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The Island Green

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

The 17th hole at the Sawgrass TPC is fascinating to watch during the Players. This year the weather conditions were good, but, the hole still punishes the world's best. These guys have to hit at least 100 wedge shots everyday, but, this shot makes them look like you and me. They fuss over wind, club selection, how hard to swing, talk to their caddy for hours, get real pissed, make very amusing faces and movements.


Does skiing have a similar situation to making this shot? There is not an injury threat in golf, so it's all in the mind. Can you imagine a world cup skier sweating a NASTAR run? No way? The Corbett's et al can have a downside if you crash, so dangerous situations don't really compare.


A small side story. Never played at Sawgrass, but, did play a very authentic recreation of this hole. In a twosome on the tee, the foursome ahead waved us through. My partner and I both hit absolutely great shots to within 15 feet. When we got to the green, the guys were amazed and asked us if we were that good. Our answer, no, hell no, not never that good.

post #2 of 5

I was fortunate to play the TPC course several times years ago and the Sawgrass before that. The 17th is a BIG green for such a short hole. Aim for the middle for the green and it's easy. An 18 handicapper will be hitting a 7 iron or less and their average 7 iron will find the green most of the time if it were not for the water. The only reason a good shot would miss the green is if you're trying to hit it close to the hole.


Now more closely related to your point:


One day the pin was on the back of 17. I hit it about six feet past the pin and think "I've got a good putt for a birdie". We're all talking and having fun. I get involved with lining up my putt and start backing up to get a little better read. This was back in the day when we still wore steel cleats. As I backed up I felt the cleats on the toe of my back foot crunch into the top of one of Pete Dye's railroad ties and my life flashed in front of me. If my stride had been six inches longer I would have  stepped off the back of the green! My guess is that green is 6 - 8 feet above the water across the back. I don't know if I would have had a heart attack before I hit the water or drowned in the pond but either way I'd probably have been gator bait if I'd gone off the back of 17!

post #3 of 5

We have a replica of the 17th in the DC area at a course called Renditions. When the wind is blowing hitting the green and sticking it is basically a crap shoot. It's a lot easier if you can take your mind out of the shot. IF.


There is an injury threat in golf (aside from gators). Try hitting a bunker shot when your ball is resting against the lip and you can't follow through. Or hitting in deep rough. Or hitting near a tree. Ok - except for the gators they are not life threatening. But hundreds of people tumble down Corbett's without getting injured. That's what came to mind when first reading the question.


In competitive skiing, only downhill/super G courses remain essentially the same from year to year, so there is not much direct comparison if you take out the life threatening aspect. Everyone knows downhillers are insane. Otherwise, my guess one of the turns in the Hahnenkamm would be the closest comparison.


Another way to look at this is conditions. It used to be some breakable crust and bottom less powder could wreak havoc on many of the experts. Nowadays modern gear has taken the teeth out of these conditions. My bet is that the only thing left that can disturb the fluidity of the greatest is fresh wet snowmaking and the grabby surface melt on really wet spring snow. But that's more like Tiger's dad throwing towels at him during his swing.


post #4 of 5

If you are talking island greens you have got to check this one out.  It's the only real "island" out there.  You have to take a boat out to putt after your tee shot.  It floats and is on cables, so they can change the yardage by cranking it in or out.



Edited by mudfoot - 6/9/2009 at 03:06 am GMT
post #5 of 5

If it floats, it's a barge not an island.

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