Architect's Notes

Give it a go

By August 14, 2017 No Comments

As a golf course architect, I encourage golfers to take chances. Challenging, and successfully navigating hazards, is the core principle of the game. Attacking the most dangerous hazards head on, with no leaning toward the safer route, is admiral to my eye as a course designer. Reward for pulling off this shot should be a gently sloped pin placement that offers a significant opportunity for scoring.

I generally shape the angle of play into greens with two-thirds of the pinable areas visible and easily accessible to any skill level of player. The other third is reserved for the gifted, talented, and masochistic.

The 12th at green at Whistling Straits is a great example. The shortest hole on the course, around 150 yards with a good sized green, par is possible for most players. To make it a little more fun, Pete Dye put the back third of the green up on a tiny platform damn near out in the middle of Lake Michigan. I don’t care if you aim for the middle of the green and four putting from there, you are probably better off than aiming at the back right pin. It’s like trying to hit you ball down your laundry shute from your neighbors house down the street.

This little chunk of green is as flat as a pancake. You could hole putts on that thing with your eyes closed. There may be trouble everywhere, but knocking one near that pin placement will give you sweet dreams for a week.