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Mark,Could one make a case that the number of site visits could be inversely proportionate to the talent of the architect ?
Hi Mark,Interesting subjective question, which I'm sure will evoke various different objective answers, from a range of respondants. I'm sure there's a minimum amount of time any architect would like to spend on site. As to how far in excess of this one goes, would vary wildly IMHO.It would have to vary with the eventual course quality, the type of site, and the size and skill of the team with whom the architect closely worked, as well as the philosophy and work ethic of the respective architect.I do know that the Doonbeg site was up front in Norman's mind, for a long time. He was talking about it years ago, and unreservedly said that it was the best site he'd worked on to date, and that it may in fact be the best site he'll ever get to work on. I believe he meant this, and didn't just pump up the site for marketing purposes. He said the above in a small personal gathering while at another course site in Australia.However long Norman spent at Doonbeg, the results speak for themselves, with the course being excellent, from all early indications ...I find it interesting that Norman is reported as visiting Doonbeg 27 times. I regularly play a Greg Norman Design (GND) course, and could confidently say that he was at the site on significantly fewer than 27 occasions. I do know however, that his design team, most noteably Bob Harrison, virtually lived on course, for a long, long time.No doubt, many GND courses bear small touches from Greg himself, while others may be primarily his own work. Consequently, this too must have a large bearing on how many occasions an architect finds himself on site. As many Aussies will attest, MacKenzie spent extremely short times on some courses, and the results in several instances are sensational. That's gonna throw a wrench in the works for this post...I'm very interested to see what others say. Good stuff Mark !Matthew
How many "arm waves" does it take to qualify as a site visit?Mark F., What are the other 4 to "watch"?
Mark:Could you list the top 15 or 20 courses for those of us who don't have access to the magazine? Thanks.
Mark Fine:I don't know if Greg Norman actually made 27 site visits to Doonbeg and, if so, how many were made prior to permitting approval. The property owner who provided most of the land shared with me his scrap book with many pictures of Greg and his family. Clearly, Norman was enthusiastic about the property and made enough visits to impress the Pender family.Based on four site visits, including one before any work was done, I still feel the site wasn't that great to begin with and that the Norman marketing folks have applied their fair share of hype.Actually, when I first walked the property, two things stood out: while I could imagine sites for tees and greens, there didn't seem to be many natural landing areas in the sand dunes. In that sense, the property seemed disadvantaged relative to Lahinch just up the road. Then, too, the flat land behind the sand dunes didn't offer attractive views.Beides the challenges inherent in the site itself, my sense is that Norman initially erred on the side of difficulty. I remember having conservations with personnel on site about certain shots suggesting that Greg Norman could play them, but I doubt the typical 18 handicapper could. During one visit, a local fellow from Limerick with a game about this level told me he would play the course......once. My impression, as I returned for subsequent inspections, was that the course risked being a brute that lacked charm, a course everyone would play once but not feel so anxious to return.I realize you didn't mean this thread to be a review of Doonbeg and really don't mean to do that. What I am saying is that while clearly Norman thought highly of the site, it reallywasn't that easy to work with and needed adjustments (a reality check) during the construction process. So, it could well be that Norman (or lead design associates) spent a far amount of time on site.