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Tony Ristola

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A Philosophical Chestnut
« on: March 15, 2012, 03:53:15 PM »
Here is one for the tree house to mull over.

You have an architect who is fairly well known. His course “X” was built 15-years after WWII on a fine rolling piece of sandy property. The strategy plan is well conceived, and the plans clearly illustrate bunker clusters with ragged capes and bays, but the course, developed with an inexperienced crew using heavy equipment failed to build in these details.

You are the architect asked to “restore” this course. What would you do? Interpret the original plans, or rebuild what existed after opening day?

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2012, 04:47:04 PM »
I would take the best of the interpretations and what was built and make sure it is sustainable.
I'd consider other ideas to present when appropriate as well.
Good luck
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Anthony Gray

Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 04:55:18 PM »

  Put your own signature on it.



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Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 05:15:18 PM »

Interesting. In general, most courses restore to either opening, or to the courses design highpoint (like merion in 1930 rather than at opening.)

So what if the design high point was on the drafting board, never to achieve its real potential.

If costs were no object, my first inclination would be to restore it to the architects plans.  Some plans get changed for the worse after 20 years, others get changed for the worse right off the bat.  Why should timing matter?
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Ian Andrew

Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 05:51:35 PM »
This whole subject of what was and what is now is very though provoking. The decision is not black and white for me under the circumstance you describe.

We (with my former employer) interviewed for a Colt course here in Toronto a number of years back where our proposal was to put back the ragged edges and sand faces described clearly in his bunker building instructions for the club. It was a bit of a no-brainer since Charles Alison had commented on the lack of detailing and how they could be improved in a later report to the club.

We missed out on the work for a variety of reasons that I don't care to share here. It is one of the funnier stories I have shared with a few friends, but not on a public forum. They choose Hawtree and now it has capes and bays and noses unlike anything I have ever been able to find in Colt's work elsewhere. At least they stopped calling it a restoration after some criticism.

The Muirfield image on the other thread is a great one. There are other good details around in the older magazines too.


  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 07:45:52 PM »

I don't think I've ever tackled a project quite like the one you describe.

In general, I tend to want to restore courses to the way the architect built them, rather than to plans or to my own ideas of what was right.  That approach certainly has the advantage of avoiding disagreements about the details of the work.  However, I don't believe that all courses are worthy of restoration ... only the best of them.  If I really felt that the course was not well executed in construction and is not a suitable example of the architect's work, then I would recommend either building what was planned, or my own ideas, depending on the case at hand.

Of course, as a consulting architect, our role is only to make recommendations; it's ultimately up to the club to decide what path to pursue.

Bart Bradley

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Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 07:52:16 PM »

I am living this example as we speak.  Our course built in the 60s NEVER was built to the original plans.  Now, the course has changed from its original construction in ways that are good and bad.  The original design is not perfect, the original construction not good at all and the current pretty darn good in places...but could certainly be better.  We do not want the original construction and truthfully don't want the original plans but don't want to entirely lose our heritage either.  Complex and confusing, even for our fabulous architect.

Good luck,

« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 09:02:19 PM by Bart Bradley »


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Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 08:40:36 PM »
Tony, you state that the strategy plan is well conceived, indicating you think the bunker placements are still relevant, and are not in need of relocation.  You indicate that the bunker clusters on the original drawings were perhaps ham-handed and simplified, indicating to me that rather than a cluster of bunkers with interesting capes and bays, along with some turf that separates the clustered Bs, that some version of large singular amoeba style have been in place through the clubs history.

So, I'd ask how much it would cost for you to have some competent sketch artist do some representations of how you believe the bunkers with the architects original drawn intent as you see them on the original plans, might look if restored to that rugged lip, cape and bay style. 

Then query the members or powers that be/ users of the facility and see if that is really their preference with the new look. 

Going from the more clean, sterile bunker look of one large amoeba, to an intricate and more dicey next shot potential if you ball goes there with some turf between Bs and long grass lips, etc.,  may be too much change for the users to support. 

So, doing everything available in your consultations with the users/powers that be to make them aware of the way the original intent look and play may appear, is the first effort I'd make.

But, if you do end up doing a good restoration to the original intent, even if it was never actually built before, would require one to still make clear the original archie has the attribution, IMO.
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.

Tony Ristola

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Re: A Philosophical Chestnut
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 03:59:49 AM »
All interesting input; won't put in my ten cents so others can chime in, except to answer a couple points from RJ:

The strategy plan is good, but as one would expect from a course built back then, it doesn't suit the better players as well as it once had. Today they'd blast it over most of the stuff. That said, the strategy plan works for 99+% of the golfers and thus would be left alone. Only here or there would I add think of adding something in the manner of the original architect, or build some new back tees to bring existing features into play again.

The intent would be to restore this architect's work to his philosophy.


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