Wheee! It has been forever since I have posted on any thread and this one is the winner.
I am a total supporter of courses being labeled to what a par should truly be (and I will get it out of the way and say that to me, SeaTac is NOT a par 54 course but either a par 59 or 60, I don't know the stats well enough). I have to say that I am a fan of this because I want to see course designers starting to think about designing holes that take two or three shots to reach the "green". If a course has the room, then gone should be the days of thinking about how to design yet another hole that is reachable off the drive. I love holes that take great drives and excellent second (and sometimes third) shots to give the person a look at the basket. To me, this is where the fun really is.
Here is where I get to say "super huge kudos" to the group that painstakingly designed the excellent course we know as Shelton Springs. With true par 4 and par 5 holes, this course rocks. Why are they true par 4 and 5? Because it takes two or three quality shots to reach the basket and give you birdie opportunities. Can you eagle the par 4's and 5's? Sure, but it isn't easy.
I am just trying to say that if we have room at parks (like SeaTac and Shelton Springs) there is no reason not to try and design holes that are not reachable in one shot. They don't need to be 700 feet to be par 4 (I played a par 4 at Highbridge that was about 250', and a legitimate par 4) but they need to be designed to be a hole that will take two well executed shots to reach and is basically unreachable in one. It can be done.
As a last note for SeaTac, I actually walked the course with Herm when he was still about and the course was in it's early incantation. He asked me to come out to design a second set of teepads like I had at NAD to utilize the same fairways, yet totally change the shots. If these had been put in, there would have been two layouts at SeaTac using the same design, but neither of them would have been the course that is played now. All of the tees that are in use now would still be used, but some for the "easy course" and some for the "hard course". The thought was to have a more friendly par 3 type of course and also a totally challenging par ? course. I still wish to this day that those pads could have gone in.....
Also, he asked about the course itself and changes that I would make if I could. If anyone remembers the old course, holes 14 and 16 use to be shorter. They were the old, boring "3.5" type of holes where if you threw a drive that went 250' or 400', you were still getting a three with a basic upshot. But once the pins were moved back, now that short drive either takes the thought of a three out, or you must make a miraculous shot/putt to still get a three. But those holes are now definite par 4 holes thanks to some added distance. I'm not saying that "distance equal better" but it did work for those holes. We also talked about the possibility of clearing much more (yes, much more) behind pin 12 and trying to get to a par 5 on that hole..........
So while I enjoy deuce or die courses (RIP Riverside Red) I still love the challenge, both mentally and physically, of courses that have par 4 and 5 holes. Long live Shelton Springs and SeaTac (and maybe even Dalaiwood in the long setting, heeheehee)