Sunday, 26 December 2010

The 10th at Laval

As I mentioned yesterday, architects look to establish a mixture of lengths on our par fours. One of the most important holes to find in a routing is a location for one or two long dominant par fours. It they are built on interesting land they often become the most memorable holes on the course. When they are built on dull land they usually become the least interesting point of the round.

Finding a natural hole for the longest fours is more important than finding terrain for the holes that are just a bit shorter. Holes with a little less length offer the architect a chance to introduce options for the players. What makes a long dominant four is the “lack of options” beyond playing to the green in three shots and trying to get up and down for par. The player generally finds they must hit driver in order to have a descent chance to reach the green in regulation. It’s the pressure to make par that makes the hole so valuable in the overall context of the course.
This corridor was ideal for a long four. The tee shot plays uphill through a natural draw in the land and into a slightly bowl shaped landing. The hole turns mildly right and continues up the hill but at a slightly reduced gradient. The green is set on a small ridge at the highest point of the hole. The hole is long and uphill the entire way making this easily the hardest two-shot hole on the golf course.
We choose not to add bunkers in the landing since any attempt to make the bunkering visible would involve an exaggerated landform. Missing the fairway will be penalty enough because of the length of the shot and lie it will be hit from. What we chose to do instead was to tighten up the approach to demand accuracy from the tee.
We seriously considered going without bunkers, but we already had a couple of greens like that and we worried that the green would be hard to distinguish because of the rise in the land. The green was tilted to the left and a flanking bunker was added up the left. The front right bunker was cut into the diagonal ridge in front of the green which meant we could add fairway beyond to feed the shot in. Players have the option to play a high cut into the green slope, a runner up the middle or use the feeder slope beyond the right bunker to find the green. The hole may be tough, but it does come with options.
Around the green all kept short and the fall offs are fairly subtle meaning most recovery shots from beyond will not be too complicated. The approach shot is shown in this image.

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