Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? – Lots of Lateral Movement





I happen to love "z" shaped holes and the strategic possibilities









One of the first chances I ever had to put a proposal in for a new golf course was on a flat property with no trees. The last one at Grand Bend was also for a mostly flat site. While most architectural ideas revolve around some terrain and architect must have ideas on how to building a hole on a flat site with little or no natural features or their no use to any developer, since very few properties are without a flatter section.

The solution is scale. Think about it this way, if you have a wide open space with panoramic views, your canvas has just increased dramatically. If you are going to fill the canvas with your composition it also must be on a larger scale to fit the setting. The way to do this is exaggerate the architectural technique that you are using for that project. The bunkering becomes the key to these sites since it must be on a very large scale to make it stand out from the surroundings.

The fairways have to also venture much further from side to side and need to swing another 50% (or more) than they normally do to help fill up that empty space. The advantage of this technique is that the natural swing create an even better risk and reward scenarios by extending the carry angles and strategies. The reward for gambling is still the best angle, but the penalty for playing away involves and even tougher angle than normal since your so much further off line.

One advantage I see with having holes out in the open is the wind. Holes in the open bring the wind more into play making them a larger part of the game. This is why the fairways themselves need to be a bit wider to accommodate the winder days. That also creates more opportunity to play positional shots. The wider fairways along with bigger bunkers help fill the large open space because of the scale of the architecture and therefore fit the setting better than a conventional sized hole.

This type of hole blends naturally into the land around needing only some low native vegetation to separate the holes. The alternative and more common approach to add mounding down each side for definition never blends and never looks natural. That’s what I have proposed to deal with each of the wide open and flat sites the way I have.

13 comments:

Philip said...

That would be ideal for the high desert (lower Mojave) and Coachella Valley (Palm Springs/Indio) areas. There are a few courses in the high desert that took advantage of the winds, even using native trees (or species imported ages ago) to create swirls and eddies.

Unfortunately what we've ended up with here mostly are mediocre, over-watered parkland courses (ironically, the Nicklaus design at Escena in Palm Springs looks like it might be fun to play, now that they've essentially shut the water off).

Anonymous said...

If there is a better example of 'Z' shaped fairways (10 & 12) than San Fran GC, I'd like to see it.

Anonymous said...

What woulod you do if you don't have enough room. Essentially a small, flat site?

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