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Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« on: March 12, 2003, 09:43:55 PM »
There are many factors that contribute to "greatness"
Some of these might be the chosen site, it's topo and natural beauty(PB or Cypress come to mind) , an intelligent routing that employs a good variety of holes and shots, a liberal dose of tried and true strategies with well placed and meaningful hazards(TOC), puzzling greens, etc..
Augusta has been described as possessing many of these traits and some that I have surely missed. One that it surely has and which I have not yet mentioned is history, which leads me to ask these questions............

To what extent has the club's obvious place in golf history contributed to the label "great" vs. it's physical attributes?

From a rankings standpoint how far down, if at all, would it drop if Bobby Jones' only involvement was as a player consultant?  If we had never heard of the Masters?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2003, 07:13:45 AM »
I don't rave about too many places (Cypress and Pine Valley are of the few) but I've gone on record here as being very impressed with Augusta National having both walked and played it (albeit quite a few years ago).

If there were no Masters, clearly the course wouldn't have the reputation it has today because:

1) multiple major championships give immense focus and credibility to any course I can think of (Merion, Turnberry and TOC come to mind first);

2) the changes to the original MacKenzie/Jones design wouldn't, for the most part, have been considered necessary.

Given how jet travel has replaced the Augusta/Aiken area with Palm Beach et al as THE winter destination(s), it could be argued that Jones' legacy without The Masters might now be a struggling, obscure "hidden gem" - perhaps having evolved into an "eastern Pasatiempo". That would be my guess.

Was the original course the equal of Merion, Seminole, Pasatiempo, TCC, Oakmont, old Riviera, LACC, etc.??

Not sure about that but I do believe that 90+% of the changes that have been made over the years (esp. #'s 10,11,13,16,2,7 and 8) have been for the better.

Am interested in what "Lost Links" has to say - just got my copy.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »

Robert Kimball

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2003, 07:19:56 AM »
Interesting topic.  

For me, and I would guess the great majority of people, upon my first trip to the Masters, the immediate overwhelming feature is how well the golf course is manicured. Not a blade of grass out of place, bunkers so bright they hurt your eyes, etc. etc.  That factor alone, I think, skews many people's opinion of the course.  "Look at how well this course is kept, it looks like a carpet. This has to be one of the best courses ever."  And you can't beat the tradition of the place.  Think of all the famous moments that have occured over time.  

As far as the architecure, there is no doubt MacKenzie would recognize much of his work today (save the fairway bunker on 10, which none of the pros ever hit out of).  

Also, think about different things might have been today if a young Bob Jones hadn't gotten knocked out in the first round of the Amateur @ Pebble in '29 by Johnny Goodman.  He might never have had the time to explore Cypress Point, he might not have played with Hollins at Pasatiempo on opening day, and he might not have ever fallen in love with MacKenzie's work. Think of how different ANGC would have been had Tillie, Ross, or even CBM had designed it?

So, looking back through time, maybe Johhny Goodman is the one responsible for today's ANGC??  Sorry, don't mean to get too philosophical this early in the morning!!   ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2003, 07:37:04 AM »
Jim Kennedy,

It's difficult to hypothosize about what might have been, but,
the golf course that I played has substantial merit.

Without Jones and The Masters, its remoteness and exclusivity might have made it a hidden gem as suggested above, and thus it might fall below more high profile and accessable golf courses such as the ones you mention.

Many who would demote the course have never played it.
It's a great golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

GeoffreyC

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2003, 08:06:39 AM »
I don't know anyone who has gone to the Masters and not come away impressed with the golf course.  The property gives a feeling of enormousness that simply can't be captured by television.  Similarly, the green complexes, especially those that have not been altered very much over the years (mostly the front 9 and 14) are remarkable.  Given the property and what was built, I think it was a better "ground game" course then it is currrently as a "target" golf course.  The changes to holes like 11 and 13 greensites reflect this and they look artificial to a falult where previously they were natural extensions of the fairways.  While its not on my top 5 places to play, it is an outstanding golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2003, 08:08:40 AM »
Among traditionalists, perhaps ANGC is handicapped by its widespread exposure, its history as an architectural laboratory and its pristine condition.  

I would think its characteristics would be lauded by us boys in the treehouse.  To wit, extremely wide fairways, rolling topography, excellent routing and fascinating green complexes that are the true strength of the course.  For example, unless you've been there, one cannot fathom the severity of the back right pin placement on the 6th, or the touchy nature of the short approach to the 3rd.  

All hype aside, I suspect any one of us would be more than content to play this couse exclusively for the balance of our days, and not to just notch our belts once more.  It looks, well, FUN as well as strategic.  

Take away Jones' legacy (I apologize to all of Dixie for the blasphemy) and The Masters,  and you're left with a top ten golf course, pre-or-post transformation.

Regards,

Mike
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Craig_Dex

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2003, 09:04:50 AM »
I have heard numerous people tell me that when they got their long awaited invite to play ANGC, they had a pit in their stomach because they were afraid their incredibly high expectations could never be met.  BUT, every single person has told me that despite their expectations, ANGC exceeded them.

I have not seen Wexler's new book (love his first one), but I'm looking forward to seeing it.  I am willing to bet that all the changes that have taken place (especially the most recent ones), have taken alot of strategy out of play.

For example: The original tee for the 11th hole was where the current 18th tee box is.  The hole was much more of a dogleg right.  So, the more of a fade you played, the less you had to contend with the pond front and left.  Where the tee box is now, the pond hardly comes into play (only ones I recall are Floyd in '90, and Singh in '00).

I know most of the changes were for length purposes (bringing bunkers back into play), but I would like to see how the boys would do with the original bunkering (craggly edges, longer but sparse rough creeping over the edges) in place today.  Just to see if it would have any effect.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2003, 11:23:07 AM »
Geoffery -

I have never heard that no. 13 had a bump and run option. I believe that Rae's Creek always wrapped around the front of that green. Do your sources tell you something different?

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

GeoffreyC

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2003, 11:57:13 AM »
Bob- The current #13 green looks like it is on stilts with the deep and unnatural swales that the Nicklaus group put in creating more difficult recoveries but far fewer options then previously. Obviously the approach is and was always aerial but the recovery options around the green were changed. Similarly, the 11th green was raised up some two feet.  These changes more reflect an artificiality to the greensites then they doa change from ground game to aerial.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Bob_Huntley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2003, 12:16:20 PM »
I am a fan of ANGC. I have played it and walked it. I do believe if the average player, say a six to fifteen handicap, attempted to play the course under Master's conditions, the ninth and fourteenth holes would be nigh unputtable. Having said that I think that minus the 'Jones' aura it would  not rank in the top five.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2003, 12:29:42 PM »
When I walked the course at Augusta I was struck by the greensites. I had always read that birdies are hard to come by, but most golfers could play bogey golf there. I don't think most golfers could play bogey golf there, because most golfers don't have enough short game or putting skill to play bogey golf at Augusta. Although, it is said to be much easier when the Masters isn't being played because they bring the green speeds back down to reality. The feeling I got from seeing the greens at Augusta were the same I had when I saw Rustic Canyon, Lost Dunes, and Barona Creek the first time. Bring your short game or go home.

The conditioning and all that is impressive, almost to the point of making the place seem sterile, but once you have seen the greens of #'s 5, 6, and 14 up close you know that this is no slouch of a course.

I would say the thing that would lower the course in the rankings is the relative openess off the tee.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2003, 02:45:25 PM »
Mike Hendren:

ANGC in its original form as a Top 10 today??  We'll never know the answer but I really think that's a stretch.  How much better was it in 1932 than Pasatiempo or Crystal Downs?

Top 50 no problem but Top 10??
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2003, 02:51:22 PM »
Good point, chipoat.  We will indeed not know.  If it wasn't top ten material at inception - why have all the pundits decried its subsequent renovations?  Have they made the course - gasp - better? The boomerang green at the 9th looked pretty cool.  

Regards,

Mike
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Jim_Kennedy

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2003, 06:56:48 PM »
Pat,
I hope you know that I wasn't asking the questions as any kind of bash towards Augusta. I was seriously wondering just how good it is in relation to some of the other courses that reside in the rarified air of the top 10 or so in the world.
The question could be asked of any of them, how good are they without their histories and, by expanding the field, how would Augusta or any other top 10'er compare to some of the rest of the top 100 courses that have less history?  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Patrick_Mucci

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2003, 09:40:58 PM »
Jim Kennedy,

I think you asked a valid question.
Hypothetical, but interesting.

I think that the golf course and the architecture stand on their own merits, but that the history and TV exposure has enhanced ANGC's aura and lofty position, but so has Pebble Beach's, Pine Valley's, Winged Foot's, Oakmont's, Merion's and others benefited from their history and TV exposure.

Hosting Major's seems to produce enhanced results.

If you could isolate and seperate the golf courses from their history and their traditions, I think they would all be well regarded, with no major disruption with respect to their relativity to one another.

But, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ChipOat

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2003, 07:20:11 AM »
Mike Hendren:

While I wasn't around in 1932 and never saw ANGC prior to 1974, the changes I referred to above were all pre-Tiger amendments that, IMO, made it a better golf course.

More recent changes, like the "Ian Woosnam bunkers" on #18 seem pretty positive, too.

No Masters = Pasatiempo of the East.

Fortunately for golf, we'll never know.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Rick_Noyes

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2003, 08:10:28 AM »
Upon reading the replies above, I began to consider Pinehurst #2. Certainly just as remote as ANGC. Hosting Majors, albeit not every year. Both ANGC and #2 are usually ranked in the top 5 of just about everyone's list. Both were constructed as winter retreats. Both designed by revered architects. And both remodled by some not so revered. So, if #2 hosted a major every year would it be anymore elevated in stature?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2003, 05:47:26 PM »
Rick Noyes,

Pinehurst is not remotely as remote as ANGC.

Pinehurst was, and continues to be a major resort destination, open to the public, not a private club.

Pinehurst has a long history of hosting Championship events open to pros and amateurs, men and women.

The North-South Open, for years a big PRO event

The North-South Men's Amateur, for years one of the biggest, most prestigious amateurs in the country.

The North-South Women's Amateur, for years one of the biggest, most prestigious amateurs in the country.

The USGA Amateur

The USGA Senior Open

The USGA Open.

Pinehurst has a long and distinguished history of hosting a variety of Championships, and being a major destination resort for golfers, lawn bowlers, horsemen* etc., etc..

Some crazy northernors buy vacation homes to winter there.

Other crazy individuals, emigrate from Australia and settle there, full time.

You don't know the meaning of the word remote until you tell some golfers from the Philadelphia area that you're a friend of
TEPaul's  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2003, 05:53:08 PM »
History should account for 15% of a course's greatness...but only if it helps. I.E., a lack of history should not take away points from a course. Rustic Canyon, for example, should not be penalized for a lack of history.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Patrick_Mucci

Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2003, 06:04:15 PM »
Forrest,

I couldn't agree with you more.

I wrote letters to the magazines that used "tradition" or "history" as rating credits, explaining that new courses couldn't be on a rating parity with them for 30-50 years, and that was inherently biasing the methodology used to establish a course's rating, along with the eventual outcome.

When you compete in sports, your pedigree counts for naught,
it's your performance that determines the outcome, and that's the way it should be if one is SOLELY evaluating the architecture of a golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ANGC- Gem or just a jones for Jones?
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2003, 06:48:10 PM »
Patrick -- I sat in the upper deck of the Bank One Ballpark for the Seventh game of the 2001 World Series. The ballpark was absolutely first-rate. It was an incredible experience, both as a result of the architecture AND the history being played out. To say that the ballpark was less, or should be less, than, let's say, Wrigley Field, where admittedly more history had played out, would be shortsighted. At that moment, nothing could compare to the Diamonback's venue -- it was "All World".
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

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