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Mark_Fine

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The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« on: January 02, 2003, 12:13:11 PM »
Of all the issues a golf architect has to deal with when routing and building a new golf course, the concern these days for golf course safety might be the most significant factor in limiting creativity.   :(  It might even outweigh the environmental restrictions associated with so many new designs.   Except on maybe some private courses, you can no longer attempt the design ideas of years past because of fear of litigation.  Safety forces routing changes that are often less than ideal and the planting of trees and mounding that many of us despise.  Unfortunately, I don't see an easy solution!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

redanman

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2003, 12:18:57 PM »
I tend to disagree.  It is hard to have more impact then environmental restrictions.  Safety concerns might eliminate the occasional hole for the occasional artiste, but the bulldozer rules on most sites.

Most people don't like more than the occasional blind shot which is most affected by safety.  Anyway, even the retro quirkmeisters like Tommy_N only want one or two blind shots.

Space  can take the place of trees and mounds if you don't want either of them.


Compared to what  the pre WWII guys could do, current projects are bound in chains locked in a box and submerged- metaphorically speaking as to wetlands.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Rick_Noyes

Re: The
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2003, 01:04:20 PM »
Mark,
Not sure if safety (litigation fears) outweigh environmental concerns but it is close.

A feature that I've always been attracted to is the green-tee complexs such as Pinehurst #2 and other courses designed before carts. I love how the green complex just blends into the tee complex for the next hole. In fact, at Pine Needles there is a hole (can't remember which) where a bunker is cut into the back tee, the bunker is right behind the green of the preceeding hole. Taking safety into consideration, I don't know how many out there would design that. But on the other hand, I've never heard of anyone being hit at Pine Needles or #2.

I've also read someplace that many architects no longer take the responsibility for routing cart paths for fear of litigation.
That being said, I have to ask, Who is more qualified to route them?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mark_Fine

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2003, 01:08:29 PM »
No doubt, environmental concerns play a major role.  But even on sites where environmental issues are minimal, safety factors are always present and impact the design.  I walked a site a few months back with the potential developer and safety was definitely on his mind especially because the land was relatively open.  If you read F. Richardson's book on routings, he seems to spend a lot of time on safety and its impact.  In fact, many parts of it were much too formulaic for me when it came to this aspect of design.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2003, 01:23:49 PM »
Mark/redanman;

Since you're both intimately familiar with Lehigh, let's assume for discussion purposes that it became a CCFAD tomorrow.

What would need to change in your mind for "safety" purposes??  

Frankly, I can't think of anything, but it was built in the 20s.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2003, 01:33:10 PM »
Safety/liability on golf courses is pretty interesting. I'm sure safety/liability issues on new construction can be a real pain in the ass though. But on the older courses it's interesting how the law looks at it generally. I've tracked about all the golf course liability cases the NCA has and the courts tend to look at the older courses as only needing to do the best they reasonably can which does not mean solving the problem in any total sense. The law actually recognizes that accidents can and will happen in and around golf courses and the key is that the course only do what they reasonably can to prevent negligence.

Take Merion, for instance. No one and no court would deny that danger exists to some extent on holes like #2, #14 & #15, but they only expect the club to do the best they can there which obviously they probably do. But no plaintiff should expect that those holes should be rerouting or anything like that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mark_Fine

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2003, 02:42:26 PM »
Mike,
The biggest problem Lehigh would face if it went public would be the number of blind shots.  With a member in every group, they are of little problem but put golfers out there that have not played the course or just don't care and there would be problems for sure.  Just take #6 as one example.  People would surely be hit standing in the fairway waiting to play their second shots.  

Sadly, the hole that Rick mentions at Pine Needles would not be built today on a course open to the public.  

Look at all the trees that they were forced to plant at The Architects Club because of safety.  They ruin several holes and will only make them worse as the trees grow larger.  Their added safety factor is minimal at best but they keep the lawyers at bay.  



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

TEPaul

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2003, 03:04:40 PM »
The USGA has relatively recently completely changed their policy and recommendation about trees and safety. They used to advocate that trees were safer than no trees but now they've completely changed their tune and advocate no trees are safer than trees simply because of better visibility by all.

I suppose, though, possibly the USGA may not have considered that plenty of golfers may have no idea what "FORE" means!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:01 PM by -1 »

Tom Doak

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2003, 03:11:06 PM »
TE:  If Merion were in Australia or England it would be a nine-hole course by now.  Yarra Yarra and Moortown are just two examples of courses which have had to be changed significantly because of boundary issues less severe than Merion's.  Most people have the impression that other countries are less litigious than the USA, but in these kind of suits it's because there's no debate:  if there's a safety problem, the golf course must be changed.

On the other hand, we have been able to design quite a few of those cozy green-and-tee complexes mentioned above, and no one has said boo about them to date.  Golfer safety hasn't been much of a hindrance there; trying not to trip over cart paths is what makes it tough.  There are a lot better ones at Stonewall and Pacific Dunes than the rest of our courses.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

W.H. Cosgrove

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2003, 03:12:42 PM »
Well meaning members at my home course planted an arbivitae hedge behind one of the greens twenty years ago. It has become quite large and resembles the green monster at Fenway. One member describes it as 'the drive in movie screen'. It blocks open views of several ornamental cherry trees and Mt Rainier.

We have made several unsuccesful attempts to remove this design and rules abomination. Some tree huggers have their reasons for fighting the removal. Others members have their own concerns about it's removal. We finally had the architect who did our most recent (1987) long range plan in to review some issues. He agreed that the hedge was bad but fell short of recommending it's removal. Why you ask?

The Championship tee (that is rarely used) is 12 yards from the back of the green. He felt that a buffer of at least 15 yards be needed for safety purposes.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:01 PM by -1 »

Doug Siebert

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Re: The
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2003, 03:13:21 PM »
How many of these examples like the one Rick refers to were designed that way originally, versus those resulting from later changes to lengthen the course to accomodate the equipment?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2003, 03:27:48 PM »
I agree with Redanman - nothing beats space between holes for safety!  Trees, shrubs, and fences are second best.

Here is where safety limits my routings are as follows:

1.  The Ross "fan shaped" routing.  I tried to post this description last year, but for an explanation, see Forrest Richardson's book.  Basically, we can't put clubhouses, or even hole clusters in corners anymore, because we take up more space.  Those tight corner clusters of tees and greens really help get change of directions in routings.  But, they put high intensity areas, where you might pick off four golfers (and up to four caddies!) with one shot, as opposed to randomly hitting just one golfer!

2.  Tree preservation.  I often find a tree about 200 feet from the property line, in the landing zone.  Then, I must decide, do I push the hole "below minimum" to the property, or take out the tree?

Knowing some court cases are decided with printed "Standards" of how close a hole should be to a property line, let's say 150 feet (or 175), I often opt to axe the tree.  Similar situations exist between parallel fairways.

3.  Lining up holes.  There is a preference for lining up holes for safety, which further straightens routings.  Furthermore, it helps if landing areas are "beyond" each other, so wayward shots fall well short of intense play zones.

I have found myself actually reducing my previous minimum distance between greens and tees, if the next tee is behind the green, for greater walkability.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Mike_Cirba

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2003, 03:30:28 PM »
Mark;

I really don't think those trees at The Architect's club needed to be planted for safety.

In fact, I think they were simply planted out of stupidity, frankly.  I can't imagine that either Whitten or Kay wanted them, either.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2003, 03:48:48 PM »
TomD:

I surely did not know that Australia and England were more litigious than the good old US of A. I thought we were the most litigious in the history of the universe. But maybe that's not exactly what you meant about Yarra Yarra and such. The only other country I've ever had anything to do with in a legal context was Holland and I swear we could get a whole case done here in the amount of time they spend taking coffee breaks!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2003, 04:01:16 PM »
Another memory from my days working in Singapore and Indonesia - At the opening construction meeting, there were architects, engineers, project managers, etc. and lawyers, who exchange lawsuits before the project even started!  They maintained an open ended lawsuit the way we sometimes maintain an open ended changer order.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

TEPaul

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2003, 04:18:53 PM »
Jeff Brauer:

Good post, as usual on routing. How about the semi-simple methos of "triangulating" holes off of each other sort of like a semi dogleg left going one way and sort of the same coming back at some point the other way against it? Or else sort of like the little three hole triangulated "sets" that Flynn did on some of on the front nine at Shinnecock?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2003, 05:17:53 PM »
I would not ever route three holes inside another dogleg, as the temptation to cut the corner is just too strong.

If I intrepret your message correctly, you are talking about three holes, when viewed from the air, resembling a propeller, no?  

The only problem with those would be that they would all be dogleg lefts (or rights)  Even that would be okay, if somehow they weren't consecutive holes.

Other reasons for fewer doglegs today beyond safety:

1. Housing Safety
2. Land constrictions - doglegs eat up too much land compared to straight holes.
3.  Land constrictions because you are routing in a housing development - see reasons 1 and 2 above.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

TEPaul

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2003, 05:53:08 PM »
Jeff;

When I was talking about two doglegs going in opposite directions with triangulation, no, they surely shouldn't be consecutive holes due to redundancy and lack of spread out variety. As for triangulated holes looking like a propeller, I guess I may be saying that if you look at the green and tee juxtapositions as being like the ends of a three prop propeller.

If you look at an aerial of Shinnecock you can see four distinct triangles, two in the flat land and two in the topographical area (obviously the triangulations in the topograhical area is for reasons of basic land unuseability!).

But the flat land triangulation of #4, #5, #6 are basically doglegs but with the outside of the doglegs creating the triangulation (not dangerous) and the other flat land triangle is #16, #17, #5.

But you certainly are right that this type of thing does use up more land and housing could not really be done in a routing like this because of it's green to tee tightness and so how would roads get into those triangles if used for housing.

All this type of discussion, though, probably shows a lot about the luxury some of the old architects had with land use for golf that didn't have to compete with housing.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mark_Fine

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2003, 07:57:27 PM »
Mike,
Whitten was not in favor of those trees but apparently had no choice.  They were planted for safety reasons believe it or not.  

Maybe a better question to pose here would be - Is it possible to design a golf hole today and not worry about safety?  I think it would be pretty hard to do so.  My gut feel is that many architects shy away from designing some pretty neat and "classic" golf holes/features for this primary reason.

Jeff, you are right, space is the best solution but you know as well as anyone that is not always possible (or available).  That need for space creates routing changes etc. that might not be ideal.  

Tom, if you got away with a few of those green/tee complexes that Rick mentioned, I presume they were mostly if not all on private courses.  If not, how did you do it?  

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

Forrest Richardson

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2003, 07:59:14 PM »
I say safety is a bigger threat than environmental. Why? Environmental tends to be satisfied up front and then, mostly, takes care of itself over the years with little risk. It also does not apply universally to all facilities. Safety, however, lasts for ages. Even at St. Andrews the courses have undergone change for safety's sake. The double greens as a prime example. They "lessened congestion". I doubt this was because the course was merely too crowded. The No. 1 of the Jubilee, for example, was even changed recently at the suggestion of a good friend who was conducting some consulting.

Safety applied to every nook and cranny of the course. Paths, slopes, trees, geomerty, etc.

« 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: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2003, 08:24:49 PM »
Forrest:

I apologize--I'm an East Coast guy and I don't get around much anymore. I haven't read your book yet (but I will) and I don't really know anything about you as an architect. But I just read your bio on C&W (obviously that was a while ago). I see a lot in there about Jack Snyder, obviously a mentor of yours.

Can you mention anything from him about Emil Loeffler, Oakmont or what Jack's feeling was about architecture generally.  I see also that Jack redesigned Oakmont's #8 (C&W). Any idea why that was? I love that green--talk about natural landform--the green looks like its flat on old natural grade--a very different and fantastic old fashioned long par 3 offering.

Love your posts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Forrest Richardson

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2003, 08:42:12 PM »
TEPaul -- I will ask Jack about Emil Loeffler. I've heard the name many times, but don't know all that much about Jack's relationship. Yes, Jack re-did No. 8 green. I believe in 1951 before the tournement. Jack's father caddied for W.C. Fownes as his primary caddy.

Jack's philosophy: Simple, fun and maintainable. His dad, as you may know (Arthur A. Snyder) was a greenkeeper and brought all three boys into golf. The Snyders are a great family of greenkeepers.

I'll ask Jack some questions on your behalf.
« 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: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2003, 08:53:08 PM »
Forrest:

I've got someone for you to get to know or talk to Jack about from Oakmont--it should be interesting--some early OJT knowledge about Oakmont's greenspeed.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2003, 09:56:16 PM »
Tom Paul;

Emil Loeffler designed the original nine holes at Bucknell GC in middle PA.  Most of those holes are really cool, and I think you'd like them a great deal.  The 2nd & 3rd holes, a par three and five, stand out as superb.  The newer nine by Edmund Ault is ok, but not as wild as the originals.

Interestingly, Ron Forse did a "restoration" at Bucknell about a decade ago, and it came out well.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

brad_miller

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Re: The "Safety" factor might be the worst!
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2003, 10:21:59 PM »
Tom Doak, what are the safety issues at Merion? The road off #2? the cross-over to #5? what else?, isn't this the best routed small piece of property in the world?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

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