March 19, 2019 - Comments Off on Royal Ascot Golf Club 6th Hole Remodelling Plan
Turning The "Bit Bland" 6th At The Royal Ascot Golf Club Into An Exciting Challenge
I was invited by Royal Ascot GC to appraise their 6th hole which they felt was ‘a bit bland’. They didn’t really have a budget in mind, they just wanted a few ideas to put to the board as part of a long-term plan for the golf course. When it comes to a golf hole remodelling, there can be a whole variety of changes and additions. So, I headed out to the 6th with the course manager, Ian Hockley, to take a look.
The 6th is a mid-length par 3 which plays through trees and over a couple of ditches to a generous and relatively flat green. A bunker sits into a low mound on the right of the green and the hole has a lovely woodland back drop.
My initial thought was, ‘there’s not much excitement here’, and this was a common thought from members and the team as well.
The first ditch runs diagonally across the line of play but is too close to really be much of a hazard. The second ditch is about 60m from the front of the tee and shouldn’t really cause a problem to anyone other than those already hitting a bad shot. Neither of them is particularly attractive.
The trees to the right of the hole lie along the course boundary and have grown out somewhat across the hole obscuring the bunker from the back half of the tee. The golfer’s path to the left is also quite prominent in the eyeline.
What About For The Golfers?
For the lower handicapper, this hole is straightforward. None of the hazards are really in play, the green is quite large, long and flat and there is no real variation in pin position difficulty.
For the higher handicapper, although the ditches aren’t really in play, to reach the fairway requires a carry of close to 100 yards. Once over this, the hole is very straightforward.
Visually and strategically, there is very little going on but the framework is there to create something much better.
There is a nice change in elevation from the tee, down to the ditches and back up to the green which provides the golfer with a clear vista.
The ditches lie within a shallow valley and connect areas of wetland and other water bodies.
There is space around the green to modify without having to encroach on to the green itself.
So what could we do?
The Ideas For Making The 6th More Exciting
New Feature: The Pond
The presence of ditches and the shallow valley implies that a reasonable quantity of water must pass across this hole. The opportunity is there to retain this water and provide an instant hit of excitement to the hole.
The pond can be extended back quite close to the tees and by constructing another forward tee closer to the pond, it means everyone can have the possibility of carrying it.
Adding a retained timber edge to the back face will give the water feature better visual definition, will allow the fairway to be extended right back to it, thus reducing the carry for higher handicappers and will clearly indicate whether a shot has made it across the water, or not, thus reducing slow play.
New Feature: Remodel Existing Bunker
The existing bunker on the right of the green sits quite a way from the green. If this were reshaped, brought in closer to the green edge and set into slightly higher mounding then it improves its visibility from the tee and a back right pin position becomes a little bit trickier for lower handicappers.
New Feature: Add A Second Bunker To Front Left
The one bunker on its own makes the hole a bit imbalanced so by introducing a second bunker short left and sat into the face of the green it not only improves the look of the hole but creates a more challenging short-left pin position to play to.
New Feature: Re-route The Golfers Path
The golfer’s path can be re-routed further to the left behind the trees and new mounding, so it is less of a visual distraction.
For The Golfers
So, for the higher handicapper, the hole is predominantly about the challenge of carrying the water and for the lower handicapper, the challenge is about judging distance and shaping shots around the bunkers to get close to the pins.
This might look quite costly but ponds aren’t necessarily expensive to build if the situation is right and in this case, would be well worth the investment for the impact it will bring.
And all of this work could potentially be done in-house if you have the necessary experience and willingness although, for peace of mind, I would always recommend using a reputable construction firm to carry out the project.
So, for a little time spent with me, Royal Ascot GC have a plan for their 6th hole which makes it look more exciting, improves the challenge for better players and makes the hole more memorable, and it won’t break the bank.
I think you'll agree the new design add's more excitement, more variety and a more memorable hole. It's holes like this that will get people talking about the course, telling their friends and getting people to come back over and over again.
Thinking About Remodeling, Renovating Or Restoration Parts Of Your Course?
If you are thinking about making some changes to your course and you would like some more ideas, perhaps someone to help with the plan then click here and claim your free golf course design consultation.
I'll come to the course and we can spend some time together coming up with the ideas for what you can do. This consultation is worth £300, and all I ask is that you cover my travel and accommodation expenses (if needed).
Published by: Stephen Ridgway in Remodelling