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Jeff_Brauer

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #75 on: March 05, 2020, 11:56:29 AM »

I love Strantz courses.  However, that is mostly because I love the artistry and admire it. 


It doesn't get much press anymore, but there was an old concept of good gca being a balance of aesthetics, playability, and maintainability.  Obviously, it is not always a balanced triangle, with public courses, for example, typically tilting the triangle to maintainability factors.  Mike's work shows what can be incredibly created when tilting towards aesthetics.


Have told the story before, but I took the Quarry reps to Tobacco Road and Fazio's World Woods to give an idea of what I was planning at the Quarry.  Got a yes to WW and a "nice look, but tone it down" to TR, which I think we did and Quarry seems well received.  As you can tell, my take is that I would love to take some of his artistry, but would probably tone it down when considering other factors as a better balance overall.


We used to have that debate in LA school about reality often intruding on "pure design" whatever that is.  And, gca and la aren't pure art, which is only to be looked at, but design, which needs to serve some practical function well in addition to looking good.   I think that is the reason Mike's works get downgraded a bit in many eyes.  As to Peter's "assess it on his terms" comment, most people have trouble assessing anything in terms of anything other than "how does it affect me?"  LOL, but not sure any of us should get a pass on that.

Another architect who gets that rep was Von Hagge, who openly admitted that he designed his courses for shadows, often from surrounding real estate as much as for the golfer, and he didn't care if it played all that well or not.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 11:58:26 AM by Jeff_Brauer »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #76 on: March 05, 2020, 01:19:26 PM »
Seems to me that you have to assess the work on *his* terms, not on our own.

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.     


If you really want to do that, then maybe it would be best to read what he thought about his own work.  Luckily, there is an excellent interview with him right here on this site, which this thread caused me to go back and read:


https://golfclubatlas.com/feature-interview/mike-strantz/

Interestingly, he spoke mostly about providing width and options as the keys to his work, rather than about his artwork and how that shaped his courses.

Certainly, it's true that how one communicates with contractors and shapers has a big impact on the finished product.  Mike was able to do this graphically, instead of through grading plans, or through verbal instructions, or by letting them work out the shaping solutions themselves.  As a result, Mike's courses reflect Mike's own visualization more completely than mine do, or than most other architects, I would imagine.  But little of that impacts directly on the playing qualities of the golf course, which he himself identified as the most important aspect of his work.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 02:05:50 PM by Tom_Doak »

Peter Pallotta

Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #77 on: March 05, 2020, 01:35:14 PM »
Seems to me that you have to assess the work on *his* terms, not on our own.

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.     

If you really want to do that, then maybe it would be best to read what he thought about his own work.  Luckily, there is an excellent interview with him right here on this site, which this thread caused me to go back and read:

https://golfclubatlas.com/feature-interview/mike-strantz/

Interestingly, he spoke mostly about providing width and options as the keys to his work, rather than about his artwork and how that shaped his courses.

Certainly, it's true that how one communicates with contractors and shapers has a big impact on the finished product.  Mike was able to do this graphically, instead of through grading plans, or through verbal instructions, or by letting them work out the shaping solutions themselves.  As a result, Mike's courses reflect Mike's own visualization more completely than mine do, or than most other architects, I would imagine.  But little of that impacts directly on the playing qualities of the golf course, which he himself identified as the most important aspect of his work.



Thanks, T
That aligns pretty well with everything I've ever read here from other posters - pro and con re the work. Playable despite/in tune with the strong visuals.
Didn't think of the interview when I posted, but to your main point my only 'proviso' is that I don't think I've read about any architect who *didn't* make/say 'playability' was their main focus. 


David_Madison

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #78 on: March 05, 2020, 01:57:30 PM »
I've played four of Strantz's courses, including TR which I've played at least 20 times. While I wouldn't want to play TR or any Strantz course all the time, as an occasional treat it's a pure joy. Golf is a game, games are supposed to be fun, and the courses that promote enduring fun for the greatest number of golfers are the best in my view. TR is the best match-play course I've ever played. It has more with half-par and birdie/bogey+ holes I've ever seen, and it engages my mind in evaluating risk/reward more actively than pretty much anything I've seen. Absent North Berwick or some other quirky Scottish links, it's about as fun a place as any I'll play.


If I had to come up with an analogy in the art world, the work of Leroy Neimann will never be included among "the greats" but I've gotten tremendous enjoyment from the two big serigraphs I have of his, much more than I would some "great" work that belongs in a museum.

John Kavanaugh

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #79 on: March 05, 2020, 02:29:20 PM »
Golf has survived Dye, I doubt it could have Strantz.

JC Urbina

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #80 on: March 05, 2020, 02:53:31 PM »
Jeff,


As we all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But I thought Strantz successfully created a masterpiece that almost everyone could enjoy.  Shadow Creek is another course that exemplifies the beauty that can be blended with strategy and variety.


"Pure Design" as you speak of would not interest me.  In order to create that level of design it seems like the "Fun Factor"as well as other factors would be washed away.   I had a concept while working for the Dye's that took into account the yardage on a golf course.  I labeled it  "Perfect Yardage"


It supposed that a yardage that I had came up with would require you to use every club in your bag. The design required features be created that would function with the yardage.   But I am now convinced that this concept could have eliminated most of the artistry of the design.


I plan to go see the Quarry in Minnesota when I am up there consulting, I have been curious how the experience will balance between beauty and function.











Jeff_Brauer

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #81 on: March 05, 2020, 03:59:05 PM »

Jim,


I think the landscape architecture students were thinking in terms of pure artwork, without regard to budget, basic factors like circulation, etc.  I would classify "pure design" as more artistry, as opposed to "perfect design" which in golf would have to do with playability.  I think we probably think along the same lines in that regard.


Tom D and others have discussed that idea of "using every club in the bag" as it relates to hole length.  I think everyone understands that with wind and elevation change, not to mention carry and roll (and driver loft and spin rates, etc.) that 440 yards doesn't necessarily play 440 in every location.  I do try some "math" to figure out what the effective driving distance might be on that hole, even knowing how variable wind and turf firmness are.  I could probably never go all the way to "just put bunkers where they look good and someone will find them interesting."


I guess that I think I design the golf aspects first, and believe I can usually apply the artistry on top.  Some of Strantz work showed me there are some limitations in that regard.  And, obviously, we have to think of multiple things at some level at all times, but things that Fazio does well, like placing holes in (sometimes built) valleys and bringing long ridges 2/3 across the fw, and at varying angles, don't always affect play, they are mostly artistic, as an example. 


As always, just MHO, and of course, it's more complicated than can be easily described in one post.  And yet, I try......
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #82 on: March 05, 2020, 04:43:54 PM »

I am now convinced that this concept could have eliminated most of the artistry of the design.



That year and a half at Sebonack probably should have cemented your thoughts on trying to combine artistry with a paint-by-numbers approach.

BCrosby

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #83 on: March 05, 2020, 06:06:36 PM »

I love Strantz courses.  However, that is mostly because I love the artistry...

Another architect who gets that rep was Von Hagge, who openly admitted that he designed his courses for shadows, often from surrounding real estate as much as for the golfer, and he didn't care if it played all that well or not.


Equal parts shock and intrigue about Von Hagge. I have never heard an architect say he designed golf courses solely for their LA values. That makes Von Hagge a designer I want to know more about. I once thought it was the flowing capes that made Von Hagge an iconoclast. Turns out it went much deeper.


Bob     

Peter Pallotta

Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #84 on: March 05, 2020, 08:21:59 PM »
Both kinds of art-craft making are valid, whether in gca or writing or painting or music, and both approaches have produced acclaimed and stellar work that I've much enjoyed. But with each passing year, I appreciate more and more the kind where the artist-craftsman is 'hidden behind' the work, and I appreciate less and less the kind where the artist-craftsman is obvious and ever present. As I say, the preference is mostly a matter of personal taste and temperament; but I have to admit that part of me believes that a novella like "The Dead" is simply *better* than a novel like 'Ulysses".  The outward 'flash' isn't there but (because of that) the 'emotional resonances' are deeper; if I'm not paying so much attention to the artist's talent, I can pay more attention to my own experience. 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 08:35:18 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Ian Andrew

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #85 on: March 05, 2020, 09:21:59 PM »
I love the courses.


I like the fact that they compel me to take far bigger risks.
And I find them fun because I'm not a scorekeeper, I just go and play what's put in front of me.
His course are a blast to play in match play.


I find all of his courses contain holes that I really wished I designed and a few that I'm glad I didn't.
I like that about his work, there's so much architectural reach and risk.
I love the things that work and respect the choices I understood less.
One is worth the other, because its always interesting to see and play.


He had sense of adventure and an artistic flair that still moves the needle for me.





We're starting to behave as if we've reached the end of human knowledge. And while that notion is undoubtedly false, the certitude it generates is paralyzing.” — Chuck Klosterman, But What If We're Wrong

archie_struthers

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #86 on: March 06, 2020, 07:38:28 AM »
 8)


I'm interested in those who worked with him as to what his favorite things about golf were. His favorite shots , his favorite greens , the reasons for the width. Like Tom, read his interview and its quite good but as we know interviews can be guarded. Hope to get some info on these questions !

Mark Stewart

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #87 on: March 06, 2020, 09:36:23 AM »
8)


I'm interested in those who worked with him as to what his favorite things about golf were. His favorite shots , his favorite greens , the reasons for the width. Like Tom, read his interview and its quite good but as we know interviews can be guarded. Hope to get some info on these questions !


Mike was a HUGE fan of Long Cove Club; I still remember how animated he got while talking about how much he LOVED playing there.

Rob Marshall

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #88 on: November 26, 2022, 08:24:14 PM »
Played Bulls Bay today on a beautiful Charleston fall day. First Strantz course I’ve ever played. Really great looking course.  Elevation changes were amazing considering it’s the “low country”. The greens had some nice movement and were very fast. Really enjoyed it. Fun place to play.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2022, 09:00:48 AM by Rob Marshall »
"I used to get pissed at blowing leads until I quit having them" John Kavanaugh

Steve Lang

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #89 on: November 26, 2022, 10:43:41 PM »
 ;)  Extraordinary on top of other things said before... great artist, gone too soon, support the art


http://www.mikestrantzdesign.com/golfgallery.html
Inverness (Toledo, OH) cathedral clock inscription: "God measures men by what they are. Not what they in wealth possess.  That vibrant message chimes afar.
The voice of Inverness"

Ronald Montesano

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #90 on: December 08, 2022, 06:34:18 AM »
This is a fellow who left us at age 50. His photos will never show grey hair, and he'll always have that handlebar moustache. He was the Maverick, as his eponymous design company proclaimed.

I dream awake some days what he might have done in the intervening 17 years. I'm certain he would have gone back to True Blue and Tot Hill Farm, to tweak them a bit. Almost too much tweaking to do at Stonehouse.

I'm glad that the Royal New Kent is now in the hands of ownership that appreciates what it has. I say this from a social-media perspective, as they are featuring his work on a regular basis.

I also dream awake some of the properties that he might have worked. Could his style have ever meshed with a Dream Golf or Cabot property? Perhaps. Would he have collaborated with one of our darlings on a Sebonack-esque build? Intriguing.

I'd play any of his courses, even Stonehouse, if given the opportunity. I've only missed Bulls Bay and MP-Shore.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Dan_Callahan

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2022, 12:55:35 PM »
Those are the only two courses I haven't played as well. I'm not qualified to rate architects. I will say that Mike is the only GCA whose courses I have made special trips to play simply because he designed them.

A.G._Crockett

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2022, 08:09:06 PM »
I played True Blue today, and it was, as always, exhilarating.  We’re at Caledonia the next two days, and I can’t wait.  I can’t count how many times I’ve played each, and I just look forward to it every time.
"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

Jonathan Mallard

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JC Urbina

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #94 on: December 10, 2022, 01:56:20 PM »
To me Mike Strantz is one person who is worth talking about.  As his Company titled suggested "Maverick". he truly took the spirit of what Pete Dye was trying to do with the Design- Build moniker.


He had ideas, he conveyed to others what he was trying to do with artistic drawings and then built his idea.


Pete never sketched or drew as artistic as Mike,  but his sand/ soil models in the dirt sculpting with his hands were as famous as Mike's paper sketches.  Each needed to explain their ideas to others,  one did it in the dirt and one did it via pencil and paper but both were trying to convey ideas burning around in the back of the brain.   Thousands of ideas with only a limited number of holes to implement them on.


   
How I wish I could have talked to Mike Strantz more, Dana Fry raves about what he learned workin with Mike and the work I have seen to date only solidifies his genius with both the pencil and the shaping equipment.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #95 on: December 10, 2022, 09:17:27 PM »
Thanks, Jim. Your words echo and matter.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Scott_Burroughs

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #96 on: December 20, 2022, 02:26:51 PM »
Ronald and Dan,


So then you've both played Silver Creek Valley, Strantz' other re-do in CA....what did you think of it?

Dan_Callahan

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #97 on: December 20, 2022, 02:31:53 PM »
I have not played Silver Creek and really don't know much about it. Is it a total redo they way it sounds like MPCC is?

Scott_Burroughs

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Re: How do you assess the work of Mike Strantz?
« Reply #98 on: December 20, 2022, 02:58:31 PM »
No, SCV is more of a renovation (althought the Strantz web site calls both that...we know MPCC is nowhere near the same course)


Here's SCV stuff from his website:


http://www.mikestrantzdesign.com/scvphoto1.html





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