|Great picture of Lorne from Sympatico Sports|
Lorne wrote a wonderful article on defending par. We had an interesting discussion just prior and much of it comes up in the piece. I like the gist of what he said, which is it really can only be defended at the green in a modern context of excessive length.
Here is the full article: Click Here
"We don't try defend par. I personally believe this is no longer possible if you still want the other 99% of players to enjoy the course. The game is a mess because the ball is out of control and the disparity between players means the games have no relevance to each other even with multiple tees.
At Laval we did shift some of the bunkers further down the holes to deal with longer players. But Mike and I refused to go long and lose the short threes, fours (3 of them) and fives that make the game fun.
What we set out to do is penalize the player who overplays their hand. And our primary defence is in our greens. They are smaller than normal. We also borrowed internal rolls from Augusta National and the edges from Shinnecock Hills to create a tough and varied set of greens.
Mike and I have designed Laval so that it can become much more difficult simply by changing the maintenance practices. You add difficulty by firming up and speeding up the greens, but because they are generally raised surfaces this emphasizes the impact.
Since there is no rough around any of the greens, by firming them up and shaving them shorter they have a far greater impact on the miss. The ball will be running to places where a recovery will become very complicated since there is nothing that contains a miss in most instances.
What we see at Laval is the pins being pushed to the edges where they pass from pin area to fall-offs and this will create a much tougher test. The margin for error can be made quite small with a clever set up.
For the members we simply raise the heights and keep the pins away from the fall offs and the course becomes fun again."