|The unusual hidden green|
The 13th is a great example, off the tee the player has lots of room to hit the tee shot left (while the hole doglegs sharply right). If the player wants to become more aggressive, he ends up looking at a narrow neck of fairway that looks impossible to hit. What he does not realize first time out, is he can possibly carry the trees on the right and find a blind fairway, leaving a middle iron into the green. All I can say is, you better be down wind to give it a go.
Once off the tee, unless you have found a short cut, the next shot is through a narrow opening between intimidating bunkers out to a wide open fairway. Mike loves to make these shots look impossible and then give you ample room in behind. He believes that a player got more excitement from overcoming a seemingly impossible than making a routine one.
|The red line is possible - the yellow line is traditional|
So what have I learned? Mike loves the short par five where there is a lot of opportunity to take a big risk; he has also made it clear that if you dare gamble, you may pay dearly. He provided optional routes and adequate bailout areas, but used visual trickery to make the hole appear much harder than it is. Mike teaches that visual intimidation is an important tactic, and that blind shots can still be part of that equation. He has taught us to take risks with our architecture and to say to hell with convention and criticism – it’s all about great holes.