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Least favorite design feature on a golf hole.


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#1 larrybud

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:09 PM

Played a course with a couple of golfwrx's yesterday at Metamora CC, and something came to my attention.  As a comparative short knocker (my good ones go 240), one of my least favorite holes is a long par 4 with a forced layup off the tee.  I don't want to hit a 200 yard tee ball and leave myself with 200+ in.  And it was even worse than that, because it was a dogleg left, with the tee ball over a lake.  The big hitters can cut the corner, but to be safe I can't do that.  So any amount I push it right leaves me with an even longer approach shot.

Another type of hole I don't like is one whose design overly punishes a tee ball which is barely offline.  A course called Greystone which we played Saturday has the final two holes like this.  They're ridiculous designs.  Hit a tee ball 1 foot too far right and it's as bad as hitting it 50 yards too far right.


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#2 scs1070

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:14 PM

Having to "layup" off th tee on a long par 4 or par 5 annoys me a good bit.  Why not just make it a long par 3 if we all need to lay up to 220 out?

I also have issue with any sort of trees coming into play on par 3s.

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#3 Random Hack

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:17 PM

+1 for forced layups - if I'm a longer hitter than most, why does the designer wish to artificially remove that advantage from me?

Played a course with three of those holes the other day, made me want to puke.

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#4 scott_Donald

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:17 PM

swing faster!!!

but in all seriousness... golf courses are designed to have varying length of tees...

my course -

blue - red - yellow - white - gold

you can play from any of these tees and sure that makes golf fun for everyone...

Sunday i played in a 4 ball - one member of our party was in his late 50s and on holes where i hit driver wedge he wasn't reaching with a driver 3 wood... he probably should have played off the shorter tees... he still scored very well though...

As far as design of a course... the course can be very hard - One local course here - links... if you miss the fairway by 10 yards or so then 50/50 to find your ball... but that just makes you hit the ball straighter - to me the course is still fair and fun!!!

soem of the best holes in golf are thinking holes - Par 5s where you dont just belt the ball off the tee...

My biggest gripe are holes that you cannot see where on earth you are going... the 15th at Cruden Bay spoils suck a great course... 220 yards par 3 and you just aim at a pole!!!

Edited by scott_Donald, 25 April 2011 - 12:34 PM.

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#5 whiteout73

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:20 PM

I'm a fairly long hitter (average 290 or so).  I played an Arnold Palmer course on Hilton Head Island (Crescent Pointe), and there were several holes (notably a couple of the par 5's) where if you really smoke a driver down the middle, you'll go too far, into the junk.  I'm not talking about driving through a dogleg, these are actually straight holes.  I just find that type of hole very annoying- a par 5 where you can't hit driver.  I've played a couple other Palmer courses, and that seems to be a common theme.  On a different note, I remember playing a course where, on a par 5, there were a few boulders in the middle of the fairway, about where a good drive would end up.  I'm sorry, but what sense does it make to get punished for hitting a long, straight drive??

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#6 scs1070

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:23 PM

View Postwhiteout73, on 25 April 2011 - 12:20 PM, said:

I'm a fairly long hitter (average 290 or so).  I played an Arnold Palmer course on Hilton Head Island (Crescent Pointe), and there were several holes (notably a couple of the par 5's) where if you really smoke a driver down the middle, you'll go too far, into the junk.  I'm not talking about driving through a dogleg, these are actually straight holes.  I just find that type of hole very annoying- a par 5 where you can't hit driver.  I've played a couple other Palmer courses, and that seems to be a common theme.  On a different note, I remember playing a course where, on a par 5, there were a few boulders in the middle of the fairway, about where a good drive would end up.  I'm sorry, but what sense does it make to get punished for hitting a long, straight drive??

See 18 at Bay Hill.

As a whole, I am not a big Palmer designed fan.  A lot of water and hitting to islands and spots, especially on Par 5s.

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#7 desaille

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM

Least favorite design are BLIND hazards or trouble down them middle of fairway. Where you cannot see off the teebox
Not talking about split fairways or anything. We're talking wide open straight fairways but have a small patch of tall grass right in the middle of it.

Not a fan of 18 being a par 3

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#8 One_Putt_Blunder

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM

Agree about the forced layup part, Troon North has a long par 4 at 495 yards, it used to be a par 5. It is downhill and there is a desert wash cutting through the fairway at about 290ish off the tee tips 250 or so from the one ups. More often than not Im forced to play 3wood or hybrid off the tee and leave a much longer second shot into the green.

Couple other ones I am not fond of

1: Converted par 5's into par 4's Most will have greens that were designed to have wedges hit into them and now that they are par 4's you are hitting long iron/hybrid into them.
2: Island greens
3: Trees that have matured and have changed the design aspect of a hole.
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#9 jaskanski

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.
What bugs me about a hole? A lack-lustre par 3 with no real feature either front to back or left to right. If there is one hole where club selection is paramount, then a par 3 should be it - after all there should be an ideal club or shot. Leaving the golfer with a vague proposition of yardage or placement isn't really anything better than finding the fairway on a par 4 with a specific club. Funnily enough, if most golfers paid the same amount of attention to all holes as they did par 3's, in terms of ball placement and club selection, you might actually improve your fairways hit and GIR ratio. Just a thought.

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#10 Dukefan1

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:32 PM

One big a _ _ tree in the middle of the fairway.  I play a course where there are two holes  with a big tree in the middle of the fairway.

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#11 Random Hack

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:39 PM

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM, said:

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.

I think you're missing the point - if the architecture of the hole doesn't allow a player from the tips to use a driver on long par 4s and par 5s, than I (and clearly lots of others) feel like that's some shoddy course design.

If you're gonna make everyone lay up to 260 and have 215 in, then just make it a long par 3.

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#12 MichaelAndrewBrown

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:41 PM

LONG PAR THREES. I don't understand why this is a trend now. It's okay to have one or two on a course, but the short par three has been completely eliminated. I don't like that.

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#13 jaskanski

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:43 PM

View PostYipMaster, on 25 April 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM, said:

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.

I think you're missing the point - if the architecture of the hole doesn't allow a player from the tips to use a driver on long par 4s and par 5s, than I (and clearly lots of others) feel like that's some shoddy course design.

If you're gonna make everyone lay up to 260 and have 215 in, then just make it a long par 3.


Does a par 5 really need to be reachable in two? Perhaps that's why it's called a par 5. A long par 4 is, well, a long par 4. What are you expecting for your second shot? A 9-iron? If you ask me, a course that forces the golfer to think and use a club that may be out of his/her comfort zone on a particular hole is good architecture. Who wants to hit driver and iron every time?

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#14 Marrrk

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:46 PM

It's funny, was just thinking about this yesterday after playing Pound Ridge (Pete Dye).

I hate hitting uphill and i hate blind shots. Not just because it is harder, but also because I love taking in the beautiful landscape of a hole as it's laid out before me. Nothing does it for me more than a raised tee box looking down to the fairway. I love watching a ball soar through the air and watching where it lands and where that is in relationship to the rest of the hole. Hitting a tee shot uphill or, even worse, not being able to see the putting surface when my ball lands on it both kinda suck some of the fun out.

I also am not fond of any course that doesn't have at least one short Par 3 (90 to 130 yards)

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#15 scs1070

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:49 PM

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:43 PM, said:

View PostYipMaster, on 25 April 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM, said:

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.

I think you're missing the point - if the architecture of the hole doesn't allow a player from the tips to use a driver on long par 4s and par 5s, than I (and clearly lots of others) feel like that's some shoddy course design.

If you're gonna make everyone lay up to 260 and have 215 in, then just make it a long par 3.


Does a par 5 really need to be reachable in two? Perhaps that's why it's called a par 5. A long par 4 is, well, a long par 4. What are you expecting for your second shot? A 9-iron? If you ask me, a course that forces the golfer to think and use a club that may be out of his/her comfort zone on a particular hole is good architecture. Who wants to hit driver and iron every time?

My issue with the forced lay up is when it is on a long par 4, say 440+ and you are forced to lay up to 200 yards.  If it was a shorter hole and you want to force the player to hit a spot, that is fine.   To me, it would seem better served to haev the trouble out in front of the green or in the layup area, not off the tee.  Clubing back to layout up short off the tee is easy.  Having to hit a spot to layup or hit a perfect shot to get on in two is more difficult.


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#16 ND Fan

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:57 PM

I never have found a design element that i truly didn't like.  I like some variety and if a designer throws me a curve to my normal game than he has done his job.
Everyone is playing the same course so I can't say a bunker in the middle of the green is unfair or a tree over hanging the green on a par three doesn't give the hole some options.  I have played on many different types of courses.  The only thing I remember that I didn't really care for was a Par 5 in Jackson, MI  The Grande Cub.  It has a green where the front left is purposely designed to be a big bowl.  So much so that they only put the pin there for fun events.  When they speed the greens up that part of the green acts like a drain.  Almost any ball that gets in the bowl will eventually go in if the greens are fast enough.  You can even hit a swirling type putt,  it may go around the hole 3 or four times before finally going in.  I don't dislike it I guess I just thinks it's kinda hokey.

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#17 armydiver

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:03 PM

Back in Hawaii, on nearly every hole, my home course punishes a drive that misses the fairways by a 5 yards more than if you hook or slice into the adjacent fairway. Always irked me to be stymied behind a tree for a shot that landed just off the fairway. I sure do miss it. :lol:

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#18 Random Hack

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:04 PM

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:43 PM, said:

View PostYipMaster, on 25 April 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM, said:

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.

I think you're missing the point - if the architecture of the hole doesn't allow a player from the tips to use a driver on long par 4s and par 5s, than I (and clearly lots of others) feel like that's some shoddy course design.

If you're gonna make everyone lay up to 260 and have 215 in, then just make it a long par 3.


Does a par 5 really need to be reachable in two? Perhaps that's why it's called a par 5. A long par 4 is, well, a long par 4. What are you expecting for your second shot? A 9-iron? If you ask me, a course that forces the golfer to think and use a club that may be out of his/her comfort zone on a particular hole is good architecture. Who wants to hit driver and iron every time?

There is no club that is or isn't out of my comfort zone - that being said, (the key word here is about to follow) "artificially" taking a club out of a player's hands is stupid, IMO.

If you wanna pinch the fairway in at 300 yards or have some overhanging trees to force a curved shot if one wants to hit driver - fine by me, as it allows some risk reward aspect to the hole.

If you're arbitrarily taking driver out of people's hands with a lake out there at 200 yards so everyone is left with a 200-220 yard second shot, to me that's stupid.

You wanna make me hit a certain iron to a green?  That's called a par 3.

Edited by YipMaster, 25 April 2011 - 01:05 PM.


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#19 6t4gt0

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:04 PM

Blind shots, IMO lousy design.

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#20 _MS22_

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:21 PM

I like having a variety of design tactics to challenge my game as well as make me think "Why did the designer choose this?".  I really like trying to get inside of the guys head to see what he was thinking.

Par 5s that force you to hit a 3w from the tee, fine by me.  My favorite hole on my home course does that.  Hurdzan/Fry design that forces you to either lay up having 330+ in, or be able to carry it 290 to the second landing.  It is slightly uphill and if you do you may not have the angle to go for the green in two anyway, being an island anyway.  From the member tees you can reach, but from the tips it forces you to make a choice; make the wrong one and you are looking at 6 or 7 not 3 or 4.  

That being said I do hate the dogleg holes where you need to poke a 4i into the fairway and turn to corner to another 200+ yard shot. I'll take 230 and then 160 to a well guarded green though.

Someone mentioned improper overgrowth from trees and the like and while I put that in with maintenance of the course rather than design I hate that too.  Keep the design that was intended rather than letting the course develop undue problems.

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#21 Blakester

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:22 PM

I don't like design features that are repetative.  There is a course nearby that I really like until the middle of the back 9 when there are 3 dogleg lefts in a row.  Granted, they vary in length and look, and I guess they had to do it because of how the land worked out - but I just hate the repetition.

I love when courses vary the clubs needed for tee shots and approach shots by using doglegs, forced carries, and sometimes, forced lay-ups.  After all, variety is the spice of life, right?

I also like 4 distinct par-3s and love a short par-3, too.  To me, these 200-yard par 3s are not only fairly difficult, most are BORING.  There's a great short par-3 at Bradford Creek in Greenville, NC.  It is a small green in the middle of a bunker - only plays 90-120 yards.  Puts pressure on you to hit a good wedge or you're on the beach.  To me, there seems to be more pressure to hit what should normally be an "easy shot" than to hit what is a more difficult shot - like a 4-iron or hybrid to a 210-yard par-3.
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#22 knickerbocker

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:22 PM

My biggest pet peeve is changing only part of a hole.

First example:  Course I played in High School had a 130 yard par 3.  Green was not very deep which was fine given the hole.  They then lengthened the hole to 190 without changing the green and the holes is just stupid now.  Other is playing par 5's as par 4s in tournaments given just length.  Some times those greens are not designed to hold long iron shots and that is also silly.

Longer is not better.  Seems like everyone wants to build 7600 yard courses these days with 280 yard par 3s.  How about making challenging short holes with choices on layups vs going for it.
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#23 scs1070

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:31 PM

Sort of off topic, but I caddies at Old Memorial in Tampa and Caddie for the architect Steve Smyers one day.  The 16th hole is a par 5 with a green that is very different from any of the others on the course, the others are all large greens with tiers, 16 is a little kiddney bean shape with a big false front and kind of a sharkfin back.  If you went long, you were toast.  So we go to that hole and I asked him what was going on with this and he explained that that green was designed to take a bump and run, links style shot into it.  And then he proceeded to hit 3 or 4 balls that rolled up the front and all way around to the back left pin positions.  It was sort of interesting to hear his thoughts on that and then see hom play it out.  All that being said, it was compeltely out of place for the course and there was not one other green that allowed for any shot like that.

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#24 whiteout73

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:35 PM

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:43 PM, said:

View PostYipMaster, on 25 April 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postjaskanski, on 25 April 2011 - 12:31 PM, said:

Nothing like a good old bit of course managment is there? Simply reaching for the driver "because it's a par 5" is not really strategic reasoning. If you can accurately hit a drive into the area required,  that's fine - but if your driver hits further than the architecture of the hole allows, it's a pretty dumb tee selection.

I think you're missing the point - if the architecture of the hole doesn't allow a player from the tips to use a driver on long par 4s and par 5s, than I (and clearly lots of others) feel like that's some shoddy course design.

If you're gonna make everyone lay up to 260 and have 215 in, then just make it a long par 3.


Does a par 5 really need to be reachable in two? Perhaps that's why it's called a par 5. A long par 4 is, well, a long par 4. What are you expecting for your second shot? A 9-iron? If you ask me, a course that forces the golfer to think and use a club that may be out of his/her comfort zone on a particular hole is good architecture. Who wants to hit driver and iron every time?

Well, I hear what you're saying, and there's some truth to that.  No, I don't think every par 5 should be reachable in two.  I guess my big issue with the Palmer course in question was more about lack of information.  The day I played there, I was in Hilton Head on business for the day.  I unexpectedly finished work around 3pm, and so decided to find a course nearby.  I didn't have time to load the course into my Upro, and the course's scorecard doesn't have drawings of the holes, nor do the tee markers.  So, on two of the par 5's, you can't see a bit of trouble in the fairway from the tee.  If you just fire one down the middle, you're going to get a very unpleasant surprise, and find that the fairway runs out.  Now, in both cases, luckily for me, the wind was in my face, and each of the drives stopped a few feet short of the junk.  Even then, in both instances I was easily still able to reach the green.  I think my main gripe is with hidden hazards, where a seemingly perfect shot gets punished.
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#25 ben w

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:42 PM

View PostMarrrk, on 25 April 2011 - 12:46 PM, said:

It's funny, was just thinking about this yesterday after playing Pound Ridge (Pete Dye).

I hate hitting uphill and i hate blind shots. Not just because it is harder, but also because I love taking in the beautiful landscape of a hole as it's laid out before me. Nothing does it for me more than a raised tee box looking down to the fairway. I love watching a ball soar through the air and watching where it lands and where that is in relationship to the rest of the hole. Hitting a tee shot uphill or, even worse, not being able to see the putting surface when my ball lands on it both kinda suck some of the fun out.

I also am not fond of any course that doesn't have at least one short Par 3 (90 to 130 yards)

every course I've seen with dramatic uphill features, usually has dramatic DOWNHILL features, too. you take the uphill shots with the downhill shots, unfortunately!

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#26 scratchjunior99

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 02:19 PM

Trees in the middle of fairways really annoys me!

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#27 jswaykos

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 02:20 PM

I generally dislike greenside bunkers, trees along the fairway, and water anywhere.  It just seems so unfair at times!

I really just dislike poorly planned tee boxes.  I find that it mostly happens on cheaper munis, but there's a course by me where the 18th back tee on a short, severely uphill hole, is basically behind trees.  The ideal tee shot is a "power fade" (re: slice) around the trees, since you can't go over them.  The ideal shot is basically a four iron, trying to land in the first cut of rough. It's stupid.  It's not a 'course management' issue, it's a lazy course design issue.  It should've just been a long, uphill par 3.

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#28 jswaykos

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 02:22 PM

And while I don't necessarily mind blind tee shots or small landing areas, I really dislike blind tee shots in to a small landing area.  It's not fun to take a six iron off the tee and hope for the best.

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#29 HitEmTrue

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 03:16 PM

View Postscott_Donald, on 25 April 2011 - 12:17 PM, said:

but in all seriousness... golf courses are designed to have varying length of tees...

my course -

blue - red - yellow - white - gold

you can play from any of these tees and sure that makes golf fun for everyone...

On what Larry is describing...a forced layup on a long par-4...playing from a closer tee does not help the short hitter at all.  They might be left with a long carry they cannot even make.

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#30 mylo

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 03:19 PM

I play a course regularly where the par 3s are all about the same distance, from 145-160. I mean come on, I don't want to hit 8 iron on all 4 holes just because the deisgner got lazy, there is plenty of room to move them back or forward. I usually end up playing 2 of them from different tees just to mix it up as they are boring.


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