Date: October 05, 2016
Author: Tom Fee, Korea

Aussies hope for more bite from the Bear

Jack Nicklaus might be The Golden Bear, but his namesake course at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Amateur is playing more like a teddy bear.

Soft greens and fairways have greeted players during the two practice rounds, and Golf Australia coaching consultant Paul Skinner doesn’t necessarily feel that easy conditions at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club will make life easier for his chargers.

“I think for our guys the harder it is the better it is as it takes a few other people out of the game,” said Skinner, an expert in course management and former caddy of Peter Fowler.

“I think it’s a great golf course, but they’ve had a lot of rain before we all got here and it’s playing a lot softer and it takes away the ability for organisers to use the slopes and mounds as well as they probably could, and certainly on the greens.

“No doubt with the weather as it has been and with what’s coming that’ll start to change things. They’ll be able to use these slopes a bit more and it will bring a lot more strategy in the game than is there at the moment.

“For guys that prepare well, I think the harder it is the better it is. I think that when it gets very soft it’s a bit more like throwing darts at a target rather than having to hit the correct shape of shot to use slopes and swales.”

With a spot at the 2017 US Masters on the line, the rumour around the traps is that the course that hosted the 2015 President's Cup will sharpen its claws into the final round.

“I think when we get to Saturday and Sunday the greens will get a little bit firmer and faster and the tees will move back,“ Skinner said.

“Once they cut the field in half they’ll find a few tougher pin placements too, firm things up a bit and if that wind gets up in the afternoon which it’s sort of threatening to do, it’ll be a very different proposition.”

NSW golfer Travis Smyth agreed with Skinner’s assessment, also addressing the soft conditions over the past few days.

“When the ball is rolling a bit more, they’re really slopey fairways so you’ll find a few miss hits will roll into the rough whereas at the moment if you land it in the fairway it’ll just stay there.

“I think the harder it plays the better chance we have. There’s a lot of good players here that can win so whoever bring their game will have a great chance.”