The format for this week – and hopefully each week going forward is - three posts on what a new Ian Andrew Golf Course will look like followed by a written blog about another subject.
I’m a big believer in creating playing freedom. The freedoms to try new routes, test your skill, or keep as far away from trouble as you need to. I think to make a course exciting you should be given the choice to roll the bones – as Max Behr said - and take on enormous risk if you so desire. I still think conceptually no course quite matches the playing freedoms and opportunities of the Old Course – play to safer areas – or challenge the hazards to attack the course.
While centerline bunkering or interior bunkering is ideal in this task – and I will touch on both this subjects in coming weeks – separate fairways have never appealed to me. I have only found one hole with two separate fairways where the choice between two fairways is tough to make. The best of the bunch is the 15th at World Woods where long hitters are enticed to give it a go – and short hitters tend to play safe. It’s most fun if you’re right in between! Too many split fairways are complete disasters including ones created by some of the better known architects of yesterday or today.
The bottle hole created by CB MacDonald offers the perfect solution. A player can play either left of right of the bunkering running up the centre of the hole on a diagonal to play. I have illustrated what I feel is the ideal hole with alternate routes. You can play left and safe to a wider fairway and without a carry off the tee – or you can play right requiring a carry and the need to thread the needle in order to find a landing area. You shorten the hole and gain a distinct strategic advantage into the green for your efforts.
This would make a great example of what I would be trying to accomplish with a mid-range par four. A safer tee shot followed by a tougher longer approach or a very demanding tee shot followed by a simple flip right into the heart of the green. This I feel is a fun hole to play – do you risk or play smart – both options are compelling depending on how you are playing.
One additional note – the bunkering must be deep enough to make a recovery shot to the green very tough – or the strategies begin to become meaningless.