The 13th green at The Lakes Golf Club.
Golf course architects sometimes have a fine line when they build a hole on the edge of what most golfers would describe as "reasonable".
I do not like the concept and the need to purify the game to make it fair & # 39; to make.
Everyone would suggest that it is a mental game, and that dealing with the inherent dishonesty of all this is the biggest challenge for the mental
Golf was never meant to be just. Just look at the holes that come from the 13th to the 16th in North Berwick or in the Himalayas and Alps holes in Prestwick or The Road Hole in St Andrews, perhaps the biggest hole in the game.
By every modern definition of fair they fall miles short. The holes of Prestwick are blind, the former of the tee and the last (with its deep fronting bunker) of the fairway. The 13th at North Berwick takes you over a stone wall, the approach to the next is blind, and the Redan green – the 15th – mostly blind and the 16th green is one of the wildest in golf.
Every architect that she now builds gets out of the city.
This week at The Lakes, the most controversial hole is the par 4, 13th. It is 280 meters long for almost everyone. What could be difficult at a downhill hole with a 70 meter wide channel?
The green, modeled after the reverse fourth in Woodlands in Melbourne, is not defended by bunkers, but steep banks of short grass on each side. The concept is to ensure that players who are missing at the sides are far from being guaranteed to simply go up and down to make little birds. Making a three if you miss the sides should be as difficult as making a 60 meters from a distance. Otherwise why not fly all the time on the green?
The problem for a designer is that, by making a demanding short hole for a first-class player, you can build at least one function that the average player struggles with. In Australia, a notable example is the famous Big Bertha & # 39; bunker, short and left of the great fifteenth designed by Alister MacKenzie in Kingston Heath.
A feared danger, it gives the incompetent bunker player little hope for escape. Just like the Road Hole bunker at St Andrews.
The best short 4 & # 39; s usually show one difficult and one easy. Choose the easy recording of the tee and the pitch is problematic. Go with the difficult – or brave or reckless – tee-shot and the promise is a relatively simple pitch and the chance of a shortish putt for birdie. Nobody wants two hard shots and what makes it fun if both shots are easy?
At the Lakes this week it's incredibly hard to get it all in one on the 13th green, but hitting the fairway 200 yards from the tee is probably the easiest shot on a championship course in the country. The disadvantage? The pitch from there is one of the most difficult.
That is all a choice for the players. But it is not a black and white choice.
Those who want to sneak closer than 80 meters risk to find the pond on the right, but a 60-meter field is a lot easier than a meter away. The angles in the flag are quite different from one side of the fairway to the other and the best of the two depends on where the hole is cut.
In 2011 and with chances to win both Jason Day and Tiger Woods, the 13th green set a hand for bogey. That alone does not make it a great hole, but as Nick Faldo once said: "All the big holes in the world are the nerve-wracking."
The 13th is certainly nervous and will probably play a role in the finish on Sunday.
Mike Clayton, one of Australia & # 39; s most renowned architects, redesigned The Lakes in 2006.