Klein on Design: No. 12 at Merion East

No. 12 at Merion East.

Yards: 403, par 4

Architect: Hugh Wilson, 1912 (course rated No. 4 on Golfweek’s Best Classic list)

Where: Ardmore, Pa.

Event: Walker Cup, Sept. 12-13

It’s great because . . . it’s Merion, with all of its wonderfully disheveled elegance. The hole plays through a narrow chute of trees to a fairway canted left to right, protected by bunkers on the high side and dense tree canopies on the bolder, low side. A precipitous green looks like it’s sliding off its moorings and about to tumble into a steep front-right bunker.

It would be even better if . . . the green was rebuilt to marginally reduce the slopes of the putting surface to provide more than two adjoining hole locations on a green that’s too heavily pitched for modern putting speeds. There’s no problem taking the existing contours and toning down all of them by dropping the back of the green 3-4 feet and reproducing (in more moderate fashion) the same relative slopes on the hole. Then they’d have more pin-able ground for a greater mix of hole locations, including front left and back right over that bunker.

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