Tommy Naccarato

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #75 on: November 25, 2012, 03:30:34 am »
Perhaps it's time for a petition.

I have written a note to Dr. Hawtree, and now I will write to the presidents of the various architects' societies around the world, asking them to take a stand on this matter.  I will be happy to post the responses here.  If they wish to lead opposition to the idea of changing the contours of The Old Course, then I will happily sign on.  

If they don't want to take a stand on this as a group, then I will start the petition myself, and ask every golf architect in the world to take a stand, one way or the other.  It is up to the professionals in the field to stand for something.  If the contours of The Old Course can be changed on the advice of just one architect who thinks he knows better, then there is nothing sacred in golf architecture, and all our work is consigned to be destroyed by future generations that think they know better (or are pressured to agree).

I'll put down Scott Macpherson on the side of the enablers.  I want to say "History will show he was wrong," but when you're on the side of erasing History, conveniently, you are also covering your tracks.

Tom, I just called Ran and had me re-insistuted to specifically post on GCA for two things, this and the post on Robin Nelson.

Consider me "IN" on any petition or other.  Its time to go to battle. (If that's what its going to take)

Stir Up The Echos......

Sean Walsh

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #76 on: November 25, 2012, 03:47:50 am »
First of all thank you Scott Macpherson for playing the role of moderate advocate for the defence.  Those issues you raise are likely to be used by the proponents of these changes to justify these, IMHO, poor decisions.

I firmly believe these changes need to be firmly resisted.

Great to see Tom Doak taking the stand he is and others from the GA side of things getting on board there.

To ensure any changes don't forever adversely change a place we hold dear I suggest:

  • Decide what we truly oppose as Scott highlights, what position would we accept.  What process would we propose to in future produce any changes to TOC

    Set up a Facebook site and also develop a twitter hashtag.  For those outside Australia sorry but #destroyingthejoint is already taken.

    Tom continue with his work on the GA side.

    One of our Greenkeeping contributors take up the cudgel and do the same within their professional community.

    One of our Media contributors do the same from that constituency (It would be great to have the endorsement of a Peter Alliss or IBF)

    Someone with access to the players get those that are architecturally minded involved (i.e Woods, Ogilvy, Weir, Furyk etc)

    Someone on the ground in Fife make contact with the St Andrews Golf Clubs and try to get them and the local community onboard to put pressure on the MP and Links Trust representatives.

    I have one or two access points to the caddies but someone else may have greater pull there.



 


Tom_Doak

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #77 on: November 25, 2012, 04:52:36 am »
Tom – It's an interesting idea to try and line people up on this discussion, but if you want to do that, you need to clearly establish the question before you start putting people in camps. (NB– Soon Scotland is going to is going to have a referendum on Independence, and there is alot of debate about how the question is to be framed... so this is quite topical here)

This subject always raises, and rightly so, questions about equipment, but it is probably more helpful that they are put to one side so we don't muddy the waters. So is your question;

A) Is it right that The Old Course should be changed for the Open Championship? or
B) Should any changes ever be made to The Old Course ever again? or
C) Is it right that bunkers can be adjusted on The Old Course?
D) Should Greens contours be adjusted on The Old Course?
E) Something else...........etc etc

My answer to these questions changes depending on the slant.

I have little issue with the idea of adjusting bunkers based on the historical precedent established, but I react with much greater caution to the idea of adjusting the greens, green contours,  green approach or surrounds undulations etc. So, have a think about the single question you want to pose and then please let me tell you what camp I am in.

Cheers,

Scott


Scott:

You are right, of course, that where you stand should depend on what, exactly, is the question.  And I think it's high time for a good discussion of that subject, which I will start in another thread right now.

For the next week or so, I will hold out hope that the various associations of golf architecture and greenkeeping will see fit to address the subject with regard to St. Andrews.  I don't always have to be in the front row ... in fact, I usually sit in the back to hurl my bombs  ;)  But in this case, I will gladly move up to the front lines if need be to make the case for something I believe in strongly.

Mac Plumart

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #78 on: November 25, 2012, 07:33:05 am »
I'm in, Tom.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Bart Bradley

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #79 on: November 25, 2012, 07:55:28 am »
I'm in, Tom.

Mac, I believe many of us are in.  But what exactly do WE need to do.  I posted on Tom's thread as well.

What can WE as enthusiast do?  How can WE truly make a difference? 

Let me know and I'll do my best.

Bart


Mac Plumart

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #80 on: November 25, 2012, 07:59:50 am »
Bart, I'll opt to follow Tom's lead and help in anyway he suggests.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

BCrosby

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #81 on: November 25, 2012, 06:53:35 pm »
Tom's last paragraph is:

"The only thing I know for sure is that if The Old Course at St. Andrews is changed, the rest of them aren't even worth arguing about.  The ghosts of 100 years of golf architects have believed The Old Course to be above the fray, and they will be watching to see what their descendants do to preserve it."

I think a useful way to think about such issues is in terms of burdens of proof. Before deciding to change a historically significant course, proponents of changes must overcome a presumption against changes. There might sometimes be good, convincing reasons to make changes. But the presumption, absent such clear and convincing reasons, is that historic courses should not be changed architecturally.

I can think of no course where that burden of proof is higher than The Old Course.

Note that different kinds of changes ought to have different burdens.  For example, stretching tees might have a lower burden. Recontouring greens and surrounds ought to have a prohibitively high burden if the course, like TOC, is important enough.

That hierarchy of burdens is largely driven by (a) the permanence of the proposed change (can it be easily undone after a tournament?) and (b) its effect on everyday play (new Open tees will not be played by punters).

That is, the closer the changes come to being structural, permanent changes that affect everyone, the higher the burden they must carry.

Or perhaps there are other, better ways to argue against the kinds of changes to TOC that are under consideration. But I'm pretty sure that hand waving and moral outrage aren't enough to give pause to the powers that be. 

Bob

BTW, where is the R&A Green Committee on this?

 

Dan Herrmann

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #82 on: November 25, 2012, 08:02:55 pm »
I'm really confused by the R&A.  They flew an R&A employee all the way over to Philly to participate in a restricted golf ball players' test at my golf club a few years ago.   That's not a cheap flight.  (There were also about 5 USGA guys present)

I had lunch with the gentleman who told me the data proved the benefits of the restricted flight ball, but the R&A would never go for it.  When I asked about a "tournament ball", he gave a snarky answer - that they already had a tournament ball, and you could buy it in the stores today.

Let me call the kettle black - Is it the threat of lawsuits from Titleist, Nike, etc. that's causing the R&A and USGA to wimp out?

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #83 on: November 25, 2012, 08:18:51 pm »
Tom, I just called Ran and had me re-insistuted to specifically post on GCA for two things, this and the post on Robin Nelson.

Consider me "IN" on any petition or other.  Its time to go to battle. (If that's what its going to take)

Stir Up The Echos......

GCA Post of the Year, 2012 ;)
@jeff_mingay

Terry Lavin

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #84 on: November 25, 2012, 08:22:15 pm »
The Nacc is back!  Sort of...
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  H.L. Mencken

Tom_Doak

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #85 on: November 25, 2012, 08:29:58 pm »
Here's the letter that went out this morning:

To:

Bob Cupp, President, American Society of Golf Course Architects
Rainer Preissmann, President, European Institute of Golf Course
Architects
Graham Papworth, President, Society of Australian Golf Course Architects
John Young, British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association

Gentlemen:

I was horrified yesterday to read of the changes proposed to The Old
Course at St. Andrews.  No longer content just to add back tees for
championship play, the club and its consulting architect, Martin
Hawtree, have planned to move bunkers, add contouring around the
greens, and soften slopes in other places prior to the next Open
championship.

I have felt for many years that The Old Course was sacred ground to
golf architects, as it was to Old Tom Morris and C. B. Macdonald and
Harry Colt and Alister MacKenzie before us.  It has been untouched
architecturally since 1920, and I believe that it should remain so.  I
understood this to be the feeling of many other architects who attended
the World Forum on Golf Architecture in St. Andrews, three years ago.

I don't believe it should be IMPOSSIBLE to change The Old Course, or
any other historic course.  But I think it should be a lot harder than it
currently is, where only the management of the club and any consulting
architect they hire have to agree.  I think that the default position
should be that such an international treasure should be guarded, and
that there should be a high burden of proof that changes need to be
made, before they can be made.

I feel strongly enough about this to stick my neck out on it, and make
the case publicly to everyone I know, including and especially contacts
in the media.  In fact, one of the reasons I have never applied for
membership in your organizations is the desire to speak my mind about
such things without having to arrive at a consensus first.  However,
contrary to popular perception, I have no desire to step over you on
this matter if you are interested in taking the same stand.

I propose to make a petition to the Royal & Ancient Golf Club
expressing that as a golf course architect, I feel that The Old Course
is sacred ground, and that architectural changes should not be made to
it unless necessary for the maintenance and health of the course.  I
would like to know from each of you individually, whether you are
interested in participating in this movement, and whether your
organizations might be interested in participating as well.

Sincerely,


Tom Doak
Renaissance Golf Design Inc.

Ian Andrew

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #86 on: November 25, 2012, 08:37:49 pm »
Tom,

Bravo!


Golf Architects are judged on the chances and risks they take with their art. Taking none is a choice and that work is rightfully dismissed

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #87 on: November 25, 2012, 08:41:28 pm »
Despite my ongoing battle with Rob Rigg and MHM on FB, I concur with Ian Andrew and support it all.

Anders Rytter

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #88 on: November 25, 2012, 08:55:52 pm »
You should have put this as an appendix



Atleast Duchamp did it on a copy/re-print

Ps. not to offend anyone. I'm also saddened by the potential destruction of golfing history
« Last Edit: November 25, 2012, 09:00:35 pm by Anders Rytter »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #89 on: November 25, 2012, 09:13:00 pm »
Tom,

Bravo!

Ian:

Since you are an actual member of one of those organizations I addressed, I would appreciate your support in seconding my thoughts to the hierarchy there.  [And I would make the same appeal to Neil Crafter and Mike Clayton as well.]  I suspect that, in the ASGCA in particular, my sentiment is less likely to lead to action precisely because of my own non-member status, unless there is a lot of support from the ranks of the membership.

John Chilver-Stainer

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #90 on: November 25, 2012, 09:35:19 pm »
Well done Tom Doak for making the first move.

Hopefully a consensus can be found between the various golfing organisations, so a strong lobby can urge a debate at a political level with the goal to protect classic golf courses under the law.

There aready exists a classification for historical buildings in Scotland.
However I know of no Preservation Order or Classification of a golf course, with respect to it’s historical significance.

A move should be made at a political level, supported by the leading Scottish Golf organisations (SGU, SPGA, R&A etc) to pass the necessary law through the Scottish Parliament, so the controlling instruments are in place.

There already exists an organisation “Historic Scotland” which through their laws, regulations, guidelines, experts, committees and subcommittees pass judgement on any proposals for alterations. Why not a sub committee within this organisation?

I checked the fife.gov.uk and there are no applications for permission to make any alterations to the Old Course.
Could it be that the Links Trust are in breach of Fife Councils Planning requirements?

If the Machrie had to submit a Planning Application for alterations , then why not St.Andrews?

The Golf Courses themselves may not be happy with an attempt to diminish their decision powers , however in the long run it is in their interests as well as in the interests of maintaining Scotland’s rich golfing legacy.

So now for some politics and lobbying.

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #91 on: November 25, 2012, 09:43:00 pm »
Beautiful letter, Tom. Perfect.

And, for whatever it's worth, I also encourage Ian and others who are members of the organizations Tom has written to support and promote his position on this important matter.

Tom mentions the media, too. I also hope that some prominent golf writers who feel the same about these proposed changes to the Old Course write about it with an opinion rather than as (another) news item.
@jeff_mingay

Stephen Britton

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #92 on: November 25, 2012, 10:17:42 pm »
Oh god... If this turns out anything like the changes he made at RMGC the Old Course is doomed...

Somebody GPS it now so it can laser grade back the original contours once the R&A see what a mistake they've made.


PPallotta

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #93 on: November 25, 2012, 11:53:02 pm »
Tom - I can imagine that the response you'll receive, either to this letter or to the one you send the R&A, might read something like this:: "We appreciate you sharing your heartfelt views, and in respecting your position as one of the world's leading architects sincerely value the opinions you expressed regarding potential changes to The Old Course.  If we have understood your views correctly, however, it would appear that you are not so firmly set against ANY changes being made to The Old Course as you are to some/all of the SPECIFIC changes we are currently contemplating, under the expert direction of Mr. Hawtree. If this is indeed the case, we would welcome hearing your views on the merits or disadvantages of these specific changes, or any others you think we should be considering. We look forward to your continuing the dialogue, and, again, thank you for writing".

If something like that does come back, how would you respond?  (I hope you understand why I am asking).   

Peter

BCrosby

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #94 on: November 25, 2012, 11:57:52 pm »
Tom

Good letter.

There are two main arguments that need to brought home to Dawson and others.

First, the Old Course's unique standing means today that its historical importance outweighs its importance as a tournament venue. For that reason preservation (to the extent reasonably possible) is more important than making it suitable for professional competitions.

(To the Rich's question, "what, exactly, should be preserved"? The starting point is the course that MacKenzie drew with such care the winter of 1922/23. There have been few structural changes since then other than new medal tees. If bunkers are now cleaner, if turf is better, etc., that's fine. None of that has changed in any material way the architecture of the course post early 1920's.)  

Second, if the Old Course and other important historic courses are under threat from a new, longer pro game, that is almost entirely the fault of Dawson and other golf administrators. It signals that the game's leaders have failed to carry out one of their main duties. Which alone would be bad enough. To then ask important historic courses to pay the price for the omissions and errors of the game's leadership gives new meaning to the term 'brazen'.

Bob

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #95 on: November 26, 2012, 01:09:15 am »
Couldn't the R&A counter with Mussleburgh's historical stature, rather than The Old Course, and say that the Open can be moved to Kinsbarns or some other modern venue, if the Links Trust is unwilling to allow for cosmetic surgery?

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #96 on: November 26, 2012, 01:10:46 am »
Regarding Bob's second point: it is valid, but I will not live to see the day when a CEO comes clean and says that he/she is totally responsible for poor decisions and is actively in pursuit of a return to the proper way of doing things.

Frank Pont

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #97 on: November 26, 2012, 01:19:25 am »
The letter of Tom to the golf architecture bodies is good but will have no effect. Tom doesn't have much confidence in the ASGCA, and the EIGCA has never taken any stance that would be confrontational to any of its members (or the R&A), let alone when it is one of its senior members, a Fellow even. So this will not yield anything.

It is also very important to know when the work will commence, since whatever we do has to have enough power to stop things before the work starts. Once the work has started it will be much tougher to stop it.

Therefore I think we need to already start on plan B.

In my view the only thing that might stop the R&A is a combination of the following:

- significant backlash from the press
- significant backlash from R&A members
- petition of enough well known golf architects
- petition of enough famous pro golf players

I have already emailed all the R&A members I know, and would suggest all of you do the same.
Same with getting this in front of the press, we have to make sure its gets in as much serious press as possible as soon as possible.
I do not know how to get famous golf players to endorse the petition, maybe others on this forum have connections there?

FP

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #98 on: November 26, 2012, 01:40:31 am »
Frank,

Yours are very good thoughts and suggestions. I think you make good points. I also think that it should NOT be very difficult to find backing in the press, as well as with well-known golf architects and pro golfers.

And, it would also surprise me if a majority of R&A members are really in favour of these proposed changes... especially at the 11th.  
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 01:42:52 am by Jeff_Mingay »
@jeff_mingay

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Big Changes Planned for the Old Course; Hawtree to Do the Work
« Reply #99 on: November 26, 2012, 01:48:01 am »
Brad Klein....Ron Whitten...Joe Passov...Alistair Tait...Scottish golf writers...these are the fellows you need to enlist, then.

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