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Sean Walsh

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Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« on: December 30, 2021, 11:58:25 PM »
For your reading pleasure. I have no insight into the facts here but it sets up as an interesting squabble. If one sided at this point.


https://www.planetgolf.com/news/cape-wickham-links-the-inside-design-story


For what itís worth this is the answer the Cape Wickham website has. Also includes an essay from Darius Oliver that is best described as a more restrained version of the first link above.


https://www.capewickham.com.au/course-architects/
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 12:11:05 AM by Sean Walsh »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2021, 12:57:06 AM »
For your reading pleasure. I have no insight into the facts here but it sets up as an interesting squabble. If one sided at this point.


https://www.planetgolf.com/news/cape-wickham-links-the-inside-design-story


For what itís worth this is the answer the Cape Wickham website has. Also includes an essay from Darius Oliver that is best described as a more restrained version of the first link above.


https://www.capewickham.com.au/course-architects/
Sean,


Honestly, I didnít react well to reading this article. IMO, it doesnít serve Darius well and it would have been better not written.


Tim
Tim Weiman

Sean Walsh

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2021, 01:35:26 AM »
Tim,
My initial reaction was much the same.

David_Elvins

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2021, 01:35:39 AM »
Sean,
Honestly, I didnít react well to reading this article. IMO, it doesnít serve Darius well and it would have been better not written.
Tim


I thought the article offered an interesting insight into the design process. 


So much that is written about the golf design business is heavily sanitised and the article is worthwhile for its refreshing candour, imo.
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2021, 02:09:14 AM »
Sean,
Honestly, I didnít react well to reading this article. IMO, it doesnít serve Darius well and it would have been better not written.
Tim
David,



I thought the article offered an interesting insight into the design process. 


So much that is written about the golf design business is heavily sanitised and the article is worthwhile for its refreshing candour, imo.
David,


I didnít learn anything about the design process from this article. Nothing whatsoever.


Darius needed a friend to candidly tell him the article simply makes him look bad and to junk it. That he didnít is a shame because in the past he has done some very good writing and publishing.
Tim Weiman

Sean_A

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2021, 02:18:25 AM »
Sean,
Honestly, I didnít react well to reading this article. IMO, it doesnít serve Darius well and it would have been better not written.
Tim
David,



I thought the article offered an interesting insight into the design process. 


So much that is written about the golf design business is heavily sanitised and the article is worthwhile for its refreshing candour, imo.
David,


I didnít learn anything about the design process from this article. Nothing whatsoever.


Darius needed a friend to candidly tell him the article simply makes him look bad and to junk it. That he didnít is a shame because in the past he has done some very good writing and publishing.

I think the article is purposely vague. The idea is not to reveal who did what, but to confirm that Oliver deserves co-design credit.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2021, 02:25:47 AM »
Sean,


So is this the modern version of the Bethpage Black design credit debate?
Tim Weiman

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2021, 02:45:46 AM »
Sean,


So is this the modern version of the Bethpage Black design credit debate?

I have no idea. I just thought the article was trying to achieve the specific purpose of co-design credit. I don't even know if the players disagree. Scott is right. A public statement from M DV indicating that he deserves sole credit would be helpful. The article drops the reader in the middle of a story without a clear reason as to why clarification is necessary.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2021, 02:58:13 AM »
Sean,


So is this the modern version of the Bethpage Black design credit debate?

I have no idea. I just thought the article was trying to achieve the specific purpose of co-design credit. I don't even know if the players disagree. Scott is right. A public statement from M DV indicating that he deserves sole credit would be helpful. The article drops the reader in the middle of a story without a clear reason as to why clarification is necessary.

Ciao
Sean,


I think the Bethpage Black (Tillinghast vs Joe Burbeck) debate provides useful background.


Whether Burbeck deserves any design credit, I donít know. But, in the debate that played out here on GolfClubAtlas, obviously it wasnít Burbeck himself trying to assert the case for him getting some or all the credit. Other people did so.


Darius should have learned from that, IMO. It would have come across much better if he let someone else make the case for him. His approach was a big turnoff, at least for me.

Tim Weiman

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2021, 03:34:21 AM »
I have never met Darius but before he was ever involved in design work, his website consultancy claims were a little annoying, positioning him as the leading international voice and specifically rating a handful of golf course architects as the only ones worth considering. There was a lot of self-promoting bluster.


One of those architects was Mike DeVriesÖ Perhaps Darius learned through this process that he shouldnít have been so quick to put some architects on a pedestal at the expense of all others?


However, if what he writes is true, I can understand his frustration. I am sure he has only written it because no-one else did. And heís not the first junior partner (in design terms) to see their name sidelined as time goes on and publications focus only on the marquee name. That has happened elsewhere on a regular basisÖ But in the end, you have to depend somewhat on the Client. If the Client actively reminds visitors of the co-design credentials, then most commentators will pick up on that.


Darius needs to pick what side he falls on. He apparently doesnít consider himself a golf course architect. Yet he is happy to act as a consultant to advise on who should design a project. Until he clears that up, he might struggle. He should be one or the other.

PPallotta

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2021, 08:34:18 AM »
What I noticed is that only one sentence references the routing. We learn that MdV has been hired as architect, and in the following line that "Duncan, Mike and I then produced the final routing." (Would MdV's proposed routing have been one of the reasons he was hired? Do a client's wishes/input often lead to revisions in such proposals?) And that's it: one short sentence about the design element that's at the very heart-centre of golf course architecture, and about the design function that's long been considered the course architect's most important and defining skill and talent. That stood out for me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 09:24:44 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Tim Martin

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2021, 09:42:11 AM »
Why make the claim so long after the course opened? I donít know that Mike DeVries needs to make a statement so much as the other players involved. Itís not a very graceful recounting of the supposed process.

jeffwarne

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2021, 09:48:36 AM »
History does often indeed "get twisted"-sometimes innocently as memories fade, sometimes via vagueness due to the politics of relationships and/or getting things done, and sometimes by revisionists with an agenda.


Which is why I often laugh when I see raging debates about architectural history supported by 100 year old newspaper articles,as if it never occurs to the debaters that the "press" very often gets things wrong, especially if they are not experts in the given field, and the reporters either makes a naive mistake, simply take an innocent error filled second hand account as gospel without further fact checking from the actual parties involved.
In my experience,a good bit of folklore about a club comes from caddies passing down stories to players, some of which once had a partial basis in fact ;)
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

PPallotta

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2021, 11:02:25 AM »
JW -
that's true. In this case, though, it seems to me that so many words were devoted to what happened before the architect arrived on the scene and to what happened after he left -- so little of which has much to do with design credit.

Isn't it the case that, from the time of Colt and Mackenzie and Ross etc , the 'architect of record' is the one who routes the course? Isn't that why the course (the design) remains 'theirs' even after other hands have reshaped bunkers or removed trees or tweaked greens or added tees?

What happens before the routing (before the architect 'is there') seems to me the work of a developer or consultant; and what happens after the architect leaves seems to me the work of the associates or shapers.

That the 'story' here focuses so much on the before and after and so little on the routing or any substantive changes to that routing seems, as I say, a bit strange to me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 11:19:34 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2021, 11:09:30 AM »
That the 'story' here focuses so much on the before and after and so little on the routing or any substantive changes to that routing seems, as I say, a bit strange to me.
I agree with that. I also thought, as I read the article, that it was very light on facts, or at least "details" I should say. What specifically did he "design" and what did DeVries "design"? I think most here know/understand that tens or sometimes hundreds of people work on a golf course and ultimately help it to become what it becomes, "design credit" has to rise to a certain level. The article doesn't give me much insight into what level the author achieved.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Niall C

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2021, 11:30:54 AM »
I agree with Peter ands Erik re the routing. I'd have liked to have read how much of the routing was Mike's as opposed to Darius's revisals. Darius refers to having found the 1st and 18th holes but I'd have thought their positioning/location would largely be a function of access to the site and therefore where the clubhouse is situated. In other words they may have been more or less a given ?


In terms of why write the story, the answer appears to be in Darius's Planet Golf article which suggests that he is endeavoring to counter what he considers a misleading impression which is that the course is a solo Mike design. If that is the case then he is partly to blame for the problem in that he states that he supported the idea that Mike get the design credit in the first place. In hindsight that seems unfortunate however I think it doubly unfortunate that in order to now promote his case he makes some negative comments regarding Mike. Even if what Darius says is based in fact, it still comes across as being a bit unseemly and does neither party any favours.


If I was Mike I might be tempted to just keep a dignified silence.


Niall     





Tim Martin

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2021, 11:45:24 AM »
If I was Mike I might be tempted to just keep a dignified silence.
Niall   
Niall-If Iím a bettor this is the stance Mike will take. I canít imagine what there is for him to gain by getting involved in the conversation.


Tom_Doak

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2021, 01:27:38 PM »
I have never met Darius but before he was ever involved in design work, his website consultancy claims were a little annoying, positioning him as the leading international voice and specifically rating a handful of golf course architects as the only ones worth considering. There was a lot of self-promoting bluster.

One of those architects was Mike DeVriesÖ Perhaps Darius learned through this process that he shouldnít have been so quick to put some architects on a pedestal at the expense of all others?

However, if what he writes is true, I can understand his frustration. I am sure he has only written it because no-one else did. And heís not the first junior partner (in design terms) to see their name sidelined as time goes on and publications focus only on the marquee name. That has happened elsewhere on a regular basisÖ But in the end, you have to depend somewhat on the Client. If the Client actively reminds visitors of the co-design credentials, then most commentators will pick up on that.

Darius needs to pick what side he falls on. He apparently doesnít consider himself a golf course architect. Yet he is happy to act as a consultant to advise on who should design a project. Until he clears that up, he might struggle. He should be one or the other.




I suspect the business plan as a consultant was more to (a) make money from developers who had no idea whom to hire, and (b) find a couple of architects who "owed" Darius for his help in finding bad clients in Asia, that he could piggyback to a co-credit.  He's not the first golf writer who has used this approach and he'll probably not be the last.


Your comment on "junior partners" is not at all accurate:  often, guys like Jay Blasi at Chambers Bay or Andy Staples at Sand Hollow get credit throughout the industry, even if they are not the name on the top-100 lists.  But anyway, Darius was not on Mike's payroll, he was a consultant to the developer . . . and now that the client is no longer involved and the new owners have no idea who did what, it's easier to stake a claim.


Darius clearly considers himself a golf course architect now.  Taking credit for Cape Wickham has always been part of his plan, but now he's trying to compete directly with Mike Clayton & Mike DeVries so he has staked his claim publicly.  And I don't read it as taking part credit; I think he tried to take most of the credit, and labeled his co-designer as "difficult" for good measure.  [I am somewhat familiar with such slurs.]


Luckily both parties have brand-new projects they can claim as their own, and will be able to show what they can do without the other, and it would probably be best if they both just focused on that, instead of who undermined whom ten years ago.  At the rate things are going in Australia they should just cross their fingers Cape Wickham is still open by then.


P.S.  Also LOL for "Cape Wickham is in discussions with Sand Hills as the premier modern course in the world"

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2021, 02:08:52 PM »
Tom,


By junior partner, I meant co-designer. I was not referring to a junior partner in the same firm. Perhaps I am giving Darius too much credit in assuming he is worthy of such a claim.


I am quite clear on the name that sits on a course if there is only one firm involved. In fact, I get quite annoyed when I see associates take credit without referencing their employer.


Steve Lapper

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2021, 03:24:19 PM »
Darius' claim to credit, right or wrong, was enunciated in a petty, vindictive fashion.


I agree with Tom's response and especially his PS comment re: comparison to Sand Hills. Furthermore, Darius' assumptions about choosing an architect to appease raters was equally ludicrous. Knowing Mike DeVries reasonably well, I can assure you the client's choice of him had next to nothing to due with Mike's rater recognition quotient.  Mike's considerable talents fly for the most part, under the radar.


Lastly, Darius calling Golf Digest Magazine "the most influential in the industry" and noting it's 2016 World ranking  of #24 is downright laughable. The argument might be made for GD's US list (if based on general, uniformed audiences) but their world list has always been little more than a hack fest for the magazine's  various advertising and marketing-affiliate partners round the globe. Their own raters weren't/aren't expected, nor recognized for taking their rating travels abroad.


To even the uninformed, his piece seems to be semi-desperate grab for some attention and validation.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 05:02:33 PM by Steve Lapper »
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Ira Fishman

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2021, 04:40:04 PM »
I have never met Darius but before he was ever involved in design work, his website consultancy claims were a little annoying, positioning him as the leading international voice and specifically rating a handful of golf course architects as the only ones worth considering. There was a lot of self-promoting bluster.

One of those architects was Mike DeVriesÖ Perhaps Darius learned through this process that he shouldnít have been so quick to put some architects on a pedestal at the expense of all others?

However, if what he writes is true, I can understand his frustration. I am sure he has only written it because no-one else did. And heís not the first junior partner (in design terms) to see their name sidelined as time goes on and publications focus only on the marquee name. That has happened elsewhere on a regular basisÖ But in the end, you have to depend somewhat on the Client. If the Client actively reminds visitors of the co-design credentials, then most commentators will pick up on that.

Darius needs to pick what side he falls on. He apparently doesnít consider himself a golf course architect. Yet he is happy to act as a consultant to advise on who should design a project. Until he clears that up, he might struggle. He should be one or the other.




I suspect the business plan as a consultant was more to (a) make money from developers who had no idea whom to hire, and (b) find a couple of architects who "owed" Darius for his help in finding bad clients in Asia, that he could piggyback to a co-credit.  He's not the first golf writer who has used this approach and he'll probably not be the last.


Your comment on "junior partners" is not at all accurate:  often, guys like Jay Blasi at Chambers Bay or Andy Staples at Sand Hollow get credit throughout the industry, even if they are not the name on the top-100 lists.  But anyway, Darius was not on Mike's payroll, he was a consultant to the developer . . . and now that the client is no longer involved and the new owners have no idea who did what, it's easier to stake a claim.


Darius clearly considers himself a golf course architect now.  Taking credit for Cape Wickham has always been part of his plan, but now he's trying to compete directly with Mike Clayton & Mike DeVries so he has staked his claim publicly.  And I don't read it as taking part credit; I think he tried to take most of the credit, and labeled his co-designer as "difficult" for good measure.  [I am somewhat familiar with such slurs.]


Luckily both parties have brand-new projects they can claim as their own, and will be able to show what they can do without the other, and it would probably be best if they both just focused on that, instead of who undermined whom ten years ago.  At the rate things are going in Australia they should just cross their fingers Cape Wickham is still open by then.


P.S.  Also LOL for "Cape Wickham is in discussions with Sand Hills as the premier modern course in the world"


I am befuddled by this post. I spent quite a bit of money for the current version of the Confidential Guide. I enjoy sampling it. However, now it seems as if I should ignore any DS Scores by Darius. There clearly is a backstory here or somewhere.


Ira

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2021, 04:56:25 PM »

I am befuddled by this post. I spent quite a bit of money for the current version of the Confidential Guide. I enjoy sampling it. However, now it seems as if I should ignore any DS Scores by Darius. There clearly is a backstory here or somewhere.



Ira:


I am befuddled by your post.  Darius' opinions in the book(s) have no bearing on what he did or didn't do at Cape Wickham, or vice versa.  And I've not dealt with him at all in his role as consultant, or designer.

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2021, 05:01:19 PM »

I am befuddled by this post. I spent quite a bit of money for the current version of the Confidential Guide. I enjoy sampling it. However, now it seems as if I should ignore any DS Scores by Darius. There clearly is a backstory here or somewhere.



Ira:


I am befuddled by your post.  Darius' opinions in the book(s) have no bearing on what he did or didn't do at Cape Wickham, or vice versa.  And I've not dealt with him at all in his role as consultant, or designer.


Tom,


Your post went far beyond the question of what Darius did or did not do at Cape Wickham. It was a prťcis about him and his business plan. Hence my post.


Ira

Sean_A

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Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2021, 05:17:26 PM »
Sean,


So is this the modern version of the Bethpage Black design credit debate?

I have no idea. I just thought the article was trying to achieve the specific purpose of co-design credit. I don't even know if the players disagree. Scott is right. A public statement from M DV indicating that he deserves sole credit would be helpful. The article drops the reader in the middle of a story without a clear reason as to why clarification is necessary.

Ciao
Sean,


I think the Bethpage Black (Tillinghast vs Joe Burbeck) debate provides useful background.


Whether Burbeck deserves any design credit, I donít know. But, in the debate that played out here on GolfClubAtlas, obviously it wasnít Burbeck himself trying to assert the case for him getting some or all the credit. Other people did so.


Darius should have learned from that, IMO. It would have come across much better if he let someone else make the case for him. His approach was a big turnoff, at least for me.

Whether or not Oliver should have published his design claim is a different issue to my point. I don't actually know exactly what the beef is about because I don't know if MDV actually ever wrote or said that Oliver doesn't deserve design credit.

Happy New Year
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shots Fired - Who designed Cape Wickham
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2021, 05:30:54 PM »
I'm a bit confused by the comments that he didn't provide details.  I re-read the article and found the following:

  • Claimed to find 1st and 18th hole
  • Made changes to 4, 5, and 17 greens
  • Changed the 5th fairway
  • Redid last 1/3rd of 6th hole
  • Added fairway bunker on 2
  • Rebuilt greenside bunkers on 1
  • Built bold greens with 6, 10, 12 and 17 greens
  • Tame greens for 5, 13, and 15
  • Softened large dunes on 18 and avoided going flashy

I don't know how this fits into the larger picture of roles on a crew, and attributions, but those look to be fairly specific.  Additionally, given this is an article on his site, not a mutli-page report I suspect he never intended to go into all the nitty gritties.


P.S.  I thought his beef was fairly clear in the last paragraph:

I never wanted to write this story, but a number of Australian and American publications have recently decided to credit Cape Wickham as a solo Mike DeVries design. As have DeVriesís own business partners. His corporate website also listed the course for two years as being his solo creation.

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