Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The 6th Hole - A Found Golf Hole

As promised - Don Mahaffey is today's guest writer:

One of my favorite holes on our golf course is the 6th hole. I love this hole because it is so subtle and so simple -- and because it required very little work -- I already had enough work to do! It is a par 3 that can play from 210 to 135 yards. It plays almost due south. The prevailing wind is from the south east and is into the player at about the 10 o’clock angle.

By far the hardest part about building this hole was having the courage to just leave it alone. We debated this a lot as the original plan called for a couple of bunkers to be added and shaped. But as we cleared the few trees and light brush in the area it became even more obvious that very little work was required for this to be a fine golf hole. The hole has a creek hazard running up the entire left side and behind the left portion of the green. Since the lay of the land is sloping right to left, the creek is very much in play and additional hazards were not needed. The green slopes hard to the left and the back half falls away to the creek behind.

The green is highlighted by a number of small crevasse-like drainage cuts that were natural to the area and surface drain the green. Some small ridges were added to the right portion of the green to allow the player to “kick” the ball toward a left pin, and to complicate the chip for the player who bails out to the safer right side of the hole.

Mike has his own modern architectural dislikes, and I don’t have the patience to come up with 10 at this time, but chief among mine is the fact that I believe most architects would have felt the need to “spruce up” this hole, if only so it photographed better. Or they feel the need to “copy” holes that were built over a century ago by architects who worked with the ground they were given. If we need to copy anything from the past, we should be looking at the processes they used to create great holes with the land they had to work with. Our 6th hole represents the type of architecture that I love, and find lacking in most modern work; simple, subtle, yet very challenging. I’m very proud of the work (or lack of) we did to create this hole.

Don Mahaffey
Golf Course Superintendent

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