Sunday, 26 December 2010

The 5th at Laval

The tee shot is over a valley containing an existing pond. The corner features a slope that is a subtle carry line but which can easily be exaggerated by cutting into the bank and creating a much sharper slope. This would become an excellent carry angle from the tee. The intent is shown in the first image. The hole then turns and heads uphill all the way to an existing tree line without a single feature for a green site. This green site is featureless and will need to be created to be interesting.
The tee shot will feature two very deep carry bunkers for the players to flirt with from the tee. They will set the tone and the strategy for the hole. We knew that this green site would need to be completely created, but the question was how to do this without sticking the green up in the air and making the hole oppressive. The solution came from the 3rd hole at Royal Melbourne West where a clever valley in front of the green was added to make the approach very complicated. This gave us the idea to create our own swale in front and leave the green on native grade. By placing the green on an angle to the right, we made the bunkers off the tee more important, and created an approach where a running shot would need to be judged to find the right section of the green.
Mike and I both admire the bunkerless greens at Augusta National and we drew our inspiration from the 5th (which actually has a hidden back bunker) and 14th greens to create something very special on our course. We love the fact that those two holes can be approached on the ground or in the air but each option is quite difficult. The key feature that sets the challenge on both green is the internal rolls in the front. We have introduced two of our own to the front of the green.
We added two small knobs and supplemented that with strong false fronts on each side of the knolls and in the middle. Players can play short and run the ball through the swale and onto the green, but an approach that carries into or on the back of the two mounds will likely find itself off the green. We both believe that these types of holes are real fun because you need to understand the options and which to use to reach the green. Twenty feet in any direction will likely have you change your mind on where and how to play your approach.
No bunkers freed us up to introduce this bold contouring scheme to the green. We will keep the surrounds short and the swales relatively shallow around the back and sides of the green to make recovery shots more manageable because of the length of the hole.

This is a basic idea of how we expect the approach to look.

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