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Tiger Woods' Golf Course Design Philosophy

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Tiger was talking a bit during his press conference about how he designs courses. His basic philosophy is to take away forced carries and situations where you would lose a golf ball. In the end he says golf is more enjoyable when you do not lose a golf ball. It also speeds up play. Just interesting take on Tiger's ideas on golf course design.

I pretty much agree with him. I do not mind a golf hole that gives you the option of a forced carry, but still allows you to play back. A good risk/reward type shot.

I do not like golf courses that make it near impossible for a golfer to clear a hazard on a tee shot. If you are designing a course at 6000 yards, to be played by golfers who should be driving the ball a total distance of 225 yards. Don't create a hole with a hazard ending at 210 yards.

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Tiger was talking a bit during his press conference about how he designs courses. His basic philosophy is to take away forced carries and situations where you would lose a golf ball. In the end he says golf is more enjoyable when you do not lose a golf ball. It also speeds up play. Just interesting take on Tiger's ideas on golf course design.

I pretty much agree with him. I do not mind a golf hole that gives you the option of a forced carry, but still allows you to play back. A good risk/reward type shot.

I do not like golf courses that make it near impossible for a golfer to clear a hazard on a tee shot. If you are designing a course at 6000 yards, to be played by golfers who should be driving the ball a total distance of 225 yards. Don't create a hole with a hazard ending at 210 yards.

Interesting. I don't mind a hole or two where OB or lost ball potential exist. But when a course has a bunch of them, it is not enjoyable.  I played one course last month where the hole back nine had OB, deep woods or high grass lining every fairway.  The fairways were narrow and it just wasn't that fun.

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Tiger doesn't like unreasonable forced carries.  So course designers shouldn't force carries more than ~280 off the tee? ;-)

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...I do not mind a golf hole that gives you the option of a forced carry, but still allows you to play back. A good risk/reward type shot.

I do not like golf courses that make it near impossible for a golfer to clear a hazard on a tee shot. If you are designing a course at 6000 yards, to be played by golfers who should be driving the ball a total distance of 225 yards. Don't create a hole with a hazard ending at 210 yards.

One of the courses we play has a hole aptly named "Temptation"...a 300-yard (from the whites) dogleg left par 4 around a lake.  It also offers a clear shot to the green straight over the lake, with a safe landing zone short of it.  From the white tees (which play to just over 6000 yards), it's about a 220-yard carry to the landing zone and 250 to the green.  I know I rarely carry a drive 220+, so I play it around the lake every time.  It's great to have the option there for longer hitters, but if that was a forced carry with no alternative I'd be hitting from the drop zone every time.

I enjoy playing courses that make you think and use strategy, but some courses seem to be designed to punish/torture the average golfer and those are no fun at all.

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I wasn't aware that Tiger Woods has been designing golf courses. Maybe that is because I didn't pay much attention to professional golf for a half-decade...


I very much agree with his design philosophy and wish links-style courses were more prevalent.

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The problem isn't forced carries, it's that too many people play tees that are completely inappropriate in the first place. Fwiw, I don't know that I've ever played a 6,000 yard course that had a 210 yard mandatory forced carry. Certainly not more than a very small handful over 50 years.

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Last year I exchanged emails with the chief designer in a prestigious golf course architecture company in relation to a certain golf course in my area which I find a bit difficult. He told me they design courses for the "low handicapper"

That's fine if the majority of people playing there were low handicappers, but for us high and mid handicappers that course means losing balls all the time. The course is part of a new residential area that has not sold that well. I wonder if an easier course would attract more buyers.

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One of the courses we play has a hole aptly named "Temptation"...a 300-yard (from the whites) dogleg left par 4 around a lake.  It also offers a clear shot to the green straight over the lake, with a safe landing zone short of it.  From the white tees (which play to just over 6000 yards), it's about a 220-yard carry to the landing zone and 250 to the green.  I know I rarely carry a drive 220+, so I play it around the lake every time.  It's great to have the option there for longer hitters, but if that was a forced carry with no alternative I'd be hitting from the drop zone every time. I enjoy playing courses that make you think and use strategy, but some courses seem to be designed to punish/torture the average golfer and those are no fun at all.

I play a course with the same set up ... I have never tried to go for the green. I think it was Fuzzy or someone else that was talking of golf course design, and he said he always gives a bail out option for the high handicap, but also allows those that can to have a high risk, high reward opportunity.

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So... he's specialising in designing "resort" style courses. Someplace where you can go on vacation, hit every fairway that's 100 yards wide(although I know some people that would still miss them), with open routes to run up to greens. Water around, but not generally in play for the most part. And there's nothing wrong with that. But as mentioned, there should be choices for those that might want to cut a corner or two to make it interesting. I'm using the classic definition of a "resort" course. There's been a discussion over the insult to some places. Yes, I know Pebble Beach is a "resort" course, as are many TPC courses.

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Last year I exchanged emails with the chief designer in a prestigious golf course architecture company in relation to a certain golf course in my area which I find a bit difficult. He told me they design courses for the "low handicapper" That's fine if the majority of people playing there were low handicappers, but for us high and mid handicappers that course means losing balls all the time. The course is part of a new residential area that has not sold that well. I wonder if an easier course would attract more buyers.

I've yet to buy a home in a golf course community; I've also yet to buy membership at a private club. I know if I do either, though, one of my criteria would be a course I could enjoy, although I recognize that I'm already better than a large number of golfers. Another criteria would be that my guests could enjoy, and I have some friends who have never broken 90 (and others who haven't broken 100). So... yeah, unless they're building the newest Lake Nona community, an easier course is something they should look into. [quote name="isukgolf" url="/t/82682/tiger-woods-golf-course-design-philosophy#post_1155830"]I think it was Fuzzy or someone else that was talking of golf course design, and he said he always gives a bail out option for the high handicap, but also allows those that can to have a high risk, high reward opportunity.[/quote] I think it was Johnny Miller who said that if his wife couldn't enjoy playing there, he would fix the design until she could. Also, because it is a minor irritation, so I have to tell OP: Tiger Woods' Golf Course. When/if Chris Wood designs a course, we can talk about Wood's design philosophy.

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I like his thinking, but as a competitive golfer I like to see forced carries and greens surrounded by high rough and deep bunkers...weeds out the people who can't get the ball up and get lucky just running it up... Like the wing foot massacre, the best players will emerge supreme and the spacing get bigger for a more accurate representation of ability...maybe there could be a way to make a course fun for recreational golfers but difficult enough for club champs, or junior tournaments

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Facing a 210 forced carry over water? that's when I pull out that Noodle I found in the woods last year.

I don't like forced carries over 60 yds. when there's water involved. Even that can get frustrating for a recreational golfer.

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A good golf course has a mixture of penal holes and more relaxed holes.   Tiger has a good idea there.   I don't like courses that are designed for low handicappers specifically because those are the people who hit enough good shots that many obstacles, carries and things that take you out of play aren't a big issue for them.   But it means that the other players get frustrated.    That said, there should be very hard courses because some people like to play them, but it's nice to see someone who is so good at the game recognize that the rest of us could use a break.

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Id be fine with a forced carry topped out at 185 or so from the whites. That way, short or long hitter, as long as the ball is struck well you are rewarded. For me it could be just a 50 yard carry. If i hit it wrong i wont clear that either

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The problem isn't forced carries, it's that too many people play tees that are completely inappropriate in the first place.

Fwiw, I don't know that I've ever played a 6,000 yard course that had a 210 yard mandatory forced carry. Certainly not more than a very small handful over 50 years.

More than the forced carry issue, I see way too many instances where a hazard is placed so that it punishes a shot that was already terrible and in a bad spot.  For example, there is a hole at a course I play where there are 2 pot bunkers about 120 yards off the tee from the whites, and about 160 yards off the tees from the tips.  They serve no strategic purpose at all.  If you hit a shot that poorly do you really NEED the extra penalty of being in a bunker?  If the traps were not there you would still have a tough shot from a long way away.  There is an element of adding insult to injury that seems to stem from designers not thinking things through from the perspective of players of all abilities.  If you asked the designer why those bunkers are there I do not think they would have a sound reason.

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More than the forced carry issue, I see way too many instances where a hazard is placed so that it punishes a shot that was already terrible and in a bad spot.  For example, there is a hole at a course I play where there are 2 pot bunkers about 120 yards off the tee from the whites, and about 160 yards off the tees from the tips.  They serve no strategic purpose at all.  If you hit a shot that poorly do you really NEED the extra penalty of being in a bunker?  If the traps were not there you would still have a tough shot from a long way away.  There is an element of adding insult to injury that seems to stem from designers not thinking things through from the perspective of players of all abilities.  If you asked the designer why those bunkers are there I do not think they would have a sound reason.

I really agree with this as well.   One of the design features that I hate is when you go into a lateral hazard and the only place you have to drop is on the side of a hill.   many times I've hit into a lateral and then my drop is 6-8 inches above/below my feet.   At that point you might consider re-teeing, which makes it effectively OB.

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Note: This thread is 1841 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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