News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« on: March 22, 2015, 03:39:45 PM »
Thought some in the treehouse might enjoy this 1905 article (click on it to obtain larger size):



(if your web browser doesn't expand that image, click on it again!)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 07:50:54 PM by Joe Bausch »
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Peter Pallotta

Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 08:57:06 AM »
Thank you, Joe.

Has the listing of each hole's bogey score ever been more apropos than at Oakmont in 1905?

Also - very interesting opening for a golf article, i.e. referencing country club life as a signifcant social and political component/influencer of American life.

Peter

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 12:02:53 PM »
Joe,

This is an awesome article and a great find.   Some observations.

* The course described is today's routing.

* The contention that the course would be laid out "scientifically", which may be the first mention of the term I've heard in the US.

* Amazing to consider that the course could be setup to play 6800 yards in 1905.

* Amazing, but not surprising to learn that there is only one bunker on the course.   As seems to have been the predominant thinking in amateur circles for that decade and much of the next, it appears the idea was to study play for some period to best determine bunker placement.   It was estimated that bunkering the course would cost $10k.

* Tough to tell but it appears there may be more trees on the course in 1905 then exists today!    :o ;D

Thanks for sharing!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 04:02:49 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Andrew Bernstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 02:14:07 PM »
The spelling of "Pittsburg" in the newspaper's name led me down yet another internet rabbit hole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_Pittsburgh

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 03:26:44 PM »
I'm not sure if this has ever been found/posted before but it's from November of 1903 and is pretty cool.  The evolution of Oakmont has always been incredibly fascinating to me.

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 05:26:33 PM »
If Oakmont had been built in New York Chicago or Boston there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been widely hailed before 1910. How many people were building 6800 yard courses back then with a great routing that still exists to this day intact?
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club New
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 05:38:52 PM »
Mike, here is a clickable version of your wonderful 1903 article:

« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 10:41:15 AM by Joe Bausch »
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 07:56:46 PM »
Thanks for the assist Joseph.  More to follow.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: On the New Golf Links of the Oakmont Country Club
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 08:02:18 PM »
The spelling of "Pittsburg" in the newspaper's name led me down yet another internet rabbit hole: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_Pittsburgh

Been there, done that Andrew. . .

. . .  pretty neat though, eh? 

 :)
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2015, 09:51:32 AM »
It seems the course had already been laid out by early April 1903, and the intent was to have a full length championship course.   At the time, the only courses in the country generally acknowledged to be really good were Garden City (pre-Travis), Chicago (pre-Raynor), and Myopia (post-Leeds).

I'm trying to imagine an Oakmont without bunkers but with the current routing (which is essentially what it was) and I'd have to believe it would be very, very good, and at least the equal of anything in the country at that time, perhaps save Myopia.  

If Oakmont was in a major metro area with a large golf community like NYC, Boston, Chicago, or even Philly, instead of a dour industrial coal and steel town, is there any doubt it would have been universally hailed and better known from the get-go?

« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 09:55:11 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2015, 10:07:04 AM »
Mike:

Oakmont may have had the bones to be a great course when it was first laid out, but it was missing the details.  It wasn't until around 1912 that it was even considered one of the best courses in Pittsburg(h), at which time the idea was first floated to host the Amateur.

There is no doubt that the original intention was to build one of the very best courses in the country from the get go, it just took a while to get there.

I also think the course received plenty of notice from the golf community.  Fownes was a well known figure with connections throughout the country, and his undertaking would not have gone unnoticed.  The course would have been considered in the same light, that being a big, unfinished golf course, no matter where it was located.

What is curious to me is why he decided to build it at that length.  Around the same time Bendelow was espousing longer courses to keep up with the increased distance of the new ball.  Several of his attempts to stretch courses out were met with disdain, and in many instances the courses actually built ended up being shorter than his proposed plans.   There's a great corollary to East Lake, as both courses were built to be championship tests.  East Lake, like Oakmont, took a number of years to evolve into the desired image of its founders. 

Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 10:30:27 AM »
Sven,

I agree that the details, primarily the bunkering, took some time to flesh out but even these earliest articles mention that the intent for Oakmont is to host a national title.   What else in the Pittsburg(h) area was superior at that time?

Personally, I'd be very intrigued to see an Oakmont that had everything but the bunkers.   I can't imagine it being anything but very good.

It certainly seemed challenging enough from the get-go even sans bunkers, as this October 1904 Opening Day article (as well as the scoring) suggests.

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Jim Sherma

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2015, 10:34:55 AM »
I remember reading that the bunkering at Oakmont was made difficult due to the clay soil. They could not dig them deep because of drainage issue and that was why they initially ended up being at grade and the furrow rakes were created to add difficulty. I believe they have been deepened over the years as better drainage became doable.

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2015, 10:36:12 AM »
Mike -

In the scoring results, is that the W.G. Carr of PVGC?

Bob

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2015, 10:44:20 AM »
Jim Sherma,

Yes, that's my understanding, as well.

Bob Crosby,

I'll see what more I can find related to Father Carr but it wouldn't be surprising.


The early championship aspirations of the club were also known to a wider circle than Pittsburg(h) as seen in this December 1904 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article.   


"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2015, 11:32:02 AM »
I am informed that W. G. Carr is not the Rev. Carr of PVGC. The BCrosby slap-down is as follows:

"W.G. Carr was not the Carr of PV. PV's Carr was Simon J. Carr, a catholic priest. He was one of Crump's best friends and a helluva player (he was also one of the early secretaries of PV). However, although he did play in many Philadelphia tournament events and won some significant ones, he apparently was not a traveler for golf for probably obvious reasons. Matter of fact, not long after Crump died Carr was transferred by his diocese somewhere out into the middle of the state. Finegan thought (and reported) that may've happened because his diocese felt he was playing too much golf and perhaps not spending enough time promoting God and such."

Bob

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2015, 11:32:20 AM »
Mike:

I'm not doubting the intentions.  I'm commenting on the timing of when it was ready.

Here's the 1912 article discussing the evolved Oakmont (American Golfer Feb. 1912) -





"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2015, 12:11:27 PM »
Bob,

Poor Father Carr.   To live in abstinence from sex is one thing but to be banished to central PA without good golf is more than a man should have to bear on this earth.   I assume he died shortly thereafter.

Sven,

Thanks for sharing that article.   

I find it very interesting and one almost wonders if Fownes (with son) wasn't something of a perfectionist/obsessive and from most accounts regarding his philosophical approach (i.e. "a shot irrevocably lost") it seems somewhat likely.   The fact that Oakmont didn't apply to host the US Amateur until 1912 or so may tell us more about Fownes and his demands for perfection than about the objective quality of the early course at Oakmont, at least in comparison to its early contemporaries.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2015, 09:25:42 AM »
Courtesy of Joe Bausch, we've resized the rest of the articles for easier viewing.

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette April 2, 1903



Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette October 2, 1904

« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 09:46:40 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2015, 09:45:43 AM »
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 1st, 1904

« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 09:47:18 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2015, 01:07:59 PM »
Mike,

In the '04 article Fownes wanted to try for the 1907 Am at OCC, but it wasn't played there until 1919, some 12 years after his 'prediction'.

Why the wait?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 01:11:52 PM by Jim_Kennedy »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

DMoriarty

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2015, 02:50:48 PM »
This thread contains some very interesting old articles.  Thanks to those who have posted them.

As for the attempts to use the articles to fundamentally alter our understanding of early Oakmont, I am less impressed.  A few quick points.
1.  The term "laid out scientifically" was not novel nor did it necessarily mean there was any thing special or unique going on about Oakmont.
2.  As Sven pointed out, the theory that Oakmont was a great course in 1905 but somehow escaped notice because it was in Pittsburg is untenable.
3.  Likewise regarding the far-fetched theory that Oakmont was already a great course, but that somehow the Fownes perfectionist tendencies kept it under wraps.
4.  The claim that the course could have been stretched to 6800 yards did not necessarily reflect positively on its design in 1903.

None of this is meant as a knock on Oakmont or Fownes.  To the contrary, Oakmont seems to have been made great through years of hard work.  Trying to portray it as great from day one somewhat diminishes their years of efforts.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 06:15:15 PM by DMoriarty »
Golf history can be quite interesting if you just let your favorite legends go and allow the truth to take you where it will.
--Tom MacWood (1958-2012)

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2015, 03:27:37 PM »
Part of that hard work was their more-than-famous greens, many of which weren't around prior to the mid 1920s.


http://www.history.cmu.edu/docs/schlossman/Americas-Toughest.pdf
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 03:38:49 PM by Jim_Kennedy »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2015, 06:10:52 PM »
Jim,

Thanks for sharing that article.  I'll be back to discuss further as time permits over the next day or two.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Oakmont - The Birth of Greatness?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2015, 09:03:59 PM »
I'd like someone to explain the enduring  greatness of Oakmont
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back