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JohnOne interesting thing you mentioned was long walks being pretentious. I never thought of something like dead walks in that way previously. While I hate to be overly harsh about any archie because they have bosses like everybody else, but perhaps the idea of mega tees in the hope that all can equally enjoy (or even enjoy) a golf course is pretentious. I mean, the idea that just plopping tees everywhere solves the problems of playability without serious knock-on effects is a bit trendy, which in and of itself is somewhat prententious.One question...what is unpretentious music?Ciao
I can look at a golf course that wends its way through a housing development, requiring a cart to play because of long green to tee transitions, and augmented by ponds and other attention getting gimmicks, as cheap crap designed to maximize profitability, or I can think of it as pretentious architecture. It's actually both, a crappy golf course that tries hard to make itself look more important than it is. At some fundamental level, a golf course that is unwalkable is a pretentious fraud.
Quote from: John Kirk on October 29, 2018, 11:50:12 AMI can look at a golf course that wends its way through a housing development, requiring a cart to play because of long green to tee transitions, and augmented by ponds and other attention getting gimmicks, as cheap crap designed to maximize profitability, or I can think of it as pretentious architecture. It's actually both, a crappy golf course that tries hard to make itself look more important than it is. At some fundamental level, a golf course that is unwalkable is a pretentious fraud.I just look at housing-development golf as courses where golf is not the primary motivation.Is there really a parallel in music? Other than teenagers who get into music for reasons other than "to make music" ?
Quote from: Sean_A on October 29, 2018, 06:04:56 AMJohnOne interesting thing you mentioned was long walks being pretentious. I never thought of something like dead walks in that way previously. While I hate to be overly harsh about any archie because they have bosses like everybody else, but perhaps the idea of mega tees in the hope that all can equally enjoy (or even enjoy) a golf course is pretentious. I mean, the idea that just plopping tees everywhere solves the problems of playability without serious knock-on effects is a bit trendy, which in and of itself is somewhat prententious.One question...what is unpretentious music?CiaoHi Sean,The study divides music into 21 genres, and the five factors (MUSIC) are weighted using a statistical analysis called "quartimin rotation", which I would have to study for a while before fully understanding.The least pretentious musical genres are, in order: Pop, Country, Religious, Gospel and Soul/R&B.The most pretentious musical genres are, in order: Heavy Metal, Funk, Reggae, Punk and Jazz.According to Merriam-Webster, the two primary definitions of pretentious are:a: making unusually unjustified claims (as of value or standing). Example: A pretentious fraud who assumes a love of culture that is alien to him.b: expressive of affected, unwarranted or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature. Example: Pretentious houses, pretentious languageI can look at a golf course that wends its way through a housing development, requiring a cart to play because of long green to tee transitions, and augmented by ponds and other attention getting gimmicks, as cheap crap designed to maximize profitability, or I can think of it as pretentious architecture. It's actually both, a crappy golf course that tries hard to make itself look more important than it is. At some fundamental level, a golf course that is unwalkable is a pretentious fraud.
(A continuation of the J.C. Jones thread "Generational Tastes", introducing some research about music tastes, and attempting to make a connection with tastes in golf courses and golf experiences.) Golf course ranking and evaluation has improved since the lists of greatest golf courses were first introduced. More people participate in the rankings, with far greater exposure to golf courses worthy of recognition. Furthermore, the prosperity of modern society, combined with a better (or renewed) understanding of what makes golf great, has raised the bar of excellence. For sophisticated golfers, there’s never been a better time to be a connoisseur of golf courses. Still, golf course evaluation remains a poorly researched subject. Much has been learned through discussion, but it’s too small a field to merit a serious, sociological analysis about what golfers like. Sophisticated designers and businessmen dictate course architecture and maintenance practices. The industry might benefit from a large study with a detailed questionnaire asking players what they want, along with a basic analysis of each participant’s personality. Until that time, recent trends in design and maintenance seem headed in the right direction to me. Some of you know I’ve devoted a lot of time to studying popular music in recent years. An essential part of social life, musical tastes and preferences have been studied at length, and the advent of “big data” analysis enhances the ability to understand what people like and why. Over the last year, I’ve been stuck with writer’s block on my music project. I need to write a few paragraphs about the modest research I’ve done about musical preference, mostly to show that tastes are varied and personal. I thought I’d break the ice by using a few insights to open a discussion on golf course preferences. Again. The Adolescent Peak In “The Songs That Bind” (New York Times, February 10, 2018), Seth Stephens-Davidowitz uses data searches he requested from Spotify to show that one’s lifetime music tastes tend to peak at 13-14 years old. There is some modest variance, but it’s a powerful rule of thumb. (In my case, there is a clear preference for music recorded between 1963 and 1973, when I was 5-15 years old) The only way this fact might relate to golf might be a special fondness for golf courses played in one’s youth. Age is a weak determinant of what golf courses we like best, but that might be more a matter of having greater opportunities in adulthood. Personality Traits In “Music Preferences and the Adolescent Brain: A Review of Literature” (National Association for Music Education, 2016, Vol. 35), Karen S. Walker discusses the connection between music tastes and personality type, and how music tastes serve as a means of identification to others for social purposes: “Many teenagers identify with others who like similar music and tend to group themselves accordingly. Social cliques are often formed in high school among teens with similar music preferences. For example, teens who prefer heavy metal music are more likely to socialize with those who have similar tastes, as opposed to socializing with teens who prefer different styles, such as jazz music. Many teens feel a strong need to fit in and be accepted socially, so their musical preferences may change depending on their social situation.”-- Karen S. Walker Is taste in golf courses related to one’s social group? I would say yes, to an extent, and add there exists some groupthink within golfing cliques. GCA members tend to find friends within our group, which likely has some influence on their evaluation of courses and architects. People tend to divide up by political affiliation, their social tendencies and by general professional careers. And people are highly influenced by their trusted friends. My best friends here tend to be nerdy and introverted, with most in engineering fields. People find their own tribe. For instance, do I favor modern courses and clubs over the classic Golden Age courses, because I have a thin resume and lack the political savvy to receive an invitation to a prestigious golf club? At the same time, I find a significant part of golf club culture to be pretentious. It’s a fine line between a resentment of the social hierarchy, and feeling left out. The Big Study By far, the most interesting and relevant study on musical tastes is “Music Through The Ages: Trends in Musical Engagement and Preference From Adolescence Through Middle Adulthood”, published in July, 2013 by three British psychologists from Cambridge and one American scientist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A large study of over a quarter million people, the study compares musical preferences with both personality characteristics and age. It’s a remarkable piece of work, and I felt some of the conclusions were relevant to our study of golf courses. I will only include data I feel is relevant to GCA. First of all, music preferences were divided into five dimensions, cleverly using the five letters of the word “MUSIC”. MellowUnpretentiousSophisticatedIntenseContemporary These five dimensions of musical preference were correlated with 23 musical genres, as well as five personality types (The Big Five Inventory): ExtraversionAgreeablenessConscientiousnessEmotional StabilityOpenness The study followed participants for up to eight years, and were therefore able to make some strong judgments about age and musical preference. 1. A desire for Unpretentious and/or Sophisticated music increased with age.2. A desire for Intense and/or Contemporary music decreased with age.3. The desire for Mellow music increases until age 25 or so, then decreases to age 55, and then begin to increase again. With regards to personality traits: 4. Mellow music correlates highly with Openness.5. Unpretentious music correlates to a moderate degree of Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness.6. Sophisticated music correlates highly Openness.7. Intense music also correlates highly with Openness, but also to those with a low degree of Conscientiousness.8. Contemporary music correlates with Extraversion, which makes sense. If you are extroverted and want to be sociable with others, it is sensible to like what is new and hip to establish one’s social credentials. “By middle adulthood (age 40-65), the psychological stage that individuals face is the challenge of developing a career, raising a family, and maintaining friendships. Preferences for Unpretentious and Sophisticated music were highest during this life stage. Both music dimensions are perceived as positive and relaxing, but whereas Unpretentious is more simple and about themes of love and family, Sophisticated is more complex and indicative of high culture. Thus, the relaxing and familial themes of Unpretentious music may be appealing among individuals preoccupied with the challenge of establishing social status and career success.”Bonneville-Roussey, Xu, Rentfrow, Potter, 2013 Discussion The five dimensions of musical preference closely parallel what is needed for a discussion of golf course preference. In fact, only the Mellow and Intense categories are worth considering a change to reflect the ease or difficulty of play. Unpretentious, Sophisticated and Contemporary are easily translated into styles of golf course design. What one regards as Unpretentious or Sophisticated may vary. Golf courses can be Mellow or Intense in terms of the physical and mental demands. Even a flatter course with short green to tee walks might be a very Intense playing experience (Pinehurst #2, for example). A golf course with challenging play tee-to-green play, while possessing gentle greens with uncomplicated short game play, might be regarded as enough of a mental break to be considered a Mellow playing experience. Intense golf might be about the walk, or the relentless mental demands. Pasatiempo is a course in my golfing sphere that is an Intense experience.I’m going to change the terminology to Gentle and Demanding as better descriptors for the golf experience. GentleUnpretentiousSophisticatedDemandingContemporary I have clearly enjoyed Sophisticated golf courses more in recent years, with lots of variety and requiring significant thought. To me, Sophisticated means lots of factors to consider, such as wind, hazards, and contour. I like complicated golf courses. My enjoyment of Sophisticated golf courses grew in middle age, but may now be waning. I only played my two club courses this year (and only 10 rounds total), and playing your home club is generally a Gentle experience. Weaker players would desire Gentle golf courses, while better players are more likely to desire Demanding challenges. That’s an additional factor to consider, not related directly to personality type. However, one might suggest that musicians have additional demands for the music they listen to, though not necessarily for a Gentle or Demanding listening or playing experience.Contemporary golf courses are wildly varied. In this context Contemporary might represent new, popular golf courses, ranging from Sand Valley to Sand Hollow to Common Ground. I like modern golf courses very much, but I feel that golf course design lost its way in the late 20th century. Is there a component of Contemporary course design where certain personalities love and embrace the newest trends in golf? Our group has overwhelmingly Sophisticated tastes. Finally, Unpretentious is the most important trait of a golf course for me. Or conversely, pretentious golf architecture and maintenance is the worst thing. Pretentiousness is manifested in many ways, and means different things to different people. For me it means water hazards with waterfalls, or courses with impossible green to tee walks so that carts must be used. For others it may mean overly contoured and difficult greens. I simply despise self-conscious attempts to make something fancy, which is why I like minimalism in golf courses and all things golf. I can’t stand overt attempts to try and convince me something is fancy and special.Thanks. I realize this is long and tangential to golf course study, but it’s a serious attempt to generate a little more discussion, and perhaps a different way to see golf architecture. Every now and then I try to approach the subject from a different angle.
My musical taste is classical and it is a far bigger field from Machaut in the 14th century to the present day. I briefly thought of making a list of favourite composers and soon realised that it would have thousands of entries. I have a particular love for the music of Schubert. He wrote over 600 songs, about 450 of which are good and about 350 world class. He also wrote gorgeous chamber music (not as challenging as Beethoven) and lovely piano sonatas (again well behind Beethoven). Most of the rest of his music (symphonies, overtures, opera, part songs) don't trouble the scorers much, but I've left out the Unfinished Symphony which is a masterpiece, and already I'm in trouble. And, of course, he's also up against Haydn and Mozart as well as Beethoven we are but scratching the surface. And then there are people like Deodat de Severac who wrote one little piece (that I know of), a tiny, little church anthem, but it's a gem. Even people like Satie wrote some great music in with a lot of kitsch dross. I had the advantage of having a 50-year career as a professional singer. I also had twenty magical years as a BBC producer working with great people such as the Amadeus Quartet, Alfred Brendel, Hans Hotter, Elisabeth Soderstrom, Vladimir Ashkenazy, with world class symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras. early music groups and ensembles and even a hurdy-gurdy player. Something rubs off. I made 3,000+ programmes with these people in my twenty years there. 95% of it was wonderful, only 5% of it rubbish. I had the great pleasure of being in charge of the BBC Philharmonic when it played a Henze weekend at the Barbican with a young German conductor Marcus Stenz. I knew nothing of Henze's music to start with, but after I had done my preparations it made a huge impact on me. You can be surprised in so many ways, and, of course, that surprise has remained with me ever since. So, I only sang the music of Machaut once, in a concert in Rome, yet it was the focus of a discussion I had with the (Rumanian) Professor of English at Bangor University only the other day. Actually we had met to discuss the poetry of Jordan Fantosme (much older than Machaut), and so it goes on. You never stop learning, yet how much have I forgotten!
(An aside: Is anybody else having a tough time with paragraph spacing?)Hi Peter,I have to bring the definition of "pretentious" down here for an easy reference.According to Merriam-Webster, the two primary definitions of pretentious are:a: making unusually unjustified claims (as of value or standing). Example: A pretentious fraud who assumes a love of culture that is alien to him.b: expressive of affected, unwarranted or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature. Example: Pretentious houses, pretentious languageI've painted myself into a corner, and could be accused of trying to be important by attempting this thread, without really knowing what I'm talking about. Fortunately, I'm making no claims as to my expertise. It's hard to generate novel conversation, and my efforts in the last few years are hit and miss.Peter, I don't think any of the three courses mentioned (Old Macdonald, Pacific Dunes, The Loop) are pretentious designs. If I had to pick one, it would be Old Macdonald, for having the audacity to build a tribute to a famous architect. But as JHoulihan suggests as a core quality for golf courses, it's fun to play, which is the best compliment a course can receive. All three courses are built with minimum earth movement, and few if any unnecessary hazards. They lay on land well contoured for golf. They are all great places to play, with The Loop being particularly clever, devoid of any extra features that might negatively impact play in the opposite direction.I'll take a shot at pretentious golf design one last time, swinging for the fences. Is there any sport where men moved more dirt in order to play a game? Has there ever been a sport played on land inhospitable to the game played on it? Is it pretentious to build courses that require all that work? Perhaps pretentious is the wrong word, and arrogant or grandiose is a better choice.Name another sport that has decided it's OK to eliminate the primary exercise aspect of the game. Every unwalkable design is pretentious and arrogant, under the definition "unwarranted or exaggerated importance". A true golf competition as dictated by the USGA and the R&A cannot be played on an unwalkable golf course. Lots of people can't walk a full round of golf because they are old, or they didn't take care of themselves, usually due to poor diet or overuse injuries. There's a big market for carts and unwalkable golf courses, but it's not really golf.My prediction into the future (20-50 years) is the closing of almost all unwalkable courses, plus many courses in inhospitable or remote regions. The world will not be able to afford the energy to support them. Conversely, people will be walking and playing tightly routed courses will be around for a long time. Cart golf will be for the über-rich.Clearly, some architectural features like waterfalls are ostentatious. For other less egregious examples of course construction it's a gray area for what constitutes pretentious design.Last thing: The premise of the JC Jones thread "Generational Tastes" asked:"So, who is right? The golfers of the 60s-90s, or the golfers of today? How could previous generations have been so wrong as to miss a seemingly clear top 10 course?"Two thoughts. First, earlier golfers, especially until the early to mid-1980s, played a significantly different game, where the ball spun less and didn't go as far. Two generations ago, the players would likely be more critical of a course which discouraged balls from bouncing onto a green. Just a speculation.Second, I think the big change is the modernization of the rating panels and system. I'm going to talk about our friend Tom Doak as if he's not here. I can't remember if he started the Golf Magazine panel, or just took it over. Regardless, his presence coincides with the contemporary consensus view of great golf courses. Tom's desire to create an accurate, comprehensive list of best American courses seems to have revolutionized this exercise. In general, Golf Magazine's top 100 lists identified the best courses a few years before the two other major American lists (Golf Digest and Golfweek) followed suit. Not only is Tom a daring and successful architect, he's the most important evaluator of golf courses in modern history. Which is great, because evaluating golf courses is really fun. Back to my buddy Peter,I enjoyed the Charles Mingus anecdote. I don't know that much about music either, but I've got a nice list of songs. I learn about the best music the same way I learn about golf courses — by reading what the experts have to say.