Design Perspective from Golf Course Architect Richard Mandell
Variety is always at the forefront of my mind in design. It is always a challenge with designing a group of par threes, especially those that have similar topographic settings. In this case, the three front nine par-threes at the new Braemar all sit relatively level from tee to green, with three and seven being almost identical.
My first thought in forming the details of the seventh hole was, "How can I possibly make this hole differentiate itself from number three?" The easy answer was to alter the number and location of sand bunkers. So, to be different, I decided to place a pair of bunkers behind the green to keep aggressive shots from rolling into the wetland behind. That move alone distinguishes the hole from the third, which has a lone bunker at the front right corner of its green.
Whereas the hole appears relatively flat, a cross-slope drops from left to right, which allowed me to build up the left side of the green and develop a mound at the front left corner of the green. A single ridge coming out of that mound bleeds into the putting surface. Some tee shots will kick onto the green similar to (but different) than the mound that works into the third green from the back left.
The paradox of my efforts to distinguish three from seven resulted in a putting surface that is almost a mirror image of the sixth green, with a ridge that runs along the north-south axis of this hole as well. The difference is the left side of seven green is the high side. The opposite is true on six green. Nonetheless, the differences between three and seven are indeed distinguishable and the green features make for an interesting contrast on back to back holes with similar features. The conclusion here is an interesting blend of the principles of variety, contrast, and unity.