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HJJ003

Augusta National...without the Prestige.

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With the masters behind us (:~() I thought I would throw this out there to keep us talking about the “hallowed” pines of Augusta National. I have been thinking about this all week and thought I would see what the TST opinion is:

Obviously, with all it’s history Augusta is a golfers dream come true. But what if the course was designed less than 20 years ago? What if it looked exactly like it does today, but had no history or major championship tied to it? Would it be a bucket list golf course? In other words, if the course had none of the history and prestige it has today would the design itself be worthy being one of the best golf courses in the world? 

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I don't know that people can answer the question.

Sometimes a course is elevated in stature because of those things, and there's nothing wrong with that, IMO. Would Pebble be Pebble if it was built 20 years ago and never hosted anything? I don't know, but who cares…? Because it is, and does have that history.

Also… https://thesandtrap.com/how-to/create-a-poll/

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I think so. If it wasn't a private club, it would be a resort course with greens fees like Pebble Beach! The thing is, the grounds keeping crew can make that course perform any way they want it to. Heard a comment over Master's weekend where Rory went to play a practice round the week before Master's week. Then, he played a round during Master's week, and the course played completely differently!

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9 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't know that people can answer the question.

Sometimes a course is elevated in stature because of those things, and there's nothing wrong with that, IMO. Would Pebble be Pebble if it was built 20 years ago and never hosted anything? I don't know, but who cares…? Because it is, and does have that history.

Also… https://thesandtrap.com/how-to/create-a-poll/

I think the views alone would make Pebble a world class golf course even if it had never hosted anything. 

Also- Just tried to add the poll, but it could no longer be edited. My bad will  include poll next time. 

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9 hours ago, HJJ003 said:

With the masters behind us (:~() I thought I would throw this out there to keep us talking about the “hallowed” pines of Augusta National. I have been thinking about this all week and thought I would see what the TST opinion is:

Obviously, with all it’s history Augusta is a golfers dream come true. But what if the course was designed less than 20 years ago? What if it looked exactly like it does today, but had no history or major championship tied to it? Would it be a bucket list golf course? In other words, if the course had none of the history and prestige it has today would the design itself be worthy being one of the best golf courses in the world? 

FWIW, my mother, who is not a golfer, watched some of the Masters yesterday. She was struck with the stunning beauty of the course. She is an avid gardener and was just amazed. I agree with her, it is one of the most beautiful courses in the world even without the history. I think it would have that reputation. That is  assuming that they would make it that beautiful without The Masters being there.

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10 hours ago, HJJ003 said:

But what if the course was designed less than 20 years ago? What if it looked exactly like it does today, but had no history or major championship tied to it? Would it be a bucket list golf course?

I would say probably not.

If it never held a tournament and didn't have the history link with Bobby Jones, then I don't know how it gets recognition with it being a private course from a small town.

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I can say this about Augusta National, it is absolute perfect. The golf course looks almost fake because it's so perfect. I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing that but for those of you/me who have been there, I will always say that television does not do that course justice. It's actually the only place/sporting event that I have ever attended that actually surpasses my expectations. Even if the Masters tournament was not held there every year I would think it would still be regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world (giving it's conditioning and layout). 

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25 minutes ago, Bucki1968 said:

Even if the Masters tournament was not held there every year I would think it would still be regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world (giving it's conditioning and layout). 

Would it be maintained as such if it wasn't that Masters?

Look at old photo's from the 60's. It wasn't the pristine course it is today.

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34 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Would it be maintained as such if it wasn't that Masters?

Look at old photo's from the 60's. It wasn't the pristine course it is today.

correct, but the design was there, the greens were undulated but burmuda.  It takes a while to get those 100ft loblolly pines to the 36"dia that they now are.  AugNat'l has $$ like one could not imagine.   and to answer the question, it takes ages to achieve this prestige with no slips. 

What most don't realize and is amazing is the damage done in the 2014 ice storm (that took down Ike's tree in 17 fairway).  To have the tournament less than 2 months later is more than amazing.  Maybe half of these 100footers were lost on the course and most don't realize it.  In the shots (photos to open segments of masters coverage) across the way, those pines that look deformed are some of the 'saved' ones from that devastating storm.

(sorry, got a little distracted with that last paragraph)

also, me thinks CBS has helped with the prestige and exclusive-ness.  There is quite a bond between the two.

Edited by burr

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I have been a visitor to Augusta National. About 15 years ago, and the place was beautiful back then. 

Would it be as prestigious today as it is, if it were only 20 years old? Yeah, I think so. The tight, wealthy membership would steer it that way. It would be prestigious in a different way because of it's beauty, and the money that backs it.  

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Here's another way to think about this question: how will Bluejack National be seen in 15-18 years?

Kind of a similar deal there: an exclusive course, an homage to Augusta National, TW designed… etc. How will that course be seen in 15 years?

It won't have anywhere near the profile that Augusta National does, but… duh. The history, the tournament, Bobby Jones, etc. ALL add to the allure and prestige.

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We've got one here (totally private club) that has dreams of similar prestige;  has begun with an annual amateur event here (started maybe 5 years ago) attracts teens from around the world.  takes time and $$ and plenty room doesn't hurt.  it is soon on the calendar.   

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Here's another way to think about this question: how will Bluejack National be seen in 15-18 years?

Kind of a similar deal there: an exclusive course, an homage to Augusta National, TW designed… etc. How will that course be seen in 15 years?

It won't have anywhere near the profile that Augusta National does, but… duh. The history, the tournament, Bobby Jones, etc. ALL add to the allure and prestige.

That topic gets discussed often around these parts. I think the course will be seen as a pristine tribute, but will still fall short of Texas designs Whispering Pines and Dallas National. But yeah probably will still be seen as a very highly rated course. 

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Since Bobby Jones had so much to do with golf course and then the tournament, I wonder who would be able to build a golf course and have an invitational tournament that could be something to rival the Masters. Since many of the players currently help design golf courses and a few even host a tournament, I don't see it being as "special" as it was back then. Can the Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus tournaments ever come close? I doubt it. What about Colonial (Hogan)?

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If the question is interpreted as does the course have what it takes to be a major venue without the prestigious history, then the answer is yes.  It's a magnificant course and unlike any other.

That said, how does any course become a classic venue? It takes either history, or $$/promotion and usually both. 

For instance, TPC Sawgrass.  I personally can't stand the place. But the PGA Tour created it and made it what it is today in record time.  It helps that one of, if not the, strongest fields play it once a year and return to it, similar to Augusta.  But it's not attractive to me.  Feels contrived.  Many others disagree, I know.  Obviously.

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On solely architecture, I think Augusta National after Tiger-proofing is a good to great course. In my amateur opinion, though, I don't think it would be a bucket list course without the history or prestige. It would be a course that you would go out of your way to play, but probably not travel cross-country just to play on.

The problem is that there are a lot of holes that are unnecessarily hard and non-strategic. 12-16 might be the best stretch of holes anywhere in the world, yes. But there's a lot of meh:

  • 1 is boring. miss the fairway bunker and trees and hit the green to make par. It's just put it in this particular spot off the tee and then again on the green. Meh.
  • 4 is bad. I don't think that green is designed to accept long iron shots, and there are pin positions whether either of the bunkers is death. And there's no chance to run up to the green, either.
  • 5 I personally don't like, but it's not as bad as some of the other holes. It's just a bland hole to me - again, miss the bunkers and hit the green.
  • 7 is an abomination. Hit this tiny fairway and then hit the green with a mid iron, even though the green was designed for a wedge approach.
  • 11 is also an abomination. Hit this tiny fairway and then bail out right to avoid the pond.
  • 17 and 18 need some serious tree trimming. I think chutes off the tee like they have are needlessly penal, especially if you're not a PGA Tour pro.

Every other hole is good to great in my book, but you can get that at many courses without the architectural malpractice of holes like 7 or 11.

That said, before Tiger-proofing the course with all the extra trees, it was worthy of its lofty ranking. The course gave you enough room for recovery if you missed your spot, but that also meant you were recovering for par and not for birdie. It still does that on a lot of holes (for example, 13 gives you a flat lie and I think a shorter 2nd shot if you take your tee shot left, but it brings the creek into play), but there's too many target golf holes to make it truly spectacular without the prestige and history.

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10 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

On solely architecture, I think Augusta National after Tiger-proofing is a good to great course. In my amateur opinion, though, I don't think it would be a bucket list course without the history or prestige. It would be a course that you would go out of your way to play, but probably not travel cross-country just to play on.

The problem is that there are a lot of holes that are unnecessarily hard and non-strategic. 12-16 might be the best stretch of holes anywhere in the world, yes. But there's a lot of meh:

  • 1 is boring. miss the fairway bunker and trees and hit the green to make par. It's just put it in this particular spot off the tee and then again on the green. Meh.
  • 4 is bad. I don't think that green is designed to accept long iron shots, and there are pin positions whether either of the bunkers is death. And there's no chance to run up to the green, either.
  • 5 I personally don't like, but it's not as bad as some of the other holes. It's just a bland hole to me - again, miss the bunkers and hit the green.
  • 7 is an abomination. Hit this tiny fairway and then hit the green with a mid iron, even though the green was designed for a wedge approach.
  • 11 is also an abomination. Hit this tiny fairway and then bail out right to avoid the pond.
  • 17 and 18 need some serious tree trimming. I think chutes off the tee like they have are needlessly penal, especially if you're not a PGA Tour pro.

Every other hole is good to great in my book, but you can get that at many courses without the architectural malpractice of holes like 7 or 11.

That said, before Tiger-proofing the course with all the extra trees, it was worthy of its lofty ranking. The course gave you enough room for recovery if you missed your spot, but that also meant you were recovering for par and not for birdie. It still does that on a lot of holes (for example, 13 gives you a flat lie and I think a shorter 2nd shot if you take your tee shot left, but it brings the creek into play), but there's too many target golf holes to make it truly spectacular without the prestige and history.

This is the first time I watched close to 15 hours of golf on TV and PC to maintain maximum group coverage. I think I find myself agreeing with you on most of your assessment, except for 11. 

To me the difficulty of Augusta is inversely proportional to the moisture on the greens. I feel like scoring is disproportionately dependent on putting. Way to many slippery putts on the course for luck to be a bigger factor in holing them then other difficult course in the PGA rota. The 'knowledge' of where to hit it seems to be overblown too. Almost ever green seems to have the same strategy - just hit on the side of the slope where the ball will stop momentarily for a pit stop then take a snake slide to the hole area. It is target golf even though the greens are massive. Of course a little rain and the whole thing slows down to a whimper. Yawn.  

Dang, the place is magnificent visually though even on TV. I envy folks who have been there in person. It would be on my bucket list to visit more than play (not that I would have much of a choice.. lol!)

   

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33 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

This is the first time I watched close to 15 hours of golf on TV and PC to maintain maximum group coverage. I think I find myself agreeing with you on most of your assessment, except for 11. 

To me the difficulty of Augusta is inversely proportional to the moisture on the greens. I feel like scoring is disproportionately dependent on putting. Way to many slippery putts on the course for luck to be a bigger factor in holing them then other difficult course in the PGA rota. The 'knowledge' of where to hit it seems to be overblown too. Almost ever green seems to have the same strategy - just hit on the side of the slope where the ball will stop momentarily for a pit stop then take a snake slide to the hole area. It is target golf even though the greens are massive. Of course a little rain and the whole thing slows down to a whimper. Yawn.  

Dang, the place is magnificent visually though even on TV. I envy folks who have been there in person. It would be on my bucket list to visit more than play (not that I would have much of a choice.. lol!)

   

The Fried Egg, where I go for all my architecture takes, had a good article on the problems with 11 (and other holes, too). If you want to see a little more of what I'm saying, then I would recommend reading it: http://www.friedegg.co/golf-courses/augusta-national-changes

I think you're way wrong about Augusta being too dependent on putting. Year after year it's the great ball strikers winning here. Look at the bad putters that have won here recently: Bubba, Sergio, Adam Scott. Rory isn't a good putter and he was in the mix. Spieth has been an awful putter this year, and he was in the mix. But all of those players are premium ball strikers. You need to putt well, sure, but it's not a putting contest.

To get birdies on any hole other than the par 5s, you have to hit your spot, especially on the approach. And that's great - that's how it's supposed to me. I don't like when holes make you hit one spot on the drive and then one spot on the on the green to avoid a bogey. I don't think 11 had a birdie on it all weekend. That's not great.

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Note: This thread is 820 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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