> Golf Course Architecture

Willie Park, Jr.

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Michael Moore:

That little green at Castine G.C. you put up the photo of is so cool! Talk about simple elegance of functional architecture. Just looking at that bifurcated green, as you call, it one can just sense all the interesting things that can happen to the golf ball. I love that green!

Great responses from everyone, for the most part proving my point, that Willie Park, Jr. is often overlooked for his early pioneering work, both in Great Britain and N. America.

Sunningdale and Huntercombe in the heathlands were two of the very first inland courses in the world to exhibit naturalness. Sure, Hutchinson was writing about it, Colt, Fowler, and Abercromby were lurking, but it was Park who first successfully adapted links principles and characteristics to inland sites. This should never be overlooked.

It seems, unfortunately, there are quite a few "short" courses that aren't necessarily "visually stimulating" throughout New England and Canada by Park that don't attract publicity because of scorecard yardage, and whatever else. Too bad really, 'cause I bet many of those Park courses are a lot more interesting to play than some of the modern behemoths built next door.

Hey Tyler, glad you're on my side  :) Perhaps you and I, Ian Andrew, and a few other like-minded individuals here in the Great White North will someday have opportunities to do something about the state of golf architecture in Canada.

As far as work on existing classics up here is concerned, I originally felt too, that modern golf architects were simply paying lip service to their predecessors, then "modernizing". But, as I've gotten a taste of golf course construction over the past 5 years, I've come to realize that implementing plans on the ground is very, very difficult.

I think the root of so much of the ill-conceived work on classic courses in Canada stems from poor direction, the resulting second rate construction work, and golf architects not supervising implementation of their plans in the field.

Perhaps I'm being too blunt here? Too bad  ;D

mark chalfant:

  I believe that Willie Park was responsible for some holes at

Glen Ridge,  NJ.   (20  miles  west of  NYC   )

  Happily,  Ron   Forse  will be probably doing some restoration work there   pretty   soon.

  I think  there may be  some neat greens at  Glen Ridge

There is no doubt in my mind that Willie Park is under appreciated. On the other hand I also wonder if he may over extended himself in N.America. Just here in Ohio there is a wide range in quality--Sylvania and Congress Lake excellent; Marion and Ashland a little shoddy. (Although I've always gotten the impression the quality of his work Canada was very high - I believe he had an office up there)

Some courses he designed and also built, others he just produced a plan...I suspect those courses can vary dramatically from very good to not so good.

Regarding Ocean City I get the impression it was something special. Prior to returning to the states in 1923 it was repeorted that Ocean City was going to be "the biggest sceme he had ever been asked to complete." Thats saying something.

In this same report it was also said he was the number one golf architect in America. I wonder how many history-minded GCA fans today knew that or would even agree with that?

Craig Disher:
Did Willie Park ever visit Royal Ashdown Forest? The green in Michael Moore's post looks like a slightly shrunken version of the first at RAF.


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