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Ronald Montesano

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Should Augusta National be replaced?
« on: March 12, 2010, 09:58:50 AM »
In a different thread (http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,43522.0/), I suggested that Augusta National should not be in the top ten of classic courses, since it is no longer classic.  Do you agree or disagree?  Who should replace it?  For reference, here is the Golfweek list:

1. Pine Valley Golf Club     9.53
(No. 2 in 2009, p) Pine Valley, N.J.
1919, George Crump, H.S. Colt

2. Cypress Point Club         9.49
(1, p) Pebble Beach, Calif.
1928, Alister MacKenzie

3. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club           9.22
(3, p) Southampton, N.Y.
1931, William S. Flynn, Howard C. Toomey

4. National Golf Links of America    9.09
(7, p) Southampton, N.Y.
1911, Charles Blair Macdonald

5. Merion Golf Club (East) 9.11
(4, p) Ardmore, Pa.
1912, Hugh Wilson

6. Oakmont Country Club  9.01
(6, p) Oakmont, Pa.
1903, Henry Fownes

7. Crystal Downs 8.88
(8, p) Frankfort, Mich.
1931, Alister MacKenzie, Perry Maxwell

8. Pebble Beach Golf Links               8.86
(5, r) Pebble Beach, Calif.
1919, Douglas Grant, Jack Neville

9. Augusta National Golf Club          8.75
(9, p) Augusta, Ga.
1932, Bobby Jones, Alister MacKenzie

10. Fishers Island Golf Club              8.71
(11, p) Fishers Island, N.Y.
1926, Seth Raynor

11. San Francisco Golf Club             8.63
(12, p) San Francisco
1915, A.W. Tillinghast

12. Chicago Golf Club        8.55
(13, p) Wheaton, Ill.
1923, Seth Raynor;
Charles Blair Macdonald (1894)

13. Prairie Dunes Country Club       8.54
(10, p) Hutchinson, Kan.
1937, Perry Maxwell; Press Maxwell (1957)

14. Seminole Golf Club     8.47
(15, p) North Palm Beach, Fla.
1929, Donald Ross

15. Pinehurst Resort (No. 2)              8.41
(14, r) Pinehurst, N.C.
1903-1946, Donald Ross

16. Winged Foot Golf Club (West)   8.30
(16, p) Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1923, A.W. Tillinghast

17. Oakland Hills CC (South)            8.10
(17, p) Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1918, Donald Ross;
Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1950)

18. Garden City Golf Club 8.10
(19, p) Garden City, N.Y.
1899, Devereux Emmet;
Walter J. Travis (1909)

19. Bethpage State Park (Black)      8.07
(18, d) Farmingdale, N.Y.
1935, A.W. Tillinghast

20. The Country Club (Composite)  8.02
(23, p) Brookline, Mass.
1895, William Campbell; William S. Flynn, Howard C. Toomey (1931)
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Mac Plumart

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 09:59:44 AM »
Inverness.   :)
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 10:07:37 AM »
Ron:

I'll answer that with a yes and a no.

If ANGC returned to the presentation it previously offered -- wide fairways with no "second cut" and the elimination of hideous trees and bowling-alley choke point fairways along with providing for sensible yardages for key holes (such as the 1st, 7th, possbly the 11 th and 18th holes -- then I would say the course should remain in the upper elite top ten.

Kept as the course has been since the wonderful contributions from Hootie and the gang from a few years back -- the answer is no.

As far as replacements are concerned -- hard to ignore the qualities of a WF / West or for those who wish for a lesser intense layout a place like Prairie Dunes would be quite good as well.

Sean Leary

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 10:08:14 AM »
In a different thread (http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,43522.0/), I suggested that Augusta National should not be in the top ten of classic courses, since it is no longer classic.  Do you agree or disagree?  Who should replace it?  For reference, here is the Golfweek list:

1. Pine Valley Golf Club     9.53
(No. 2 in 2009, p) Pine Valley, N.J.
1919, George Crump, H.S. Colt

2. Cypress Point Club         9.49
(1, p) Pebble Beach, Calif.
1928, Alister MacKenzie

3. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club           9.22
(3, p) Southampton, N.Y.
1931, William S. Flynn, Howard C. Toomey

4. National Golf Links of America    9.09
(7, p) Southampton, N.Y.
1911, Charles Blair Macdonald

5. Merion Golf Club (East) 9.11
(4, p) Ardmore, Pa.
1912, Hugh Wilson

6. Oakmont Country Club  9.01
(6, p) Oakmont, Pa.
1903, Henry Fownes

7. Crystal Downs 8.88
(8, p) Frankfort, Mich.
1931, Alister MacKenzie, Perry Maxwell

8. Pebble Beach Golf Links               8.86
(5, r) Pebble Beach, Calif.
1919, Douglas Grant, Jack Neville

9. Augusta National Golf Club          8.75
(9, p) Augusta, Ga.
1932, Bobby Jones, Alister MacKenzie

10. Fishers Island Golf Club              8.71
(11, p) Fishers Island, N.Y.
1926, Seth Raynor

11. San Francisco Golf Club             8.63
(12, p) San Francisco
1915, A.W. Tillinghast

12. Chicago Golf Club        8.55
(13, p) Wheaton, Ill.
1923, Seth Raynor;
Charles Blair Macdonald (1894)

13. Prairie Dunes Country Club       8.54
(10, p) Hutchinson, Kan.
1937, Perry Maxwell; Press Maxwell (1957)

14. Seminole Golf Club     8.47
(15, p) North Palm Beach, Fla.
1929, Donald Ross

15. Pinehurst Resort (No. 2)              8.41
(14, r) Pinehurst, N.C.
1903-1946, Donald Ross

16. Winged Foot Golf Club (West)   8.30
(16, p) Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1923, A.W. Tillinghast

17. Oakland Hills CC (South)            8.10
(17, p) Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1918, Donald Ross;
Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1950)

18. Garden City Golf Club 8.10
(19, p) Garden City, N.Y.
1899, Devereux Emmet;
Walter J. Travis (1909)

19. Bethpage State Park (Black)      8.07
(18, d) Farmingdale, N.Y.
1935, A.W. Tillinghast

20. The Country Club (Composite)  8.02
(23, p) Brookline, Mass.
1895, William Campbell; William S. Flynn, Howard C. Toomey (1931)


Is that what you said?  Is there a different thread I am disagreeing with you on? ;) ;D


Sean Leary

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 10:09:50 AM »
Ron:

I'll answer that with a yes and a no.

If ANGC returned to the presentation it previously offered -- wide fairways with no "second cut" and the elimination of hideous trees and bowling-alley choke point fairways along with providing for sensible yardages for key holes (such as the 1st, 7th, possbly the 11 th and 18th holes -- then I would say the course should remain in the upper elite top ten.

Kept as the course has been since the wonderful contributions from Hootie and the gang from a few years back -- the answer is no.

As far as replacements are concerned -- hard to ignore the qualities of a WF / West or for those who wish for a lesser intense layout a place like Prairie Dunes would be quite good as well.

Have you done the heavy lifting here pardner, or are you relying on TV? ;)

Adam Russell

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 10:14:16 AM »
I think it should be still considered classic, since most others higher on the list have had some cosmetic work done albeit less than ANGC. You can get into semantics arguing how much. But I do think because of the sheer amount of yearly changes it should be docked a little - enough to push it out of the top ten. I would switch it with Prairie Dunes. The tournament pedigree is similar to ANGC and Prairie Dunes represent a distinct style of golf architecture different from the rest of the top ten.
The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life's most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it. -Lewis Grizzard

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 10:16:24 AM »
Sean:

I don't rely on TV or by simply sitting on my couch making such replies.

I've been to ANGC for years and the Hootie "improvements" actually set the course back.

If they should return to those elements as I mentioned then the nature of what made the place so special to start with would once again flourish.

jeffwarne

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 10:25:13 AM »
Sean:

I don't rely on TV or by simply sitting on my couch making such replies.

I've been to ANGC for years and the Hootie "improvements" actually set the course back.

If they should return to those elements as I mentioned then the nature of what made the place so special to start with would once again flourish.

So Winged Foot gets a pass because they've always had knee deep rough for their Opens?
While Augusta grows a one inch cut?
To say nothing about back tee extensions at least as large as Augusta (they're just less noticeable because they occured over a longer time)

And the reason Winged Foot could cut down so many trees, is they had so many encroaching on play.
Augusta is still a wide open place,save for few exaggerated chutes (which look way worse on TV)
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Sean Leary

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 10:31:13 AM »
Matt,

Will you wake up and smell, oh never mind. Just playing with you. :)

So are you replacing it with Black Mesa or Glenwild?

;)

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 10:36:15 AM »
Sean:

Rock Creek belongs in the modern rating - it's right there with the likes of Ballyneal. Why it's not rated astounds me. Maybe the GW raters need a compass to find it.

I really see Black Mesa and Greywalls being in the top 50 too. There are a plenty of courses in GW modern top 50 that either need to get a lower rating or be thrown under the bus and removed entirely.

thanks pardna -- I have woken up and smelled the coffee ! ;D

Jeff:

WF / W has played very well for the previous events held there.

Talk to the players and they saw the course as a very fair test of golf that required nothing less than their best.

Mike Davis set the course up well with the newly created concept of "graduated rough" for the '06 event and when Davis won the '97 PGA it showed how grand the course was when you have someone playing at a high level.

If you erroneously believe knee-high rough was there recently then you need to do mapquest and find the course I am talking about.

Jeff -- ANGC "wide open space?" Pull out your glasses and check out the inane tee extension to the already narrow 7th. Have you seen the 11th recently? The 15th? Or even the 18th?

Mike Hendren

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 10:54:37 AM »
Hard to believe a good old boy from Ripley, Tennessee has played six of the top eleven.  While this exercise is nothing more than picking nits (head lice for you city slickers), I think Augusta National Golf Club takes a back seat to no golf course.   I haven't played Augusta but have been on the grounds on 7 different days.  If forced to "rank" it I'd place it above Cypress Point Club, National Golf Links of America, Crystal Downs Pebble Beach Golf Links and San Francisco Golf Club.   There is not a single weak hole at Augusta - the same can't be said of those five.  I can't put Augusta on par with Shinnecock Hills which has good parts and a great sum thereof. 

I continue to shake my head at the Augusta National Golf Club detractors. 

Mike
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 11:06:18 AM »
Mike:

Explain the need to "morph" ANGC into some sort of Frankenstein layout that flies completely in the face of what Jones / Mackenzie envisioned ?

I love what ANGC was prior to the Hootie changes -- lengthening a few holes is fine -- save for the ones I previsously mentioned. The second cut, tree invasion, mounds involvement, et al, was unnecessary and completely undercut what was so grand about the place to start with in my mind.

jeffwarne

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 11:09:45 AM »
Sean:

Rock Creek belongs in the modern rating - it's right there with the likes of Ballyneal. Why it's not rated astounds me. Maybe the GW raters need a compass to find it.

I really see Black Mesa and Greywalls being in the top 50 too. There are a plenty of courses in GW modern top 50 that either need to get a lower rating or be thrown under the bus and removed entirely.

thanks pardna -- I have woken up and smelled the coffee ! ;D

Jeff:

WF / W has played very well for the previous events held there.

Talk to the players and they saw the course as a very fair test of golf that required nothing less than their best.

Mike Davis set the course up well with the newly created concept of "graduated rough" for the '06 event and when Davis won the '97 PGA it showed how grand the course was when you have someone playing at a high level.

If you erroneously believe knee-high rough was there recently then you need to do mapquest and find the course I am talking about.

Jeff -- ANGC "wide open space?" Pull out your glasses and check out the inane tee extension to the already narrow 7th. Have you seen the 11th recently? The 15th? Or even the 18th?

Matt,
It's not about what the TOUR players say, or what you and think about changes at Augusta.
I think we agree on many of the changes at Augusta.

The question was should Augusta be pulled because it's not classic-not because someone doesn't like the changes.
All the courses that host major tournaments on that list have been lengthened(and most have more trees-Pine Valley anyone?),
it's just that we still remember the "old" Augusta.
How different did those other courses look in 1934?

Good thing Shinnecock was renovated in 1931 or we'd have to pull it....hmmmm, come to think of it, it looks very different(and longer) than it did in 1986(about 10000 trees)-should we pull it?
or does it get a pass because we like the changes?
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2010, 11:22:30 AM »
Jeff:

The issue for ANGC, more than any other course, is that it hosts an annual major.

What was sooooooooo wrong with the pre-98 version. Was it because the folks there overreacted because they see Tiger hit PW into #15 when Nicklaus hit a comparable club (8-iron) in '65 ? Or because Hootie saw Lefty hit SW into #11. Just because of those limited instances they need to throw the whole course on its head !

You asked about WF / West and responded. There's been no knee-high rough there for any of the major championships that I attended there. The place is rock solid and demands nothing less from any player who takes the layout on.

ANGC should drop out of the top ten because the core ingredients that made up so strategic -- so exciting -- were undercut by people who get too wrapped up on scores. The Masters was the embodiment of entertainment -- not they make it like a torture track -- the April version of the US Open -- hell, the US Open is more entertaining now because of Mike Davis.

Jeff, you state an obvious point -- all courses have matured over time. The issue w ANGC for me is that it so much of what made it great was aborted. WF / W has done well in keeping the Tillie elements alive and well and should be celebrated for that reason in my mind.

Bill_Yates

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2010, 11:24:12 AM »
Ron,
If adding tees and not mowing the rough destroys the "classic" nature of a course, I'm wondering if there are any classic courses left to play.
Bill Yates
www.pacemanager.com 
"When you manage the pace of play, you manage the quality of golf."

Mark Woodger

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 11:37:00 AM »
Where is Rock Creek?

Mike Hendren

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2010, 11:39:29 AM »
Mike:

Explain the need to "morph" ANGC into some sort of Frankenstein layout that flies completely in the face of what Jones / Mackenzie envisioned ?

I love what ANGC was prior to the Hootie changes -- lengthening a few holes is fine -- save for the ones I previsously mentioned. The second cut, tree invasion, mounds involvement, et al, was unnecessary and completely undercut what was so grand about the place to start with in my mind.

Matt, you and I have agreed in the past that Augusta National Golf Club is less than 48 hours away from it's previous glory.  That's the time it would take to cut down trees, haul them off, dig out the stumps and mow the rough.

That said, the current golf course is anything but a "Frankenstein" and my high regard for it is based upon what I saw in April of 2009 - not what it used to be.  I take each golf course as I find it and my comments are based upon the current version of Augusta National Golf Club even if it's not as good as it once was.  Hootie this, Hootie that makes for a crappy trump card in my opinion.

Mike

Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2010, 11:42:37 AM »
Jeff:

ANGC should drop out of the top ten because the core ingredients that made up so strategic -- so exciting -- were undercut by people who get too wrapped up on scores. The Masters was the embodiment of entertainment -- not they make it like a torture track -- the April version of the US Open -- hell, the US Open is more entertaining now because of Mike Davis.

Huh?  I doubt there's been a U.S. Open course in the past 25 years that could carry Augusta's jockstrap when it comes to strategy.  Even Shinnecock Hills needed to be tricked up.  Please elaborate.

Mike
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Mark Pritchett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2010, 11:46:07 AM »
When the weather allows for fast and firm conditions Augusta National is as good as it gets for me. 

Hopefully we will never see tournament officials watering greens in between groups at the Masters!

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2010, 12:37:51 PM »
Mike:

If the folks at ANGC didn't "dumb down" the place with easier pin placements during the weekend rounds -- The Masters would be the ultimate grind and snoorfest for the masses. Without the softening the course would be what I mentioned -- a Frankenstein.

Mike, if the correction were less than 48 hours away then what's the hold-up ?

If you are basing your love only for what you saw in '09 - then the version I am speaking about would have you smitten beyond all words. ANGC wasn't broken -- just the people who thought they knew best was broken.

One last thing amigo -- you say, "Hootie this, Hootie that makes for a crappy trump card in my opinion." Mike, before you bark at me regarding how crappy my trump card is -- maybe you should have seen firsthand what made ANGC so special before Hootie and his gang screwed it up. People loved The Masters because it was the ultimate layout that allowed for incredible charges and fall backs and provided the consumate entertainment vehicle for people who could not wait for that glorious week in April.

It's time to let Augusta be the real Augusta. 

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2010, 01:11:13 PM »
Mac Plumart - Surely ANGC has had a few changes with tees, trees, bunkering and rough but no totally new holes where as Inverness which is IMO a great course has the out of place 3rd, a new 5th and 6th and remodelled 8th it would be hard to exclude ANGC and replace it with a remodelled IC.
Cave Nil Vino

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2010, 01:32:21 PM »

One last thing amigo -- you say, "Hootie this, Hootie that makes for a crappy trump card in my opinion." Mike, before you bark at me regarding how crappy my trump card is -- maybe you should have seen firsthand what made ANGC so special before Hootie and his gang screwed it up. People loved The Masters because it was the ultimate layout that allowed for incredible charges and fall backs and provided the consumate entertainment vehicle for people who could not wait for that glorious week in April.

I'm sorry.  I should have said Hootie and his gang this, Hootie and his gang that.   I spent six days on the grounds over 20 years ago.  Honestly I don't know if that was pre- or post Hootie and his gang.  Nonethless, let me ask: Are you advocating that the ability to foster charges and collapses as well as to entertain crowds are criteria for the evaluation of golf course architecture?   If so I assume Cherry Hills and Carnoustie make your top five.

I don't think it's just your trump card - you're holding a crappy hand and playing with a 51 card deck. ;)

Kindest regards,

Mike



Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Carl Nichols

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2010, 01:43:34 PM »
Matt:
What course outside the top 10 (as it currently exists) is better than ANGC (as it currently exists), such that it deserves to be in the top 10 and bump ANGC -- and not some other course -- out of the top 10?  WFW?  No way!  Prairie Dunes?  Haven't played or seen it, but that seems unlikely.  Is ANGC really not one of the ten best courses in the US (as it and they currently exist)?

Matt_Ward

Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2010, 01:50:59 PM »
Carl:

How is the version of ANGC we see today better than what was there previously ?

You say WF/W is no way a legitimate candidate. Really? I'll tell you this -- WF/W can be played as is and does just fine. One of the really under-appreciated four round totals in all of golf is what Davis Love shot there in winning the '97 PGA. WF/W can be played with stellar golf and those who do it have won there. The problem is that so much of the lore of the place is tied to the massacre story in '74. If Lefty had won there -- of course he blew it by his execution on the 72nd hole -- things would be seen differently by quite a few people.

You can easily make a case for PD in Kansas -- but Carl, please don't prove take your ignorance there and make a stupid comment that says "seems unlikely" PD is a fantastic course and has demonstrated that in a range of ways -- including woman and senior major events.

Carl, with all due respect, people bump up ANGC because it's The Masters -- look deeper and ask is the course we see today really the one that made you can't wait for the telecast as it did when Nicklaus and Watson were in their primes? I think the answer is obvious and the resulting "improvements" we have seen recently have only distorted what was there previously in my mind.

Mike:

Live in the world you wish -- if you see the existing ANGC as the best version of what can be then by all means lives comfortably in your world of ignorance.

If you had your eyes open when you were there 20 years ago you would have noticed the kind of layout that made a clear statement on why winning there was so special. You must have skipped what I wrote before -- let me try it again for your benefit. After Tiger lit the place up in '97 the folks there wanted to Tiger-proof the place. That's when the silly "second cut" and the bowling alley fairway widths with silly pines being planted along with fake mounds that would make Anna Nicole Smith proud happened. People running the show had a major beef against seeing just a few players hit short irons into a few holes -- they made it sound like Cory Pavin and Larry Mize were doing it too.

Mike, for what it's worth -- ANGC was the signature course for strategic design -- it encouraged the bold play and when executed flawlessly rewarded it -- that doesn't happen anywhere close to what it did previously. Like I said the folks who run the show HAD to soften the pins for the weekend or you'd get those hot and exciting rounds of 1 or 2 under par and everyone playing that edge-of-your-seat chair 3rd shot into the 13th and 15th holes. Mike, ANGC didn't need to be changed -- it worked well minus the lengthening of just a few holes. End of story ...

Sean Leary

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Re: Should Augusta National be replaced?
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2010, 02:29:56 PM »
I have seen ANGC a couple of times as a spectator, and of course, on TV. I am a member at Prairie Dunes. I cannot see PD ever being ahead of ANGC, and I think PD could be top 10.

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