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M. Shea Sweeney

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Darwin
« on: March 08, 2011, 10:16:13 PM »
Darwin wrote how Aberdovey was the course his "soul loved best of all courses in the world"--

In Green Memories, 1928 he writes:

"I know no better golf course anywhere in the world, nor one where a warmer welcome waits."

Regarding Hoylake.

Thoughts?

Bill_McBride

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 10:21:15 PM »
Darwin wrote how Aberdovey was the course his "soul loved best of all courses in the world"--

In Green Memories, 1928 he writes:

"I know no better golf course anywhere in the world, nor one where a warmer welcome waits."

Regarding Hoylake.

Thoughts?

He loved Aberdovey for its charms and his memories.

He admired Hoylake for its quality and the breadth of the experience.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 06:21:30 AM »
He obviously didn't give a crap about the same things the magazine raters do.

M. Shea Sweeney

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2011, 10:17:18 AM »
I think it's good to look at these quotes from Darwin after reading the news about whats going on at Pine Needles.

The game is plenty fun with the cups just as they are. It's the golf courses and their set up that need to differ.

Yes, we need tough golf courses that challenge the world's great players, and provide an arena for top competition. (Hoylake)

But the real fun in golf lies in golf courses that are FUN to play. (Aberdovey)

We can sit here and type until we are blue in the fingers about innovative ways to improve golf when it's really not that hard to figure out. Just follow Benard Darwin, he knew a thing or two about golf.

So when guys like Mike Young talk about how we don't hit enough 7 irons anymore, and others talk about how rough lines, water hazards and gym floor greens are hurting the game, why don't we send that on to Golf Digest?

This week at Doral is a great example. The TOP 50 is playing, and the tournament is going to be great.

Doral closed the course on Friday 3/4. They were doing 135 plus rounds a day for the past MONTH. The course is in great condition.

The greens staff simply let the rough grow a BIT, and brought the height of cut down on the fairways and greens.

However, day in and day out the course plays challenging, but offers a fun golf course at the same time to the average player, and it is not much different from tournament week.

Why? Because the "White Tees" are  in appropriate places, don't run the greens at 19's everyday, and the course is devoid of any architectural nonsense. The course has strategy from all tee boxes.

Instead of playing with 15 inch cups, go play your local executive course that's half the price, half the distance, half the time. Then tell me what was more fun; playing there or the big dog in town?

Niall C

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 01:42:52 PM »
Mike,

I haven't played either Aberdovey or Hoylake but would question your assumption (?) that tough doesn't equate to fun. Two other links I am familiar with are Silloth and Carnoustie. Both are in the top 4 most difficult courses in the UK if you believe Golf world rankings. Certainly they are a challenge, or perhaps I should say they offer a variety of challenges and I think that is the key. I believe that your average club golfer, thats the guy that plays on average once a week, likes a challenge. What likely pisses him off if I'm anything to go by, is challenges which are impossible or just singular challenges like the one I think your talking about. Thats where they reduce the course to a narrow strip.

Niall

Tom_Doak

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 01:49:53 PM »
He obviously didn't give a crap about the same things the magazine raters do.

Tom, I might be missing your point but don't magazine raters come in for quite a bit of stick for placing too much emphasis on intangibles such as ambience, charm, surroundings, a warm welcome etc. and not enough on the design merits of the golf course? So maybe they are not so different to Darwin who talks about the "breadth of the experience"...


Brian:

I can't imagine either Aberdovey or Hoylake doing exceptionally well in any of the current rankings.

Hoylake is a great example of "resistance to scoring", but it's just such a plain-looking course, no frilly bunkers or anything, I can't imagine it being rated much higher than it is.  And Aberdovey is short and blind and quirky and certainly not high on resistance to scoring.  In fact, I just went back to my scorecard file to see how short it is, and discovered that I shot 72 there on my one round, in the spring of 1983 ... so thanks for the memories!!

Bob_Huntley

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 02:52:50 PM »
There is much to like about Darwin and his erudition but more than that, he had a wicked sense of humor to boot.

At the Autumn Meeting at St. Andrews in 19 naught something, he met a fellow member wearing a rather garish tie. He went up to him and said, " I say old chap, is that your old school tie or your own most unfortunate choice?" Loud chuckles all round.

Bob

JC Jones

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 04:07:54 PM »
He obviously didn't give a crap about the same things the magazine raters do.

Tom, I might be missing your point but don't magazine raters come in for quite a bit of stick for placing too much emphasis on intangibles such as ambience, charm, surroundings, a warm welcome etc. and not enough on the design merits of the golf course? So maybe they are not so different to Darwin who talks about the "breadth of the experience"...


Brian:

I can't imagine either Aberdovey or Hoylake doing exceptionally well in any of the current rankings.

Hoylake is a great example of "resistance to scoring", but it's just such a plain-looking course, no frilly bunkers or anything, I can't imagine it being rated much higher than it is.  And Aberdovey is short and blind and quirky and certainly not high on resistance to scoring.  In fact, I just went back to my scorecard file to see how short it is, and discovered that I shot 72 there on my one round, in the spring of 1983 ... so thanks for the memories!!


For a guy who has 35% of the Golfweek Modern Top 10 you sure are fired up about rankings today.
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.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011, 04:23:40 PM »
35%?  Urbina thinks your number is too high, but it's either 40% or less than 30%, depending on how you want to try to dole out credit for the projects I've worked on.


I hope I didn't give the impression that I don't think Hoylake or Aberdovey are WORTHY courses.  I like both of them a lot, and I'd rate them each closer to Darwin's opinion of them than to the average rater's opinion which I was projecting.

JC Jones

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 04:25:34 PM »
Maybe Urbina is fine with the number but Nicklaus isn't..... ;)
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.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 04:31:00 PM »
Coming back to the original post, I think there are two points. One is the recognition that your favourite course and those you view as best need not be the same. For example, my favourite course is Machrihanish; I feel more at home, more in touch with what golf is and should be about, on that course than on any other. But I wouldn't claim it is the best course in the world.

Secondly, in respect of Darwin, I would say that it is unreasonable to expect him, over the course of a writing career that lasted more than fifty years, to be entirely consistent. Also Darwin was, above all else, an enthusiast. He wrote about what he loved, not what he disliked. And when you combine a desire to eulogise with vast output, it's inevitable you will plagiarise yourself after a while.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Darwin
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 04:34:36 PM »
M.

I read those quotes as coming from a writer more than a golfer and/or critic.

Darwin used words so well that I think each one means something important:

So, for example, he says about Aberdovey that his "soul" loved it best of all -- not his mind/intellect, or his ego, or is senses/tastes. I think he might have been suggesting that, at the level of soul, the way a golf course looks or plays or tests or ranks is not (necessarily) that important.

And then about Hoylake, I don't think it's coincidental that he joins the concept of a "warm welcome" with the quality of the golf course -- as if to say that for him the experience of a round of golf and its quality was as closely tied to the nature of the golf club (and the people who comprise it) as it was to the nature of golf course.

Just sentimental guess work...

Peter
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 04:41:46 PM by PPallotta »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 04:45:16 PM »
The amazing thing about Hoylake is that what Darwin wrote about it is still true today.  You would think that people-dependent features would be prone to change over time, but the clubhouse is cozy, the members very warm and welcoming, and they need to be to offset what might otherwise be a fairly desolate golfing experience.

My first two trips there, I was escorted around by John Graham, whose father Allan was the third-best player at the club back in the day -- behind John Ball and Harold Hilton.  I knew that the elder Graham had never won the Amateur Championship, so I asked my host what was his father's career highlight, and he replied, "beating Bobby Jones in the fourth round of the 1921 Amateur, right here at Hoylake."  Well, yes, I guess that was probably it.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Darwin
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2011, 04:54:57 PM »
:)

Yup, Tom, I'd guess that was probably it too.

Those stories are gold.  As I've written to Lorne Rubenstein about the stories he has and sometimes shares, please recognize what you have there, i.e. don't underestimate how much others would enjoy the small personal vignettes.

Peter

BCrosby

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2011, 05:28:59 PM »
Speaking of Hoylake, Anthony Shone wrote a wonderful architectural history that was published last year. Highly recommended.

In keeping with Tom D's post about Hoylake members, Anthony is a delightful and engaging fellow.

I have not played Hoylake, but will make a point of doing so on my next trip.

Bob

David_Tepper

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2011, 06:10:20 PM »
I take Darwin's comments as confirmation that someone's favorite golf course does not have to be a "great" golf course.

Bill_McBride

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2011, 06:15:42 PM »
There is much to like about Darwin and his erudition but more than that, he had a wicked sense of humor to boot.

At the Autumn Meeting at St. Andrews in 19 naught something, he met a fellow member wearing a rather garish tie. He went up to him and said, " I say old chap, is that your old school tie or your own most unfortunate choice?" Loud chuckles all round.

Bob

It's like running into a member from Deal! :)

Sean_A

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2011, 06:29:26 PM »
Yes, I agree with Peter and Adam about what Darwin was saying about Hoylake and Aberdovey.  I am convinced that given enough time all real golfers would take that extra step beyond respect and learn to love Hoylake.  I always get a very fine vibe at Hoylake though I am not at the love stage yet and am unsure if I will get there.  Aberdovey is an entirely different kettle of fish.  It is instantly admirable and that is without seeing 3 or 16.  We all have our own version of what our soul loves best, but it doesn't take much to understand why Aberdovey did it for Darwin.

Ciao    
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 06:51:34 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

jeffwarne

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2011, 06:47:48 PM »
Darwin wrote how Aberdovey was the course his "soul loved best of all courses in the world"--

In Green Memories, 1928 he writes:

"I know no better golf course anywhere in the world, nor one where a warmer welcome waits."

Regarding Hoylake.

Thoughts?

Mike,
In referring to Macamish (now called Otway) Darwin wrote:
"For pure unadulterated fun, I have yet to meet the equal of this course"
I started a thread about this very subject a ways back

No doubt Darwin would've loved "the Goat"
He would've made the traveling squad for my UK/Irish trips of which the most recent includes 4  9 hole courses well under 3000 yards, and two 18's under 6000.

I don't think raters are any worse than the average golfer, in fact I'd say they've gotten far more sophisticated in the past 10 years.
I believe this site has had a lot to do with that.
If I were a rater I'd drive people crazy as I have no objective criteria.
If I love it, I love it. (Portsalon, Goat Hill, Narin and Portnoo, Brora, Pennard)

If I don't, I don't (and chances are good a white suited caddie or large lockers won't improve my evaluation-perhaps a caddie with large Knockers......but i digress)

I really enjoyed Aberdovey-simple, natural,low key,mild quirk--maybe I do have objective criteria.
Made a 2 on 11??  (hooded six iron from 135 into a gale)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 08:28:31 PM by jeffwarne »
"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

Bill_McBride

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Re: Darwin
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2011, 08:40:00 PM »
The amazing thing about Hoylake is that what Darwin wrote about it is still true today.  You would think that people-dependent features would be prone to change over time, but the clubhouse is cozy, the members very warm and welcoming, and they need to be to offset what might otherwise be a fairly desolate golfing experience.

My first two trips there, I was escorted around by John Graham, whose father Allan was the third-best player at the club back in the day -- behind John Ball and Harold Hilton.  I knew that the elder Graham had never won the Amateur Championship, so I asked my host what was his father's career highlight, and he replied, "beating Bobby Jones in the fourth round of the 1921 Amateur, right here at Hoylake."  Well, yes, I guess that was probably it.

To put Bob Jones, Darwin and Hoylake in the same thought, one of my favorite stories from Darwin is about Jones making an eight (or maybe 7) on par 5 #8 from 20 yards in two. Darwin said an elderly lady with a croquet mallet could have done better!

Hoylake is such a special place, great timeless course with devilish stacked sod bunkers and cop out of bounds surrounding the old race track inside the course.   And yes, the members were very welcoming, including a couple who came to the 2006 Buda Cup banquet.

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