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JESII

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2011, 11:50:44 AM »
I always like your metaphor's Peter, I treat them as learning experiences.

Regarding Don's question...why wouldn't an architect build a course like Prestwick? In my own opinion, a shot with some (or total) visual obstruction is inherently better than one without any.

I haven't played Prestwick so I don't know how "quirky" these features are compared to courses I have played. Tom D's comment along the lines of..."we are generally given enough land to avoid the blind shots" is distressing. Is that really a goal?

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2011, 01:06:45 PM »
Jim:

It's good that you are distressed.  Maybe you should go visit Rees Jones or Tom Fazio and explain it to them.

As I said before, necessity is the mother of invention.  I am not at all sure that Old Tom Morris really thought the Alps and the Narrows and the Cardinal's Back were really among the best holes he had designed -- it's too bad he never wrote anything (that I know of) to that effect.  They were just the best he could come up with considering the restrictions of a very tight property.  My guess is, if he'd had 200 acres to work with, there would be less quirk at Prestwick, too.

[And Prestwick's quirkiness is about far more than blind shots, incidentally.  You have never seen a green like the Sea Headrig in your life.]

A lot has been made on this thread about safety, but I don't think it's really about safety.  Safety is important in the modern world, but in this discussion, it is often used as an excuse for architects or clients to steer clear of building some types of holes they really dislike for other reasons.  It's more about today's norms.  There are surely some architects who are all about "fairness" to the point that their work fits Peter's comparison with movie lighting just perfectly.  There are others of us who are not afraid to have a bit of quirk in our designs, yet, we have clients to answer to and it helps us to make our case if there aren't many obvious alternatives for avoiding it [i.e., "Why don't you just put the green over THERE?"].  There has not been an architect immune from that issue since golf architecture started being a profession instead of a hobby, and that right there is probably the biggest difference between then and now.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2011, 01:20:18 PM »
Ally

I agree with everything you wrote except for "can't build".  I would change that to "won't build" and therein lies on of the major differences between classic and modern architecture.  

Ciao  

I'll go with that...

Although the classic era guys wouldn't have built those courses either given today's set of parameters.... So I'd say therin lies the difference between classic and modern golf courses... But not architecture...

Ally

You could be right, but we will never know.  As an interesting exercise we could talk about Prestwick as it has space issues (still today) and blindness/funk issues.  I am curious, with the obvious limitation of land as teh many cross-over holes seem to indicate, why Old Tom went with 12 holes instead of say 9 - which would have involved less cross-over golf?  He didn't seem to have an issue about the lack of space and jammed the holes in.  

Tom

Yes, that is what I have been saying.  Safety is used as an excuse not to create more courses like 100 or so years ago.  That and no matter how much people fawn over funk and intimacy of design, most don't really want to play that week in and week out or so it would seem judging by what has been built.  

I don't know who made the decision to approach Sea Headrig from the "wrong" direction, but it was one of the most creative architectural decisions ever made. For all intents and purposes, that green was land in an original state and nowadays, that green would have been totally revamped (if kept at all) to "face" the "correct" direction and of course that would ruin the hole.    

Ciao    
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 01:25:45 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2011, 07:25:16 PM »
Sean:

I seriously doubt any practicing architect today would recognize the landform of Sea Headrig as a green site and use it.  If anyone would, it would probably have been me, and I doubt I'd have identified it.  And if I had, I wouldn't have reshaped it, but I probably would have looked for a hole that started from further to the left!

Don_Mahaffey

Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2011, 10:00:27 PM »
Peter,
I like your metaphor. I'm not a good writer and I have a problem communicating my thoughts as well as I'd like, but you really nailed it. Thank you.

Tom,
I had a nice long response typed out, but I reconsidered as I was lecturing again, and you don't deserve that from me. I do think you're right with your comment about the norms. But I think your wrong about another architect using a land form like Sea Headrig. Probably not one of your contemporaries, but I think there may be one or two out there who just might surprise you.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 10:07:30 PM by Don_Mahaffey »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2011, 02:18:48 AM »
Sean:

I seriously doubt any practicing architect today would recognize the landform of Sea Headrig as a green site and use it.  If anyone would, it would probably have been me, and I doubt I'd have identified it.  And if I had, I wouldn't have reshaped it, but I probably would have looked for a hole that started from further to the left!

Tom

What I meant was that Sea Headrig was an original hole, but the green was probably much smaller to include only the left side.  Using that plateau to the right at a later date (don't know who expanded the green) was a brilliant idea even if outrageous.  I too wondered why the hole didn't come from the left, but perhaps that was a consequence of jamming 12 holes onto the property. 

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

Grant Saunders

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2011, 03:24:15 AM »
Does anyone have a picture of the Sea Headrig green?

I would be interested to see it having not had the pleasure of playing the course.

I know I have posted this before, but for those interested in a course with land in its original state check out this thread.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,34305.msg688470.html#msg688470

Ian_L

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2011, 03:29:26 AM »
But it's a good metaphor.  To extend it a bit further, a lot of modern baseball stadiums try to imitate some of those old quirks, and most of them fail miserably because there is NO GOOD REASON to justify the ramp in centerfield in Houston, or all the quirky corners of the outfield walls at other stadiums.  They are just random elements introduced by the designer, and at that level, no one wants to accept them.  It's the same in golf architecture ... modern courses get less of a pass for quirk, but they should, because we have lots of ways to avoid it.

If quirk is (or can be) good, why must it be created only out of necessity?

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2011, 04:23:15 AM »

A lot has been made on this thread about safety, but I don't think it's really about safety.  Safety is important in the modern world, but in this discussion, it is often used as an excuse for architects or clients to steer clear of building some types of holes they really dislike for other reasons.  It's more about today's norms. 

I hadn't thought about the safety angle in that way before. Perhaps you are right but it's certainly something that never crossed my mind.

I do agree that today's norms have a lot to do with it though... Going back to what Peter et al said... I've lost count of the number of master plans I've looked at that look so "normal" that I have no interest in seeing the course on the ground - no bunker in an unusual place, no green site placed where you might not expect it, no up and over when you can go through...

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2011, 11:07:08 AM »
But it's a good metaphor.  To extend it a bit further, a lot of modern baseball stadiums try to imitate some of those old quirks, and most of them fail miserably because there is NO GOOD REASON to justify the ramp in centerfield in Houston, or all the quirky corners of the outfield walls at other stadiums.  They are just random elements introduced by the designer, and at that level, no one wants to accept them.  It's the same in golf architecture ... modern courses get less of a pass for quirk, but they should, because we have lots of ways to avoid it.

If quirk is (or can be) good, why must it be created only out of necessity?

Quirk is just not that popular among the average golfer population.  It could easily be created without necessity, but a lot of it would be changed by management, due to golfer complaint, if there was an easy solution to be found.

Just one example would be my 18th green at Cape Kidnappers.  It's in a punchbowl, unlike any of the other greens on the course, and I thought it was really cool for the sake of variety.  But you'll only see the top of the flag if you drive it left of center.  It is a natural feature, but still, the partial blindness [and the fact that you might get a GOOD bounce, of all things] has always befuddled Mr. Robertson, and he's suggested a dozen times that we move the green up to the left where it is more visible and where it would be harder and more straightforward.  And every time some golfer comes along and agrees with Julian, I get another note about it.  If the course were not so highly ranked, I'm sure he would have changed it by now.

Dónal Ó Ceallaigh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2011, 12:20:05 PM »
Sean:

I seriously doubt any practicing architect today would recognize the landform of Sea Headrig as a green site and use it.  If anyone would, it would probably have been me, and I doubt I'd have identified it.  And if I had, I wouldn't have reshaped it, but I probably would have looked for a hole that started from further to the left!

Maybe it's because I was brought up as a Catholic, or that the Irish as a people were endowed with a slight inferiority complex, but when I read a bold statement such as the one above, I can't help but cringe a bit. I come from a generation that reluctantly accepted praise with a shy and embarassed "thank you", but never indulged in the practice of self praise or made boastful statements. We were reminded that "self praise is no praise".

I have no doubt you believe what you wrote, but don't you think it's a very bold statement to make, and one that would better be kept to yourself? I don't know whether to interpret it as a statement of your supreme confidence in your own ability, or as a sign of your lack of appreciation of the skills of your peers withing the industry, or a bit of both.

Or perhaps you just omitted the smileys? :)

I believe the Sea Hedrig hole did play a little more from the left, as it was originally played from the present 3rd green.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Land in its Original State
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2011, 12:34:36 PM »
Donal

Yes, the current SH tee is further right, but the approach is the same as originally.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 31, 2011, 12:36:44 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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