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revkev

Course Difficulty

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This may not be a hot topic but I thought I'd go for it anyway.  I've made mention about the difficulty of my new course compared to where I used to play most of my rounds.  Generally speaking I've found it to be 3 to 4 strokes more difficult than my league course. 

 

While walking the dog I thought through where those strokes come from because on the surface Bayou seems impossibly more difficult than Mangrove Bay.  In analyzing the two it's really not.  In fact if I play the same relative tees it comes down to this - At Bayou I will have to hit 11 Hybrids or fairway woods into the green or as a layup on  a par 5.  At Mangrove its 8 (max - that can change based on the wind and course conditions). 

 

About half the time one of those 8 is an attempt to reach a par 5 in two (there are two candidates for me that run in opposite directions so if I hit the ball solidly on the one that's down wind I'll generally have a shot at it even when its a bit wet out).  If I play the white tees at Bayou there is one par 5 where I might have an outside shot at reaching in two but it's never likely to be worth the risk ( when I first joined I tried once and discovered that a hidden water hazard encroaches very closely to the right front part of the green and there is OB left - it's hard enough to hit the green with a 7 iron - you have to leave wedge in - let alone a fairway wood. 

 

So bottom line is the difference between the two courses is nothing more than relative playing distance.  You can skank a drive now and again at Mangrove and simply have a longer shot in - there are four par 4's at Bayou, even from the tees that I should play and will normally play from going forward where anything but dead solid perfect off the tee leaves no chance at reaching the green in regulation.

 

My average score at Mangrove last season was 75.8.  At Bayou right now it's 81.3 but that includes several rounds from the Gold tees (no Mangrove equivalent).  If I though those rounds out its 79.1 or in between 3 or 4 strokes just as the course rating suggests. 

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Yep, you are exactly correct with it Rev, so ideally you should play better (score wise), at the easier rated course, the course I play week in and week out is rated 72/139, so it is pretty difficult, I always look at it in the way that if I can play this course to HCP of around 6, the. I can play about anywhere.

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We play our course to about 6600 and it's difficult, I only hit driver 3-4 times at that distance so I can play the tips that play at around 7000, rating 73.4/145, and my score doesn't change much from the blue to the champ tees. So I can play the longer course, we just play up most if the time.

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Actually Kor A Dor's last post illustrates my point - according to the course rating it should make about a stroke difference per round for an expert golfer - since both he and I are a bit off of that expert mark we'd experience about a stroke and a half moving back to that set of tees.  The whys are what interests me.  With 6 tee box choices (8 if you can't the tee forward tee combos) I'm learning a lot about course rating - I'm finding that I will shoot the appropriate scores according to my handicap no matter which set of tees that I'm on.

 

A nice discussion on the Morning Drive about what makes a fun course - less trouble short off the tee (really short as in to speed up play for amateurs), plenty of room in the fairway in the driving area - pinched with trouble at the long end - shorter so that if there is a reachable par 5 or par 4 everyone has a crack at it.  Generally less rough because long rough slows down play.  I'd whole heartedly agree.

 

If I could change anything about my course I'd take 25 yards off of two of the par 4's and add them to two of the par 5's - I could do that by playing a different set of tees on each of those holes but there would be no rating/slope for the course I'd be playing.  I'd also cut the rough shorter - but they do in the late fall/winter/spring.

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My old club wasn't member owned and was sold to housing developers, thus relegating me to the ranks of green fee players which is fine--no complaints.   We've got a lot of nice public courses here.

 

What was unique, however, was its one single set of Field Turf tees and one line of yardages on the scorecard.   So few of the holes were straight that they just didn't adapt themselves to different tees.  Moving tees forward or back would just change the club choice on the tee.  The approach shot would be the same for anybody who didn't have prodigious banana ball shots in both directions in his shot repertoire.

 

Changing the angles of the tees was considered possible on some holes, but so many families played there that people didn't want tees that were far apart from one another for simple social and cart sharing reasons.  It was just over 6000 yards for everybody and everybody was happy.  People who required 6800 or 7000 yards jut didn't seek membership in the club.

 

Everybody using the same tees was the reason for artificial turf tee boxes.  Astroturf wasn't great for pushing tees through, but Field Turf was little different from grass as long as the little rubber bits didn't come up and hit you in the face. Tees would always break, but I never had to buy them because I teed the ball low and used the broken ones I'd find on the tee.

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My old club wasn't member owned and was sold to housing developers, thus relegating me to the ranks of green fee players which is fine--no complaints. We've got a lot of nice public courses here.

 

What was unique, however, was its one single set of Field Turf tees and one line of yardages on the scorecard. So few of the holes were straight that they just didn't adapt themselves to different tees. Moving tees forward or back would just change the club choice on the tee. The approach shot would be the same for anybody who didn't have prodigious banana ball shots in both directions in his shot repertoire.

 

Changing the angles of the tees was considered possible on some holes, but so many families played there that people didn't want tees that were far apart from one another for simple social and cart sharing reasons. It was just over 6000 yards for everybody and everybody was happy. People who required 6800 or 7000 yards jut didn't seek membership in the club.

 

Everybody using the same tees was the reason for artificial turf tee boxes. Astroturf wasn't great for pushing tees through, but Field Turf was little different from grass as long as the little rubber bits didn't come up and hit you in the face. Tees would always break, but I never had to buy them because I teed the ball low and used the broken ones I'd find on the tee.

Based on your comments we both remember a time when there was only one or perhaps two sets of tees on all courses. I think that a course set up with only two sets of tees, forward/back is the ideal way to go. Depending on elevation and course conditions the front would be 5400-5700 and the back 6100 - 6400. The overwhelming majority of people would have more fun and rounds would take less time. For those precious few who might really need more a letter from your pro would suffice to open the tips. :)
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Based on your comments we both remember a time when there was only one or perhaps two sets of tees on all courses. I think that a course set up with only two sets of tees, forward/back is the ideal way to go. Depending on elevation and course conditions the front would be 5400-5700 and the back 6100 - 6400. The overwhelming majority of people would have more fun and rounds would take less time. For those precious few who might really need more a letter from your pro would suffice to open the tips. :)

That would be pretty cool actually. No telling how often I see people tip it out just to say they did.

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It's non-stop at the Muni I play - folks on the tips who plain old don't belong - I can spot them right away, they've pulled driver on 1 - if you are playing from the tips you need to lay up short of the 100 every time because -

 

1.  You will have the best angle to the pin just short of the fairway bunker down the right side - you also are on a little up slope so that you can go right at it regardless of where it is.

 

2.  If you don't reach the green (it's 345 so you won't) and you don't carry the bunker on the right and leave it on an upslope to the green you aren't getting it close unless your Phil Mickelson - BTW he's not going to be playing that course.

 

3.  You bring OB and hazards into play for absolutely no reason what so ever.

 

If for some reason you can't reach the bunker on the right with a driver you shouldn't be playing the tips because you'll have to hit three woods on the next hole (585 yard par 5) and you are going to back the entire course up.  Oh yeah that happens almost every time I play there. :(

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How in the world is golf just $24??  That is just amazing....

10 bucks by me in summer. Then again many days are 100+ outside. 

 

I played two courses that were similar. One thing I noted was that the rough was so different. In Mississippi I could hit a ground ball out of the thick stuff under trees and still get it out there 100-150 yards. In NJ it's 30 yards max because of the different grass. Here in Arizona, it's usually a lost ball if you are that far off. Desert golf can be brutal if your swing isn't quite right.

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76 is a hell of an a scoring average if you´re hitting 8 hybrids for 2nd shots in a round. Well done.

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76 is a hell of an a scoring average if you´re hitting 8 hybrids for 2nd shots in a round. Well done.

Thanks, I'm consistent, just not very long.

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Rev, I have played Mangrove twice and Bayou about 6 times. Mangrove is a muni, with standard side-by-side holes where you can get bombed from a slice from an adjacent fairway. So a missed fairway there is no big deal, because trees are sparse and few. Bayou is a private club with holes that run out thru a former swamp. Many are tree-lined with thick woods. An errant drive there requires a punch out, effectively a penalty shot. Those tough par 4s you mention are on the front 9, and I agree are way beyond your average recreational golfer. I play middle tees and never broke 90 at Bayou, but it's a gorgeous course with interesting holes, like the par 3s on the back from the bridge tee. So in your analysis, you assume you hit a straight drive, which you can do, but I don't. Bayou and Mangrove look quite different, in my opinion. Bayou has holes which seem isolated from the rest of the course, which I love, but Mangrove you can see clear across the facility to the range and executive course.

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We've got to get out sometime soon Getagrip - I will send you and Foz a PM as soon as I know when the October Member Appreciation Days are in October ($29 at Bayou).

 

I was pretty shocked in doing this analysis because on the surface there truly is no comparison between the two courses and of course there would be a huge gap if you were playing both from the tips.  I generally play Bayou from an amalgam between the white and blue tees so I'm playing it at 6,400 yards.  Since turning 55 I play Mangrove from the whites - about 6,200 yards, prior to that I had to play Mangrove from the Blacks - 6,700 yards.  I've played Mangrove 100's of times and have played Bayou 30 plus now so I know both courses fairly well.

 

Everything that you've written about Bayou is true except to say that the fairways are very generous.  Of course at first it is very intimidating visually and there are lots of hazards and a great deal of OB to contend with.  Once you know the course there aren't really that many tight spots unless you're feeling frisky and in the mood to take them on.  In fact for my game the bigger danger of penalties comes around the green - OB on 4, water on 5, OB on 6, water on 7, water on 9, water on the lay up on 10, water on 11, water on 13, water on 16, water on 18.  There's no way around that stuff and if you are struggling the water on 12 and 15 can also come into play.

 

Yet even with all that my normal score on Bayou tee box for tee box is only about 3 strokes higher than Mangrove.  It's because Mangrove is deceptive, it looks very easy and when you're playing well it is but there are enough shots when you aren't that you can rack up the scores.  Also the greens aren't in nearly as good a shape so it's a little harder to hole putts and of course the traps are typical muni fare - each different - not hard to get out of but hard to be consistent enough to get up and down.  I've gone from 20 percent up and down at Mangrove to nearly 50 percent up and down out of traps at Bayou.

 

Having written all of that I'm in no particular hurry to give up my Bayou membership - it's a great course, the people whom I've met are delightful, its very peaceful out on that back nine where you don't even see the next hole let alone the next group and I like 3 1/2 hour rounds.

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I appreciate the offer, Kev, and will take you up on that invite. Just realize I'm a 14 hc and a slicer.

-- Steve

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You'll fit right in Getagrip although I feel for anyone who wants to move it left to right at Bayou - It's definitely better to hit draws there than fades or slices. 

 

I will be in touch, can't wait for Foz to see the course and we'll look forward to meeting you.

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