Development of the NPOR Style Guide: Attacking the Hole

Many of the posts on this site use the phrase, “attack the hole.”

In context (from this post): “The wise player will drive to the larger portion of the fairway away from the bunkers and attack the hole with a full pitch from a level lie.”

In general, attacking the hole indicates a shot played with the intention of holing out. The use of the phrase “attack the hole” identifies positions on the golf hole where the design emphasizes aggressive play.

The usage of attacking the hole allows me to differentiate between shots played to place the golfer in a decent position (most tee shots, for example) and shots played with the intention to score. Using this dichotomy allows for a better understanding of golf strategy, in my opinion. While every golfer generally focuses on a particular target in playing a shot, only the shots played without the intention of holing out show variance in how individuals “see” a golf hole. Once the target becomes the hole, the situation becomes a question of tactical execution and not planning.

In analyzing golf architecture, I work on the assumption that once a golfer feels a shot can be holed, the golfer will attempt to do so. Successful golf architecture creates contexts where the change from setting up an attack to attack is murky and varies based on both skill level and the previously played shots. For example, it is reasonable to say that many golfers begin to attempt to hole shots once around the green, however, situations exist where equidistant points from the hole yield two very different feelings of confidence about holing out. It is also reasonable to say certain holes encourage aggressive play and attacking the hole from excess of 200 yards. While it is not very likely such shots will find the hole, the intent on holing out still exists in some form as the hole/flag is the target.

I hope to explore in-depth this concept with specific contexts as well as discuss the ideas within.

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