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jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #150 on: August 07, 2021, 01:00:16 PM »
Any update on the progress of Zac Blair's Tree Farm?  Haven't seen anything lately. Did he get the funding in place to start yet?


Zac's been posting updates on clearing for the past couple of weeks
https://twitter.com/z_blair/status/1422706314145198084
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Tom_Doak

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Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #151 on: August 07, 2021, 02:24:53 PM »
I suppose an important question might be, have you been paid for your routing?


Do you really think that's any of your business?


It does seem like kind of an offensive question, though I can't tell to whom the offense was intended.


Anyway, though it's none of your business, yes, I've been paid in full.  The last part of my fee was due when the funding was in place, so that's why I presume the funding is fully in place, even though that was really none of my business, so I had the good manners not to ask.  :D

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #152 on: August 07, 2021, 08:42:54 PM »

Tomóit looks like this will be your first new course project in the Carolinas since very early in your design career. Are you excited to get back there for a new build?

Also, I think the site has sandy soil which lends itself beautifully to ideal playing conditions most golfers on here love. Am I correct about that? Does that type of soil make construction easier or more difficult for your team?



Bill:  I've only been hired to do the routing of the course, not to build it.


As for the soils, I haven't dug around to see exactly what is there.  I doubt it is pure sand like Pinehurst or Ballyneal, but sandy soil is much easier than clay just due for minimizing weather delays during construction.  The sooner the site dries up the quicker you can get going again.





















« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 08:52:32 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #153 on: August 07, 2021, 08:53:09 PM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.


Ira

Brad Engel

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Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #154 on: August 07, 2021, 09:38:37 PM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.


Ira


Having followed along for the last couple of years, Zac is the epitome of author Angela's Duckworth's definition of grit. The power of passion and perseverance!

Chris Mavros

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Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #155 on: August 07, 2021, 09:54:40 PM »
I think Zac has evolved and grown a lot over the years with this project, or at least that's my take.  I've always admired his passion and commitment and wished him success, but the road has not been without its rightful questions and skpeticism.  Personally, I initially really liked everything I saw and inquired a couple times about investing in an initial/founding membership but there was a lack of response of any kind, which made me re-think my thoughts to some degree.  Maybe I didn't make the cut, I don't know.  It did make me wonder how substantial everything really was.  Or perhaps it's like Groucho Marx said, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member lol.

Anyone with the commitment and dedication Zac has shown should be applauded.  Conversely, that journey doesn't come with its learning points and criticisms, just like countless projects before it that have withstood those and the test of time to rise to the occasion.   

I'm happy to hear things are progressing and Tom Doak's involvement is obviously a very strong attribute.  Looking forward to what happens next.     

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #156 on: August 07, 2021, 09:55:13 PM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.



Ira:


I was indeed skeptical of Zac's mission at first, when it was reported here that he was going to buy land in Utah and design and build a course on his own.


As it turns out, that's not what he did at all.  Please don't cast too much shade in my direction.  Mostly, I believe that I suggested he get some good help, and he has done just that, not just from me but from Kye Goalby and Bard Reynolds and others.  8)

Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #157 on: August 08, 2021, 04:03:48 AM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.


Ira

This is a dumb take. Zac was on record here saying he didnít need an architectís help to design and build a course to rival PV and Sand Hills on the site he had selected in Utah.

Thereís still no Zac Blair golf course on that land. Letís judge it when there is.

He hasnít ďproven the haters wrongĒ, heís moved on to a different project with a different model on the other side of the country on a site far more conducive to great golf and benefited from the expertise of not one but three professional golf course architects.

Itís great heís doing his thing and pursuing his dreams, but itís overly revisionist to suggest that this is a windmill dunk on everyone who said he couldnít do the thing that he still hasnít taken a meaningful step towards doing.

If Zac had lobbed on here in 2017 and said ďIím gonna hire Tom Doak, Rob Collins and Kye Goalby to design, route and build a course on a sandy site in South CarolinaĒ, Iím sure he would have received an entirely different response.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2021, 05:17:44 AM by Scott Warren »

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #158 on: August 08, 2021, 08:17:51 AM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.


Ira

This is a dumb take. Zac was on record here saying he didnít need an architectís help to design and build a course to rival PV and Sand Hills on the site he had selected in Utah.

Thereís still no Zac Blair golf course on that land. Letís judge it when there is.

He hasnít ďproven the haters wrongĒ, heís moved on to a different project with a different model on the other side of the country on a site far more conducive to great golf and benefited from the expertise of not one but three professional golf course architects.

Itís great heís doing his thing and pursuing his dreams, but itís overly revisionist to suggest that this is a windmill dunk on everyone who said he couldnít do the thing that he still hasnít taken a meaningful step towards doing.

If Zac had lobbed on here in 2017 and said ďIím gonna hire Tom Doak, Rob Collins and Kye Goalby to design, route and build a course on a sandy site in South CarolinaĒ, Iím sure he would have received an entirely different response.


Wouldn't it be great to predict exactly what the future holds four years ahead.
A large part of Zac's success has come from his courage and willingness to share his thoughts and ask feedback from a large variety of experts, as well as anyone following along on Social Media.
Sure you pick up a few haters along the way, people who are bitter because they never had the courage to act on their own dreams and enjoy seeing a project fail.
All dreams that hope to become plans require flexibility and adaptation, and yes even a dose of realism.


If you don't think he's "taken a meaningful step towards doing"(at The Tree Farm) you're simply not in the loop, or simply not paying attention, or are unaware of the steps he has taken to educate himself and follow through on the process to get the project:
conceived(check),planned/researched(check),Land plots purchased/additional(check), permitted(check),Final routing(check after many many versions), designed(check plus design work in field), completely funded-not just the course-(CHECK).


There have been some great projects in the last 20 plus years, fortunately backed by some DEEP POCKETED really good people who hired great people.
Isn't it OK for someone who is not a professional developer WITHOUT deep pockets to conceive and plan a project from start to finish to have a few twists, turns and adjustments along the way?
especially if the revised product is on better land with a better location and the leading/most experienced course router in the business(along with multiple other contributors) being on board?
Especially if no animals were harmed in the process of his dream adapting ;) (i.e. nobody lost any money)


I'm guessing Mike Keiser had a few unpredictable twists and turns in launching his greeting card company.
To be fair he didn't have social media to benefit from or contend with, but kudos to Zac for leveraging the platform to accelerate the process for a NON deep pocketed guy(hint:it's not being funded by a deep pocketed investor, but rather many, many like minded individuals)


No one need praise the course yet, but it is most definitely happening as we type.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2021, 06:46:37 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Kyle Harris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #159 on: August 08, 2021, 09:01:27 AM »
A professional golfers job is to use their ability to play golf to make money.


Zac does that.
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

Thank you for changing the font of your posts. It makes them easier to scroll past.

Zac Blair

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #160 on: August 08, 2021, 11:32:55 AM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.


Ira

This is a dumb take. Zac was on record here saying he didnít need an architectís help to design and build a course to rival PV and Sand Hills on the site he had selected in Utah.

Thereís still no Zac Blair golf course on that land. Letís judge it when there is.

He hasnít ďproven the haters wrongĒ, heís moved on to a different project with a different model on the other side of the country on a site far more conducive to great golf and benefited from the expertise of not one but three professional golf course architects.

Itís great heís doing his thing and pursuing his dreams, but itís overly revisionist to suggest that this is a windmill dunk on everyone who said he couldnít do the thing that he still hasnít taken a meaningful step towards doing.

If Zac had lobbed on here in 2017 and said ďIím gonna hire Tom Doak, Rob Collins and Kye Goalby to design, route and build a course on a sandy site in South CarolinaĒ, Iím sure he would have received an entirely different response.








Scott you're right I absolutely made some mistakes along the way - mainly talking about building a course in Utah that I believed could be great (by the way I still believe I/we can build something great in Utah and definitely plan on doing so eventually). Early on all I ever wanted was to show the "process" and everything involved in getting something like this going.


As I learned more about a project like this (through the help of people that have been there done that) it was evident that Utah wasn't the right place to start - the Utah project never failed nor did I give up on that idea - I simply decided the project in Aiken was a better place to start for several reasons. Over the years I have been fortunate to meet a lot of different people that helped fine tune this entire dream and non of it would really be possible without them.

ZB[/size][size=78%] [/size]

Zac Blair

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #161 on: August 08, 2021, 11:38:12 AM »
I think Zac has evolved and grown a lot over the years with this project, or at least that's my take.  I've always admired his passion and commitment and wished him success, but the road has not been without its rightful questions and skpeticism.  Personally, I initially really liked everything I saw and inquired a couple times about investing in an initial/founding membership but there was a lack of response of any kind, which made me re-think my thoughts to some degree.  Maybe I didn't make the cut, I don't know.  It did make me wonder how substantial everything really was.  Or perhaps it's like Groucho Marx said, I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member lol.

Anyone with the commitment and dedication Zac has shown should be applauded.  Conversely, that journey doesn't come with its learning points and criticisms, just like countless projects before it that have withstood those and the test of time to rise to the occasion.   

I'm happy to hear things are progressing and Tom Doak's involvement is obviously a very strong attribute.  Looking forward to what happens next.     




Chris,


like I've mentioned a handful of times on here - I absolutely made some mistakes along the way ... including not having something in place besides social media to collect/talk to people like yourself that were interested in being involved/investing....


Luckily the team has come a long way and I feel like we are in a better place now. Happy to chat or have you out to the site sometime. feel free to shoot me an email -- zblair@thetreefarm.golf -- sorry I missed you before


ZB

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #162 on: August 08, 2021, 03:28:04 PM »
For a number of years on here, Zac Blair and the Buck Club have been the subjects of skepticism at best and ridicule at worst, including by the guy who ended up doing the routing. Zac deserves a whole lot of credit for his passion, vision, adaptability, and confident decision making.



Ira:


I was indeed skeptical of Zac's mission at first, when it was reported here that he was going to buy land in Utah and design and build a course on his own.


As it turns out, that's not what he did at all.  Please don't cast too much shade in my direction.  Mostly, I believe that I suggested he get some good help, and he has done just that, not just from me but from Kye Goalby and Bard Reynolds and others.  8)


Tom,


I was throwing some shade and some sun. When I used the terms adaptability and confident decision making, I had in mind among other things changing his team to best pursue his vision. And as usual, Jeff Warne does a much better job than I in making my overall point.


Ira


Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #163 on: August 08, 2021, 05:38:51 PM »
Hi Jeff,

It seems that your response relates to the course in SC (The Tree Farm), which absolutely is taking all sorts of meaningful steps towards fruition. I was replying to Iraís comment about The Buck Club, which is the course Zac had expressed he would design and build himself in Utah that would rival Pine Valley and Sand Hills.

Itís clear ó noting Zacís reply above ó that he has learned 1000 things about pursuing projects like these since he went public with his ambitions in 2017 and seemingly understands that some of his early proclamations were wide of the mark, or at the very least extremely premature. Thatís life, we learn as we go and we try to refine our approach for next time. Heís not shy about owning that.

My frustration is not with Zac, who has been an open book throughout for better and for worse, it is with the people like Ira who decided anyone who was dubious about Zacís initial comments was a ďhaterĒ rather than just understandably dubious that a professional golfer in his mid-20s was going to design and build one of the greatest golf courses in the world on an unlikely site in an unlikely location without professional help on his first go.

And my issue is that now that Zac is building a course, the Ira Fishmans of the world want to dance around like heís proven wrong all of those ďhatersĒ who doubted those claims about The Buck Club.

SC isnít Utah. Sand and pine isnít a mountainside. Collins, Doak & Goalby isnít DIY. The Tree Farm looks really cool, but The Tree Farm isnít The Buck Club.

And everyone I know who doubted TBC is happy that someone so clearly passionate about building his own course is getting to do so and hopes itís a good golf course. These are not ďhatersĒ and itís ridiculous to pigeonhole all TBC doubters that way.

If and when TBC gets built, Zac will be a lot better placed to deliver on his goals for having learned from Rob, Tom, Kye and the irrigation, earthmoving and agronomy experts on the team for TTF. Thatís all experience and knowledge he didnít have in 2017.

Finally, because ďyou have no idea what goes into a project like thisĒ is a common feature of these TBC-related discussions to minimise the criticís voice as uneducated or ignorant, itís probably relevant to note that my work is in major infrastructure development and so I do ó and this is rare ó actually have some basis for my opinions on why TBC was a moonshot & TTF is unsurprisingly moving quickly through concept & business case into pre-construction.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2021, 05:40:37 PM by Scott Warren »

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #164 on: August 08, 2021, 06:24:00 PM »
Scott,


I was imprecise in my use of the term Buck Club to describe Zacís initiative to develop a course. I was picking up the thread title which started before the new name was chosen. I was precise and accurate in choosing the terms skeptical and ridicule in my post. I never called anyone a hater.


Ira

Mike Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #165 on: August 08, 2021, 08:28:56 PM »
The fact that Zac comes back to take responsibility says much about his character. I spoke to him one day and his baby was crying in the background. Sure he took on a big ask, but that is something that is admired by me and Admiral Rickover:


ďAll new ideas begin in a non-conforming mind that questions some tenet of the conventional wisdom.Ē

Hyman Rickover
"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

Mike H

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #166 on: August 08, 2021, 09:01:34 PM »
People grow all the time.  I think we should be applauding what Zac has been able to do.  Not only with his vision for TBC but The Tree Farm.  Why are people focused on things that were done and said in the past?  We should be thrilled a new project like this is taking place.  Isn't there a part in all of us that want to build and design our own course?  Zac has been able to cultivate a brand "TBC" to help build his dream. 


Personally, I don't know much about The Tree Farm but can't wait to see his dream come into a reality.  Frankly, I wish there were more projects like this taking place in the USA. 

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #167 on: August 09, 2021, 01:08:37 PM »
Its been 4 years since the original Buck Club thread which be a good refresher:

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65142.0.html

The original location does have several positives going for it, so IMO Zac was not off-point in many of his initial thoughts/claims:

1)  Proximity to SLC International, 45 minutes door to door, with downtown Salt Lake City and Park City even closer.
2)  Very secluded location despite only being 5 minutes off the highway.
3)  River flowing thru the entire length of the property with a handful of large mature trees.
4)  In a decent temperature zone by Utah Standards.  5-7 degrees cooler on average than the hot valley floors in the summer and still low enough to not be impacted by deep winter snow that affects other mountain courses.
5)  2-3 month longer playing season over Park City courses based on #4.
6) Contrary to prior comments, most of the land for the proposed course is very flat and not mountainous.
7) The site butts up to a large area of state owned forest land for hiking and other activities.
8) A golf course already occupies most of the proposed hole corridors, which I would think would make the approval process far easier.

Dan Smoot

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #168 on: August 12, 2021, 10:53:59 AM »
Its been 4 years since the original Buck Club thread which be a good refresher:

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65142.0.html

The original location does have several positives going for it, so IMO Zac was not off-point in many of his initial thoughts/claims:

1)  Proximity to SLC International, 45 minutes door to door, with downtown Salt Lake City and Park City even closer.
2)  Very secluded location despite only being 5 minutes off the highway.
3)  River flowing thru the entire length of the property with a handful of large mature trees.
4)  In a decent temperature zone by Utah Standards.  5-7 degrees cooler on average than the hot valley floors in the summer and still low enough to not be impacted by deep winter snow that affects other mountain courses.
5)  2-3 month longer playing season over Park City courses based on #4.
6) Contrary to prior comments, most of the land for the proposed course is very flat and not mountainous.
7) The site butts up to a large area of state owned forest land for hiking and other activities.
8) A golf course already occupies most of the proposed hole corridors, which I would think would make the approval process far easier.


These are all good points but the Aiken SC seems to be a better site based on year round weather, site potential and an easier access for members relative to the large eastern population base.  The Morgan golf course which is nothing special in terms of terrain or routing, even though it is in a pretty canyon bottom setting.  Without personally seeing the site, the SC site appears to provide more options in terms of a more interesting routing relative to the Utah location and existing corridors. Isn't the Aiken site on sand?

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #169 on: August 12, 2021, 12:59:28 PM »
Correct Dan, the SC site does look better in many ways like sand based, cheaper, better location, etc.

The point with my last post was to suggest its not like Zac was off in the weeds with his original plan, it was a good first swing.  The site continues to have a lot of positive things going for it.

Don Mahaffey

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #170 on: August 12, 2021, 06:26:20 PM »
Zac is more than just a client as I think he'll be involved in the design more than most clients, and I think that's great as he obviously knows golf. I like that he got routing help from Tom Doak, but also that he stopped there and retained quite a bit of the feature design. I like that he has Kye on his team, but also like that he seems to retain much of the ultimate decision making. It would seem the buck stops with Zac, no pun intended, and I think that's great as it is clearly his place. Golf is full of one hit wonders and great courses on a designers first or only go at it.  To me there is real beauty in the ignorance of not having done it before. Its freeing. Zac will learn soon enough that the world of golf is full of those experienced in design and construction who will say "you cant do that"  I hope he stays away from that and takes a few swings at the fences. Greatness comes with taking chances. I hope he takes a few. 

M. Shea Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #171 on: August 13, 2021, 07:47:52 AM »
Greatness comes with taking chances. I hope he takes a few.


As someone observing from a far, but paying attention, I am rooting for Zac and hope he takes some chances with his model.

I am not certain what golf should cost these days, but perhaps it doesn't have to be $1,000.00 a day or 10's of thousands of dollars in initiation fees and subsequently the spirit, construction, architecture, infrastructure, and maintenance meld could allow for that.

But maybe that just isn't possible and new projects are destined for high end private/high end daily fee/resort.




Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #172 on: August 13, 2021, 02:09:03 PM »
I suppose an important question might be, have you been paid for your routing?


Do you really think that's any of your business?


It does seem like kind of an offensive question, though I can't tell to whom the offense was intended.


Anyway, though it's none of your business, yes, I've been paid in full.  The last part of my fee was due when the funding was in place, so that's why I presume the funding is fully in place, even though that was really none of my business, so I had the good manners not to ask.  :D


Offensive question?  How many times has the issue of getting paid for your work come up in this DG?  I don't know how many routings you have done for which you received zero compensation, but I know several of your competitors who have confessed to me that working on the come, as distasteful as it is, comes with the territory.  As a commercial real estate broker who also dabbled in the golf development business, the number of proposals (at least three which included fairly well-developed routings) that generated zilch far outnumbered those which came to fruition, i.e. getting paid.


My question to you, a mistake I will not make again, was to learn how far along this proposed golf development has really gotten.  I've seen deals where funds were "in place" but the developer couldn't get across the line.  That you got paid, is a positive sign.  And as a golfer who cares about the future of the game and the industry, I hope that the course is a resounding success.


RE: jeffwarne's questioning my question, are you Tom Doak's official secretary or self-appointed protector?  Tom, and you as well, have on more than a couple occasions touched upon sensitive subjects with such finesse that accusing me of being out-of-line or lacking proper manners is akin to the pot calling the kettle black.   


 

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #173 on: August 13, 2021, 02:32:31 PM »
Lou as comfortable as we are in the DG, asking if someone got paid seems like other's business. At least it wasn't "how much?"  :D
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Lou_Duran

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Zac Blair/Buck Club Near Aiken, SC
« Reply #174 on: August 13, 2021, 02:55:48 PM »
Jeff,


While "how much" has not been asked on this site directly of an architect who gives this site the time of day, speculation on the fees charged by Fazio and Nicklaus has appeared numerous times.  We do seem to have our own version of a protected class, though behind the scenes, the preferred gentlemen too are at times ravaged by opposing factions.  I am ok with you and others believing I was out-of-line.  For my purposes, the question and answer did advance the subject matter: verification that a potentially exciting project is moving forward.




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