Sunday, 26 December 2010

The 1st at Laval

The first five has been routed up an existing corridor. On both sides of the hole from tee to green there is a stand of large mature trees. The land falls from left to right from the tee to the landing area and then flattens out through to the green site which occurs on a slight rise.
Mike has always loved holes that have a long slow curve in the corridor. What they do is place a premium on accuracy for a longer hitter. The short hitter can play straight out, whereas the long the hitter attempts to go the more they need to turn the ball around the corner to keep the ball in the fairway. In our case the fairway falls gently from left to right in the landing area which places an even larger premium on shaping the shot if you want to remain in the fairway and have the opportunity to reach the green in two. We both felt that landing areas like this don’t need bunkers, which increases the playability for the average member.
The second shot is wide open unless you want to get the approach inside 100 yards. To do so you will have to avoid the large Willow and pond on the right and the tree line on the left. Essentially what happens is we get a natural squeeze through the trees in the second landing area that demands a little more precision out of the aggressive approach. The green is placed on the small natural rise at the end of the corridor.
As I said before the key to good par fives is having a decision on the second shot. The simplest idea is to bunker the green on the right to create a desired angle of approach and then reinforced the strategy by adding a fairway bunker on the left to create a strategy for the second shot since taking on the bunker creates the ideal angle of approach.
In our case we saw something different. Both of us love the way the opener at Pinehurst #2 works. The large hollow on the right at Pinehurst is a generous bail area, particularly since there is a bunker flanking the left side. The problem you discover once in the hollow is that the green falls away from the bail area and getting the ball up and down is really tough. What we have done is created the same concept by adding that hollow on the left and by sloping the green straight right. We think a lot of recovery shots will find the hollow on the other side. The front bunker was pulled away from the green to make sure the entire right and front of the green could droop at the edges and run the ball into the hollows. The danger of this hole is the green.
The hole is all about the green and the green will feature a series of interior contours and roll offs all used to emphasize precision on the approach and recovery shots.
Here is an image of what we expect the hole to look like from the landing.

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