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Whitten sticking to his guns
« on: June 07, 2002, 10:47:39 AM »

Does anyone else think that if you have a
bully pulpit and repeat your opinion enough times, it will become true?

For Whitten, the "evidence" about the Bethpage design
is unambiguous...

If the book has a flaw, it's that the text and running commentary make huge assumptions about the extent of the involvement of architect A.W. Tillinghast in the original design of the Black. (By his own admission, Tillinghast was a consulting architect. All objective evidence indicates Park Superintendent Joseph H. Burbeck handled the routing, design and construction supervision. Sad to say, Tillinghast spent little time on the project.) So, for instance, Rees alludes to "Tillinghast's original plan," when in fact no such Tillinghast blueprint exists. What Rees worked from were state park plans and a 1938 aerial view of the course, showing what the course looked like in the beginning.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2002, 10:55:22 AM »

Could you provide a list of the objective evidence that you say indicates that Burbeck did the ROUTING, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION ?

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2002, 11:22:30 AM »

That's my point, and neither can Ron Whitten.  He's just
acting like he can.  I'm cheesed off at him...

I'm on the Tillie side here.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2002, 11:32:20 AM »
Pat -

John is quoting from Whitten's article in Golf Digest.  I don't think the passage represent's John's own views.

I ask again (this is a question to GD and Whitten), how is it that Tillinghast is given no credit for Bethpage when we have independent, contemporaneous newpaper articles that refer to "Reef Holes" being built there? Reef Holes are unique to Tillie.  No one else before or after used the term in connection with gca.

Seems to me that Tillie's role is beyond dispute.  The only issue is the extent of his involvement.

But whatever the level of his involvement, no responsible historian/journalist would deny Tillie at least partial design credit based on the available evidence.

Why is this so hard for Ron?  Is there something else going on?  

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2002, 11:49:19 AM »
JohnK & BCrosby,

I understand, thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2002, 12:22:27 PM »
When you write an article in a national publication like Ron Whitten did, there should be sound evidence and research based on facts to back up his assertions. I don't see the facts.  I don't see any evidence of scholarly research.  I don't see a credible article.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2002, 12:22:42 PM »
Did you read Whitten's article on Bethpage, Burbeck and Tillie?

By the way I agree with Whitten's assessment of the bunkers, which is not unlike my observations at Hollywood.

Tillinghast wrote about the Reef in "American Golfer" magazine 1926 and it also appeared in Thomas's 'Golf in America'. Is it possible that Burbeck (or any other architect for that matter) could have used/borrowed/copied the concept? Or that Burbeck laid out the 5th on the Blue and Tillinghast pointed out it was similar to the Reef? Or that Burbeck laid out the 5th and Tillinghast modified it to take advantage of the Reef strategy?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2002, 12:25:03 PM »
Tom MacWood,

Then this makes it simple, you're both wrong.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Bill Wright

Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2002, 08:26:28 PM »

What's the matter?

Don't you know that Ron Whitten knows EVERYTHING about golf architecture and history?

Just one look at Mr. Whitten's playing, design, and academic credentials will convince anyone that he is, as Golf Digest so humbly and eloquently states, "THE preminent golf course architecture critic."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2002, 10:52:40 AM »
Tom -

Yes, it's possible that Burbeck happened to find an old magazine that mentioned a Reef Hole and that he copied the concept at Bethpage. Possible. But not very plausible.

What we ought to be looking for is an explanation that ties together the known facts in the most plausible way possible. Let's try that:

First, we know that Tillie had some involvement with Bethpage. Exactly how much no one knows for sure.  But some. (Tillie was on the payroll for a while. We know he visited the project during construction. How often is up for grabs.)

Second, the Reef Hole was a concept unique to Tillie, it was one he was very proud of, and one he used often.

Third, it seems likely that the appearance of a Reef Hole at Bethpage Blue was the result of the active and focused involvement of Tillie on at least one of the Bethpage courses.  

Fourth, as for Bethpage Black it seems plausible to conclude that Tillie had at least some role is the design of the course because (a) based on points 1,2, and 3 above, we know he was involved in at least some aspects of the Bethpage project generally, and (b) he was an architect with a distinctive routing style which is entirely consistent with the routing of the Black.

If my first three points above are true (and they appear to be, given what I've read) then any believable claim that Tillie deserves no design credit for Bethpage Black has a very high burden of proof to overcome.  

Put differently, because the circumstantial case of at least some Tillie involvement is very strong indeed, Whitten must now come up with some darned pursuasive evidence that the things we know about Tillie's involvement are wrong.

Let's come at this from a different direction.  

Is the foregoing story of Tillie's involvement with Black more or less plausible than giving full design credit for Black to a man with no prior experience or training in golf course architecture?

All of this seems crystal clear to me.  

Why it doesn't seem clear to Ron Whitten is the real mystery.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2002, 01:48:35 PM »
Whitten's arguement is that Burbeck handled the routing, design and construction supervision, and that Tillinghast was simply a consultant. I don't see how the existance of one golf hole - the Reef on the Blue - proves or disproves any of his conclusions.

Wouldn't you expect anyone interested in golf design to have a copy of Thomas's Golf Architecture in America (it was probably the most detailed book on the subject)?

Phil-the-author claimed that the Reef only appeared in one Tillie's designs - in New England I believe - and wasn't Burbeck from NE. I have no idea.

I'm not sure there is a concept unique to a single architect, he may have originated it but don't they all borrow from the past and from one another?

I don't agree with many of Whitten's conclusions but not because of the existance of the Reef on the Blue.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2002, 02:27:31 PM »

I have no interest at all in this matter but to look at available facts and apparent facts and no real preconceived interest in what Tillinghast did or didn't do at the Black. No interest in what Burbeck did or didn't do either. Only to look at available facts as you're trying to do!

But I will cite some of the what was stated in Whitten's article that IF TRUE could very easily swing things in favor of Burbeck too!

Firstly, it should not be all that hard to tell if those golf courses were routed before Tillinghast ever was hired to do anything at the Bethpage project. Whitten states the courses were "laid out" months before Tillinghast was hired by Moses in Dec of 1933. It's not hard to assume that Tillinghast did nothing at Bethpage before he was hired. If in fact those courses WERE routed before Tillinghast got there that would swing things dramatically in favor of Burbeck being the designer of the Black and probably all of the courses, in my opinon!

I don't know where Whitten got that apparent fact, ie, the courses were routed before Tillinghast was hired but he should make that fact clearer or give up using it as an assumption. If that point came out of that 1959 book it would mean something to me but would by no means be conclusive!But if it can be really validated that Burbeck routed those courses before Tillinghast arrived you must admit that changes this issue very dramatically!

Secondly, read carefully what Tillinghast himself was quoted by Whitten to have said about Burbeck's contribution to Bethpage and also what his own contribution was. It appears, if the Tillinghast's quoted remarks are really Tillinghast's remarks, he didn't say much more than he was a consultant. I don't believe that sounds much like a man who routed and designed those courses on his own, do you?

Thirdly, as a valuable assumption that can lead to a conclusion your reliance on the "reef hole" may be carrying far too much weight in this overall issue.

It can be more than likely to assume that a hole that had been "routed", any long par 3 routing with even a remotely compatible natural landform, could be "designed up" into a reef hole. All you have to really to do it is apply a Reef hole bunker scheme and maybe alter the green shape and orientation if need be at all! So maybe that's exactly the kind of thing Tillinghast did on a hole (or course) that Burbeck routed.

Also, saying that a man like Burbeck could not possibly have done something like The Black or those courses just doesn't  fly. We can hardly say that about him because we really don't know anything about him. What if he did do courses in the Midwest? Maybe he did something out there that was good and that isn't really known to have been done by him for some reason.

All this stuff about his sons later recollections and his mother's perturbance that Tillinghast got credit for something that he didn't do is pretty meaningless architectural evidence to me and it's disappointing that a researcher like Whitten would put so much actual stock in that!

But Burbeck apparently was a trained landscape architect which is certainly more than Geo Crump was when he started Pine Valley as a rank amateur architect.

And most definitely there is something about the Crump analogy that we all should try to understand and appreciate. Crump basically spent 4-5 solid years everyday at Pine Valley building that course. He may have been an amateur architecr in the beginning but to have spent that amount of time on a site obviously his learning curve was dramatic during that time!

It appears Burbeck spent years on Bethpage every single day too just as Crump had done! That was his job! The analogy to Crump is a good one then. No one obviously knew in the beginning of PVGC that Crump had the talent he did and now people are assuming that  Burbeck could not have had the talent either or that he wasn't capable of doing something like the Black or the courses of Bethpage. That has to be wrong as a solid assumption or conclusion!

If an amateur like Crump was able to create what he did with the learning curve he had there is no reason on earth to assume that Brubeck could not have too!

I know people don't like to believe that it's possible (and certainly many say it isn't) but without any evidence to the contrary it just isn't a logical assumption or conclusion.

I have no idea exactly what Burbeck did or Tillinghast either but the available evidence is in no way conclusive to me! Either one of them certainly could have designed and build the Black and the others as well!! Which one did remains to been known, as far as I'm concerned!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2002, 07:25:01 PM »
An article appearing in "The Majors of Golf 2002" written by Bob Cullen seems to indicate that Tillinghast had a much more active role.

Perhaps additional research will clarify each parties involvement, and perhaps we'll never know.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2002, 08:08:09 PM »
Try the following link for a thoughtful and well researched response:

Let me also ask the following question:

If someone was to construct a machine from one of Leonardo DaVinci's sketches, would that person be the designer of the machine or would that person be the constructor/engineer of the machine?

Now, if you wade through Tillie's portfolio of design sketches you will find exact replicas of specific holes found at Bethpage.  The par-5 glacier hole on the Black, the diagonal carry holes on the par-4 fourth and par-5 seventh on the Black, the split fairway on the 14th of the Red, to name just a few.

Now, if one was to take the designs of another, build them and call them their own design, what would we call that person?  

The fact of the matter is that Joe Burdeck never claimed that he was the architect/designer of the golf courses at bethpage.  He was, however, the great engineer, constructor and superintendent of all the courses at Bethpage State Park.

Further, Joe Burbeck was also the engineer and constructor of the Bethpage clubhouse.  Should we now some 70 years later say that Clifford Wendehack, who was hired with the title of Consultant and assisted in designing and overseeing construction of the clubhouse, is no longer deserving to be architect of record; and rather Joe Burbeck should be because he was such a talented engineer and constructor and oversaw the building of the clubhouse on a daily basis.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2002, 10:08:08 PM »
Let's be clear about we are arguing about here.

Whitten has make a very bold claim. The claim is that Tillie deserves no design creidt for BB. As in none, zilch, aucun, keine.

Whitten's claim contradicts commonly held beliefs about Tillie, it contradicts conclusions of the Tillinghast Society, it contradicts the evidence of our own eyes that BB has many traits of a Tillie course.

So what is the new evidence that Whitten has uncovered that leads him to his conclusion? What do we know now that we didn't know a month ago? What have we learned that renders false the best evidence of the Tillinghast Society and our own eyes? What is this new and startling fact?

Well, it's that Burbeck's son thinks his dad got a raw deal and deserves all the credit for BB. Old man Burbeck was a wonderful guy and deserves more credit because someone thinks that BB had already been routed before Tillie showed up. So Tillie must not have done anything.  

That's it. That's what new. Whitten has given us no new drawings, no new correspondence, notes or photos. No new contemporary accounts, newspapaer articles, etc.

To repeat, Whitten makes the bold claim that Tillie had no role in BB. To defeat that claim, all someone need do is show a single respect in which Tillie did contribute to the design of BB. I think the circumstantial evidence is pursuasive that Tillie did make contributions. If I am right about any one of those contributions, Whitten is wrong.

None of which denigrates in any way the important contribution of Burbeck. I'm sure he dedicated years to the project and he deserves much of the credit.

But let's be clear, Burbeck had no background in golf or golf course design. He was not known as having much interest in playing the game. He was unknown to the world of golf or golf course architecture until relatively recently. He knew - other than Tillie - virtually no one in golf. I find it absurd to think he designed a world class golf course without important design assistance.

What about the amateurs Fownes and Crump? Don't they prove it's possible for an amateur to design a great gof course?

Amateurs can obviously do good design work. But in the case of Fownes and Crump, but both were lifelong, serious golfers, deeply connected with the game and its institutions. Both consulted frequently over the years with architects, club members, and players about designs and design changes. There are boxes and boxes stuffed with their drawings, notes, photos and correspondence showing how they came up with their ideas and dealt with design problems.

In short, they were serious, dedicated designers.  

There is no record that Burbeck had anyting like the same connections or interest in the game. There is no evidence of any Burbeck drawings, notes or thoughts. There is no evidence he cared about continuing design improvements to BB.  

To think he came up with a course like BB on his kitchen table all by himself is, frankly, not credible.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2002, 10:37:37 PM »
I don't think Whitten is claiming that Tillinghast had absolutley nothing to do with Bethpage. He accepts that he was a consultant, but he claims the courses were laid out by Burbeck prior to Tillighast's involvement.

The article also says that Burbeck was a graduate in LArch and built courses in the Midwest prior to being hired by the Commission to assist in the design of the Jones Beach golf course.

I don't agree with many of Whitten's conclusions but he has many of the facts correct. And Tillinghast was a great admirer of Burbeck so I don't think it is wise to totally disregard his talents or involvement.

In these cases the truth is usually more interesting than we can ever conceive.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2002, 11:21:34 PM »

What really bothers me about Whitten's behavior
is the conviction he is displaying from his post
as probably the most widely read architecture
expert in America.  The circulation he gets from
Golf Digest, Golf World and the website column
is very high for an architecture columnist.

A more responsible tack would account for the fact
that we can never really know for sure what the full
role of Burbeck and Tillie was.  Instead, he's
quite over-confident of the correctness of his conclusion.

My main point is that he can pretty much over-influence
the world-view.  His stuff will be quoted during the Open
broadcasts, and he's re-iterating his very strong positions
whenever the opportunity presents itself (i.e. a review
of a course-guide).  From his post, his opinion can
become fact, if repeated enough times with the voice
of authority...

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2002, 11:22:57 PM »
I don't want to enter the fray too much here, but I'm curious why we're not getting more into the technical details comparing BB w/ some of Tillie's other designs.

I'm not discounting Whitten entirely, but the themes at BB are unmistakably Tillie, right?

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2002, 12:26:35 AM »
In about a month or two when the Ralph Miller Library Collection is open to the public again, I intend to produce an article from an Early 1930's Golf Illustrated in which Tillie talks of the design of Bethpage Black, and his feelings of the course.

Maybe this will bring closure to this whole torrid affair and hopefully won't let Ron Whitten further embarass himself.

However, I will say that Ron's article from about three years ago on Tillie was one of the greatest pieces he has ever done. Back then there was no mention at all of Tillie's non-involvement at Bethpage. Hopefully he will be able to recant as I would if I were so bold to suggest, and was proven wrong.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Brian Phillips

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Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2002, 05:52:13 AM »
After reading these opinions again and again I started to look into my library of books including the three Tillie books that I own and here is his quote from 'Reminiscences of the Links' chapter 43 page 150:

'Certainly no course in America has been so much discusssed in past years as the Black Course at Bethpage Park, where the Long Island Park Commision accomplished something never before attempted - the planning and building simultaneously over the same tract, no less than four courses.  It was my very good fortune to be selected by the engineering force in the development of these courses, and let me say right here that never have I received heartier support and cooperation than from Joe Burbeck, the state engineer, who was in daily direction of the entire work from start to its finish.
Now it was Burbeck's idea to develop one of these layouts along lines, which were to be severe to a marked degree.  It was his ambition to have something which might compare to Pine Valley as a great test and although my continual travels over the country in the PGA work have prevented me from seeing play over Bethpages's Black since its opening, I am rather inclined to believe from reports from some of the best players that it is showing plenty of teeth.....'

He then goes on to describe one of the greens he located and designed which he thought might be too difficult.

On page 154 there is an aerial of the course from 1935 and a Development plan from the same year.  The bunkering on the aerial doesn't look like the bunkering today, however, the plan does!

Neither Tillie or Burbeck are named on the plan.  The only names I can find are one who prepared the plan: C.C.Combs (landscape architect) and another that recommended the plan: A.K. Howland. (chief engineer).

In my opinion with the facts I have before me the course is a mongrel design: a combination of many fine minds.

It is neither just Tillie or just Burbeck.  Both of them designed the course but Burbeck built the whole thing or had responsibility for building it.

So to me maybe Burbeck should given more credit than Tillie.

Brian Phillips

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Bunkers, if they be good bunkers, and bunkers of strong character, refuse to be disregarded, and insist on asserting themselves; they do not mind being avoided, but they decline to be ignored - John Low Concerning Golf


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2002, 06:21:21 AM »
First of all, I realize this thread seems to be about Ron Whitten. Just for the moment let's try to forget about Whitten and look at Bethpage Black (maybe all the courses of Bethpage), Tillinghast and Burbeck only.

The reason I say that is there are obviously contributors on this thread that are debating the fact that Ron Whitten claims that Burbeck is the only designer of the Black and they're also implying that Whitten says Tillinghast did almost nothing at all!

Frankly, that's just not so! I can't see that Whitten in any case has said that Tillinghast did nothing at Bethpage. At the least he's stated that Tillinghast acted as a "consultant" and he supported that with some apparent factual material--apparenly from Tillinghast himself!

Let's just suppose that the evidence produced by Whitten was produced by anyone and it's all there is and let's look carefully at that evidence without including Whitten in this discussion!

Before I go on I'd like to remark I just carefully read the article hyperlinked above by one Philip Young, apparently written in the last few weeks. I'm not sure if Mr. Young is attached to the Tillinghast Society or not--although that shouldn't really matter!

Whether he is or not (and I have no idea who Philip Young is) I'd like to say from the article he wrote that his assumptions and conclusions are about about the most egregious piece of "fact fitting" and "advocacy reporting" I've almost ever seen in golf architectural research!

I'm certainly not saying his assumptions and conclusions might not some day turn out to be true but at this point (with what facts there appear to be) he's using inconclusive material (as Whitten may be) and fitting it neatly in every single instance into a "this proves Tillinghast was the designer" scenario!!  

As an example of one of many "Tillinghast advocacy" assumptions he uses to make conclusions, here's one; 'Since Mr. Burbeck lived for many years.....the fact that he never claimed Bethpage as his own design "PROVES" that Tillinghast was the designer.'

I'm sorry to say Philip, that's really poor architectural research based on a really weak premise that CAN lead to some very misleading conclusions! And there are a least ten other instances in his article that arrive at the conclusion that Tillinghast was the designer in the same manner.

I have a feeling if a routing plan turned up with the courses of Bethpage the way they are today and with Burbeck's signature on it and dated before Tillinghast ever came on board that Philip Young could probably still find some way to "fact fit" that into "proof" that Tillinghast was the designer of Bethpage!

Again, I say that if there's some evidence out there that the courses of Bethpage were routed before Tillinghast came on board (as Whitten has claimed) let's see that evidence! Failing that look again at what Tillinghast himself has said about all this and try not to go much farther with attribution than what Tillinghast himself has said, at least not at this point.

At this point, I might give an example of what I see MIGHT have happened at Bethpage given the inconclusive material produced so far. I stress though that this is an assumption given as an EXAMPLE only and I'm certainly not trying to draw a conclusion out of it (given the incomplete and inconclusive material available).

If it's true that the courses of Bethpage were routed previous to Tillinghast's involvement, Tillinghast may have come in as a consultant (as he says he was) and made a number of "design" recommendations to that routing!

What that means is Tillinghast may have recommeded some feature placement (bunker schemes, green shapes and orientations, possibly exact tee placements) on an already existing routing with hole configurations unaltered from the original routing (by someone else). That's more than possible, it happens all the time! If this is what actually happened it would also very easily explain why some of the holes of Bethpage have a "Tillinghast look" to them to some extent!

It's of course possible that Tillinghast may have rearranged the routing that preceded him to some extent but of course there's absolutely nothing at this point to indicate that--but that's certainly possible too!

So if something like that happened where would that leave Tillinghast and Burbeck as to who designed the golf course(s)? It would leave them in a bit of a collaborative position which appears to be the way Tillinghast has always cast this situation!

Again, there's no reason, in my opinion to claim that Whitten or anyone else is saying Tillinghast did nothing here and that Burbeck did everything, or for that matter the other way around! Both obviously did something--so what that was still very much remains the unanswered question!

And again, I couldn't care less as to how it turns out as to which one did what, I just think it's very interesting to look very impartially at the available evidence and to try to determine which one did do what!!

But again try to rid yourselves of "advocacy" assumptions and conclusions in this process of trying to determine who did what! And try to rid youselves of really poor assumptions as to who could have done what. Saying that there's no conceivable way a man like Burbeck could have routed those golf courses because he was Joe Brubeck, a virtual unknown, is just such a poor assumption!

Here's another really poor assumption on Philip Young's part with what I feel could be a logical assumption!

Young says that the "reef hole" virtually proves that Tillinghast was the designer of Bethpage. He says this because the "reef hole" was Tillinghast's own design! And there's very little to deny that--the reef hole design certainly was Tillinghast's own!

But if the reef hole showed up at Bethpage and virtually no one had ever heard of the reef hole before that point, then and only then could I start to buy into Philip Young's assumption and conclusion that this proves Tillinghast designed (routed and designed) the Bethpage course.

Philip, you say Tillinghast wrote about this hole many years before--and indeed he did! There were descriptions and drawings of the reef hole in some golf architectural magazines that were very popular periodicals of their time all of which preceded the Bethpage courses by many years (as you yourself have stated in your article!).

Did it ever occur to you that many people read those articles written many years before by Tillinghast himself in those periodicals? Did it occur to you that Joe Burbeck may have been one of those who read those articles--and specifically the one about the reef hole?

Do you really believe it's beyond the realm of possiblity that Burbeck very well may have gotten some idea on the routing and design of Bethpage from reasearch and reading? If I was designing a course or working on something like Bethpage in the capacity that Brubeck appears to have been that's certainly something I would do!

Is it illogical to even assume that Burbeck himself may have asked the Park Commission or Robert Moses himself to contact and hire one A.W. Tillinghast because of things like the articles he'd written? It's certainly not illogical to me!

I have no real idea at the moment and certainly don't want to draw conclusions (as others are) at this point, but so far this smells like some kind of design collaboration between Tillinghast and Burbeck to me (as to exactly how I hope we find out or find out more). And isn't it interesting that Tillinghast himself seems to easily concur with that despite the fact that his "adocates" today want to believe otherwise?

But in the meantime a topic and thread like this I believe is an excellent one--a really valuable one to have on Golfclubatlas. Because at the very least I think it can show us all how to do IMPARTIAL architectural analysis and steer clear of "adovocacy" analysis--simply because an assumption or conclusion has been in existence for many years with inconclusive evidence!!

Ron Whitten may have gone too far in the apparent conclusions he's drawn--he should come forward with a clearer indication of this routing by Burbeck before Tillinghast came on board or give up on that apparent fact!

Others have gone way too far too in their conclusions about Tillinghast, in my opinion!

So let's keep looking at what's there imparially and also what else might come forward. If we all do that I do believe eventually the truth here will become known and all those involved back then will probably be treated fairly, as they should be--or should have been!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2002, 06:35:56 AM »
As we have disected the realities in all cionstruction projects before, the "mongrel theory" sounds more like what reality exsisted.

After reading Brad Kleins piece in the 6-14 edition of Supt.'s News I was struck by the new information (new to me) that the routing included several awkward or long walks between holes.

Having only played one Tillie course, SFGC, I can't imagine he had much to do with the routing, if it was not seemless like sfgc.. I can also take one look at those bunkers and know that they are clearly his.

So, with just these two pieces of evidence, it is clear enough that a project of this scope needed several minds and while it is a wonderful statement to the Brubeck family.
 I doubt any high profile modern archie would give away eched in stone credit for a successful project to anybody but themselves.

 Afterall, Tillie was hired, right? Hired as what? Back in the depression I don't know how many consulting positions were given out.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2002, 08:16:59 AM »

Each piece of property dictates its unique design.

The walk from # 10 green at WFE to # 11 tee is anything but convenient.

I wouldn't use green to tee proximity to brand or disqualify the architect.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Bill Wright

Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2002, 09:10:44 AM »
Posted by: TEPaul Posted on: June 9th, 2002, 8:21am
First of all, I realize this thread seems to be about Ron Whitten.  

Tom Paul:  of course, it's about Ron Whitten and how he has appointed himself (with the blessing of Golf Digest as "THE preminent golf course architecture critic) as the final word on all subjects regarding golf design.

His credentials, other than writing for Golf Digest, are suspect at best.  How he can unilaterlly rewrite golf history should trouble all...
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Whitten sticking to his guns
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2002, 09:45:50 AM »
Patrick- That is just one hole. Which in my experience is acceptable and if it's a beautiful nature walk even more acceptable. But in the Klein article he talks of several long uphill walks to the tee.

Now, on a site and project of this magnitude don't you think Mr. Tillie would've  been able to find the perfect routing or at least one closer to what was done at SFGC, a natural flow where you never had to ask the caddie where the next hole is because that was designed in?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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