Sunday, 26 December 2010

The 11th at Laval

Last week I talked about a par four where we made some significant changes in order to create something interesting out of nothing. The concept in that case was one large roll in the land used to define the hole and create some intimacy where there was none. This week we begin with another hole found in the same general area where we thought some additional work would yield a much better result. In this case it was the extension of an existing plateau used to create a much more interesting green site. While in each case we made changes, in both cases we use broad single landforms that would be easier to hide within the framework of the site.
The hole plays down the hill from the tee to landing and then continues slightly downhill the rest of the way to the green site. The green site is at a low point with a large ridge covered with large mature trees on the crest. The top of the ridge is the property line.
The hole worked fine but we thought the green site was a little plain. The solution was easy since all we needed to do was extend the existing plateau just off to the left of our future green to include our new green site. We continued it along to include the tees on the right in order to hide our changes to the land. The existing plateau was 10 feet above the valley which created a new elevated green site and a more logical end to the hole. It also produced an outstanding architectural feature with the development of a steep high diagonal bank fronting the green which would create a very interesting shot in.
The ideal angle to approach is from the right side of the fairway which opened up a fun opportunity for us. So we placed a carry bunker into the natural roll on the right corner of the dogleg which player’s could potentially carry to gain the ideal line. The down slope on the backside would also greatly reduce the length of approach on this long four. We also added a bunker to the left side designed to catch the longer player who pull their tee shot slightly trying to carry the corner bunker. We never try to discourage the use of length, but do insist upon some accuracy if the player is trying to overpower the course.
The angle of the hill and the fact that it will be kept short will be the main focus of the strategy. We have incorporated a false front throughout the edge to reinforce the importance of that front bank on the play of the hole.
The more we looked at this concept evolve the more we thought we could create something special. We added bunkers to the left and right to reinforce the need for accuracy. The right bunker creates a carry for the approach since a ball can be bounced in with a draw. The left bunker is there to collect the aggressive shots that come up “just” short and bounce out to the left. This will leave them with a tough recovery.

We even sloped the short grass area behind the green away from play while the green itself pitches steeply towards the front bank. We did this to make recovery shots very delicate.

We think there are times where you need to do something to make a better hole. By creating an elevated green site, we have produced one of the most interesting second shots on the course.

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