31 March 2006


How much trust do you place in the architect of your home golf course? Perhaps even more important, how much trust is placed in the architect at an away course? Not surprisingly, this question probably doesn't enter most golfers minds as they play their round, yet it can be a very important factor in the success of a round. Granted, there is trusting the yardages that are marked on the course, but often times blame for inaccuracy is on the maintenance staff that can't use a laser range finder correctly.

The idea is our assumption that the architect is telling the truth as to the nature of the hazards on the course. We rationalize that bunkers are at the corner of the dogleg to give the golfer something to think about if they chose to cut the corner. We understand that contour in the green is designed to make for interesting hole locations and angles of attack into the green from the fairway and that leaving the ball below the hole will leave an easier putt. But, how do we know for sure?

Ever cut a corner of a dogleg and find yourself with a bad angle into a green or a nastier second shot?

Ever stand over a putt thinking you've read to little or too much break and slowly inch your aim left or right?

Believe it or not, but architects like to play with your mind. Temptation, of course, is the most commonly known way they do this. We are tempted to carry as much of a diagonal hazard as we dare, and we are tempted to fire directly at a hole that looks benign from the fairway. Temptation, however, is not the only way architects play with you.

Next time you play a hillier course of some repute, take a look at how the slopes around the greens and fairways compound your eyesight. Good architects will make their unnatural grading and mounding integrate with surrounding and more natural contour and sights. Built up tee boxes, or those benched into a hillside, will have their built up slope match the grade of the hill side they were built into and both lines will run parallel. This actually does to things: make the golfer comfortable and make the golfer not notice. Well-integrated slopes are hidden from our eyesight precisely because they don't stand out. We may not notice that we are reading a putt from a sidehill lie. We may think the green is flatter than it is. Our aim may shift down the natural line of our eyesight and right toward a hazard lurking in front of a well-integrated mound.

Take heed and notice next time you're out slapping it around the course. You may find yourself placing too much trust in the guy who was hired to make your score higher.

1 comment:


I love the doctrine of deception. See 18 at sawgrass and 17 at red tail.