For the past three years, I’ve helped orchestrate the Design-a-Hole powwow in which our finalists for that year are chosen. I have absolutely no say in these decisions, which is probably a good thing, but I’ve also seen what works and what doesn’t with our prestigious Design-a-Hole judges.
Although the contest has certainly morphed over time, our judges’ expectations have not. They want unique creations that could fit on at least one of the courses for that year. In the past, players were not given knowledge of any of the five locations for the latest update. This, of course, changed this year with the announcement that there would be an oceanside and a desert course in 2013.
You can choose to create a design that fits either of these locales, OR you can attempt to create something unique and submit this as well. Both are solid options, and it depends on what design YOU would like to see in Golden Tee.
It’s one of the major problems we see in the contest each and every year. Someone may submit a design that has a solid foundation, but the problem is the hole simply does not make Golden Tee sense.
Typically, elevation is the main problem that could crush the possibility of a design. Although putting the green on top of a waterfall may seem like a solid idea, it just won’t work once the game has to translate this into something most golf clubs in the game can reach. If you’re going to include some sort of elevation – either up or down – make sure that you’re considering what sort of club would be required to hit such a shot.
Also take into consideration the distances of each shot on your hole. If you want your design to be a drivable par-4, is the green truly reachable? Does your layup spot makes sense from a distance standpoint? It’s not just one single path to the hole that needs to resonate true. The design must be at least somewhat proportionate in all areas to be considered a realistic option for Golden Tee. It’s easier said than done, but a must if you’re trying to move on.
Be Creative, but Be Careful
The line between innovation and absurdity is one that can sometimes be difficult to see through. We’ve seen pretty wonderful hole designs in settings that simply could not be used on a Golden Tee golf course. A hole situated on a race track or baseball field will only be useable if there is a golf course on either one of these obscure locations. Note: Neither of these will be making their GT debuts in 2013.
Although locations vary from year to year in terms of elements, being too location specific (such as putting your hole in a cave) can all but eliminate you regardless of how good your design is. Being able to generate a hole that is brilliant in the design, and not necessarily dependent on an obscure obstacle, is something that will fit any and all of Jim Zielinski’s creations.
Make It What You Want to See
You play the game, you know the game, you know what you like and what you’d like to see more of. It’s this simple thought process that should be at the core of your design. If you wish the game had more drivable par-5s, than that’s a great place to start. If you love drivable par-4s, and think you have a unique idea that has yet to really be utilized in Golden Tee, then this should be what you go with.
We’re all better at creating something by going off what we like and what we know. Also, it doesn't hurt to create more than one entry. Sometimes too many ideas can conflict with one another.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Picasso
While the quality of designs from an appearance standpoint have improved a great deal over the past few years, this doesn’t mean you need an architecture degree to make the finals.
In fact, I can honestly tell you that our judges give each and every design a solid look through regardless of whether it’s a work of art of not. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you’re penmanship or design skills might not match up next to some of the submissions in the contest. In the end, it’s the design that counts. And if you’re design would be an excellent addition to the game, it won’t matter that it doesn’t belong in a museum.