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Greg Smith

  • Karma: +0/-0
Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« on: August 05, 2017, 02:06:51 PM »
I've been reading a book about Feng Shui lately, and I'm thinking it probably has some applications in GCA.

I'm an oncology nurse these days, but way before that my original degree was in architecture (the regular kind, not LAr).  Back then I don't recall Feng Shui ever being discussed in the studio, and I don't recall it being specifically discussed here either.

When I think of Feng Shui issues, I think there's an impact on how things "feel" -- in buildings, in gardens, and on the golf course.  We talk a lot around here about good features placed for concrete strategic reasons, perhaps poorly placed features (placed for penal reasons?), and even about features placed/landforms used for visual reasons (or visual deception).

What about physical features on a golf course that are useless strategically, but nevertheless have a positive impact psychologically/spiritually/emotionally?

The classic example I can think of is the set of bunkers just in front of the tee on St. Germain's par-five sixth.  They're no more than 100 yards off the tee (heck, from the forward tee you can kick it over) -- but they break up (enliven/give reference to) what would otherwise be a long, flat field of grass.  For almost all players, those bunkers have absolutely no strategic or punitive use -- but they're fun to carry.  Harry Colt thought to put them there, and we usually trust his judgement.

I submit that Colt placed the bunkers for a very Feng-Shui-like reason.   The Eastern spiritualists talk about "chi energy"...  maybe a golf hole has chi?   It seems reasonable to me.  I wonder what the ODGs would say.
O fools!  who drudge from morn til night
And dream your way of life is wise,
Come hither!  prove a happier plight,
The golfer lives in Paradise!                      

John Somerville, The Ballade of the Links at Rye (1898)

Peter Pallotta

Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 02:43:15 PM »
Greg - you bought this to mind:
A summer's day, in an old house shaded by trees, with windows that foster a dappled light and a gentle, flowing cross-breeze: the living spaces cool and quiet but naturally so, i.e. not because of air-conditioning and blinds but instead inherent to the home's original and well-thought-out design -- a human-scaled design, built at a time when a house was meant to be a home and not an investment, a place of spiritual solace and not a show-place or symbol of status and wealth. There does seem to be an analogy to the gca of old.
To be honest, to me there is almost a brutality to many of the massively-scaled modern courses, a kind of gca-equivalent to warfare's 'shock and awe' approach; and almost a viciousness to the gleeful tree-clearing that has become all the rage. 
Peter   
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 02:53:46 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 03:11:36 PM »
What about physical features on a golf course that are useless strategically, but nevertheless have a positive impact psychologically/spiritually/emotionally?

Not sure old time Scots new anything about Feng Shui but how about the Swilken Bridge at St Andrews?
Atb


« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 03:19:38 PM by Thomas Dai »

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 03:41:19 PM »
Qi is probably more involved with GCA....because it integrates nature with humanity...but I defintely think there is much Feng Shui in good routings and flow from green to next tee...but some old ODDG gets all that Feng Shui going and then cart paths come along and screw it up....
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 06:47:11 PM »
Pietro


Forgetting agronomics and playabilty, this brutality you speak of to me can be aesthetically essential if only because we can see the landforms.  These days, some archies go through a lot of trouble to shape the land....In the old days, the archies went through a lot of trouble to find land that didn't need shaping.  Unless trees and rough can do a better job at pleasing the eye (and in many instances they can if properly controlled), it doesn't at all strike me as brutal. 


Greg


I have no doubt a guy like Colt sometimes placed bunkers mainly for looking at.  Though, we must always keep in mind that back in the day ball flight was much flatter and carry much shorter...


Ciao 
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Portpatrick & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 07:46:24 PM »
On our project in China I asked if I needed to understand feng shui and the client and his friends got a good laugh.  However it would have been an important point in the clubhouse design.  I think one of the tenets is that they want the building to face south, which would be kind of hard to arrange on some sites!


For your own definition, you seem to be equating feng shui with "composition" in an artistic sense.  It's undoubtedly true that having a good sense of composition results in prettier golf holes.  Some people care a lot about that, and others not at all, but as long as nobody actively dislikes it, you're probably better off with it than without.

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Feng Shui concepts in golf architecture?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 05:47:24 PM »
I know nothing about Feng Shui, but here in Germany there is actually a golf course claiming to be built according to those principles:

http://www.panorama-golf.info/feng-shui/

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

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