Golf Course Architecture - Issue 74, October 2023

41 Photo: credit most romantic expression of great architecture, those same features can also be polarising. Everyone comprehends the finality of a water hazard. The design feature simply says ‘you cannot play from here’. Coming to terms with a vexing contour or landform, with the ability to put the club on the back of the ball, sends a player into an entirely different mindset. You’re now contemplating the escape, no matter how long the odds may look, with a legitimate chance to execute the seemingly impossible shot. Contours, or the angle one finds themself attacking the contour, may suggest a play away from the intended target. Executing that prudent play to safety is not difficult. The difficulty lies in the decision, choosing the wise play and wrestling with the psychological mind game such situations create. For some reason golfers feel entitled to have a free go at the pin no matter the angle, lie or stance, so the insertion of a contour that suggests counter to this mindset is often viewed as extreme, gimmicky or too difficult. The real question might be ‘how did I wind up here in the first place?’ Pot bunkers on links courses offer a similar challenge. It’s acceptable and even expected on links courses to avoid bunkers at all costs, for the penalty of not heeding the warning will be harsh. A penalty often resulting in no chance to advance to the green with only less than ideal options available such as playing sideways or even backwards to minimise the damage. Successfully escaping one of these penal pits is hard… yet the strategic and mental asks of a player are brilliant! Photo: Brandon Johnson Pot bunkers, often found on links courses in the UK, provide a mental and strategic challenge for players