Sunday, 2 January 2011

13th at Pine Valley

Everything feeds from right to left in the landing
On a course full of great holes, this is the one that stands out above all. I have always been amused that A.W. Tillinghast claims to have designed this hole. I would bet that like everything at Pine Valley, it should still be attributed to Crump. I think Crumps’s strength was the ability to solicit all ideas from all his friends including Tillinghast, his brilliance was to use the best ideas and combine them all into one vision – his vision.

I had previously talked about the drive as being noteworthy. The drive is to the top of a high ridge that falls off in pretty much each direction. While a crown, the fairway is still wide enough to receive the tee shot, although great care should be taken from rolling off the left side where the player is stymied from going at the green. It is certainly one of the hardest drives on the course because of the crown shape to the land.

The beauty of the hole lies in the second shot. The long downhill approach is to a very large green that runs diagonally away to the right. Miss the green left or long and you are in deep trouble. The player is given two options; make the full carry over the wild exposed sandy waste to the large green, or to play a draw short and right and let the natural contours bring the ball down onto the green. The two choices work well, the green is large enough to receive a long iron, and the slopes are steep enough to feed the ball onto the surface. There are few holes that have such clear options that both work so well. The 13th remains one of the greatest models for a long par four that I know.

What I learnt from this hole was the routing aspect of the green site. Crump placed the green on a natural knoll on the end of a ridgeline. He used the formidable valley in front to create a wasteland of sand to force a carry and then took the natural side hill leading t the green and turned it into fairway so that the fairway banks around the waste area; because of this, the fairway can be used to feed the ball around the waste area and onto the green. Crump has allowed the player to play boldly over, or delicately around, depending on their confidence at the time. No matter which shot you play, it is as thrilling a shot as there is in golf.

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