Thoughtful setup equals more fun
Monday, August 31, 2009
RIVERSIDE, Iowa – For years now, I have been very vocal with anyone who wants to discuss course setups at college golf tournaments, saying there hasn’t been enough thought going into the setups at men’s and women’s events.
That’s not the case here at the Golfweek Conference Challenge being played at Blue Top Ridge.
With a smile, Caifornia assistant coach Walter Chun said: “It’s a lot of fun out here today.”
Why? Because of the variety of shots the 75-player field encountered in the second round.
The best examples might have been Nos. 16 and 17. Playing from the tips, the par-5 16th hole featured a back right hole location and gave players all they wanted today. It stretched over 680 yards and played to a 5.13 scoring average.
However, players were immediately rewarded with the par-4 17th, where a good drive could find the putting surface. What a swing of emotions that were produced in that two-hole stretch.
“The kids are saying this is a lot of fun,” said Vanderbilt coach Tom Shaw. “The setup today with some of the tees up and some of the tees back, it really makes them think.”
Don’t think for a minute that gave Iowa, who practices about twice a week at Blue Top Ridge, the second-round leader an advantage. Many of the Hawkeyes said there was a lot of Blue Top Ridge that was different from anything they had seen before and head coach Mark Hankins said we are not used to seeing this golf course with no wind - which has been the case the last two days.
What should they expect tomorrow? “Much of the same,” according to Director of Golf Bryan Haas.