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Jonathan Cummings

  • Karma: +0/-0
Iím about to get my wish
« on: February 18, 2003, 03:36:24 PM »
Hereís a scary thought, Iím about to get my wish.  A good friend of mine is building a new private course in the mountains overlooking Coeur díAlene Lake in north Idaho.  The property is perfect Ė a mix of meadows, creeks, natural ponds and stands of lodgepole pines all perched on a 500-acre bluff with stunning views of the lake several hundred feet below and the surrounding Cabinet Mountains.  The nearest visible ďhousesĒ will be in the form of several barns on distant neighboring ranches.  

My friend has survived 4 years of legal and environmental battles, countless routing plans by Hurdzan and Fry and my non-stop yammerings in his ear.  Equipment has been moved to the site and he will break ground next month.

While I consider myself a student of golf course architecture and an armchair course critic, am involved in course ratings and have played extensively, I have exactly zero experience in the field.  I have never participated in any aspect of planning, building or working a golf course.  That hasnít stopped me.  Many times, I have walked the Coeur díAlene property with Mike (my friend) insisting that he must do some specific ďvitalĒ thing and boohooing most everything Hurdzan and Fry have suggested.   I have done site visits at other courses with other friends and have spent time with Bruce Hepner (Renaissance Golf) as a rep of an owner at a perspective project.  But there is not a speck of dirt under my fingernails.  I have longed to change that and sometime in my life have something to do with building a golf course.

I was just given a chance.  Mike told me to reserve my spring weekends for dozer work.  He plans on giving me a quick course on operating a D7 and turn me loose carving out a hole.  In addition, he expects me to participate enough in the construction of a green complex to say that I have had a hand in it.  After several years with Mike, traveling with him, countless dinners, many rounds of golf, ever boasting of my architectural knowledge, bragging about the books Iíve read, dismissing the design suggestions of others and threatening that he canít have a great course unless he does this that and the other; and with him suddenly opening his project to me, the damnedest thing has happened Ė Iím terrified!   While Iím sure Dana will bite his tongue and endure my ďplaying in the sandboxĒ and will quickly redo and correct what Iíve done after Iím gone, all of a sudden I care more about not driving the dozer into the lake rather than finally getting a chance to make a golfing statement.

This has given me pause, and a fresh appreciation on the difference between those that do and those that critique.  Regarding Mikeís project, I now have a new goal this spring.  I will try not to do too much damage to his site.  I will also use this very generous opportunity to learn all I can about the construction of a golf course, hoping afterwards to be a better evaluator and more appreciative of what goes into making a quality layout Ė from the field side rather than the armchair side.

No responses are necessary; I just thought I would share this with others at GCA probably not too unlike me.

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

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2003, 03:52:27 PM »
Good luck - sounds like fun & an unreal opportunity.

Please keep us updated on your adventure.

Be prepared for lots of second guessing. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2003, 05:27:54 PM »
Jonathan:

I really don't want this to come off sounding wrong at all because I really like to play the courses of Hurzdan & Fry. I think they have some fun and well thoughtout holes, holes that have some different, interesting and fun strategies to them, nice greens, interesting orientations etc, etc, just a lot of good stuff. I like the way they sometimes get hazard features eating into lines of play well and even hazard feature in the middle of the fairway areas!

But the thing about Hurzdan and Fry is it seems to me they shape the bejeeesus out of their sites when they might not necessarily have to do so.

I mean a very good course like Fieldstone you're not two car lengths into the driveway and you can't help but be visually clobbered by the fact that H&F like to use huge dozers bigtime. That course is pretty as could be to look at (clearly lots of intended shadow effect) but I've said I felt like they might have airdropped the wrong plan onto a Delaware landscape. Entire holes hugely shaped from tee to green, hole midbodies all rearranged when one really wonders if the natural contours didn't give them enough interesting to work with.

So as good as Michael and Dana can be with the courses they do, and definitely wanting you to have fun in the big sandbox on your D-7 do you think maybe you could encourage them to look really closely at the natural ground, the natural slopes and natural contours and try to use it for golf instead of rearranging everything which seems to be a H& F signature?

They're good architects--get them to go easy on the shaping and here's really hoping you all hit a homerun on what sounds like a great site.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jonathan Cummings

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2003, 06:10:34 PM »
Thomas,

I'll suggest the 'less is more approach' to M&D.  Maybe they will be so enamored by the pastoral views that they decide that a picnic area is better for the site than a golf course....

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

RJ_Daley

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Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2003, 06:13:28 PM »
Jonathan, I hope you have a wonderful experience.  But like Tom Paul, I have some thoughts about the process and what meaningful GCA experience you may get.  I am thinking of Jeff Mingay and his really doing serious field work with Rod Whitmann in Canada at Wolf Creek.  Or, Geoff Shackeford at Rustic Canyon.  It seems to me that the real fun isn't just getting to operate the equipment and moving dirt according to someone else's design and prescribed direction.  One could do some road grading and follow the superintendent and foreman's grading plan and get the thrill of operating the big blade.  If it were me, I'd get a heck of a lot more out of actually designing the hole, devising the engineering and construction approach and ending up with something that is sound in construction and has some good playing quality.  A good and experienced dozer operator should be able to interpret the design goals if properly communicated.  And, that communication could come from you, even if you are right there out front of the machine, waving your arms rather than operating the beast.  From the terrain description, it sounds like the project will be one that takes much engineering talent and construction know-how plus golf design imagination, which I think H&F can provide.  

Who knows, if Hurdzan follows the prescription of Dr. MacKenzie, of whom he is a great fan, in how to go about building an interesting green, he may see this as something like Mac's suggestion of asking the village idiot to go out there and grade out a nice and flat green? ;D

PLEASE, don't take that as anything more than a joke!  I couldn't resist - having attended Dr Hurdzan's lecture on green construction and golf course construction techniques.  I wish you the best of luck and an enjoyable experience.
« 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.

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2003, 06:22:24 PM »
"I'll suggest the 'less is more approach' to M&D.  Maybe they will be so enamored by the pastoral views that they decide that a picnic area is better for the site than a golf course...."

Jonathan:

That's not a bad idea at all. Becoming enamored with the natural setting would be very cool! Why don't you suggest they just go real light on shaping that natural setting and act like they're building a picnic area that looks a bit like a golf course to them and they might just hit a homerun with a great natural landform golf course!

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

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2003, 06:30:33 PM »
I looked up "boohooing" just to make sure I was correct. Why would you boohoo when you have "0" experience and Dr. Hurdzan has, perhaps, a wee bit more? I am curious. And, by the way, I'm not taking any sides, I'm just curious as to your disposition and what is going on in your mindset.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
ó Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2003, 06:39:52 PM »
Jonathan:

Actually, since George Pazin mentioned Geoff Shackelford and his latest experience at Rustic Canyon I will too.

In my opinion, Shackelford is one of the best for identifying all kinds of natural features in the use of design in golf holes. Very large natural forms, natural "lines" in backdrops, all the way to some tiny dimenson features to basically work off of. It certainly didn't hurt that he spent so much time on site preconstruction at Rustic discovering and analyzing ways to use these kind of things in the design of the holes.

Then construction started and just like you're about to do Geoff learned how to use some of the machinery. After construction I told him that the two of used to be the same because picking up on using natural features was the only way we knew how to look at sites. And I told him that with his new found understanding of the possiblities of all this machinery he could be in danger of losing that natural instinct to pick up on all the natural features of a site for golf and hole design.

I thought I was being funny but Geoff didn't laugh! The guy definitely understands the differences and distinctions!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2003, 07:49:46 PM »
Forrest:

I'll tell you exactly why Jonathan with zero experience might have "boohooed" to his friend many of the suggestions of Hurzdan and Fry as the two of them spent a lot of time walking the raw site.

Jonathan, just like the majority of us armchair architects out here in Internet land at our computers participating on Golfclubatlas, said he had and has no practical experience on site. But that definitely does not stop any of us from having all kinds of ideas on concepts and such to do with architecture.

We're probably like little kids who see endless possibilities with architecture simply because we don't really know any better due to lack of practical onsite construction experience. †

Frankly, I view that as a really good thing and something that a bunch of architects should take note of more often and filter some of it through their experienced practical †experience. If they did it might give them some fresh ideas to take some chances with.

I already mentioned on this thread about Geoff Shackelford at Rustic preconstruction and some of his ideas having spent so much time trying to identify useful natural site interest for golf and design.

I spent a couple of days out there on site with him before anything was done. The first day the two of us with no practical onsite construction experience just walked around talking over the refining the possiblities of the routed and semi designed holes (independently by Shackelford and Hanse BTW).

The following day Jim Wagner, a guy with plenty of practical onsite experience from Hanse and Co. joined us as we went over a few of their nuancy hole ideas.

It was a really great day I think. Here are two guys with no practical construction experience and lots of free floating ideas from our experiences in golf and architecture in other ways with a guy who understands exactly the practical possiblities and practical limitations of getting things into the dirt, apparently having a great time saying; "Can do, no can do, or even, interesting let's figure out how we could do that."

To me, I can't see how it can get any better than that. It may even be one of the reasons that some of the initially raw amateur architects such as Crump and Hugh Wilson were able to translate some new, raw, unique and untrained and untried ideas into some real possibilities in design.

It's a great combination and collaboration I think, because as experienced as you guys might be we're the players, the real observers of finished products, the true user critics, so to speak. Sometimes I wonder and even fear that some really good architects get a bit too wrapped up in practicalities, formulaics and such and need to open their minds more to other raw ideas.

Of course, any of us must defer to you all in things like construction practicalities, experience, things such as potential liabilities and basic architectural common sense. But I think some of you all should listen to some of our conceptual ideas and run them through that sort of collaborative "can do, no can do, or that's interesting lets see how we can develop that novel idea" process like Jim Wagner did at Rustic.

I've been out on the sites of some of today's architects who might be termed the onsite creative side of the art or golf architecture today and there's a lot of differences of opinon, complaining, bitching and moaning and basic freedom of expression--and frankly the entire atmosphere is wonderful--it's creative and it seems to create natural freedom of artistic expression. Obviously eventually it will all filter through practical experience of the ones who have that.

But a couple of years ago I was talking to a young potential talent on the crew of one of the famous high production architects who said the stultifying atmosphere of the by the book and by the computer planned designs of that company was getting to him because there was almost zero freedom of expression.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with all this. There's no question at all how limited and inexperienced most of us are with practical onsite (and otherwise) construction experience but nevertheless you guys who have it should listen to some of our conceptual ideas sometimes, maybe more often.

You never know when you'll all run across some of those--"that's interesting, let's see if we can develop that unusual thought" type ideas that actually do get into the dirt and turn out great.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:02 PM by -1 »

W.H. Cosgrove

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2003, 07:55:56 PM »
Jonathon,
I'll drive over with my shovel and boots to help.  I wouldn't want to miss those early lessons on a D-7!  Have you considered starting on something a little less imposing?  Is I-90 really safe from your shaping?

Good luck and I'll see you when the dirt starts flying!
Cos
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2003, 08:11:33 PM »
TEPaul --

Your points are well taken, I mean no disrespect about listening to iedas. I learned very well that ideas are hard to kill, so why bother. But I've also learned that wisdom is nothing to boohoo. Jonathan's "boohooing" might better be identified as "sharing ideas" -- but that, perhaps, is the point: he does not tell us he is merely sharing ideas and giving his thoughts. No. He uses the word "boohooing".

You say:

"...we're the players" makes it sound like I am not. In fact, I've played the game since I was eight and still play on everyday courses with everyday people. So, "we're the players", but please, I am part of the "we're" -- OK?

and

"You never know when you'll all run across some of those--'that's interesting, let's see if we can develop that unusual thought' type ideas that actually do get into the dirt and turn out great." -- To this I rest my case: Mike Hurdzan has been listening to these comments for years and is probably more adept at embracing them than most anyone I know. But why would someone "boohoo" what Hurdan and Friends have in mind?

You and I were not there with Jonathan, so it is totally unfair to get too wrapped up in this particular project. I believe firmly that ideas can come from anywhere. But I also believe that there needs to be a "king" to lead a design project, whether it is an interior, a software program or a golf course.




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
ó Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2003, 08:51:15 PM »
Forrest:

Clearly, from our point of view--us armchair architects--it's tough to know where we stand in the entire world of architecture in the minds of the professional architects--and even on a discussion group like this one.

Often, I feel, and probably many of us do who aren't in the business that it's sort of an "us and them" attitude on the part of professional architects. I view that as bad for us and bad for you all in the business too and not real great for golf generally.

When I say "we, the players, are the real critics" I really do mean that. But maybe I should more accurately say; "We the consumers." You all in the business certainly are players too and I don't mean to say you aren't. But critics of your own work and the work of others you definitely are not. Not even close, in my opinion. You very well may be privately to each other and such but publicly or even on here definitely not. Why? I have no real idea but if I were to guess I'd say it has to be the influence of the ASGCA and maybe even it's bylaws if not just the professional courtesy of today's professional world.

The only architects I've ever seen offer constructive criticism on other architects or anything to do with their work is Tom Doak (not a member) and Kelly Moran (don't know whether he is). Of course there are some like Brian Phillips in Europe who's in the business who does offer criticism.

So I think you can appreciate just what I mean when I say we're the critics. It would be truly benefical to all if you all in the business were or were more willing to be critics but the fact is the vast majority of you just aren't.

As for Jonathan and his word "boohooing", that's just one man--I'm talking about something far more general.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2003, 08:53:02 PM »
"But I also believe that there needs to be a "king" to lead a design project" FR

Forrest, I agree fully that there need be a "king"...but how can the "king" listen and filter ideas when he isn't there during construction, and unforeseen opportunities are passed by as construction progresses...opportunities to improve the original scheme?  Aren't those unusual ideas, improvements more apt to surface during construction?

Jonathan:  Sounds like you haven't operated a dozer before.  Start learning now...with every spare minute you've got. It'll take a while for you to get the hang of it.  It's not quite as easy as it looks...I had a couple of excellent operators help me, a lot of desire, decent hand-eye coordination and it took me a while.  

Beware of small humps...as you just may end up with your face flat against the windshield...it's a curse experienced operators working quickly have nail them on the rarest of occasions...one guy on the last project with 20 years experience cracked the windshield...he was embarassed as hell...good thing he was OK and we could all laugh about his hard head!  Good luck.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2003, 09:17:15 PM »
TEPaul -- Points well taken. Although I would disagree that just because Speilberg doesn't publically critic others movies it makes him less a judge of others work. Did you ever consider his "comments" might be reflected in what he produces? I don't think membership in any particular organziation makes you less apt to judge. If it makes you even a somewhat better person, then it is worthwhile. Judge me by where I stand -- by where I sit. OK?

Jonathan -- "Aren't those unusual ideas, improvements more apt to surface during construction?" Absolutely not! This is proof that you believe the magic of a golf course comes in the short span of building. Bahh. Can it? Sure. And the magic better come in the short span of construction if all the many, many phases of a project are left off paper, left to later, and left to others. But a true, well conceived course, is one which happens all the way -- and NO -- most of it is not done during construction.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
ó Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Neal_Meagher

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Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2003, 11:28:35 PM »
Forrest, Forrest, Forrest....

I've got to go with the esteemed Mr. Tom Paul on this one.  I once thought that only experienced architects such as the aforementioned Dr. Hurdzan were never to be boohooed.  I still mostly do, as I respect him and many others in the brotherhood of those who make a living at this infernal quest of designing courses.

However....................through this very site I came upon a certain Armenian scribe who brings a wisdom that can only come about by being a player and student.  NOT that architects are not those things.  The limiting factor with professional golf architects is that they (me) have always had to contemplate so many other factors simultaneously.  This is, whether you want to consider it fact or not, a limiting factor in the pursuit of pure and honest design of the game.  It is possible to get so caught up in the why, why not, and why for of it all that the absolute SPIRIT of it all disappears.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disparaging here, just pointing out a differing point of view.  I'm currently consulting with said Armenian scribe on a couple of renovations right now and I am astonished at how much better the end results are by listening to his 150 ideas, many of which do not work, but by incorporating the 10 that do.  All of which is meant to say that we don't have all the answers, and never ever will.

Tom Paul is referring to those players who are happily divorced from thinking about the mundane little details of things such as drainage, soil characteristics and the like.  Sometimes you just got to play to the big picture.

Bottom line, no designer should, as my southern Baptist grandma said, get too big for their britches.  We all have much to learn from each other.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
The purpose of art is to delight us; certain men and women (no smarter than you or I) whose art can delight us have been given dispensation from going out and fetching water and carrying wood. It's no more elaborate than that. - David Mamet

www.nealmeaghergolf.com

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2003, 02:54:43 AM »
Neal -- Just 150? Writers usually have more than that to suggest!

Again, I'm more interested in the mindset of an "armchair" architect and what he or she is thinking. I think it's great to have opinions on projects -- ideas and nuances can come from a variety of sources, to be sure. Jonathan probably has some terrific input, and he may well add to the project in ways we can never imagine.

I agree that we all have a lot to learn from each other. If I was betting here is how I would place my bet, from what little I know:

Jonathan: Will share 2% in value; will learn 70% in value -- I "lose" the residual 28% in my calculation because he goes into the project boohooing. If he follows your advice: that we can all learn something from one another, then he may give more and, in return, he will ultimately learn more.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
ó Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2003, 04:48:47 AM »
Great post Neal--you too Forrest. This is a pretty interesting discussion--very good for us armchair architects to hear on here. Maybe it's even interesting for you professionals to hear too. Obviously you all think there are many on here--the non-professionals, who think they could do what you do right now.

Don't get me wrong--I'm definitely not suggesting we armchair architects should be under any illusions we can step away from Golfclubatlas.com and go out and build a golf course. Not even remotely close! You can't imagine how acutely aware I am of that.

I've always used the adage (told to me by a very good architect) to always know what you don't know. The more I study architecture the more I realize how much I don't know. But interestingly, using that adage, I can't believe how much I've learned but really mostly in a single area--that which I'd call "concept".

But whenever you get together with professionals and talk over the "concept" side (and much more edifying to do it on the sites) the practical education of what I don't know and what they do comes real quickly. Unfortunately for me I go home and the next day I can't even remember all the practical stuff they told me the day before.

But I think it's a good combination anyway as it does seem to flow both ways.

Gil Hanse is the one I know the best in the business, he lives real close to me and he's been doing our restoration, has been there overseeing and working the machinery a lot and Rodney Hine was there about everyday monitoring everything else particularly all the smaller detail stuff--bunkers particularly. What an education in construction and practicality it is to hang around those two during the day out there and they're willing to talk about it all in detail.

Gil was saying just other day it's amazing to him how some people, particularly those on here who although they have some interesting ideas, and even ideas that he might occasionally pick up on and use do not understand at all the world of practicality and construction understanding it takes to do this stuff.

I couldn't agree with that more. In a way it seems a bit like that rather common Walter Mitty thought of pretty good amateur players who are turning 50 who think for some odd reason they can go out on the Senior PGA Tour and compete with Hale Irwin. I ask them why they think they can compete with him now if they couldn't come close when they were both 25.

But even with that I'll give you a few examples at another time of how collaborating--some of us with some of the professionals does produce ideas and results that probably wouldn't happen otherwise.

Out there in the field with semi novices and the professional I really do like that sort of filtering through of ideas I saw from a professional listening to a couple of semi novices of "can do, no can do, and that interesting, let's see how we can develop that idea."

It's really only the areas of the "concept" side of architecture I'm talking about here. In some ways it might not be that different from the interesting and amazing little story about Edwin Land and his very young son decades ago. (Since some of us, like Land's little boy, aren't that aware of what we don't know!).

Land was taking a photograph of his little son and his son said; "Daddy, I want the picture right now".

And Land started thinking--maybe I could do that somehow. And from that the instamatic polaroid camera was born.

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

A_Clay_Man

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2003, 06:59:56 AM »
I know it would be in my nature to ask alot of questions. Extrapolating into the future, you're out there and the plan is to create some of the over-shaping that is being described above. WHat do you do? You can clearly see that that plan has no justification and that will be some convaluted mounding or whatever.
Do you go and ask why? And when the answer comes and it makes sense you'll probably just scratch your head and realize how much you're learning.
But, when the answer comes and it does not compute, what will you do?

Sound like it will be fun and educational, just remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. Good luck

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

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2003, 07:31:30 AM »
Can't help but jump in before going to work this morning.

Perhaps the word "boohooing" was a poor choice by Jonathan.  It implies he goes into the project with a completely different design philosophy than H and F, which could be a problem in the design team butting heads.  (See Fazio and G. Shackelford at Riviera)

Another possible poor word choice is "arguing for certain vitals."  Of course, I can't be sure what these are, but I have had both Tour pros and interested amateur architects argue for certain vitals, and they typically get so focused, they lose sight of the bigger picture.  

Poor wording aside, its hard to say an architect should always or never listen to outside input!  I never know who will present design ideas that might be useful.  Sometimes, they come unintentionally, as in the child of Mr. Land innocently talking about something.   Good design is really free form association, taking old elements and putting them together in new ways to fit a site.  

So, it can't hurt to listen.  But the truth is in the middle, usually.  The ratio Neal mentions of 10 ideas out of 150 is probably about right in my experience!

What many don't realize is that most offices don't do the volume of work that the top 3 do.  So, the designer probably has 100 concepts he wants to try out, and is only given an opportunity to design 36 holes per year.  As a result, he hates giving up even just one green, etc. to outside influences, and different ideas.  Basically, most are just as excited about the opportunity to design something as Jonathan as a "first timer."

At least, they should be!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom Doak

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2003, 12:17:02 PM »
I can't help jumping in here, either, since Tom Paul invited us professionals to tell the armchair architects where they stand!

Basically, it depends on whether the amateur knows his place.

Everyone has ideas ... and sometimes great ideas come from the least likely of sources.  But for me to consider ideas from outside, there are two conditions:

1.  They have to be practical, in terms of drainage and construction and also in terms of not messing with other holes which we're set on, and

2.  The ideas have to fit in with my general scheme for the course and the rest of what we're building.

If someone has a good idea to contribute and I can make it fit, that's great.  It quickly turns to "grating" when, if I feel it doesn't fit in, they decide that my general scheme is wrong and I should change it, too!

It sounds like Jonathan doesn't agree much with the general style of Hurdzan & Fry, so asserting his ideas into their design could spell trouble.

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

Slag Bandoon

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2003, 12:50:04 PM »

Quote
...sometime in my life have something to do with building a golf course.  I was just given a chance. †
  ...turn me loose carving out a hole. †In addition, (Mike) expects me to participate enough in the construction of a green complex to say that I have had a hand in it. †

Sounds like a great opportunity Jonathan.  Reminds me of the Dooks Links story where the members got to redesign the greens and the fervor it created amongst them (dirt stealing!).

I remember also Jeff Mingay's postings of sleeping in a tent living out his dream of working on a golf course and how it made me wish I could do something like that.  

  Just remember the 5 P's : Proper Preperation Prevents Poor Performance.   Relax and Think Results.

Are you going to take pictures and make a journal?  

  From all us dreamers out here, we're rootin' for ya.  

In the words of the late, great Oscar Wallace, (Grand Master in Bridge, cook, author and humanist, party host extraordinaire)...    

   "Let the mind soar."




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

Jonathan Cummings

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2003, 01:51:57 PM »
Cos Ė How about a new interstate across the north Ė I100!  Iíll get right on it.

Forrest, I think you are misreading my message.  What I wanted to convey extends way beyond golf - we sometimes get so wrapped up in the arguments that we lose sight of what it takes to execute what we argue.  The ďboohooingĒ was more of a light poke at myself and of the probable limited value of my suggestions to H&F.

Jonathan -- "Aren't those unusual ideas, improvements more apt to surface during construction?" Absolutely not! This is proof that you believe the magic of a golf course comes in the short span of building. Bahh. Can it? SureÖ

Forrest Ė you are quoting sometime Tony R. said and then concluding what I meant by it.  Itís a little odd to cite proof of someoneís belief based on an opinion of another.

Tom D Ė I believe that Mike and H&F properly categorize my ideas/suggestions.  You and I have played golf together on your courses and have exchanged correspondences over the years.   I think you also have a pretty good sense of where Iím coming from.  I would never attempt to force my ideas on anyone but Iím also not going to be afraid to speak my mind even when the suggestions are a little wacky.  I once wrote you, Jim and Bruce a long thank you note after the Apache Stronghold Renaissance Cup.  It the note, I critiqued all 18 holes taking issue with a couple of them but broadly praising the course (it is a wonderful golf course Ė even with the conditioning problems).  I prefaced my critique by saying it was provided mostly for your amusement and that I would be mortified if you actually made course changes based on my suggestions.  I donít think your courses past or future have or ever will be affected by what I think.

As for the H&F Coeur díAlene project I doubt anyone needs to worry.  The course will be built to their design, overseen by them and credited to them.  Iíll get my day in the sun and will learn and appreciate a little more about golf courses.  

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

Forrest Richardson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2003, 03:21:26 PM »
Jonathan -- "Yes" to your second question. I misread Tony's comment as yours, so please accept my apologies. It pleases me a great deal to not agree with Tony once again as I am led to believe it really bothers him. I did once agree with Tony, but that was when he was a little boy and it had to do with a song by the Monkees.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
ó Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
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Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2003, 08:09:24 PM »
Hey, hey weíre the MonkeesÖthe people say we monkey around but weíre too busyÖ (Forrest...I think this is where we parted ways...or?)
It was so long ago, I'd forgotten.

"Aren't those unusual ideas, improvements more apt to surface during construction?" Absolutely not! This is proof that you believe the magic of a golf course comes in the short span of building." FR

Forrest:  Plans get you to a certain point, get you an accurate forecast of work to be accomplished, but how many guys have drawn perfect plans for the 150+ acre canvas comprising a golf course and then had them executed to perfection by the contractor when left alone for days, weeks and months?  

How many see everything when confined to the four walls of the office during planning?  How much is missed during construction which could be bettered..aesthetically and strategically by not being intimately involved?  Planning IS important, but leaving the constructor alone with plans is a good way to miss out on a lot of opportunity...and if plans are the God...why not just hand them off to the builder and walk away?  

A lot of architects have noted the above...old dead guys and contemporary architects.  It's not too far a stretch to note that filtering and communicating ideas by someone with authority to make decisions during construction will help improve the product.  Nobody is perfect.  Can you tell me every green you've sited and drawn has been accomplished according to plan?  Aren't such deviations better (and more cost effectively) made by someone with intimate knowledge of the site...made before, not after the features have been built according to plan?  

If infrequent site-visits are OK, isn't much more involvement better...total involvement best?  And if this is so, doesn't this speak for the "magic" which happens during construction?  The great and valuable impact of monitoring and communication?


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

TEPaul

Re: Iím about to get my wish
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2003, 09:32:19 PM »
Maybe they were all joking but some of the architects I know have said that in retrospect some of the best stuff they came up with basically sort of happened by accident messing around in the field. That and some of what they're proudest of is how well they overcame those inevitable 4-5 problem or architectural obstacle areas out in the field too. I could be wrong but none of that seems like "plans" to me. And all those who said this put in an unusual amount of site time on their projects.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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