Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hollywood Golf Club, Deal, NJ

Checking out some of the restoration work by Tom Doak the Renaissance boys at Walter Travis' land of a million bunkers and wild greens, aka Hollywood Golf Club. 

4th hole

#7 approach


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caddy Cheat Sheet at Quaker Ridge


#11 at Quaker Ridge.. My favorite hole on my home course

I wrote this for a friend, who is coming to town to give them a bit of a head start on the season... Seemed like it might make for an interesting way for others to think about playing a top-100 course from a different perspective. There is a guide to playing each hole, tips on how to be a really good caddy, and more.





CADDY SURVIVAL GUIDE AT QUAKER RIDGE

... I am sure I will have lots more tricks and things to say on the subject, but this is the best I can do off the top of my head at the moment... I hope you have lots of fun and make tons of money!



Quaker Ridge
146 Griffen Ave
Scarsdale, NY


Schedule
- Fridays and Weekends I try to sign in between 6-6:15 (I always eat breakfast in the caddy yard to save time)
- Weekdays 6:30-6:45 is fine
- Always stay till at least 3:30
- ... The higher on the sign in sheet your name is, the more loops you will get
- ... Try your best to wait out the rain... just make sure you can get a ride home w your bike!
- On Sundays, make sure you ask about outings on Mondays... Outings are the biggest pay days and a reward for good work

Bring snacks or extra lunch... Always need extra energy
- caddy lunch is free, but never enough!
- Lots of caddy's drive to pick up lunch... ask to join or to get you something


Things to always have in locker
- extra socks
- extra towel
- extra khaki shorts and white polo shirt
- Golf shoes
- sunscreen
- battery for laser
- rain gear
- A GOOD BOOK!

Par-3 #9 at Quaker Ridge

Pre Round
- Always have a wet towel
- Must Tees, Scorecards, Pencils, Divot fixer and Ball Markers (loose coins always work really well) in pockets
- Count 14 clubs and clean (finding out you dont have a putter on #1 green is never good)
- Check bag for old water bottles, and take out extra weight garbage.. You can ask to remove rain gear and umbrellas on sunny days
- Ask if you can put the driver and putter head cover in the bag
- Test laser is working

On Course
- Call for provisional on all balls that are close... never feel bad about making a player hit a 2nd tee shot!
- Stand on right side of player with bag
- Clean club after every shot
- Put back divots
- Get pin
- Rake bunkers
- Offer to wipe the ball on every green
- I always give a yardage, I don't pick clubs... they cant blame you!
- If you don't know how a putt breaks... ask what they think, and adjust it slightly
- Try to always be positive.. point out there is lots of room on the right, not that there is a hazard on left
- Good questions to ask members if you are having trouble connecting... Mr. X what is your favorite hole? Ask if they have ever been to Scotland (since you have played so much)... Ask what they thought about the Masters or Tiger Woods.. Ask what they think about the renovation, Gil Hanse and the new greens


Hole #1
- Left side is best on layup
- Bunker is 60 yards short of green
- Add 10 yards to all approach shots
- Add even 5 more yards distance to pins in back right (all carry)
- Hand drivers to players, note if the pin is left or right on #14 when you cut across to forecaddy
- Ask for a bottle of water

Hole #2
- Hard to see in morning with the sun, go further out to see around corner
- Short is better than long
- Drop bags on far side of green, bring drivers onto green so you can forecaddy

Hole #3 (worst hole on course)
- Add 5 yard to approach on right
- Only out of bounds left on golf course, nursery is a free drop
- Green slopes hard right to left

Hole #4
- Line off the tee is the left edge of green
- Make sure you can see over mound and down the hill when you forecaddy on #4
- Be ready to yell FORE on #12!!!
- Layup 60 yards short to avoid slope and bunkers
- Everything breaks to the water side
- Shorter approach on right, longer on left

Hole #5
- Wind is always swirling
- Note if pin is front or back of the ridge
- Best drop zone is from the ladies tee 113 yards
- Trees right of cartpath is Out of Bounds, hit another from tee its impossible to see over there

Hole #6 (no 1 handicap, but 7 is harder)
- Some people go out to forecaddy by 2nd bridge on the left... I always find it super hard to see the ball from over there, so I normally just stay on the tee, but stand all the way on the left... There is still OB right, so you may have to play provisional
- Always add at least 1 club for the up-hill on approach
- Bunkers are 120 yards short of green for picking a layup distance

Hole #7 (The real hardest hole on golf course)
- It is very important for someone to forecaddy on this hole. The tree on left gives the best angle see around the corner
- If you are dropping clubs on the tee, leave both 3-wood and driver
- Subtract 15 yards for the layup to creek. Plays way downhill, its better to be WAY short. To go over the bunkers from the creek, its an extra 40 yards of carry
- Approach shots should add 10 yards, and never play to a front pin
- The telephone poll in middle is always the target... missing right of the right green bunker is KAPUT!

Hole #8
- Left side of tee is safer
- 250 yards to carry the mounds w drive
- Only go right for a left pin
- Green is super flat

Hole #9
- Plays like redan, Right is dead
- Always play middle distance, to center of green... Never play to front pin, and it is longer carry over bunker to the left side
- Use the big American flag to check what the wind is doing by green, cant feel on green


- If someone offers you something from the halfway house, always say YES and THANK YOU ... get a gatorade or banana or power bar... never feel bad about taking them up on their offer


Hole #10 (A very under-rated golf hole, this one grew on me a lot)
- Check American flag for wind
- Green slopes HARD left-right
- Add 1/2 club to pins on right because of green angle
- Never play to front pin... always play past

Hole #11 (My favorite)
- Sometimes people forecaddy from the forward tees across the creek
- Do not need driver from tee for good players
- Be ready to yell FORE on #16
- Most balls end up by shagging tree between 11-16
- Aim for right 1/2 of fairway
- Aim for left side of green... its a shorter carry and the slope of green helps
- In front of green, the creek is YELLOW, you can drop as far back as you want on line it went into water
- Missing green way right is actually a good angle for chipping
- Don't drop bags in the creek!!!

Hole #12
- Sometimes people forecaddy from the end of the cartpath
- Make sure you can see the pond on the left... lots of hooks in!!... RED STAKE drop from point of entry 2 club lengths
- Add 1 club on approach uphill
- Do not miss long

Hole #13 (Tillinghast template called the Reef Hole)
- I do NOT think it plays downhill
- You can run it only green with a punch over bunker 40 yards short of green
- Miss left
- Right is dead
- Green is faster uphill
- Everything breaks to the front right corner


- If there is nobody in front, sometimes tee shots on #14 are played to save a walk back before you putt on #13

Double Dogleg par-5 #14 at Quaker Ridge


Hole #14 (Double Dogleg par-5... Tillinghast Template of Bethpage Black #4, Baltusrol, Fenway #3 and Pine Valley )
- Always Forecaddy near the creek
- Best layup is on Right ... fairway ends at 145 yards
- Add 40 yards to carry over bunkers for uphill and angle... shorter on left
- Approach from short of the bunker looks uphill, but plays FLAT
- Remember where pin is from forecaddy on #2
- Use the U shape gap in the trees to help aim
- Hidden break on very left side of green... moves to the center of the green, away from bunker

- If your players are on the green, you can drop the bags for #15 walk back, GRAB 3-WOOD and DRIVER

Hole #15 (Great fairway, new greenside bunker shapes are not my favorite. Tree clearing behind green has significantly improved the hole)
- 250 to creek from tee... DOWNHILL... hit 230 max
- 125 + 1 club from end of fairway
- RED STAKES Left of fairway
- Be ready to yell FORE ON 17!!!
- Always play for middle or left of green... Right pin is sucker
- Never miss long
- Putts over mound, never come back all the way

Hole #16 (16 and 18 are boring)
- Sometimes people forecaddy on left by creek
- Be ready to yell FORE ON #11!! ... sometimes play down #11!!
- Left is dead
- Add 1 club on approach
- Is the pin on back shelf?
- Hidden break uphill middle left side

Hole #17 (I hit 3-wood)
- Do not need driver
- Sometimes people forecaddy by read tree
- 210 to stay short of bunkers
- Everyone misses and gets blocked by trees on right... just chip out!... sometimes play down #18!
- Wind always seems to be in face on approach
- Add 1/2 club for left side of green... lands on downslope and kicks

Hole #18 (The other best hole on the course :) !!!! ) ... right greenside bunker is not original, members wont let Gil take it out
- Forecaddy at the end of the ridge where you can see down the hill
- Should NEVER be in the fairway bunker
- Add 1 club uphill to green
- Lots of room left to layup
- Balls always seem to run through green
- Take off hat, and shake hands with everyone



After Round
- Ask the player to check the clubs
- Ask if they clubs are staying or going
- If they are a guest, ask if they would like the clubs left out or taken to the car (TRY TO TAKE TO CAR... you get more tips!)
- Double check head covers, and clean clubs
- Put clubs back on rack
- GET PAID
- Grab lunch ticket
- Wait for 2nd loop
- Repeat!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review: Deepdale Golf Club

Deepdale Golf Club, 1956
Architect: Dick Wilson
Manhasset, NY

Deepdale @ Lake Success, 1926 - 1954 (No longer Exists)
Architect: Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks

A Google Earth aerial photo of the current Deepdale layout by Dick Wilson shows the excessive amount of sharp doglegs and the Long Island Expressway which has played a significant role in the clubs history.

A plan view of the original course (scanned from George Bahto's Macdonald biography, The Evangelist of Golf ) shows the lake side location 30 minutes from NYC. This course was located just on the southern side of the LIE, a few holes are probably buried somewhere under the asphalt.

Deepdale Golf Club has always been one of the more exclusive clubs around New York City/The World!. Originally developed by a member of the Vanderbilt family, the club was founded to provide a quick escape for those who needed their golf fix during the week, and in between the long trek to The Hamptons. For the first 30 years of the club, the course was located on Lake Success and built by the trio of Charles Banks, Seth Raynor and Charles Blair Macdonald in 1926, but that was before the Long Island Expressway (LIE) existed. The remains of that course are now known as the Village of Lake Success Golf Club. Deepdale moved across the street in the 50's and the Dick Wilson design we know today opened in 1956.


The tee shots at #2, #7 and # 14 are good examples of what you face on nearly every tee. You probably wont be able to see the green, or even approach, but you will have a good look at the hazards which guard the inside of almost every hole.

The golf course is known mostly for its exclusivity and conditioning, but the architecture itself is mostly defined by its incredibly steep greens, puzzle piece shaped bunkers as typical of Wilson(think Doral Blue Monster), and tons of sharp doglegs. Most of the interesting shots you will on this course are either cutting corners off the tee, or negotiating the sloping greens. The holes do not vary to much in strategy or setting, there is a bit of a monotonous feel to the course; inside corner, short of the pin, uphill putt, would certainly be the montra of Deepdale. I did find the back nine, which has more elevation change and greens that have more side-to-side movement seemed to be a little more interesting and memorable. At the end of the day, Deepdale, is a good golf course, with a lot of good holes, but nothing that is going to stand out as truely great.

The greens at #12 and #15 are some of the steepest on the course, and no doubt boarder on unplayable when running at full speed. #'s 8, 10 and 13 are also among the best on the course. Deepdale's putting surface's are certainly interesting, I just wish they related more to the rest of hole.

Next Stop: Dismal River (Mullen, Nebraska)



Course #7: San Francisco Golf Club #12... A.W. Tillinghast's best course

After a 2 month stretch where I saw 36 different golf courses (listed bellow) I am moving to Dismal River Golf Club in Mullen, Nebraska. This will be part-2 of the Renaissance Golf Design construction phase. Not exactly sure what I am in for yet, but I'm sure it will involve a lot of landscape rakes and sand dunes!

To see pictures from the project in Mullen, Nebraska check out the Renaissance Golf Design website: http://www.renaissancegolf.com/news/current_work__nebraska/

Want to know more about our famous neighbors Sand Hills Golf Club always ranked #1 Modern Golf Course... This YouTube video is amazing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCXQmH48CZs&feature=share

For more information on the new course at Dismal River:

Here are 2 links to an golf architecture website called www.golfclubatlas.com with pictures of the site and some of the construction work that had begun. I do not recommend reading all of it, as its lots of bs from random internet nerds, Doak writes a bunch, and so does Chris Johnson who is owner #3...

What they dont explain is this project is super low on money, and has gone bankrupt 2x. Looks like I will be doing a lot of hand raking...

Pictures are scattered through the pages on each thread.


Course #1: Crystal Downs by Alister Mackenzie and Perry Maxwell... The best front 9 holes seen to date


A litsting of the 36 courses in 2 months:
(30 played and 6 walked)


Crystal Down, Michigan (walk 27)

Piping Rock, New York (walk)
Friars Head, New York (walk)
National Golf Links of America, New York(walk)
Sebonack, New York (walk)

Course #4: National Golf Links of America

Sharp Park, California
San Francisco Golf Club, California
Orinda CC, California
Mira Vista, California
Pasatiempo, California
Stanford, California
Harding Park, California
California Club of San Francisco, California (27 holes)
Meadow Club, California
Claremont, California

West Hill, England
The Addington, England (36 holes)
St. Georges Hill, England (27 holes)
Walton Heath: Old, England
Walton Heath: New, England (9 holes)
Worplesdon, England
Queenwood, England
Royal Ashdown Forest: Old, England
Royal Cinque Ports, England (36 holes)
Swinley Forest, England

Grand Cypress: North South East, Florida (54 holes)
Grand Cypress: New, Florida (27 holes)
Lake Nona, Florida (Tavistock Cup tournament)

Split Rock, New York
Deepdale, New York
Marine Park, New York
North Shore, New York
Atlantic, New York (walk)
Shackamaxon, New Jersey
Forsgate: Banks, New Jersey
Quaker Ridge, New York (27 holes)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Walton Heath (OLD)


Walton Heath Golf Club

Old Course, 1904

Architect: Herbert Fowler

Surrey, England

One of the many vast open views at Walton Heath, a very different look than most other courses, especially in the Surrey area. It is rare to find a golf course (or two in this case) where so many holes can be seen from virtually any spot on the course.

And then there is the rugged and clumpy natural areas of heather throughout the course which eat errant balls. This is surely what the site was like before Fowler and his crew hacked away,
and found the two golf courses.


The first course of many laid out by Herert Fowler, the Old Course at Walton Heath is located on one of the highest points in the heathlands in what was once a jungle of heather and gorse. Unlike many of its fine Surrey neighbors, Walton, surprisingly, is built on clay. What is even more amazing, is Fowler, and his crew of barely over 10 men, 2 horses (1 borrowed from a local girl), a wagon and a handful of shovels and rakes, was able to fight through the field of unrelenting nasty plants and created some of the most brutal and hazards found in inland golf. Unlike most hazards in todays game, Walton's actually pose a threat to modern technology. Made famous by four time Open champion James Braid, the course is not as photogenic or dramatic as many of the other heathland layouts, but when it comes to providing a fun and interesting golf on a championship layout, few can compete.

The Old Course's 5th green is without a doubt the most interesting putting surface. Like nothing else on the property, retired Pro Ken MacPhereson was telling me how James Braid believed the contours seemed to grow from year to year.

Walton is a stern test of golf, all the way around, as evident by the many tournaments it hosts, but is more than playable for its large membership. The combination of large greens and firm turf gives players plenty of options in finding their way around the seas of heather and nasty hazards. Relatively flat for this area of the country, the out and back routing takes great advantage of the contours it does have, using the firm turf and undulations to send balls bounding to the right places in some situations and gathering them into places you wish you had never seen in others. Fowler, who designed the course from horseback, clearly spent most of his time on the details, as the natural layout shows virtually no evidence of a mans influence on the property aside from the bunkering. Although the course has seen a few changes, due to the M25 motorway, which shortened the 8th hole, a new (25+ years ago) 9th hole, lengthening for tournament play, and the maturing of many pine trees, the course feels as natural and classic as any I have come across.

The author and his playing partner playing out of two of the countless severe bunkers and hazards that can be found around all 36 holes at Walton Heath. Unlike so many modern bunkers dug out by big machines that look pretty and offer virtually no penalty, the deep revetted and heather faced pits here can ruin a score quickly.

The golf course itself, has big greens, but relatively small and subtle contours. Because of its length and difficult hazards, if it had wildly shaped greens, it might boarder on unplayable, and certainly lack a lot of the fun and charm it has. With so many good holes, and a remarkably strong finish it is hard to pick out a single favorite, although most, including longtime Pro Ken MacPhereson prefer the 5th, with its unusually wrinkled green. For myself, holes #7, the difficult mid-length par-3, the long and angled par-4 10th and short par-4 12th stood out to me, but on a golf course that has more great holes than most, you could go back and forth days.

The approach into #12, the best short par-4 on the course, plays over a common ground road where you are likely to be held up by horseback riders, bikers, and pedestrians out for a stroll.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: The Addington


The Addington Golf Club, 1913
Architect: John Frederick Abercromby
Croydon, England

One of the best inland par-3's in golf, the long #13 has the right combination of difficulty, fun and beauty

After The Old Course at St. Andrews, The Addington, in the heathlands outside London, may be the most ideal golf course. Abercromby, known as Aber, the benevolent dictator and architect of his home club, who clearly discovered this rugged minimalist gem, rather than built it, has given us one of the most fun and interesting courses in the world. With little bunkering necessary on this ideal piece of property only a few miles from the center of London, Aber routes the course to get the absolute most out of the property, using deep ravines as intimidating and natural hazards. There are big slopes to help the smart player strategically move the ball along the ground, and not a single hole that looks forced or out of place on the property.

#12 at The Addington is one of the most unique and quirkiest par-5's in golf. A very different take on risk/reward, bordering on luck, if you can navigate around the seas of heather which gobble up balls that you would have sworn were sitting pretty in the fairway from tee to green there is a possibility of reaching this green in two shots.

There is certainly not much leeway at The Addington. Because of the rugged and severe terrain, that is a bit reminiscent of Pasatiempo in California, the ideal way to play each hole is well defined and big numbers can start to pile up very quick if you start to stray from that line, as you may need a machete to find your ball in the rhodendron, heather, and trees. However with todays modern technology, the shorter length golf course is not as difficult as it surely once was, and there are certainly alternative ways to make pars here, and even birdies as well.

The last place you want to end up on #6, this brutal hazard requires stairs and bridge.

The course starts out a little slow, as holes # 1-5 are not terrible special aside from the fact it starts with an uphill par-3. Once the 6th tee is reached, everything changes. The stretch of holes from #6 to #9 is as strategically sound and exciting as any in golf, with stark shot values, treacherous hazards and a few bridges over some of the deep ravines. Each of these holes offers something unique. #6, a relatively short par-4 has a two options off the tee, no matter which is chosen the idea is to avoid one of the deepest bunkers in existence, cut into a ravine short right of the approach, at all costs. While it should be easily be avoided, the deep bunker needing a large staircase to enter and exit will often eat up balls from over zealous golfers. After a partially blind tee shot on the par-3 7th with some trenched out bunkers placed high above the green creating extremely difficult short game shots, the 8th hole, a bunkerless gem provides the par-player one of the most exacting tee shots on the course. Although not entirely clear from the tee, the ideal line is just inside the tree line on the left to using a diagonal ridge at the crest of a hill to gain an advantage of length and full view of the green. The final hole on outward nine surely cannot be replicated anywhere, jumping over deep ravines on both the tee shot and approach. Club selection is at a premium on the 9th as driver is probably to long for most, but any shot no long or left enough will create problems on the approach as trees will be hide the green or distance over the 2nd ravine will be to great to conquer.

The blind tee shot on #8 may not imply the most obvious of lines the first time you tee it up, but the ideal line here is just inside the trees on the left, and with either a draw or a friendly bounce, the green will open up on the approach. Tee balls played straight up the path will face a second blind shot and added distance in. Stark shot values, but nothing overly complicated gives golfers something to really fun to think about on almost every shot.

The best holes on the back nine are two of the most natural par-5s, numbers 12 and 16, as well as a pair of exacting one shot holes. With so many interesting and unique holes, it would be nearly impossible to describe them appropriately. All I can do is suggest you take the time to experience this incredibly fun and demanding golf course for yourself the next time you are in London. I took my boss' advice and certainly owe him some credit for my love of The Addington, so Tom Doak... thanks for sending me in the right direction, now I will try to convince more to do the same.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: Pasatiempo

Pasatiempo Golf Club, 1929
Architect: Alister Mackenzie
Santa Cruz, CA

Pasatiempo has plenty of the artistic artistic flair Dr. Alister Mackenzie is known for as seen in
the bunkering and contouring of the downhill approach to the long par-4 #10

The home of Dr. Mackenzie is one of the best courses anyone can play in the country. Semi-private Pasatiempo Golf Club looks out over Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the elevated valley of Santa Cruz. The original routing and greens remain intact, and most of the bunkers restored over the last 15 years, however, the development along the perimeter of the property has cramped a bit of the original feel, especially on the front nine. (see historic photos from the clubs website: http://www.pasatiempo.com/web/slideshows/flash/hist1/hist2.php)

#2 accepts low running shots into the fall away green, playing downhill
and sloped right-left the entire way

The course is separated into two distinct sections of nine holes. The front nine, on the lower half of the property, starts off downhill looking out over the water from an elevated tee next to the clubhouse and has 3 short holes. The better holes on the front are: #2 with a bit of an awkward tee shot to a hidden fairway below and a wild contour short right of the green, and the par3's #5 and 8 which both have lots of movement in and around the green allowing balls to roll in close to pins, or trickle to the far side side of the putting surface.

The most pictured hole on the course, #16, is a real beauty with the massive bunker on the right
approach after not being able to see the green from the tee, but it is the green,
one of the steepest in the world, which makes it great.

The back nine, is a bit of a different story. One of the best inward nines in golf, Mackenzie routed the second half of the course on the higher land above the clubhouse where he takes you over and around the baranca on most of the holes. With some of the most unique par-4's around, the golfer hardly cares how difficult #10, 11, 14, and 16 are because each uses the landscape to create beautiful and strategic golf holes which are indescribably fun. Without a week hole on the side, what makes Pasatiempo such a joy to play, is that 4 of the last 5 holes play at least partially downhill, making the walk in a little more pleasurable when they are most tired.

Playing across the deep barrancas on the back nine, is as exiting a natural hazard as there is.
(# 10 pictured)

... I would try to schedule your round early, because this course is so interesting, you are going to want to play it twice.

A view back at #18 tee and the gnarly hazard the par-3 finishing hole plays across