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Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2003, 08:10:30 PM »
Tim Weiman,

I doubt the manufacturers would sow the seeds to their own destruction.  

Like municipalities seeking bids on their garbage disposal contracts, I suspect that noone would respond.

First ANGC is villified for adding length and refusing female members, and now some look to them to save the game through the introduction of a competition ball.

You can't be a fair weather supporter, it's all or nothing  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2003, 09:28:05 PM »
Pat Mucci:

I'm not among those who have villified ANGC for its memberships policies. To the contrary, I have defended them on this issue.

We will just have to agree to disagree on the competition ball issue vis-a-vis Augusta. I will always believe it is inconceivable that every single golf ball manufacturer would opt out of a potential association with the Masters.

But, I am curious about your use of the word "destruction". Are you saying that for the privilege of playing longer balls, consumers are not only paying higher absolute prices but also forking over more margin dollars to manufacturers?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2003, 09:35:37 PM »
Tim Weiman said;

"Tom Paul:
If memory serves, last year's Masters issue in Golf Digest was where Whitten raised the issue of moving the 13th green complex about 50 or 60 yards. It wasn't clear where the idea came from, but I recall Whitten saying something like Fazio could recreate a near exact replica of the entire existing green complex.

If that isn't a sign of technology out of control, I don't know what is."  

Tim:

If that isn't f....ing pathetic I don't know what is. And 50-60yds too!

Again, I don't know much about Ron Whitten but if he really said that I have no real respect for his opinion on classic golf holes and ANGC's #13 is about as classic as it can get.
 
 
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2003, 10:02:23 PM »
Forrest Richardson said:

"What makes the changes in, let's say 1922, any better than changes in, let's say 2002? If I found a living ancestor of the Fownes and he/she said "OK" would that matter?

I'll say it again: Oakmont was/is/will (hopefully) be all about change.

Forrest:

That particular question is what it's all about when we discuss real classic and famous architecture as Oakmont obviously is. I'm sort of with Mark Fine on this that tee length expansion although somewhat concerning is far less so than when architects get into altering the "bodies" of classic, historic golf holes, thier features, and certainly their greens and green-ends.

Eventually one should draw the line on this issue, particularly on courses that have great architecture and real history to boot. Certainly I'm particularly talking about courses such as TOC, Pine Valley, Merion, Cypress, Pebble, NGLA, Shinnecock and Oakmont.

I'll give you the classic example. I've come upon a bunch of documented evidence of what George Crump was planning to do with Pine Valley (had he lived). Some of what he did before he died he considered temporary, and clearly planned to change it had he lived. Some of the changes were significant. Some of it was done back in 1922 because the club was well aware of what he wanted to do.

But other things were not done and generally they weren't done back then because it would have been too expensive back then.

The club can certainly afford to do those things now but should they? I've asked a lot of people, and many I really really respect if they thought those things should be done now and every single one of them said--No way!!

I have to agree wholeheartely. Why? Because some of these courses have so much history into the way they are--if they work or even if some things don't completely they deserve now to be preserved. I think even people like Crump and Fownes, if they could come back now would agree too. What they thought way back when well before a course had all this history and "time in" and what they might think now might be very different.

The thing we should understand is they didn't have the luxury of looking into the future but we sure can look back into the past and we sure can look at the history of it all--something they couldn't do.

Just because the Fowneses built Oakmont and changed it until 1950 when W.C. died does not mean to me that change should continue on that course forever! Not at all. And I don't think even they would think so at this point!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2003, 02:51:10 AM »
Tom -- Good points, but I disagree that the Fownes' (or Fowneses) would not want to see change, even to the bodies of holes. Their vision for Oakmont was continual improvement. If smart thinking and dedicated people were making the changes, I believe the Fownes' would be smiling.

Interesting, Arthur A. Snyder speaks on the tape I mentioned about the introduction of the Haskel ball and its effects at Oakmont -- the Fownes' installing new bunkers, moving greens, installing sleepers in some bunkers, etc.

Call it tinkering, or whatever. I am not out to suggest the soul of the course, nor its original designs, should be lost. But at Oakmont there is a tradition of keeping things the same -- and also allowing them to change. The more things change the more they stay the same, so to speak.

But again, good points. Thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2003, 05:15:38 AM »
Forrest;

Well then with a course like Oakmont we don't agree about change. I certainly don't consider what they've done in the last few years "change" though regarding removing all those trees. The intent was basically to remove as much of the change that came after W.C. Fownes died in 1950 and go back to the way it was at that time. Obviously I would call that "restoration" with a purpose and that being to restore the course to the way W.C. Fownes had it. But obviously the tee additions are change in preparation for the Amateur and Open. If they hadn't done that part it would have been OK with me but tee additions I do find the least intrusive change. Getting into the bodies of holes and the greens I find much too intrusive of a change for a course like Oakmont.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2003, 08:48:28 AM »
Well, the course had changed a great deal before the Fownes passed on...and it continued afterward. I agree, not much in the way of grading / shaping changes. However, there was the postive change at No. 8 green/tee (by A.J. Snyder), and the trees (not many liked them after 50 years), and other isolated "improvements" and toughening.

You and Mark Fine are in the same camp -- and I'm likely outnumbered by many others -- but answer this please: You want a course like Oakmont kept at what point in its development?

a) Opening day
b) First 10-years
c) Day of high school graduation of original designer's first-born male child
d) Its 50th Anniversary
e) Day original desigr passes on
f) Day you first laid eyes on it
g) Day it was first proclaimed "great" and "a classic"
h) Day the green committee changed from a bunch of carless wackos to a throughtful group of caring, architecturally-oriented concerned citizens

Again, I'm not for wild change or irresponsible change. But I am one who loves the aspect of golf that believes courses are living, breathing entities...and often should be changed...with sensitivity. And my thoughts about Oakmont are that the changes fit right into the master plan of the original architects: They embraced change and constant betterment (although it was not always better, even for them).

Your thoughts are erspected.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2003, 08:48:48 AM »
Respected, I mean.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2003, 11:00:54 AM »
Tim Weiman,

I wasn't zeroing in on you regarding ANGC.

I doubt the MAJOR manufacturers would want to create a ball, a standardized, uniform ball with absolutely no marketing pizzazz associated with it.  Your only hope is that a ball manufacturer with minimal market share figures out that they can get a head start, a leap in front of the competition, and decide to joint venture or produce the competition ball on their own.  

But, ANGC can't do it alone, they need the technical advice of the manufacturer and probably the USGA, and with that lawsuits might follow.  eg collusion, exclusion, etc.,etc..

Absolutely.

Forrest Richardson,

Your point is valid, and clubs face a dilema.
Is there an ideal target date at which the architecture is frozen ?  Hard to say, and probably a case by case evaluation.

Merion 1930 and GCGC 1936 seem logical for them.

Each club must review its architecture and its history to TRY to come up with a reasonable solution and target date,
if there is one.  And, if they pick one, and if it has a reasonable basis, like Merion 1930, then, while it may not be perfect for everyone, it could be said that it was a PRUDENT choice.  It is certainly not an easy task for many clubs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2003, 11:08:33 AM »
Pat Mucci:

That's the beauty of capitalism. If the leading manufacturers don't want to participate, a smaller company will see it as an opportunity to get a leg up.

The issue of technical advice is not a problem, legal or otherwise. Many different industries or entities hire consultants. Clearly, Augusta has the means to do the same. Any technical issues can be addressed. The expertise exists and it would certainly be available to Augusta.

It is hard to imagine any legal problem as long as Augusta goes the RFP route. How could any company seriously complain?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Patrick_Mucci

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2003, 11:38:22 AM »
Tim Weiman,

Before you send out an RFP you have to provide the design and performance specifications.

I'm not so sure that, on their own, ANGC is capable of that technical aspect of the project, and that is the key element in the RFP.

They need help from another source, and therein may lie the legal problems.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2003, 12:56:26 PM »
Forrest:

You asked:

"but answer this please: You want a course like Oakmont kept at what point in its development?"

It does seem like any answer to that question would be sort of an arbitrary one but I don't think so when you're talking about a few courses in this world which I would consider Oakmont to be one.

Oakmont in what they've done to the course recently (other than tee length expansion for the Amateur/Open) could be considered a restoration. But a restoration to what? They tell me basically it's supposed to be a restoration to the year W.C. Fownes died--1949/1950. In the process of doing that Oakmont has apparently studied their material, aerials, whatever and decided to remove various changes to the course that happened after Fownes died. Does this mean every single thing that was done such as Snyder's rework of #8 will be changed back? Obviously not.

I don't know the details of what specifically was on the list to be restored to that 1950 date but in a general sense I was told by someone who certainly knows that the club wanted to remove the architectural changes after 1950 that must include redesign work by RTJ, Garbin, Palmer/Seay, Hills. Why they wanted to remove those changes I don't know and I really don't know what they specifically were. But going back to the year Fownes died, 1950 seems like a good move to me.

Why? Because at least the Fownses were the two who built the golf course and worked on it for 47 years. It was their courses and any changes they made one would sort of have to assume anyone could and would trust. But after them how does one know what someone else will do or how well or how poorly? This is the primary reason I think on a course like Oakmont that would be a reasonable time to leave the golf course alone--1950 when Fownes died.

Obviously I'm aware that the course is unusual compared to others since it's a real championship course and it's going to remain on the USGA's 5-6 course Open rota and considerations for that fact probably need to be made but other than that the course is one that should be left alone.

I might not feel that way about other courses, just a few that I listed in a previous post because I believe they are so famous, their architecture is so time tested and what's the purpose then of making changes? A few courses deserve to be preserved and I think Oakmont is one of them.

How about PVGC? Do you think they should change their basic policy of not changing that course? If you do I'd really have to disagree with you there.

So what I'm saying is the reason I think a few courses like Oakmont should be left alone isn't really that it couldn't possibly be improved it's just that I think the course is such that there isn't any reason to take the risk that someone might not do it right. God knows we've seen a awful lot of things done that probably shouldn't have been to a lot of really good classic courses, particularly championship courses by these so-called Open doctors. Oakmont doesn't need that--either does Shinnecock and I doubt that will happen from what I hear from the people I know at those places.




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

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2003, 01:24:29 PM »
Forrest,

I think one of the major difficulties re: implementing physical changes to a classic course like Oakmont is, there are - maybe - a handful of contemporary golf architects willing and able to commit the time, thought, effort, and craftmanship that the Fownes' did when carrying out their alterations to the course between 1903 and W.C.'s death in '50.

I know this is an extreme example, but still, you can't fly in a golf architect (or an associate) who's simultaneuosly working on 12 new courses, and consulting at a dozen others across the continent for a day to give a D-6 operator instructions on how to build a new green at a classic course like Oakmont that won't look any different than the rest. Can you? As I know it, that's extremely delicate work.

I haven't seen the new tees at Oakmont that are the subject of this thread. But I get the feeling there's a (GCA) concensus that they 'stand out' amongst the rest. Case in point. You need mules and drag pans - or at least some hand-work with shovels and rakes - to properly tie-in new features at classic courses.

That said, I regress. The probelm today is, most contemporary golf architects don't demand that type of detail work. And, of course, contractors have a bottom line to adhere to. In order to make good money, they can't commit extra time to hand-work when it can be done in less time by fewer people using larger equipment.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
jeffmingay.com

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2003, 01:29:20 PM »
And, classic golf course restoration is not about restoring an aged layout exactly according to the original architect's drawn plans, or exactly according to a historic aerial from a specific period in the course's life.

All of the best restorative-based work done to date has been about drawing from the original architect's design style and philosophies - specifically as they relate to the course in question - while taking into account those modern realities that warrant change and/or make 'pure restoration' an impossibility.

Again, that type of work requires more than a passing interest from both the golf architect(s) orchestrating the work and those individuals carrying it out.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »
jeffmingay.com

Matt_Ward

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2003, 01:35:29 PM »
I've read this thread quite closely and have to add the following:

The whole premise of Oakmont from the very, very beginning was to be an absolute bear / monster of a course. The Fownes didn't want Oakmont to be in harmony with some sort of vague, ill-defined notion of "fairness."

As was mentioned already on this thread the new tees will not be used EXCEPT for major events and given the nature of what the very elite hit the ball today I don't believe such a modification is wrong. I will say, for the record, they I have not seen the new tees that are the subejct of this discussion.

However, I have played Oakmont and believe it is one of the elite ten in all of American golf. Clearly, the combination of having Merion on the other side of Pennsy gives the state a one-two punch that quite likely only Pebble and Cypress can match when one looks at the top two courses from one state (sorry, NY -- as much as I like SH and WF / West and NJ with PV and Plainfield).

I hope to be playing Oakmont sometime later this year and seeing firsthand the tees in question. It will be interesting to see how the top amateurs fare in preparation for the '07 Open.

Kudos to Oakmont for the tree removal and I salute the effort being made to bring back in all its glory the terror and tenacity that is the hallmark of this American classic.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2003, 02:33:03 PM »
Pat Mucci:

It is very common to engage consultants with the appropriate technical skills to prepare RFPs. There is no legal problem hiring such consultants. There is no legal problem defining a set of specifications. There is no legal problem with the entire RFP process. Many businesses and government entities do it all the time. Frankly, many entities purchase products without even going through such a process. So, Augusta probably doesn't even need to go that far.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2003, 07:45:36 PM »
Jeff -- "...you can't fly in a golf architect (or an associate) who's simultaneously working on 12 new courses, and consulting at a dozen others across the continent for a day to give a D-6 operator instructions on how to build a new green at a classic course like Oakmont that won't look any different than the rest. Can you?"

No.

But, I would guess there are only a very, very few such people, and probably not associates, in the entire world. Probably only two or three, and these would not be interested in this job. Twelve is a big number.

Then again, it is intelligence that counts. Smart people, such as W.C. and H.C., know hoe to affect change, passion and creativity upon others, who in turn, carry out the change, passion and creativity. These were busy men. They did not live solely for Oakmont, although we assume so, now some nearly 100 years later.

I don't think you can stereotype. You need to trust and know the overriding concept. Then you can perform. This is the route the Fownes' took.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2003, 08:16:02 PM »
"These were busy men. They did not live solely for Oakmont, although we assume so, now some nearly 100 years later.

Forrest:

You can get a pretty good idea how dedicated W.C. Fownes was though. You should see some of his correspondence with the 1921 Advisory Committee at Pine Valley. The man was very detailed and dedicated to that. You should see some of the correspondence of Hugh Wilson--he was doing something with Merion almost every single day it seems. As for Crump he really was there almost every day and for about five years. You can't beat that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2003, 08:31:50 PM »
I have heard of these letters. Would love to see them! Perhaps I might share my audio CD of Art Snyder discussing his tenure there (1907 to around 1948)...?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2003, 08:32:28 PM »
Where did that sunglassed smiley come from?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
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TEPaul

Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2003, 06:25:43 AM »
I don't know where the sunglass smiley came from--those little no neck monsters give me nightmares though. Whatever year that was in the 1940s must have been a very cool year though.

There's only one letter I'm aware of from Fownes on Pine Valley but it was very comprehensive for the participants of the 1921 advisory committee.

He obviously had some detailed opinions and made some interesting recommendations, particularly #4 where he felt the hole needed more length and that a golfer should hit a tee shot no farther than the top of the hill so he would be forced into a real long shot into the green. The really interesting recommendation though was #1 green--he didn't like it and felt the wide front and narrow back penalized aggressive play and encouraged conservative play to the front of the green. But his message was very clear--prioritize the use of funds spending first only on conditioning improvement and holding off design changes until later.

He said, 'The first need of the course is improved condition of fairways and putting greens. Without making a single change in the design of the holes the course stands today without peer in this country except for condition.'

But again, I feel Oakmont is the type of course and is at a point in stature where changes to the course although obviously comprehensive under the Fowneses should basically be capped at the point the Fownes's were no longer. Their efforts are unique, the course is too and treating it that way just seems the right thing to do. It appears to me from what they've done recently and what they've said about the reasons for it that the club feels the same way.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Ok, what's the skinny with the new tees at Oak
« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2003, 07:17:33 AM »
That's a fair point in time. whWhen the designer(s) push up flowers.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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