Favorite Golf Course Features
By brian575 on 10/1/10
Tuesday- we had an oober submitted post that talked about frustrating course features. That inspired another oober, Brian Sandberg, to send in an article about his favorite course features! You can also send in blog posts if you feel so inclined. Enjoy!
Recently there was an article written about "Frustrating Course Features" from Brian Kuehn. It was a good article and got me to thinking about what features are the most enjoyable for me during a round of golf. Just to clarify when I say features I am only talking about parts of the golf course the affect play. Although mountain and ocean views are nice they are not what I would consider a feature. So here are the features that I think are the most enjoyable on a golf course.
Elevated Tees: I just love them. I always seem to hit the ball much better when I tee it up on an elevated tee box. You have the feeling that you do not need to hit the stuffing out of the ball to get it down range so a nice easy swing is all you need and away the ball goes.
Valley Holes: I am not sure what I should call these. I am talking about holes that have some sort of wall on both side that tend to catch a wayward drive and send it back towards the fairway. Of course most of the time when I get to a hole with these type of features I hit the ball right down the middle of the fairway, but having the walls there helps just in case.
Dog Leg Right: I love dog leg right holes for probably the most obvious reason of all, I slice the ball. I love being able to really go after the ball and know that if I really screw up I have a pretty good chance of finding the ball, maybe even get a little luck and find some fairway.
Perfect Greens: To me this is the most important feature for a golf course to be considered a truly exceptional course. I play in the south and play exclusively Bermuda greens. Which are fine but while on vacation recently I got to play at a nice course with bent grass greens. They were perfect and I will forever be dreaming about those pool table like surfaces.
Par 5 First Hole: I love this feature because you get the chance to hit the big dog and most likely will have a chance to do something positive with you second shot. Even if you hit into the rough of worse you will still have a chance to get the ball back in the fairway and a chance for a GIR.
Open Tee Shots: I love second shot golf courses. Let me hit away on the tee and punish me for errors with my irons. I think I like this feature so much because I like my chances with my short irons into greens much better than if I have to lay up off the tee and hit a long iron of fairway wood into a green.
Risk-Reward 18: I love standing on the 18 and having a forced carry or an option to cut a dogleg at the end of my round. One course has my favorite finishing hole for me. You are on an elevated tee to a green at the same elevation. The fairway drops about 30 ft or so. There is a creek that crosses the fairway at an angle starting at 190 yards on the left side to about 240 or so to the extreme right. It is an easy carry if you can keep the ball down the left side, but too far left and you are ob. And if I don’t keep if down the left side I will not carry the creek to the right, I cannot carry my drive 240 every time, in fact I rarely can ever carry it that far.
So what does everyone think? Did I miss your favorite feature?
This was written by Brian Sandberg, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway (except for awesomely!). Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
Nicer playing holes that are not surrounded every inch by a housing development fronting the fairway.
Kurt the Knife says:
The bev-cart girl at Blue Rock.
I love a driveable par4. A course I play frequently has 2, though only 1 is really a good idea. The one that I have reached is pretty wide open, and about a 260 yard hole, if you follow the fairway tee to green. The fairway makes a left turn about 100 yards from the green, around a big tree. From the tee, it's about 220 straight to the green, if you go to the left of the tree.
The other theoretically driveable par4 is much more risky. Distance is about the same, but the shot is blind (can't see the green from the tee), there is water short left and right of the green, and the fairway is fairly narrow between the 2 bodies.
I love a finishing par5, too. It's always nice to be able to end a round on a high-note and I think par 5's give me the best chance of a par or birdie finish.
You can argue if it falls under your "parts of the golf course the affect play," but for me it's well marked sprinkler heads & yardage markers. There is nothing better than coming up to your ball, looking for a sprinkler head, and finding the clear yardage on it.
Maybe it's because the course I play the most (Tijeras Arroyo, Kirtland AFB, NM) does the worst job of marking sprinkler heads. I love the course; it's challenging, but not too difficult, it's scenic, it's usually well taken care of, and it's very inexpensive. Just mark the dang sprinkler heads!!!
i love elevated tee boxes too. i like driving to downward sloping fairways. Hitting it right and i can get roll out to about 300 everytime.
Bryan K says:
I love risk/reward par 4 holes. My favorite course I've ever played is at the Pine to Palm course at the Detroit Country Club near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. There are four holes on that course that are par 4's that are within 300 yards. All four of them take an absolutely precise tee shot to hit the green. If you are precise with your driver, you have an eagle putt. If you miss by a hair, you're likely taking an escape shot and needing to go up and down for par.
I also agree that well manicured grens are the most important part of a well maintained course. I've only putted on anything besides bent grass once, and that was when I was in Florida. Those greens were in awesome shape, but it makes me wonder how much work they had to do to keep them that way since the blades were obviously much thicker (I assume it was bermuda grass).
i'm a sucker for par 3's with island greens for some reason a la sawgrass...there's something about that GIR or you're screwed scenario that is fun...
Hot cart girls that have frozen snickers and import beer.
Seriously though, I appreciate when holes with a blind drive have a bell so you know when the group in front of you is clear. Also, when tee boxes on holes that have a water hazard that force you to carry or lay up - it's nice when they post "225 to creek, 250 to carry" .
But seriosly though, hot cart girls that have frozen snickers and import beer.
I sgree with the elevated tees, and I like courses with great opening tee-shots. I am thinking about courses like Bethpage Black where there is almost like a stadium atmosphere on the tee. A great first tee gets me juiced for the round and reminds how much better being on the golf course is than being at the office. I also like courses that take advantage of their environment to make the course beautiful. A course Like Rocky Point outside of Baltimore where you can see the water on many of the holes. Or a course like Lake Presidential in Upper Marlboro, MD which is probably my favorite course the views on that course towards the end of a twilight round are amazing.
Wow, thanks Oob for posting my blog. I am glad that I could add something to this wonderful site. Maybe I will try to come up with another one or maybe I will retire while I am ahead.
@ilovebacon.. good call on the blind tee-shot notification. I play a course that has gone "high-tech" Instead of a bell, there's a red/green light. Push the button on top of the light box after you tee off, light turns red. Push the button below after you've cleared the landing area, light turns green and the next group can tee off.
I forgot one... porta-potties, especially when the woods are sparse, or in the fall/early spring when there aren't as many leaves to block your contribution to keep the course watered.
Driveable Par-4's/Reachable Par-5's for sure. Every course should have a few of these holes. Really enjoy holes where the fairway sets up on an extreme angle to the tee box... where you are basically have the entire legnth of the fairway to play to, and you can be aggresive or conservative depending on how much you chew off... 18th hole on the Presiden'ts course at the Hermitage is a perfect example. Also love courses that let you play "bank shots". Mounding or other features that allow you to use them to get the ball close to the hole.
Funnel shaped greens with the pin in the center
There is a limit for a comment, so I use two: :-)
Also, a risk and reward hole, which is designed so, that the risk and reward is there for all players. An example: My home course has a par 4 that is either two woods (or wood, two irons for bogey) or big drive, short iron. But I can't make that big drive, so that aspect does not work. In contrast, the Paris Disneyland course has a par 5 with an (almost) island green - with nothing but water between the tee and the green(!!). Visually stunning. The fairway is on the side; it is up to you to decide when to try to cross the lake to the green. Great, the risk/reward is there for all level of players.
And I agree with dpoimboeuf about tee box in an angle to the fairway. Donald Fream often does this: You can try to hit the fairway with any club, but you still need to know approximately how far you are going to hit it.
Holes where you can see the whole design and plan your play strategy all the way to the green on the tee box, even if you haven't seen it before. And I LOVE the holes that force you to think. I remember a hole that I played ten years ago, because everything from 6i to driver made sense from the tee: I had to wait 5 minutes for my tee shot and used it all in thinking.
Kurt when you mentioned Blue Rock cart girl, it jogged my memory, Blue Rock Springs, I bought a cap there, It says "THE ROCK" on the back. Hope to get back to that area, you have a lot of lovely courses around there.
the more par 3s and 5s the better
a big variety of distances and wind directions
firm, fast and preferably windy conditions even if the course is a little too brown
interesting short game areas where you can lob, bump and run or putt to your hearts content
My fave is the links style rolling fairway, pot bunker courses. They appeal to me. We have a course that the first nine was built to get revenues up for the subdivision then they added the second nine after they made some money. The second nine that was made is links style and I just love it. What I don't like is that the links part starts at hole 7 and ends at 15 instead of keeping it separate nines.
Love the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Not only a classic Donald Ross design, but the 1st hole is a warmup hole--it's not on the scorecard. It's great to warm up tee-to-green, then stroll to the next (first) tee box with jitters gone.
I agree with JuKu about the holes with strategy choice, adds to the fun.
I like courses where some of the holes which have wooded areas to the sides of fairways are kept nice and not overgrown to make it easy to locate an errant ball and somewhat fair to punch out, instead of an instant lost ball.
I also like a feature at a local course which has a water hazard which you cannot see because of blind tee shot they put a tall marker flag to indicate the boundary.
Clearly marked ground under repair.
Bryan K says:
Yes. All water hazards should have markers. A couple of local courses use red and white striped candy canes that are about six feet tall. This should be a requirement on all courses.
My favorite opening tee box is on a course called Wildflower near Detroit Lakes, MN. The tee box is in a little alcove in the trees, and the forest around it is thick. It opens up to the fairway up ahead with a dogleg right around a small grove of grees. The best part about it is the alcove at the tee box makes an echo when your club hits the ball. It makes it seem like it's really going to fly.
Bryan K says:
Sparker: You can have your windy course conditions. My favorite course condition is when there is just enough breeze to keep me cool. Problem is, we never have days that still around here.
I don't mind one drivable par 4 and one reachable par 5, but add too many and you have an executive course.
Gotta agree on some elevated tees. I actually like a little risk-reward type dogleg left (the power in a draw is more fun than trying to pull off a power fade, for me). To feed off yet another post, I like a mid-iron peninsula par 3. Give me a chance and a bailout (I'm a bit of a chicken on this).
I tend to like multi-tiered greens, as long as they are big enough to have fair pin positions. I like them more if the tiers aren't in parallel.
Played the risk reward par 4 18th today I hit my best drive ever on the hole. Only one problem was the tee was cut far left right where I drove the ball but there was a big tree in the way. I never knew it was there, I have never been on the left side of the fairway before.
I meant the "hole was cut far left" sorry, I should really check my writing before I post to my own blog.
there is a course down here that's a par 72, but it has an equal number of par 4s, 3s and 5s. and none are back to back. it's a great idea that i think should catch on just because of the variety it brings into your round.
I love a hole every now and then with a 100 yard wide fairway thats downwind. Somewhere on the back 9 when I am typically in need to release a little anger and not worry about where my drive goes.
[ post comment ]