Thursday, 17 March 2011

Template Series - #8 Sideways

The tee shot with creek up the left

The 5th at Merion is special. The creek on the left defines the left edge of the entire hole, first as a diagonal carry from the tee and then as a hazard against the left edge of the green. The tee shot is hit into the natural bank rising from the creek. The tee shot can be a draw used to gain the flatter left side but even a slight pull will be wet.  The more common approach is a cut that hits and stays up on the bank, but at least minimizes the risk of the creek. Unfortunately the second shot is from a lie well above your feet, where a pull or hook will definitely find the creek left of the green. So most try to throw the ball well up where Wilson left ample room for a bounce in approach, what’s not obvious is how narrow the margin for error is on this approach.

The other version of this hole is at Garden City. The 15th falls hard from left to right from landing to green. The tee shot must be drawn to hold the strong cross-slope and then the second must also be drawn to keep the approach on the green. Since the draw must be played from a fade lie and the green is a perfect cross-fall. The difficulty is incredible even though the hole appears simple from the tee. It looks so simple, yet its so incredibly tough to play.
15th at Garden City

So how do I use this template?

I think the template works the same way in both cases. The land and green must share the same cross-fall. I like the Merion approach where the inclusion of a hazard with a slight turn in the hole allows for a little more opportunity and playability.

When no water is in play, I love the idea of the straight-on approach where the hole falls sideways and the shot must be shaped to deal with the cross-fall. I think this is such a simple answer to adding difficulty and disguising it within the routing.

The key in both instances is having a green that sets up ideally for a shot that is shaped and the land wants the ball to turn the opposite direction. This is the ultimate test of player’s ability and something that needs to be used more in place of length.
The approach with same hard cross-slope including the green
The one important note is this is definitely a template for only a four. Otherwise it unwinds the best parts of the design.


5th at Merion
15th at Garden City
16th at Huntingdon Valley

The List:

#1 Riviera
#2 Redan
#3 Azalea
#4 Road
#5 Peninsula
#6 Serpentine
#7 Ridgeline
#8 Sideways

1 comment:

  1. Ian,

    This hole has a similar design to Azalea, with a dogleg left and second shot above a RH's feet. Obviously, the way the green slopes and the location of the water change the second shots, but do you think the designs could also be effective if they were switched, so a par 5 with an open approach but a green sloping away from the golfer and toward the water (essentially Azalea's hole but with Sideways' green complex? Would it also be a good hole if it were reversed, with Azalea's green on this hole?