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Ran Morrissett

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A second Golden Age?
« on: February 21, 2003, 07:13:42 PM »
How would we know if or when we're in one?

Ultimately, is history the only judge that matters or should we take heart if we feel like we're at the beginning of something special? Perhaps we can help generate further momentum for instance?

Just the handful of courses where play commenced last year that I saw (FH, Hidden Creek, and Rustic Canyon) makes me truly wonder. These are course of GREAT exception. Throw in PacDunes and The Kingsley Club from a couple of years back and well...it's an exciting time.

Not only courses play a role in this but the written word is crucial as well. I just received a special book from my favorite author entitled Lost Links and with such exceptional writing and with folks like the ones at Clock Tower and Paul Daley's publishing firm in Oz, clearly, the opportunity exists today for the educational level on golf course architecture to go on a big time upswing.

What say you?

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

ChipOat

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2003, 07:38:36 PM »
Ran:

As long as you include the work of Pete Dye in your "Second Golden Age", I believe history will prove you correct so long as enough of these great new courses and their designers get some significant tournament exposure - even if it's just a Walker Cup or the like.

C&C, Hanse, Dye et al need to have at least one of their courses get that kind of exposure and the word will spread in the mainstream media regarding their other creations.

Other than PV, NGLA and maybe CPC, most of our Golden Age favorites were "discovered" a while after their birth.  Without ANGC and the Masters, Pasatiempo and Crystal Downs might still be waiting for that "glory by association".

As to your original point, I believe you've correctly spotted a new era of design genius.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Patrick_Mucci

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2003, 07:41:23 PM »
Ran,

I don't know if the number of exceptionally designed courses is sufficient to elevate the period into a second "Golden Age"
category, and.... I don't know that the economic climate is suffiecient to sustain a second "Golden Age" of design.

A good number of those old, dead guys designed an awful lot of good golf courses over an extended period.

Can your second "golden Age" compete against the first one ?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RJ_Daley

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2003, 10:18:24 PM »
What is your definition in time span of the golden age, and where - with what golf course design did it start?  Can it be that the first early 20th century golden age flickered to a start, perhaps with NGLA or Chicago GC, and sort of took time to slowly kindl before it really burst fort after the golf world took notice?

I am willing to consider the current period as a golden age, and that it perhaps started with Sand Hills, and slowly is building a momentum and that it may not peak for some time to come.  We seem to be picking up steam with some very excellent projects in the last few years.  Yet, the GC development atmosphere isn't universally on the upswing.  Perhaps the buzz of a project like Sand Hills gets going slowly, and chat forums like this get the ball rolling with increasing momentum.  Certain golf conoscenti visonaries like Keiser, Bakst, Persinian, Robertson, Ramsey and others, or clubs with focused golf goals must keep coming forward for the age to continue its luster.

The problem then becomes, what kills a golden age?  The economy?  We may be seeing the crumbling of a golden age that could flicker out, if the ecomomy doesn't turn.  We could be in a mini-golden age whereby the situation is frail and at the mercies of economics in the near future.

Specifically Ran, I don't think it now takes a long view, historically to realise something special is going on.  Now that we have the more ubiquitous forum like this to discuss what is going on, and ease of travel to go see what has been done (access is the biggest obstacle to widespread recognition of some of the most noteworthy new masterpieces); I don't think we have to take that much of a test of time to declare we are in one.  How many connoisuers does it take to declare a golden age any ways, and what makes them so smart?  Well, books on the subject and on site study.  With the upswing of well researched golf books being put out, I think we have the knowledgeable voices who read them and go to the courses to study to declare the age, golden.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Steve L.

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2003, 10:30:06 PM »
We are in it...  

To me, the Golden Age is about craftsmanship - paying attention to the details.  It's not catering to the culture of mass-production...

Craftsmanship in golf design - especially given the temptation of economies of todays construction equipment & technology - is tremendously high.  Many of todays courses I think will stand the test of time as equals to many of the best golden age courses.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Slag Bandoon

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2003, 10:38:43 PM »
With education comes heightened awareness and appreciation.  More attention to the art in golf courses creates higher standards and contempt for status quo production run courses.  I think the scrutiny of this forum, with designing peers, players, pundits, columnists and even lurkers helps the cause.

  Spring is in the air and the daffodils are bloomin'.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RJ_Daley

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2003, 10:43:45 PM »
Norb, I could have said that as consisely as you, if I weren't half liquored up. :P
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Carlyle Rood

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Welcome to the ....
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2003, 11:13:40 PM »
Welcome to the PLATINUM AGE! ;D (That feels like an original thought; but, I'm confident someone has probably used that before. Apologies to the original author.)

I think I recall Alister Mackenzie and others had forecasted that they expected superior courses in the "future." They cited improved and emerging technologies and education.

I think the opportunity certainly exists.

I suppose there are a greater number of mediocre courses in current times, too. I wonder whether we're producing a greater percentage of poor courses.

It's difficult to estimate because many of the poor courses of the Golden Age did not survive. And believe me, there were quite a few. (A lot of outstanding courses didn't survive, either.)

I think the more interesting question is whether we covet Golden Age courses because of their original design, or whether we enjoy the product they evolved into?

I love looking at photos of Mackenzie's bunker work at Cypress Point, for example. But, fundamentally, I have no foundation to judge the merits of their playability because I've never executed a shot from one of them. Would I even have the proper, authentic equipment or technique to try? I cerntainly wouldn't be able to evaluate them if I played from them today.

I want a time machine.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2003, 03:19:02 AM »
A Great Topic, and if I agree, it means I have to agree with Fazio..........Yikes!:)

Anyway.

I do think we are in some sort of "important'" time for golf architecture, and it could teter both ways.

On one side you have the commericial guys who are mass producing golf courses so fast that their signature professionals don't even know where the first tee is at. In this, you have a very "popular" course designer that spends excessive amounts of money to "create" what he feels is the perfect, most picturesque environment which to play the game. You have others that seem to only want to design stuff that looks, well, "phoney" and out of place, and anything but classic. They do this stuff because they say they are fulfilling client needs, yet, for some reason can't put a single ounce of strategy in their designs, in the fairways, and utilize it for framing, containment and buffer zones. They also specify to course construction contractors what and how they want these features done-ultimately it all starts ending up to be the same as when everyone was trying to copy Robert Trent Jones during his heydays. Impressive.

But then on the other hand, you have the astute and perservering modern-day classicist/architect. They are the ones that are trying to build the stuff with influence from these GREAT old courses that the former MASTERS built, but they are doing it with modern day equimpment, and doing it in less then 1/8 of the time. Yet, they still are getting the same results of these former Masters. Why then is Sand Hills, Pacific Dunes, Rustic Canyon, Kingsley Club and so many others, getting this recognition from people like us? We aren't trying to honor these guys for the back-breaking work they are doing daily, are we?

I could only hope so!

If not, then how come they are willing to leave their homes in America, some of them uprooting their families to go with them, to prove their point?

I think the answer is simply, they have all the desire in the world to work the best sites, and produce the best golf. They don't do it from the confines of an office or workstation, drawing-up plans so that the contractor can understand them. They know that the course has to be designed out in the field, because there are going to be things there that are going to work on paper that don't, and things that don't work on paper that do. It's all about fine-tuning and refinement, and they are building these courses in the low single-digit millions and not couple of ten millions.

But they are paying a price.

There is very little commercial success in the mainstream public. Because there are names that aren't recognizable. ASk the average golfer who Bill Coore is, or Tom Doak, or even Ron Forse. They simply DON'T know and have little desire to learn.

This above all things is what makes Fazio, Nicklaus, Rees and others so successful. They are maximizing their viability, but ultimately it is taken from the coffers of true artistic endeavor and ability.

-Lets see Jack get on a sand pro and get that green complex exactly as he is pointing and telling everyone how he wants it to be.

-Lets see Rees stop shaking some hands and get out there and use the talent he has as a player with the experience he learned from his Father, and create natural-looking hazards, without contrived and mass produced orb-like mounds.

-Lets see Tom Fazio build a course totally MINIMAL and STRATEGIC, and affordable.

If they could accoomplish this, then we as players and critics could celebrate a new Golden Age.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Sweeney

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2003, 05:17:07 AM »
I think it is difficult to create a second Golden Age on a wide scale due to land contraints. First the number of quality golf affordable pieces of land near population centers becomes less and less every year. There are exceptions obviously such as Friar's Head, but even that may not be affordable today as the price of land around The Talmidge Family farm has skyrocketed to $55,000 per acre on The North Fork in the last few years.

Second the land that you can acquire now has environmental restrictions that turn the architect into more of an engineer and less of an artist as they juggle all the issues that are thrown to them by developers, environmentalist and local zoning authorities. Just this week, Kelly Moran presented us with a very very early draft of a routing that we will show to the town board in the near future. One of the features that we have on our property is a very small quarry. Originally we talked about having a Par 3 down into the quarry ala Merion #17. Unfortunately there is not enough room, so Kelly had a Par 4 run up to the top of the quarry with the green running right to the edge of the quarry using the quarry as a hazard. Even on a sketch, my partner was worried that this would scare the town board due to liability constraints :'( My guess is that our friends from the golden age never worried about these issues.

That said, I do hope/predict that modern architecture and restorations will go back to a Golden Age philosophy. Look at Island's End Golf Club (below), an existing public course that is on similar terrain fronting Long Island Sound (no dunes) as Friar's Head. It is about 15-20 minutes further east on The North Fork. I would love to see them do a upgrade and create some Friar's Head like features.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

TEPaul

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2003, 07:30:49 AM »
I don't think this is a second Golden Age. There definitely is some really impressive architecture getting done right now, some architecture that's definitely utilizing much of the best of the early 20th century Golden Age principles, look etc, maybe as impressive or more so than the best of the Golden Age itself.

But the world of golf has changed too much to find real similarities to what's happening now compared to what happened back then in the sense of being a similar "Age".

What they did back then was in a time when golf architecture was trying to figure out how best comprehensive architecture could meld into the game itself in any kind of modern, saleable or generally acceptable sense.

They were just past that cusp when golf was branching out of a small culture that understood and accepted the sport so well, for what it both used to be and always was (Scotland and somewhat Ireland) to the rest of the world who had to be taught not just the game itself but its sort of underlying ethos or spirit of it.  

If you really want to get the full impact of how different this was to today just imagine for a moment that some of the earliest golf courses in America (even in the end of the 1890s) were actually PERECEDING the availability of golf equipment itself!! Think about that and what all that means compared to today!

And another way to appreciate the vast differences between then and today just read very very carefully C.B Macdonald's book. It's all there if you look for it and not only how different it all was compared to today but also how much one man had to do with its transportation and its transition! If you do read that book carefully you'll see not just the early evolution of the architecture (he was so dedicated to influencing) but also his sense of almost resigned sadness that he would never be able to bring along the necessary "ethos" of the game from its deep and longterm roots!

But that almost total incipiency in golf and architecture in America and around the rest of the world gave many of those original Golden Agers the ability to create golf architecture (and maybe mold the game itself) in a way that they thought best with little inherent resistance from that small group that played it and the enormous pool of golfers that were going to learn it!

But today, what we think of as possibly the second Golden Age is saddled by tremendous preconceptions by millions of golfers about what golf (and its architecture) should be--completly different than back then!

That right there creates tremendous resistance to certain types and forms of architecture and the way the game is played.

What we're seeing today with the C&Cs, Doaks, Hanses, DeViries, and the others doing architecture like them is a renaissance, a cycling back to the best of a former age. It's basically a reexploration to some basic principles and to a look and playability.

That's all great stuff really and given the validity of what was accomplished in the first Golden Age it was probably inevitable.

But will this renaissance create the paradigm and the ideal for golf architecture in a general sense that the first Golden Age apparently did to go forward with?

I don't think so and I'm afraid not.

What it might do at the very most is create an interesting bifurcation in all of golf architecture (and maybe golf too) that hopefully will co-exist into the future with the way golf has clearly become.

There will always be vast differences in golf architecture from here on out, the spectrum will always be great, much greater than in the original Golden Age, in my opinion.

I just hope this renaissance will continue from where it's come in the last 15-20 years and continue to hold its own, and maybe increase its percentage of the entire pie. And I do hope those great courses that the first Golden Age gave us will become better understood, restored and preserved. I think they will and I think if they are it will only inspire the new construction to follow many of their principles a little bit more.

But the direction that the Modern Age took golf architecture will never go away--it'll alway be there and it will continue to get done much like it has been.

An effective renaissance to the first Golden Age even if a piece of the pie, even a small piece, really isn't bad at all to contemplate. And I think that's the best it will ever do.

Just too much has happened from the late teens and 1920s to today that departed from the first Golden Age to ever bring back another Golden Age like it comprehensively.

But the real thing to consider was the dream of those Golden Agers as to where golf and golf architecture might have gone after they were gone.

If you ask me, what they were dreaming about may have been unrealistic in too many ways--and so it might remain just a dream although some of these companies today should keep looking at the outside edges or probably more realistically the inside edges of that dream and see if they can make some of them a reality even if in small ways.

That would truly be amazing and then might create a second Golden Age someday, somehow!

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

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2003, 08:22:06 AM »
Hard to judge a period that is still on going. The first great period ran from the turn of the century to the depression, or WWII, and was literally the first period of golf architecture.

Many factors contributed: plenty of land, good economics, and most important architects who were focused on maximizing the use of interesting natural features, who created man-made features that enhanced the natural and who were influenced by the fun and strategies found on the old links. It was fairly universal at that time, some were obviously better than others, but they all were basically on the same page. Its little different now, many are still more influenced by RTJ methods. If I had to say the current crop are more a continuation of that earlier period, a revival.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

paul cowley

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2003, 08:40:53 AM »
...i also don't feel we are in a second golden age , but a period in which some of us are designing courses by combining 'neo' traditional or golden age elements with whatever else that works...a potentially exciting 'fusian' period .....
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
paul cowley...golf course architect/asgca

Matthew Mollica

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2003, 08:56:45 AM »

Quote

...Other than PV, NGLA and maybe CPC, most of our Golden Age favorites were "discovered" a while after their birth.


This is an interesting point. Obviously, it's sometimes hard to realise when you're in the middle of something great. Ran's original question raises this point.

Choose for example, almost any form of creative human endeavor, be it literature, architecture, painting, composing, philosophy, course design, or any other you care to name.

The best proponents seem to become anointed long after they have shuffled off the planet. Often times, their works gain deserving recognition, many years after they have been completed.

MacKenzie is a great example. So too are many impressionist painters. Continued critical analysis, and the thoughts of more than one generation almost seem manditory to award an individual, or a period, with grand titles.

Could the current period of golf course design qualify as a second golden age ? One can probably only definitively say in retrospect. If father time is not to be the sole judge, he occupies a seat on the jury at the very least...

Matthew
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

Slag_Bandoon

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2003, 10:47:05 AM »

Quote
Norb, I could have said that as consisely as you, if I weren't half liquored up. :P

 Dick, my secret is to always stay half sober.  

I had to be concise, you said everything I wanted to say, only eloquently.

 Chipoat, I'm not sure about putting Pete Dye into the G.Age of design but he was definitely a mentor and catalyst for those that are bringing design into artistic domain.  IMH(and unqualified)O

  Mike Sweeney, Nice remark... "going back to The Golden Age Philosophy."

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

Forrest Richardson

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2003, 12:49:11 PM »
Ran -- I believe we ARE in a new age, whether "golden" is another matter, and one of terminology. Perhaps the "Age of Transformation", as you we see my reasoning...

The age we are in began with the proliferation of courses being built -- many of which GCA contributors here despise and make fun of. But think for a moment of this aspect:

All those courses will remain, but a few. Once a golf course is set into the landscape it becomes part of the community, ecosystem and open space. Rarely do we see courses removed as it is a sticky zoning issue and local residents simply want their "free" open space that is afforded via the great game and business of golf. Although we hear of a few exceptions, golf courses are difficult spaces to get rid of.

So, what does this mean? It means the canvases that will be painted by golf architects in the coming century will largely be existing courses that get transformed, significantly remodeled and changed into something better. It will be the Darwin effect: Good courses will remain (mostly) and bad ones will be gobbled up and turned into new and better golf venues (mostly).

Several factors will drive this: (1) increasing land costs, (2) inability to secure new sites, (3) increased efficiency in operations and pace-of-play which will eliminate our need for significant quantities of new courses, (4) environmental and water restrictions which will curtail new development in many areas, (5) it is a better business model (usually) to transform than to create from scratch, and (6) it is significantly less costly, or can be so.

Exceptions to the above are new residential communities and some emerging markets (South America, China, etc.) But even new residential communities may take the ancient approach: Instead of building a course, simply arrange a social club program with an existing course that is nearby. Almost the same effect, less the green expanse beyond one's backyard. A driving force of this trend will be people who do not want to live in mega-communities with one or two 18-hole courses, but rather, smaller communities that are well designed and pleasant. A social club approach offers flexibility -- as the population of a community grows older, members can drop out. At many residential communities this is less likely as one can lose part of the property rights, i.e., having a membership.

The age we are in is right between the great building boom of the 1960s through the 1990s -- and the beginning of the great age of transformation, when we will see many of the 20,000 courses in North America that have never been mentioned by any member of this discussion group changed into precious layouts that will have a chance of being the subject of our admiration. Or, at least the admiration of good folks like Tommy N., who I believe regularly speaks of only five architects and about 23 courses!
« 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: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2003, 02:18:53 PM »
".....and the beginning of the great age of transformation, when we will see many of the 20,000 courses in North America that have never been mentioned by any member of this discussion group changed into precious layouts that will have a chance of being the subject of our admiration. Or, at least the admiration of good folks like Tommy N., who I believe regularly speaks of only five architects and about 23 courses!"

Forrest:

There are some unlikely scenarios for the future of golf architecture but that one is the unlikliest of all.

It very well maybe TommyN's dream that this could happen to his (our) particular type of favoured architecture, the good classic/strategic but it ain't gonna happen in a million years. The understanding and appreciation for this kind of thing will never be there amongst general memberhips of that amount of courses even if the money was somehow.

And if the money was there somehow this entire idea plays into Pat Mucci's delusion that if a club just tells any architect what to do he'll be able to do the same things as another architect who has some true sensitivity and understanding for this kind of architecture someone like TommyN admires.

That kind of thing will never happen although if it did somehow it would definitely be great for the game.

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

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2003, 02:26:54 PM »
Well, I disagree with your "unlikely" comment. Fact is, transformation, remodeling, rerouting, rennovation, restoration, and rebuilding are where the future of golf design lies. This is not say that new courses will not be built, they will. But the activity where the most results in golf architecture will be seen will be in the categories I describe. And if the most activity will be in these catgories, then, so too, will the best work. If you think the best work is 5% of the total, 10%, or 2% -- doesn't matter -- it's still a percentage of the bulk of activity.

Of course, it will be 50-75 years before we know this for sure. I'll print a copy of this and put it in a safe place for my young daughter.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

TEPaul

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2003, 02:39:49 PM »
"Well, I disagree with your "unlikely" comment. Fact is, transformation, remodeling, rerouting, rennovation, restoration, and rebuilding are where the future of golf design lies."

Forrest:

I wouldn't disagree with that at all. What I would disagree with is that you say many of those transformations of app 20,000 courses will be transformed into the type of architecture that will be admired by golfers like this group. "Many" is just the wrong word to use I think. Unless by many you mean something in the neighorhood of less than 5% of those transformations. To me that alone would be stupendous. But somehow by "many" you seem to imply a much larger percentage than that--maybe ten times that percentage perhaps--or something like 50% of those transformations, perhaps even higher.

I just can't see that happening in this new age you speak of, or ever.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Sweeney

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2003, 05:32:54 AM »

Quote
...i also don't feel we are in a second golden age , but a period in which some of us are designing courses by combining 'neo' traditional or golden age elements with whatever else that works...a potentially exciting 'fusian' period .....

Paul,

To use a babeball anaolgy, I can see modern courses ending up like Camden Yards the baseball stadium in Baltimore. You end up with the modern amenities of many bathrooms, big screen TV's which the public wants, but they get in in a setting that is viewed as historic, classical, traditional ..... even though it is only a few years old. Obviously in baseball the fusian type of Ballpark has taken off and no stadium is being built these days without a "Golden Age" styling.

Tom & Forrest,

I think the middle ground between the two of you is resort/public golf. I think Tom is thinking mainly about private type of clubs in the Northeast, where there is a established membership. Typically those type of entities don't do anything too drastic, and why pay more money to upgrade a course that 90% of the membership is happy with ? I think where it could be interesting is in areas such as Orlando and Myrtle Beach where there is a ton of competition for players. Will we see a 1970's era course in MB dig itself under and then create "Friar's Tuck Golf Club" aka MB's answer to Friar's Head ?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

A_Clay_Man

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2003, 07:10:29 AM »
Economic conditions seem to push the buttons for most of the courses that have been built post WWII. Those courses which weren't motivated by the bottomline, seem to have a higher degree of sophistication and that should translate into long-term success, albeit slower.

Since, the short to medium term outlook is not favorable for a return to the 'full tee sheet' or more aptly put, increases in total revenues, will probably not increase marginally.
So,

Courses built for the art, for the love of the game, will/should become a higher percentage of the total courses built.

 ergo,

the outlook is good for sophisticates and dilatantes. ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2003, 07:57:50 AM »
I looked up "many" in my upcoming book, "ON COURSE -- A DICTIONARY OF GOLF COURSE TERMS". It means 3,992.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Tom Doak

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2003, 10:04:43 AM »
Frankly, I have worried for years that Forrest is right -- a large percentage of future work is going to be tearing up older courses and changing them.  (I'm grateful that we are still getting calls about good raw land!)

In fact many "Golden Age" courses are remodels.  It wasn't until writing the MacKenzie book that I realized how much of his work was to some degree "remodeling" -- Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria, Royal Adelaide, Lahinch, Titirangi, and at least half of his surviving work in the U.K.  Even Crystal Downs was a "remodel" of sorts, although there was only a rudimentary nine holes he started with.  San Francisco Golf Club is a Tillinghast remodel -- the 1915 date you see is the original design, but A.W. did all his stuff in 1920!

However, I am not so optimistic as Forrest as to the success rate of future renovations.  Many of the golf courses built in the last twenty years have destroyed all the natural features of the property with a D-8.  Transforming them from that state will be expensive ... just like a house, not much less so than building a course from scratch.

Part of the Golden Age was the sharing of ideas, which doesn't happen much these days ... even here.  As for the rest, it will only happen one course at a time.  Instead of talking about it, it's time to go out and do it.

P.S. to Mike Sweeney:  As some here know, you have to use baseball analogies very carefully when I'm around.  I'd say that Camden Yards relates more to the "CCFAD" trend than to a golden age of design.  It gives the fans what they want -- home runs, clear sightlines, and lots of food options -- but it doesn't give the pitcher ways to outsmart the hitters, as many of the old parks did.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Paul Turner

Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2003, 11:24:36 AM »
I don't see this as a second golden age.  To me, for an age to be golden, there has to be an large, or dominant, number of excellent works at that time.  It doesn't feel like that now.

Before any golden age (in art...) isn't there usually a period of reavaluation, of going back to first principles?  I see the end of the C19th and 1900-1910 as this period, with the first principles being nature+ the links.  And then the first Golden Age developed from this in the 1920s, 30s.

Perhaps we're in that reavaluation period now?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A second Golden Age?
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2003, 12:17:47 PM »
Tom D -- Yes, many of the courses built in the last 20 years have destroyed much of the natural character -- but (1) not all courses built have done this, in fact, many were built with great regard for natural features -- whether the design approach of these courses is to our liking is another matter; and (2) many courses now have features (created when the original course was built) which can now be used, much the same way a reclamation project might be approached.

For example, mounding and earthmoving, albeit unnatural; large mature trees; and lakes and ponds. I am not suggesting these elements and features are necessarily in perfect state, position or relationship to the site -- but they can be used with creativity to transform existing courses into something, perhaps, better and more to our liking relative to what a golf course should be when well-thought-out.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
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