News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Ted Sturges

  • Karma: +0/-0
How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« on: July 18, 2013, 11:21:23 AM »
The work of Mike Strantz is very interesting to me.  Take Tobacco Road for example. As many people hate it as love it.  I played his first course (Caledonia) and really liked it.  Since then, I have played True Blue, have seen but not played Bulls Bay, played Tobacco Road, Stonehouse, Royal New Kent, and the Shore Course at MPCC.  I honestly like a great deal of what he has built, but there are holes on many of his courses that turn me off.

His designs were bold, artistic, "wide" (he definitely used width as a design feature to a degree few of his peers have), yet his designs were sometimes over the top.  For example, after really enjoying a lot of what I saw at Royal New Kent, I was dumbfounded to get to the 18th hole and see a waterfall feature, which didn't match the rest of the course at all (perhaps that was forced upon him by the owners?).

What do you all think of the work of Mr. Strantz?  Is his work revered here, or not?  What are your thoughts on the courses of Mike Strantz?

TS

Jud_T

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 11:29:06 AM »
He's the Brussel Sprouts of GCA: you either love him or hate him.  Personally I'm not a huge fan.
Golf is a game. We play it. Somewhere along the way we took the fun out of it and charged a premium to be punished.- - Ron Sirak

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 11:50:42 AM »
I sat opposite two architects in Stockholm recently (both posters on here in their time) and listened to both of them - rather emotionally (drink was had) - give me an hour long lesson in how and why they revered Mike Strantz above all other architects, alive or dead.

I haven't seen any of his work in person but would certainly like to some day.

Mac Plumart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 12:00:24 PM »
His courses are 'must sees' for architecture students.

I, personally, don't enjoy his courses that much.  But some of his individual golf holes are beyond epic and very good.  But regardless, I truly believe people need to see his courses and holes, as I think his style and art is truly unique in the world of golf course architecture.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 12:28:37 PM »
I think I have been lucky to have played his courses that are more highly regarded and missed the ones not as well thought of - although I am sure there are many who really like Royal New Kent, Stonehouse, and the one with all the rocks near Pinehurst.

I have played Caledonia, True Blue, Tobacco Road and Monterey Peninsula's Shore course.

Each of those has been a work of art as well as great fun to play.  I've seen his sketches for MPCC, each is a beautiful rendition of his vision of each hole, and more importantly, the final result looks just like those visionary sketches.

I think the underlying common thread with his courses is that they look much more difficult than they play.  He was a genius at disguising the width of a fairway with a berm or a bunker lip or a ridge line.

It's such a shame that he died so early, as he was truly a genius.

With regard to Tobacco Road and Stranz's influence on design, it's interesting to note that in the recent Top 100 courses as ranked by golf architects for golf Architecture magazine, Robin Hiseman made a bold statement by picking Tobacco Road at #1!   I believe this was out of respect for the impact Mike's designs had on Robin rather than disrespect of the eventual top 10.

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 01:18:51 PM »
Nicely stated, Bill. 

There are just some folks that have the artistic and technical know-how and talent combined with a bold spirit that move the needle.  I think Strantz was that sort of man. 

I just missed the chance to actually meet him and hear his thoughts directly when he was scheduled to speak to one of our earliest GCA get-togethers  back in late 90s-2000 at Tobacco Rd., but personal business prevented him from driving up from Mt Pleasant.  Our loss in deed.

But, having played what many identify as his most controversial, both before it was open for official play with first iterations of controversial mound pre green at 16 and some other subsequent tweaks, along with a few plays after work was done, I feel that Strantz was not only bold and creative, but humble enough to alter his work after some observation that one of his 'out there' creations may be over-the-top. 

His work at New Caledonia was a demonstration of ability to work a bit different approach to almost parkland terrain.  And right across the road at True Blue, another change-up.  The engineering plan and work at Bulls Bay is once again bold, shows great talent to create and plan a property from essentially nothing to a sprawling big time course with the creation and routing scheme off the central mini-mount they constructed.   I only saw the photos of MPCC, but what has been posted in photos, along with a few of his artistic painting hole concepts shows the flair and creativity that burned in Strantz.  Then... when you consider the physical struggle he endured with his mouth and throat cancer, yet pressing on through what must have been agonizing days and months during the project, was a measure of passion we must give great reverence to such commitment.  And, I have never heard a bad word as to the outcome of that project.

One can't overlook a great partnership with Forrest Fezler that Mike had enjoyed.   They made a great team, IMHO.

I reckon that the partnership did come up with a few clinker holes in the process.  But, it seems to me that the risk of the bold efforts was always worth the progress and success of the majority of the efforts, which is what matters, I believe.

I wonder about the nature of the clients that turned Mike loose on these projects.  I had met one of the Stewart's at TR and they were always behind Mike's work and let's face it, it takes a great client to take the risk with a controversial designer.  So, having clients that saw the talent and hired Mike is also a big factor, IMO.

Yes, Mike Strantz moved the golf course design and architectural needle with artistic boldness and passion for the profession.
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.

Tim Gavrich

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 01:32:09 PM »
No architect's work could be described as "courageous" any more aptly than that of Mike Strantz, IMHO.
Senior Writer, GolfPass

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 01:45:10 PM »
Ted,

I have played several of Mike's courses and agree the sentiment others have expressed.

As for the 18th at Royal New Kent, I didn't like it either, especially when playing the approach shot into a bright sun.
Tim Weiman

Carl Rogers

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 02:26:25 PM »
Have played TB, Caledonia, RNK, TR & Stonehouse. and liked them a lot, but ..........

I might rain on this parade a bit.

I think there is a lot of showmanship, one ups man ship and marketing to Strantz.  I do not really mind it because it was so, in general,  well done (exception being 17 & 18 at RNK). (the routing of the whole back nine at RNK is rather forced, IMO).

Caledonia is interesting because it has a very compact routing, in contrast with the other courses.  Caledonia is walkable ... just do it in October.   I think the Caledonia property is a bit too small, 2  super short par threes and no range, but a super cool short game practice area.  It is a departure from the other courses. 

TB has the feel of TR but on much flatter ground with a lot more water.

If you are going to be successful, you need to separate yourself from the field and he did that.
I decline to accept the end of man. ... William Faulkner

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 03:45:52 PM »

I haven't seen any of his work in person but would certainly like to some day.


Me as well. From photos I've seen of some of his courses they look pretty unique and very interesting.
ATB

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 03:50:18 PM »
Playing the Shore is like walking through a weird amalgamated landscape of a Dali painting and a Zen garden. I LOVED IT.
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

John Kavanaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 04:06:21 PM »
If not for Cypress Point, Tobacco Road just may be the finest 17 holes ever routed.  Mike's great artistry often overshadowed his poor engineering.  But then again, I can only recall playing Tobacco Road.

BHoover

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 04:18:38 PM »
The thing that surprised me so much about playing Tobacco Road was that, despite playing so badly that day, I still enjoyed the experience.  That hardly, if ever, is the case.

Greg Taylor

Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 04:30:12 PM »
In the interests of full disclosure both Tobacco Rd and Caledonia are high on my list for return visits.

When I played T Rd the conditioning was excellent. I seemed to hit every club in the bag, there was a drivable par 4, par 5s with a canyon to carry, greens in pits...  golf is meant to FUN then for me and this is the course for me.

Caledonia I think is fun too, but not quite in your face.

True Blue was almost too big and seemed to overly ambitious.

For me Strantz's work is at least to be appreciated if not adored.

Any serious GCA'er must play Tobacco Rd....!

Jeffrey Stein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 04:48:59 PM »
Stranz's work at MPCC is indeed breathtaking, the combination of the setting and the bold contours of the greens and bunkers really work well together.

I played Tobacco Road for the first time last week, again I enjoyed the golfing portraits that you get when standing on each tee.  There is a real artistry to be admired in the earthmoving that was done there. 

With that said I was left with the impression that Tobacco Road was up there with the most extravagant golf courses I have ever seen (Trump Florida included).  TR is not a walking golf course but worth seeing at least once I suppose.

Are any Stranz courses walker friendly?
I love the smell of hydroseed in the morning.
www.steingolf.com

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 05:24:55 PM »
JoKa, which hole at Tobacco Road doesn't make your "finest 17 holes ever routed" list?

I wonder what Strantz would have done during the downturn. Would he have resorted to restorations and would we have come to appreciate his vision even more? Would he have faded into the sunset?

During a time when golf courses were popping up everywhere, every day, Michael Strantz only left us 7 or 8 courses as a legacy.

I missed out on Caledonia my last trip to Myrtle. Hope to not miss out on it again. I played TB before I understood GCA, but I really enjoyed the tour. I consider it to be Tobacco Road Light. I liked Tot Hill Farm, but not as much as Tobacco Road. I liked Royal New Kent better than Stonehouse, and neither as much as True Blue.

The elephant in the room is Silver Creek Valley in California. What's the story there? http://www.mikestrantzdesign.com/scvphoto1.html

The Maverick made gca better. It is appropriate that Tobacco Road is located so close to Pinehurst. Hopefully those that seek the roots of the game in the USA will always be able to see TR.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Jim Hoak

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 05:28:40 PM »
As John said/implied, he was a better artist than golf course architect.

Brent Hutto

Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 05:29:13 PM »
I have played Caledonia, True Blue, Tobacco Road and Monterey Peninsula's Shore course.

Perhaps the fact that I've played the same list of Strantz courses as Bill biases my opinion. But he's my favorite architect and I think his work (the courses I've seen) is absolutely brilliant.

Mac Plumart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 05:38:07 PM »
Are any Stranz courses walker friendly?

Jeffrey...I haven't found that to be the case.  Of course, they are all technically walkable*, but I don't get the feeling that he routes his courses for the walking golfer first and foremost.  Rather I get the feeling he strives for the picturesque holes and then pieces them together.  At least, that is how I feel when I've been playing his courses.


*For the record, I've played Tobacco Road, Royal New Kent, Stonehouse, Caledonia, and True Blue.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 05:42:38 PM »
I have only this to say about his work, wonderful, bold, exciting. Thrilling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Jeff Spittel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 05:43:03 PM »
Have only played The Shore but I thought it was dazzling. The piece of property with which he had to work obviously didn't hurt, but he was certainly creative and the course would have been a blast to play even in a lesser setting.
Fare and be well now, let your life proceed by its own design.

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2013, 05:50:17 PM »
Stranz's work at MPCC is indeed breathtaking, the combination of the setting and the bold contours of the greens and bunkers really work well together.

I played Tobacco Road for the first time last week, again I enjoyed the golfing portraits that you get when standing on each tee.  There is a real artistry to be admired in the earthmoving that was done there. 

With that said I was left with the impression that Tobacco Road was up there with the most extravagant golf courses I have ever seen (Trump Florida included).  TR is not a walking golf course but worth seeing at least once I suppose.

Are any Stranz courses walker friendly?

I walked the front, rode the back at the Road.  Walked Caledonia, True Blue and the Shore, no problems.  I've heard the opposite is true at the Virginia courses. 

Wade Whitehead

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2013, 07:19:14 PM »
There really aren't other architects who are judged here exclusively by the first six or seven courses they ever designed.

I wish Mike Strantz were still with us.  I believe he would have continued to evolve his work and style and that his courses, especially Royal New Kent and Stonehouse, would have been better protected and kept up.

He would have added to the GCA conversation in ways that no one else does.

WW

Chris DeNigris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 07:33:34 PM »
Mike's certainly polarizing, as evidenced by the twenty something responses in this young thread. But then, aren't most unique and cutting edge guys/things usually controversial?

I think what this group finds mostly objectionable is the walkability thing..oddly enough, his most famous work is actually one of his more manageable walks- aside from a long green to tee trek on 14 to 15, TR is not a bad walk.

Contrasted with my favorite Strantz- RNK- where there are some serious strolls between holes. Ditto for Stonehouse.

The 2 Virginia front nines are simply outstanding.

I bet he would have been a contributor here.

GCA could use another MS or two..
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 07:35:07 PM by Chris DeNigris »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 07:35:38 PM »
I only played two Strantz courses; The Road several times and Bull Bay.  Both have the good, the bad and the ugly.  For me, both fall just short of great and as Mac mentions, it may be the walking element which is the decisive factor.  That said, I would play either again and both are 1* in my book.  The Road is especially cool and on the modern side of things, probably right there in spirit with places like North Berwick and Cruden Bay.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood, Sandiway & Ladybank

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back