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Sean_A

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2011, 05:39:31 PM »
I'm not sure I understand what is subtle architecture. What are some well known examples of subtle architecture? What is the opposite of subtle architecture?

Tommy Mac

For me subte architecture is stuff like few bunkers used as road maps/framing (Dr Mac was very unsubtle in many cases), fairways bleeding into greens creating depth perception issues (Woodhall Spa does this very well), using minimal contours to create the interest, frint to back greens.  Its more or less a hands off approach by the archie on land that may not be suggestive as a good hole for those wanting to be led around.  I always point to Burnham's 7th as a great example of subtle architecture.  Woking's 17th is another great example.  Often subtle architecture is dismissed because it doesn't usually titilate the senses, but if done well and in the right parts of a round subte stuff can lift a course to better heights. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

BCrosby

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2011, 06:37:05 PM »
Bob you have to drive extremely well to score at RStG. Distance is required on 1, 4, 7, 13, 15 & 18. Pin point accuracy on 2, 5, 8, 9, 12 & 17. The only straight forward drives are 10 and 14 (if you exclude the tight OOB!). There is little opportunity to score well if you aren't driving well.

Hoylake maybe the north England R&A outpost (RStG is in the south) but like Hillside I just didn't get the hype. I need another visit!

Mark - That's close to my memory of RStG from several years ago.

My question, however, had a slightly different aim. I was wondering if referring to RStG as a "driving course" is a subtle dig. Low's quote from about 1905 suggests that it was not one of his favorites. Mostly because, he seems to say, if you drove it in the fw, the only remaining issue was how well you putted. Low distinguished TOC and Hoyklake as being more strategic (though he wouldn't have used that word).

So to come back round to my point, I was wondering if modern references to RStG as a "driving course" have a similar subtext. That is, should the phrase be understood to mean that RStG is not as strategic as a number of other Open venues.

Bob     

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2011, 11:52:04 PM »
Bob, Is it a dig to say you can bomb it anywhere off the tee?

Here's a pic from Shaq's site capturing the shot pattern of the field on the 419 yard 5th hole
It certainly appears that one could decide how to play the hole in a much wider spectrum than what typical golfers expect from their golf courses.



Is that a bad thing? I'd say no.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2011, 11:54:02 PM by Adam Clayman »
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Matt Kardash

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2011, 12:22:43 AM »
I also would like to know what subtle is, because I am not sure what subtle really is. Is it C&C and Doak? Because if it is I can tell you right now that I do not think their work is exactly subtle. If anything it is pretty damn dramatic! I don't think moving less than a certain number of cubic meters of dirt = subtle. I hope that isn't what we are talking about.

To me subtle is like that 2 foot tall change in elevation in front of the 10th green at The Golf Club.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 12:28:06 AM by matt kardash »
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2011, 12:32:05 AM »
Matt, In the context of how I meant it, the lower holes at Colorado GC. are subtle to me because they didn't create one feature that sticks out by going against the flow of the natural grade. Riviera, was like that throughout, before some changes. It's less to do with how much dirt is moved and more with to do with how well it fits the land it occupies. One could even consider how Raynor tied in his features as subtle. Or more current, how the team at CommonGround made their features blend subtly with the grade on that site.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 12:33:45 AM by Adam Clayman »
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Matt Kardash

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2011, 12:40:49 AM »
Adam,
So basically you are saying that subtle means it looks like it fits into the landscape well? That's all well and good but most of the times I still think the results end up being kind of dramatic. Dramatic in the sense of how the hole plays. Very rarely do I see a golf course and I think "wow, this is really subtle". I guess my definiftion or take on it is slightly skewed.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 12:55:52 AM by matt kardash »
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2011, 07:26:01 AM »
Matt. I suppose it all depends on the ground chosen. In '03 on the NM gca officiakky sanctioned trip, to a man, at Black Mesa,  everyone appreciated the dramatic ground Baxter chose, but, also looked out at the subtler ground south of the back nine. It was just a natural feeling that a different designer could create a wonderful course on the less dramatic. Hopefully someday soonn we'll find out.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2011, 07:29:06 AM »
Also, I believe its better because it causes the player to be more aware. More in tune with the land.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Kyle Harris

Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2011, 07:41:48 AM »
Why must the two choices be mutually exclusive?

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2011, 07:54:26 AM »
Their not. As has been said a few times in this thread, a coexistent is not only possible, but, may even be desired.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

BCrosby

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2011, 08:34:34 AM »
Adam -

The 'dig' about RStG is not my dig. I'm trying to unpack what people mean when they call it is a 'driving' course. I have long suspected that there was something going on behind the curtain. Low's quote, circa 1905, suggests that he thought RStG was, circa 1905, a 'driving course' and for that reason didn't think it was as interesting as Hoylake or TOC.

My question is whether others, when calling it a 'driving course' over the years since, mean to convey the same sort of criticism contained in Low's quote?

I love RStG. It does, however, play a bit more narrowly than most of the great links courses. The 5th notwithstanding. For that reason, I'd guess that RStG usually plays harder for the bogey golfer than TOC or Deal or NB or Hoylake. But that's ok. That's part of what distinguishes the course. The other thing that distinguishes RStG is a really cool dining room.  ;)

On the subtlety thing, I have no idea how to define 'subtle' other than as was done at the beginning of this thread. Subtle features are those that don't show up well in photographs. I don't think the term is meant to carry any heavy metaphysical baggage.

Bob  

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2011, 09:36:39 AM »
Bob, et al, Another interesting aspect of creating the more subtle, is the restraint the archie exhibits. Reminds me of Fazio's line to Wynn when he said if he designed the way he (and others) wanted, he and the golfer would be burnt out by the 4th hole.

If anyone can build a hard golf course, can anyone also build dramatic golf courses? Therefore, the restraint associated with subtler, shows a more thoughtful attempt. Just thinking out loud.

 I don't have the answers, and, while I sense there's no reason to say one is better than the other, however, variety should always trump repetitive. A form of the BWT.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Matt Kardash

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2011, 11:31:09 AM »
I don't know what it is about me but I just find this whole line of thinking to be silly. Do you honestly think there was more thought behind a "subtle" course  than say, TPC Sawgrass?
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2011, 12:11:16 PM »
Matt - In a word Yes, tell me the options on the 17th at Sawgrass?
Cave Nil Vino

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2011, 04:23:15 PM »
I'm not sure I understand what is subtle architecture. What are some well known examples of subtle architecture? What is the opposite of subtle architecture?

Subtle is being able to use a 2 foot contour to the same effect as someone else might use a 10 foot contour.

Kyle Harris

Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2011, 06:04:36 PM »
I'm not sure I understand what is subtle architecture. What are some well known examples of subtle architecture? What is the opposite of subtle architecture?

Subtle is being able to use a 2 foot contour to the same effect as someone else might use a 10 foot contour.

Isn't this as much maintenance driven as it is architecture?

Peter Pallotta

Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2011, 08:05:34 PM »
A chair that all people (fat and skinny and young and old) can sit on comfortably is serving its main function, and in that utility is an example of good design.  If that chair can be made inexpensively, it becomes as well an example of efficient design.  And if that good and efficient chair lacks all extraneous and unnecessary ornamentation, it becomes (almost by definition) a more beautiful chair.  Utility, efficiency, beauty -- what more can you want?  So, it is not that simplicity is better, it's just that simplicity is as good as it gets. And so is subtlety, if by subtlety one means simplicity.  

Peter
« Last Edit: July 17, 2011, 08:14:25 PM by PPallotta »

Mac Plumart

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2011, 08:41:52 PM »
I've been away for a few days, sorry I missed this thread...great stuff!!!

I LOVE this topic...I think about it a lot.

I think I'm with Andy on a lot of this.  Is subtle better than dramatic/obvious?  Depends on your preference.  Tom D's client in Myrtle Beach seemed not to prefer subtle.  Why?  He needed something to sell his potential customers.  He needed the sizzle that dramatic brings to the table.  He needed feature like 17 at Sawgrass to "wow" the players.  And like has been said, one time resort players probably want that.  Subtle?  Pfftt...they'll probably never play the course more than once and/or one way.

I think this highlights the importance of the "type" of course and which type of architecture is appropriate for specific types.  Pinehurst #2 gets ripped by some players, but is beloved by others.  Why?  I'd say subtle strategies, especially on how to approach greens.  #2 is freakin' amazing (especially now), but it doesn't have WOW factor (well, it kind of does now...but not last year).  And people yawn about it.  BUT take the time to play it again and again...and you'll notice a few things.  But is this what the typical resort owner wants or do they want 17 at Sawgrass?  9 (?) at Coeue d'Alene and its "wow" green? 

And do you want any of this at your average everyday muni course?  Or do you want a way to move around the mid to high handicapper quickly and have the maintenance be reasonable, so the owner can make a profit.

Now on the private clubs that people are going to play over and over and over...I'd say you HAVE to have subtle and interesting architecture with multiple ways to play a hole.

Bottom line IMO, the type of course dictates the type of architecture that is preferable.

 

Now some questions...

Is 10 at Riviera subtle?  I've never played it, but how obvious is it that the green opens up if you play it out left?  How "obvious" and/or compelling is the shot directly at the green?

What are some other examples of subtle architecture?  Riviera 10?  Attack angles at Pinehurst #2.  Every hole at The Old Course!!  Attack angles at Seminole. (hey that is two Ross' with subtle architecture regarding attack angles, hmmm...). 
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Matt Kardash

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #43 on: July 17, 2011, 09:14:21 PM »
Matt - In a word Yes, tell me the options on the 17th at Sawgrass?

Just to let you know your statement is not fair at all. Using the 17th hole to represent the TPC's essence is like using the 6th green at Riviera to represent the course's green complexes.
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2011, 05:01:59 AM »
I'm not sure I understand what is subtle architecture. What are some well known examples of subtle architecture? What is the opposite of subtle architecture?

Subtle is being able to use a 2 foot contour to the same effect as someone else might use a 10 foot contour.

Isn't this as much maintenance driven as it is architecture?

Not the way I mean it.... Perhaps the way you interpret it?

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2011, 07:24:06 AM »
Matt - 3 carry over water and sand, 4 green tight to water, 11 carry over sand and water, 16 green tight to water, 18 water all the way down the left.
Cave Nil Vino

Matt Kardash

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2011, 07:32:11 AM »
Matt - 3 carry over water and sand, 4 green tight to water, 11 carry over sand and water, 16 green tight to water, 18 water all the way down the left.

And your point? That there is water on the golf course?  ???
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Tim Martin

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #47 on: July 18, 2011, 08:21:35 AM »
Matt - 3 carry over water and sand, 4 green tight to water, 11 carry over sand and water, 16 green tight to water, 18 water all the way down the left.

Water and "subtle" are mutually exclusive?

George Pazin

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2011, 11:16:12 AM »
Matt - 3 carry over water and sand, 4 green tight to water, 11 carry over sand and water, 16 green tight to water, 18 water all the way down the left.

Water and "subtle" are mutually exclusive?

They are in my book, generally speaking of course. (I'm sure someone can think of a contrary example of it out there, but I can't.)

To me, subtle is using less obvious features to defend a hole. The sort of thing that a one time player might completely miss, but that would get a regular player - or observant one-time player - thinking.

Gotta take a call, more later.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Adam Clayman

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Re: Why Subtle is Better?
« Reply #49 on: July 18, 2011, 12:28:03 PM »
Mac, While you are correct that there's a divergence between the private and public challenges. But should their be, if we are interested in analyzing and opining on the best courses?

Using the "masses" or public golfer as a barometer for what's critically "the best" is probably not going to float the boats of most of the well travelled, highly opinionated posters on gca. But, It is important for us as students to highlight public courses where the masses could experience the elements that make a great course. The irony is, that the maintenance meld is usually critical to a courses greatness shinning and when a great, or subtle design is created, it usually is the victim of the complaint's from the masses about not being able to do things, because the ball won't stick right where they think it should stick.

This disfunction (Augusta syndrome) is holding back the sport's popularity, because it dumbs the gca down for the public golfer imo.

p.s. I'm sure privates are not immune.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

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