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TEPaul

The mystery course
« on: November 22, 2002, 05:32:06 AM »
I was just looking at a very high aerial of Shinnecock at the time it was under construction by Flynn. On that aerial you can clearly see all of the course that preceded Flynn's--MacDonald & Raynor's Shinnecock!

MacDonald & Raynor's Shinnecock seems to be a bit of a mystery course! It apparently only lasted about fifteen years (as it too was preceded by an even earlier course).

It also appears that for a time Shinnecock used a combination of approximately twelve Flynn holes with six of MacDonald & Raynor's holes (and as we know some of the parts or whole holes of present Shinnecock were holes Flynn reused!).

Apparently C.B. MacDonald's relationship with Shinnecock was a somewhat odd and occasionally rocky one although he was a long time member of Shinnecock.

But the interesting thing to see in the aerial to me is the unique style MacDonald & Raynor's holes and particuarly the bunkering. Just about where Rte 27 is now was one enormous Biarritz, for instance! It looks to have a green maybe 80+ yds long with the long coffin bunkers on either side all the way and very much a big center swale in the middle of it!

There was apparently nothing inherently wrong with MacDonald & Raynor's Shinnecock, just that the planned Rte 27 was going to take land from Shinneock and probably about half the holes of MacDonald/Raynor's course.

But the MacD/Raynor Shinnecock still seem to be a mystery course to me! Shinnecock in its history books has never said much about it. They seem to mention much more the course that preceded MacD/Raynor's Shinnecock!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2002, 05:46:10 AM »
Tom;

Daniel Wexler's "Missing Links" book has a pretty thorough description of the course, as well as a drawing of the layout.

Except for a few holes, it looks as though they were sort of tied to the original back and forth design and it truly doesn't look particularly inspiring.  

My sense is that the highway expansion opened up a whole range of possibilities at Shinnecock, which Flynn took great advantage of.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2002, 05:53:38 AM »
One of the more interesting things about the present course vs the MacDonald/Raynor course is Shinnecock did not own a good deal of the property that present Shinnecock is on at the time of the MacDonald/Raynor course.

The considerations of what to buy and the piecing together of the land parcels is interesting (all analyzed and routed by Flynn for interest) and is certainly responsible for almost all of the more interesting topographical areas of the present Shinnecock!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Gene Greco

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The mystery course
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2002, 07:42:14 AM »
TE:
  Can you post this aerial? It would be timely as Mr. Cirba and I will be making our way to Shinny shortly.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"...I don't believe it is impossible to build a modern course as good as Pine Valley.  To me, Sand Hills is just as good as Pine Valley..."    TOM DOAK  November 6th, 2010

Craig Disher

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The mystery course
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2002, 10:10:46 AM »
TE,
Is this the aerial you have? It's from 1938 - postdating Flynn's work. Raynor's Biarritz green is clearly visible and it looks like holes 3, 4, 5 and 6 (the Biarritz) are still playable.

I have a larger view but out of consideration to those who still use dial-ups (me, for one), I didn't post it.


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

Mike_Cirba

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2002, 10:39:58 AM »
Craig;

That's the aerial I was looking at last night in Geoffrey Shackelford's book.  I've seen the BIG one that Tom Paul was looking at, and it's pretty impressive.

Thanks for posting it!!  

Not only are some of the original holes still available on the left, including the Biarritz, but one can see the great "clustering" bunkers that Flynn originally built on 5, 6, & 8 that have been considerably reduced over time.  

I was also looking at some old "ground level" pics from Dr. Quirin's book, "America's Linksland", and the tees shots looked fabulous on those holes.  #6 in particular created quite the quandary as to the best way to play it, and it appeared that a really agressive play that tried to carry the bunker cluster on the right and succeeded would have been greatly rewarded.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

SPDB

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The mystery course
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2002, 12:09:06 PM »
It's interesting that the back nine and front nines seem to be a case in contrasts. I had no idea that the front nine used to feature that many bunkers. Not that the course suffers at all
from their absence, IMO, but, as Mike notes, there must have been some interesting choices. The 6th seems to have had a much more pronouned "channel hole" strategy.

The back nine, however, appears to have changed little, if at all.

It's interesting, because I've always thought SH didn't deviate too greatly from Flynn's "style" in terms of bunkering. But that front nine, with its vast bunker fields, doesn't remind me of
anything else of flynn's that I have seen.

Am I wrong?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

wsmorrison

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2002, 01:27:42 PM »
SPDB,

I think we can shatter the myth that Flynn bunkers can be easily compartmentalized in terms of style or usage.  This is particularly true on flat or featureless ground where he needed to create complexity and direction.  Flynn built bunkers of the type that have been altered at Shinnecock Hills at Atlantic City CC, Boca Raton original courses (North and particularly South), Brinton Lake (now Concord CC thought to have been a Ross course), and others both completed and not (for example the wonderful Opa Locka Company course in Florida that was seemingly never built).

Flynn's so called "style" varied dramatically in various facets of golf course design.  He was all over the place and very daring in concepts other than his well regarded routings.  I think a section on different styles of Flynn bunkers will be most interesting.  If I could get Craig Disher to train me on posting photos here, I'd like to do a "who designed this bunker" kind of demonstration--I bet many would be fooled.  I also hope to post original hole drawings for people to consider--those built, those built and changed over time, and in some cases more interestingly those that were never built.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2002, 01:30:19 PM »
CDisher:

The aerial I'm looking at is from around 1930 as Flynn's Shinnecock is being built. The aerial belongs to Shinnecock and I sent the negatives back to them. I've never seen it before, not in any book anyway. No Rte #27 appears in this aerial. In it, holes #1, (2),3,7,8,9 are MacDonald/Raynor's holes unchanged. Flynn had obviously not started to work on them. At that time the course played in some kind of composite routing using Flynn's new holes and some of the old MacD/Raynor holes unchanged.

SPDB:

The vast amounts of sand on the front nine (#5, 6, 8 ) was done that way for a reason. Flynn concluded that that low-lying part of the property did not possess that much natural interest and so he used far more sand areas than on the present far more topographical back nine holes where he felt the far more interesting natural aspects in that area didn't need supplementing with as much bunkering or sand areas.

Those vast stretches of sand are quite interesting actually (in their construction), as they appear to have evolved slowly into bunkering (if they can really be called that in the earlier photos). It appears vast stretches of sand were originally just uncovered! Flynn sometimes identified areas like this on holes and called in his "construction instructons" for "undulationing"! We believe that might have been an influence from PVGC!

Today a good deal of that sandy wasty area has grown back into rough grass but the club may be interested in returning those areas to sandy wasty areas again. The effect from the tees would be far more dramatic (as it once was)!

I suppose though, that possibly like Cypress on opening a club might need to be a bit careful with such enormous sandy wasty areas as it's possible, I guess, that the sand might start to blow!  

It seems to me that much of the original sandy wasty areas of Cypress have grown back into rough grass. I don't know whether such a thing would need to be maintained somehow to keep and preserve that original look or if Flynn ever even planned on them preserving it the way it appears in this early aerial. Apparently not, as the sand areas on #5, for instance, looks much more like a combination sandy wasty area/traditional bunkering in later on ground photos.

It's even occuring to Wayne and I that certain areas and types of basic bunkering areas that Flynn planned occasionally might have been a situation where he expected the bunkering to "evolve" over time instead of building it to the finished product during the actual construction phase.

In a way that's the way some of the bunkering at Merion seems to have evolved. Was that purposeful? Not sure but it's beginning to look like it might have been.

One other thing that might lead us to assume this is William Flynn was known to be extremely interested in all kinds of grasses and varieties and liked to experiment with them!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:11 PM by -1 »

SPDB

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The mystery course
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2002, 02:24:34 PM »
Tom/Wayne -

I know nothing of the evolution of the SH bunkers, only their current state, so this is all interesting. However, it seems as though 5, 6, 8 in Craig's aerial are formalized bunkers in a way (8, for certain). Compare the waste area that you can see on NGLA 10 in Craig's photo.

I was trying to make the observation that I find it interesting how the way these bunker fields (or waste areas) have evolved in shape and frequency to resemble a style that I see as uniquely Flynn. The amazing part about it, is Flynn had nothing to do with it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2002, 03:28:47 PM »
SPDB:

What do you mean Flynn had nothing to do with it?

The bunker scheme on #8 is fairly well documented by what we have although it happens to be one of the few instances of the creation of Flynn's Shinnecock that departs slightly from Flynn's last "iteration" on his plans (we of course aren't sure if we have his last "iteration").

But what we have called for app. 8-9 formalized bunkers in that scheme on #8 although clearly about 15+ were build there.

And of course the bunker schemes on the same final "iterations" we have also call for formalized bunkering on most of the larger bunker sections of #5 and also #6 (except on the right side).

But it just so happens that the aerials we also have (most importantly the progressive nature of them from 1930, 1938 and some obviously later on-ground photos of #5, for instance) show that bunkering evolving over time to finally get to be the way he called for it on his plans.

You can imagine then how that may have worked. Flynn very well may have explained to the club how to evolve them to the way he wanted them over time. Or he might have kept coming back to make sure of that. I wouldn't necessarily assume something like that if it didn't appear to have happened that way in some of his other projects!

So that might have been just an interesting modus operandi  Flynn developed.

There're are a lot of interesting things coming to light about the way he designed and operated. But the common thread seems to be he was remarkably comprehensive about what he did.

There's no doubt that Shinnecock was built almost completely to Flynn's plans! Comparing hole by hole his plan drawings to the finished product shows that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

George Bahto

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2002, 07:59:55 AM »
In my book I detail the entire SH/Raynor Macdonald story, their course and what was there earlier. There is an accompanying drawing of the 1916-1931 CB/SR course as well.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2002, 10:32:33 PM »

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

FORTSONATOR

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2002, 12:44:26 AM »
It appears that if my eyes aren't deceiving me that the "old" Shinnecock was much more bunkered than the "present" Shinnecock.  One hole looks like the Sahara.

Jeff F.

P.S.  Take a look at how much Shinnecock has changed through redesign and time and then focus on the two holes at the top of the pictures which are #9 & #10 at NGLA and you will notice that there is virtually no change over all those years.

P.S. #2  If you look at the "old" Shinnecock picture you will notice that the present day 8th hole has about 15 bunkers that it appears you used to have to carry off the tee.  If someone could shed some light on that it would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:11 PM by -1 »

Tom Doak

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2002, 06:24:35 AM »
TE:  That massive Biarritz green is still there.  The club thought about restoring it as part of its "family" course a few years ago, but alas, it's too close to the highway to play it at 200 yards.

The history of Shinnecock's expansion is really interesting.  At one time there were 36 holes (several of them to the south of highway 27).  Once the highway started getting busy they had to abandon some of those, and settled into the Macdonald routing.  But as the road got even busier, the club was unsure about spending the money (right after the Crash) to hire Flynn to do the present 18, so the club president at the time bought the land for the tenth through thirteenth holes himself, and paid Flynn to build them!  The quality of those holes convinced the membership to buy off on the rest.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: The mystery course
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2002, 06:37:12 AM »
JeffF:

As far as I can tell Flynn's Shinnecock has not been redesigned and if so very minimally. I'm referring to the club's very detailed records of changes since original construction (Flynn's) and only a few bunker alterations have been made and tee length was added at various holes, in 1976 for the Walker Cup, and in 1985 and 1994 for US Opens.

What you see as a big difference in bunkering on holes #5 and #6 with what looks like the Sahara was the original sandy waste areas (that do not appear to be formalized bunkering on the original arieal but are in the later aerial).

The intersting thing is the bukering on #5 in Flynn's plans does show formalized bunkering, although on #6 his plans shows formalized bunkering in the middle but sandy waste areas along most of the right side (now evolved into rough grass and some scrub trees).

#8 is a curious one though. On Flynn's late 1920s plans the bunker scheme on #8 calls for the same bunker scheme you see in the later photo (about 6-8 bunkers) but for some reason the far more numerous bunker scheme (you see on the 1938 aerial of maybe 15-16 bunkers) was originally built.

But the apparent reduction of sand areas from one aerial to the other is really nothing more than sandy waste areas growing into rough grass again.

From both those aerials until a few years ago a good deal of scruby trees were allowing to grown in around the course but most all of them have been removed again or probably will be!

Only two architects have come in to consult Shinnecock since the course was completed. Dick Wilson and William Mitchell in 1964-5. The only redesign result was a bunker added short and left of green #5. Sorry Tom, I forgot to add you for coming in and building the large practice putting green to the south of the clubhouse!

The rest of what you see was inhouse work, mostly maintenance and certain evolution (growing in). And of course again, there was the tee lenghtening mentioned above from those three USGA events. The tee lengthening is no more than taking advantage of Flynn's original "planned elasticity". And amazingly there's probably still some left!

The more interesting question is what will happen, particularly to the bunkering in the near and long term. As everyone knows the US Open is coming to Shinnecock in 2004. The USGA might be interesting in formalizing the bunker some more but I don't know that. It appears, though, that after the Open the club may be getting a bit more interested in returning some of the sandy waste areas to what they once were! Whether that ever happens we'll have to wait to see.

The good news is the research material is coming out of the woodwork and that's always a useful thing to have available for thoughts of any kind of restorative measures!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:11 PM by -1 »

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