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Ira Fishman

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Strantz and Engh
« on: June 05, 2022, 01:24:26 PM »
I have not played any Engh designs and only 9 holes of a Strantz course (stopped at Stonehouse because it took 3 hours). Therefore, this question comes with no biases one way or the other.


Why is Strantz often lauded as a creative visionary while Engh almost never is? I am looking for substantive comparisons between their designs.


Thanks,


Ira

cary lichtenstein

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2022, 02:53:48 PM »
I made it a point to play all of Strantz courses and 4 or 5 or Engh's, I enjoyed all of them. Both offered great eye candy, I'm not qualified to critque their talent.
Lived Chicago, now Jupiter, Fl, was a 4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 3 back, wrist, shoulder surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, I don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms

PPallotta

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2022, 09:25:01 PM »
Cary, you were a very good golfer back then -- whose courses provided you the more varied, interesting, fun, challenging and strategic golf experience, strictly playing-and-scoring wise, Engh or Strantz?

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2022, 11:39:38 PM »
Engh had the more dramatic terrain to work with. The Sanctuary is on a green Colorado mountainside. The first tee shot goes 200 feet downhill and is up and down for the rest of the round. Pradera to the north is more desert and rolling hills. Lakota Canyon to the west plays in and out of folds in the the side of mountains. It has some of the most outrageous holes you could find. Fossil Trace outside Denver plays over and around natural rock formations to wildly undulating greens. Black Rock doesn't get a lot of love here, but it is nothing short of stunning. I has some very manufactured parts and waterfalls but the views are to die for.  His courses push the envelope and every course seems to have one green that demands a shriek. If there is one common element it is the wild greens. His canvases are so varied that they could not have much else the same.



Strantz likes big: Big greens, big bunkers, big fairways, except for Caledonia where he had a small piece of property to build his course. Go across the street to True Blue and you have Pine Valley on steroids. Many of his properties are on similar land, with the exception of Stonehouse which is in a forest. Tobacco Road is a wild ride with some of the most fun shots you could hit. Some of the holes are outrageous. Royal New Kent could be my favorite Strantz, especially when it was first built without the houses. I have not played Bull Bay.


Both architects can shock the senses and you go away scratching your head and wonder, "Did he really do that?"
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Ben Hollerbach

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2022, 09:56:51 AM »
I have played 1 Strantz (Royal New Kent) and 1 Engh (Lakota Canyon), so I am far from an expert. I played both courses within a year of each other, approximately 10 years ago. Both courses left an equal but opposite impression on me.


Royal New Kent beat me up really bad, I did not play poorly but I did not execute the correct shots for the course time and time again. Even after shooting 15-18 strokes higher than what I would have expected I still limped off the 18th green with a strong desire to head back to the 1st. I wanted to give it another go, seeing if how much I could improve after now knowing what I didn’t 4 hours prior.


Lakota was the opposite. By the time that round had ended I had become bored of tee shots in which the ball would fall for 10 seconds. In comparison to RNK, I played quite well, but felt that there wasn’t that much value in how well I played, the course did not engage me the same way.  It felt that beyond the massive elevation changes there really wasn’t much redeemable about the rest of the course.


I have a strong desire to see the rest of Strantz portfolio and no desire to see the rest of Engh’s.

Roman Schwarz

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2022, 10:36:42 AM »
My Strantz experience is more extensive (4 courses) to Engh (1 course), but I'd say it like this:  Think about standing water sports like wakeboarding, waterskiing, etc.  You can fall spectacularly, but if you fall straight to your back/butt and it looks significantly crazier than it actually was.  On the contrary, if you go face first, it hurts as bad or worse than it looked.  I'd say Strantz is the former, Engh the later.


Just highlighting the relevant points of TR rather than a full discussion since there are plenty of threads already...the brilliance of Tobacco Road is that it isn't nearly as hard as it looks after you've played it a few times.  There's a lot of visual eye candy, but the landing areas are very generous and the greens are pretty receptive.  If you get in trouble, just take your medicine and get back in play.  If you're on your game, you can shoot the round of your life there.  I've also always said it's a brilliant move to call the tees random names like "disc" and "plow" rather than using colors or numbers so that people don't realize they're playing 500 yards less than they would otherwise.  TR is also sneakily not a bad walk until the 12 to 13 and 14 to 15 green to tee walks.  Bulls Bay is a fine walk outside of getting up to the clubhouse.


The one Engh course I've played (many times) is Hawktree.  I thoroughly enjoy playing it, but if you don't bring your A game, it can be a rough day.  There are a lot of tough visuals and the tall grass on the edges evokes memories of Kevin Na at Erin Hills.  I once played in mid July and the guy in the clubhouse told me he thought I was the first person to walk the course that year.  I had a really solid round going, but then the walking caught up to me around the 15th hole and I suddenly lost 4-5 balls in those last 4 holes.  There's no way to manage yourself around the course if you're off.  I'd also say 95% of the wildness is tee to green rather than on the green.  That said, there are a lot of fun elevated tees with great angles.  There's a lot of "S" architecture where staying close to the trouble off the tee gives you the best angle on the 2nd.  My criticism would be that there should be a little more give-and-take (see Ran's new profile on Southern Pines).  This is a little more of a funhouse version of RTJ's better works, emphasizing the "tough par" mentality.




Dan_Callahan

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2022, 12:34:37 PM »
I too have played 5 Strantz courses and only 2 Engh designs, so a very small sample size for Engh. I would agree that Engh has had more dramatic geography to work with, especially at Snowmass. As a result, Engh's "eye candy" was in many ways already there, whereas Strantz created his. The other clear difference is in bunker styles. Strantz loved to employ a rugged, blown out look of massive scale. Engh has a pretty unique look to his bunkers, with the grassed rolls and banks that looks far more manicured and precise. I very much enjoyed Snowmass, but I found the Strantz courses more to my liking.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2022, 10:45:35 AM by Dan_Callahan »

Tom_Doak

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2022, 10:56:28 PM »
Very different guys, very different courses.  Mike was a freehand artist who wanted to emulate Nature’s most dramatic creations. Jim liked to design to loud music and makes no attempt to make his features look natural (which is very hard for me, personally).  Both were very good players so their courses tend to be difficult, but Mike’s are much wider, which was easier to provide in the southeast than in Grand Junction.

AChao

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2022, 12:54:00 AM »
I feel that Stranz was more the artist with a canvas.  Having played golf with Jim, I thought he was more of a strategy guy shot to shot.  Also, I think Jim got famous with Sanctuary and he sort of crafted / got known for courses on really hilly property.

cary lichtenstein

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2022, 01:18:15 PM »
Cary, you were a very good golfer back then -- whose courses provided you the more varied, interesting, fun, challenging and strategic golf experience, strictly playing-and-scoring wise, Engh or Strantz?


Tobacco Road was my favorite Stantz course, so varied, fun...I only played it once and shot 70, but it stands out in my mind as maybe the most creative course I played. Lakota Canyon my wife and I played many times, I just couldn't get enough of it. We stayed in Snowmass and traveled 60 minutes each day to play it, how Engh routed the course thru the canyons was great. I played the Sanctuary one, I loved the terrain inspite of playing poorly that day. Clearly, Engh had way better terrain to work with. Strantz artistic talent was immense.
Lived Chicago, now Jupiter, Fl, was a 4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 3 back, wrist, shoulder surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, I don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms

Kalen Braley

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2022, 10:34:57 AM »
I've played 4 of Engh's courses, and 1 Stranz.

I've always really liked Jim's courses as they provide lots of eye candy and heart-thumping shots.  He's oft criticized for templatizing golf holes but I never really understood this as the Golden Age template architects are widely praised for theirs.  If you find something fun and entertaining like his Mick Jagger tongue greens or cape greens on Par 5s, why not reuse it.  Yes 11 at Black Rock is totally artificial but one of the most interesting golf holes I've ever seen and the approach shot into that green, just epic.  Applying Tom Paul's big world theory, there is plenty of room for Engh's courses as they are thoroughly enjoyable.

I really loved the 1 Stranz course I played in MPCC shore, just a master class in artistic wonder, but being in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, its hard to form an unbiased opinion.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2022, 11:47:56 AM by Kalen Braley »

Stewart Abramson

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Re: Strantz and Engh
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2022, 11:39:43 AM »
Re: " Why is Strantz often lauded as a creative visionary while Engh almost never is? "


I've played four Strantz and three Engh. I think both men have a little bit of Desmond Muirhead in them. They were/are comfortable thinking outside the box. Both have shown a lot of creativity in their courses. Engh's website starts off talking about "Quirk". I've played one of his most popular courses, Fossil Trace in Golden CO. It has a lot of quirk.  Like Strantz's True Blue, Royal New Kent and Tobacco Road, it is mostly loved by those who play it, but there are also a lot of haters. I rarely hear people who don't have a strong opinion about their courses, one way or the other. With the caveat of my small sample, it seems to me that Strantz's courses differ pretty significantly from one another. If I didn't know who designed True Blue, Caledonia, Tobacco Road and Royal New Kent, I probably wouldn't have guessed that the same person designed all four. I don't know If Mr Engh has such broad variety among his courses.


As to why MS might be more often lauded, maybe the answer is as simple as the locations of their respective courses. I'd guess that more golfers visit Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst as compared to the areas where Engh's public courses are located. Golfers visiting Myrtle Beach would be struck by how creative and different True Blue is compared to the majority of the other 90 courses there, as well as how different it is from the other Strantz course across the street. Caledonia is a beautiful and fun course played by a huge number of travelling golfers that outshines the vast majority of its neighbors. Those factors can lead to a lot of positive buzz. In the Sandhills, although there is so much excellent golf, there aren't many that have the  look and feel of TR. I'd guess that the number of golfers visiting Bismarck ND and Grand Junction, CO are significantly less.

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