Fishers Island Club – Fishers Island, New York

The Fishers Island Club was on my short list when I started The Bottom Groove.  I’ve always been interested in how a historic course such as this was constructed during the time period.

After reading the write up Andy did at The Fried Egg and taking a closer look at the pictures Jon Cavalier did that were included in the write up, I became a little more intrigued as to how the course was not only routed, but how elevation played a role in the design.

Fishers Island Club Aerial

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Pacific Dunes – Bandon, Oregon

As a follow up to Bandon Dunes, I wanted to take a look at Pacific Dunes. This course neighbors Bandon Dunes to the north and from what I have been told has a similar amount of fine grading leading up to and around the green complexes.

Another brief touch on history –

Designed by Tom Doak and the Renaissance Golf Design group and opened in 2001. This was the second course in the series of courses that make up the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort experience.

Talking to people who have visited, many say Pacific Dunes is easily their favorite of all the Bandon Courses.


Pacific Dunes Aerial

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Bandon Dunes – Bandon, Oregon

So this one was kind of fun for me to look at. I’ve never had the chance to experience Bandon, Oregon and all the golf that comes with it. Instead I did what I could to experience it from my desktop.

A brief touch on history –

Designed by David McLay Kidd and opened in 1999. This was the first course in the series of courses that make up the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort experience.

Bandon Dunes Aerial

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Erin Hills – Hartford, WI

Erin Hills, host of the 2008 US Women’s Public Links, 2011 US Amateur and 2017 US Open. I’ve been lucky enough to get out and play this one and I can assure you that it is quite the walk. You wouldn’t think much of the elevation on this chunk of land would be natural in the middle of Wisconsin. I got lucky to get this data since much of Wisconsin can be spotty when it comes to Lidar data.

Erin Hills Aerial

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National Golf Links of America – Southampton, NY

What led me to take a look at this was looking at some photos that Jon Cavalier posted on Twitter(@LinksGems).

I had a little fun with this one since its hard to see a lot of the little intricacies of the grading in the fairways and around the greens.  I did a few images in an attempt to make the grading stand out.

For those unfamiliar with the course location, it is located on Long Island and neighbors Shinnecock Hills and Peconic Bay.

Aerial Image of the National Links of America

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Oakmont Country Club – Oakmont, Pennsylvania

I’ll be honest here:  I loved watching the US Opens out there over the last few appearances, but until recently, I didn’t really get the history and layout of the country club. Now I can’t stop looking at it. It has its share of elevation changes from tee to green and also within the green complex itself.

Below is an aerial photo showing Oakmont Country Club. It also allows you to familiarize your self with different monuments on the course. Pew bunkers, Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Club House.

Aerial Image of Oakmont Country Club


What really caught my eye looking at the topography is how much the course plays away from you on certain holes. Hole 1 and 10 play downhill approximately 60 feet from the back tees to the front of the green before falling another 4 feet – 6 feet from the front of the green to the back. Holes 9 and 11 play both uphill.  While the 8th hole is a lengthy par 3, the hole only 8 feet – 12 feet downhill, which provides no elevation assistance to the player.

In addition to having to play with and into the grade, some of these fairways have a 8 feet – 12 feet elevation change from the left side of the fairway to the right side. Making the player face shots placing the ball above and below his or her feet.

Below is a contour map of Oakmont Country Club in 2-foot intervals. The map was generated using USGS Lidar data. You can tell on this image where the trees are.  Filtering those points was a little more time consuming then I thought it was going to take so I left them visible.  I believe this data was acquired between 2006 and 2008 so any changes after that time period will not be reflected.

2-foot contouring of Oakmont Country Club

Color Scale

The next few images show a color scale of Oakmont Country Club, also generated using USGS LIdar data.

For this I did an overlay of the 5-foot contouring to reduce the intensity a bit. The colors vary in elevations changes with some being a 10-foot change in elevation and others being a 2 foot – 3 foot change in elevation.  The red colors are the higher elevations with the blue being the lower elevations.

Color scale of Oakmont Country Club Elevation

For this last image, I turned up the transparency for the image above to give you a better chance at seeing the holes below the topography and color scale.

Half Tone Color Scale – Oakmont Country Club

I don’t know much about the architecture or design of this course, but there is a great mix of using low and high spots of the course to work in both some tee boxes and green complexes. A course that is near the top of my list of ones to play if the opportunity ever came up.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.