Here's how this is gonna work. I'm going to try to put that nearly useless little top view of the PSP Phoenix Open layout grid to the right with an embedded link to the full size grid. (I've tried once already and the html looks okay and yet--no little image. If it's there you've just wasted a few precious seconds--you're welcome--and if not, you know why. It's nearly impossible to know less about how to do this than I know.)
With or without the image I intend to soldier on so you'll just have to make the best of it. This initial post will give you a method for breaking field layouts down, any layouts, and provide a framework for understanding how a layout will play and ways to exploit the available options. This information then guides everything from shooting lanes off the break to avenues for attacking and defending and all the rest of the actual playing of the game action. The next post in the series will then use this breakdown methodology to revisit the Phoenix layout and in the process describe how and why certain features played the way they did.
Begin with a full page version of the grid. With a ruler and pen (or pencil if you're detoxing again) find all the shooting lanes for sweet-spotting off the break. It is highly unlikely you will use them all, or even most, but this is a guide to checking all the possibilities.
On a separate grid--using the same ruler and pen--graph all the likely shots from the back bunkers. The result will begin to look like an antique mariner's chart and explains using a separate grid. By the way, you're going to need two more grids. One for the snake side of the field and the other for the D-side as you graph out possible shots working up field from bunker to bunker. If this sounds convoluted and confusing it's really pretty straightforward. The six (or however many) lines radiating from say, the snake corner bunker are the basic shots available from that position--as indicated by the grid. (You will, of course, find that sometimes the real thing isn't quite the same and one shot or another isn't what it looked like on the grid.) A handy tool for getting a visual sense of how some of the angles will appear and what shots might or might not be available if you're uncertain is the virtual field, when available, over at Warpig.)
Once completed you will find the shot grids give you an immediate and clear idea of which positions, if any, on the field offer dominate offensive options and which ones offer the best defensive options. You also can quickly see all the critical relationships between positions on the field. For example, which positions can shoot Snake 1 as well as which positions are at the greatest risk from a player in Snake 1 and so on. While D2 has good angles on the snake corner what positions is the player in D2 most at risk from? It's all on the shot grids. Instead of learning the shots, angles and positional relationships--and often missing a few--only after getting on the field the shot grids let you confirm information you already have.
One additional step that is often neglected is the follow-up examination for deflected (or bounce) shots, blind shots, unusual not-direct-line-of-sight lanes, blind spots to be played. Most of these can be ascertained from the shot grids as well though they need to be tested on the field knowing what you're looking for in advance is another time safer.
All the above is really mostly rudimentary field-walking done prior to actually walking the field. You're looking for the same information with the intention of putting it to the same uses. This method simply offers another level of efficiency to the basic process.
If I've used any unfamiliar terms--have you ever noticed different places around the country have different names for everything--don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Additionally, if you have any questions please ask. In an effort to be both brief and concise--despite a tendency to yammer on endlessly and wander off on tangents--I'm sure some things have been lost in transmission.
For the record I managed to get that worthless little grid image embedded but couldn't wrap the text around it so I gave it the boot. No, really. I did. And as you can see in my determination to avoid too much tedious theory there wasn't any at all. Instead it was a primer on prepping to walk a field. Next time, more theory using examples from the PSP Phoenix Open layout.