Monday 19 November 2012

Mackenzie "Tongues"

In the last post on Pasatiempo Golf Club, I mentioned Dr. Alister Mackenzie's use of green extrusions that deviate from the general shape of the green.  These "tongues" are an excellent means by which shorter golf holes can ratchet up the difficulty (in conjunction with firm and fast conditions) by providing challenging hole locations that offer little margin for error for elite amateur or professional events.  Mackenzie "tongues" also amplify the strategic element of the game, by providing an incentive to those seeking birdies and approaching with short irons or wedges to place their drives on the proper side of the fairway to limit the potential risk on the approach shot.

A Mackenzie "tongue" creates a challenging front right hole location at Pasatiempo's 5th. (Photo: Google Earth)
Cypress Point's short 15th demands an extra dose of precision when playing to either Mackenzie "tongue" extending front left and right of the green. (Photo: Google Earth)
No. 2 at Augusta National is a three-shot par-5 for the members, whose second shot must take into consideration the hole location and play to the opposite side of the fairway to improve the angle of approach. (Photo: Google Earth)
The "tongues" that Mackenzie incorporated into his green designs promote strategic play, and provide a small target area.  Players approaching these difficult hole locations from out-of-position must execute a more exacting shot to lay close to the hole, or take their medicine and play to the fat of the green.  Those that attempt the heroic approach and fail are often faced with a difficult recovery to a shallow target.  
The left "tongue" at Augusta National's 3rd is a plateau only 35 feet deep with sharp fall-offs in front and behind making recovery shots extremely difficult. (Photo: Google Earth)

1 comment:

  1. The 6th green at the University of Michigan course is an excellent example