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Purgatory Par 3’s

By: Brian Rhodes on June 23rd, 2015

TennaMerchent_Sunrise over 7th

Photo of #7 River of Flames

 

Par 3’s have a huge impact on my overall feeling and personal rating of golf courses.  It is a pet peeve of mine when I use the same club for 3 of the 4 par 3 shots on a course.  With Purgatory being spread out over 218 acres very few people notice that the par 3’s all play in different directions. If we have a consistent wind you will play shots in every wind direction.  Thus even if you are playing similar distances they will require different clubs.

 

Purgatory par 3’s all look vastly different from each other, unless you have made a hole-in-one on one of them it is extremely hard to pick your favorite as they all have fantastic features.  If you are playing the farthest tee forward the only par 3 that has a forced carry is #12, in fact from those tees it is the only forced carry on the golf course.

Hole 8: “The Serpent” Par 4; plays 487 to 336 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on May 6th, 2015

08_TennaMerchent_20110602_0632%20as%20Smart%20Object-1_sz_1024

Is one of my favorite holes, the tees shot is partially blind off the tee, many players may not be able to see their landing area.  This causes anxiety in some players as they are unsure where to aim, as they need confidence in their swing to produce good results.  The tee shot can be played by hitting it at the right bunker with a slight draw or starting it at the left bunker with a fade.

 

The hole can be very long depending on the tees played.  There are 3 factors that shorten the hole’s true playing distance:  the prevailing wind is straight downwind, once past the initial uphill portion the fairway then gentle slopes downhill, the green runs from front to back allowing shots to roll farther.

 

There is a bunker that appears to be greenside and causes an illusion putting doubt about the true distance in the approach shot. The bunker is actually about 50 yards in front of that green. There’s a huge bail out area, just beyond that bunker that leaves a player with a good opportunity for par.

 

The green is a reverse tier, reverse sloping green; it’s modeled after one of Alister MacKenzie’s favorite greens he did at Crystal Downs.  The green actually slopes away from you, and then there’s a tier that slopes away from you.  It’s very unsettling when you can’t see the bottom of the flag.  It is very uncommon; it looks like it has a shorter flagstick then the rest of the course.  Players are used to not seeing the bottom of the flag, when it is uphill shot, but when it is downhill and reverse, it brings in a whole new set of feelings.

 

The Serpent reconfirmed what I have always felt, that blind shots and illusions are an integral part of the game and far from representing tricked up holes.

Ron Kern Online Interview

By: tenna on October 29th, 2014

Ron Kern, Golf Course Architect,

There was a nice interview with Purgatory Golf Club’s architect Ron Kern recently. It’s a non traditional interview, asking funny questions such as shorts or pants, and Beatles or Elvis. You can read the original article from two sources listed below:

http://www.indianagolf.com/articles/article.cfm?ID=2217

http://www.golftrips.com/articles/article.cfm?ID=2217

Who’s stupid idea was this?!

By: Tenna Merchent on June 19th, 2012

Looking into the 2nd green

Today’s post was supposed to be a video of a staff member playing one of the holes on the course, but due to internet connectivity issues, I’m lucky I can even load a photo, I am instead sharing this new photo of the 2nd green.

Two weeks ago we rented a bucket truck, better known as a cherry picker. It’s the kind of truck you see by the road working on power lines. The idea was for me to get in this bucket, go up in the air, and get some killer photos of the golf course, you know, the kind you can’t get from the ground. Before I went up, James taught me trucker hand signals because they wouldn’t be able to hear me from so far up. So I climbed in the bucket with all my gear at 5:40 in the morning, and they hoisted me up. I looked around, gulped, and yelled down, “Who’s stupid s___ idea was this?!” Well, of course it was my bright idea. So I stuck it out.

My set up

Here you can see my set up. Yes, believe it or not, I got that shot of two green from way up here with this camera. The production shot you see here is taken with my iPhone.

shade

In this shot looking down 4 fairway you can see the shadow of the bucket truck. We held off the maintenance crew, and closed the course until 9:00 that morning so that I could shoot unhampered. And we went around and shot the whole time. I’m still editing photos.

The funny thing was, we were finally finished at right about 9:00, and I yelled “Guys, I’m ready to come down!” They went to start the engine, and it wouldn’t turn over. I yelled “That’s a bad joke, right?” Well, it wasn’t. It was out of gas. Luckily it only took about 5 minutes for them to get gas and I was down.

I got some amazing shots, ones I couldn’t have gotten from the ground, but I’m in no hurry to do that any time again soon!

Looking down

The Flag on the 8th Green as a Matchstick

By: Tenna Merchent on May 22nd, 2012

Looking into the 8th hole

I’m working on a photography book, so I’m re-editing some of my golf course images. This image of the 8th hole came to life this morning as I was working on it. I used a filter that renders this painterly appearance. There are many reasons I like it, some I can’t articulate. But one in particular I can. In this image, the flag on the putting green reminds me of a match, maybe one that has just been blown out.

Well if you’ve ever played the 8th hole with a tricky pin placement that resonates. The 8th green is absolutely huge, with a ginormous surrounding catch basin.

The 8th green

It can be mischieviously difficult to get from one of those swails up onto the green and into the cup. I remember playing one day when James (our Superintendent) had placed the flag right on the ridge where the green breaks. The bailout you see pictured to the left felt like it was a million miles away.

Of course I’ve also played this hole when the pin was place more towards the front of the green and it was less of a challenge. On a day like that the hole felt more like this image.Across 8 green to the fairway The same hole, different pin placements, and a dramatically different experience.