitch if there is a need for additional pin area to deal with excessive play. In private clubs with less play I still prefer the idea o compartments found within the greens created by rolling contour. I think at 15 - 30 feet you should have to read the putt rather than simply having a good accurate stroke. Flat greens don’t identify great players, they simple make good players more comfortable.

Jeremy

The 15th at Garden City and the 9th at Prestwick are too of my favourite greens in golf. I love greens that fall to the side and in turn dictate play by their slope alone. Bob Cupp once told me that a tour player is only interested in the direction of the green slope when making decisions from the tee, the bunkering has little to no effect on their play unless it sits directly in the spot you want to approach that slope from.

Is the 10th the one that falls away – we had to walk out of order due to an event the day we went there

JG said...

Ian,

Yes, the 10th falls away from front left to back righ. When I last played it, I had a nine iron in to a pin front-right... What of the most memorable approach shots I've ever faced. Too long or left, and it would roll off the back. Too short or right and it would hang up above the hole. A big, open, simple green, yet a very complex strategy.

JG said...

Sorry Ian, hadn't had my coffee yet... The 10th slopes front right to back left.

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