Schools Of Design – Part 2 – How It Affects Your Golf Handicap

Do you remember our last Blog about the different Schools of Design?

Well, we will make it easier for you to understand the 6 different schools of design so that the next time you go out to play, you identify which school that Golf Course belongs to, and which type of strategy you should use in order to beat the Architect and ultimately lower your golf handicap.

On the first blog about Schools of Design, we explained and gave you an example of the 1st School which is the Natural School, the type of school that doesn’t change anything when designing the Course; it can be a man-made element or something that Nature left behind. The Course is designed and adapt to whatever is around the landscape. A great example of this, is of course, St. Andrews.

The other school we talked about is the Heroic School. This is the School that we see often in the PGA Tour; where players encounter Golf Holes where they have to make a decision that can either reward them or penalize them depending on which decision they make and what strategy they use. A great example for this type of School, is the Par 5, 7th Hole at Valhalla Golf Club.

To continue with the different types of Schools of Design, the one that came after the Natural School was the Penal School.

The Penal School:

Golf Design Architects

This school is the type of school that wanted to reward the straight hitter by removing the Bunkers, and hazards away from the middle of the fairway. This way, only the “bad” players will be the ones that could get in trouble, making them, sooner or later, better players. These designers also introduced the geometric features that we see sometimes on the Bunkers and Mounds around the Golf Courses; however, these features and the Penal designs came to an end when the World War I started and all constructions stopped.

After the Penal School Courses stopped being constructed and golfers got tired of the unnatural appearance of those Golf Courses, then the Strategic School came to life.

The Strategic School:

east lake golf course

East Lake Golf Club – Par 3 Hole 6th (in the back) 

This is actually the most popular school of all, inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews. The goal of the Strategic School is the mental and physical demand when playing a Golf Course, giving the player options that would make him or her think about the shot they have in front and also, the shot that they will face after they make their choice.

This school rewards the more daring play and penalizes the the less courageous or poorly planned attack, not specifically giving penalty shots, but giving the player a longer shot to the Hole or maybe giving him a tougher shot to the Green.

golf design architect

Some of the most famous Strategic Designers are Macdonald, MacKenzie and of course, Donald Ross. In the 1920s the architects were given more freedom and took the Strategic Designs to new leves; golfers experienced playing a natural looking, strategically designed course until the Great Depression where all ended. This school boomed between 1910 and 1937.

Because there are too many Schools to learn and understand, we will stop here and continue with the last 2 Schools, The Freeway and the Framing School in our next Blog.

Remember to use TheGrint GPS Golf App the next time you go out to play. It will help you understand and strategize your game much better and it will help you lower your golf handicap as well. Be smart out there.

Enjoy your golf!

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