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Sven Nilsen

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #175 on: March 28, 2018, 11:13:54 AM »
David Marberry made me aware of the following Ross letters and notes relating to Conewango Valley.

Conewango was an early Ross design (1915/16), and was a project where Ross seemingly was not involved in the project after the design phase.  The rough nature of the notes shows a practice that would be refined in later years, but gives us a valuable insight into the guidance he offered to the clubs he worked with while the letters note the constrains on his time at that phase in his career.  The August letter and related notes on grass seed coverage calculations were particularly interesting, as its an aspect of his design work that we normally don't see covered in the historical record.

March 22, 1915 Ross Letter -



March 30, 1915 Ross Letter -



1st Hole Notes -





2nd Hole Notes -



3rd Hole Notes -



4th Hole Notes -



5th Hole Notes -



6th and 7th Hole Notes -



8th and 9th Hole Notes -



Plan of the Course -



Aug. 7, 1915 Letter and Related Notes -









"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

Chris_Blakely

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #176 on: March 28, 2018, 11:14:59 AM »
Highlands GC (Grand Rapids, MI) The 1930 Ross Booklet notes 18 Holes.The DRS listing has this as a new 18 hole course in 1927, but Ross was called in around 1915 to rework Bendelow's recently completed 18 holes.


This course closed in 2016 when it was purchased by the adjacent Blandford Nature Center:


http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/02/highlands_golf_club_sold_to_bl.html



« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 11:17:23 AM by Chris_Blakely »

Ryan Taylor

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #177 on: March 28, 2018, 11:15:37 AM »
Thanks for taking the time to post all of this information. It's an incredibly useful and helpful post for any fan of Donald Ross.
“Bandon is like Chamonix for skiers or the North Shore of Oahu for surfers,” Rogers said. “It is where those who really care end up.”

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #178 on: March 28, 2018, 11:30:47 AM »
Highlands GC (Grand Rapids, MI) The 1930 Ross Booklet notes 18 Holes.The DRS listing has this as a new 18 hole course in 1927, but Ross was called in around 1915 to rework Bendelow's recently completed 18 holes.


This course closed in 2016 when it was purchased by the adjacent Blandford Nature Center:


http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/02/highlands_golf_club_sold_to_bl.html






Chris:


All of the information I've taken from the DRS Listing is from the version prior to the just released update (the latest version was released after this thread started).  At some point I plan to annotate the thread with the updates that were made.


For your information, both Oakwood and Highlands are noted as NLE in the latest version (which I linked to earlier in the thread).


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

Chris_Blakely

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #179 on: March 29, 2018, 01:40:58 PM »
Highlands GC (Grand Rapids, MI) The 1930 Ross Booklet notes 18 Holes.The DRS listing has this as a new 18 hole course in 1927, but Ross was called in around 1915 to rework Bendelow's recently completed 18 holes.


This course closed in 2016 when it was purchased by the adjacent Blandford Nature Center:


http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/02/highlands_golf_club_sold_to_bl.html






Chris:


All of the information I've taken from the DRS Listing is from the version prior to the just released update (the latest version was released after this thread started).  At some point I plan to annotate the thread with the updates that were made.


For your information, both Oakwood and Highlands are noted as NLE in the latest version (which I linked to earlier in the thread).


Sven


Sven,


Sorry I missed the update link.  Just trying to help the thread.  I had always wanted to play Oakwood when I heard they were going to close and photograph it, but never did.  Highlands I did play and take pictures and just found out closed by accident.


Also, when I played Miami Shores GC (Troy, OH) several years ago on a trip down to play Piqua (when heard they would close).  I talked to the pro and he said they have the Ross plan, I did not see or take a photo.  Also stated the course underwent a major renovation in the early 80s that eliminated a lot of the Ross character.


Thanks,


Chris


Sven Nilsen

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #180 on: March 31, 2018, 10:51:32 AM »
I've added in updates that note any changes that were released in the 2018 DRS Listing.  Its a start, but there are still quite a few changes I'd like to see.


Many of the changes are fairly minor, such as changing a year or noting a course as NLE.  There were a few that stood out, including:


-Making the switch from Lake Wales CC to Lake Pierce
-Changing Old Elm from a new course to a remodel (which is wrong)
-Noting his Beverly work as a remodel and not a new course
-Deleting the Bon Air listing which was duplicative of the Augusta Hill entry
-Adding in a listings for Durand-Eastman and Wanakah
-Noting the Bloomfield Hills work as redesigns that were never built
-Clearing up the Wyandot/Columbus Elks questions
-Addressing the 1918 remodeling work at the CC of Buffalo


A number of new courses were added to the list, as noted below:


Country Club of New Bedford (Dartmouth, MA) - 9 Holes, New in 1924, 9 Holes, Remodel in 1924


Highland Park Golf Course (Grand Rapids, MI) - 9 Holes, New c. 1914


High Point Country Club - Emerywood Course (High Point, NC) - 9 Holes, New in 1923


Country Club of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY) - 18 Holes, Remodel in 1918


Durand-Eastman Park Golf Course (Rochester, NY) - 9 Holes, New in 1917


Lake Pleasant Golf Course (Lake Pleasant, NY) - 9 Holes, New in 1922


Malone Golf Club - East Course (Malone, NY) - 9 Holes, New in the 1930's


Schroon Lake Golf Club (Schroon Lake, NY) - 9 Holes, New in 1917


Wanakah Country Club (Hamburg, NY) - 9 Holes, New in 1913, 9 Holes, Remodel in 1913


Willowick Country Club (Willowick, OH) - 18 Holes, New in 1911, NLE c. 1951


Pittsburgh Field Club (Pittsburgh, PA) - 5 Holes, Remodel c. 1916


Palmetto Golf Club (irrigation only) (Aiken, SC) - 18 Holes, Remodel in 1928


Pinehurst Country Club (Orange, TX) - 9? Holes, New c. 1921


Army Navy Country Club (Arlington, VA) - 3 Holes, New c. 1944


Danville Golf Club (Danville, VA) - 18 Holes, New in 1919-31


The Homestead (Hot Springs, VA) - 9 Holes, Design in 1916
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 11:12:49 AM 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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #181 on: April 01, 2018, 12:59:06 AM »
Another article noting Ross' connection to West Shore CC (aka Island CC).

Sept. 11, 1938 Detroit Free Press -

"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #182 on: April 03, 2018, 08:06:50 PM »
Another unknown Ross project.  The DRS notes Ross working at Palmetto in Aiken in 1928 (adding in an irrigation system).  It makes sense that he visited Highland Park as well while this work was going on.

Nov. 1, 1929 Aiken Standard -

"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #183 on: April 05, 2018, 09:25:54 AM »
In 1926, Ross visited Atlanta to consult with the city on its municipal courses.  Whether any of his advice was acted on is not clear.  It would be interesting to know if the "Peachtree" site Ross examined is the same site that became Peachtree GC.

A year and a half later, Stiles & Van Kleek were hired by the city for projects that would amount to 117 holes.  It appears that much of this work never came to fruition, probably due to the onset of the Great Depression.

Nov. 7, 1926 Atlanta Constitution -



Nov. 9, 1926 Atlanta Constitution -





July 20, 1928 St. Petersburg Times -





« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 09:29:47 AM 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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #184 on: April 05, 2018, 10:19:46 AM »
In addition to a bunch of other articles on other courses, I've added some information on Ross' work in Dayton, OH, including a major revamping of the Dayton CC course in 1935/36.

Ross suggested changes at Dayton CC in the late teens, although it seems like the final plans for any changes at that time weren't finalized until 1922.  Whether those plans were ever put into play at that time is unclear.

In 1922, Ross or a representative from his team visited Dayton's municipal course and offered advice on the improvements taking place at that time.  This course, the Dayton Community GC is credited to William Hoare in 1912, but credit is also given to Alex Campbell in 1919 (Campbell's work is cited as being on the Hills and Dales Park GC or Hills at Community GC and Dales at Community GC, but these were all the same course at the Hoare course).  In any case, it is worth noting the Ross involvement here, even if it was as basic as an associate like Walter Hatch paying a visit and offering advice.

Oct. 5, 1922 Dayton Herald -

"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

MCirba

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #185 on: April 05, 2018, 10:26:12 AM »
Sven,

The Hills Course at Community GC in Dayton is where Joe Coble of Cobb's Creek GC in Philly won the 1924 US Public Links tournament.    His was a true "Rocky" story in Philadelphia if ever there was one.

I'm planning to play there next month when I'm in the area out of respect for his accomplishments.

Thanks for sharing that information.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #186 on: April 06, 2018, 10:00:57 AM »
An older article noting Ross at Dornoch and describing some of the company he kept before jumping over the pond.

July 25, 1896 Aberdeen Journal -

"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #187 on: April 06, 2018, 10:09:00 AM »
Miami Valley CC in Dayton, OH is covered in the 1919 Listing, but I wanted to include the following article which discusses some of Ross' practices in connection with the early design phase.  At least for this one example, you could not accuse him of "mailing it in."

March 15, 1931 Dayton Daily News -

« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 11:46:20 AM 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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #188 on: April 08, 2018, 11:26:14 AM »
In the late teens and 1920's, during the motor tour craze, a number of automobile touring guides were printed.  They often contained descriptions of golf courses you might pass along the way, as well as write-ups of other attractions.

One of those guidebooks was Rinaldi's Official Guide Book, published in 1920.  This guide focused on the West Coast of Florida, and provided a good bit of information on the golf courses in the area at that time. 

For the Fort Myers entry, the guide enlisted Donald Ross himself to describe the course.  This is one of the few examples I've seen of a description of a Ross course in his own words.  Today, the course still exists as the Fort Myers CC municipal course.

"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #189 on: May 03, 2018, 09:45:23 AM »
One more new one for the list, this time Montgomery CC in Alabama.

June 10, 1926 Montgomery Advertiser -

"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

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #190 on: May 03, 2018, 03:33:10 PM »
An older article noting Ross at Dornoch and describing some of the company he kept before jumping over the pond.

July 25, 1896 Aberdeen Journal -




Fantastic find. First evidence I've seen that Low knew Ross, though Low traveled to Dornoch regularly for many years.


Bob   

BCrosby

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #191 on: May 03, 2018, 03:59:07 PM »
Sven -


About the articles above regarding the plans for various municipal courses in Atlanta, I don't think any of them were built. Ross didn't do a municipal course. If S&VK did one, which I doubt, the name has since changed.


The current site of P'tree GC would not have been one of the sites considered by Ross during his 1926 tour. It would have been too far north. My guess is that they were looking at sites near P'tree Battle Creek (then called P'tree Creek). It might be the current site of the Bobby Jones Golf Course, formerly a city course now redone and owned by the state, that has several holes on the creek.

There is a dog that didn't bark aspect of the Atlanta newspaper accounts of the Ross visit in 1926. One  would have thought that if Ross had already designed a course in Atlanta (think EL), it would have been mentioned. That doesn't prove anything, but I have always thought it suggestive. There were several other surveys of golf courses in ATL from about the same time or earlier. None mentions a Ross course.


Bob

MCirba

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #192 on: May 03, 2018, 04:09:00 PM »
Bob,


If memory serves, S&VK did the original Bobby Jones muni.   Thanks.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Mike_Young

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Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #193 on: May 06, 2018, 08:14:31 AM »
Some places in Atlanta don't want to know who DID NOT design their courses. :)    Of course that is also true of other cities as well.
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #194 on: May 06, 2018, 09:58:20 AM »
Sven:


Was this really written by the designer?  The byline is "Donald C. Ross".  Ross's middle name, of course, was James.  And none of it is written with agency ... it's all phrased like "the course was laid out," so is it possible some other Donald Ross wrote this?




In the late teens and 1920's, during the motor tour craze, a number of automobile touring guides were printed.  They often contained descriptions of golf courses you might pass along the way, as well as write-ups of other attractions.

One of those guidebooks was Rinaldi's Official Guide Book, published in 1920.  This guide focused on the West Coast of Florida, and provided a good bit of information on the golf courses in the area at that time. 

For the Fort Myers entry, the guide enlisted Donald Ross himself to describe the course.  This is one of the few examples I've seen of a description of a Ross course in his own words.  Today, the course still exists as the Fort Myers CC municipal course.



Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #195 on: May 06, 2018, 03:24:27 PM »
Tom:


I don't think so.  It wasn't the only time someone gave Ross the wrong middle initial in the press, including using "Donald C. Ross."  And in countless hours of searching I haven't come across anyone else with that combination of first and last names that was considered some kind of authority on golf.


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

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #196 on: July 08, 2018, 11:55:22 AM »
A number of freshly available Boston Globe articles are helping to round out Ross' activities in New England.

One course that is highlighted prominently is Belmont CC (f/k/a Belmont Spring CC).  In addition to designing the course in 1908, Ross returned over the years to suggest updates, including a visit in 1918 where he made suggestions that were not to be carried out until after the war.

March 26, 1918 Boston Globe -



Ross came back in 1922 and came up with a whole new round of changes.  From the articles below, it sounds like these changes were implemented over the next 7 or 8 years.

Sept. 16, 1922 Boston Globe -



Nov. 9, 1925 Boston Globe -



April 2, 1929 Boston Globe -

"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #197 on: July 08, 2018, 12:20:22 PM »
Until recently, the historical record of Ross' work at Belmont was treated as a new 18 hole course in 1918.  There was no mention of his earlier original design, nor of his subsequent remodeling efforts in the 20's.  When the club looked to a fixed date in time to base its most recent renostruction, 1918 was the date that was used. 

A 2009 Mass Golfer article (copied below) detailing the club's history and describing the thoughts behind the renovation give the reader a sense of the historical details that had been lost over time.  Not only does the article mistakenly indicate that the course only had 9 holes up until 1918 (it didn't), it only tells part of the Ross/Belmont story. 

It would seem to this reader that perhaps 1930 would have been a better date to look at for the complete Ross story.  Belmont, like the Pinehurst courses and a number of other places, was a design that Ross spent a good number of years updating and perfecting.  To only to look to a date in the middle of his efforts seems to miss entirely the scope of his contributions.





"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #198 on: July 09, 2018, 12:16:00 PM »
I've maxed out the allowable characters for a number of the posts in this thread, so I'll included any additional articles in new posts.

The following two reports cover the origins of the 9 hole Waltham CC course.

Oct. 16, 1921 Boston Globe -



Oct. 22, 1921 Boston Globe -



"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Reunderstanding Ross
« Reply #199 on: July 19, 2018, 10:20:05 AM »
Another addition to the list.  Ross visited Brockton CC in 1911 to suggest changes.  Two years later the opening of two new holes was reported.

Aug. 20, 1911 Boston Globe -

"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

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