Proper Golf

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Reef Hole

One of the A.W. Tillinghast's template holes. Honestly, I'm surprised other architects haven't tried to knock off Tilly's genius long par-3 template.

Sketch by A.W. Tillinghast
(Tillinghast Association)

The basic concept: Long, downhill par-3 with large approach/fairway to give alternative route to green around carry hazard. Green, guarded on only one side and contoured to accept recovery easier from the other.

I only know of 2 that exist. One is at Bethpage State Park on the Yellow course. The other, which I am very familiar with is at Quaker Ridge.

Quaker Ridge #13
post 2010 renovation

Since, I cant speak about Bethpage having never seen the Yellow course, Quaker's Reef measures 209 yards for most members. The large bunker that must be carried to reach the green in one is the first thing one notices while standing on the tee. Because of the downhill perspective and the raised lip of what is one of the largest bunkers on the course, it looks like it is immediately in front of the green, when in fact it is about 50 yards short of center. One of the most generous fairways I have ever seen on a par-3 is there for those who choose to go around rather than over. But for those who do take the more risky path, the fairway between kicks balls towards the green, a perfect complement to the 3-wood that most are hitting off the tee; a slight miss-hit probably gets pretty close if you going for it. This green which is very severe and may have more triple breakers than any other of its size in the world, just adds to the fun of the Reef hole.

Quaker Ridge #13
13 pre-renovation

You can really see the 3 anticipated lines of play in the photo above. 1 - Straight away. 2 - Lay-up fairway right. 3 - Miss greenside left in low area give best angle to most pins.

This template just seems like it could so easily be adaptable to so many different sites and properties for golf around the world. It offers fun and challenges for all levels, and allows for arial attack as well as the rolling shot. And for those who even desire as much length as possible, it racks up a big number of the score card, but plays short in reality, a good characteristic for a long par-3 to have, especially in handicaped matches!

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