The Classic Golf Hole is THE crowning glory of golf hole design. The hole must exceed one full rating point in Length, Accuracy & Imagination. The way this rating is determined by the game is very straightforward. The game analyzes scores of golfers after each group finishes a hole. It takes the scores of the players who have the skill and compares them to the golfers who do not have the skill.
We can break it down this way:
Length – If the players with the length skill get a 4.0 average on the hole and the players without the skill get 5.0 average, then the calculation of (5.0 – 4.0 = 1.0) achieves the necessary requirement. The Accuracy & Imagination skills are done the same way.
In order to fully analyze golfers playing the hole through observations it bodes well to put the proper categories of golfers in categories to help the hole analysis……First off the non-customized players should be determined. We know this much through Sid’s information.
Women – Accuracy & Imagination (NO LENGTH)
Knickers – Length & Accuracy (NO IMAGINATION)
Shorts – Length & Imagination (NO ACCURACY)
Long Pants/Short Sleeves – Posses all skills
The shot analysis tool shows us how players who lack these skills would make a shot from any given point; tees, fairway, traps, etc….Although the shot analysis tool tells us how players who lack the skill will do, it helps in observation to equate the opposite - What skills they posses and who they are. It will help us to not just see what happens with play on the hole, but to equate the players with the corresponding shot analysis color. This is as follows
Women – Accuracy & Imagination (YELLOW)
Knickers – Length & Accuracy (GREEN)
Shorts – Length & Imagination (BLUE)
Long Pants/Short Sleeves – All Skills (WHITE)
Most of this is pretty easy to determine, but to fully analyze any given hole of play; it is nearly imperative to completely make these connections. By learning this, players on the course become a “real-time shot analysis” tool.
Classic Hole Design Theory
In order to achieve the desired results, we must accomplish two things in any hole design:
Penalize players who lack a given skill
Award players who posses the same skill
It is not mandatory to do both, but using this method has plenty of advantages. In a way, you are penalizing a half point and awarding a half point in order to get the required full point……This does the following:
Makes the course more fun for all golfers.
Increase the odds of achieving the required rating
Increase the odds of exceptionally high ratings - 2+ in any given skill. Allows a more realistic hole design. Allows the use of larger fairways in greens (greens of three tiles or more)
Now this penalize/award goes along with the typical real golf course designer’s risk/reward theories in golf hole design. It works in real life and it works in SIMGolf. This is a tribute to the designers of the game itself. It allows designs of reachable in two par 5’s and driveable par 4’s to get nice ratings in SIMGolf, easily reaching the half point needed for SGA approval and often reaching the Classic Hole designation.
The Skill Paradox
This is a combination of the player attributes & design theory. The reason the BEST way to design a classic hole is though risk/reward due to the golfers themselves. Every time a non-length player scores a bogey, the length rating goes up and the imagination & accuracy go down. So if you concentrate on penalizing skills you are only doing half the equation. This is the reason most SIMGOLF designers consider their classic holes, accidents. They don’t know completely why it happened. The shot analysis tool does not tell us an important point. When we penalize a player who lacks a skill – while raising the skill rating they lack – you are also penalizing the two skills they posses. The following information proves this 2:1 ratio.
Par 4, 405 yds – average score 4.5
Accuracy & Imagination – average score 5.0
Length is raised .5
Accuracy is lowered .5
Imagination is lowered .5
Length & Accuracy – average score 5.0
Length is lowered .5
Accuracy is lowered .5
Imagination is raised .5
Length & Imagination – average score 5.0
Length is lowered .5
Accuracy is raised .5
Imagination is lowered .5
So we get the following overall ratings from these golfers:
Length (.5 - .5 - .5) = -.5 Accuracy (-.5 -.5 + .5) = -.5 Imagination (-5 +.5 -.5) = -.5
Negative .5 in all ratings, not a good hole……but the average is 4.5, so add in the ALL SKILLS golfers
All Skills – average score 3.0
Length is raised 1.5
Accuracy is raised 1.5
Imagination is raised 1.5
If we had an equal number of All skill golfers vs an equal numbers of limited skill players, we would have a Classic hole rating! This is just an example, it will hardly ever shake out this way, but what it DOES tell us is this:
The All Skill golfer is THE key to ratings on any given hole. Only this golfer can improve all three categories. They are not subject to the raise one, lower two calculation.
Using the Information in hole design
The above information helps us understand the theory of penalizing/awarding skills in the same hole. It does no good to throw up a tree near the tee to force a fade, when the long fade golfer will eventually hit the ball into a trap or is forced to lay-up. So while we need to understand to keep the non-length & non-imagination golfers at bay off the tee and around the green – we just need to make sure the golfers who posses all three skills are awarded – the fairways & greens are accessible to them.
PFunk owner of the BACK 9 SIMGolf site has indicated his thoughts on hole design:
Golfers with all skills – reach green in regulation(par - 2) (white lines) – typically birdie
Golfers with no imagination – reach green in par - 1 (green lines) – typically shot par
Golfers with no length – reach green in par (yellow lines) – typically shot bogey.
Fairway size is irrelevant. Fun rating goes higher with larger fairways. I found small greens the most effective, making the pin square only accessible by imaginative golfers if larger than one square.
Golfers with no accuracy (blue lines) – haven’t determined an exact determination, however, they have to be “penalized” for their inaccuracy in some way and finish below their equal counterparts.
This is sound advice when attacking design for a Classic Hole. The first three steps are the initial steps in any hole design. You must check every players second shot on par 4’s & 5’s as well. It does no good to put the non-length player 150 yds off the tee and allow them to reach the green of a par 4 with firm fairway and an open green. You should check their second shot and place a hazard for them to work around. In addition this hazard should not interfere with the All Skill (White line) golfer tee shot. Placing a hazard between the white line first shot and the yellow line second shot will help acquire good length ratings, regardless of the actual hole length.
A classic par 4 golf hole will like do the following:
Allow All Skills golfer to reach the green with fade/draw off the tee & high backspin shot to the green
Make the Non-Length golfer reach with three good shots – the last shot a backspin or fade/draw to the green
Make the Non-Imaginative golfer lay-up off the tee and use their length to get near the green with their second
Make the Non-Accurate golfer pay a price for his wildness.
Accuracy is the toughest to accomplish, these players can make many different types of shots – they just never know where they are going. They may go left, right, short or long. They most parallel the all skill golfer, therefore are closest to what you are trying to accomplish, making it the trickiest rating to raise on any given hole. The best way is hazards, these players are the most likely to get into them. Water. Trees & Traps are you best defense against these guys. Find where the All Skill golfers are playing and place sand traps on either side so that an overdraw/underdraw will find the trap. Tree lined fairways give these guys fits. Guard the green with a trap/tree or water.
You will find some step by step guides and examples of classic holes throughout this website. Although this is a long-winded discussion, absorbing the information will allow you to build better rated golf holes, achieve classic holes at will and have more fun in SIMGolf. Your golfers will be happy with your hole/course building prowess and flock to your courses. The added bonus of actually being able to analyze a golf hole by observing golfers will really help with any tweaking of the holes themselves……
Good Luck and happy designing