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GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: JC Urbina on November 28, 2017, 12:31:43 PM

Title: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: JC Urbina on November 28, 2017, 12:31:43 PM
This question is in response to Jeff Brauer's thread with Joe Hancock on Flynn- Alison - etc templates.

I have always felt that the term Bulldozer Operator was so far from the truth in the context of what these shapers do on golf course construction sites that I have been involved with.  Anyone referring to these artists as Bulldozer Operators seems disingenuous.

Jeff, I would agree that in many cases the people who you might work with may be in fact Bulldozer Operators but in my world they are shapers, with all due respect!

Shapers, which I prefer are, artists who convey golf course strategies and thoughtful works of art sitting on thousands of pounds of metal. Steering mechanical machines through their paces as an extension of their hands.


Joe Hancock shaped some of the most artful landforms this past spring at Yeamans Hall.  No tendencies, no preconceived notions just pure creation with the help of a 15,000 lb piece of steel.  As if it was done by his hands in the soils like a clay sculptor.No different then horse and scraper in the Golden Age of design. I can name several shapers ( Artists )  that I have worked with over the years, I can't honestly say  I would not  call anyone of them a Bulldozer Operator.In Fact I would say the next generation of successful designers will not be afraid to try a hand at shaping themselves.   Successful teams Like Coore and Crenshaw with  Bill Coore still sitting  on a Sand Pro to shape features on his greens, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagoner shaping, creating some of the most beautiful designs, up and coming designers like Kyle Franz get it done by doing it themselves. Craftsman, not solely relying on others to create their design ideas.The designers of Winter Park wore two hats, designers  and shapers,  its a successful combination.   It's the more cost efficient way to go.  Cities will see this, Mike Keiser figured this out 20 years ago.  Dave Axland and Dan Proctor built Wild Horse and several other projects, designing and shaping simultaneously.



I look forward to seeing the Winter Park layout January 2018, tried last year but unsuccessful. this place deserves more attention.

Forgot to add, the shapers who created Mammoth Dunes for David and Casey were off the charts good.  I saw the process  this past summer, WOW.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Jim Sullivan on November 28, 2017, 01:02:16 PM
Good post Jim...great to highlight these guys.


My uncle has spent some time in this capacity and Iíve seen him at work.


The sketches of golf holes I did as a kid has evolved into me (occasionally) envisioning myself on any of these machines shaping a green complex somewhere.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Rick Lane on November 28, 2017, 04:14:34 PM
Artists!    While I am clear that jealousy is a poor attribute, I admit I am jealous of the artists who do this.   They, like the Golden Age archies, (and composers and painters and all artists) leave behind them a trail of art that people will hopefully appreciate for hundreds of years to come.   I play at a Tillinghast course mostly, and the greens complexes and what he did on each hole in terms of shaping (with 1920's technology) make me wondrous and gleeful and appreciative, even after a thousand rounds on the course.  We still stop ourselves and say "Look at what he built here...."   My dream retirement job is to sit at the foot of you  architects and be an intern and spend my last years maybe helping you move some dirt!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 28, 2017, 05:50:22 PM
Rick - yes, and maybe todayís shapers are even better artists and craftsmen than their golden age counterparts.
I mean: as talented as Tillinghast (or Mackenzie or Ross) and his team were, when they first finished your golf course I imagine it looked much like what it actually was, ie an excellent *new* golf course. And that was absolutely fine.
But today, with most new golf course developments (and certainly with restorations), the goal - and the shaperís task - seems to be to make the course look like itís been there for 100 years. That must be really tough to do on a bulldozer!
To use Jimís example: the original shapers of Yeamans Hall had to create/shape good and strategic grounds for golf; decades later, Joe H had to create/shape good and strategic grounds for golf that *also* had to look very much like the rest of Yeamans Hall, ie as if it had been there from the very beginning. 
I canít even imagine doing that with my hands and a shovel over 50 square feet, let alone doing it with a 15,000 lb machine over 5,000 or 50,000 square feet.

Iím a fan of Joeís as a person; itís nice that Jim can praise him as a professional.

Peter
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Mike_Young on November 28, 2017, 08:44:58 PM
I remember being at a Toro dinner a few years ago and the little dude from Toro welcomed us all as either Architects or Designers.  He held more regard for the "architects".  He later explained the difference to me thinking it was acceptable.  That was about my last Toro irrigation.  Same thing goes for bulldozer drivers vs. shapers. 

When I got in the business in 1987 I was building my own courses and it was highly frowned upon.  I had spent almost 9 years before that calling on superintendents and architects and I had questions but at the time was intimidated and thought there might be something I was missing from the various architects I had met etc.  There was.  Almost a 50 year period of much poor design brought about by a concerted effort to make the public think golf architecture was a profession and that the hands should not get dirty.  The young guys today have come about at a time when that has been proven wrong.  I can assure you that a true shaper, designer, builder of a golf course has a much much deeper attachment to that project than a guy who drew a set of plans and comes out once or twice a month.  Plus on most jobs that shaper isn't just on a dozer.  He is doing it all at some point or leading a team.  Today, at this stage I realize that so many of the guys who have drawn plans only and yet have always had them built by a GC don't have near the experience of a young guy who may have done 4 or 5 living on site.  I actually don't think you can love the business the same as a guy who builds his own with a close crew who is into creating. The good stuff comes after the initial staking of the routing and the interaction of a team evolves into a hole.  When I am told a technical drawing is needed past that stage I don't see it.   

I always go back to furniture making.  If a guy can draw a nice piece of furniture and make a list of the specific joints he wants used and the hardware he wishes to see and yet can't build it....hmmmm..., then he may be the designer of the piece but if he has a table saw operator build that design instead of a cabinet maker he will not get the same thing. 

I would like to think that this type of golf course design/build is here to stay but I caution any of you who do it to be prepared to be slammed by general contractors as well as guys who draw plans but don't get in the dirt.  You will be rumored to cut corners because you may be cheaper.  You will be said to not build your greens or bunkers properly and on and on.  Many will say it is not fair to the owner to be able to build your own design.  I call BULLSHIT on that.   

As an examle:  With all due respect to RTJ's promotional abilities, he used bulldozer operators. He would own two construction companies and not tell the owner he was bidding each against the other and that he owned them.  Often the same bulldozer operator would be building it either way. And many just used road builders to make it sound more harsh.  That was the times....and the reason we got so much crap built over that 50 years...by many....

Jim...sorry to rant but this topic fires me up...
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Mark_Fine on November 28, 2017, 10:11:26 PM
I have the absolute highest regard for shapers (they are really artists).  They are the people that make the architect's vision come to life.  And with due respect to all of us who are in the design business, they often add to if not improve that vision!  I have worked with a lot of great shapers but some of the most fun I had was at Mira Vista shaping bunkers and greens with Kye Goalby.  We would talk with him about what Forrest and I wanted to see happen on a green or with the surrounds and he made it happen.  Just brilliant!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: JMEvensky on November 29, 2017, 06:12:52 AM
Thanks to those taking the time to share-- I always like reading the "inside baseball" of designing/building golf courses.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 29, 2017, 11:51:07 AM
Have any contemporary architects dabbled with the pre-bulldozer methods of shaping of golf courses, i.e. horse-and-plow? I know vinyl is kind of becoming popular among certain music fans these days; wasn't sure whether there was anyone taking the throwback/"artisanal" approach on any golf course projects.


I ask because although I've played a few of the modern minimalist courses, the features seem to have a more smoothed-out, "bulldozed" look, whereas there seems to be a lot more abruptness of slopes and mounding on the relatively little-touched classic courses I've played.


The person whose modern feature shaping seems to come closest to that old-style look I'm talking about was Mike Strantz. There's a sort of mischievous sharpness to some of the mounding and bunkering I've seen on his courses that I feel like other architects might have smoothed out.


Any time I see photos of a Walter Travis course - Ekwanok, Troy, Garden City - I see a sort of shaping that I just haven't seen in modern architects' work, by and large.


I probably haven't described it so well, but has anyone else gotten this sense?
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: MClutterbuck on November 29, 2017, 12:25:04 PM
Shapers. If I ever develop another golf course, I will put as much weight on who the architect is, as who the shaper on the ground is going to be. I admire what they do and they are key to final results.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 29, 2017, 12:50:51 PM
Sometimes when I think of the then-relatively new golf courses I played in the early 90s, or of the photos Iíve seen of 70s and 80s courses by the signature designers, I tend to conclude that the most important evolution/renaissance since then is not in the architecture itself but in the shaping.
Iím probably wrong.
But it sure seems that those 70s-80s courses had basically the same/proper ďarchitectureĒ as those of the last 15-20 years: angles and options and strategies and scenery and variety and risk-rewards and even playability for a wide range of golfers.
Itís just that (with current eyes, looking back) the shaping and finishing work of that time period just doesnít seem quite right, and doesnít pull/blend all the architectural aspects neatly together nearly as well as folks manage to do nowadays.
Those courses seemed to be ďin partsĒ while the best of todayís courses seem to be ďwholeĒ.
Is that the shaping?
Is it the shaping more than the architecture?
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Ryan Farrow on November 29, 2017, 12:51:34 PM
Tim, I don't see any reason to go back to the horse and plow as we already have a large difference in shaping between using a bulldozer and an excavator.


An excavator can easily accomplish that old, rough, imperfect look.  The small size of a bucket and range of motion compared to a bulldozer is a huge difference maker. Even the most gifted dozer operators will have a hard time keeping up and may at times elect to shape with an excavator. The process with a dozer is more of a battle and requires a greater number of steps.


One also needs to supervise the finish work as well, if you keep running a drag mat or a box blade over an area you will eventually lose all of the character. Keep in mind, a shovel and rake is the last step in the process, it is another canvas to either preserve or create final bits of detail.


I strongly object to your suggestion that Mike Strantz is the modern architect that is closest to achieving this old-style look. His green contours and fairway shaping are extremely rounded and smooth.


(https://nmcdn.io/e186d21f8c7946a19faed23c3da2f0da/a500e04f413241cb9faa2d025e117f2c/files/for-golfers/area-golf-courses/whispering-woods-golf-club/tobacco_rd_img_5647.jpg)


(https://res.golfadvisor.com/ap/p.php?a=pv&p=68168)




I think Coore & Crenshaw take thing down to the smallest scale and least bulldozed look of any of the modern architects with Tom Doak and his crew right on their tail. I think C&C are more regular and Tom seems to vary his style more depending on the site. Old Macdonald has a ton of character compared to a course like St. Andrews Beach.


Old Mac:
(https://www.bandondunesgolf.com/sites/default/files/OM11_DSL1846_hires12.jpg)




St. Andrews Beach:
(http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au/images/content/rec/94/47485-1000x800.jpg)






Notice the outside of the golf holes and how the fairway contouring matches.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Adam Lawrence on November 29, 2017, 12:59:15 PM
Have any contemporary architects dabbled with the pre-bulldozer methods of shaping of golf courses, i.e. horse-and-plow? I know vinyl is kind of becoming popular among certain music fans these days; wasn't sure whether there was anyone taking the throwback/"artisanal" approach on any golf course projects.



Paul Albanese did this about ten years ago. He was working on a project in or near Amish country, and got the horses that way. He did a piece for GCA... wow it was 2006.


http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/courses-for-horses (http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/courses-for-horses)
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 29, 2017, 04:33:03 PM
Ryan:  I do in fact take different approaches on different sites.  Can't see your picture of St Andrews Beach, but in fact that is the least "shaped" course we have ever built, on par with Sand Hills as far as the lack of earthmoving or shaping (apart from digging bunkers), and I think it's some of our very best work.  We employed way more shapers to build what we did at Old Macdonald, and that just offers more things that could go wrong.  The simpler the better, as far as I'm concerned, but of course the prime directive is to get it right no matter how much work it takes.


I'm on record as valuing talented shapers to the point where I have several of them on my payroll (something you wish Bill & Ben did), and I don't know if anyone would ever have heard of Jim if he'd only worked for the Dyes as he sometimes pretends these days. 


The Dyes, like most other designers, do not give the guys who build their courses nearly as much credit as they deserve.  Part of it is an ego thing, and part a business strategy: they don't want their clients to start demanding certain shapers, or think that the shapers should be paid more, and the designer less.  In my company that doesn't matter, because you are paying for both at once.


My approach is to give the shapers my input, let them do their best work, and then edit as necessary for the golf and/or the naturalness of what they've built.  Sometimes it takes a lot of editing, other times none at all, but ultimately that's my call and that's why the design is in my name.  When the shapers or associates think they should have the final say, it's time for them to hang out a shingle as designers on their own - as some have done quite successfully.


Most of all my current crew have so much mutual respect that they edit each other a lot, and leave me even fewer details to worry about.  That's real teamwork and a lot of the reason our projects turn out so well.  Going it alone is tough, no matter how talented anyone is, because it takes time to build a similar support system.  But I see much more freelance collaboration between talented individuals than there used to be, and that is raising the bar for new work today.


Strangely, most of the people who have worked with me (past and present) want to be known as associates rather than shapers, because they think clients or other people look down on shapers as mere equipment operators, while associates get more respect.  That may be true, but for me, it's just the other way around.  Guys who can wave their hands around and act the part of design associate are a dime a dozen.  Guys who can build great golf courses are few and far between, and I pay them accordingly!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tim Gavrich on November 29, 2017, 05:45:25 PM
Tim, I don't see any reason to go back to the horse and plow as we already have a large difference in shaping between using a bulldozer and an excavator.


An excavator can easily accomplish that old, rough, imperfect look.  The small size of a bucket and range of motion compared to a bulldozer is a huge difference maker. Even the most gifted dozer operators will have a hard time keeping up and may at times elect to shape with an excavator. The process with a dozer is more of a battle and requires a greater number of steps.


One also needs to supervise the finish work as well, if you keep running a drag mat or a box blade over an area you will eventually lose all of the character. Keep in mind, a shovel and rake is the last step in the process, it is another canvas to either preserve or create final bits of detail.


I strongly object to your suggestion that Mike Strantz is the modern architect that is closest to achieving this old-style look. His green contours and fairway shaping are extremely rounded and smooth.

Ryan--


Thanks for the response re: excavator and bulldozer capabilities. It's hard for me to envision such big and, to my inexperienced eye, clumsy machines achieving the sort of detail they do. The photo you provided of Old Macdonald looks much closer to what I'm thinking of than pretty much any modern shaping I've seen in person.


Re: Strantz, I wouldn't deny that a lot of the shaping on his courses is "rounded and smooth," but I would also note that there are plenty of features with more abrupt shaping. I've noticed this particularly at courses where he worked for Fazio: Black Diamond Ranch - Quarry, Wachesaw Plantation and Lake Nona. Compared to the other Fazio courses I've seen, I sense a more rough approach in places, almost analogous to turning the contrast way up when editing a photo.


Here are a couple examples of what I mean:


Striking rear bunkers and mounds at Wachesaw Plantation #8:
(http://i68.tinypic.com/2n8vmv8.jpg)


(A couple likes at Lake Nona have similar features near their greens)


Almost an eyebrow ridge and a scar bunker built into the feature beside Black Diamond Ranch (Quarry) #18 green:
(http://i67.tinypic.com/255s593.jpg)


Features like these do not hide their manmade-ness, which I dig. They go along with the golf-course-as-interactive-sculpture philosophy to which I subscribe.


And now that I think about it some more, I've neglected to praise Bobby Weed for also achieving the sort of aesthetic I'm grasping at. Glen Mills and The Olde Farm have that great throwback look to the shaping in a lot of places.


Adam--


Thanks for the note on Christiana Creek. Had never heard of it but I want to see more Langford (w/ and w/o Moreau) work and will put it on my radar.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Jud_T on November 29, 2017, 05:57:16 PM
JC,

Very interesting comments re Mammoth Dunes.  Played both courses last month and I significantly preferred the shaping of the green surrounds at Sand Valley over Mammoth.  Aside from their different states of grow-in, I guess that this means I simply prefer the subtler design aesthetic of C&C to DMK (felt similarly about Bandon Trails vs. Bandon Dunes, so I see this as confirmation of my preferences); hence, this shouldn't necessarily color the opinion of those in charge of shaping. Good lesson for those of us in the peanut gallery!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: archie_struthers on November 30, 2017, 06:54:32 AM
 8)




Liked Mike Young's analysis and the thought of Bill Coore finishing in a sand pro !  Wonder if he had a drag mat or board trailing behind?

I can relate to the question about horse drawn construction implements.  Just not real efficient or PETA friendly. Dozers and graders certainly do lots of work building the frame but good work around the greens needs more fine detail and thus smaller tools . Lots of fun in the finishing .


There are bulldozer operators and there are shapers . Big difference between a house painter and an artist . Both important but their skill sets differ!

Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on November 30, 2017, 09:06:44 AM

There are bulldozer operators and there are shapers . Big difference between a house painter and an artist . Both important but their skill sets differ!


Agreed.


And there are also architects who are neither but still spend large amounts of time in the dirt finishing.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Bruce Katona on November 30, 2017, 09:16:14 AM
I think my friend Archie did quite a nice job at Twisted Dunes.  He had the vision to create what he saw in his minds eye.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tim Martin on November 30, 2017, 09:24:03 AM
I think my friend Archie did quite a nice job at Twisted Dunes.  He had the vision to create what he saw in his minds eye.


+1
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: JC Urbina on November 30, 2017, 09:48:16 AM
Jud_T


I respect your observations on both golf courses, my comment was simply referring to the look that Mammoth Dunes was able to convey to the golfer.  Each golf course is different in its own way, I also like the detail work on the greens at Sand Valley but the open scrapes on each course were handled in a different way.  Bunker edges, green surrounds, fairway contours, teeing grounds they all contribute to the presentation of the golf course. Mammoth Dunes took it in another direction. 


It really is Artwork laid out in 3 dimensional form,  that is what  I take away from both design firms, add strategy, a scorecard and you have the game of golf presented in 36 different canvases. Sometimes each canvas depending on the other to tell the whole story.  Shapers taking an idea and running with it.


Detail work is truly appreciated by me, and the Coore / Crenshaw group got that down to a science, we can agree on that.






That Photo that Ryan Farrow showed of Old Mac really is a tiny snapshot of what that piece of property went through during the creation of the golf course.  Each of those landforms changed daily while going through the clearing, shaping, irrigation and final prep before seeding.   Sometimes those landforms reshaped several times before seeding began.


I can tell you who shaped what landform and how many times it changed before  the final hydro seed locked it in place.  Truly a transformation, created by shapers and the Wind. 


The Road Hole, The Leven Hole, The Cape and at the top of the photo the Biarritz.  Each hole going through several iterations before calling it done.


I can tell you that the Leven Hole at Old Mac shaped by Jonathan Reister is one of my all time favorite moments on that golf course.  If you would have seen that hole before we started you would have not believed it. 
 
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tom_Doak on November 30, 2017, 05:22:08 PM
Reisetter
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Grant Saunders on December 01, 2017, 12:46:58 AM
I spent a number of years working as a shaper. Bulldozer, excavator, skid steer loader, spade, rake etc.

I never learned or trained in making things flat or angular.

There is no way you would have me build you a house pad or a road.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 01, 2017, 09:55:20 AM



This question is in response to Jeff Brauer's thread with Joe Hancock on Flynn- Alison - etc templates.

I have always felt that the term Bulldozer Operator was so far from the truth in the context of what these shapers do on golf course construction sites that I have been involved with.  Anyone referring to these artists as Bulldozer Operators seems disingenuous.


.......The designers of Winter Park wore two hats, designers  and shapers,  its a successful combination.   It's the more cost efficient way to go.  Cities will see this, Mike Keiser figured this out 20 years ago.  Dave Axland and Dan Proctor built Wild Horse and several other projects, designing and shaping simultaneously.



Jim,


I refer to golf course bulldozer operators as shapers, too.  Not sure why I picked that word, over the more traditional word, but certainly meant no disrespect to those artists who have made us all look good over the years.


That said, my main point stands.  While you might not agree, if you take a talented architect (albeit one with some tendencies) and mix his/her talents with a similarly talented shaper, with some tendencies, you in essence have two talented people putting some deep thought into a green from different perspectives.   While mixing two people who never have worked together before (or rarely) there is no guarantee of even better results, but it happens more often than not. 


What's funny, in this world of big contractors and shapers often being contract employees who work all over, and for many architects, is they often bring what they think are the best ideas from other architects.  And, sometimes architects are influenced whether they know it or not, by the last good course they played.


I have been on site where, for shorthand communications, I might refer to a certain green, and the shaper might slip in "Fazio did this in a similar situation" and we work out where to go from there.  We sometimes joke that the architectural credit ought to go to me, maybe one of my associates, the shaper, the guy he worked for last, etc.


Years ago, on two projects being built simultaneously, I tried giving the same green plan to two different companies building the golf courses.  The same plan came out extremely differently, thanks to the shapers.  Yeah, the bunkers were in the same place, green angled the same (which is pretty important to me) but they looked completely different.


So, yes, the shaper is as important as the architect in most cases.  Another way to prove that?  Back in the days of everyone working in Asia, shapers usually got first class tickets, architects sometimes got business class tickets. 


BTW, loved Winter Park, and think you will, too. :D
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Angela Moser on December 05, 2017, 01:38:31 PM
Jeff,


I donít quite agree or disagree. First of all, I think there is a difference between an operator and shaper. Archie Struthers gets it right... itís the interest in the game and their knowledge about GCA and courses.


Yes, it could be an advantage to have two highly talented people (architect + shaper) on site and build a tremendous golf course. As everybody who reads this will know, GCA is subjective and it is about the personal taste and view of things. So if you have two people with different taste - that doesnít work...


I am sure thatís why Tom Doak, Gil Hanse and Coore & Crenshaw have picked their associates shaping.


That also underlines your paragraph about the one green, two shapers, completely different result.




Over the years I was working with different contractors and my experience couldnít be more different from another. From a GPS golf course contractor who told me proudly that ďI can put a student on the dozer who only needs to push the decelerator and the GPS Bulldozer is doing the restĒ to save money and making sure to squeeze the most money, time and cheap untalented people out of it, to a wonderful experience with unbelievably talented people on the contractor crew that work hard and extra hours to get the best possible result with one very knowledgeable guy overlooking and eading them.


Itíd be hard for me to play jeopardy when it comes to the construction. If Iíd have a team of talented shapers with the same mindset, I can at least make sure that the shaping is something else, maybe not copied from Mr. Fazios last course, but some contour they saw and picked up abroad studying the best courses in the world. I think Iíd rather have that instead of explaining basic fundamentals of GCA/ how the ball rolls on the ground... every time Iíd go on site.







Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Angela Moser on December 05, 2017, 01:59:53 PM
Actually just thinking about it.... you know the reason why I contacted Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf Design in the first place, some 10 years ago?


I wasnít convinced that this ( i was working in a GCA office back then) is the way how you create a magnificent golf course. There was too much missing inbetween and being the cad monkey didnít help. There would have been no construction guy taking me serious and thatís why I contacted Tom. I wanted to learn how to shape so I can tell those big operator guys to get off the machine and Iíd do it myself....


Sitting on a sandpro and shoveling and raking to create micro contours was totally doing it for me and thatís when I really fell in love with what we do. Every time!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 05, 2017, 05:51:17 PM

Sitting on a sandpro and shoveling and raking to create micro contours was totally doing it for me and thatís when I really fell in love with what we do. Every time!



And ultimately that is the reason that some courses turn out so much better than others ... it's because you have four or six or even ten people on site who love what they do and are trying to make it as good as it can be.  The GPS-guided bulldozer does not do that for you ... it's entirely reliant on the guy who drew the plan, and I just don't think there has ever been anyone in history who drew a plan that well.  All the great courses have ultimately been created by talented people on site.
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Mark_Fine on December 05, 2017, 06:07:24 PM
Tom,
I totally agree, however, I still believe that these guys don't get enough credit (assuming any of them care in the first place).  Unless you are capable of doing the work yourself, ANY architect is at the mercy of the shapers otherwise the rework process will be endless and very expensive to finally "get it right"! 
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 08:12:05 PM
I just don't think there has ever been anyone in history who drew a plan that well.  All the great courses have ultimately been created by talented people on site.

Can anyone prove that wrong?? ;D
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: JC Urbina on December 05, 2017, 11:14:28 PM
Jeff,

Great, we agree on the importance of the shaper. 

I would not argue the point of two people noodling over an idea, green, bunker placement, tee angle is always better than one.  I have tried to include the grow-in super or golf course superintendent as well.

Pete and his son Perry would allow shapers to "jazz it up" as Pete would say and then adjust if so warranted.  That's the way I learned and 37 years later I still function in that manner.

Mike,

Pete never handed me a drawing, never saw a sketch, nor a photo. Pete and Perry would send me to see other sights that they were working on and come back to shape or direct other shapers to carry out a certain style of design.  I use to go to Palm Springs on occasion to see what Pete was working on and come back with fresh ideas.

 
Little did I know the lessons Pete first instilled into me.



I always get compliments from Owners and Greens Comittees on the talented shapers who I get to work with.  I enjoy their company,  we have dinner together, we travel together, we play golf together, we see other golf courses together.  It's a way of life.

One of the best days I ever had with the shaping crew at Paramount was the day we all piled in a van to go see Uncle George at Sleepy Hollow.  George Waters,  Tony Russell,  Jeff (Smiley) Stein, Ryan Yonce and Brian Chapin, the super at Paramount.  The late George Bahto gave us a tour of the golf course along with a bite to eat at the clubhouse.  What a day!!!!!!

Those are the times I cherish, sorry not just bulldozer operators.




Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 06, 2017, 01:31:50 PM
I'm not going to comment on who should be called what but instead look from a different angle.


In times gone by folk could progress through a career starting off as an young apprentice and progressing through various stages such as journeyman, craftsman, master-craftsman, grand-master etc.
Somewhere in time a jump took place, where with additional education, someone could jump some of the early stages by learning via the classroom rather than by being hands-on. I've never been entirely comfortable with this approach.
So it's great to see that over the last few/couple of decades some highly educated folks have adopted a different approach by going back a few stages and actually working in the dirt in the cold and in the heat and in the mud and in the sand with their hands or on machines moving earth themselves. A combination of the classroom, the brain and the earth. And the outcome is terrific to behold.......and occasionally even to play! Well done.
atb
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Jack Carney on December 06, 2017, 09:32:02 PM
Goldie!
Title: Re: Bulldozer operators or Shapers which do you prefer?
Post by: Sandy Smith on December 06, 2017, 11:56:59 PM
Jim
You know that there isnít one member at Marine Drive that would ever call either George Waters or Tony Russell a bulldozer operator. They are both superstars to us all.