Dramatic new bunkering with grass that falls back into the sand caught the group's attention at many holes, starting at the first, and a series of "chocolate drops," which are mounds of grass-covered dirt, now lend character to holes. Aesthetically, TPC Boston looks so much better than before that Hanse should be considered a miracle-worker. He has done what any great designer strives to do -- players will not only have to think their way around , they'll have to hit a variety of shots.
Of course, fickle PGA Tour players surely will critique the changes. Those involved are especially eager to hear the reaction to the par-4 fourth, changed from a goofy, dogleg right of 425 yards to a fairly straight and drivable par-4 of 299 yards -- but one that features a green that can't be more than 3,300 square feet and provides demanding shots from just off the green. So, fire away, laddies.
Dramatic, too, are the changes to the par-5 seventh, which now features a cross bunker roughly 140 yards from the green and creative greenside mounding, and to the par-5 18th, to which Hanse has added a strip of rough stretching out from a bunker. The par-3 16th? It is shorter, but now the green sits closer to the pond, so it's a more daunting shot. The par-4 17th? It might just be the best hole on the back nine, a brilliant piece of work that features one large grassy mound on each side of the fairway, but just enough room for those players who feel they can thread a draw between them.
Will some players moan? Sure. It's usually the second order of business at tournaments, after hopping into the courtesy car.
That's one part of the equation that isn't new.
The desirable length for a good course is from 6,000 to 6,400 yards. But bear in mind that it is quality, not quantity, that counts. In my work I repeatedly have had trouble making committees see the force of this. They seem possessed with the idea that length is the main desideratum. It is beyond all argument that many a long course is noticeably uninteresting, in contrast to shorter ones that are well thought-out and skillfully constructed. DONALD ROSS