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Sean_A

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Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #100 on: March 26, 2012, 02:13:18 AM »
The concept of minimalism is really a question of balance and what that balance is is largely determined by the site.  We laud what some archies are doing today, but they have the good sense to realize the wheel doesn't need to be re-invented.  The modern minimalism approach isn't much different to what guys like Colt, Park Jr and Fowler did all those years ago.  Where I think things are slightly different then is budgets were generally much smaller for Colt and the gang so their balance tends more toward less shaping, bunkering and general detail than the new gang.  Perhaps the focus of the ODGs was more macro on the hole concept while the New guys have the budgetary luxury to place added emphasis on the micro.  Bottom line, the New Guys give us more eye candy and maybe a better overall cohesiveness including more interesting greens (not sites though).  But the other bottom line is the New Guys have learned and smartly stolen a ton from the ODGs. 

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

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #101 on: March 26, 2012, 09:00:21 AM »
David,

You're a cynic.....but I actually agree with you, as I said a few posts after my initial one.  No doubt the gca who told me he was a minimalist by choice was "glomming on" or simply lamenting that he was not part of a popular movement in his profession.  The news is that minimalism could be used at high end projects in place of what was taking place prior.  And, just as most of us went for "the look" of the 90's, many are now going for the minimalist look.

To all,

I am actually kinda dissapointed.  Really, if there was one entity the world would look to to be able to define minimalism, I suspect this place is it, but we are still kind of vague!

TD and Mike,

I don't disagree on the routing aspect.  That said, I would put my routing ability against anyone's.  I think most of the archies who participate here would do it, too, no?  I just wonder if statistically, we could figure out whose routings minimize earth moving, areas where fw needed to be graded, reduce walks, allow for drainage, etc, as per Mike's list. 

It would even be fascinating to look at say, Faz, and try to determine which courses he followed the land and which ones he ignored it to fix later with earthmoving.  My gut would be that there were more follow the land routings than not, but that Faz still chose to improve nature a little bit with his feature shaping.  At one point, given Faz does pretty naturalistic greens (IMHO) I was always amazed at how much earthmoving he did in fw, and how little he did around most greens!  His greens were very traditionalist at his peak.

Net, net, its pretty hard to judge whose routing work is best, because we will never know the other options (except maybe in open competitions), and each architect might follow the land, and then build non minimalistic features.  Or make different value judgements as to what the minimum amound of work is.

Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #102 on: March 26, 2012, 09:13:39 AM »

I am actually kinda dissapointed.  Really, if there was one entity the world would look to to be able to define minimalism, I suspect this place is it, but we are still kind of vague!


Minimalism: Leaving well enough alone.

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #103 on: March 26, 2012, 09:53:26 AM »
Jeff
I thought Bob's post was pretty solid, including all of Tom's and many others.

Do you think everyones routing abilities are approximately the same?
It sounds as if you are describing a level of professionalism, as if routing was a single criteria like sizing pipe.

Tom inherited a routing from Fazio he was not fond of and it required major fixes to make work.
The Nicklaus group mangled the routing at Sebonack until enough people convinced the owner to hire Tom.
He rerouted the course in a 1/2 day?

I have a routing study I did from afar that I can compare to 3 other architects - there is a huge difference between them.

Cheers
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #104 on: March 26, 2012, 10:43:03 AM »

TD and Mike,

I don't disagree on the routing aspect.  That said, I would put my routing ability against anyone's.  I think most of the archies who participate here would do it, too, no?  I just wonder if statistically, we could figure out whose routings minimize earth moving, areas where fw needed to be graded, reduce walks, allow for drainage, etc, as per Mike's list. 

It would even be fascinating to look at say, Faz, and try to determine which courses he followed the land and which ones he ignored it to fix later with earthmoving.  My gut would be that there were more follow the land routings than not, but that Faz still chose to improve nature a little bit with his feature shaping.  At one point, given Faz does pretty naturalistic greens (IMHO) I was always amazed at how much earthmoving he did in fw, and how little he did around most greens!  His greens were very traditionalist at his peak.

Net, net, its pretty hard to judge whose routing work is best, because we will never know the other options (except maybe in open competitions), and each architect might follow the land, and then build non minimalistic features.  Or make different value judgements as to what the minimum amound of work is.


Jeff:

I will leave it to you to analyze Tom Fazio's routings.  I don't think he is the worst of the big names at routing courses, by any means; I just couldn't agree with his priorities, which for several years seemed to revolve more around hiding the cart paths, than around the golf holes they served.

One of the most fascinating things about this business for me is how differently we all solve the puzzle of routing the golf holes.  When I've seen others' routings for sites I'm familiar with, it just blows me away how different they all are.  If you don't want to make value judgments about who's "better", that's fine, but to insist that we're all the same [except for some nameless guys who aren't as good] seems really strange to me.

I wish they had published all the entries for the Olympic competition.  Even with the clubhouse site fairly fixed by constraints, I know that Gil's plan was pretty different from my own, and I suspect that most of the other submissions were way different than either of ours.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #105 on: March 26, 2012, 10:53:14 AM »
Tom,

We are all different in routing abilities, sometimes I think this board over generalizes about Rees, Faz, etc. and figure they don't even try to look for natural golf holes.  I have seen a few Faz routings that apparently didn't, but many more than follow the land quite nicely.  And as you note, there are those that follow the land, but then grade the fw for cart path access, hiding, etc.  From a minimalist POV, it was a waste of routing skill.

I have usually found that most architects find a few similar holes and then a lot that are a whole lot different.  As you say, its a matter of priorities among architects.  The usual differences are things like favoring hilltops for tees, or ignoring the green to tee walks in favor of putting tees on hilltops, etc.

I think some of the most shocking conversations I have had with architects included statements like "I allocate 3 full days for routing" (not enough IMHO) and "I always end up with a few bad holes, you just can't avoid it" (which usually follows the first statement)  Just giving up with a few bad holes rather than working to fix it, changing your priorities (like going to a par 69-71 rather than 72) and just trying new options seem rather foreign to me, but some architects do it.

I was a bit surprised to see some of Gil's practice holes down by the water, but then, I don't know the site all that well either.  I would bet that most routings figured a way to put more of the championship course down in that area, but again, I don't know.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Mike Tanner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #106 on: March 26, 2012, 01:46:07 PM »
It's been fascinating to see how this thread progressed into a really informative exchange of views. Thanks for all the good stuff on this one. 
Life's too short to waste on bad golf courses or bad wine.

Steve Howe

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #107 on: March 26, 2012, 02:31:39 PM »
I agree, love this thread, much to ponder in every post.

Earlier on, I posted a quote from John Lennon: "a person shouldn't believe in an 'ism', they should believe in the themselves'. It sounds a bit flippant, but I think it gets right to the heart of the matter, particularly in regard to architects paying lip-service to minimalism. An 'ism' is a set mode of thought, idealogy or philosophy. And that's fine, as a label. The self-belief being alluded to in the quote has nothing to do with arrogance or conceit; it's about introspection and a search for truth. If a person - by thought, study, imagination and dedication - comes to hold a set of values that they believe to be true, that is something of genuine worth. If enough others believe it (or others believe it enough) then it may become an 'ism'. There's nothing wrong in a person believing in an 'ism', as long as they went throught the same introspection and came to the same (or similar) conclusions to the originators.

I think minimalism can be defined as 'an elegant solution to a problem' or 'elegant problem-solving'. It's a great word, elegance. Implicit in it's meaning is simplicity, beauty and function. The 'problem' faced by gca is routing 18 holes over a piece of land. A minimalist solution to this problem is one that is simple (minimal construction/disturbance), beautiful (in harmony with nature) and functional (it's a golf course - it has to be fun :))

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Can we change Minimalism to Naturalism?
« Reply #108 on: March 26, 2012, 02:35:34 PM »
I agree, love this thread, much to ponder in every post.

Earlier on, I posted a quote from John Lennon: "a person shouldn't believe in an 'ism', they should believe in the themselves'. It sounds a bit flippant, but I think it gets right to the heart of the matter, particularly in regard to architects paying lip-service to minimalism. An 'ism' is a set mode of thought, idealogy or philosophy. And that's fine, as a label. The self-belief being alluded to in the quote has nothing to do with arrogance or conceit; it's about introspection and a search for truth. If a person - by thought, study, imagination and dedication - comes to hold a set of values that they believe to be true, that is something of genuine worth. If enough others believe it (or others believe it enough) then it may become an 'ism'. There's nothing wrong in a person believing in an 'ism', as long as they went throught the same introspection and came to the same (or similar) conclusions to the originators.

I think minimalism can be defined as 'an elegant solution to a problem' or 'elegant problem-solving'. It's a great word, elegance. Implicit in it's meaning is simplicity, beauty and function. The 'problem' faced by gca is routing 18 holes over a piece of land. A minimalist solution to this problem is one that is simple (minimal construction/disturbance), beautiful (in harmony with nature) and functional (it's a golf course - it has to be fun :))

Steve:

Great post.  My only addition to your thoughts would be to say that I think beauty and function are intrinsically linked.  There's beauty in a design that creates strategy, or choices, or whatever we're calling it these days.

Sven
"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

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