One swing to glory....or disaster
There will be no rhyme or reason to the subjects that I choose, and I’m sure that may make the series more fun for you and me. I have six images drawn currently and each is on random subjects, which confirms that the series will be all over the map as I go. One thing I that I know for sure is that I will have an “all or nothing”par three on every course I build.
There is no hole that is more anticipated in a round than a short par three. It provides all players with a realistic opportunity to make a birdie with one great swing. Even the weakest or shortest of player can look at the short par three knowing that only well placed shot will bring a certain birdie or at least a good chance. That’s the reason that the short par three is everyone’s favourite hole to play.
My short holes will generally be the “all or nothing” type. I still will create others like the Big Baby at Jasper where short grass is the key element but most will likely involve a ring of sand like the 10th at Pine Valley. I prefer the idea of a plateau green site or a carry over a great natural feature like a ravine to define the difficulty. One thing for sure is I will never build an island like the 17th at the TPC at Sawgrass and in fact you’ll likely find that my holes in general will try to avoid the all or nothing carry over water.
I believe that the Postage Stamp is a perfect hole. The second shot may be the hardest shot on the course, which most players find out after they miss! What I like about the Postage Stamp is if you miss there is still a possible par through a great recovery shot. I believe that the recovery shot is one of the most important parts of the game and the one shot that separates the great player from the good player.
As an architect the short three represents our greatest opportunity. While I may embrace the idea of width and playability as a generality, this is the opportunity to ratchet up the difficulty and tell the player to bring their very best. After all, the hole is short and the player begins on a perfect lie. There is so much opportunity to for the player to make a good score, therefore there must be equal risk or danger to keep the situation in balance. The short three is a chance to really ramp up the architecture, to push the envelope, to make a statement, to do something spectacular. I believe that the short par three should be the most memorable hole on the property, whether from selecting the ideal location on the site, or from some exceptional architecture used to place a premium. Even on a limited budget or poor site, this remains possible since the all you need to build is a clever green site. There are so many examples of great ones even built on nothing sites.