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Thomas Dai

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2024, 03:03:26 PM »
Tempted to say machinery.
Lovely gentle, smooth, subtle natural looking features made by men with hand tools and/or men using horse drawn scoops and the like versus features made by relatively powerful yet unsophisticatedly controlled machines.
Atb

Adam Lawrence

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2024, 03:33:35 PM »
Self-evidently machinery _isn't_ the answer, because all the wonderful courses of the last thirty years have been built with machinery. It's true that, as Joe said, people had to learn how to use the machinery to produce artistic work, and you can argue that took time. But it clearly isn't the machinery per se.

I did an article for a magazine late last year about the transformation of golf design over the last thirty years, and interviewed Bill Coore for it. Bill came up with a distinction I hadn't heard before, at least not in the terms he used it: the difference between demographically-driven and site-driven development. In the Golden Age, courses could be both, because there were enough great sites available where people lived or wanted to live, but eventually those sites were used up. There simply wasn't much great land available near large cities, and so development became about getting something out of less than ideal sites.

Obviously that all changed with Sand Hills. The great courses of the last thirty years took three things to happen: visionary developers who were prepared to take a punt, architects ready to re-embrace Golden Age principles, and (possibly most importantly) enough wealthy golfers to make them viable. Wealth is the fundamental reason that the second Golden Age has been possible.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2024, 03:36:23 PM by Adam Lawrence »
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.

Charlie Goerges

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2024, 04:07:21 PM »
Wealth is the fundamental reason that the second Golden Age has been possible.


It's probably the reason the first golden age was possible too.
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

Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2024, 04:11:09 PM »
DEFINITELY money or lack there of after the depression. 

Essentially every great course since then has been a result of money even Sand Hills.  While the actual course might have been very inexpensive to build it needed major financial backing to pull off the entire site/infrastructure/remote course concept.  And even at all the top remodeling/restorations being done since the Golden Age they are the result of major funding.  All those that get attention and make the top lists are fueled by money as you don’t make any lists with mid six figure budgets to redo an entire course when other courses/clubs are spending eight figures. 

Nothing at all against those doing the work and those clubs/courses willing to shell out the money but there is only so much you can do and the talent you can hire with a $1MM budget vs $10MM+.  It is not rocket science. 

Ask Baltusrol to restore their Lower or Upper course for $1MM or a course like Yale to do the same and they might ask you which hole  ;D

Thomas Dai

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2024, 04:14:06 PM »


These seemed to do a pretty decent job and did much of it during the economic depression of the late 1920's/early 1930's.
atb
« Last Edit: July 16, 2024, 04:18:05 PM by Thomas Dai »

Jim Sherma

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2024, 04:16:40 PM »
Wealth is the fundamental reason that the second Golden Age has been possible.


It's probably the reason the first golden age was possible too.


High income and wealth disparity - the wealthy can afford all the bells and whistles. After WW2 and through the 50's the US had a much flattened income distribution. The average CEO earned 8-10X the average employee. Pre-depression and Post-Reagan that number is in the 100's. Dark-Age bunkers looked the way they did because of cost-constraints that drove the construction methods.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2024, 04:27:42 PM »
Wealth is the fundamental reason that the second Golden Age has been possible.


It's probably the reason the first golden age was possible too.


High income and wealth disparity - the wealthy can afford all the bells and whistles. After WW2 and through the 50's the US had a much flattened income distribution. The average CEO earned 8-10X the average employee. Pre-depression and Post-Reagan that number is in the 100's. Dark-Age bunkers looked the way they did because of cost-constraints that drove the construction methods.


Yes. I think this is fundamentally correct.
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.

JC Urbina

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2024, 05:14:12 PM »
And If I May Add One Other Thing,  As Pete learned that Bulldozers and Shapers were his paint brush,


Max Behr Felt this way.


" The medium of the artist is paint, and he becomes its master; but the medium of the golf architect is the surface over the earth which the forces of nature are alone the master"



Each had a paint brush which was used in different manners.


Ronald Montesano

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2024, 05:26:37 PM »
1. Less good land available near metro areas. Destination golf was 60 years off, in the the future;

2. RTJ SR (or perhaps, his wife's) ego. He wanted to humiliate the touring pro (and triple-humilliate the average golfer);

3. There were acolytes of the golden-age greats, but they weren't as great. It's difficult to match a master, much less surpass her/him/them;

4. American society began to value homogenization, streamlining, sameness, as Sputnik and Cold War caused us to be more scientific, but not in the way that Raynor put it in the ground;
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Mike Hendren

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2024, 05:34:30 PM »
From a residential construction perspective the Craftsman period - roughly 1900 to 1930 was followed by the Ranch period from, say 1945 to 1970.  Any correlation?  Taste? Cost? Efficiency? Suburbanism?
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Steven Wade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2024, 05:54:36 PM »
From a residential construction perspective the Craftsman period - roughly 1900 to 1930 was followed by the Ranch period from, say 1945 to 1970.  Any correlation?  Taste? Cost? Efficiency? Suburbanism?


I was sort of attempting to breach this in my original post. I live in an old neighborhood full of stone homes from a bygone era. Each are different and have plenty of character. If you drive a few miles down the road you’ll see the smaller, more uniform post-war housing. I wonder if golf followed the same trajectory? The time between the world wars was one of craftspeople and artisans, after WW2 it became more about quick, repeatable answers to the questions asked of the emerging world superpower?

David Kelly

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2024, 07:51:24 PM »
Southern California made it through the Depression better than the rest of the country, however, the tremendous population growth of the post-WWII era caused the cities, suburbs and freeways to overrun the golf courses, leading to the demise of a lot of classic designs by Thomas, Bell, Watson, Dunn,  Behr and others.


Daniel Wexler covered it well in his two books about defunct courses. Such highly thought-of courses as Fox Hills (36), El Caballero, Royal Palms (actually a Depression victim of the 30s), Sunset Fields (36), Pasadena Golf Club, Midwick, California CC, Inglewood, Flintridge, Lake Norconian, and others were swallowed up in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Jim Hoak

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2024, 11:49:47 AM »
I'm not sure that this is directly responsive to the question posed, but it seems to me that there is one overriding factor in the change in golf course architecture after WWII--the use of a golf course as an amenity to a real-estate development, especially for second, vacation homes. 
This use of a golf course to sell lots led to a massive change in architecture styles--beauty over strategy, emphasis on "pretty" to make lot sales attractive, large number of tees to appeal to golfers (men and women) of varying abilities, cart golf, etc. 

Sven Nilsen

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2024, 01:51:44 PM »
How many courses were built in Levittown?


The Depression slowed down the Golden Age, but the sensibilities of the era were still there.  America was fundamentally changed by the war.  Priorities were different, people were busy raising young families and the excesses of the 20’s were well in the past.
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2024, 02:00:01 PM »
I've said this before, but the big reason architecture changed was that after decades of Depression and World War II, Americans (at least) wanted to express themselves with a new style and repudiate most or all that was done in the decades before.  They perhaps desperately wanted a new style in design (as reflected in many other design fields).


Of course, all the other factors mentioned played into that. Add in that old Simpson's take on life....maybe it's just a whole lot of things that happened.


One was the one cultural facet America made its own: convenience.  While some gca was affected by tournaments (i.e., Jones and Oakland Hills), for the most part, the biggest distance issue was the distance from your front door to the first tee.



Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Mike Worth

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2024, 02:22:49 PM »
Something one of my grad school professors talked about a lot was that the blandness and conformity of the 50s was a subconscious cultural reaction to the horrors of World War II.


This manifests itself in many areas –like the design and construction of new buildings, TV and movies of the era, and perhaps we can add golf course architecture to the list.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2024, 02:25:50 PM by Mike Worth »

Tom_Doak

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2024, 03:17:27 PM »

Not to stray away from what Killed the Golden Age, I think what Joel said is important.

Joel is absolutely 100 percent correct.  Pete valued the shaper and his bulldozer more than anyone else in the modern era.  Between World War II and Pete Dye, other designers were trying to use plans to help them with the modern era of design.


Pete Dye changed that.


Just as Pete found shapers who could be creative, George Thomas Jr found people he could trust.


From the book Golf Architecture in America -  " So greens were built in those times by rule of thumb, with farm hands to move the soil; and many of them had never seen a golf shot played.  yet even among those raw tillers we found ever so often just as we do today, a man who is an artist.  During the last few years I have had three men of this type turn up.  One was an old Irishman in the crew at Los Angels Municipal course, another a young cowboy from Arizona and lately a ranchman from Utah built some lovely bunkers"


Pete like George Thomas and many of the Golden Age designers found people who were artists and helped the famous Designers of that era, design and build some of the greatest golf courses ever.


Nice try, but did Pete Dye ever put a shaper on his payroll?  He absolutely valued guys who could help build a course, instead of contributing pretty plans or “ideas,” but he was wary of guys who thought they knew something, and content to work with all kinds of different people over his long career.  I think his favorite guys were probably the hand laborers in the Dominican Republic.


Superstar shapers are very much a product of the last 30 years, with mixed results.

Wayne_Kozun

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2024, 09:00:50 AM »
Nice try, but did Pete Dye ever put a shaper on his payroll?  He absolutely valued guys who could help build a course, instead of contributing pretty plans or “ideas,” but he was wary of guys who thought they knew something, and content to work with all kinds of different people over his long career.  I think his favorite guys were probably the hand laborers in the Dominican Republic.

Superstar shapers are very much a product of the last 30 years, with mixed results.
Didn't Rod Whitman get his start working for Pete Dye as a shaper?

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2024, 11:18:03 AM »

Didn't Rod Whitman get his start working for Pete Dye as a shaper?


Wayne:


Yes and no.  Rod started out working for Bill Coore at Waterwood National GC in Texas, which Pete's brother had done.  I don't think he shaped the original course, but worked on the crew afterward when Bill made refinements.


Bill recommended Rod to Pete as project manager for Austin Golf Club, and then he came to work for Perry Dye at Glenmoor in Denver, while I was working on Riverdale Dunes.  On both projects, Rod did get on the bulldozer a fair bit, but he wasn't just a shaper.  And he was never on payroll for Pete . . . none of us were, although I did get a check from him once.  It was Perry Dye who started running a payroll when he got busy.  Pete didn't want the hassle of employees.


I'm not sure how many other projects he did with Pete or with Perry, but he bounced back and forth between them and his solo projects in Alberta for a while.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2024, 12:23:50 PM »

Didn't Rod Whitman get his start working for Pete Dye as a shaper?


Wayne:


Yes and no.  Rod started out working for Bill Coore at Waterwood National GC in Texas, which Pete's brother had done.  I don't think he shaped the original course, but worked on the crew afterward when Bill made refinements.


Bill recommended Rod to Pete as project manager for Austin Golf Club, and then he came to work for Perry Dye at Glenmoor in Denver, while I was working on Riverdale Dunes.  On both projects, Rod did get on the bulldozer a fair bit, but he wasn't just a shaper.  And he was never on payroll for Pete . . . none of us were, although I did get a check from him once.  It was Perry Dye who started running a payroll when he got busy.  Pete didn't want the hassle of employees.


I'm not sure how many other projects he did with Pete or with Perry, but he bounced back and forth between them and his solo projects in Alberta for a while.


Tom,


Interesting post. Sounds like you are saying that most of your time working for Pete Dye was as an unpaid intern.


Do I get understand this correctly? Did you consider the opportunity and learning experience to be what mattered, not some minimal direct financial compensation?


Tim
Tim Weiman

Adam Lawrence

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Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2024, 12:57:49 PM »

Didn't Rod Whitman get his start working for Pete Dye as a shaper?


Wayne:


Yes and no.  Rod started out working for Bill Coore at Waterwood National GC in Texas, which Pete's brother had done.  I don't think he shaped the original course, but worked on the crew afterward when Bill made refinements.


Bill recommended Rod to Pete as project manager for Austin Golf Club, and then he came to work for Perry Dye at Glenmoor in Denver, while I was working on Riverdale Dunes.  On both projects, Rod did get on the bulldozer a fair bit, but he wasn't just a shaper.  And he was never on payroll for Pete . . . none of us were, although I did get a check from him once.  It was Perry Dye who started running a payroll when he got busy.  Pete didn't want the hassle of employees.


I'm not sure how many other projects he did with Pete or with Perry, but he bounced back and forth between them and his solo projects in Alberta for a while.


Tom,


Interesting post. Sounds like you are saying that most of your time working for Pete Dye was as an unpaid intern.

Do I get understand this correctly? Did you consider the opportunity and learning experience to be what mattered, not some minimal direct financial compensation?

Tim


I’m pretty certain that the way Pete worked was that people who were doing what Tom was doing were on the client’s payroll, not his.
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.

Mike Bodo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: What Killed the Golden Age?
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2024, 05:11:32 PM »
1. Less good land available near metro areas. Destination golf was 60 years off, in the the future;

2. RTJ SR (or perhaps, his wife's) ego. He wanted to humiliate the touring pro (and triple-humilliate the average golfer);

3. There were acolytes of the golden-age greats, but they weren't as great. It's difficult to match a master, much less surpass her/him/them;

4. American society began to value homogenization, streamlining, sameness, as Sputnik and Cold War caused us to be more scientific, but not in the way that Raynor put it in the ground;


All very good points! To your last one, when I look at the list of the founding fathers of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1946 (right after the conclusion of WWII) the vast majority were either from or traced their lineage to the Golden Age era. Problem was, most of those guys were in their sunset years and would soon pass on, i.e. Donald Ross (1948), his protege, J.B. McGovern (1954), Perry Maxwell (1952) and William Bell (1953). I think RTJ's influence over the asscoiations direction and golf course architecture in general can't be ubnderstaed, as he became "the guy" in the 1950's and 1960's the elite clubs turned to to bullet proof their course. This ushered in the "penal era" of golf course architecture and the beginning of the dark age. This transitioned to  the pretty, but uninspiring, residential course boom in the late 60's, 70's and 80's, when those with affluence fled urban cities in pursuit of the suburban dream. You could slowly see the pendulum swinging back in the 90's, which led to the current period we are in. How long this lasts is anyone's guess, but there is so much good, young talent out there who have had time to develop and hone their skills under the likes of Tom Doak, Coore and Crenshaw and others, that the bench is deep and there isn't a design style that dominates above the rest.
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

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