Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? – Deep Bunkering













I’m a big believer in bunkering being the best of the strategic hazards. I like the fact that a player has the opportunity to hit a recovery out of a bunker shot and save a stroke or conversely could get too aggressive and leave the ball in more than once and compound their own problems. I like the fact that the recovery requires skill and judgment – no other hazard does this quite as well.

I’ve never been a fan of hazards like out of bounds and water (although I like creeks) where the loss is stroke and distance giving the player a two shot penalty. Other architects believe that water hazards are required to place additional pressure on the player. Well, the same can be said for an exceptionally deep tough bunker, but the difference is that the player may still recover from that hazard and on occasion may not even lose a stroke through truly exceptional play.

For strategy to be meaningful, the bunkering must have enough depth to punish the player a shot to par unless they manage through great skill to save that shot.

Great bunkering not only defends and defines the lines of play but it also supplies the psychological pressure of knowing what your fate will be if you miss the shot. The recovery shot required to extricate you from a bunker is what defines the punishment you will face, which in turn defines the value of the hazard. If the bunker is very deep, and the possibility exists of losing more than one shot, a player will play away to lessen the risk. If the bunker defends the ideal place to be and must be flirted with to gain the ideal position then that same deep bunker has great strategic value.

If the player always wants to flirt with the bunker until he eventually hits it in, only to find that he immediately plays well away the next round, only to begin to flirt closer and closer until he hits it in once more - then you have a perfect bunker.

You see there is nothing more thrilling or appealing than skirting over an impressive or fearsome hazard, but it’s only a thrill when you know the certain disaster that you just avoided. The only way to create that scenario – to have meaningful hazards – is with bunker depth.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ian,

This is definetly your best sketch yet. It shows the depth of the bunkers as well as the elevation change and movement of the ground. I think that is the hardest thing to get right in a sketch...do you agree? Keep the sketches coming they are really cool.

Patrick

Anonymous said...

Resembles a Charles Banks greenside bunker at Forsgate.

Stephen said...

In my mind the most interesting hole on the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta is the 16th. Even though it's been 15 years since I played the course, the gentle curve left, the fairway raising as the bunker on the left doesn't, and the monster drop to that bunker by the time you reach the green, has provided an enduring image .

The first 4 course ideas show promise for a memorable course.

Philip said...

Nice! Keep them coming, please.

Ian Andrew said...

Patrick,

Greens are the worst - but any subtle contour is a nightmare

Anony,

Banks is a huge influence after seeing his work at Montclair.

Stephen,

I love the stuff at TPC that works on that premice - but I always throught The Stadium course often went too far.

Philip,

thanks - I will for a while.

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