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JC Jones

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In 1983 there were nearly 10 Dick Wilson courses considered to be in the top 100 and there was 1 Seth Raynor (Chicago GC).  Today, its nearly the opposite with courses attributed to Raynor nearing 10 and Dick Wilson with 0.


Most all of these courses are private, so presumably access is not this issue.  All were in existence in 1983, obviously, so the impact of Doak, Fazio, C&C, etc in taking up spots in the top 100 is not the issue.


So, what is?  Because the architecture hasn't changed at any of the courses.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Mark_Fine

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2022, 11:59:58 AM »

Itís all about trends and changing tastes.  We are starting to go through another cycle where we are seeing for example less and less use of the rugged edge bunkers (think about it, itís hard to put concrete in bunkers like that which is what we are doing these days).  There is a sterile-ness/sameness trend underway. 

I was emailing with a good friend the other day and we were talking about this ďsamenessĒ topic.  Sod has become so uniform and it is used constantly now where in the past it was only used in high traffic areas.  Sand (if you can get it) is bright white and sometimes man-made.  Bunkers wonít looked aged anymore in 20 or 30 years with all these changes as they are essentially built to last and mostly artificial.

Years ago we talked about the Augusta syndrome.  Has it come to fruition particularly on the higher end courses?  Will these kind of courses populate the new Top 100 charts?

JC Urbina

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2022, 12:18:58 PM »
JC Jones

Great Question!

One example,

In the 1980s a lot of Raynor courses had strayed off their intended line of play.  Poor mowing lines, shrunken greens, filled in bunkers, overgrowth of trees, etc.   

Dick Wilson courses were still all the rage as you had referred to, Some of his best courses were being celebrated on TV.  La Costa, Doral, NCR, Scioto.  His famous redo of Deepdale, being one of may favorite courses,  tough to read the greens. Also maybe some people feel his most famous Pine Tree were at the top of everyones vocabulary. 

So if you get the right hype at the right time, Poof you got magic.

Full disclosure, I love all things Macdonald - Raynor so to me a restored Raynor is better than most and I say Most Dick Wilson courses except for places like Deepdale or Pine Tree

The same could be said for Donald Ross vs RTJ, people loved everything RTJ was doing at that time.

What is the architecture timeline for Pete Dye and Tom Fazio going to be?

or Coore Crenshaw?

Look at how many courses Gil has redone or in new designs that are just catapulting the work Jim and his talented  crew are doing.  U.S. open courses, Brookline, Wingfoot, LA North, the Olympic course, new PGA courses.  I just toured a new one in Florida and going to see his new park just south of Palm Beach Airport.  On Fire!!!   

Will Gil and Jim replace some Golden Age designer on the top 100 list like , Mackenzie, Tillinghast, Ross?

I think the architecture is different,  not by 180 degrees but enough to gather a new appreciation of what can be done with a particular piece of property or in the case of what his crew has done at Brookline and Wingfoot and other places recapturing what has been lost. Spent some time with Gil in Palm Springs on his new site, creative routing, sight lines, green contours, taking the time to capture all that is possible in a new layout.

Get people talking about why your designs are so much different, if they really are. 






I don't believe we have ever met  but would like to some day, you have some very interesting opinions. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2022, 02:31:48 PM by JC Urbina »

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2022, 12:25:49 PM »
At the time GD listed courses that fell into groups of ten for the top fifty and alphabetically for the second fifty. I check lists occasionally. I have the GD magazines for top 100 dating back to 1981. Iíve played 90 of the 1983 list.

The ten Wilson courses in the top 100 in 1983 were
Pinetree (third ten)
Bay Hill & Laurel Valley (fourth ten)
Cog Hill #4, Doral Blue (fifth ten)
Coldstream, JDM CC, NCR(South), La Costa, & Meadow Brook (second fifty)
Meadow Brook is currently #27 on the NY list. La Costa isnít even on the best-in-state list for California

The Top 100 list also includes courses like Colonial (second ten) and Champions (third ten) Saucon Valley Grace (fourth ten) and Concord (fifth ten), which are not on anyoneís list.

Courses were selected differently in those days. The GD panel was divided into two.
There were 23 "national selectors" that included folks like Dean Beman, P.J. Boatwright, Joe Dey, Charles Price, Sam Snead, Frank Tatum, Tom Watson & Herbert Warren Wind. From what I understand from one of the selectors is that they met at one of the Grand Slam events and chose the top 100 in a meeting. I donít see many of them playing out of the way places like Crystal Downs, which is on the state list.

State selectors (half a dozen or so in each state) also got together and chose the best-in-state courses in a meeting.

But to your point tastes have changed dramatically. Yeamans Hall didnít make the SC list, but Wild dunes did. Kemper Lakes made the Illinois list, but Shoreacres didnít. Bermuda Run made the NC list and now very few have even heard of it and Old Town didnít.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Michael Moore

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2022, 02:22:11 PM »
It's about fashion. What do you mean by the controlling narrative? Sounds bad!
Metaphor is social and shares the table with the objects it intertwines and the attitudes it reconciles. Opinion, like the Michelin inspector, dines alone. - Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2022, 02:37:42 PM »
My opinion is it's more about the architecture.
From what I've seen there is a lot more to the architecture of the courses by Raynor vs Wilson.
To Jim's point, much of the Raynor was covered or hidden or unknown.
So has Raynor become more in fashion? Absolutely yes.
But I don't think his well-preserved or best work will go out of fashion, but future interpretations of his work are tbd.
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Ira Fishman

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2022, 03:02:41 PM »
What caused the wave of restorations of Golden Age courses? Perhaps the Top 100 lists had an impact in motivating members to want to see their Golden Age courses get proper recognition.


Was there a pied piper of restoration? Either an architect or golf writer?


Did the internet accelerate the change in opinion about what is best? After all, Ran and others probably would not have a voice without it.


Thanks.

Lou_Duran

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2022, 03:35:46 PM »
Good one JC.


I was talking to a young lady a few weeks back who was frustrated with her new boss paying an "influencer" some $60k to post a few nice comments on her widely-read blog touting a new fragrance her employer had introduced.  No doubt that "controlling the narrative" has a sizable impact on consumers' perceptions.


IMO, a relatively small number of guys, Ran Morrissett and Brad Klein perhaps chief among them, have had a large impact on curving the trend away from tighter, difficult "championship" layouts toward the more playable by most/"strategic" courses many perceive as superior today.  Intentionally or not, this preferred style is consistent with good marketing principles- there are a whole lot more golfers with handicaps in the double digits than those below- as well as cultural trends toward egalitarianism and away from merit.


I expect that the current preferences will persist for some time to come, perhaps influenced toward moderation and simplicity in design and maintenance to reflect the likely reckoning that's to come from years of indulgence and living beyond our means.  (As an aside, I just visited a local Walmart which was 90%+ reliant on self-checkout.  Can golf courses designed to minimize labor inputs be far behind?  I'm told that our club has 6+ entry level maintenance openings at more than double the minimum wage and can't find workers.)     

Scott Warren

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2022, 10:09:56 PM »
So, what is?  Because the architecture hasn't changed at any of the courses.

I'm not sure I accept that final statement as true.

Many of the Raynor courses in rankings lists have benefitted from restoration work in the timeframe you've noted to return them to the way they were intended to play, recreate green contouring, bunkering and mowing lines that were lost over the years and reconnect greens that had shrunk to the hazards designed to adjoin them.

The resulting impacts to how holes function and play, not to mention the often improved aesthetics and conditioning, are certainly enough of a change to the architecture to move a course from outside a US Top 100 to inside the list.

Some examples from Yeamans Hall (pics are from the Courses by Country profile on this website).

2nd hole:


The hole in 2005:


The hole post-renovation:


The 5th. Note the absence of the fronting bunker that is such a factor in the hole now:


The approach now:


Not getting into the minefield of what's renovation and what's restoration, but IMO the architecture has changed enough to move a course from outside the US Top 100 to inside.

To some extent, the rankings of Raynor courses will have changed due to human factors and influences, but by the same token it seems to me that the rankings of Raynor courses have changed because the Raynor courses themselves have changed.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2022, 10:41:30 PM by Scott Warren »

Michael Chadwick

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2022, 10:41:09 PM »
I think there are other considerations beyond "the architecture or the controlling narrative" dichotomy, so I don't find it to be an either/or answer.


Architecture has never (?) been the exclusive value in a course's perceived prestige or rank. Conditioning, shot values, challenge, and aesthetics are all metrics still used today amongst certain publication's raters, for example. As Mr. Urbina pointed out earlier, in the early 80's plenty of Golden Age courses had weakened their architectural value by being swept into the prevailing aesthetic narrative of tree lined fairways, narrower mowing of fairway, green pad shrinkage, loss of bunkers or hazards, etc.


Historically grounded education and exposure, however, are two ingredients that might explain why architecture has become more prominently known and championed today, and how aesthetics and architecture are perhaps as intimately bound now as they once were in the Golden Age. The tenets shared by MacKenzie, Maxwell, Ross, Tillinghast, Raynor, etc. have come full circle in the modern architects referenced in the OP. It comes down to whether you think the architectural values of the Golden Age are correct or not. That division is no better evidenced by comparing the Open Doctor to Gil Hanse, the USGA's new Open Doctor, who unlike Trent Jones always goes on record to say that the original architects got it right the first time.


Does popular sentiment imply a narrative? I guess so. But I think it's worth recognizing that today's narrative is in many ways a return to the past, not in yardages but in angles, placement and use of hazards, and the utilitarian thoughtfulness (espoused by MacKenzie) of how the great and below average player will both advance the ball to the cup. Restoring classic clubs closer to their original versions, and the enthusiasm that comes via playing them, or seeing images via social media, marketing, etc. can be characterized as a narrative but at least it's one that aligns with the writings of the architects who first designed those courses.


         
Instagram: mj_c_golf

PPallotta

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2022, 11:25:09 PM »
edit - wrong thread.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 01:22:17 AM by PPallotta »

Terry Lavin

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2022, 07:59:34 AM »
JC,


You say the architecture hasnít changed on the old courses that are now getting a lot of acclaim. Truth is, the restoration work at these old courses has ďrevealedĒ the elegance of the original architecture which had been dulled down by mowing patterns causing shrunken greens and narrower fairways.


Tree removal has opened up lines of attack and properly placed bunkers have provided on-the-ground defense. The work at Shoreacres is an excellent example of this. The course is an example of minimalist architecture and the work done there is also minimalist. No major changes just tree removal, fairway widening and recapturing green space. Perhaps the best example is how they got rid of the rough that lay between the greens and the green side bunkers. This makes the course much more diabolical way.


Trend wise, Iím already sick of all of the closely mown green runoffs. Itís a keeping up with the Joneses (couldnít resist) kind of trend and there are a lot of courses that are implementing these without much in the way of evidence that the old school guys used them that often.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  H.L. Mencken

Steve Lang

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2022, 08:04:36 AM »
 8)   Hey JC,
Will we ever see you along the 45th parallel or at The Bele' again?


It seems you're simply pondering quantum golf architecture, its all connected ... makes for good debate, eh?




ps. The signal has been transmitted but like all narratives, "We will control the horizontal.We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity."

Play on man!
Inverness (Toledo, OH) cathedral clock inscription: "God measures men by what they are. Not what they in wealth possess.  That vibrant message chimes afar.
The voice of Inverness"

Mike Bodo

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2022, 08:30:20 AM »
Does popular sentiment imply a narrative? I guess so. But I think it's worth recognizing that today's narrative is in many ways a return to the past, not in yardages but in angles, placement and use of hazards, and the utilitarian thoughtfulness (espoused by MacKenzie) of how the great and below average player will both advance the ball to the cup. Restoring classic clubs closer to their original versions, and the enthusiasm that comes via playing them, or seeing images via social media, marketing, etc. can be characterized as a narrative but at least it's one that aligns with the writings of the architects who first designed those courses.     
A very good and thoughtful post, but here's where I am going to differ with you. While many contemporary architects have returned to the ethos of golf course design employed by the golden age architects, they've done so by putting their own stamp and signature on it and taken it to another level. Then you have guys like Tom Fazio who goes in a totally opposite direction and builds these modern fantasy golf courses that are consistently lauded and praised, thus I don't think there's one prevailing style at the moment dominating the golf course architecture landscape.


I think because so much golden age course restoration work has been done the past 20 years and continues to this day, that some presume this is the direction all golf course architecture is going. What needs to be asked is what trend or trends is new course construction going in? I'd say there isn't a single popular style that's in vogue at the moment, which is great thing. It's all over the map. Yet, the new course construction being done today is arguably the best it's ever been and is being done by some of the brightest individuals to come into the industry - many whom contribute and post here, thankfully. To top it off, they're doing incredible work on not necessarily the best parcels of land available. The golden age guys got the majority of that, which makes what they're doing even more impressive.


The talent pool of golf course architects today has never been higher, IMO and there are young guys coming up to challenge to current crop of heavyweights, which will ensure new course construction design stays at a high level for many years to come. It's an exciting time, if you ask me, as there's more variety now in the types of courses one can play than at any time previous. And it's only going to get better.
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

JC Jones

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2022, 12:17:14 PM »
Lots of great info to chew on -


Mr. Urbina - I also do not believe we have met.  Im in North Carolina and Northern Michigan.  Shoot me a DM next time you find yourself in one of those locales and we can have a drink (I'll share with you my non-public opinions that are even more ridiculous than my public ones  ;D )


Tommy - I miss you, brother.  Thanks for the background.  I probably spend more time looking at the lists from the 70s and 80s than I do today's lists.  For one, I prefer the groupings they did back then.  Also, I think there are publications today that are doing rankings in a not too dissimilar way even if the methods appear different on the surface.  One other tidbit, as far as tastemaking goes, is Doak took over GOLF rankings and began writing after the 83-84 Digest list.


Seve - not much this summer, I've got a daughter headed off to college and that is consuming a lot of bandwidth.  Hoping for a fall visit.


Terry - you're sick of the short grass around the greens because your short game hasn't aged as well as your hairline.


Scott - thanks for the example of Yeamans.  It leads me to some of these general thoughts after reading everyone's posts:




Doak once said that he didnt need to reevaluate courses in his Confidential Guide that had done restorations/renovations because regardless of mowing patters, tree lines, bunkering or shrunken greens, you can generally tell the architecture of the course no matter its current state.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  I recently played Moraine and walked away wondering how trees in the rough could have distracted so many people prior to the renovation from the wildness of the playing corridors on a lot of holes (interestingly enough, 2 of the best holes out there are Dick Wilson holes). 


I think Pine Tree is a master class in angles and bunkers, particularly on a flat site.  Last I played it was not overly treed or narrowed/shrunk in any fashion.  It has much more to offer in interest than a lot of courses, it just doesnt have the proper aesthetic or the proper pedigree (e.g. its mid century and not golden age).  More people would rather seek out Mountain Lake....


Which leads me to believe that much of the determination of greatness is depending on who is in charge of narratives of greatness at any particular time and those that follow.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2022, 12:38:22 PM »
Jason, just come north a bit or meet me at Dormie sometime. I'll let you know when I'll get there.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Sean_A

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2022, 12:52:15 PM »
Lots of great info to chew on -


Mr. Urbina - I also do not believe we have met.  Im in North Carolina and Northern Michigan.  Shoot me a DM next time you find yourself in one of those locales and we can have a drink (I'll share with you my non-public opinions that are even more ridiculous than my public ones  ;D )


Tommy - I miss you, brother.  Thanks for the background.  I probably spend more time looking at the lists from the 70s and 80s than I do today's lists.  For one, I prefer the groupings they did back then.  Also, I think there are publications today that are doing rankings in a not too dissimilar way even if the methods appear different on the surface.  One other tidbit, as far as tastemaking goes, is Doak took over GOLF rankings and began writing after the 83-84 Digest list.


Seve - not much this summer, I've got a daughter headed off to college and that is consuming a lot of bandwidth.  Hoping for a fall visit.


Terry - you're sick of the short grass around the greens because your short game hasn't aged as well as your hairline.


Scott - thanks for the example of Yeamans.  It leads me to some of these general thoughts after reading everyone's posts:




Doak once said that he didnt need to reevaluate courses in his Confidential Guide that had done restorations/renovations because regardless of mowing patters, tree lines, bunkering or shrunken greens, you can generally tell the architecture of the course no matter its current state.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  I recently played Moraine and walked away wondering how trees in the rough could have distracted so many people prior to the renovation from the wildness of the playing corridors on a lot of holes (interestingly enough, 2 of the best holes out there are Dick Wilson holes). 


I think Pine Tree is a master class in angles and bunkers, particularly on a flat site.  Last I played it was not overly treed or narrowed/shrunk in any fashion.  It has much more to offer in interest than a lot of courses, it just doesnt have the proper aesthetic or the proper pedigree (e.g. its mid century and not golden age).  More people would rather seek out Mountain Lake....


Which leads me to believe that much of the determination of greatness is depending on who is in charge of narratives of greatness at any particular time and those that follow.

JC

I have often said greatness is over-rated....which is another narrative, but I believe it if only because its a relative concept.

For the past few decades greatness has largely been determined by the new courses built in sand. The locations for many of these courses have more than justified the extra attention paid to aesthetics. It helps that sand sites are widely seen as attractive regardless of the design treatment. Regardless of preference, sand sites are inherently more sustainable and usually easier and cheaper to build a quality course than other types of sites. It shouldn't be surprising many feel we are in a renaissance period. The best courses from the 40s-80s couldn't boast of the superior sites that we see today.

What also stands out these days is the direct communication archies have with their audience and their audience is wider than the direct connection between a punter playing a course. I see this communication as somewhat similar to the golden age, albeit the golden age was an example of more formal communication.

I don't believe ranking panels are leading the narrative. It's more like a shared process with archies, social media and panels.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2022, 02:49:31 PM »
Lots of great info to chew on -


Mr. Urbina - I also do not believe we have met.  Im in North Carolina and Northern Michigan.  Shoot me a DM next time you find yourself in one of those locales and we can have a drink (I'll share with you my non-public opinions that are even more ridiculous than my public ones  ;D )


Tommy - I miss you, brother.  Thanks for the background.  I probably spend more time looking at the lists from the 70s and 80s than I do today's lists.  For one, I prefer the groupings they did back then.  Also, I think there are publications today that are doing rankings in a not too dissimilar way even if the methods appear different on the surface.  One other tidbit, as far as tastemaking goes, is Doak took over GOLF rankings and began writing after the 83-84 Digest list.


Seve - not much this summer, I've got a daughter headed off to college and that is consuming a lot of bandwidth.  Hoping for a fall visit.


Terry - you're sick of the short grass around the greens because your short game hasn't aged as well as your hairline.


Scott - thanks for the example of Yeamans.  It leads me to some of these general thoughts after reading everyone's posts:




Doak once said that he didnt need to reevaluate courses in his Confidential Guide that had done restorations/renovations because regardless of mowing patters, tree lines, bunkering or shrunken greens, you can generally tell the architecture of the course no matter its current state.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  I recently played Moraine and walked away wondering how trees in the rough could have distracted so many people prior to the renovation from the wildness of the playing corridors on a lot of holes (interestingly enough, 2 of the best holes out there are Dick Wilson holes). 


I think Pine Tree is a master class in angles and bunkers, particularly on a flat site.  Last I played it was not overly treed or narrowed/shrunk in any fashion.  It has much more to offer in interest than a lot of courses, it just doesnt have the proper aesthetic or the proper pedigree (e.g. its mid century and not golden age).  More people would rather seek out Mountain Lake....


Which leads me to believe that much of the determination of greatness is depending on who is in charge of narratives of greatness at any particular time and those that follow.





I don't believe ranking panels are leading the narrative. It's more like a shared process with archies, social media and panels.

Ciao


Sean-I think you hit the nail on the head with the above paragraph. Social media has a huge influence and also gives architects a platform that was unavailable twenty years ago.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2022, 03:45:29 PM »
One generations food is another generations poison. Which direction will the next generation go? Which way will population growth, land & water usage, regulatory authorities, environmental consideration etc allow further generations to go?
Atb

Pete Lavallee

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2022, 05:56:54 PM »
Great topic JC!


I think a lot has do with the notion that a hard course was a great one back in the Ď80s. Both RTJ and Dick Wilson courses required the single digit rater to thread his persimmon wood between 2 flanking bunkers at the 250 yard mark and then hit a mid to long blade iron to a green surrounded by catchers mitt bunkers. Todays single digit rater blasts his drive with his carbonwood driver well over these bunkers and hit his short iron comfortably on the green. Are these course as difficult as they were in the 80ís; I think not!
"...one inoculated with the virus must swing a golf-club or perish."  Robert Hunter

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2022, 12:04:58 AM »

I don't believe ranking panels are leading the narrative. It's more like a shared process with archies, social media and panels.

Ciao


Yes there is a lot of self-serving sucking up by architects toward golf writers and panelists and social media - there is even an example in this very thread  :-*
Thatís one main reason I have pretty much quit this site, Iím tired of all that, and happy to just let my work do the talking.


As to JCís original question, fashion and restorations have played a role.  But one of the reasons the Dick Wilson (and RTJ) courses have fallen from favor is that they were built to be challenging, and not only has that fallen out of style, but hard courses have become easier over time due to modern equipment and golfers, and therefore lost some of what was their primary appeal.  There are plenty of 1990ís designs harder than anything Dick Wilson ever built, and thatís when his courses started slipping.  They donít play Tour events at Doral or LaCosta anymore, either.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2022, 05:03:58 AM »
I don't believe ranking panels are leading the narrative. It's more like a shared process with archies, social media and panels.
Ciao
Yes there is a lot of self-serving sucking up by architects toward golf writers and panelists and social media - there is even an example in this very thread  :-*
Thatís one main reason I have pretty much quit this site, Iím tired of all that, and happy to just let my work do the talking.
As to JCís original question, fashion and restorations have played a role.  But one of the reasons the Dick Wilson (and RTJ) courses have fallen from favor is that they were built to be challenging, and not only has that fallen out of style, but hard courses have become easier over time due to modern equipment and golfers, and therefore lost some of what was their primary appeal.  There are plenty of 1990ís designs harder than anything Dick Wilson ever built, and thatís when his courses started slipping.  They donít play Tour events at Doral or LaCosta anymore, either.
This is rather sad. One of the great aspects of this site was the insights of various leading professionals within golf architecture/development/construction/maintenance/history etc etc and the ability to directly liaise with them, learn from them and gather their thoughts on numerous aspects of the game.
Atb

Tom_Doak

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2022, 08:51:03 AM »
I don't believe ranking panels are leading the narrative. It's more like a shared process with archies, social media and panels.
Ciao
Yes there is a lot of self-serving sucking up by architects toward golf writers and panelists and social media - there is even an example in this very thread  :-*
Thatís one main reason I have pretty much quit this site, Iím tired of all that, and happy to just let my work do the talking.
As to JCís original question, fashion and restorations have played a role.  But one of the reasons the Dick Wilson (and RTJ) courses have fallen from favor is that they were built to be challenging, and not only has that fallen out of style, but hard courses have become easier over time due to modern equipment and golfers, and therefore lost some of what was their primary appeal.  There are plenty of 1990ís designs harder than anything Dick Wilson ever built, and thatís when his courses started slipping.  They donít play Tour events at Doral or LaCosta anymore, either.
This is rather sad. One of the great aspects of this site was the insights of various leading professionals within golf architecture/development/construction/maintenance/history etc etc and the ability to directly liaise with them, learn from them and gather their thoughts on numerous aspects of the game.
Atb


Well, itís not like you canít reach me by email, or follow my Instagram.


The two other reasons for the switch are (1) no time, Iíve got ten courses to build, and (2) some of my clients want to control and edit everything said about their projects, and I donít like to walk on eggshells.  If I canít speak my unfiltered thoughts about my work, then itís easier to just do the work and let others talk about it.  I will always have the opportunity to write about it later.


And, donít fret, youíve still got Mark Fine on here to explain all the nuances of building great courses, or tell you that greatness is overrated.

Mark_Fine

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Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2022, 10:53:58 AM »
Thanks Tom ;D  20 plus years on this site myself. Maybe I should have followed my friend Tom Paul years ago and done the same but I have stuck it out and will still offer my two cents for what it is worth from time to time.  Lot of good people on the site.

John Kirk

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Is it about the architecture or the controlling narrative?
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2022, 11:11:57 AM »
Since this topic has temporarily made its way back to the top of the stack, I have some thoughts.

Every time I see this term "controlling narrative", I get riled up, because I detest the thought, yet realize that it is a ubiquitous part of modern society.  It's depressing how easy it is to control opinion with simple slogans and disapproving faces.  Controlling narratives are used to convince people of things in order to control their thoughts.  In my opinion, it is an immoral practice, and incompatible with truth.


But we're talking about golf courses here.  Controlling narrative?  I'll settle for contemporary wisdom, which is based on an ever growing knowledge base.  The study of golf architecture has gone from a niche subject to a rather popular subject among thousands, if not millions of golfers.  If anything, the existence of any controlling narrative in golf courses has faded away, replaced by better arguments for what constitutes good golf for players of all abilities.


I'll be damned if anybody can control my thoughts about golf courses, or anything else for that matter.  Make your argument about why something is desirable or undesirable, and if it is an honest and reasonable argument, I will consider it.  It's rather easy to control the narrative in things like politics and economics because the subjects are so complicated and incomprehensible that people look for easy answers to feel secure and smart.  But we're talking about golf courses.  That's a simple subject.  I can tell you exactly what I like and why, while allowing myself a bit of room to adjust my tastes with age.

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