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Kyle Henderson

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Designing for Scale
« on: September 30, 2008, 01:38:28 AM »
On his website, Ian Andrews proclaims:

"I would honestly say that there are no more than a handful of architects that can work at a large scale. I have even seen a few good ones try to go to a large scale to disastrous results."

He uses the 10th hole at SFGC as an example how a master incorporates golf design in a manner that will properly fill an expansive playing corridor.

http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2006/06/18-holes-day-18-10th-at-san-francisco.html

Thoughts anyone? Is this really a limitation of many golf architects?

I think Mike Strantz certainly demonstrated his ability to create compelling visual fields in large spaces, particularly by weaving the "line of charm" though the spaces such that they seem much narrower than they play, with hazards of varying penalty at each bend. This also provides interesting playing angles that rewards those who successfully challenge the surrounding hazards.

The 1st, 6th and 10th holes at M.P.C.C. (Shore Course, all par 5's) provide good examples of his talent at work, especially given that his version of hole #1 sits in the same corridor as the original course designed by Bob Baldock (wish I had an aerial of Baldock's version).



The ground level views demonstrate how effectively Strantz was able to use his grasp of perspective (graphic art background) to make his designs appear more difficult than they actually play.

#1 at MPCC Shore


#10 at MPCC Shore


What other golf designs demonstrate the "do's" and "do not's" of this concept?
"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

TEPaul

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2008, 09:36:15 AM »
When the subject of "scale" comes up I always feel I should mention the 12th green at Shinnecock in the context of "restoring back to scale."

A few years ago the club restored back about 30-40% of that greenspace on the left that had been lost. Not only did they restore back a ton of really great pin positions on the left but by widening that green back to what it was designed as they completely got back the scale of that green in relation to everything else scale-wise about that hole and setting when you come down that big long, brassy American par 4!

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2008, 10:22:45 AM »
Interesting question and a topic I think of often. Not sure how many regulars here will participate.  Mostly, working in broad scale is a matter of feel, whether designing or experiencing. I know the reaction of most players on the first tee of the Quarry or the Wilderness is, "wow, what a grand scale."

I think its in part because so many MN courses rely on two row irrigation, and thus ending up with narrow fw corridors.  My courses might be the first to have four row or more irrigation in a non housing setting up there.  After that, I feel its intuitive as to how much space to fill with bunkers, fw, greens, etc.

In general, open spaces require bigger "stuff" but as Ian says, its more than that.  But, I think the general principles of composition apply.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Adam Clayman

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2008, 11:38:08 AM »
Other than the Ray Floyd reference, what other examples of poor execution can be cited?
 
I'm not trying to be cheeky(?) I just know I learn more from mistakes and have never been to Doral.

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2008, 11:43:13 AM »
Sometimes, its a matter of relative scale.  I see a lot of Press Maxwell green complexes where the bunkers appear bigger than the green, based on what you can see from the approach.  To me, this is poor composition, if not poor "scale."

For another example, look at the Strantz photos above, and try to imagine just a single bunker out in the fw.  Again, the composition is great, but its pretty clear that a standard single bunker on the corner of the fw would be dwarfed by turf, and less effective.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Peter Pallotta

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2008, 12:59:18 PM »
Kyle -

from what I've seen, I think one of the tricks of designing with a sense of scale is to use trees to frame vistas and not golf holes.

That is, to use them not to identify/mark off the field of play of a given golf hole (including the rough), but instead to heighten the sense of scale/space by 'parcelling out' the site as a whole, independent of its use a golf course (or at least seemingly so). 

I think significant landforms/features can be used in the same way, but that seems to me harder to do (though Jeff seems to have done it very nicely on several holes at The Quarry).   

Peter

Rich Goodale

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2008, 01:24:24 PM »
Very interesting observation, Peter.

Most links courses, not having any trees (at least in the field of play) are gifted with vistas which place each hole in a context (I can't bring myself, yet, to use the word "frame"........). ;)  In many cases, other holes serve as the key features of the vista, which strongly reinforces the "golfness" of the routing.  Such references both enhance the scale and incorporate each feature of each hole into it.  When you have courses where the holes are set in "splendid isolation," all you have for scale is the hole itself, and if so, the holes themselves need to be damned good to carry it off.  Come to think of it, maybe that is one of the reasons that Pine Valley is deemed to be so great--it creates the illusion of scale in a relatively cramped (arboreally) environment.

Rich

Scott Witter

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2008, 01:50:08 PM »
Kyle:

This IS a great topic and one that has affected all good, poor and great design through the ages. To me, however, and to perhaps even Ian, scale cannot be truly captured and used effectively on a golf course without the combined use of three other very related factors in the architects pallette and those are, unity proportion and detail.

Scale can be achieved in many ways, building architects use it constantly, as do all golf architects of course some much better than others and also done in very bold or subtle ways depending on their skill and experiences, whether they really understand or not is to be debated.  To an architect who is attempting to sometimes deceive the golfer, or bring in distant views, or use the elements at hand to create a sensory affect, or shot characteristic, I think requires a careful hand and a thorough undertanding of of how to achieve the intended and correct concept of scale for any given site through the right blend of proportion, and detail that results in a fitting sense of unity AND scale for I don't believe the two are mutually exclusive.

To me it is actually visual and physical UNITY that is being achieved through the use of scale as defined by the application of proportion and detail employed.  Yeah yeah, what the hell is Witter saying.... ;D, alot actually ;) for I believe that much of what we see and experience on the course and what you indentify as scale, is inherent scale by what Mother Nature has first offered and second what the architect has created or enhanced to communicate this inherent landscape character and scale with how the golf course has been offered to you in a unified or not so unified way.  I think Ian has mentioned Tom Doak, Coore & Crenshaw, Stranz, Thompson and naturally other greats in the past as talented architects who have the ability and grasp this not so obvious element and apply its powers to successfully accomplish their design goals.  I happen to agree with him and I also think Ian probably has this skill as well, he just needs the right site to express it.

And if you buy all this crap, man have I got a golf property for you ;D ;D

BCrosby

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2008, 01:51:06 PM »
Peter/Rich -

I had this discussion almost verbatim the other night at our club. We are implementing a master plan that includes removing a great deal of vegetation.

There were some strong reactions, primarily along the lines of "I love the splendid isolation of each hole." And until ten or so years ago, that was a highly desired architecural goal. At least in the US.

I agree with both of your takes on the issue. But I know of no principled way to tell someone who likes that hole by hole isolation that he is wrong and we are right.

At bottom, it's a matter of taste and gca tastes have evolved in the US over the last decade to something more like the links, open, golfiness look.

That has left a lot of golfers, mostly older ones, shaking their heads. Frankly, not without some justification.  

Bob

 






Rich Goodale

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2008, 02:41:31 PM »
Good point, bob

If your whole life has been spent thinking that golf was a game played in an ever encroaching forest, freedom may be as hard for you as a repatriated POW/hostage.  Sort of a Stockholm Syndrome without the physical captivity.  Altrenatively, if you have grown up on links courses and suddently are plunged into a forest, who could blame you for cowering a bit and repeating the "lions and tigers and bears" mantra from the Wizard of Oz?  In eaither case, you are not in Kansas anymore, unless it is Prairie Dunes....

rich

Peter Pallotta

Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2008, 02:57:35 PM »
Thanks, Rich - but this:

"...In many cases, other holes serve as the key features of the vista, which strongly reinforces the "golfness" of the routing.  Such references both enhance the scale and incorporate each feature of each hole into it..."

is the best explanation and description I've ever read of what my eye sees there at those links courses. Thanks much for that. If you don't mind a suggestion, please find a place to use it in some future book -- it is really good.

Bob -

yes, and it seems to me that if the discussion among club members is characterized as a value and/or aesthetic judgment, that can only lead to trouble.  I use the terms 'focused isolation' and 'expansive isolation' to describe the two looks, and I think the latter -- with trees used to frame vistas instead of golf holes -- may get to the right balance, as long as there isn't an "in for a penny in for a pound" attitude from the tree-clearing proponents.  (But I really have no business even speculating on this kind of thing)

Peter

BCrosby

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2008, 03:15:03 PM »
A older guy stood up at the meeting and said, "I've played Oakmont many times over the years and I'm here to tell you that Oakmont without trees looks horrible."

I had no good answer other than to mumble that, "Well, ummm, I actually like Oakmont's look."

A response he found less than persuasive.

I think we are at the beginning stages in the US of rethinking how courses ought to look. After 80 years of gleeful tree planting - abetted by virtually all golf architects until very recently - things have turned on a dime. But most people haven't made that turn with us.

Bob

Sean_A

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2008, 06:36:55 PM »
Kyle -

from what I've seen, I think one of the tricks of designing with a sense of scale is to use trees to frame vistas and not golf holes.

That is, to use them not to identify/mark off the field of play of a given golf hole (including the rough), but instead to heighten the sense of scale/space by 'parcelling out' the site as a whole, independent of its use a golf course (or at least seemingly so). 

I think significant landforms/features can be used in the same way, but that seems to me harder to do (though Jeff seems to have done it very nicely on several holes at The Quarry).   

Peter

Peter

I think you have it.  I am always impressed when I see lovely oaks (or other grand trees) in isolation on courses because it doesn't resemble what I have grown up to associate with golf - which is mini forests of trees even to the point of crowding out oaks, maples etc.  I wouldn't say these isolated trees frame vistas as much as connect with vistas.  Its easy to place the single item out on the horizon whereas as framing mini-forests tend to create their own little, isolated  patch.  To be fair, sometimes that is pretty cool - especially as a little corner of course which in a way sets itself apart in how it feels from the rest of the course.  Unfortunately, as you point out, too often mini-forests are used to define the field of play rather like boards do on a hockey rink, but at least the boards can be used as a dynamic element to the game whereas miniforests in golf don't tend to be nearly as inclusive an element on a course. 

Ciao

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 06:41:11 PM by Sean Arble »
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Kirk Gill

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Re: Designing for Scale
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2008, 12:25:57 AM »
I wouldn't say these isolated trees frame vistas as much as connect with vistas.

Really interesting comment. Would you say it's possible for the same effect to be created by certain buildings adjacent to certain courses?
"After all, we're not communists."
                             -Don Barzini

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