Sunday, 2 January 2011

10 Best Green -2nd at St. Andrew's

Photo by Ian Mcfarlane Lowe

The distinctive feature of the 2nd green is the series of interior rolls that work in conjunction to make up a remarkable diagonal spine that begins in the front right of the green and finishes near the middle of the left side of the 2nd green. Note: the green is a shared green with the 16th. The initial roll and its companion are big enough to deflect the ball in multiple directions but is not large enough to be discouraging. What they do well is help corral a short shot on their left side into the bowl on the front left of the green where a player is dead.

The next roll in is remarkably bold and staggering in size for players not used to the incorporation of natural rolls into green sites. Anything short, unless low and running, will hit and slide back down into the hollow leaving the player with a near impossible recovery shot. A ball finding the top or worse the down slope will surely exit the back of the green leaving a tough recovery shot because of the side slope.


Better picture from side by Cam Tyers

Beside the enormous roll on the left is a second equally bold roll that is largely a continuation of the landform. This feature creates a beautiful diagonal to the line of the approach when combined with the previous feature. The result is the further left the pin is set, the more exacting the approach becomes since the margin for error has been dramatically reduced.

The final piece of magic is the green surface falls hard from left to right dictating that all the approaches must flirt with the two key rolls in order to shorten the putt. Since everything but the best and boldest will hit and run away to the right, this places a premium on playing well right off the tee and bringing the out of bounds in play. Any tee shot played safely to the left will leave an almost impossible approach shot since it must flirt with the major rolls and the ball will want to run out the back from that direction. Therefore the rolls dictate play from the tee.

The joy of the hole is that it doesn’t need a bunker. The mounds create all the complications and all the strategy. Weaker players can play right of the green or even short right and still have a chance at par. A strong player must challenge the rolls, which brings in a enormous risk of coming up short and making a quick 5 or even a 6.

This is one of the greatest greens in the game and shockingly I’m hard pressed to find another architect borrowing the concept for use in another location. This is another great example of how a flat featureless hole can become architectural brilliant with a highly imaginative green.

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