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Ronald Montesano

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2010, 09:21:37 PM »
Hi, Bill...I won't deny that something has caused the curmudgeon to rear its ugly heads, like the hydra...probably a combination of a tough boys HS season, a divot of women who insist on misplacing every wireless phone we have on a daily basis and a new dietary regimen that leaves me hungry and lacking in sweets and greases.  

I've never found the enthusiasm for definitive and exclusionary critiques in which others delight.  As a result, those who lean toward 100% certainty often arouse my ire.  I must be a humanist, as I find some measure of delight in nearly every experience, and that's fine satisfaction for me.

Given these disclaimers, it occurs to me that Whitten is not a moron; a magazine like GD would not have kept him employed were he to profess and practice idiocy and ignorance.  Instead, it's that he gives criticism without offering solutions that doesn't sit well with esteemed members of this ambrosial forum.  It seems to me that he is being bullied in absentia; he might deserve it at some point, but not today.
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Ross Tuddenham

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2010, 09:23:43 PM »
Tricks

not so much a suck up, just the most obvious example of a recent course with many template holes.  Not sure what innovations he would like to have seen anyway. It is not like other sports change the basics of the way they are played.  For the 2014 world cup maybe they could make the pitch round? And I do think the Ryder cup would have been better if course was routed like a street circuit with clubs able to hit from the asphalt.

Did he forget golf has been played on the moon, what more innovation can you hope for?

JR Potts

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2010, 09:25:56 PM »
Was anything innovative done at Erin Hills? Either you're part of the problem or part of the solution.

Yes, and they had to change it to get rid of the 19th hole, et. al.

Peter Pallotta

Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2010, 09:32:22 PM »
Tricks' reference to the paucity (that's for Tricks, the humanist) of examples is the key.

Why not make a stronger case, if you must make a case at all? Why not provide one or two sample alternatives to the fundamental templates of 20th century golf, which templates have grown moribund?

Say - a 320 yard Par 3 that MUST be played by the average golfer for Bogie (so as not to risk a much worse score), since the green is perched 60 feet up atop an active volcano?

Wade Schueneman

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2010, 09:37:39 PM »
Remember the words of Solomon. There is nothing new under the sun.

Given that gifted architects have been creating golf courses for well over a hundred years, I think that truly original ideas will be few and far between from here on out.  There is no shame in that.    

Bart Bradley

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2010, 09:43:25 PM »
There may not be "original concepts or strategies" but there will be original implementation of those concepts.  Originality is not dead.  Ballyneal #7, OM#5, Kingsley#1  are all examples of unique holes that I played this year which utilize some proven concepts. 

There are no new musical notes either, but there is original music.

Whitten's argument is hollow, shallow and remarkably dismissive of some great modern work.  I don't get it.

Bart

Mac Plumart

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2010, 09:45:36 PM »
There are no new musical notes either, but there is original music.

Oh yeah, Dr. Bradley...nice one!!  I'm gonna have to steal that one!!   :)
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Bart Bradley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2010, 09:46:41 PM »
Mac:

No problem...it isn't an original thought.  I stole it from someone else  ;).

Bart

Michael Huber

Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2010, 10:45:46 PM »
Garland, have you been to a classic old stadiums like Fenway, Wrigley, and now deceased Tiger Stadium and Yakees stadium? Compare those stadiums to the new modern marvels like Coors Field, Safeco Field, and New Yankees Stadium and tell me there have been no innovations.

The new stadiums have the same charm and ambiance of the old classics but with better sight-lines, better food, better access, more comfortable seats, better traffic flow, better bathrooms, suites, and countless other improvements that makes going to the ballgame a real pleasure. There is a reason why a team that lost over 100 games can still draw over 2 million people.

Bats have improved greatly as well with the latest in graphite and aluminum bats. Sure, they are not used in the pros, but they get used by more people. The gloves have improved and shoes as well. Baseball has not stood still.


To further elaborate on baseball stadium architecture and golf architecture.....

Lets consider baseball stadium architecture in t he 1960s and 70s.....Veterans stadium in philly, Three Rivers in pittsburgh, shea stadium, et. al.  These stadiums not only were ugly, but did not provide a great game watching experience.  The recent crop of stadiums from the 90s-00s are quite excellent all around.  A place like PNC Park has all the charm, plus modern amenities, a ton of beer selections, etc. all without pricing the faimily out of range.

I think you can make a similar arguement about golf courses.  Lots of really bad ideas in the 60s 70s and 80s, but it seems like the 90s and 00s have returned to what made the great old courses great. Look at bandon...nice hotel, cool clubhouse....but what makes it special is the golf courses, and those courses are steeped in classic fundamentals.

Morgan Clawson

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2010, 11:21:10 PM »
I think Whitten has it mostly wrong.

Innovation tends to come in pretty small increments.

Look at one of the biggest industrys in the US - the auto industry.  Our current cars have new bells and whistles, but they're still pretty darn similar to those made 60 years ago. They still have 4 wheels and are made of metal and glass and rubber. Air bags, anti lock brakes, and navigation systems are pretty darn innovative, but again, these are small increments of innovation.

Recently,
* A guy named Pete Dye decided to build a golf course in a Florida Swamp.  And he thought a grren surrounded by water would be cool.
* A guy in charge of a state's pension thought it would be neat to have a famous architect design a series of courses all over a state that was not known for golf. Wala - The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was born.
* Some guys decided to build courses and grow grass where it doesn't really grow; the Arizona dessert. A sleepy western town was transformed into a huge population area where many golf pros now call home.
* Some dude had the crazy ass idea of building a great course in a teeny town called Bandon, which is over 4 hours from a large population base.  Oh, and despite their overwhelming popularity, golf carts are not allowed.
* In Michigan, A fellow named Mike Devries built a boomerang green on the par 3 9th hole.  The hole is so innovative, that players will stand by the clubhouse and just stare at it in awe. And then groupof 8 or 9 of them will be so intrigued that they will try to hit the green from 3 or 4 different tee boxes.
People are coming-up with new ideas all the time. I can't wait for what's next.

Adam Clayman

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2010, 11:32:57 PM »
Quote
Don't bother arguing that classic courses are ideal because the game hasn't changed. Nonsense. Nothing in golf is the same as it was in the 1920s -- not the clubs, the balls, the mowers, the turfgrass, the clubhouses or the fabric on our skin. Not the grip, the stance, the swing, the way we get yardages or transport our clubs. Nothing is the same, except our golf courses.

Save for the same five inches between the ears.

As Bart pointed out above, there are examples of innovation in some specific greens.

Also, What's the course in Omaha he refers to?

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

Matthew Rose

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2010, 11:36:03 PM »
Quote
So for music to have gone through and innovation under his terms it should no longer be made up of guitars, drums, piano's, violins or the voice to be classed as having innovation?

Not to drag this too far off topic, but I'm in the music business. In many ways, I don't think it is evolving much either. I think popular music is regressing badly and has been for 20 years.

And I think technology has made music worse. Infinitely worse. The drum machine. The sequencer. The sampler. Pro-Tools. Auto-tune. Louder and louder mastering. Badly encoded digital listening formats. And the worst innovation of all: The music video.

These are the music world's equivalents to golf carts, Pro-V1s, watermelon-size driver heads and 530 yard par-fours.

American-Australian. Trackman Course Guy. Fatalistic sports fan. Drummer. Bass player. Father. Cat lover.

Mike_Young

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2010, 12:14:17 AM »
He has some good points in the rant....
He says:
"With fewer than a dozen courses under construction in the United States, architects need to reinvent their product. They talk of designing risk and reward, but they're unwilling to risk new ideas because they don't see any reward. Would finding work in America be reward enough? If the past is the only thing you bring to the drawing table, sooner or later clients will decide to eliminate the middleman. In Omaha, a prominent golf contractor built a money-making public course without any help from an architect. In California, Cypress Point, armed with a pile of old photos, restored its Mackenzie bunkers with no involvement by an architect."

Many many courses will eliminate the middleman....

"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Charlie Goerges

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2010, 01:16:04 AM »
What a grouchy bastard. The thing is, he goes on this rant while he also has an article entitled "Game Changers". In it he listed a bunch of courses described as "game changers" including many from the last two decades. Which is it Ron? Are there 20 game-changing courses from the last twenty years or are golf architects doing nothing game-changing?
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

Jim Nugent

Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2010, 02:49:13 AM »
If the economy does not get a lot better, Ron is right that the middleman is mostly gone.  But so are new golf course design and construction - new golf courses overall - in that case.

On just about everything else, I think Ron is badly, sadly off the mark.  Muirhead's ideas were tried.  He designed and built innovative courses around the world.  Which is his most popular, the one easily considered best of all he designed?  Muirfield Village.  A traditional parkland course.  No geometric sand traps or shark-shaped greens. 

GCA has seen plenty of "innovative" ideas.  Golfers as a group don't like them so much.  They have never caught on, commercially or in the rankings. 

On the other hand, courses Ron complains about - Doak, e.g. - are roaring successes. 

Instead of bemoaning lack of "innovation," I'd rather see what "innovative" ideas Ron has.  Ironic that the course he helped design and build -- Erin Hills -- shows none of that "innovation" he says he craves.  He did about as traditional a design as you imagine. 

btw, couldn't Whitten's same argument be made in the 1920s?  What is dramatically new and different in GCA since then, that brought on sea changes in golf courses?  Seems like I read some of the oldtimers back then make the point that there's nothing really new in GCA, just how you put it together and interpret it on the land you have to work with. Though they were not complaining about that. 


Sean_A

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2010, 03:01:31 AM »
He has some good points in the rant....
He says:
"With fewer than a dozen courses under construction in the United States, architects need to reinvent their product. They talk of designing risk and reward, but they're unwilling to risk new ideas because they don't see any reward. Would finding work in America be reward enough? If the past is the only thing you bring to the drawing table, sooner or later clients will decide to eliminate the middleman. In Omaha, a prominent golf contractor built a money-making public course without any help from an architect. In California, Cypress Point, armed with a pile of old photos, restored its Mackenzie bunkers with no involvement by an architect."

Many many courses will eliminate the middleman....



Mike

Not in the least personal about the matter, but is this a bad thing and if so, why?   

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Niall C

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2010, 05:49:45 AM »
I haven't particularly read anything of Whittens before but a quick scan of the article suggested it was mean't to be provacative and judging by the reaction on here he succeeded. His basic premis that nothing innovative has happened in his time seems fairly sound to me but personally I'm not sure that is a bad thing for the game. It might be a bad thing for the golf business but that is a different matter. Whitten seems to be suggesting some new ideas/gimmick/innovation is needed to keep the GCA in employment. That sounds alarm bells for me.

For instance I'm not particularly keen on the Peter McEvoy idea of two pin placements on each hole with an easy one and a hard one and a scoring system for each. Not a great example but illustrative of the point that bugger about with the game at your peril.

Speaking from a Scottish perspective there are any number of golf clubs out there butchering there existing courses that I wish architects were more successful in making the connection with them, showing them what could be done rather than some greens convener unilaterally deciding it would be good to plant yet another stand of trees.

Niall

Jud_T

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2010, 07:34:35 AM »
Builders build houses without real architects all the time.  That's why the burbs are cluttered with crap McMansions.
Golf is a game. We play it. Somewhere along the way we took the fun out of it and charged a premium to be punished.- - Ron Sirak

BCrosby

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2010, 08:39:26 AM »
If you don't think golf architects add value, I don't understand why you would spend time at this forum.

In a somewhat similar vein, if Whitten thinks the main value of a golf architect is to provide novelty,.... then I am rendered speechless.


Bob

 

Mike_Young

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2010, 08:56:12 AM »
He has some good points in the rant....
He says:
"With fewer than a dozen courses under construction in the United States, architects need to reinvent their product. They talk of designing risk and reward, but they're unwilling to risk new ideas because they don't see any reward. Would finding work in America be reward enough? If the past is the only thing you bring to the drawing table, sooner or later clients will decide to eliminate the middleman. In Omaha, a prominent golf contractor built a money-making public course without any help from an architect. In California, Cypress Point, armed with a pile of old photos, restored its Mackenzie bunkers with no involvement by an architect."

Many many courses will eliminate the middleman....



Mike

Not in the least personal about the matter, but is this a bad thing and if so, why?   

Ciao

Sean and Bob,
What seems to be a common thread amongst nationally recognized archites this thread sort of concentrates on?  They all have their own crews AND  plans are minimal.....IMHO the role of "architect" where one is sending in drawings and making site visits and checking off contractor billing is easily eliminated by "builders" who know enough about it to get the job done.....not all are going ot be nationally recognized or on great pieces of groiund but we are going that way....
Above McMansions are mentioned....most of those have a set of plans the builder can purchase in bulk...
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Tom MacWood

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2010, 09:21:57 AM »
I think he has a good point when it comes to restoration. Too many important old courses have been redesigned by architects in the name of restoration.

Don_Mahaffey

Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2010, 09:37:00 AM »
Hoenstly, I don't think he works very hard at finding innovation.
He's going where the buzz is and I can see why he's getting bored with that.

RJ_Daley

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2010, 10:04:37 AM »
I think Ron is just casting about in boredom.  He mentioned that he has been interested in GCA for 43 years.  The inovation has come in smallish incriments, but once in a while innovation came along as mentioned above - growing turf in the desert, or on crushed lava, and building upon that.  It takes innovation in construction, machinery, and an archie to conceive hole designs that work on such. 

Ron can point to ball and impliment technology, but the rules and perameters of the game are the same.  Hit it out onto interesting or strategic ground, find it and figure out how to get it to a green and into the hole.   Arranging that is within enough constraint that without big changes in the method of play, not all that much novelty or innovation can be allowed. 

People seek interesting arrangements of golf on interesting ground and that is their consumption of architecture.  But, they aren't going to seek golf that is contrary to their basic understandings of how the game is played, and they continue to seem to enjoy the way the game is generally arranged on the field of play now.  They don't seem to want oddities like a 7 iron off tee, followed by FW wood and long iron after that, or some other unconventional approach to playing the game they know as it is. 

Eliminating the middle man doesn't seem to be anything new either.  There have always been one-off or one-trick ponies that build their dream course from conception to working on constrcution, themselves. 
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Mac Plumart

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Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2010, 10:14:38 AM »
Here is the deal...y'all want innovation and something new on a golf course...distance boosts areas...you heard it here first!!

For each given hole, but particularly on par 5's, have an area in the middle of the fairway, perhaps between 230 and 250 yards, where the is a hi-tech trampoline buried.  It will have sensors on it and when a ball lands on the area...BOOM...the trampoline mechanism fires and propels the ball up in the air and at angle to give it a severe distance boost.  This will make the game much more fun for the medium handicapped golfer.

Also, you can put these trampolines in the front of tee boxes to eliminate the loss of distance from topped tee shots.

You can put nets lining the fairways, as well, to eliminate lost balls and long searches for balls.  Pull it, slice it...no worries...your ball will simply come to rest against the net...take a free drop and BINGO...you are off and running.  Time per round should be significantly reduced and costs per round (due to elimination of lost balls) will be reduced and golfers will be more happy and for sure will flock to the course.  Now, we've got to make up for the lost revenue from the golf ball producers (because we've got to keep not only the golf course fair, but we've also got to keep the competitive landscape for business competition level) we will give them the contract rights to make the netting.

I think these ideas are solid and will work...and will certainly add to the innovation side of things.   :-*
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

JC Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: A critics rant from Ron Whitten
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2010, 10:16:02 AM »
Here is the deal...y'all want innovation and something new on a golf course...distance boosts areas...you heard it here first!!

For each given hole, but particularly on par 5's, have an area in the middle of the fairway, perhaps between 230 and 250 yards, where the is a hi-tech trampoline buried.  It will have sensors on it and when a ball lands on the area...BOOM...the trampoline mechanism fires and propels the ball up in the air and at angle to give it a severe distance boost.  This will make the game much more fun for the medium handicapped golfer.

Also, you can put these trampolines in the front of tee boxes to eliminate the loss of distance from topped tee shots.

You can put nets lining the fairways, as well, to eliminate lost balls and long searches for balls.  Pull it, slice it...no worries...your ball will simply come to rest against the net...take a free drop and BINGO...you are off and running.  Time per round should be significantly reduced and costs per round (due to elimination of lost balls) will be reduced and golfers will be more happy and for sure will flock to the course.  Now, we've got to make up for the lost revenue from the golf ball producers (because we've got to keep not only the golf course fair, but we've also got to keep the competitive landscape for business competition level) we will give them the contract rights to make the netting.

I think these ideas are solid and will work...and will certainly add to the innovation side of things.   :-*

Someone has been watching a little too much Caddyshack 2.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

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