Trees and Bunkers in Fairways, Graphite Irons Shafts, and Other Random Musings

Smiter

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Ok, even with Pebble Beach being as iconic as it is, I hate when there are trees and bunkers in the middle of the FW. Or even trees guarding the green such as the tree to the right at Pebble’s 18th. To me that shouts at tricked up golf. I don’t like that personally. If you hit a good shot it should be rewarded. I know that you need to hit a good shot to avoid that stuff. But hitting the FW shouldn’t be punished. On my day to day courses, one has a center of the fairway bunker (only comes into play into the wind but it’s ALWAYS into the wind) and one has a very tall tree that isn’t in the FW but blocks out the entire right 2/3’s of the FW for most golfers. It’s not a huge issue for me since I hit the ball extremely high, but I’m the only golfer I’ve played with that doesn’t have to worry about it too much. I can elevate over it unless I have a bad lie or get too close to it. I still hate it as it often forces me to hit a shot I don’t want to hit. I’ll have to hit a fade that starts out over water, which is a recipe for disaster.

Next musing, am I wrong about graphite iron shafts? Gary Woodland for sure out guns me, and he’s got at least some of his irons in graphite. Including a short iron or wedge. I’ve always wrote them off. I know there are shafts that are appropriate for me, I just haven’t gone down that road. Seeing GW play them, am I just being obstinate? I haven’t met any that I like, but I’d be willing to give them a go at this point.... If someone was willing to show me their virtue. I’m a fish out of water with them. The only ones I’ve ever swung with were WAY too light (not in flex but weight) for me. Seeing someone on tour that swings hard playing them, I know they build them to specs that would fit. I just don’t know a damn thing about them and it would be hard to self fit myself into them, so I don’t mess with them. I do know that I can play virtually any steel shaft between 105-120 gram. Maybe I need to find a graphite shaft in a similar weight? The ones I’ve tried I think have been way lighter and I just can’t hit them. I’ve got an OG TaylorMade Burner Bubble 9i that in dozens of swings, I’ve yet to hit a ball decently with it. That was my barometer for graphite shafts in irons. It’s an evil club, one I’m not sure how to tame.
 

SquirrelyDave

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Well, I can’t say much about the first thing, but it doesn’t bug me as long as the course plays fair, and looks nice, I don’t much care if there’s hazardous stuff in the fairway.

As for graphite shafts....yeah you can find something for your swing speed, no question. I’m not swinging like a long drive competitor, but I’m relatively young (shut up @kev) and I swing in 100mph range with my woods, and I play graphite throughout my bag, and I vastly prefer it to steel for a lot of reasons. I’ve had no problems with graphite in my wedges or any of my irons. Like any shaft, it’s a matter of finding what works for you, in a weight you’re comfortable with. It’s probably easier to get that info from a fitting, just because a fitter will have a variety of shafts to try out. I wouldn’t eliminate anything, graphite or steel until you know it doesn’t work for you.
 

jmaclaine

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Is it possible Woodland’s shafts are black steel?
 

Paladin

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I think at the pro level there should be "hitting the fairway" and "hitting the right part of the fairway." No one minds certain courses that do this. No one minds that Augusta has holes like 13, where you can hit it to the "safe" side of the fairway where your second will be a mile above your feet into a sloping green, but if you want to challenge the hazard down the left and make it happen you get a flatter lie. Pebble does similar things. Flirt with bunkers, be rewarded with shots that require less shape into the green. Or take the safe side of the fairway and have to carve your shot around trees to get it to safest part of the green.

As for fairway bunkers, some are used as aiming points. Aim at the edge, and carve your tee shot away from it. Fairway bunkers are helpful alignment to keep from having to aim at much more arbitrary points on the course. Sometimes you have to flirt with them. That's the point.

Graphite shafts in irons are awesome. I don't think they're a matter of swing speed so much as swing tempo that determines if they're right for you. Also, they've come so far, I think realistically the only way to determine if they're right for you is to go and get fitted. I've gone from steel to graphite and back in the past 6 years, and I couldn't tell you which one is better at this point. It really comes down to fit and feel.
 

The Milk Man

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Ok, even with Pebble Beach being as iconic as it is, I hate when there are trees and bunkers in the middle of the FW. Or even trees guarding the green such as the tree to the right at Pebble’s 18th. To me that shouts at tricked up golf. I don’t like that personally. If you hit a good shot it should be rewarded. I know that you need to hit a good shot to avoid that stuff. But hitting the FW shouldn’t be punished. On my day to day courses, one has a center of the fairway bunker (only comes into play into the wind but it’s ALWAYS into the wind) and one has a very tall tree that isn’t in the FW but blocks out the entire right 2/3’s of the FW for most golfers. It’s not a huge issue for me since I hit the ball extremely high, but I’m the only golfer I’ve played with that doesn’t have to worry about it too much. I can elevate over it unless I have a bad lie or get too close to it. I still hate it as it often forces me to hit a shot I don’t want to hit. I’ll have to hit a fade that starts out over water, which is a recipe for disaster.

Next musing, am I wrong about graphite iron shafts? Gary Woodland for sure out guns me, and he’s got at least some of his irons in graphite. Including a short iron or wedge. I’ve always wrote them off. I know there are shafts that are appropriate for me, I just haven’t gone down that road. Seeing GW play them, am I just being obstinate? I haven’t met any that I like, but I’d be willing to give them a go at this point.... If someone was willing to show me their virtue. I’m a fish out of water with them. The only ones I’ve ever swung with were WAY too light (not in flex but weight) for me. Seeing someone on tour that swings hard playing them, I know they build them to specs that would fit. I just don’t know a damn thing about them and it would be hard to self fit myself into them, so I don’t mess with them. I do know that I can play virtually any steel shaft between 105-120 gram. Maybe I need to find a graphite shaft in a similar weight? The ones I’ve tried I think have been way lighter and I just can’t hit them. I’ve got an OG TaylorMade Burner Bubble 9i that in dozens of swings, I’ve yet to hit a ball decently with it. That was my barometer for graphite shafts in irons. It’s an evil club, one I’m not sure how to tame.
Pretty sure Woodland is playing steel shafts from KBS with black coating.

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Paladin

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Pretty sure Woodland is playing steel shafts from KBS with black coating.

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I couldn't tell you which shafts Woodland is playing, but I have a set of murdered out KBS $-Tapers and they are some great iron shafts. I don't know that you can tell you're playing the right shafts by how poorly you hit almost anything else, but if that is the case, then I need to stock up on $-Tapers.
 

The Milk Man

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I couldn't tell you which shafts Woodland is playing, but I have a set of murdered out KBS $-Tapers and they are some great iron shafts. I don't know that you can tell you're playing the right shafts by how poorly you hit almost anything else, but if that is the case, then I need to stock up on $-Tapers.
I played the murdered out $ tapers for a season. THP and KBS were nice enough to give me some and others to review. Currently playing murdered out KBS tour

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Jman

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GW is playing black Ctapers.
 

OldeDude

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On the first point, I get your complaint about bunkers, tree, etc, that encroach on what looks to be the normal lines you would otherwise play, but designers/architects have been doing this forever. I don't consider it "tricked up", just another challenge.

On the second, as others have said, graphite iron shafts have come a long way. Just a few you could look at, Recoil 110s, and Recoil 125 Prototypes by UST Mamiya, or Steefiber i110 and Steelfiber i125 from Aerotech.
 

WMac19

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The only obstacle I'd hate is a bunker in the middle of the green. Rare I know, but they do exist and IMO, it's romper-room nonsense.

Tree in the fairway, bunker in the middle of a fairway, I don't have a problem with that. Only the green... anything other than an unadulterated putting surface is sacrilegious to me.

As to graphite iron shafts, I've played with guys swinging in the ballpark of 125 mph with driver who played Steelfiber or Recoil iron shafts.

Today's graphite iron shafts blow away the offerings from years past.
 

ntanygd760

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The fairway is almost 50 yards wide where the tree is. It is still 30-35 yards wide left of the tree. You can lay back and have an easy fairway or for bad golfers there drive only gets to the wide part before the tree. You can choose if you want to take on the tree. Choices make good golf. Now if there is a center line bunker with 10 yards on each side that is silly and dumb.

Multiple angles make for good golf. 20 yard strips of fairway while being a good test of golf it is totally mindless no strategy boring golf.
 

ntanygd760

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The only obstacle I'd hate is a bunker in the middle of the green. Rare I know, but they do exist and IMO, it's romper-room nonsense.

Tree in the fairway, bunker in the middle of a fairway, I don't have a problem with that. Only the green... anything other than an unadulterated putting surface is sacrilegious to me.

As to graphite iron shafts, I've played with guys swinging in the ballpark of 125 mph with driver who played Steelfiber or Recoil iron shafts.

Today's graphite iron shafts blow away the offerings from years past.
Didn't that hole start as 2 different greens or am I thinking of a different course?
 

WMac19

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Didn't that hole start as 2 different greens or am I thinking of a different course?
Oh, I don't know. I just know that the nanosecond that I saw one, I hated it.
 

GenErr

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I believe fairways should be pristine, no bunkers, AND no trees, either on the fairway or blocking your shot to the green (except doglegs). Golfers should not be penalized for hitting a fairway. Just my 2 cents.
 

Smiter

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Thanks for all the replies and I get everyone’s points. I guess I just personally don’t care for them. I didn’t even think about that center of the green bunker that the tour pros play.

Google earth just confirmed for me that it’s Riviera. It’s a huge green, but what do you do when you are directly across the bunker to the hole? Be a shame to take a chunk out of that green hitting a flop, but that’s your only real option. I certainly wouldn’t do it in a casual round, but in a tournament...

I didn’t even think about that with Woodlands shafts, duh. :)
 

Phil75070

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Thanks for all the replies and I get everyone’s points. I guess I just personally don’t care for them. I didn’t even think about that center of the green bunker that the tour pros play.

Google earth just confirmed for me that it’s Riviera. It’s a huge green, but what do you do when you are directly across the bunker to the hole? Be a shame to take a chunk out of that green hitting a flop, but that’s your only real option. I certainly wouldn’t do it in a casual round, but in a tournament...

I didn’t even think about that with Woodlands shafts, duh. :)
I'm not a big fan of that green at Riviera, either, but bunkers and trees even in the middle of the fairway, provided there is room on either side to skirt those obstacles, add to the challenge for me.

Graphite shafts have really improved from the early days and I am familiar with and know that offerings from UST Mamiya and Aerotech are really, really good. Though Woodland may be playing black painted steel shafts I do believe Kuchar plays graphite Steelfiber shafts.
 

ntanygd760

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Thanks for all the replies and I get everyone’s points. I guess I just personally don’t care for them. I didn’t even think about that center of the green bunker that the tour pros play.

Google earth just confirmed for me that it’s Riviera. It’s a huge green, but what do you do when you are directly across the bunker to the hole? Be a shame to take a chunk out of that green hitting a flop, but that’s your only real option. I certainly wouldn’t do it in a casual round, but in a tournament...

I didn’t even think about that with Woodlands shafts, duh. :)
A private club can get away with that hole. It would be a complete **** show on a public track.
 

Putterbutter

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I don’t mind bunkers but I hate when a tree is in fairway


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M2Giles

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So I think trees in a fairway or overhang can add a lot of character to a hole if it is done strategically and the course manages it. When they dont manage it, things get unfair quickly.

It gets dumb when your tee shot has to be shaped one direction (required fade or draw) in order to even hit the fairway. Blocking out one shot I think is lazy course design. There is a hole I normally play on that has a massive tree in the middle of the fairway. You can attempt to hit over it for high ball hitters (40+ yards) or hit a draw or fade around it, or not take it on and hit a layup to 160 out. I love how the hole has so many options because of that tree and makes the hole more interesting. Without it, it would be a gentle dogleg right to a tiered green with the entrance on the right and death long.

Bunkers in the fairway kinda depend. If it is one that you are rewarded for taking on I see no problem. If it's one where basically the difficulty of the hole is flying this bunker or laying up short of it, it just forces club selection. It is just like having a random ravine that is clearly there to force a layup. It makes a short hole play longer which is fine, but doesn't really make a hole interesting.
 

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... I came down with a bad case of low tendonitis when I played knockdown shots all fall long many years ago. Aldila had just released their NV Tour 130gm shafts and they were the answer to a prayer. Honestly a little too stout for my swing with 1.5* of torque but I was able to play them with no elbow pain when cleared by my Dr. Aldila came out with their NV Pro's at 105 gms and much more playable than the Tours and I happily made the switch. A few years later they released their VS Proto 100's that played just about identical to KBS Tours and I still have several sets. All was working great so I decided to try VS Proto 85's but they turned out to be too light.

... I have tried several other graphite irons shafts and currently play Recoil Prototype 95s and absolutely love everything about them. I played 107 rounds in 117 days in Phoenix last winter and I could never have played that much with steel in my irons. The irony is I planned on going back to steel once my tendonitis cleared up but enjoyed graphite so much I never even considered going back to steel. They make very stout shafts to very flexible shafts and everything in-between with any weight that works for you.
 

JB

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... I came down with a bad case of low tendonitis when I played knockdown shots all fall long many years ago. Aldila had just released their NV Tour 130gm shafts and they were the answer to a prayer. Honestly a little too stout for my swing with 1.5* of torque but I was able to play them with no elbow pain when cleared by my Dr. Aldila came out with their NV Pro's at 105 gms and much more playable than the Tours and I happily made the switch. A few years later they released their VS Proto 100's that played just about identical to KBS Tours and I still have several sets. All was working great so I decided to try VS Proto 85's but they turned out to be too light.

... I have tried several other graphite irons shafts and currently play Recoil Prototype 95s and absolutely love everything about them. I played 107 rounds in 117 days in Phoenix last winter and I could never have played that much with steel in my irons. The irony is I planned on going back to steel once my tendonitis cleared up but enjoyed graphite so much I never even considered going back to steel. They make very stout shafts to very flexible shafts and everything in-between with any weight that works for you.
Play the same shafts (Custom THP Edition) and love them as well. Composite by nature can be manipulated more since weight and flex are not tied togetherz
 

oiler3535

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I’m okay with obstacles in the middle of the fairway if you have to hit a bad shot to bring it into play. Or if it’s part of a risk reward play. For example, if a tree is on a par 5 but is only in play if going for it in 2. Or if a bunker is in a spot where either layup to make a long approach, or risk carrying it to make the par 4 green in 1 or at least make it a pitch shot.
 

ArmyGolf

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I'm a huge fan of trees in fairways since I feel like they add a ton of character, strategy, and shot making.

One of my favorite local holes (#14 @ Sandpiper) has a big beautiful tree 100 yards out from the green in the left center of the fairway. If you hit driver off the tee you need to stay right or you'll be too close to it to do anything. If you want to use the left or middle of the fairway you need to hang back far enough to get a ball over the tree.
 

KEV

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The tree thing used to bother me and I thought it was gimmicky. The only reason I thought that was because there was a course I played a couple of times with a tree in the middle that I was horrible at. I think I would probably have a different opinion these days though.

As far as graphite shafts I would love to try some Recoils in my irons and don't think I'd have any problem playing them. I think graphite technology has changed advanced to the point they are as good as steel. I tried Steelfibers last year and they seemed alright, they just weren't as tight accuracy wise as others.
 

InTheRough

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I don't care as long as they don't put a tree next to the bunker between it and the green. i.e. I want a way out other than a standard bunker shot.
 

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