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Post by Shotrock on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 3:51 pm

The mind wanders .... will we see more reasonable set ups at the National Open?

https://golfweek.com/2019/01/07/golf-usga-19th-hole-mike-davis-departs-role-as-u-s-open-course-setup-chief-but-critics-remain/

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 4:51 pm

Pebble Beach will be a thankless venue for the new guy to start with.

I blamed Mike Davis for previous USGA fiascos and Donald Rumsfeld (and Cheney) for everything else in the world that I don't like . . . . . . .

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Post by dynamark on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 5:49 pm

Trumpy..?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 6:31 pm

dynamark wrote:Trumpy..?


He hasn't actually done much, just talked a lot!

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Post by Shotrock on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 6:35 pm

Agree about PB: small, bumpy and speedy greens alone could keep the scores where they want them.

They took out 8 acres of fairway at Merion a few years back to satisfy team Davis for his weekend tournament. The Merion you would play today is different.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 6:47 pm

I personally don't like any Tour or organisation to interfere with the structure of the course - e.g. chopping down trees etc. Narrow or widen fairways fine; grow rough, fine, speed up or resize greens fine; these can all be put back to how the course was before. If you don't like the course, or bits of the course, then don't go there.

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Post by George1507 on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 2:47 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:I personally don't like any Tour or organisation to interfere with the structure of the course - e.g. chopping down trees etc. Narrow or widen fairways fine; grow rough, fine, speed up or resize greens fine; these can all be put back to how the course was before. If you don't like the course, or bits of the course, then don't go there.

The course on the Open rota are continually dickered with to suit the R&A. New bunkers here and there, order of the holes changed, bunkers moved, fairways moved, new tees built etc. I think it's just a fact of life that in the 21st century, golf courses are changed on the whims of the competition organizing committee. Seldom do the changes improve the course for regular amateurs, I concede that making it harder for pro events is a necessity.

Courses like North Berwick West links, Prestwick, Princes and others are so popular now precisely because they haven't been changed. You still play them as they were 50 years ago.

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 4:07 pm

George1507 wrote:
Courses like North Berwick West links, Prestwick, Princes and others are so popular now precisely because they haven't been changed. You still play them as they were 50 years ago.

I like the sentiment, but surely the reality is these courses are just more affordable. I love North Berwick, but if Muirfield was the same price I know which one I would be playing.

Ironically, I think Princes is doing a lot of work to toughen it up. They have got Martin Ebert advising them, the guy who fiddles with the Open rota courses.


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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 4:27 pm

George1507 wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:I personally don't like any Tour or organisation to interfere with the structure of the course - e.g. chopping down trees etc. Narrow or widen fairways fine; grow rough, fine, speed up or resize greens fine; these can all be put back to how the course was before. If you don't like the course, or bits of the course, then don't go there.

The course on the Open rota are continually dickered with to suit the R&A. New bunkers here and there, order of the holes changed, bunkers moved, fairways moved, new tees built etc. I think it's just a fact of life that in the 21st century, golf courses are changed on the whims of the competition organizing committee. Seldom do the changes improve the course for regular amateurs, I concede that making it harder for pro events is a necessity.

I understand the need to build new back tees for the pros, given the way they now smash the ball. This doesn't make a difference to amateurs.

Are there a lot of other changes every year? I'm no expert on Open rota courses.

Order of holes changed? Is this Royal Liverpool? They have to do this for the Open week because the normal 18th has no space for grand stands. Any others?

New fairways etc.... Turnberry? Everyone says it's a massive improvement, but I have no clue myself.

There has to be a balance between retaining historical integrity and remaining relevant. I think it would be rubbish if the Open was effectively played in a museum of a golf course.

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Post by George1507 on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 11:27 am

raycastleunited wrote:
George1507 wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:I personally don't like any Tour or organisation to interfere with the structure of the course - e.g. chopping down trees etc. Narrow or widen fairways fine; grow rough, fine, speed up or resize greens fine; these can all be put back to how the course was before. If you don't like the course, or bits of the course, then don't go there.

The course on the Open rota are continually dickered with to suit the R&A. New bunkers here and there, order of the holes changed, bunkers moved, fairways moved, new tees built etc. I think it's just a fact of life that in the 21st century, golf courses are changed on the whims of the competition organizing committee. Seldom do the changes improve the course for regular amateurs, I concede that making it harder for pro events is a necessity.

I understand the need to build new back tees for the pros, given the way they now smash the ball. This doesn't make a difference to amateurs.

Are there a lot of other changes every year? I'm no expert on Open rota courses.

Order of holes changed? Is this Royal Liverpool? They have to do this for the Open week because the normal 18th has no space for grand stands. Any others?

New fairways etc.... Turnberry? Everyone says it's a massive improvement, but I have no clue myself.

There has to be a balance between retaining historical integrity and remaining relevant. I think it would be rubbish if the Open was effectively played in a museum of a golf course.

Relevant for - who? 100 pros who play there once every decade or 50,000 amateurs who play the course the other 519 weeks before the Open comes back?

Just for the record, in my lifetime there have been major changes that I have seen at -

Birkdale - the old par 3 17th was abandoned and a new par 3 put in earlier in the course. The old 17th tee is now the Open tee for the 18th. New bunkers put in all over the place.

Troon - the 12th green was moved back down the fairway, so the 13th tee didn't interfere with players putting out and the holes don't cross. Again, new bunkers put in and existing ones moved. The 15th fairway has been realigned left of where it used to be.

Hoylake - holes reordered for the Open.

Portrush - new closing holes built for the Open

Lytham - new bunkers and bunkers moved around

Muirfield - there have been extensions to the greens and a realignment to the 9th fairway.

Turnberry - new tees and a rerouted 16th. That's before whatever Trump is doing with it.

I agree that the Open shouldn't be played on courses that are just museum pieces, but I don't like the constant messing with courses that don't really improve them. Messing about for the sake of messing about. See also Els, Ernie, Wentworth.


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Post by pedro on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 11:41 am

I guess the moving around of bunkers is to accommodate that everyone (pros and amateurs) are hitting it longer these days? It hardly changes the character of the course, but to some degree just brings it back to how it was intended to be played when built?

Many of the other changes you mention are for logistical reasons and involve 1 or 2 holes. Nothing major IMO.

Mind you, AFAIK TOC was originally build to be played to other way around. Nobody is moaning about that.

Agree about Els/Wentworth though.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 1:03 pm

I have said for years now that the open rota should be Trumpton (if they can get a change of ownership), castle stuart, Renaissance, Dundonald and whatever has been built in England in the last 20 years or so.

There is no need to tweak and eventually wreck our great courses for the sake of a few tour pros playing them every 10 years. If those courses mentioned above don't like the idea of RandA tinkering then give it to the belfry.
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Post by pedro on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 1:16 pm

McLaren wrote:I have said for years now that the open rota should be Trumpton (if they can get a change of ownership), castle stuart, Renaissance, Dundonald and whatever has been built in England in the last 20 years or so.  
I guess they would have to change name too?

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Post by McLaren on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 1:20 pm

I noticed that when typing it, maybe he should have bought it as well as Trumpberry.
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Post by Shotrock on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 5:20 pm

Another factor is that the USGA would rather dictate to courses just exactly how things are to be done rather than address the elephant in the room: putting any sort of governor on the mighty manufacturers.

Having a US Open at your course will boost your ratings and reputation thereby increasing demand and the ability to raise prices and fees. Courses are lining up for that sort of stimulus.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 5:36 pm

Shotrock

Aren't a lot of the us open venues the sort of places that don't want to attract more play?

Although I guess hosting a US open could increase membership prices, assuming these places have spaces for new members.
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Post by Shotrock on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 5:47 pm

Mac - I think many representatives of a US Open candidate course might "say" that (and may in fact be chock full of guest play and pretty much charge members what they want), but I should have also mentioned the ego factor. That's pretty insatiable.

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Post by robopz on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 5:50 pm

The last thing I ever want to be is so smart I'm constantly outsmarting myself.

Signed - NOT Mike Davis

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 6:22 pm

pedro wrote:
McLaren wrote:I have said for years now that the open rota should be Trumpton (if they can get a change of ownership), castle stuart, Renaissance, Dundonald and whatever has been built in England in the last 20 years or so.  
I guess they would have to change name too?


Hopefully change it to DonaldDun.

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 11 Jan 2019, 8:07 pm

George1507 wrote:
raycastleunited wrote:
George1507 wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:I personally don't like any Tour or organisation to interfere with the structure of the course - e.g. chopping down trees etc. Narrow or widen fairways fine; grow rough, fine, speed up or resize greens fine; these can all be put back to how the course was before. If you don't like the course, or bits of the course, then don't go there.

The course on the Open rota are continually dickered with to suit the R&A. New bunkers here and there, order of the holes changed, bunkers moved, fairways moved, new tees built etc. I think it's just a fact of life that in the 21st century, golf courses are changed on the whims of the competition organizing committee. Seldom do the changes improve the course for regular amateurs, I concede that making it harder for pro events is a necessity.

I understand the need to build new back tees for the pros, given the way they now smash the ball. This doesn't make a difference to amateurs.

Are there a lot of other changes every year? I'm no expert on Open rota courses.

Order of holes changed? Is this Royal Liverpool? They have to do this for the Open week because the normal 18th has no space for grand stands. Any others?

New fairways etc.... Turnberry? Everyone says it's a massive improvement, but I have no clue myself.

There has to be a balance between retaining historical integrity and remaining relevant. I think it would be rubbish if the Open was effectively played in a museum of a golf course.

Relevant for - who? 100 pros who play there once every decade or 50,000 amateurs who play the course the other 519 weeks before the Open comes back?

Just for the record, in my lifetime there have been major changes that I have seen at -

Birkdale - the old par 3 17th was abandoned and a new par 3 put in earlier in the course. The old 17th tee is now the Open tee for the 18th. New bunkers put in all over the place.

Troon - the 12th green was moved back down the fairway, so the 13th tee didn't interfere with players putting out and the holes don't cross. Again, new bunkers put in and existing ones moved. The 15th fairway has been realigned left of where it used to be.

Hoylake - holes reordered for the Open.

Portrush - new closing holes built for the Open

Lytham - new bunkers and bunkers moved around

Muirfield - there have been extensions to the greens and a realignment to the 9th fairway.

Turnberry - new tees and a rerouted 16th. That's before whatever Trump is doing with it.

I agree that the Open shouldn't be played on courses that are just museum pieces, but I don't like the constant messing with courses that don't really improve them. Messing about for the sake of messing about. See also Els, Ernie, Wentworth.


That's interesting, thanks George.

Agree with you re Wentworth.

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Post by George1507 on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 4:53 pm

pedro wrote:I guess the moving around of bunkers is to accommodate that everyone (pros and amateurs) are hitting it longer these days? It hardly changes the character of the course, but to some degree just brings it back to how it was intended to be played when built?


I guess so, but it's a complicated business. The green at the 6th at Muirfield was extended because there was a new back tee put in for the 2013 Open. One of the greenside bunkers was moved. The word from the pro world was that the hole was now too tough because pros would be playing longer clubs for their second shots and couldn't stop the ball on the green especially when carrying it over the re-sited bunker. So they extended the green a few yards further to allow more landing space. Then, during the Open week, the weather was pretty hot and dry and several greens baked hard. So lots of players ended up over the green anyway - including Tiger - and they complained about how steep the downslope was just over the back. If the green hadn't been extended then the chip would have been a lot easier. So the plan before 2023 - or whenever - is to flatten the back of the green a bit more so there isn't such a big drop off behind the green, and to reduce the slopes just right and left of the green so the ball doesn't run off the side so easily.

So it seems to me that in pandering to the Open pros, they've changed this hole course quite considerably. I guess you could argue it's still a links course etc etc, so perhaps the character hasn't changed, but then again if you keep altering courses like this then eventually you do change the character of the course.

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Post by raycastleunited on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 10:13 am

George1507 wrote:
pedro wrote:I guess the moving around of bunkers is to accommodate that everyone (pros and amateurs) are hitting it longer these days? It hardly changes the character of the course, but to some degree just brings it back to how it was intended to be played when built?


I guess so, but it's a complicated business. The green at the 6th at Muirfield was extended because there was a new back tee put in for the 2013 Open. One of the greenside bunkers was moved. The word from the pro world was that the hole was now too tough because pros would be playing longer clubs for their second shots and couldn't stop the ball on the green especially when carrying it over the re-sited bunker. So they extended the green a few yards further to allow more landing space. Then, during the Open week, the weather was pretty hot and dry and several greens baked hard. So lots of players ended up over the green anyway - including Tiger - and they complained about how steep the downslope was just over  the back. If the green hadn't been extended then the chip would have been a lot easier. So the plan before 2023 - or whenever - is to flatten the back of the green a bit more so there isn't such a big drop off behind the green, and to reduce the slopes just right and left of the green so the ball doesn't run off the side so easily.

So it seems to me that in pandering to the Open pros, they've changed this hole course quite considerably. I guess you could argue it's still a links course etc etc, so perhaps the character hasn't changed, but then again if you keep altering courses like this then eventually you do change the character of the course.

Trigger's broom?

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Post by George1507 on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 10:22 am

A bit like Trigger's broom!

Ironically the word from the committee was "wish we hadn't changed it to begin with".

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Post by Eyetoldyouso on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 11:31 am

George
"Birkdale - the old par 3 17th was abandoned and a new par 3 put in earlier in the course. The old 17th tee is now the Open tee for the 18th. New bunkers put in all over the place."

Are you sure? That must have been one hell of a walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee; about 500 yards I guess.

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Post by George1507 on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 3:06 pm

The walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee is unchanged, except it used to be the 15th green to the 16th tee.

Arnold Palmer's famous shot commemorated by the plaque was from the rough on the 15th, but it is now the 16th hole.

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Post by Eyetoldyouso on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 5:02 pm

George1507 wrote:The walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee is unchanged, except it used to be the 15th green to the 16th tee.

Arnold Palmer's famous shot commemorated by the plaque was from the rough on the 15th, but it is now the 16th hole.

I understand that; thanks for the info.

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