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Trees in front of greens

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Post by incontinentia Thu 20 Aug 2015, 1:30 pm

I played a relatively unfamilar course last week, and was frustrated that on a number of approach shots the green was either partially or fully blocked out by massive oak trees that were located from 50-100 yards in front of the green. My shot shaping skills aren't the best, and I am not accurate enough to hit the specific point on the fairway that would have given me a clear shot into the green.

I found this quite unfair, and the end result was that I ended up missing the greens on these holes, and struggling (often unsuccessfully) to make par. I understand that a good course should test accuracy and shot-shaping ability, but I came away from the round feeling hard done by.

Here is the index 1 7th hole http://www.portarlingtongolf.com/Course/seven.html Huge tree in the middle of fairway about 100m out from green. I'm no course design guru, but when a hole is tree-lined isn't it a bit much to put a huge tree in the middle of the fairway aswell?!! Perhaps mclaren can shed some light.

Here is the par 5 13th, where I was in the middle of the fairway 100m out and could see a small sliver of the left edge of the green (the pin was back-right) due to an enormous oak tree 40 yards in front of the green. This felt a bit farcical to me.

What do you think of such matters? Is this a reasonable way to protect par?
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Post by McLaren Thu 20 Aug 2015, 1:41 pm

inco

Once in a round a tree that just shields a small amount of green that you need to shape the ball around is ok, but any more often than that and it becomes tedious as you have found out. The tree also has to stand alone away from other trees so that a recovery shot is possible.

The tree on the 7th hole that you mention above is not only in the middle of the fairway but n front of a bunker! That may be the worst bit of design ever.

It also looks like the 15th green is totally blocked by trees if you are on the right of the fairway.

Overall that looks like a really bad course.
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Post by super_realist Thu 20 Aug 2015, 1:49 pm

A bit Irish.

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Post by incontinentia Thu 20 Aug 2015, 1:55 pm

Its actually a great course apart from those issues mac (ranked 98th best in Ireland). The 14th is a cracking hole.

These things can be vexing though.
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Post by super_realist Thu 20 Aug 2015, 1:57 pm

Murrayshall is a bit like that. Quite good fun, and good course management practice.

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Post by MustPuttBetter Thu 20 Aug 2015, 2:18 pm

I agree with Mac, once in a round this idea might be novel, but any more and it's just a joke.
Surely the overriding design fundamental for any hole is it's got to be playable!

There’s a course near me, Hoebridge (nothing special). The 5th is a par 4, turns slightly to the right and from the start of the fairway to the green is completely uphill, probably about 30 yards raised. Right in front of the green hangs a tree. Ridiculous. You can’t play a normal shot in their as it will hit the tree, unless you get seriously lucky. You can’t try and hit a low one in as it’s a considerable incline. Unplayable
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Post by SmithersJones Thu 20 Aug 2015, 2:32 pm

incontinentia wrote:Its actually a great course apart from those issues mac (ranked 98th best in Ireland).

NBF, how many are there in total in Ireland?
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Post by incontinentia Thu 20 Aug 2015, 2:45 pm

SmithersJones wrote:
incontinentia wrote:Its actually a great course apart from those issues mac (ranked 98th best in Ireland).

NBF, how many are there in total in Ireland?
102 Very Happy

(Around 352)
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Post by navyblueshorts Thu 20 Aug 2015, 3:32 pm

Lordy, that's awful. I hate this sort of lazy 'feature' on a course. Remind me never to play there. As you can gather, I don't think this a good thing to do on a course...at all. Maybe occasionally, it could be justified but otherwise, nope.
Most people playing on any course are not single digits let alone close to, or better than, scratch. They cannot shape their shots at will and if they're genuinely big oaks, they aren't going over them either. Simply sticking big trees in the middle of the fairway is really, really stupid.
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Post by super_realist Thu 20 Aug 2015, 3:35 pm

I doubt it's that a tree was "stuck" there, most likely the hole was designed around it and the tree is subject to a tree preservation order.

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Post by SmithersJones Thu 20 Aug 2015, 3:38 pm

There must be a lot of rubbish in the 250 odd others then - nothing worse if you ask me. I played a course the other day where there are two big oaks in front of the first green, which is a downhill 180 yard par 3. Apparently the hole was designed to be played uphill so they would be behind it but for some reason it got changed. I tried to hit a high shot over and onto the green, got a big bounce and went through. Opponent bumped one down the hill and made 3 to my 4!
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Post by navyblueshorts Thu 20 Aug 2015, 3:44 pm

super_realist wrote:I doubt it's that a tree was "stuck" there, most likely the hole was designed around it and the tree is subject to a tree preservation order.
Of course. Still bollox though.
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Post by super_realist Thu 20 Aug 2015, 3:53 pm

I don't mid the odd thing like that, give me that over a 100 yard fairway with an unprotected green anyday.

Sometimes people have to remember that golf courses are not designed with THEIR handicap in mind. If there's a tree in the way, play round it, lay up short of it, etc.

You'll probably get a shot at the hole, so use it. Don't see the problem really, looks to be plenty room either side of it too.

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Post by incontinentia Thu 20 Aug 2015, 4:29 pm

I tried to draw the ball around the tree super, but pushed it and it pitched on a side slope which kicked it into the woods. It would probably be a standard draw shot for a good player, but its an unnatural shot shape for me.
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Post by super_realist Thu 20 Aug 2015, 4:39 pm

Can't you play it to whichever side of the tree is comfortable? Play it short, take your medicine etc? It is after all, only one tree, shouldn't be that hard to avoid.

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Post by McLaren Thu 20 Aug 2015, 4:45 pm

Super

It isn't just one tree that is the issue on a course like that. You are correct to say that it is possible to avoid any tree if you select an appropriate shot, but when you have to keep playing to avoid trees on every hole it can become very tedious.
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Post by incontinentia Thu 20 Aug 2015, 5:35 pm

super_realist wrote:Can't you play it to whichever side of the tree is comfortable? Play it short, take your medicine etc? It is after all, only one tree, shouldn't be that hard to avoid.
That tree is almost unavoidable off the tee. Anyway that hole isn't too bad compared to the 13th, on which I had almost no shot to the green from 100 metres out in the middle of the fairway!!
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Post by Roller_Coaster Thu 20 Aug 2015, 6:29 pm

incontinentia wrote:
SmithersJones wrote:
incontinentia wrote:Its actually a great course apart from those issues mac (ranked 98th best in Ireland).

NBF, how many are there in total in Ireland?
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Only 352 trees in Ireland and they had to put the bl00dy hole right behind one...

(for those literalists out there, it's only a joke)

Anyhoo, silly idea in general.

That said, there is one on the Old Course in Vilamoura on (I think) 3 or 4, par 3 downhill, but it has plenty of space to get up, go over and get down happily at green distance with a 7 iron for me. I really like the hole and it works and isn't too obtrusive and the shorter hitters I've played with were all ok too as it's not longer than a rescue for them and they could still get it up and down in time (although they do inevitably have that much more roll on landing).

There is also one on Pinhal (also Vilamoura) which IIRC I thought was probably just (if not more) stupid than the one cited in the OP. Although I found that whole course pretty stupid as the trees (on both sides on seemingly every hole) are now so mature and bushy and intrusive of the fairway that only accurate laser straight shots can get through. At least that's how it seemed to me the (one and sodding only) time I played/will play it.

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Post by SmithersJones Thu 20 Aug 2015, 6:37 pm

Agree completely about Pinhal - the only bad course in Villamoura.
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Post by George1507 Thu 20 Aug 2015, 8:21 pm

I agree about Pinhal. Threading it down a green ribbon is hard enough, but add in some seriously sloping fairways and it becomes frustrating, then funny, then farcical.

I played it in 2013 after a dry spell, and that shortish par 4 - maybe the fourth - was impossible. You have to hit down the left because the fairway slopes so much, but the rough on the left is irrigated and thick,  so the ball stuck there, with trees in the way of the green. Anything landing on the fairway just ran into the rough on the right, under the umbrella pines. We tried dropping a ball on the fairway, but even that just rolled and rolled under the pines. Chipping out was the only shot, but that either snagged in the left rough or rolled back under the pines further down on the right.

Trees in the middle of the fairway, or right on the line to the middle of the green are a bit silly.

Also I don't like bunkers that you can't see from the tee, and are close enough to the perfect line that one bounce can take your ball from the perfect place to having to chip out.

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Post by SetupDeterminesTheMotion Fri 21 Aug 2015, 9:28 am

Pinhal..now there's a good/bad subject.

The 17th must be the worst designed hole ever. A dogleg par 5 where you drive must go at least 230 yds, to allow you to play your next, up around the dogleg that bends back on you, nearly 330 degrees.

Or you try the impossible off the tee, hit over the OB & very high tress to a fairway that runs perpendicular to the tee box. To a fairway that's about only 30yds wide at that point.

I am never ever going to play there again, even though Golfbreaks & YGT try to get you to play there as part of their offer.
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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 11:10 am

I played Pinhal and enjoyed it (admittedly this was almost 10 years ago so things may have got worse). I found myself hitting a hybrid quite a lot off the tee, and then for approaches because I was further away than if I'd hit driver. I didn't mind the trees too much because the ground underneath them was perfectly playable. You always had a shot from the "pine straw" and could usually recover with a well executed low punched draw or fade. I agree some of the holes have become too narrow... they need a good pruning to restore the design to how it was 20 or 30 years ago.

... and by the way, there is no hole with a 330 degree dogleg!!! It's probably 80 - 90 degrees.

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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 11:19 am

Back to the OP, I'm not a fan of having a tree / trees in the middle of a fairway. It's ok as an unusual feature on 1 hole, maybe 2, but no more. And you should be able to play over/round/under to create options.

Trees encroaching from the side is a different matter. I think it's a good strategic challenge to have a hole where you need to drive it down one side of the fairway to get a good line in to the green.

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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 11:20 am

And finally, a 440 yard par 5! That's a bit soft isn't it?

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Post by incontinentia Fri 21 Aug 2015, 11:29 am

Yes it is but there's plenty of trouble around the green so I guess it messes with the player's head!

Risk/reward and so forth.
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Post by McLaren Fri 21 Aug 2015, 12:07 pm

raycastleunited wrote:And finally, a 440 yard par 5! That's a bit soft isn't it?

Have you seen the hole

13th Hole portarlington:


Given that most players won't get more than about 240 out of their driver that is a long way to go over water for the second.  I hate to bring up the forced carry you are willing to take on debate agian (actually I relish this sort of thing) but a 200+ second shot over water isn't something I would try.

I imagine a hole like this is a six shotter minimum for players at the hacking level, like Davie.  :whistle:
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 21 Aug 2015, 2:18 pm

Only excuse for a tree in the middle of a fairway is if it's to separate two separate routings to the green, a split fairway if you like.
Can't possibly imagine anyone trying to justify a tree in front of a green.

Agree with ray that trees encroaching from one side of a fairway is a good strategic ploy - a la Harbour Town for instance.

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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 2:31 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Only excuse for a tree in the middle of a fairway is if it's to separate two separate routings to the green, a split fairway if you like.
Can't possibly imagine anyone trying to justify a tree in front of a green.

Agree with ray that trees encroaching from one side of a fairway is a good strategic ploy - a la Harbour Town for instance.

Good point about split fairways! 7th hole on the Marquess course at Woburn is a stunning example of this: beautiful example of risk/reward.

http://www.woburngolf.co.uk/courses/marquess/holes/?hole=7

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Post by SmithersJones Fri 21 Aug 2015, 2:33 pm

That is a great hole. When I played it last year every one of my group tried to aim right but pulled it left!
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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 2:43 pm

McLaren wrote:
raycastleunited wrote:And finally, a 440 yard par 5! That's a bit soft isn't it?

Have you seen the hole

13th Hole portarlington:


Given that most players won't get more than about 240 out of their driver that is a long way to go over water for the second.  I hate to bring up the forced carry you are willing to take on debate agian (actually I relish this sort of thing) but a 200+ second shot over water isn't something I would try.

I imagine a hole like this is a six shotter minimum for players at the hacking level, like Davie.  Whistle

Mac,
This hole is a tough par 4, not a par 5. Although the par of a hole probably shouldn't influence your decision making, by assigning this as a par 5 you are encouraging players to lay up. If this was a par on the card a lot more people would try to take on the carry.

My previous club finishes with a 440 yard par 4. The green is surrounded by water to the front and the right, and OOB to the left and the rear. Brilliant finishing hole. I was always pretty disciplined and only went for the green if I had nailed my tee shot, but even then it could still be nerve wracking.

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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 2:45 pm

SmithersJones wrote:That is a great hole. When I played it last year every one of my group tried to aim right but pulled it left!

Haha! When I played it I tried to play safe and aimed left, but pushed it right!

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Post by McLaren Fri 21 Aug 2015, 3:46 pm

Ray

Forget what it says on the card, that hole is a 3+ shot hole for most players.
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Post by raycastleunited Fri 21 Aug 2015, 3:58 pm

How do you define par? Is it not approximately what a scratch player should score? A scratch player would expect to drive it over 240 yards, hit the green in 2 and then 2 putt.

I'm happy for you to recalculate par based on what most players score. It would help stop the slide in my handicap

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Post by Davie Fri 21 Aug 2015, 4:32 pm

Did I miss something? I thought the references to a 440 yard hole were talking about a different hole. That diagram has no yardages on it but it doesn't look that difficult as a 3 shot par 5. Even for a higher handicapper who may duff one of the first two shots and still not fancy the carry, it's a 4 shotter at most

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Post by McLaren Fri 21 Aug 2015, 4:53 pm

Davie

Sorry, the yardages are missing. Inco said it was 440 from tee to green.

I agree, it is a 3 shot par 5 for most players. You would have to be a supreme ball striker to go for the green in 2 without taking on unacceptable levels of risk.
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Post by Davie Fri 21 Aug 2015, 8:39 pm

I thought Inco's 440 yd par 5 was a different hole. If it's the same one then it's only 3-wood, 6-iron, wedge even for me

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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 8:02 am

McLaren wrote:Davie

Sorry, the yardages are missing.  Inco said it was 440 from tee to green.

I agree, it is a 3 shot par 5 for most players.  You would have to be a supreme ball striker to go for the green in 2 without taking on unacceptable levels of risk.

First of all, how is a 440 yard hole a par 5, secondly, why would you need to be a "supreme" ball striker to get up in 2?

It's a 260 yard drive followed by a 180 yard second shot. That's within plenty of peoples range with relative ease I would have thought.

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Post by incontinentia Mon 24 Aug 2015, 9:25 am

Here's the 13th hole with yardages.
http://www.portarlingtongolf.com/Course/thirteen.html

I think a 260 yard drive would be a huge hit for most handicap golfers super. Even at that, the second shot would have to be very high quality due to the amount of trouble around the green.
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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 9:31 am

Must be the most easiest of par 5's then.

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Post by incontinentia Mon 24 Aug 2015, 9:48 am

Super- what's the biggest carry you would take on to a green over water before having doubts?
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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 9:53 am

Probably about 200 before I'd be thinking about the potential impact of a bad shot on my score, however, given that it's a water hazard in this example and not OB, the potential penalty is less severe.

I'm thinking of a comparison with the 18th at Leven. 456 yard par four. Big wide burn right in front of the green, OB back and left. Usually take that on.

As a par 5 though, that looks a very easy hole. 4 iron, 7/8 iron, 52/PW wedge.

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Post by MustPuttBetter Mon 24 Aug 2015, 9:58 am

I would guess that most club golfers find the driver easier to hit than their 4 iron.
Assuming people might on average get an extra 30 yards (possibly more) out of their driver versus a 4 iron, it would be interesting to see if that par 5 at 440 actually plays on average any harder than a similar par 5 at 470 or a touch more
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Post by McLaren Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:01 am

If club golfers are being honest they know that 170 should be the max forced carry they take on without facing pointless levels of risk.
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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:03 am

Well, then hit driver.
Assuming an average club golfer hits a driver about 220. That leaves another 220, split that in two and it's a Driver/Wedge/Wedge.

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Post by MustPuttBetter Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:28 am

McLaren wrote:If club golfers are being honest they know that 170 should be the max forced carry they take on without facing pointless levels of risk.

Don't agree with this, but then we've had this discussion before!
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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:30 am

Speak for yourself Mac.

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Post by Bob_the_Job Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:37 am

McLaren wrote:If club golfers are being honest they know that 170 should be the max forced carry they take on without facing pointless levels of risk.

The pure lack of logic in this statement annoys me. A "club golfer" can play off anything from +2 or 3 to -28 so putting them all in the same league is stupid.

Even setting aside handicap, the four ball I play in is mixed ability (7 to 18 h'cap) but none of us would really fear a 170 yard carry. Yes sometimes some of us will screw it up, but not every time and besides not every shot is meant to be low risk.
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Post by super_realist Mon 24 Aug 2015, 10:41 am

I get the impression Mac thinks all club golfers just hit a daisy cutter along the ground every shot.

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Post by incontinentia Mon 24 Aug 2015, 11:00 am

I would rather have a 200 carry than a 170 due to how much easier my hybrid is to hit than a medium/long iron.
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Post by Bob_the_Job Mon 24 Aug 2015, 11:06 am

incontinentia wrote:I would rather have a 200 carry than a 170 due to how much easier my hybrid is to hit than a medium/long iron.

Get another higher loft hybrid or a 7 or 9 wood? 170 yard carry for me is a big 6 or smooth 5 iron, but when I'm having a day when I'm not confident with my irons, I'd take my 23 degree hybrid and go about 3 inches down the grip for a 170 carry. Actually lands softer than the iron shot too.
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Trees in front of greens Empty Re: Trees in front of greens

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