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Paul Gray

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 08:03:32 AM »
Certainly more classy than trying to promote yourself with a new water fountain!  ;D
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

John Burnes

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 12:33:12 PM »
I hate when they do that...

Powell Arms

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 07:35:25 AM »
Really interesting article.  It is another illustration of how fallable oral history can be, when something as basic as the course architect is incorrect. I find it interesting to think of when that mistake might have occurred. I would think for the first 7-10 year, the members knew it was Colt and not Ross. And somehow that basic fact changed in their mind. Then drawings by Ross were hung, with different hole designs!  Every with John Paul Newport's description of the membership, I find it hard to imagine how this oral history evolved to be incorrect.
PowellArms@gmail.com
@PWArms

Joe Sponcia

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 08:01:57 AM »
John,

Thank you for posting.  Great article.
Joe

https://pillarsofgolf.wordpress.com

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Frank Pont

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 03:58:08 PM »
The question is what are they going to do with this new found knowledge.

Joe Bausch

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 04:36:04 PM »
What happened at Seaview is somewhat similar.
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Dan Moore

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 06:36:51 PM »
I'm curious as to what exactly they found and who did what.  When was Colt in Detroit?  Wasit 1913?  For how long?  Did Ross build the course according to Colt's plan?  Was Ross present during Colt's visit?  Did Colt leave specific blueprints and instructions?  If Colt simply left plans and someone else built the course and Colt never advised on construction or the completed work is it fair to say this is a Colt or should the designer on the ground get some of the credit?  

Hopefully Phil Young still hangs out in these parts and can provide some insight.  

Joe,  what was the story at Seaview?  
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2013, 07:21:27 PM »
The question is what are they going to do with this new found knowledge.

They're going to have Keith Foster redesign the course ;)
jeffmingay.com

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2013, 07:32:10 PM »
I'm curious as to what exactly they found and who did what.  When was Colt in Detroit?  Wasit 1913?  For how long?  Did Ross build the course according to Colt's plan?  Was Ross present during Colt's visit?  Did Colt leave specific blueprints and instructions?  If Colt simply left plans and someone else built the course and Colt never advised on construction or the completed work is it fair to say this is a Colt or should the designer on the ground get some of the credit?  

Hopefully Phil Young still hangs out in these parts and can provide some insight.  

Joe,  what was the story at Seaview?  

I'd like to hear from Phil Young, too, Dan. But, I've kinda looked into this history a bit, too, myself.

Colt was definitely in Detroit at least once. He is acknowledged as the original designer of the Country Club course, there (NLE). This is pretty much accepted fact. Colt and Alison had an office in Detroit, too, during the 1920s (and 30s?), which isn't surprising... Detroit was the third largest city in America at the time and there was a lot of money there, and a lot of golf course development opportunity. They designed a lot in the Detroit area as well: Plum Hollow, Orchard Lake, Port Huron, Colony Club… etc. But, I don't think Colt was in Detroit during the 1920s. This was Alison's operation.

I have one set of detailed Ross plans for Bloomfield Hills, which were completed long after Colt's last visit to North America (I think). So, I doubt Colt and Ross were on-site at Bloomfield Hills together; not a chance, I don't think. (Perhaps Ross and Alison were?) Ross didn't build the course to Colt's plan, his plans are definitely redesign plans for a course that was already there, at Bloomfield Hills. As I've stated on another thread, it kinda sounds like this is Alison's work with assist from William Connellan, perhaps? I don't know, though… sounds like there's at least proof Colt provided advice to the club on purchasing property.

Interesting history.
jeffmingay.com

Joe Bausch

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2013, 07:51:29 PM »

Joe,  what was the story at Seaview?  

This thread should help Dan:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,42596.0.html

Basically the course at Seaview was already on the ground (with Wilson playing a prominent role) and the owner of Seaview wanted it toughened up and invited Ross in for mostly bunkering work.  He drew up plans for each hole, which the club still has on the walls for viewing, and IMHO time eventually gave him 100% credit for the course.

Thankfully with the first presentation of this by Ron Whitten, later by me and Mike Cirba in more detail, Seaview is now recognizing Hugh's contributions.
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2013, 10:21:55 PM »
Here is the history of Bloomfield Hills as deciphered from earlier threads on the topic:

1909 - 12 hole course laid out by Bendelow

1912 - Course expanded to 18 holes by Colt (no idea how much of the Bendelow remained)

1916 - Connellan overhauls the putting greens and fairways

1936 - Ross draws up plans to renovate 18 holes

From the various Annual Guides:

1916, 1917 and 1920 - Club dates to 1908, measures 6,256 yards
1921, 1922 and 1923 - Date changes to 1909, yardage increases to 6,430 yards
1925 - 1931 - Yardage given as 6,400 yards

It is entirely possible that the jump in yardage in 1921 reflects changes made by Connellan, only reported a few years after they were completed.  Or it is possible work was done to the course after Connellan.

It would also be highly interesting to see a concise break down of the features in the Ross plans to see if his changes were fully implemented, or, as has been surmised elsewhere, the plans were drawn up by never put into motion.

I looked up Connellan's work in Michigan around 1916 and come up with this:

Birmingham CC - laid out the original 9 holes in 1916

At least we know he was in the area.



Sven
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 10:54:44 PM by Sven Nilsen »
"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

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 11:25:43 AM »
The following is from Phil Young:

"I see that there is much misinformation running rampant in the two Colt/BHCC threads on gca.com. Here is a synopsis of what actually happen. With the exception of a single newspaper article, everything is found in the Club's Board minutes which is how I was able to prove the Colt design attribution:

1- Bendelow designed an 18-hole, 6,300 yard course in 1909 that opened its first 12 holes in 1911 and the rest in 1912.
2- Harry Colt is first mentioned as having made recommendations for a "new Course" for BHCC in May 1913. The Board meeting that month reviewed the recommendations he ahd made for a new course to take the place of the current Bendelow course. These recommendations included the puchasing of an adjacent 50-acre tract "for the purpose of the golf course."
3- June 1913 Board minutes mention the decision to try to purchase this land "in order to extend to its proper limits the golf course..."
4- July 1913 Board minutes record the "approval to purchase" the property for the course.
5- October 11, 1913 Board minutes record, "The report of the Chairman of the Greens Committee, Mr. M.T. Conklin, suggesting some changes from the plans as prepared by H.S. Colt, was accepted with instructions that work proceed immediately along the lines suggested by the Greens committee and a motion to this effect was carried."
6- From November onward a separate set of accounts are recorded in the Board minutes dealing with the monies paid for the construction of "the new course."
7- December 16, 1914, the Detroit Free Press reports that BHCC's clubhouse is to be expanded. At the end of the article it also states, "The new golf course, laid out by harry Colt, English expert, is completed and will rank with the finest in the Middle West."
8- April 15, 1922 - The first and ONLY mention of the Donald Ross designd rawings in the Board minutes state, "It was decided that the blue-prints made by Donald Ross, suggesting changes in the course, which were placed with the Secretary by Mr. Hutchings, the Chairman of the Greens Committee, be kept with the permanent records." No work was done to the course between that date and 1926 when the Greens Committee began working on the course. That year they removed some bunkers, put in others and redesigned some existing ones. None of these were done according to the Ross plans.
9- November 23, 1926 - in a letter written by BHCC's first President, Edwin S. George, he writes, "Having a high regard for the ability of Mr. Colt, who so efficiently enabled us to correct the difficulties which existed in the original congested Bloomfield Hills golf course..."
10- On October 1, 1930, the Board minutes report that the "Chairman of the Greens Committee was granted authority to proceed with a new tee on No.5 & a new green on No.7 and No.8, and they were empowered to employ a golf architect if they deemed necessary." They chose not to and did the design work themselves. They would make changes to the first 10 holes through the 1930s.
11- On May 27, 1936, the Board minutes report that the reconstruction on the first ten holes had been completed and that the "Green Committee will begin the remaining eight greens." This is followed up by, "Upon proper motion duly supported and carried, the Greens Committee was authorized to have Mr. Donald Ross, golf architect, come to the Club some time during the summer to lay out plans for remodeling the eight greens." There isn't another mention of Donald Ross in any minutes, documents, etc... The minutes do reflect that the "Greens Committee" finished the redesigning of the final eight holes on their own.

So, there was an original Bendelow 18-hole design followed by a new original Harry Colt design, followed by a new Greens Committee design followed later on by a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design...
To answer a few suppositions, neither Donald Ross, who travelled with Colt to Chicago, Alison or anyone else was with him on the return trip when he went to BHCC. With help from Paul Turner we have been able to date Colt's visit to the Club in April 1913 while on his way to Pine Valley. At the time he left written recommendations but no plans. In-between there was ongoing communications between the Club and Colt as the October board minutes refer to the "plans as prepared by H.S. Colt..." This means that of the few solo Colt designs in the United States, Bloomfield Hills CC is the only one left.
In addition to these authentications, we were also able to show that a series of early course photographs could be dated to ca.1925 meaning they show the course as designed by Colt and built to his plans. We were also able to conclude that a 1925 course drawing on which a sprinkler plan was overlaid is, in actuality, a copy of the original Colt design plan. Both of these conslusions are made because no significant changes were made to the course between 1913 & 1925.
Currently, Keith Foster has created a wonderful master plan that will enable much of the brilliant Harry Colt to be brought back to life. The Club firmly believes that they are now charged with "bringing Colt back to America." It will be wonderful when it happens.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have and I'll gladly answer them."
"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

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 11:27:24 AM »
More from Phil Young:

"I forgot one thing... Connellan did absolutely no work at Bloomfield Hills. There is an article dated 8/2/1916 which states, "William Connellan, one-time greenkeeper at at garden City, Wykagyl and Seaview, who gave up his post at private clubs so that he would be free to take undertake all of the jobs that were being offered to him throughout the country, has gone to Detroit, where he will overhaul the putting greens and fairways of the Bloomfield Hills Country Club." That never happened.
 
There isn't a single reference to him in their Board minutes, and unlike at other clubs, BHCC's are complete and detailed in the information regarding what was done on the golf course and when.
 
I've attached a photo of the 1924 plan hanging in the 2nd floor hallway of the clubhouse. It was used by a sprinkler company to verlay a design for an automatic sprinkler system. What no one realized is that it was actually a copy of the Colt design drawing."

"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

Dan Moore

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 11:53:17 AM »
Thank you Phil.  Great stuff.

Colt and Ross were together in Chicago for several days in late April 1913.  Sounds like Colt was at Bloomfield Hills in May 1913 after his Chicago visit. 

Did Colt retain any of Bendelow's original layout or was it a comoplete redo? 
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 12:10:10 PM »
Two quick thoughts based on Phil's information:

1.  Digging further into Connellan's work in Michigan, I came across the following link:  http://michigangolfer.tv/news/birm_1214.html.  The website contains a letter from Birmingham CC's president and club historian, Howard Johnson, noting that the club believes the course was laid out by Bendelow (first 9 in 1916 and the second in 1920).  Connellan and his working partner Wilfred Reid renovated the course in 1928, and then Diddel came in some time during the 1930's for a further update.  Over the years, the club has seen additional work done by RTJ Sr., Bruce and Jerry Matthews and Art Hills.

2.  The Ross Society course listing has the 1936 date for Ross as an 18 hole remodel.  Phil's notes state that the Ross plans are first mentioned in the club minutes in April of 1922.  Here is a list of work that Ross did in Michigan between 1914 and 1922, helping to narrow down the time periods for when he might have visited the club:

Barton Hills CC - 1922
Detroit GC - 1914
Fred Wardell CC/Fred Wardell Estate - 1920
Grosse Ile - 1920/1921
Kent CC - 1921
Monroe G&CC - 1919
Muskegon CC - 1920
Oakland Hills CC (South) - 1917
Rogell GC (Phoenix CC/Redford CC) - 1917
Shadow Ridge GC - 1916

And since we all know that Toledo is part of Detroit, we should also note that his work at Inverness was in 1919.
"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

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2013, 12:16:41 PM »
We now have the 1924 plan for the course provided by Phil which is an overlay of the original Colt layout, and Jeff Mingay has the Ross plans for the renovation.  Seems like we can at least attempt a comparison of the two at this point.
"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

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2013, 12:58:33 PM »
From Phil:

"The reason the Ross Society lists 1936 as an 18-hole remodel is because the 18 individual hole drawings aren't dated. They assumed that they were from 1936 because they knew that the Club contacted him at that time. The originals at Bloomfield hills are framed and dated 1922 because the file folder they were found in identified them from being from that year. The club had them photographed and the negatives are now stored in the safe. With the information found in the Board minutes books it is clear they were done and received in 1922.

The Ross Society also thought that Ross had redesigned the course in 1918/19 and had copies of Board minutes to prove it. Evidently at some point in time there was a mix-up in the filing leading to this erroneous date as the Board minutes are not from BHCC.
 
The Ross drawings are wonderfully done as you might expect."
"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

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2013, 02:25:47 PM »
Interesting stuff. Thanks for the info. Phil (and Sven).
jeffmingay.com

Dan Moore

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2013, 04:13:11 PM »
Didn't Colt lay-out the original Detroit CC course?  Did Ross build it in 1914? 
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2013, 04:53:40 PM »
Dan:

CC of Detroit (Colt) as opposed to Detroit GC (Ross).

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

SBendelow

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2013, 06:02:31 PM »
 A very thorough effort at getting a club's (in this instance BHCC) course history straight has been demonstrated here.  I definitely commend your efforts.  I wish that those who are or have been writing golf club histories would make an equal effort to research ALL the facts before making final pronouncements.

The Chicago Daily Tribune on October 5, 1906 reported that Tom Bendelow "..lengthened the links of the Detroit Country Club to 6,200 yards."   C&W reference Colt being at Detroit CC in 1914.

Sven Nilsen

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2013, 06:44:46 PM »
Stuart:

I believe the Tribune article was slightly mistaken, not that Bendelow didn't do any work, but that they had the name of the course wrong.  I think the reference in the article should be to The Country Club of Detroit.

To avoid any confusion, the course Bendelow extended was on different land then the course later designed by Colt, and that original course is now NLE.

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

Robert Mercer Deruntz

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Re: digging up Colt
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2013, 08:31:45 PM »
It is really awesome that Bloomfield Hills has an opportunity to return to its former glory.  Growing up, I played there quite a bit when visiting in the summer.  There never was a big deal made of the architect, except that it was considered a Ross like all the other top suburban Detroit clubs with the exception of CC of Detroit.  Until at least the 1980's, almost all the BHCC members had memberships at Pine Lake, Orchard Lake, and Oakland Hills.  During the Great Depression, my grandfather and his friends belonged to all 5 at the same time in order to keep the clubs afloat until better economic times.  The big thing in suburban Detroit was having a great playing professional at the club.  BHCC was a very stuffy club and the real focus was on maintaining a dining room up to the caliber Franklin Hills--which to this day is considered the gold standard for Midwestern club dining.  

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