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TST Takes on Sand Valley, WI (July 18-23, 2021)


cipher

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

Maybe don’t read up on Langford and Moreau then. 😉

From the reading I've done, it sounds like L&M are kind of a bridge between some of the Golden Age minimalists and the age of huge earthmoving.   Like @saevel25, I've always enjoyed the Donald Ross courses I've played, I've enjoyed Pete Dye courses, so many different architects and styles.  I'll be interested to see the contrasts in styles we'll see on this trip.

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11 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

From the reading I've done, it sounds like L&M are kind of a bridge between some of the Golden Age minimalists and the age of huge earthmoving.

They moved a shit load of dirt for their era. Steam shovel. Pioneers, really.

And I'll admit to smirking a bit when people say "I like Donald Ross courses," because Donald Ross has like 1000 courses and really spent much time at very few of them, and of those he did, few remain "Donald Ross courses," really.

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@cipher, @iacas yeah I’m looking forward you getting your (and others) opinions on the two. 
If you think I’m selling Lawsonia short I’d love to hear why. My major takeaways

1. Lawsonia’s par 3 were weak compared to the rest of the course. In addition to the aforementioned 7th hole, I didn’t get the par 3 4th. It’s shaped like a redan hole, but the slope doesn’t funnel balls right to left. So really it’s just an uphill par 3 that curves to the left, but has to be played straightaway. Pic below. By contrast, I liked all of Lac La Belle’s par 3’s with the exception of the 17th (probably the least memorable hole on the course). 

2. Lawsonia’s front 9 was very uninspiring but the back 9 was a pleasure to play. 
 

3. Greens at both courses rolled very true. I preferred Lac La Belle’s because I thought they allowed for more creativity in the short game. 
 

4. Visually Lac La Belle prevails by a country mile. 

C5AA8A17-D182-48E4-948D-5CC525F206E7.jpeg

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

And I'll admit to smirking a bit when people say "I like Donald Ross courses," because Donald Ross has like 1000 courses and really spent much time at very few of them, and of those he did, few remain "Donald Ross courses," really.

I understand this is the case, and I've only played 5 Ross courses (or so, some were broken up from the originals).   I've enjoyed every one, so far.  But all of those were in the NC Sandhills, so it seems logical that they each were designed and built with many of the same principles.  Same with Dye courses, I've played 6, I think, and I enjoy them, even though the styles are rather different.  I've only played one other Crenshaw & Core course, so it will be interesting to see if there are commonalities to Sand Valley.  The others will be completely now to me.

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1 hour ago, Big C said:

I’m looking forward you getting your (and others) opinions

Genuinely curious: why? We don't care about the same kinds of things. 🙂

aerial-overhead-copy.jpg

To quote a few parts:

Quote

Along with their engineering mastery, they had a firm grasp of strategy and used width and their bold features to create lines of charm on intoxicatingly fun golf holes.

Quote

It doesn’t take long for golfer’s to meet Langford and Moreau’s distinct style. The par four first doglegs right, and features a massive diagonal fairway bunker. The left side of the first green falls off a man-made cliff. The front nine weaves through an oblong property and has its fair share of dramatic reveals. Standout holes include the long par-4 sixth with its upper-front, lower-back tiers, and the short par-3 7th which has a boxcar buried under the green. The opening nine closes out with the uphill brute par-5 9th before making the turn.

(Andy seems to like at least one of the par threes there.)

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The back nine at Lawsonia Links is one of the finest nines in all of golf. Set in a large rectangular field, its main feature is a large ridgeline that runs through the southern portion of the parcel. The architects were able to maximize this small area perching the 10th, 13th and 14th greens on top of the ridge. The routing sets up thrilling tee shots and dramatic approaches into the greens. The standouts on the back nine are the par-5s and 3s.

Make that three of the par threes that he likes. 🙂

Quote

The 11th, 13th and 18th provide opportunities to reach in two depending on the wind, but require strategic positioning to find the proper section of the green in order to score. The 10th, 12th and 14th are a varied set of par-3s that test player’s long irons (10), mid-irons (12) and wedge game (14) with deep bunkering and vexing internal green contours.

Strategy!

Quote

On both nines, Langford & Moreau routed the course masterfully to take maximum advantage of land movement, while introducing variety through consistent changes of direction. The features they created look both highly engineered and perfectly suited to the surroundings. The perfect balance is struck.

More stuff you probably don't care much about, but which matters to me.

And again, I don't mean that in any negative way. That's what's great about golf; you can care about whether the carts have GPS and I can care about the variety of directions that the holes play and how that affects the strategy when there's a little wind.

Again, too, maybe I'll like Lac la Belle more. But if so, it won't be because the clubhouse isn't as spartan as the one at Lawsonia Links.

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On 7/10/2021 at 11:42 AM, iacas said:

Genuinely curious: why?

Because I enjoy getting perspectives from others on golf courses that I have recently played. If it's from people who I know and whose opinions I respect, that's even better. It's really that simple. 

On 7/10/2021 at 11:42 AM, iacas said:

We don't care about the same kinds of things. 🙂

Eh, I don't think that's true. It's obvious there are some things that I care about to an extent, that are irrelevant to you. But we probably overlap more than you think. 

Let's leave out the fringe stuff (carts/clubhouses/driving range) and talk about the golf. I love courses that are challenging without being overly penal. And that allow to exercise different options depending on your risk/reward tolerance, wind conditions, etc. 

I read the article that you linked and I just didn't see the design genius that Andy referenced. I felt like most holes were straightforward decisions off the tee, regardless of how the wind was blowing.

It's true that good positioning on the approach shots was important, but the sentence below (cut and pasted from their website) did not strike me as accurate.

It's the quality of the golf course and the kind of heroic, creative, ‘linksy’ shotmaking opportunities that it invites (the kind of golf that is unfortunately missing in so many modern courses).

I saw very few "linksy" shotmaking opportunities - by which I mean opportunities to play different trajectories or angles of approach - throughout the course. As I mentioned earlier, lower trajectory players are at a disadvantage at Lawsonia.

And the greens were fine - well maintained, challening, etc. But they were fairly unmemorable. Again, I thought Lac La Belle's were much more interesting.

If there is something I missed or didn't give proper consideration to, I would genuinely love to hear why. The Fried Egg article you linked is broad in their praise but light on specifics. I feel like a lot of the things they mentioned could be equally applicable to any number of high quality public courses. If you end up loving Lawsonia, what holes did your really like and why?

 

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On 7/10/2021 at 11:55 AM, iacas said:

Maybe don’t read up on Langford and Moreau then. 😉data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==

I'll live in ignorance then 🙂

On a side note, the car is up to date in maintenance and ready to go. 

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10 minutes ago, Big C said:

the fringe stuff (carts/clubhouses/driving range)

Sheesh, I'm a clubhouse guy.  It rounds out the course nicely.  And it should have views, a good restaurant and bar, with architectual style.  And a veranda or deck to enjoy a post round gin & tonic.  I'm a sucker for the whole experience.

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23 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Sheesh, I'm a clubhouse guy.  It rounds out the course nicely.  And it should have views, a good restaurant and bar, with architectual style.  And a veranda or deck to enjoy a post round gin & tonic.  I'm a sucker for the whole experience.

If a course is a D- and has an amazing clubhouse versus a course that is a B+ with a trailer shack for a clubhouse, give me the shack and better golfing experience. 

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8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

If a course is a D- and has an amazing clubhouse versus a course that is a B+ with a trailer shack for a clubhouse, give me the shack and better golfing experience. 

I'm making the assumption that both are a B+.  Though I played Chambers Bay when the clubhouse/restaurant was a doublewide.  Remember watching the 2015 U.S. Open?  You never saw the clubhouse on TV.

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8 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I'm making the assumption that both are a B+.  Though I played Chambers Bay when the clubhouse/restaurant was a doublewide.  Remember watching the 2015 U.S. Open?  You never saw the clubhouse on TV.

A clubhouse would never cause me to not want to play a course if both were B+. It might cause me not to get a membership at a course. 

If I had two courses. 

Course A: $100/round, 4.5/5 ranking, spartan clubhouse
Course B: $100/round, 4.5/5 ranking, luxurious clubhouse

The Clubhouse means nothing when it comes to wanting to play a course. It shouldn't be part of the equation at all. You know the amount of time I spent in a clubhouse on average when I play golf. Like 5 minutes max. Few minutes to check in. Few minutes at the turn for snack (if I want one). That's it. 

If you want to grab dinner, no biggie to find a place on the way home. 

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2 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

The Clubhouse means nothing when it comes to wanting to play a course. It shouldn't be part of the equation at all.

Ah, personal preferences.  Again, I prefer the whole experience.  Though I'd never play a crappy course with a stellar clubhouse.  I should start a clubhouse thread... 😁

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Just now, Double Mocha Man said:

Ah, personal preferences.  Again, I prefer the whole experience.  Though I'd never play a crappy course with a stellar clubhouse.  I should start a clubhouse thread... 😁

I don't think it would be a bad thread to start. It's not like I don't enjoy a good clubhouse, or like ones with interesting architecture, but it has never went into me thinking a course wasn't worth the trip to play, or was to expensive. 

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So our home course had the Eastern Virginia Amateur last weekend. The set up is heavy rough and fast greens (they stimp at 12 for the tourney) with most pin placement on all but three holes set up to punish . We played yesterday from the tips which is an annual tradition for the members to play the EVA final round set up. It was a handful even at 6,648 yards as the longest par 4s are 473, 461 and 445 yards long. Rung 18 with a tidy 93 with a 9 (no penalties) on the fourth hole. Yeah. 

Anyway, if yesterday's play is any indication, I am going to put on my survival hat on and aim to enjoy the courses regardless of scores. From the DM surviving heat and the 'arduous' trek might be the the real challenges anyway. Ima bring my sheik head-dress. Hah.

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My competitive playing career was not one of any real distinction.  My career as a geeky golf adventurer, however, now includes a distinction to which only one other man (my buddy Peter Korbakes) c…

 

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10 hours ago, GolfLug said:

So our home course had the Eastern Virginia Amateur last weekend. The set up is heavy rough and fast greens (they stimp at 12 for the tourney) with most pin placement on all but three holes set up to punish . We played yesterday from the tips which is an annual tradition for the members to play the EVA final round set up. It was a handful even at 6,648 yards as the longest par 4s are 473, 461 and 445 yards long. Rung 18 with a tidy 93 with a 9 (no penalties) on the fourth hole. Yeah. 

Anyway, if yesterday's play is any indication, I am going to put on my survival hat on and aim to enjoy the courses regardless of scores. From the DM surviving heat and the 'arduous' trek might be the the real challenges anyway. Ima bring my sheik head-dress. Hah.

Isn't that what we're all planning on, enjoying friends and enjoying new courses?  Even though we're trying to shoot as low as possible, the scores really are secondary.  And the following is off this topic, but a mention about that tournament.

Spoiler

Just a side note, one of the young players from Stoneleigh was in the field at the Eastern Am, managed a T-6.  Rumor I heard (from his mom, who played with Mary Anne yesterday) is that he had 2 OB along the way.

@iacas, thanks for that link, I hadn't seen much of anything about individual holes on the Sandbox previously.

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