Hawk Pointe opened
Memorial Day 2000. In
addition to the course, plans are for a golf school to be organized by Bob
Ross. This is my first U.S.
course for which I have fully employed my land-based design concept.
The results have been very satisfying.
The design incorporates many natural features into the strategy of
the course, and thorough preparation prior to construction has kept the
construction on budget and at an accelerated pace.
For example, nine holes were shaped in five weeks.
important component of land-based design is the pinpointing of the player
on each hole after a properly played shot.
During the design process at New Jersey, and on every course I
design, I mapped each position on every hole where the expert and average
players will place a properly hit shot. For the average player, a landing zone 180 yards from the
member tees (with some adjustments for prevailing wind conditions and
topography), and subsequent shots of 170 yards through the green were
carefully located. Each
landing zone is a point located at the aforementioned distance, and
encompassed by a 20-yard diameter circle.
For the low-handicap player, I pin point a landing zone 220 yards
from the championship tee (again, with some adjustments for prevailing
wind conditions and topography), and subsequent shots of 200 yards through
the green. For the expert
player, I pin point a landing zone 260 yards from the championship tee
(again, with some adjustments for prevailing wind conditions and
topography), and subsequent shots of 240 yards through the green.
The purpose of locating these landing zones is to ensure that holes
are properly routed with respect for player’s skills, and in a manner
that takes advantage of the natural features I desired to incorporate into
the strategic design of the course resulting from the process of routing
the course while on the property. It
is also helpful in properly locating the manmade strategic elements like
bunkers. I was pleasantly
surprised to discover while attending a workshop that the USGA employs a
similar technique in the slope rating process for existing courses.
An important result of mapping out the course this way is that the
average to high handicap player can be better accommodated if I know where
they are likely to be on any hole. This
way I can carefully locate natural and man made features and slightly
modify them if necessary to give advantage to the higher handicap players. This can be done by making certain the terrain helps
the rolling ball gain additional distance; by helping the player have a
more comfortable stance from which to play the next shot; and by helping
their rolling approach shot toward, and, onto the green.
The majority of higher handicap players are most affected by the
results of the ball rolling on the ground.
Specifically, the shaping of the terrain in the approach areas to
the greens, and in the fairway where the ball comes to rest, and from
where they must attempt their next shot are critical areas to this type of
player. Furthermore, locating
the landing zones for the wide range of golfing abilities we expect at
this course better informs the design in helping determine the following
factors: the proximity of landing zones to hazards; the turn angle in
relation to tee and green; the elevation difference between landing zone
and tee, and landing zone and green; direction and percentage of slope of
landing zone; wind direction in relation to approach to green, and in
relation to tee shot; visibility of green from landing zone, and landing
zone from tee; and the appropriate width of landing zones.