Proper Golf

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photo Tour: Montclair #4

Got a quick 9 holes in after work today. Here is a twilight photo tour of the Banks 9 at Montclair golf, where we completed our renovation in the beginning of the summer.

#1 "Punchbowl" Tee

#1 Second Shot

#1 Approach

#2 "Road" Tee

#2 Approach

#3 "Redan"

#3 - Approach

#4 "Cape" Tee

#4 - Approach

#4 Green

#5 Tee

#5 Approach

#6 "Alps" Tee

#6 Approach

#7 "Short"

#8 Tee

#8 Approach

#9 Tee

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quaker Ridge #8: Not a Gimmick

Quaker Ridge #8
(yardages from blue tees)

Since my first time around "Tilly's Treasure" 4 years ago, I have heard countless amounts of people call #8 a "Gimmick Hole". They are wrong. Obviously the golfers who have come to this conclusion claim it is gimmicky because of the large set of 2 mounds that is located right in the middle of the landing area, on a straight line between the tee and green. The mounding, which is not cut to fairway height, but rather maintained as rough, is very difficult to play from. On #8, the middle of the fairway is not where the average American golfer expects it to be, so their reaction is to call it a gimmick, when indeed it is no gimmick at all, but rather a fine strategic golf hole that offers wonderful variety and plenty of options.

First of all, no golf hole that so blatantly presents its hazards as #8 should ever be considered a gimmick. When you stand on the tee everything is in plain sight, especially the roughed mounds which split the fairway into two distinct and visible sides. There is nothing "gimmicky" about picking a side: left, right, short or over, if you have the power. Make a decision on the tee and hit it there, aiming straight down the middle clearly isn't an option so don't go claiming its unfair or gimmicky.

The mounds and split fairway are a great breakup from the standard fairway on a straight path between green and tee, flanked by bunkers. Just because it is different doesn't make it a gimmick, especially when a split fairway can also be found on hole #4, not making it a complete foreign concept to Quaker Ridge, where I have never heard the term gimmick used. On #8, the split fairway is even more important to the design of the hole than on #4. Depending which side of #8 green the pin is on, the hole is more accessible from the opposite side of the fairway due to the green-side bunkers which encroach on the entrance to the green.

So the mounding not only creates an optimum strategy that changes daily depending on the pin position, but also offers plenty of risk reward as well. With out of bounds running up the right side of the hole, as it does on all of the first eight holes at Quaker, playing for the right side split in the fairway clearly comes with a bigger risk. There is also risk/reward options that come in the form of distance, for those that chose to try to hit their tee shot over, or even on either side of the mounding, since you can always end up in some of the thickest rough on the course instead of playing short where the fairway is very wide.

The final argument in proving that #8 is not a gimmick hole can be found buried deep in the soil. A.W. Tillinghast was a very big proponent of natural layouts for golf, which is no doubt how this hole, which takes the routing out of the southern corner of the property, came about. It is a virtual guarantee that there are 2 giant rocks buried in the mounds that not only inspired the basic concept for the hole, but give the hazard its general shape. This defining feature not only creates an interesting hole, but uses the natural property to its greatest potential.