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Tim Gallant

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Shifting scales
« on: July 30, 2018, 12:47:17 PM »
Today I was thinking about how we often talk about scale, but generally only in one way when it relates to a course. I, like many of you, have probably heard the phrase 'the scale of the course was massive' numerous times.


But then I started thinking; are there any good examples of golf courses that change scale multiple times during a round, and how does that impact how one plays the course? I would imagine it is more popular to have a consistency in scale throughout the round for a number of reasons, but then I started thinking, can jumping back and forth between large and small scale throw golfers off? Is that even advisable?


Just curious what others thought!

Rick Lane

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 01:37:22 PM »
Really interesting question.  I can think of it a few ways:

Sometimes when there is massive scale that you can see (entails long views), it can serve to distract your mind from the shot at hand?   Not sure if that is "intentional" but I think its a real thing.  Bandon, Pebble, etc with distracting views.

To your main question about shifting scale, I would think its a great way for an Archie to keep you off balance?  Play a few holes that have , say, width and larger greens complexes, and then you are confronted with something tighter and a smaller green tightly bunkered, then go back to width and more openness would seem to be a way to test your powers of concentration?

Would be interested to hear the Archies weigh in...

Bruce Katona

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 04:37:37 PM »
Tom & the other practicing professionals will weigh in, but back in design school the instructors always spoke to us about modulating and connecting spaces, where in this instance walking/cart paths are not paths, but spaces linking together two larger spaces (holes).




the best example I ever saw of this linking of spaces together and making the experience of going from hole-to-hole and unique designed experience was at Twin eagles in Naples.....the spaces between holes were very well designed and thought out.

Cal Seifert

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2018, 04:42:53 PM »
Bethpage black definitely has a shift in scale from the first hole where you can see many other holes to the second where you can only see that specific hole and the next tee from your tee shot up until you putt out.

Ira Fishman

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2018, 05:42:24 PM »
Pete Dye's River Course at Kingsmill in Virginia strikes me as having some shifting scales.  It moves from open to trees back to open back to trees and then downhill to views of the James River.  Hog Neck on the Eastern Shore of Maryland which is a very solid pure public by Lindsay Ervin has a treeless, heavy water front and a treed, pretty tight back.  It is a noticeable change in scale where the wind causes concern with the driver on the front, and the trees do so on the back.  I think Bandon Trails changes scale more than once although others may disagree.  The obvious is the first and last set in the Dunes with the middle away from them, but I think that crossing the ridge from 13 to 14 changes the scale as well.


Ira

Dave McCollum

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2018, 05:43:56 PM »
I've never been sure what "massive scale" meant.  Our course is down in a deep hole in the earth, a canyon that is 500 feet deep and wide enough for a large river with a golf course on either side.  The courses are fairly open, but on every hole you see these massive rock walls acting as a visual backstop.  To my eye these backstops aid depth perception and it is always a little disorienting when I play a wide open course like a links or a mountain or hill top layout.  If Tom does chime in on this thread, I'm interested in what he says about scale.  He doesn't need my suggestions, but since one of his courses, RCCC, RCCC, Rhas what I might call massive scale, is so different from our intimate canyon courses--he's played both--yet have a very different kind of massive scale, at least to my eyeballs.  Maybe he'll say these canyon course have no scale at all--just turf, rock, and sky.  I don't know.  They are so different from RCCC it seems absurd to use the same term to describe them.  Both landscapes are dramatic and very hard to ignore.       
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 05:50:26 PM by Dave McCollum »

Michael Wolf

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2018, 06:00:48 PM »
I find my "feelings" of scale while playing a course are often influenced when I'm playing into a back corner or fence line of a property, and quite often those few loop holes end up being my favorites. Lytham and LACC are two that immediately spring to mind of bigger scale courses that feel much more intimate for a couple of holes, and for the better, before turning back around and heading back into the grander spaces. Plainfield's back nine would be another one that would come to mind as feeling much more intimate than it's yardage and elevation change would normally suggest, and again I can only assume it's because so many of the holes are routed along fence lines.


Funny now that I think of it, but TOC and Tim's home course of North Berwick kind of achieve the same effect but in complete reverse, where you start and finish in what feels to this 9 handicap like cramped quarters, but in between are kind of moved out into a huge wide open field of play. The scale of both are helped I think by the effect of leaving and returning to town.




MW


Blake Conant

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2018, 07:01:20 PM »
Bel-Air and Cruden Bay are both great examples of shifting scales throughout the routing.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2018, 08:57:15 PM »
What a good and interesting question, and follow-up posts too.

Like with the mixing of textures & patinas, I marvel that architects can sometimes get it so 'right':

I've been thrown off by the few large-scaled/expansive courses I've played when they move to & mix in more intimate/focused sections.

But I don't know/can't put my finger on why it doesn't work, or why sometimes (as in the examples given) it does.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 09:01:15 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Tim Gallant

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2018, 03:49:23 AM »
Bel-Air and Cruden Bay are both great examples of shifting scales throughout the routing.


Blake,


Although I've never played the course, Bel-Air struck me as one course that might demonstrate this well. From photos I've seen, it seems like there are some areas where you can look clear across the property / see the city in the background, while at other times, you are 'isolated' in one of the canyons.


A follow-up: at Bel-Air does what's on the ground reflect what's around? Are the greens / bunkers / undulations reflective of the surrounding and scaled appropriately? One photo I saw of the recently renovated course (which looks fantastic!) is from the first tee - the ground swept downhill in a very macro way, and the bunkers that I could see fit the size of the property nicely. They looked appropriately sized relative to the surrounding, but I imagine they are actually very big!

Sean_A

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2018, 04:22:59 AM »
Scale is an interesting subject and one that intrigues me, especially for the hilly courses I really like.  You get Painswick, Cleeve Cloud, Kington, Church Stretton and Welshpool all on very hilly sites.  Yet Painswick feels very much on the small scale, congested even.  However, there are a few breakout holes such as the 6th, not only visually, but the space seemingly on offer.  Its an illusion, there isn't much space despite what the eye is saying.  Cleeve Cloud is the opposite.  There is massive scale for the most part, but in some cases the space is much less than it seems such as 5, 6 & 11.  Plus, the greens and bunkers are small scale which really looks odd to the modern eye.  Kington is the real conundrum because visually the scale is huge, but in real terms the course is fairly small scale with small greens and very few large features.  It seems like one can whack it around, but on most holes this simply isn't the case.  Etc etc.

Yes, unframed long distance views offer the impression of grand scale, but I wonder if how the hills are used is the key aspect. Sidehill holes especially play games with scale, but I suspect on many hilly sites, to keep a compact routing sidehill holes are a necessity.  The fairways can visually seem very generous and yet play fairly narrow.  Of course, the scale question also directly relates to equipment.  These old hilly courses are short by modern standards, so modern equipment is not necessarily a good fit...meaning misses can be very bad misses whereas back in the day with old equipment is wasn't necessarily reload time. 

I recall playing Wimbledon and thinking that Caesars Camp is an opportunity to create radically different scale with the rest of the course by eliminating trees and creating a large open area where all the Camp holes could be seen. On the dame course, I recall the bunkering on the lower holes not being in scale with the downhiill views.  That issue was largely created not by the bunkers being to small, but by the there being very little difference in bunker size and shape.  This is a main issue with pot bunkers as well. They tend to be small or at best medium size. When looking down on these bunkers they look silly when grouped...think of Trump Aberdeen in places. 

I spose what I am saying that scale is important, but probably not as important as modern designers presume.  Build something of interest and people won't notice scale so much.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 04:29:16 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ryan Coles

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2018, 05:29:07 AM »
Scale means different things to different people.


Iíd say the scale shifts a lot at Formby.

Niall C

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2018, 06:44:13 AM »
Iím not sure I have the same idea of scale as others. To me scale is to do with the individual golf holes and also how they relate to each other rather than whether they sit in a wide open expansive landscape. Older courses in the UK tend to be smaller scale, not just in terms of hole lengths and the over course length but also in terms of the width of the playing corridors, the size of the features like bunkers, tees, greens etc and generally the amount of elbow room they have. Another way of putting it is that they tend to be more intimate than a lot of modern courses.

I tend to think itís also not just the hole length and size of features but also the placement of bunkers and dog-legs. On older courses the hazards tend to be nearer the tee and as do the dog-legs which gives the impression of being a smaller scale.

Examples I can think of with different scales tend to be older courses that have had new holes added at a much later date ie. Lochmaben, a nine hole James Braid with nine new holes tacked on.

Off the top of my head I canít think of an original course that has holes of different scale.

Niall

Tim Gallant

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2018, 08:48:33 AM »
Iím not sure I have the same idea of scale as others. To me scale is to do with the individual golf holes and also how they relate to each other rather than whether they sit in a wide open expansive landscape. Older courses in the UK tend to be smaller scale, not just in terms of hole lengths and the over course length but also in terms of the width of the playing corridors, the size of the features like bunkers, tees, greens etc and generally the amount of elbow room they have. Another way of putting it is that they tend to be more intimate than a lot of modern courses.

I tend to think itís also not just the hole length and size of features but also the placement of bunkers and dog-legs. On older courses the hazards tend to be nearer the tee and as do the dog-legs which gives the impression of being a smaller scale.

Examples I can think of with different scales tend to be older courses that have had new holes added at a much later date ie. Lochmaben, a nine hole James Braid with nine new holes tacked on.

Off the top of my head I canít think of an original course that has holes of different scale.

Niall


Niall,


Interesting take - in my mind, scale relates to the elements in which you refer to, but also in the wider context of the surrounding, so a bit of both.


I like your point on scale possibly shifting as a result of new holes being developed or redeveloped. Also, I started thinking about the work that Mackenzie & Ebert are now employing at several courses where the fairway bunkers are of a style (and possibly size) that resembles more of a blown-out look, while the bunkers around the greens revert back to a revetted style (and size). Can this impact on a players perception of scale even within 1 hole?!

Tom_Doak

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2018, 09:49:58 AM »
"Scale" is an important part of great golf courses, but I'm not sure there are any accepted definitions of what it's about.  My friend Masa Nishijima uses the word all the time to describe whether he likes a course or not, and I'm never 100% sure I understand what he means.  But I know that Japanese landscape gardening is all about small spaces and big spaces, so I suspect he's onto something.


Posters here talk about "framing" but one aspect of great architecture which few talk about is composition - putting elements in the right places and the right size to make a good visual picture.  Composition would not be as much of a factor as it is, except that we control 18 places where you stand and look at our work, by placing our tees and greens.


When building golf courses you have the scale of the property [the sum total of what you can see on site and off site], the scale of the individual holes [are the fairways wide or narrow? are there trees encroaching or do you have more width visually than just the playing corridor?], and the scale of moving from one hole to the next [sadly corrupted by cart paths on many modern courses].


Bel Air is a master class of scale.  On that first tee you have a bit view down toward UCLA and the city, and today you are looking across an open space that's four holes wide -- 9, 1, 18 and 17 -- as George Thomas intended before they planted trees in between the holes.  By the third hole, you are playing in a narrow canyon that's one hole wide, and after the property opens up again at 4 & 5, you go into a dark tunnel that's 150 yards long and barely wide enough to fit a golf cart.


Yes, the green-to-tee walks can also be part of the experience and scale of a place -- even the materials used on them.  Those little stone steps on some courses get you to focus down on the small scale, and help you appreciate the grandeur of the bigger spaces you're playing in.  That little canopy of cypress trees between the 15th and 16th at Cypress Point helps make the 16th even more spectacular.  Did Alister MacKenzie actually think about that?  It wouldn't surprise me.  This is one of the main ways that golf carts ruin the experience ... they force you after every shot to look back down to the scale of the stupid golf cart.  Which is pretty much never what the architect intended ... except maybe Jim Engh, who told me he thinks about the experience of driving on the cart paths.


Also, the idea that bunkers have to be big in order to fit a broad landscape is just wrong.  Look at all the links courses with pot bunkers you can barely see at all !  Indeed, that's part of the equation ... they disappear from far away, but then they are perfectly in scale from close up when you are near them in the fairway or on the approach.  Whereas the big bunkers used on many courses now don't look so good from close up.  I suspect that's why everyone likes the ragged-edged look ... it is at a smaller and more human scale for when you get close to it.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2018, 10:25:28 AM »
What about scale in relation to course and location history and time frames?
Towns and cities expand and close in on what was once more open area courses. Trees are deliberately planted. Trees and brush and gorse and scrub grow ever more progressively on land that was once open aspect grazed by animals.
Atb

Tim Gallant

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Re: Shifting scales
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2018, 04:13:52 PM »
Scale means different things to different people.


Iíd say the scale shifts a lot at Formby.


Completely agree. This is one where I feel the scale is normal (whatever that means!) for the first few holes, but then towards the latter part of the back-9 the undulations seem larger, the trees feel grander, and the whole place takes on a bolder, bigger scale, at least in my mind.


Bruce and Tom, really interesting point about the scale in between holes. Never thought about this before, but certainly something to look at moving forward. What's the scale like on the in between walks at TOC?  ;D

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