As far as most architecture aficionados are concerned, talking about course design can be as enjoyable as playing the holes themselves. We love extolling the virtues of an Alps, especially the original at Prestwick, and the beauty of a Biarritz at, say, Mid Ocean. We relish debates over the quality of various Redans, and the ones that compare most favorably to the prototype, which is No. 15 on the West Links at North Berwick. And we appreciate back-and-forths on how a modern links like Bandon Dunes or Tara Iti stacks up against a classic like Royal Dornoch.
Short par-4s are another frequent topic of conversation. And while the overall merits of that design concept are largely recognized, there is plenty of discourse as to what makes them so good – and which are the preeminent ones in the game.
Loosely defined, a short par-4 runs 300 yards or so. The greens are generally small, well-contoured and well-bunkered. A long hitter is able to reach them with a tee shot, and the most engaging ones give golfers a way to run drives onto th...
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