News:

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


Tom MacWood (Guest)

Walter Irving Johnson
« on: February 28, 2003, 08:11:13 AM »
WI Johnson was Donald Rossís draftsman, from what I understand Ross would give him his rough sketches w/notes, Johnson would then convert these rough sketches into an overall plan for the entire golf course, individual hole plans (which included a cut away perspective) and individual green plans.  In my opinion he produced some of the most handsome architectural drawings of that era.

It appears Ross (or someone) would sometimes make changes from rough sketch to finished product--how did the process work? What became of these drawings?  Were some of these plans created for presentation to the clubs?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2003, 08:32:10 AM »
Just for the record Walter's middle name which he apparently used frequently was Erving. Golfclubatlas.com demands complete accuracy in all things architectural.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2003, 08:35:31 AM »
Tom MacW:

Some clubs do have Walter Erving Johnson's drawings and they are very good. Seaview G.C. appears to have a complete set of the individual holes in blueprint form hanging on the wall.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: Walter Magic Johnson
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2003, 08:36:32 AM »
My mistake.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Brad Klein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2003, 08:44:00 AM »
See my Ross biography, book, pp. 146-148, for a detailed account of Johnson and how his work transformed Ross' designs once he was brought on board in the fall of 1920. Johnson's engineering/drafting skills enhanced Ross' ability to work with topos and develop perspective drawings and detailed plans.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2003, 09:44:30 AM »
"It appears Ross (or someone) would sometimes make changes from rough sketch to finished product--how did the process work? What became of these drawings?  Were some of these plans created for presentation to the clubs? "

I visited Detroit GC with Jeff Mingay last spring.  We saw some Ross field notes.  I'm talking from memory, but they were napkin type sketches, or marks over copies of the original plan.  The notes said something like "lower green for vision" etc.  Obviously, he made a field visit, and saw problems with the original sketch.  He gave pretty practical  instructions when in the field.

To me, even his plans were very practical.  many reside in the Tufts archives, which I have viewed.  I saw a lot more "get fill from valley in front of green to raise the back of the green" type notes on them than I saw "create depth of field problems by creating swale in front of the green that hides a portion of the fairway."

All in all, an approach not much different than what I use, and what modern architects in general use.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2003, 11:19:55 AM »
For Athens CC, we have both the Ross field notes and most of the Johnson drawings, including Johnson's course routing.

Having pouring over them many times, it strikes me that Johnson smoothed over a lot of the funk in Ross's field sketches. The result is that many of the most interesting features in the Ross sketches disappear in Johnson's construction blueprints.

Johnson's detailed renderings of Ross's green sketches tended to round off sharp angles. Green  and bunker edges became rounder, more oblate, and less interesting than the Ross sketches. Greens that Ross set at angles in his notes were reset by Johnson to be more straight on. Some of these aren't minor differences.  

In short, Johnson seemed to "clean up" much of the funk in Ross's field notes. Maybe that's what Ross wanted. Maybe Johnson - a trained engineer - did it to facilitate the work of inexperienced construction crews. Dunno. But the bottom line is that Johnson's changes were to the detriment, I think, of Ross's design intent in several cases.

I don't know whether Ross oversaw Johnson's final renderings. Ross was very busy man and I would guess had little time to attend to the details in Johnson's blueprints and ink routings. Again, dunno.

But at least at Athens, Ross's field sketches draw a more interesting course than the one that emerges from Johnson's final drawings.

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

Slag_Bandoon

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2003, 11:33:25 AM »
 Walter Johnson... he was a great fastball pitcher for the Washington Senators.  He had the heat.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

ForkaB

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2003, 11:36:59 AM »
Slag

It's W. Erving Johnson that the Toms are talking of.  Better known to us peons as "Magic" or perhaps "Dr. J."
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

M.W. Burrows

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2003, 11:57:02 AM »
Walter Johnson designed a sporty little track in Rhode Island called Potowomut.  As you would guess it has a definite Ross feel to the course, particularly in the routing.  Unfortunately there was a bunker renovation project a few years back that turned out pretty poorly.  It is also extremely overplanted.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2003, 04:20:09 PM »
Brad
I read the book, it was what sparked my curiosity. You show a Ross rough sketch for the 7th at Holston Hills beside the finished drawing by Johnson. The hole went from a fairly straight foward par-5 to a split fairway par-5 with a unique risk-reward option off the tee. How did the process work: did Johnson sit down alone with the rough sketches & notes or was Ross (and others) involved in the fine tuning?

Bob
Did the club have both the field notes and the Johnson drawings or did you find some of them in the Tufts Archives?

Matt
Any idea when that course was built?
  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Irving Johnson
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2003, 05:37:33 PM »
Tom -

We got the Ross field sketches from the Tufts archives.

Everyone told us the construction "blueprints" (I learned only later that they were by Johnson) were lost. Then one day the son of the founder of the club said he had been rummaging through an old closet and he found the blueprints for most of the green complexes. (We are still missing construction drawings for the fairways, if they were ever done.)

To repeat, the course that Ross sketched and the course that Johnson drew in his blueprints were different courses in some material respects. Again, I don't know whether that was done with Ross's blessing or whether it was Johnson winging it.

Bottom line - Johnson was more than merely Ross's cipher. I have my doubts that the construction drawings that Johnson sent out under Ross's name were in every case drawings that Ross would have approved of. But I got no way to prove that other than a gut feeling.

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

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back