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Mike_Young

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Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« on: October 01, 2016, 09:05:06 PM »
Thought I would try to stir some stuff...

IMHO much of the renovation/restoration boom of the last 15 years was born of the decline in new construction.  Andmuch of that reno/resto work relied on the name of Ross even if he had only been on site one day or none at all.  Maybe he just rode thru town looking at another course and had lnch at a place.  But it was a marketing tool/name much cheaper than hiring a modern signature. 

Anyway,  I have seen more than a few of the Ross renos/redos and it is quite obvious that most can be identified by the reno/resto archie more than by Donald Ross.  However, the next generation will still identify these places by Ross not the reno/resto archie.  There is a lot of nice work out there in the name of DR but not all of it is Ross.  I see it melting...
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

BCowan

Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 09:14:26 PM »
Mike, this isn't any different over the last century.  Removing the 80s and 90s DR disasters should be applauded. Of course there is going to be screw ups.  Everything in life has pros and cons.  The glass is half full here my friend. 

U could be a DR reno hero!!!!

Mike_Young

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 09:57:19 PM »
[quote author=Ben Cowan (Michigan) link=topic=63646.msg1515459#msg1515459 date=1475370866

U could be a DR reno hero!!!!


Why would I want to be known for renovating another guy's stuff?  Do you know who restored Mona Lisa?
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

BCowan

Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 09:59:24 PM »
The older I get the more appreciation I have for Art Hills. Uve helped shed some light Mike, thanks. 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 04:00:41 PM »
Mike:


I'll agree with you that I can make a pretty good guess whether the Donald Ross course I'm looking at was restored by Ron Prichard, or Ron Forse, or someone else.  I'm not entirely sure whether it's them, or the contractors who work for them, whose tendencies I am picking up.


But, hell, you could say the same thing for Ross's own work in the 1910's and 1920's, which were built by a variety of foremen to a variety of standards.  But they all still were working from Ross's routing and Ross's green construction plans, and so are the modern guys, and that's 80% of what makes the work so good.


Yes, the Ross label will always be worth a fair bit whether he spent much time on certain projects or not.  But in the end, it's really about whether the course turned out well, isn't it?  I've seen a hundred very good courses by Donald Ross and I am not bored with them yet.  I don't think you could say that about any other designer, dead or alive.

Mike_Young

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 07:40:29 PM »
I agree for the most part except not sure some of the greens plans are not "over interpreted"..
I always enjoy playing Ross routings...
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

BCowan

Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 09:05:05 PM »
I agree for the most part except not sure some of the greens plans are not "over interpreted"..
I always enjoy playing Ross routings...

Well said. I find it ironic that the same restoration archie thinks lasering ross green plans to restore a feature is great, yet is against coring out greens that struggle agronimically.  Saying greens are unable to be replicated to their exact original make up. 

The Mona Lisa comment doesn't hold water, complete BS.  It's honorable to restore golden age tracks especially ones that have been destroyed by well meaning archies. I agree that too much credit is given to restore archies that may or may not have routing ability.  Who would u want to restore MY courses?  Things deteriorate MY......
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 09:08:25 PM by Ben Cowan (Michigan) »

Sean_A

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2016, 09:14:14 PM »
Thought I would try to stir some stuff...

IMHO much of the renovation/restoration boom of the last 15 years was born of the decline in new construction.  Andmuch of that reno/resto work relied on the name of Ross even if he had only been on site one day or none at all.  Maybe he just rode thru town looking at another course and had lnch at a place.  But it was a marketing tool/name much cheaper than hiring a modern signature. 

Anyway,  I have seen more than a few of the Ross renos/redos and it is quite obvious that most can be identified by the reno/resto archie more than by Donald Ross.  However, the next generation will still identify these places by Ross not the reno/resto archie.  There is a lot of nice work out there in the name of DR but not all of it is Ross.  I see it melting...


Mike


I guess my question would be what is the problem if some Ross is melted?  Like Tom, I think a ton of Ross was delivered melted...how else does a guy "design" that many courses?  For me, what is consistently good about Ross is the routings...especially when viewed on an individual basis. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Peter Pallotta

Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 08:58:05 AM »
Reading these posts from folks who know got me thinking that maybe we need yet another word (egads!): not renovating or restoring  but "revealing" a Ross, ie scraping away the added layers of makeup and cutting away at the ill-fitting and out of fashion fineries to reveal the basic structure/bones/routing. That's such a humble and modest task, though, so I wonder how many professionals would be happy to do so little...

Mike_Young

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 09:05:15 AM »
SA,
No doubt the routings are at the top of my likes for a DR course but it was his subtleties in his green complexes that could be carried out by a local construction crew who had never done so before that I appreciate.   Those subtleties rewarded good recoveries and I see too much of the new where any possible recovery is lost. 

Peter,
Just go play Holston...I think but not sure TD had something to do with it... a little went a long way there....

"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

JMEvensky

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 02:04:30 PM »

Just go play Holston...I think but not sure TD had something to do with it... a little went a long way there....



+1--and also see Kris Spence's work at Memphis CC.

Carl Johnson

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2016, 03:17:22 PM »
Carolina Golf Club (in Charlotte - my club) is an interesting example, I think.  I'm sure we'll always call it a "Ross course."


It was built in 1929, clearly "by Ross," but original design and construction records are gone (not at the club or in the Ross archives). We do have one small drawing of the course that shows the outlines of the holes and the sequence of play, and an old aerial photo, dates unknown, but obviously early.  The course, which started as a daily fee, then in the late 1950s became a private club, never had much money and therefore was little changed until 2008 when Kris Spence was hired to "re-do" the course.  The little changes had to do with some greens being tinkered with, two tinkered with a lot, many trees planted (on what had been open dairy farm land), a number of bunkers filled in, and greens contacted substantially in size and rounded (due to mowing patterns, intentional or not).  Also, when the course went private in the late 1950s a new clubhouse was built across the property from the old log cabin clubhouse, and as a result the sequence of playing the holes was changed substantially (nothing so simple as reversing the nines).


With the Spence "re-do" here are just some of the things that happened.  Two of the original holes were abandoned completely to become a new practice tee area.  These were the holes that had become 1 and 2 in the late 1950s.  The new, replacement holes are nothing like the old ones, and although are said to have Ross characteristics, are dramatically different from the rest of the course.  Another completely new hole was created, a par 3, which is in the same general area as the hole it replaced, but does not overlay the old hole.  I think this hole fits in well. Four holes have completely new green locations, two moved back (and one of those to much higher ground), one forward, and one to the left.  Again, the changes seem to fit.  In at least three cases the outlines of the original greens were obvious, and those greens restored.  The greens that had been tinkered with a lot over the years were completely "re-done," but there's no way to tell how they reflect the originals.  Spence also added back old bunkers that could be identified.  The course was substantially de-treed, though not to the original tree-barren dairy farmland.


The fairways were changed substantially (not the routings, except as noted above).  The old fairways had lots of humps and hollows (in some little ways like British links courses), including features which legend has it were originally cow paths from the dairy farm days.  Obviously little to no grading was done when the course was built in 1929.  Spence did substantial smoothing of the fairways, the humps and hollows and "cow paths" are gone.  In addition, ups and downs have been softened.  E.g., a number of holes play from high ground through low ground and back to high ground.  Steeper ups and downs were graded to be less steep and the low land filled in.


I like the "re-do" very much, particularly as it relates to the greens, bunkers and surrounds.  The fairways, not so much.  As I said at the outset, we'll always call it a Ross course, but is it?
 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 04:56:05 PM by Carl Johnson »

Tim Gavrich

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2016, 01:00:17 PM »
I'm intrigued by the way in which Ross' style/philosophy is exported to courses that he never worked on. Two courses of this sort that I've played are The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, NC, and the Retreat Course at Sea Island. Both are from the Davis Love group, and I thought both courses green complexes were a lot of fun, with roll-offs and the types of shapes, little sections and slopes that make "real" Ross greens enjoyable.


This is a positive development in golf course architecture, right?

Senior Writer, GolfPass

Kalen Braley

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 01:31:33 PM »
I'm just glad Ross's crowned greens at Pinehurst survived all of these years.  If not we'd have no accurate representation of his work.  ;D

Carl Johnson

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Re: Can we define a Donald Ross course in 25 years?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2016, 04:00:00 PM »
Thought I would try to stir some stuff...

IMHO much of the renovation/restoration boom of the last 15 years was born of the decline in new construction....


Well, Mike, nice try, but you stirred little.  I posted essentially the same question six or seven years ago, not just related to Ross but to the work of other late and great architects.  No interest then, either.


Carl

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