Wednesday, 19 January 2011

10 Best Greens - 11th at Shinnecock Hills

From the tee

I’ve been trying to walk my way through the best greens by taking a series of unique ideas and selecting the best version that I have ever seen. After a week off, I plan to finish out the series with five more greens of special merit. Today the 11th at Shinnecock Hills.

The 11th green at Shinnecock Hills is one of the most clever and difficult greens that I have ever encountered. From the tee the player generally focuses on the front bunkers and the tiny target the green makes. The natural reaction is to try and take a little more club and make sure you are well past the bunkers. In reality you’re better off coming up short.

This image explains everything

The front third of the green is a very strong pitch forward with some subtle undulation. The closer you get to the front, the more aggressive the slope becomes, until everything rolls off the front. The pin areas are generally closer to the back and the front is a false front.
Around three quarters of the way back the green begins to crown and the rest of the green continues over the slope and half way down into the swale behind. This feature means that anything played beyond the crown will pick up speed as it exits the back of the green. Often the ball will have enough momentum to travel through the swale leaving a downhill lie for the recovery shot. The next shot from this position is really tough because you can’t be short and you can’t be firm.

From the back - photo by Cam Tyers

The delicacy of any chip or putt from behind the green is unimaginable. Because of the strength of the slopes and the ability of pins to be placed so close to the transition, even a putt can find itself off the putting surface. It is certainly a model of how green contours can extend the pressure well beyond the putting surface.

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