Rip One Golf- Golf Instruction, Golf Coaching, Golf Classes and Golf Lessons in Austin, TX

Garry Rippy Golf offers golf lessons, golf coaching, golf instruction, golf classes and golf schools in Austin, TX. This blog contains golf instruction articles, golf tips and golf instruction videos by Garry Rippy, PGA.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

My Short Experience in Golf Course Architecture

When I was in high school I was always drawing golf course layouts.  I enjoyed envisioning what my layouts might look like in real life.  So much so that I was going to choose that as my career.  I took architectural drafting in high school and did show some potential in that area as well.  I was an average student in high school and never really applied myself to studying.  I was on the golf team and spent my time practicing and playing.  When it came time to sit down with the high school counselor and learn what it took to get in the school of architecture I could see it would take seven years of college and lots of math!   

So I changed career paths and decided on General Business…boring!  I wasn’t a great college student so ended up leaving school and worked for my dad for a handful of years before then getting in the golf business.  I made the correct choice as I really enjoyed my career.  I worked at some of most famous clubs and resorts and some of the most respected professionals in the nation!  

My longest stint as a head golf professional was at the TPC at The Woodlands.  I was there from 1988-2001 and was host professional to 14 PGA TOUR events.  In 1998, we were going to do a greens restoration and hired Houston architect Carlton Gipson to complete the job.  Carlton had several original designs and restoration projects in the Houston area.  It was a great learning experience to see how greens are constructed and shaped.  I would go on the course with Carlton on a regular basis and he thoroughly explained the process.  For the most part the greens were just being returned to their original design and size.  But one day Carlton indicated to me he would like to do something different to the par 3, 14th hole.  It was a very wide green in a horizontal hourglass shape surrounded by 4 bunkers.  The green itself was fairly flat.  If the hole location was left or right it made for a difficult shot with a long iron.  The water wasn’t really more than a visual issue.

He asked my opinion on changing the shape of the green.  This is where my short stint in golf course architecture began.  I told him it would be interesting if the water was more in play.  I thought it would be cool to have a sort of bowl shape in the middle so a hole location could be near the water at the front of the green.  If you hit a shot long to avoid the water, you would have a fast putt coming down the hill.  In addition if the green was closer to the water you could lose the right bunker and have another great hole location over the water.  As he was listening to my idea I could tell it intrigued him.  So long story short, he used my idea!  

I don’t have an actual picture of the finished green but this is from the yardage book.  So here it is 25 years later and the same green exists.  Although the course is no longer a TPC it does host the Insperity Invitational on the PGA TOUR Champions.

No comments: