Golf Course Architecture: Issue 53 JULY 2018

47 Par fives is relatively expensive to acquire and few architects can freely work on massive pieces of land, which naturally offers a multitude of great holes. Designing in more confined areas is difficult when it comes to par fives. “The par fives are also the holes which highlights the biggest differences between the shorter and longer hitting golfer. A longer hitter can hit 600 yards in two shots where a shorter hitter might only reach 350. It is close to impossible to deal with this difference using only bunkers. Holes like the eighteenth at Pebble Beach are naturally interesting and challenging for all golfers, because the reward is obvious for taking risks – but at the same time allowing alternative safer routes. For many golfers, par fives are par sixes or sevens as they don’t have the ability to reach the green in three shots. So on many par fives, there is more than one transportation shot. It is really difficult to deal with as it demands more hazards to add interest to individual shots and as a result the holes can then become quite freakish with a ridiculous amount of hazards. “Variety is mentioned by many architects. Shortly after I became a golfer and a budding golf course architect at age 12, Golf Digest had an article from Gary Player on what makes a great golf course,” says Jeff Brauer. “He mentioned a par five reachable by all, two in between, and one true three-shotter as an ideal balance. That always stuck with me. Par four holes efficiently create strategy in two shots, the set up (the tee shot) and depending on that, the key shot (approach shot). Three shots is simply not required for strategy. Historically, I gather they were introduced in limited fashion either because the land forced it, or for variety, and then became standard fixtures. I think the second and third shots on a non-reachable par four, or second, third and fourth shots on a par five for average recreational women players, repeated over a dozen times a round, is the most boring. We should probably do something about that before worrying about good male players even more. The obvious solution is appropriately shorter tees.” English architect Robin Hiseman has a slightly different take. “If you’ve found four parts of the site with different characteristics then you will have individual character for each of the holes. It’s no more of a Five rules for outstanding fives Golf course architect Jason Straka shares five rules that he employs for the creation of outstanding par five holes: Rule 1. Make them fun. Question is, what makes them fun? Rule 2. Variety in all forms. Variety in length – a hole that may be considered a par four and a half, a shorter five that is clearly reachable, a medium five that may be reachable with long clubs and perhaps a monster that is clearly not reachable for the vast majority of golfers. Variety in wind direction and elevation (uphill, downhill, level, right to left and left to right side slopes). Variety in dogleg directions and straight. And alternate the angle of attack and risk/reward – which is promoted by width. Rule 3. Location, location… Where in the round do they fall? Gambling holes that are right up front are not nearly as exciting those later in the round. If you’re behind on your match and come to a reachable five that offers a shot at an eagle, a golfer is clearly more apt to gamble for it. Not so earlier in the round. Rule 4. Make the green fit. The green should match the demands of the hole. There is nothing more frustrating than slogging down a long, narrow hole only to get beat over the head by a crazy undulating green. Rule 5. Break the rules. Every one of these rules has been broken by courses with great sets of fives! At two of the world’s most famous par fives, the thirteenth at Augusta (top) and the eighteenth at Pebble Beach, the reward is obvious for taking risk Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images Photo: Pebble Beach Company

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