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Course you prefer? Every hole tough or easy

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  1. 1. What type of golf course do you prefer to play?

    • A course where every hole makes you think
      9
    • A course thats easy
      1
    • Some where in between with 9 difficult and 9 easy
      11

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25 posts in this topic

Would love to hear your views on this.

Personally my idea of golf heaven is a golf course that you have to think about every single shot on every hole and not just blast off the tee.

Courses where you HAVE to hit a fairway or you drop a shot because of the rough or greens surrounded by water where its hit or bust.

What do you prefer?

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A course that is relentlessly difficult is just as unsatisfactory as one where every hole is grip it and rip it followed by a wedge.  A good course allows one to use a variety of clubs on approach shots.  It doesn't demand absolute precision on every shot but has a number of holes where one must practice a bit of caution or be ready to hit some very high quality shots.  The par 3 holes should vary in length with the shorter ones requiring precision and the lengthy ones allowing a reasonable "bail out" option.  Finally, there needs to be a sufficient number of tee selections to allow each player to play a course best suited to their game.  I really do not like courses that have their tees set at 7,200 yards, 6,850, 5,800 and 5,120.  There needs to be a choice in the 6,000 to 6,500 range for those of us that can still play a bit but don't carry their driver 250+ yards.

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No complaints on the two courses I play. There seems to be a mix of holes where you have to be really careful on some (at least at my level) and others where you'll be ok as long as you hit relatively clean shots.

I have on occasion mixed up the tees that I play in the same round. I have no business playing the entire course from the tips but on some holes the green is still reachable in regulation from the blacks - its just tougher. This was a suggestion on an older thread. It can help vary the difficulty and monotony of a course as long as you're just playing a practice round.

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I answered that I like a challenge, but did not think too deeply about what the challenge entails. Seems like it should be hard enough that making a par takes some amount of planning and execution, but is not too hard that it would take your best possible shot every time to achieve it. Some people will say that if you can make a few pars realistically, that the course is too easy. Some will say that unless you expect to par at least 50 percent of the course, it's too hard for you. This could a really tough question to have a "right" answer.
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No preference really. That is one of the beauties of golf... every course is different.

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yes, the individual holes makes the course. I wouldn't enjoy 18 easy OR 18 difficult holes. Someplace that makes you consider your options for each tee shot, approach shots and putts. But saying that- coming to a hole that is wide open, flat with no trouble are sometimes the hardest holes to play. " Oh, this is an easy one, I can bomb one and a short pitch and I'm in for birdie". And promptly spray the countryside with golfballs. Or you might come to a 12 yard wide par 5 and think what a beast it is, and walk away with birdie. That's the game and what makes it interesting.
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Your premise is flawed. The opposite of a course that makes you think isn't an easy course.  "Thinking" courses don't have to be difficult. The best courses make you think but aren't punitive.  A course where you automatically lose a shot by missing a fairway is not a course that makes you think. It's the opposite if it doesn't give you options. A good course makes you think by giving you options. For example, go for one side of the fairway that has hazards but gives an easier or shorter angle to the green vs. going for the safer side of the fairway that leaves you  with a longer or more dangerous approach.

I don't want either of your choices. I want a course that makes me think but doesn't beat me up. I think that's what Doak and Coore/Crenshaw try to do.

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A course that is relentlessly difficult is just as unsatisfactory as one where every hole is grip it and rip it followed by a wedge.  A good course allows one to use a variety of clubs on approach shots.  It doesn't demand absolute precision on every shot but has a number of holes where one must practice a bit of caution or be ready to hit some very high quality shots.  The par 3 holes should vary in length with the shorter ones requiring precision and the lengthy ones allowing a reasonable "bail out" option.  Finally, there needs to be a sufficient number of tee selections to allow each player to play a course best suited to their game.  I really do not like courses that have their tees set at 7,200 yards, 6,850, 5,800 and 5,120.  There needs to be a choice in the 6,000 to 6,500 range for those of us that can still play a bit but don't carry their driver 250+ yards.


My thoughts exactly, at 55 I'm not as long as I once was, I just can't play from 6800 yards anymore, but 5800 still feels to short.  And I like a good mix of holes, also holes that change with different playing conditions.  On my home course there is a hole that plays north to south, down hill with a pond.  Last spring with the wind out of the south and soft course, it was hybrid/hybrid to the green.  This fall with the course dried out and got fast, wind out of the north, 5 iron/5 iron.  That's the kind of courses I like.

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Would love to hear your views on this.

Personally my idea of golf heaven is a golf course that you have to think about every single shot on every hole and not just blast off the tee.

Courses where you HAVE to hit a fairway or you drop a shot because of the rough or greens surrounded by water where its hit or bust.

What do you prefer?

This isn't a course which makes you think, it's a course that makes you cringe.  Maybe you should add a windmill and clown head.  Hit it through the wrong hole and a trap door opens under you.

Your course only offers one way to play, and that is NOT a thinker's course.  A course which offers options on how to play each hole, with varying risks depending on the route chosen is a thinking man's course.  What you describe is the type of course designed by someone who really doesn't know how to build a golf course, so he figures if there is enough trouble, it's going to work.  A poor shot doesn't have to incur a penalty to still raise ones score.  Also, the course you describe would play to over 5 hour rounds 90% of time.

The best designers know how to create a course where errant shots will often encourage the player to pitch out of trouble while still offering a riskier option.  Remove the option to play to the green after a bad tee shot, while still allowing a pitch or a wedge back to the fairway and giving an opportunity for a recovery.  Most courses should be designed with the bogey golfer in mind, because most players play bogey or worse.  The course should not require the player to bring 2 dozen balls with him.

Let the player play golf. :surrender:

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Robert Foulis, an apprentice of Old Tom Morris, built several courses in the St. Louis area in the early 1900s. His design philosophy on mix of holes: 6 hard, 6 middling, and 6 easy. That's more of the mix I prefer, rather than 9 hard and 9 easy.

Also, there's difference between 18 holes that make you think on each one (fine with me), and 18 holes that all have the potential to be round-wreckers.

The Foulis brothers - James, Robert, and David - helped launch golf in the U.S. Midwest. Here's a promo for the inaugural Foulis Invitational Tournament in 2011 that give details on the brothers and their links to Scotlandt. Andrews and Old Tom Morris. http://www.wheaton.lib.il.us/whc/events/foulis_invit.pdf

Two of Robert's enduring area designs:

  • Normandie Golf Club - oldest public course west of the Mississippi, still in its original location.
  • Glen Echo Country Club - oldest country club west of the Mississippi still in its original location.

These courses are about 1.5 miles apart in north St. Louis County.

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Generally +6800 yds with rating of 71-73 and slope of at least 128.

It should include a few easy holes as well as some difficult holes.  One thing I don't like is a course that takes the driver out of my hands on par 5's.  Some of Jack Nicklaus's courses that I've played are notorious for that by having a creek or a hazard around 280 yds off the tee from the back tee's.

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Generally +6800 yds with rating of 71-73 and slope of at least 128.

It should include a few easy holes as well as some difficult holes.  One thing I don't like is a course that takes the driver out of my hands on par 5's.  Some of Jack Nicklaus's courses that I've played are notorious for that by having a creek or a hazard around 280 yds off the tee from the back tee's.

Why is that?  Is it just that you think that every par 5 should be a grip it and rip it?  No "honest" 3 shot par 5 holes, or risk/reward on the second shot instead of the tee shot?  Just wondering.

My home course (Foothills) has one par 5 which is not usually a driver from the back tees, although surprisingly, driver can be used from the middle tee if you hit the ball pretty high.  It's a combination of the angles involved and the distance to a grove of trees at the far end of  a pond.  However, from the back tees a player can still conceivably reach the green with 2 well struck 3 woods or a hybrid/3 wood if he's willing to take the risk on the second shot.   I've eagled the hole more than once, but I also took a 12 on it one time in a tournament.  A par 5 doesn't have to be a driver off the tee to still be a good golf hole.

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I love the variety that golf provides. The two courses that I play the most are one of the shortest, most-forgiving in the area and one of the longer, most hazard-filled. The tougher course generally means 10 more strokes per round.  I like the different shots that both require and figure it is important for my development. My friends won't play the tougher one, but that's one of the reasons I'll be kicking their butts in the near future.

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How about every hole interesting and challenging .

They need not be "tough" or "easy" to provide both.......a hole that's relatively easy to par, may be a real challenge to birdie.

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At a high handicap the course needs to be "fun" as just being consistent is difficult enough without having ridiculously hard holes and course management to contend with.
At a low handicap a swing is grooved and consistent enough that easy courses would be boring so the challenge should be on playing the course so it should be difficult.

I voted 9 hard and 9 easy for my level of golf.

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I don't believe difficulty level is related to the amount of thought I should put in.  I like courses that require proper strategy and good shots to score well on.

A 240 yard par 3 that requires a 180 yard carry doesn't require much thought but could be very difficult to score par on for guys with average-below average distance.  A 350 yard par 4 with a dog leg, trees and fairway bunkers might require a lot of thought on how one wants to play it, but is easy enough to achieve par if played right.

My home course has some tough fairways where even a perfect drive will leave you with a lie that places the ball at a different level from your feet or uphill / downhill which for me makes it very difficult.

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... It should include a few easy holes as well as some difficult holes.  One thing I don't like is a course that takes the driver out of my hands on par 5's.  Some of Jack Nicklaus's courses that I've played are notorious for that by having a creek or a hazard around 280 yds off the tee from the back tee's. ...

Don't forget about Jack's bunkers. In the book Nicklaus by Design , Jack recounts Johnny Miller overpowering a hole during the inaugural rounds at Muirfield Village in 1974. On the par 5 No. 7 hole, Miller hit a tee shot into the fairway bunker, and then popped a 5W up in front of the green for an easy chip-up.

Jack said he redesigned the bunkers to be more penal.

At my home course Stonewolf, Jack put fairway bunkers to the left of the landing area on the Par 5 No. 8 hole. If you end up in these bunkers, it's best to take a 9i and just get back to the fairway. Other golfers and me have hit the lip trying to be more aggressive, usually ricocheting off the bank and cross fairway into the lake.

Twice this summer, I played along with a high school kid and a parent, preparing for an upcoming tournament at Stonewolf. I always suggest the kid hit a couple of shots out of these bunkers so they can find their go-no go line.

Two other nests of fairway bunker areas offer similar problems. If you're in the very back you may be able to get your shot over the front lip; if farther forward, just pop it back to the fairway and hope for some wedge magic.

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