The Eisenhower (The Ike)
A Premier Southern California Course
Designed by both William F. Bell and Casey O'Callaghan, locals and fans affectionately call this Los Angeles golf course "Ike". Because it attracts golfers from around the world, it is fitting that this 18-hole, classic par 72 course be named for a popular world leader who also happened to love the game. Since reopening in late 2006 after a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Ike continues to win over fans with its traditional features: lush fairways and large undulating greens.
This course has earned its place among the most challenging in Southern California and can lay claim to. It stretches 5,662 yards from the forward tees to 7,211 yards from the championship tees, with slope ratings from 130 to 145. It's no wonder that the Ike has been the proud host of many U.S. Open Qualifying tournaments as well as LPGA tour events.
Be sure to visit Industry Hills Golf Club's "The Babe" course for an additional 18 holes!
Yardage and Course Rating
A few of the golf course architecture terms you'll hear thrown around the most are playability, width, strategy and options. These terms have become buzzwords in the industry and many of today's modern architects are using these principles to lead a renaissance in the art of golf course design. To understand why certain golf holes and courses are great, it's vital to have a firm grasp of these simple concepts, which are all interconnected to each other.
"The designer of a course should start off on his work in a sympathetic frame of mind for the weak, and at the same time be as severe as he likes with the first-class player."
Ninety-nine percent of golfers play the game as a recreational activity, meaning every course should be playable for all. Some key ways to accomplish that are by including:
- Limited forced carries, which allow the beginner to duff their way around the course without being severely penalized for it.
- Alternative paths for players that want to avoid a hazard.
- Allowance for all shot shapes. It’s OK for a hole to prefer a cut or a draw, but it’s not OK for a hole to require a certain one.
"Narrow fairways bordered by long grass make bad golfers. They do so by destroying the harmony and continuity of the game, and in causing a stilted and cramped style by destroying all freedom of play."
-Dr. Alister Mackenzie
Width is the playing corridor of a golf hole. Generally speaking, the wider the hole, the more playable it is. Proper width allows golfers to hit any type of shot, including a fade, draw, slice or hook without penalty. It keeps golfers in play and allows the architect to create strategy and different playing options on a hole. Without width, strategy and options are limited because the player’s only choice is to hit the ball dead straight.
Strategy & Options
"The strategy of the golf course is the soul of the game."
-George C. Thomas
If a hole contains substantial width, great architects are able to create a hole that is both playable and challenging by forcing great players to make decisions based on strategy.
While the beginner's focus is on merely finding the fairway, a hole with great strategy will force the more advanced player to make a series of decisions. When a great player doesn’t have to think, it's a very simple game. When they are forced to make decisions and choose from an array of potential shots, the game becomes much more difficult and interesting.
A hole that possesses great strategic interest will present the golfer with a series of different shot options, each with a varying amount of risk and reward. Typically, the safest option will lead to a tough following shot and the riskiest option, when executed, will reward a player with the easiest upcoming shot. Architects will often use angles, hazards and bunkers to dictate the strategy and create the risk and reward aspect of a certain shot or hole.
Principles in action
Example 1: How width affects strategy and options
To see how all of these factors work together, let’s take a look at an aerial shot of the 11th and 12th holes at the Golf Club of Houston, the annual host site for the Shell Houston Open.