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Did they emulate what was there?
« on: May 25, 2003, 12:47:07 PM »
Most of us know architects like Donald Ross did a lot of work on "existing nine hole" courses.  He would modify what was there and then add another nine holes.  Tillinghast and others did the same.  Do you think they emulated (to some extent what was already there) or ripped it up and started over maybe just keeping some of the routing?  I'm sure this varied from site to site but what is the feeling in general?  

My personal take is that they did the best they could with what they had in the ground to start (these guys were all cost conscious), touched it up a bit and then built a new nine more in line with their own plilosophies but somewhat reflective of the other nine.  

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

Steve Sayers

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Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2003, 05:08:56 PM »
In the case of LuLu, little is known about the original 9 holes designed by Frank Meehan in 1914.  Given the property boundaries, it is likely the original 9 holes were on what is today the first seven.  In 1919 Ross was brought in to expand the course to 18.  An article in the Philadelphia Public Ledger (copy below) indicates “The old nine holes are being reconstructed to fit in with the new architecture.”  So in the case of LuLu, it appears Ross kept one hole (present day #4 –a short 100 yard slightly up hill, quarry hole) and reworked the rest.

Philadelphia Public Ledger
Sunday, May 18, 1919

Article By:       Franklin T. McCracken

“Lu Lu Temple Country Club To Have Great Golf Course”

‘New 18-Hole Course Designed By Donald Ross Will Furnish Stiff Problems for Golfers to Solve’

‘Several Gem Holes on Links at Edge Hill – New Clubhouse To Be Erected’

Loyalty of the golfers of the Lu Lu Temple Country Club at Edge Hill will be rewarded next season.  Nine holes stretching over country that enfolds a myriad of natural landmarks that add to the luster of the ancient and honorable pastime will be added to the course. The old nine holes are being reconstructed to fit in with the new architecture.  Forty-five hundred dollars will be expended on building the eighteen-hole course.  The mastermind of Donald Ross designed the new links and the work of building the course is under the supervision of Frank James.

Nor is this the only improvement that will be made by the Lu Lu enthusiasts.  A new clubhouse will be built.  The new structure will be erected on a knoll that commands a sweeping view of the surrounding country.  Eight thousand dollars has been laid aside for the purpose.  What will become of the old clubhouse; the members have not yet decided.  It may be left standing on its old site as a memento of the many good times that were held under its roof.

Every inch of ground, over which the new course will stretch, is owned by the Lu Lu club.  Over rolling that breaks and dips into tantalizing traps for ambitious golfers the new nine holes will embrace a multitude of stiff tests.  It does not appear to be a tricky course, but there are stretches, which will take some mighty good execution of driver and iron to overcome.  A gem hole is the fourth.  Here the craft of Donald Ross is revealed.  It is called the “soupbowl” hole.  Looking from the broken ground that will be the future tee, the bottom of the green lies hidden out of sight by a cleverly constructed bunker.  Here skill and judgment that will bring a good drive into play will be necessary.  Then a pitch onto the green will be the next stroke required, and woe be the chap who flobs his shot.

‘Sixth Hole Interesting’

The sixth also presents an interesting problem.  The distance is about 227 yards, but the difficult phase of the hole will be the casual water that will border the green on three sides.  For this reason the test will be called the Island hole, as the side of the green that will not be bordered by water will be out of bounds.  It will be a mighty daring golfer who tries to get onto the green on his drive.  There may be only a few who attempt the feat.

Starting for the seventh an uphill drive will be necessary.  Here a natural hazard takes a hand in the scheme and adds luster to the attractiveness of the course.  A woodlet juts out into the fairway right near the green, and a trap that will be placed facing the natural hazard will afford only a small passageway for the ball to go through in order to get onto the green.  A drive too much to the left will send the ball out of bounds, and too much to the right will send it into the trap.  Here again the player will be confronted with the problem of taking a chance on putting the ball onto the green on his second stroke or playing safe by trying for direction and a good approach.  A slight swerve to the right or left will bring down disaster on the player.

The foregoing description throws light on some of the striking features of the new course.  With the addition of the improved nine holes several of the tests on the old links that helped to add zest to the game will be retained.  The most notable of these will be the old quarry hole.  There has been many a luckless one who has been disillusioned by this same old quarry hole.  Rightfully it has been dubbed “the vale of sighs.”  Particularly to the beginner has the quarry hole at the Lu Lu Club been a bugaboo.  Once you fail to send the pellet over the quarry it may take as many as eighteen strokes to again get on the fairway.

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


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2003, 03:40:55 AM »

Fascinating stuff!  Two observations:

1.  Cost of 18-hole course = $4,500, Cost of new clubhouse = $8,000.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...."

2.  Was that Jesse's brother who worked with Ross?  This would answer a lot of unsolved GCA questions.......
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2003, 06:30:21 AM »
In the case of Eagles Mere Country Club (est. 1911), in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Flynn was hired in the mid 20s to expand the existing 6 holer into an 18 hole course.  In doing so he kept holes 1-5 in order and used the 6th as the present 18th.  There were slight modifications made to these holes but the added 12 holes are completely sympathetic to the existing design style, emulating them if you will.  It would seem that the membership either required Flynn to stay in style or that Flynn liked what he saw and designed accordingly.  

On today's existing course there are some outstanding surface drainage solutions some of which impact strategic decision making.  On a steep downhill par 4 (#8?) there is a surface drain channel 40 yards or so in front of the green with the side facing the greenside offering a turbo boost to direct the shot onto the green.

The club must have liked the results for they hired Flynn to build a second 18 holes.  9 were completed and the back 9 had the fairways cleared but were not finished and they seem more typical of Flynn on hilly terrain.  As I have remarked previously, these designs are extraordinary in their bold routing around some significant elevation changes sometimes with the elevation changes canting the fairway from one side to another, sometimes boldly going directly in line with topographical changes (more than 100 feet of elevation change on 3 or more holes).

Bill Albertini, a member at Eagles Mere and the current president of another great PA course, is  very interested in studying Flynn's work there and is leading an effort to study the "lost Flynn" in the woods.  If it would only stop raining (its been like a Costa Rican rainforest in PA this spring) we can get out and see what was out there.  He has also been a great help in our understanding of Flynn's work on the remaining Flynn 18.  I am anxious to get up there again soon with Tom Paul and Bill.  Maybe next week?

The redesign by Flynn of Atlantic City CC didn't involve a wholesale change in the routing, but the look and playability were dramatically altered from the original John Reid and Willie Park, Jr. versions.

There are several instances where Flynn came in to redesign work done by Ross (some only 10 or so years later).  For the most part, Flynn completely redesigned these (Beaver Dam, Indian Spring, Philadelphia Electric, etc).  

Now, Shinnecock is a very interesting example of redesign.  It is nearly a complete redesign, however where Flynn incorporated the existing MacDonald/Raynor work is fascinating indeed.  Flynn moved the 1st green about 100 yards further out but utilized the existing greenside bunkers as fairway bunkers on the new hole.  The second hole is a long par 3 but was the finish of the M/R par 4 12th.  This hole had significant changes to the bunkers and green shape.  The present 3rd is similar to the M/R 13th except for a change in the tee location changing the hole from relatively straight away to a slight dogleg left and modification to the green dimension and a significant change to the bunkers (mostly in terms of dimensions and not general location) with an added bunker along the right fairway.  The current 7th (M/R 14th) is a wonderful redan hole.  Flynn left the routing intact but significantly changed the bunkering (in style and location) and altered the green considerably.

There are other examples at Shinnecock and other of Flynn's redesigns which are in many ways as revealing about Flynn's design process as are his original designs.  Tom and I hope to address this interesting subject thoroughly in our Flynn book.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2003, 08:28:58 AM »
Wayne mentions John Reid being involved with the design of Atlantic City.  Does anyone know anything about him?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2003, 11:56:39 AM »

Here is what Jim Finegan had to say in his great work on the 100 year history of golf in Philadelphia regarding the first layout at Lancaster CC:

John Reid—very probably the same Scot who had established his reputation first at Huntingdon Valley, then at Atlantic City—was brought in to lay out a short (2,400 yards) nine-hole course. He was paid $28. The land, perfectly flat, was partly maintained by permitting cows to graze on it. The greens, of coarse pasture grass, were about 15 feet in diameter and were mowed twice a week. There were no sand bunkers—only a few mounds called "chocolate drops" to function as hazards near some of the greens. The first tee, next to a clay tennis court, required a drive over Fordney's four-rail wooden fence. The longest hole was 363 yards; the shortest, 162 yards. Edward T. O'Donnell, son of the Rossmere Hotel's manager, served as the club's greenkeeper and golf instructor, at $25 a month, with another $25 in lesson fees guaranteed by the club.

Regarding the original course at Huntingdon Valley:

The Huntingdon Valley Country Club was founded in 1897 and a nine-hole course laid out at Rydal by a Scottish professional named John Reid. Mr. Madeira remembers the first hole: ". . . . The green was located between the Valley Road and the railroad ... a small leveled-off space, about 20 feet in diameter, and the player was supposed to carry the creek on his second shot, and probably on the third clear the row of trees along the Valley Road and land on this little dinner plate of a green. This made a hole of such difficulty that it was impractical. . . ."

Within two years the club, whose membership had grown rapidly and whose board of governors was liberally sprinkled with well-known Philadelphia names (Lippincott, Elkins, Sinkler, Stoddart, Wanamaker, Widener, Madeira), acquired adjacent property. The Noble Mansion, on Old York Road, became the clubhouse (ample accommodations for servants, plus excellent stabling arrangements), and an additional nine holes were laid out. The result was one of the longest (6,326 yards, par 77) and most challenging 18-hole courses in the country, all of it over land that ranged from rolling to hilly. The outbound half—one suspects that this must have been the new nine—measured 3,464 yards against a par of 40. Holes 2, 3, and 4 (414 yards, 394,396) were all rated 4 1/2s. And the next three holes consisted of a par 5 (485 yards), a 5 1/2 (528 yards), and another 5 (490 yards). No wonder the club was soon to develop a number of the ablest players in the district, all of whom felt that, in contrast to their home courses, other courses were a snap.

William Flynn redesigned the 18th hole at the Noble course after someone drove the green.  This was an exceptional design and clearly influenced the awarding of the commission for the new course (opened in 1927) that exists today.

It is mentioned in the exhibition catalogue of the Arthur W. Schultz collection of golf books at Univ. of Chicago (Mr. Schultz is currently writing a book on Albert Lasker and has been instrumental in obtaining research material on Mill Road Farm) that Reid was involved in laying out St. Andrews GC in NY:

Golf in America has been traced back as far as 1650, when Dutch residents of New York were recorded as playing colf; and 1743, when a consignment of 96 golf clubs and 432 balls was shipped from Leith, Scotland, to Charleston, South Carolina. There is general agreement, however, that the first permanent American golf association, the St. Andrew's Golf Club, was formed in Yonkers, New York, in 1888, by Scottish-born John Reid and his friends.

Regarding the BERKSHIRE CC-The Berkshire Country Club owes its inception to 'Alexander F. Smith, John J. Kittz. and a few other gentlemen, who in 1897 obtained some golf clubs and balls, and essayed to play "the royal game of golf" on a six-hole course which John Reid, a professional golfer from Atlantic City, laid out on grounds at Carsonia, where the present park is located. The Club was formally incorporated on May 10, 1899, by Wilson Ferguson, William Kerper Stevens, Herbert R. Green, F. C. Smink, George F. Baer, G. Howard Bright, M. Brayton McKnight, J. Lancaster Repplier, John M. Archer, William Seyfert and E. L. Parvin.

Owing to numerous streams and marshes, it was found that the grounds at Carsonia were ill adapted for the purposes of a country club, and in 1899 arrangements were made with the Reading Suburban Real Estate Company to occupy vacant land surrounding the suburban town of Wyomissing, where a nine-hole course, 2,159 yards in length, was laid out by Alexander F. Smith (architect), and where the Club flourished until the end of 1902. The house built by John B. Mull along the Wyomissing boulevard was occupied as a clubhouse.

In May, 1902, the Club purchased from George F. Baer sixty acres of farming land, situated in Bern township, near Reading, between the Schuylkill river, (just north of Hain's Looks) and the Bern 'ville road. A nine-hole golf course, 3,090 yards long, abounding in interesting features, was laid out by John Reid, as well as five tennis courts.

Regarding Atlantic City CC from Golf on the Atlantic Shore of New Jersey by Bob Weisgerber:

This is a very interesting place, located by the bay with sand dunes on seven holes. Over 100 years old, it was established in 1897. It was laid out by John Reid, construction was overseen by Willie Park, Jr., and the firm of Toomey and Flynn from Philadelphia. Later alterations were made by the Fraser family. Leo Fraser was a former president of the PGA. The clubhouse is like a museum, and lore has it that the term "birdie" originated here.

Atlantic City Country Club has been the site of the U.S. Amateur (1901), the U.S. Women's Open (1948, 65, 75), the U.S. Senior Women's Open (1967), the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur (1997), and the PGA Senior International (1980).

Reid seemed to be influencial in the early spread of golf in NY, PA, and NJ.  He is not profiled in the Architects of Golf but is referred to in the back of the book's list of courses.  

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:05 PM by -1 »


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2003, 02:05:00 PM »
The John Reid being mentioned above was also the pro/greenskeeper at Gulph Mills in the early 1920s until he got ticked off and quit when the club called in the Wilsons of Merion to solve an agronomic problem.

Of course this John Reid is not to be confused with the John Reid of the original "Apple Tree Gang" at St. Andrews in Yonkers, NY.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2003, 03:45:56 PM »

I guess I mistakenly confused the two John Reids.  Sorry 'bout that.  Was the John Reid associated with St. Andrews GC in Yonkers, NY responsible for any other designs?

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


Re: Did they emulate what was there?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2003, 04:15:01 PM »
There is little to go on in this quest. Practically no drawings exist of the rudimentary courses that occupied later expanded courses.

In the case of Ross, most of the courses he redesigned were those built at the turn of the century or before. This would put them in the gutta percha era and would make them quite a bit shorter than what Ross produced. In that early courses were designed with tee nearly on top of the preceding green it seems to me that by logic one could assume that the preexisting courses were pretty much done over. In certain instances Ross would retain some of the parts of an earlier hole (i.e. the eighteenth green at the Essex County Club in Manchester by the Sea, MA) but it is my belief that he instilled the character to most of his designs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »


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