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Do Angles Matter?


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Though we know camera angles matter, this is to discuss whether playing angles matter architecturally.

I don't think they are most of the time. I'm of the opinion that…

  • Angles matter only when the ball is rolling (whether that's because of ground conditions or the level of play).
  • Angles matter a little tiny bit when it comes to comfort (having to play to a flag obscured by a high bunker lip is more daunting than having an open look).
  • Chasing angles generally leads to higher scores (you're not good enough to, on an "even" hole, aim down the right side or the left side to open up an angle into the green).

Much of the old school approach to golf course architecture relies on angles and the "line of charm." Thing is… we now understand how large even the Shot Zones of the best players is, and so… almost every golf hole is a "solved problem" for every player (whether they put the energy forth to solve it or not).

Angles generally don't matter for decent players: they hit the ball far enough and high enough to stop it pretty quickly, and so golf becomes a point-to-point game.

If you disagree, tell us why.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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  • iacas changed the title to Do Angles Matter?

They matter on some holes. I play on an old fashion (1954) course that have a few dog leg holes that can block your approach if you play your tee shot too close to the corner. Just about every other green can be reached with a high shot.

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40 minutes ago, Sandy Divot said:

They matter on some holes. I play on an old fashion (1954) course that have a few dog leg holes that can block your approach if you play your tee shot too close to the corner. Just about every other green can be reached with a high shot.

That’s not so much “angles” in the architectural sense as just being blocked by trees.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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On 7/14/2022 at 9:12 AM, iacas said:

 

Angles generally don't matter for decent players: they hit the ball far enough and high enough to stop it pretty quickly, and so golf becomes a point-to-point game.

If you disagree, tell us why.

Just finished watching Tiger's 'My Game' series and he quite explicitly talks about angles, and specifically at Augusta. To your point, I would agree that with the length and skill of today's players, that they can get away with disregarding 'angles' and play point to point, but I believe that skilled golfers still use the idea, and that specific tracks still require it. 

"If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf."

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21 minutes ago, jefkve said:

Just finished watching Tiger's 'My Game' series and he quite explicitly talks about angles, and specifically at Augusta. To your point, I would agree that with the length and skill of today's players, that they can get away with disregarding 'angles' and play point to point, but I believe that skilled golfers still use the idea, and that specific tracks still require it. 

Augusta is, as you say, a "specific" track (let's ignore that you called Augusta a "track"). And that's why many are annoyed at the narrowing, the trees, the rough there.

Angles mattered at the Old Course… because the ball rolls. Angles matter at Augusta… because of the rolls the ball can take off various slopes.

Tiger also may be good at golf, but he may not know all there is to know about scoring, shot dispersion, etc.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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I will take a stab at this...

On 7/14/2022 at 12:12 PM, iacas said:

Angles matter only when the ball is rolling

Angles do matter when the ball is rolling. As you pointed out, St. Andrews was a great example. Only is really mostly, but the point is made. I would look at the conundrum of the short side where a bunker or slope turns a putt into a chip or pitch or where a preferred flatter line has to be more elevated with a very small margin of error (think of being short sided with a quick flop over a bunker to a tucked pin versus being 5 yards left and having the luxury of a flatter, more predictable pitch).  I guess the eventual roll out could be what we consider, but the fact that the angle took on the approach shot took away options for the next shot is something I think could be material. 

On 7/14/2022 at 12:12 PM, iacas said:

Angles matter a little tiny bit when it comes to comfort

Angles do matter when it comes to intimidation or comfort. I am not sure we can quantify the statistical term of "little tiny bit," but I feel that it matters less to more confident players. 

On 7/14/2022 at 12:12 PM, iacas said:

Chasing angles generally leads to higher scores

I would like to hear more on this. What comes to mind is the risk/reward holes of picking a line and having it too safe, just right, or A total disaster. Players #18 tee shot, the angle seems to matter. So did Freddy's tee shot at 12 at the Master's with the miracle up and down. I am guessing he chased the angle there or maybe he just pushed it and came up short right. 

Anyway, more agreement than disagreement here, but I am ready to hear more of your thoughts. 

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12 minutes ago, TourSpoon said:

I would like to hear more on this. What comes to mind is the risk/reward holes of picking a line and having it too safe, just right, or A total disaster.

Picture a straightforward hole where you're going to have an 8I in to the green. The ball will land and stop relatively quickly, but the green slopes back right to front left, and there is a bunker short right and long left. In other words, everything seems to favor hitting the ball from the left side of the 35-yard-wide fairway.

But in trying to hit the left side of the fairway, in "chasing the angles," you are going to put more balls into the left rough than if you just hit the ball down the fairway. This leads to higher scores.

Unless the ball is going to be rolling, chasing angles doesn't matter. If you're flying the ball from spot to spot, angles don't matter and chasing them is only going to tend to increase your scores.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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11 minutes ago, iacas said:

Picture a straightforward hole where you're going to have an 8I in to the green. The ball will land and stop relatively quickly, but the green slopes back right to front left, and there is a bunker short right and long left. In other words, everything seems to favor hitting the ball from the left side of the 35-yard-wide fairway.

But in trying to hit the left side of the fairway, in "chasing the angles," you are going to put more balls into the left rough than if you just hit the ball down the fairway. This leads to higher scores.

Unless the ball is going to be rolling, chasing angles doesn't matter. If you're flying the ball from spot to spot, angles don't matter and chasing them is only going to tend to increase your scores.

Great example, I do see many golfers that get a little too cute on their tee shots and they pay the price. From an 8 iron out, the angle from a 35 yard fairway isn't that significant under most conditions. Realistically, those who are trying to get cute for the angle probably are going pin hunting with the 8 iron and this strategy over time doesn't pay off. 

When I think of chasing angles, I think more of the holes where you try to bite off as much as practical over a water hazard or through a dog leg. The landing spot is critical, when you pick a line over a water hazard that is running away from you on the diagonal. 

Good topic, trying to make us think! 

Cobra LTDx 9* | Rad Big Tour 15.5* | Rad Tour 18.5* | Titleist U500 4-23* | 718 AP2 5-P | Vokey SM7 50/8* F, 54/10* S, 58/10* S | Scotty Cameron Squareback No. 1 | ProV1  

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