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Germain Pepin

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #50 on: May 30, 2019, 08:49:00 AM »
Some of the Mike Strantz golf courses had difficulties in the recent years. Royal New Kent was one of those. I was glad to read that Royal New Kent has reopen recently. For more details: http://bit.ly/2Z2meEF. The reopening of Royal New Kent, along with the planned reopening of the Stonehouse Golf Club in Toano this year, are positive signs for Virginia's golf industry.



I admire the work of Mike Strantz, the golf course architect and artist.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 08:54:53 AM by Germain Pepin »

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #51 on: May 30, 2019, 10:42:46 AM »
He's the Brussel Sprouts of GCA: you either love him or hate him.  Personally I'm not a huge fan.
I don't know about that. I've only seen three: True Blue, Tobacco Road, and Caledonia. I love one of those, find one solid but bland, and find the third a bit of an overdone circus (while I can still appreciate all that was done there).

So… I'm kinda in the middle. I don't love or hate him. And I'm probably not qualified to say too much more than that.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Edward Glidewell

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2019, 12:08:48 PM »
I've also played 3 Strantz courses -- Caledonia, True Blue, and Bulls Bay. I actually just played Bulls Bay for the second time last week.


Bulls Bay and Caledonia are both fantastic golf courses that I could happily play repeatedly. I'm not a fan of True Blue, although I've only played it once and it was at least a decade ago. My understanding is most of his work is more in the vein of True Blue than the other two, so I don't know if I'd be a huge fan of his if I'd also played Tobacco Road, Tot Hill Farm, etc.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2019, 12:11:24 PM »
He's the Brussel Sprouts of GCA: you either love him or hate him.  Personally I'm not a huge fan.
I don't know about that. I've only seen three: True Blue, Tobacco Road, and Caledonia. I love one of those, find one solid but bland, and find the third a bit of an overdone circus (while I can still appreciate all that was done there).

So… I'm kinda in the middle. I don't love or hate him. And I'm probably not qualified to say too much more than that.


I can only assume that you found Caledonia bland and True Blue over the top. I've played all of his courses except Bulls Bay. Caledonia is a bit tight but full of great shot values. True Blue does seem to push the envelope a bit, but it sure is fun. The first time I played RNK was the year it opened and I thought I had been transported to some alien planet. After a few plays I though I had been just south of Heaven. My only complaint is 18. It doesn't fit with the rest of the course. Monterey Peninsula is absolutely brilliant. Stonehouse has some very odd holes but some of the par threes are brilliant. Tot Hill Farm might be his worst course. I would loved to have seen what his later work would have been. I wonder if he would have gone further away from "mainstream" or throttled back a bit.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Michael Dugger

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #54 on: May 30, 2019, 01:14:00 PM »
Strantz body of work makes me think of what I hear some of the judges on Project Runway express while spending QT with the missus.   ;D


He would have probably benefited from a good editor. 


That being said, his dramatic, rugged style has mass appeal.  But he probably got carried away in a few places and lost track of the basic fundamentals that make for good golf. 


I suspect a "toning down" at Tobacco Road, for example, probably wouldn't diminish the course one bit.  It could only improve. 


Think Pete Dye's 1st version of TPC Sawgrass. 

When it moved west to the Stadium Course in 1982, the story was not eventual winner Jerry Pate,[/size][10][/size][11][/size][12][/size] but the complaints the players had about the new course, which had supposedly been built in their honor.[13][/size]"It's Star Wars[/i] golf, designed by Darth Vader," Ben Crenshaw pronounced. When asked if the TPC suited his playing style, Jack Nicklaus replied, "No, I've never been very good at stopping a 5-iron on the hood of a car." J. C. Snead called the course "90 percent horse manure and 10 percent luck."[/size][/font]
[/size]Over the following year, Dye tweaked the course, making the greens less severe and replacing several[/color][/size] [/color][/size]bunkers.[14][/size][15][/size][16][/size][17][/size][/font][/size] [/color][/size]After the changes, the course became far more playable. "Now it's a darn good golf course," Crenshaw said of the improvements.[/color]    WIKI
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

Germain Pepin

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #55 on: May 30, 2019, 02:54:19 PM »
It's such a shame that he died so early, as he was truly a genius. 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. 
Citing RJ Daley, on this board, some years ago, these lines explain why Strantz was different:
"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."

Tom_Doak

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #56 on: May 30, 2019, 05:32:41 PM »

Think Pete Dye's 1st version of TPC Sawgrass. 

When it moved west to the Stadium Course in 1982, the story was not eventual winner Jerry Pate,[10][11][12] but the complaints the players had about the new course, which had supposedly been built in their honor.[13]"It's Star Wars golf, designed by Darth Vader," Ben Crenshaw pronounced. When asked if the TPC suited his playing style, Jack Nicklaus replied, "No, I've never been very good at stopping a 5-iron on the hood of a car." J. C. Snead called the course "90 percent horse manure and 10 percent luck."
Over the following year, Dye tweaked the course, making the greens less severe and replacing severalbunkers.[14][15][16][17]After the changes, the course became far more playable. "Now it's a darn good golf course," Crenshaw said of the improvements.    WIKI


Well, I was there before it was changed and during the time it was changed, and I would not say that all of the "tweaks" to the TPC at Sawgrass have made it much better.  They have fundamentally changed what it was intended to be.  Mr. Dye agreed to a lot of that, but he had to because the client - the PGA TOUR, not the Tour players - changed their minds about what they wanted.  They decided they wanted to appease the players, rather than to test them.


Wikipedia is a good resource, but it is the very essence of revisionist history.


For the most part, I'm glad Mike Strantz's work has not suffered the same fate, although True Blue [which I've never seen] was neutered in three or four spots.  A couple of his courses were so extreme that they may struggle to survive on green fees.

Michael Dugger

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #57 on: May 30, 2019, 06:26:29 PM »

Think Pete Dye's 1st version of TPC Sawgrass. 

When it moved west to the Stadium Course in 1982, the story was not eventual winner Jerry Pate,[10][11][12] but the complaints the players had about the new course, which had supposedly been built in their honor.[13]"It's Star Wars golf, designed by Darth Vader," Ben Crenshaw pronounced. When asked if the TPC suited his playing style, Jack Nicklaus replied, "No, I've never been very good at stopping a 5-iron on the hood of a car." J. C. Snead called the course "90 percent horse manure and 10 percent luck."
Over the following year, Dye tweaked the course, making the greens less severe and replacing severalbunkers.[14][15][16][17]After the changes, the course became far more playable. "Now it's a darn good golf course," Crenshaw said of the improvements.    WIKI


Well, I was there before it was changed and during the time it was changed, and I would not say that all of the "tweaks" to the TPC at Sawgrass have made it much better.  They have fundamentally changed what it was intended to be.  Mr. Dye agreed to a lot of that, but he had to because the client - the PGA TOUR, not the Tour players - changed their minds about what they wanted.  They decided they wanted to appease the players, rather than to test them.


Wikipedia is a good resource, but it is the very essence of revisionist history.


For the most part, I'm glad Mike Strantz's work has not suffered the same fate, although True Blue [which I've never seen] was neutered in three or four spots.  A couple of his courses were so extreme that they may struggle to survive on green fees.


Certainly no argument to be made based on my lack of details of the situation, I was just looking for an excuse to include the Nicklaus quote about stopping a 5 iron on the hood of a car.
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #58 on: May 30, 2019, 08:10:24 PM »
I can only assume that you found Caledonia bland and True Blue over the top.
TR is over the top, and I like Caledonia more than True Blue.

Caledonia is a bit tight but full of great shot values.

That's what I like about it. A very well rounded test of golf, with good decisions to make.

True Blue does seem to push the envelope a bit, but it sure is fun.

I agree it's fun. But I've also rented the Golf Boards most of the times I've played it, too. ;)
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

John Emerson

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #59 on: March 03, 2020, 01:35:50 PM »
Wasn’t sure which thread to put this under so I just picked this one.  After reading the latest article by Shipnuck he classified MS as a minimalist.  After seeing TRoad and Royal New Kent I would say he is on the completely other end of that spectrum.  It doesn’t exactly scream “minimal” when so much soil  was moved to produce a golf course.  Maybe my definitions need to be better defined?  Just seems way off to me to lump him into the minimalist category.


Link to article [size=78%]https://apple.news/A6p4dbq_4TMylF1eHaObZ_g[/size]
“There’s links golf, then everything else.”

Edward Glidewell

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #60 on: March 03, 2020, 05:30:11 PM »
Bulls Bay is built around a massive mound/hill that he artificially constructed. I don't think there's any way to call him a minimalist.


Sounds like he just thinks minimalist is the description du jour for a good golf course architect.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 05:32:03 PM by Edward Glidewell »

Jay Mickle

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #61 on: March 03, 2020, 10:09:04 PM »
Here is the quote from the article. ”Strantz moved tons of dirt but was so meticulous in his creations it is usually impossible to tell his hand from Mother Nature’s. If Strantz’s style needs a name it might be called maximum minimalism.”
[/color]I expect that TR looked like the sand quarry it was prior to its amazing golf course conversion. He actually moved less dirt that imagined. The 2 mounds on the first hole are the result of cut/fill to create an impression of mounds rising from the basin below.[/size]
@MickleStix on Instagram
MickleStix.com

Kyle Henderson

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #62 on: March 03, 2020, 10:56:43 PM »
Minimalism is a nice ideal to aspire to on a quality site, but I think much can also be said for “naturalism,” that being the skillful are of creating something on a site that appears to have occurred naturally. My impression of Strantz’s portfolio was that his industrial art/design background led to an emphasis on lines and scale. Fairways and greens might be very wide or shallow [size=78%]to create a cohesive, eye pleasing shape with an emphasis on playing angles and bunkers placed to break up the lines/transitions from turf to bordering “native areas” as frequently as they were placed for strategic impact. [/size]
"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

A.G._Crockett

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #63 on: March 04, 2020, 07:45:49 AM »
Wasn’t sure which thread to put this under so I just picked this one.  After reading the latest article by Shipnuck he classified MS as a minimalist.  After seeing TRoad and Royal New Kent I would say he is on the completely other end of that spectrum.  It doesn’t exactly scream “minimal” when so much soil  was moved to produce a golf course.  Maybe my definitions need to be better defined?  Just seems way off to me to lump him into the minimalist category.


Link to article [size=78%]https://apple.news/A6p4dbq_4TMylF1eHaObZ_g[/size]
I have not see Royal New Kent, though I hope to this spring.  But FAR less dirt was moved at Tobacco Road that most assume, including people on this site. 

That property was a sand quarry for asphalt, and a lot, if not the majority of what you see there had been done before Mike Strantz ever set foot on the property.  The best example that I know of is the 13th green; as Strantz drove onto the property for the very first time, before he even had the job, he saw that quarry pit and told the owners that he'd put a green there; he the only dirt he had to move was to cut a path thru the front and the sides.  The pit the #11 plays around is another prime example.
Tot Hill Farm is another good example.  The boulders that you see as you play the golf course were put there eons ago as part of the Uwharrie Mts., one of the oldest mountain ranges on the planet; Strantz, for the most part, left them as he found them.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

John Kavanaugh

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #64 on: March 04, 2020, 09:02:48 AM »
Brady Bunch architecture. Nothing quite compares to that family photo standing on the stairs. In all seriousness the tri-level once played an important role in the development of American culture.

jeffwarne

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #65 on: March 04, 2020, 09:41:07 AM »

Think Pete Dye's 1st version of TPC Sawgrass. 

When it moved west to the Stadium Course in 1982, the story was not eventual winner Jerry Pate,[10][11][12] but the complaints the players had about the new course, which had supposedly been built in their honor.[13]"It's Star Wars golf, designed by Darth Vader," Ben Crenshaw pronounced. When asked if the TPC suited his playing style, Jack Nicklaus replied, "No, I've never been very good at stopping a 5-iron on the hood of a car." J. C. Snead called the course "90 percent horse manure and 10 percent luck."
Over the following year, Dye tweaked the course, making the greens less severe and replacing severalbunkers.[14][15][16][17]After the changes, the course became far more playable. "Now it's a darn good golf course," Crenshaw said of the improvements.    WIKI


Well, I was there before it was changed and during the time it was changed, and I would not say that all of the "tweaks" to the TPC at Sawgrass have made it much better.  They have fundamentally changed what it was intended to be.  Mr. Dye agreed to a lot of that, but he had to because the client - the PGA TOUR, not the Tour players - changed their minds about what they wanted.  They decided they wanted to appease the players, rather than to test them.


Wikipedia is a good resource, but it is the very essence of revisionist history.


For the most part, I'm glad Mike Strantz's work has not suffered the same fate, although True Blue [which I've never seen] was neutered in three or four spots.  A couple of his courses were so extreme that they may struggle to survive on green fees.


Certainly no argument to be made based on my lack of details of the situation, I was just looking for an excuse to include the Nicklaus quote about stopping a 5 iron on the hood of a car.


I played TPC the first year it opened and then again around 1988.
I returned last year to attend the TPC.
I was shocked at how much the imaginative and testing greens/contours and surrounds had been softened, yet all of the average golfer torture inflicting ponds etc. remained.
So way less testing for the PGA Tour player-in addition to 10-15% hotter equipment-including layup driving irons and fairway woods being the clubs of choice on formerly difficult driver testing holes as well as cup faced irons and high tech grooves equally as lethal as the Ping Eye-2s they replaced.
yet as torturing as ever for the average player from a ball losing perspective.

"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Edward Glidewell

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #66 on: March 04, 2020, 01:05:24 PM »
Minimalism is a nice ideal to aspire to on a quality site, but I think much can also be said for “naturalism,” that being the skillful are of creating something on a site that appears to have occurred naturally. My impression of Strantz’s portfolio was that his industrial art/design background led to an emphasis on lines and scale. Fairways and greens might be very wide or shallow to create a cohesive, eye pleasing shape with an emphasis on playing angles and bunkers placed to break up the lines/transitions from turf to bordering “native areas” as frequently as they were placed for strategic impact.


I think naturalism is a good description for Strantz -- regardless of how much dirt he did or didn't move at a site like Tobacco Road, Bulls Bay is absolutely an artificial creation. It was dead flat land that now has a huge mound 75 feet high, and some of the holes work up and around that artificial mound. The course doesn't look artificial, though, which is the difference from something like Shadow Creek which is full of features that were obviously constructed by man.


Kalen Braley

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #67 on: March 04, 2020, 02:00:36 PM »
I don't think Mike's work looks "Natural" either.  If we're making up words, I would call it "Artisiticism". Its beautiful and gorgeous to look at, but I don't think many will mistake his works as mother natures creations either..


Pac Dunes = Naturalism
MPCC - Shore = Artisticism

Edward Glidewell

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2020, 07:45:30 PM »
I don't think Mike's work looks "Natural" either.  If we're making up words, I would call it "Artisiticism". Its beautiful and gorgeous to look at, but I don't think many will mistake his works as mother natures creations either..


Pac Dunes = Naturalism
MPCC - Shore = Artisticism


That's a good point. I was thinking of Bulls Bay alone when making that comment -- it doesn't have the big bold features of courses like Tobacco Road and definitely looks more natural. But even a course like Caledonia, which also lacks those big bold features, doesn't really look natural.

Kyle Harris

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #69 on: March 05, 2020, 05:28:21 AM »
By the playing it.
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

Thank you for changing the font of your posts. It makes them easier to scroll past.

Steve Lapper

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #70 on: March 05, 2020, 08:13:14 AM »
By the playing it.


Kyle,


  How Profound!  :o


  Seriously, Ship might have swept too broad a stroke, yet Strantz's work is a different form of minimalism. I rather like Kaylen's term: "artisticism."


 Examine, for a second, all the earth-moving work one sees from Rees Jones or Tom Fazio. Neither uses their bulldozers to create something that looks like it's been there for decades. Strantz didn't always either, but some of his better courses, create that illusion.
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Sean_A

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #71 on: March 05, 2020, 08:22:56 AM »
I don't get the impression that Strantz focused on making his work look natural. He wanted to create work which was at the same time thought provoking, fun and pleasing to the eye. 


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

Kalen Braley

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #72 on: March 05, 2020, 10:13:34 AM »
Not sure if the analogy directly works here, but its a bit like the Golden Gate Bridge.


Obviously not natural, obviously man-made.  But when you're sitting on Baker beach in the twilight hour and the sun is hitting it, and you see that giant burnt orange structure stretch across the mouth of the bay, its nothing short of mesmerizing and magical.  Imagining that same view 100 years ago, sans bridge, almost seems incomplete.

JC Urbina

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #73 on: March 05, 2020, 10:25:24 AM »

Artistic !

I feel the need to comment on his work especially after seeing his work at MPCC several times now.  The article penned by Alan Shipnuck was wonderfuly written and captures the life and works of a underappreciated golf course designer.  His flare for the visual aspects of the design were at full throttel at MPCC.  One could compare his work to any of the golden age designers including the team of Mackenzie and Hunter.


He turned an ordinary golf course into an exceptional one by changing the routing and the visual and strategic placement of bunkers, tees and greens.  I may have commented on this before on this website but his green sites and the elevations he set them at were truly impressive. They were varied depending on locations but I thought his green sites headed southwest were the most impressive.  Most may never see the creativity in these elevations but next time your there take a close look, you will be impressed.


Mike Strantz may never get his full due but I have often said Golf is played on 3 dimensional Art and he was at the height of his mastery when he completed MPCC!!!








 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 02:19:30 PM by JC Urbina »

Peter Pallotta

Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #74 on: March 05, 2020, 11:43:26 AM »
Seems to me that you have to assess the work on *his* terms, not on our own.
That is: it seems that Mike made sure you knew that there was an artist behind the art. He wasn't hiding, and didn't want to hide. 
Like Joyce with 'Ulysses", the celebration and appreciation was (as intended) for both the *worker* and the *work*.
Every thread I've ever read about Mike and his work seems to confirm this, the 'stamp' that is a Mike Strantz golf course is always front and centre, leaving us to judge/assess not only the art-craft of the architecture itself but also the architect's own *intentions*.
Assessing the work of Mike Strantz entails, to a greater degree than with any other architect I can think of, what Mike himself was *doing* with the work.       

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