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Ally Mcintosh

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GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« on: May 17, 2022, 06:50:58 PM »
“Great architects always put strategy and playability before aesthetics.”


Truth or Myth?

ward peyronnin

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2022, 09:35:59 PM »
Well Tom Fazio certainly isn't a believer
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

PPallotta

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 10:31:53 PM »
I'd tentatively suggest that this is a myth ie, that, in fact, very good architects can prioritize the aesthetic such that it meaningfully contributes to the overall experience both strategically and playability wise. Any well-shaped feature that is made fierce or benign looking, when in truth it is neither fierce nor benign (respectively), will influence a golfer's choices/tactics; any skillful blurring of the 'demarcation lines' between fairway and not-fairway or between greens and green surrounds can make those fairways and greens look either easier or harder to hit, or to hit and hold -- and thus serves to add thrills and doubts and challenges to the playing. No, form doesn't necessarily follow function -- in talented hands, the form can *be* the function.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 11:09:09 PM by PPallotta »

Michael Moore

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2022, 11:22:12 PM »
I have never heard anyone make this claim.
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

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2022, 02:09:41 AM »
Maybe they haven’t, Michael. Maybe this an easy one.


Yet I always have this sneaking suspicion that the architectural connoisseurs belittle any design choices if they are made for no other reason or purpose than the result looks good, with no higher purpose.

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 02:18:55 AM »
Maybe they haven’t, Michael. Maybe this an easy one.


Yet I always have this sneaking suspicion that the architectural connoisseurs belittle any design choices if they are made for no other reason or purpose than the result looks good, with no higher purpose.

Aren't there always some design choices which are more aesthetically driven? Isn't this at the heart of some bunker revision s or placement? Tree removal to provide views? Or tree planting to block views?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2022, 02:35:59 AM »
Sean,


The only time anyone - including you - mentions tree removal, it is always about playability or width or health of the turf around greens or tees. Long views are only mentioned - if at all - as a side benefit.


Bunker positioning is all about the golf hole and how it plays, nothing to do with a bunker being placed somewhere just because it will look good there…. Isn’t it?

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2022, 03:57:10 AM »
Sean,

The only time anyone - including you - mentions tree removal, it is always about playability or width or health of the turf around greens or tees. Long views are only mentioned - if at all - as a side benefit.

Bunker positioning is all about the golf hole and how it plays, nothing to do with a bunker being placed somewhere just because it will look good there…. Isn’t it?

No, I have been in favour of tree removal for aesthetic reasons as well. Sometimes trees spoil a skyline view for example. Often it's an issue of what I call green walls. Playing between green walls is not an aesthetic I am fond of even if there is space to play. I would rather have the odd lovely tree encroach on play a bit than play between typical parkland green walls. Often times I don't like how trees frame a green...sometimes blocking a view.

Some bunkers are what I call road map bunkers. They are really placed to guide golfers rather than create interest. Sometimes bunkers are used to primarily tie in the surrounding area or block a view of something like a cartpath. And yes, I think some bunkers exist because the designer thinks they look cool. They are all valid reasons.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Mark_Fine

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2022, 05:36:12 AM »
Beauty is relative but there are very few great golf holes that are not aesthetically pleasing.  Maybe great architects are just lucky and get both strategy and esthetics right  ;)

Kyle Harris

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2022, 05:49:30 AM »
Mackenzie's camoflouge ideas are purely aesthetic.
http://kylewharris.com

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

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2022, 08:57:55 AM »
Sean,

The only time anyone - including you - mentions tree removal, it is always about playability or width or health of the turf around greens or tees. Long views are only mentioned - if at all - as a side benefit.

Bunker positioning is all about the golf hole and how it plays, nothing to do with a bunker being placed somewhere just because it will look good there…. Isn’t it?

No, I have been in favour of tree removal for aesthetic reasons as well. Sometimes trees spoil a skyline view for example. Often it's an issue of what I call green walls. Playing between green walls is not an aesthetic I am fond of even if there is space to play. I would rather have the odd lovely tree encroach on play a bit than play between typical parkland green walls. Often times I don't like how trees frame a green...sometimes blocking a view.

Some bunkers are what I call road map bunkers. They are really placed to guide golfers rather than create interest. Sometimes bunkers are used to primarily tie in the surrounding area or block a view of something like a cartpath. And yes, I think some bunkers exist because the designer thinks they look cool. They are all valid reasons.

Ciao


Target bunkers (your roadmaps) are a definite tool of most architects. But they have a purpose, even if Tom Simpson would tell us that purpose is very misguided.


Do architects place bunkers in places purely because they look cool with no thought of strategy or roadmap or saving from worse fate?… Yes they do. And then they back the narrative in to the reasons that they placed the bunker there afterwards.


When do you ever hear an architect say that the only reason they did something was because it looked good?

Michael Moore

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2022, 11:51:18 AM »
When do you ever hear an architect say that the only reason they did something was because it looked good?


"The goal of the course aesthetic was to build on the natural characteristics and vegetation surrounding the golf course and integrate the visual appearance as much as possible. Native bunkers blend into undisturbed vegetation and contours, while new landscape areas visually enhance the overall aesthetic of the golf experience by expanding the native vegetation back into the ‘frame’ of the golf hole." - Tom Fazio
 
It took me thirty seconds to find this. Every architect is deeply concerned with aesthetics.

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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2022, 12:16:47 PM »
Sean,

The only time anyone - including you - mentions tree removal, it is always about playability or width or health of the turf around greens or tees. Long views are only mentioned - if at all - as a side benefit.

Bunker positioning is all about the golf hole and how it plays, nothing to do with a bunker being placed somewhere just because it will look good there…. Isn’t it?

No, I have been in favour of tree removal for aesthetic reasons as well. Sometimes trees spoil a skyline view for example. Often it's an issue of what I call green walls. Playing between green walls is not an aesthetic I am fond of even if there is space to play. I would rather have the odd lovely tree encroach on play a bit than play between typical parkland green walls. Often times I don't like how trees frame a green...sometimes blocking a view.

Some bunkers are what I call road map bunkers. They are really placed to guide golfers rather than create interest. Sometimes bunkers are used to primarily tie in the surrounding area or block a view of something like a cartpath. And yes, I think some bunkers exist because the designer thinks they look cool. They are all valid reasons.

Ciao


Target bunkers (your roadmaps) are a definite tool of most architects. But they have a purpose, even if Tom Simpson would tell us that purpose is very misguided.


Do architects place bunkers in places purely because they look cool with no thought of strategy or roadmap or saving from worse fate?… Yes they do. And then they back the narrative in to the reasons that they placed the bunker there afterwards.


When do you ever hear an architect say that the only reason they did something was because it looked good?


As you say, archies can always find "reasons" for placing a mainly aesthetic bunker. One of the the common reasons I read is to balance a view...which I read to be for aesthetic reasons. But I wouldn't expect an archie to publicly state that a bunker exists mainly for eye candy.


Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2022, 12:48:31 PM »
Sean,
We have discussed this at length here before.  How many great courses are NOT aesthetically pleasing?  The answer is VERY few.  They got that way for a reason 😊

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2022, 01:48:54 PM »
When do you ever hear an architect say that the only reason they did something was because it looked good?


"The goal of the course aesthetic was to build on the natural characteristics and vegetation surrounding the golf course and integrate the visual appearance as much as possible. Native bunkers blend into undisturbed vegetation and contours, while new landscape areas visually enhance the overall aesthetic of the golf experience by expanding the native vegetation back into the ‘frame’ of the golf hole." - Tom Fazio
 
It took me thirty seconds to find this. Every architect is deeply concerned with aesthetics.


Every architect is definitely concerned with aesthetics but only Tom Fazio admits that it could be his primary focus… and that’s part of the reason he doesn’t go down so well on here.

Thomas Dai

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2022, 02:54:04 PM »
To add a couple of asides … in more recent times client wishes, budget and future projects … in times a long time ago more available land … and in times a long, long, long time ago a few accidental opportunities usually adjacent to the sea.
Plus the ability as time has progressed to build photogenic courses on sites that in years long gone bye would not have been technologically possible to build and maintain a course on. Worth mentioning that some old courses have subsequently had things built next to them, like infrastructure, ports etc that haven’t helped with the attractiveness of the location.
Atb

Charles Lund

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2022, 12:24:35 AM »
Snip"Mackenzie's 13 'Essential Features of an Ideal Golf Course'
  • The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes.
  • There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes, two or three drive-and-pitch holes, and at least four one-shot holes.
  • There should be little walking between the greens and tees, and the course should be arranged so that in the first instance there is always a slight walk forwards from the green to the next tee; then the holes are sufficiently elastic to be lengthened in the future if necessary.
  • The greens and fairways should be sufficiently undulating, but there should be no hill climbing.
  • Every hole should have a different character.
  • There should be a minimum of blindness for the approach shots.
  • The course should have beautiful surroundings, and all the artificial features should have so natural an appearance that a stranger is unable to distinguish them from nature itself.
  • There should be a sufficient number of heroic carries from the tee, but the course should be arranged so that the weaker player with the loss of a stroke or portion of a stroke shall always have an alternative route open to him.
  • There should be infinite variety in the strokes required to play the various holes — viz., interesting brassy shots, iron shots, pitch and run-up shots.
  • There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls.
  • The course should be so interesting that even the plus man is constantly stimulated to improve his game in attempting shots he has hitherto been unable to play.
  • The course should be so arranged that the long handicap player, or even the absolute beginner, should be able to enjoy his round in spite of the fact that he is piling up a big score.
  • The course should be equally good during winter and summer, the texture of the greens and fairways should be perfect, and the approaches should have the same consistency as the greens."
  • MacKenzie seems to articulate a large number of guiding principles, suggesting form and function intersect with other principles.  I see 13 "shoulds" here, so very good and even the fabulous golf courses have 18 holes, some for which the main consideration might be based on some principle or principles and others based on a different principle.  On returning nines courses, the location of some holes is based on the requirement to get back to the clubhouse.  This seems to lead to the inevitable problem of a few holes being on less than suitable land, in terms of terrain and topography, sand base, native vegetation, trees, creeks, or ponds compared to others.Accounts of MacKenzie's time around what became Royal Melbourne indicate he was there for a short period of time.  In Auckland he was involved with Titirangi, which had noteworthy features, the green complexes being one.  He also routed four par threes in different directions, meaning they all play differently on any day when there is wind strong enough to affect club selection.I can't imagine an interesting course devoid of aesthetics or an interesting course devoid of strategy. 
  • Charles Lund
« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 01:43:56 AM by Charles Lund »

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2022, 12:31:25 AM »
Sean,
We have discussed this at length here before.  How many great courses are NOT aesthetically pleasing?  The answer is VERY few.  They got that way for a reason

Yer probably right, but there are relatively few truly great courses. I don't know of a more overused and untrue word to describe courses and holes than great.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

PPallotta

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2022, 02:01:22 AM »
It's much wiser to claim that your golf course's form (aesthetic/style) is based on your golf course's function (strategy/playability) because those outside the industry don't know enough to call you on the claim, and those inside the industry can more easily copy/steal the style than they can the substance, so you don't want to stake your reputation on the former. Plus, if people started believing that it was all about style, think of all the pro golfers and book writers and former governing body officials who'd be lining up to become golf course designers!

« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 02:17:17 AM by PPallotta »

John Chilver-Stainer

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2022, 06:49:53 AM »
This has to be true, during the design phase, but that is not to say that Aesthetics is not playing a vital role as well.


Where aesthetics comes into it's own during the field during construction. Once the bones of the course are laid out from the design plans then begins tbe aesthetic detail considerations.
The proportional scale, perspective perception, viewing corridors, flow of the shaping, degrees of visibility, relative sizes and fine positioning of bunkers and trees, shadow effects, etc, etc


There is a wide palette of important aesthetic decisions that go into enhancing a good "strategic and playable" golf course.
Which is why good golf course architects spend a lot of time in the field during construction with corresponding good results.


As Herbert Warren Wind once said:
"A golf course achitect must have the soul of an artist, the brain of an engineer, and the heart of a golfer"




Bruce Katona

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2022, 02:07:12 PM »
The first two design principals taught in The Landscape Architecture program at Rutgers, my alma mater are:


1. Water always runs downhill - unless pumped
2. Form Follows Function
        Even if the function is nothing more than eye candy or screening, the form, & size of the obstruction needs to be sufficient to serve the purpose.
        Supporting or opening a long view on a hole corridor is a great design tool - if you momentarily capture a players focus, the player requires refocus to play the shot - seems to work in my design book.


The Good Doctor was a master at camouflage - what the eye either can't see of misrepresents and a very strong design element - the more of more varied options available to a player require him/her to think - as a result the designer wins since varied options of play can easily result in a self inflicted loss of 1/2 to a full stroke = design genius.


IMHO




 


Tom_Doak

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2022, 10:17:32 AM »

As you say, archies can always find "reasons" for placing a mainly aesthetic bunker. One of the the common reasons I read is to balance a view...which I read to be for aesthetic reasons. But I wouldn't expect an archie to publicly state that a bunker exists mainly for eye candy.



Hell, yes, some bunkers are there mainly for aesthetics.  Indeed, if you place bunkers in natural slopes like I tend to, then you could make the case that the bunkers aren't necessary at all because the slope itself would have the intended effect.


But the statement in the OP depends a lot on the definition of "always".  I believe I am always putting strategy and playability FIRST.  I would not put a bunker in a dumb place because it looked good, and I doubt any other designer would, either.  But that doesn't mean we don't bump up the aesthetics sometimes with bunkers that aren't strictly necessary to the strategy of the hole.  Indeed, by a very strict definition, there aren't many bunkers that qualify as necessary on any course. 


Example:  is the big bunker on the 10th at Riviera "necessary" ?  It does have an effect on play, as I believe it lures players to the right where it is easy to carry, and it helps hide the ideal line of play.  Ironically, the hole had one less bunker when it was first designed:  George Thomas' diagram of the hole in his book shows it without any bunkers at the green!

Sean_A

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Re: GCA Mythbusters 3: Form follows Function
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2022, 03:41:13 AM »

As you say, archies can always find "reasons" for placing a mainly aesthetic bunker. One of the the common reasons I read is to balance a view...which I read to be for aesthetic reasons. But I wouldn't expect an archie to publicly state that a bunker exists mainly for eye candy.



Hell, yes, some bunkers are there mainly for aesthetics.  Indeed, if you place bunkers in natural slopes like I tend to, then you could make the case that the bunkers aren't necessary at all because the slope itself would have the intended effect.


But the statement in the OP depends a lot on the definition of "always".  I believe I am always putting strategy and playability FIRST.  I would not put a bunker in a dumb place because it looked good, and I doubt any other designer would, either.  But that doesn't mean we don't bump up the aesthetics sometimes with bunkers that aren't strictly necessary to the strategy of the hole.  Indeed, by a very strict definition, there aren't many bunkers that qualify as necessary on any course. 


Example:  is the big bunker on the 10th at Riviera "necessary" ?  It does have an effect on play, as I believe it lures players to the right where it is easy to carry, and it helps hide the ideal line of play.  Ironically, the hole had one less bunker when it was first designed:  George Thomas' diagram of the hole in his book shows it without any bunkers at the green!

You know how I feel about bunkers. In moderation and if thoughtfully placed bunkers enhance a design. But I reckon a significant percentage of bunkers ever built are not necessary, are not attractive and could detract from the quality of courses. That said, there have to be outliers or various forms of my ideal course would become stale if that is all there was.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

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