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Peter Pallotta

It's remarkable, really, their sustained productivity and enormous creative output and exemplary work ethic: 410 courses for JN over 50+ years, and some 400+ courses for DR over almost 50 years. They both enjoyed or endured many periods of boom/growth and bust/recession during their long careers, they both lived through significant changes in the game and its equipment/technology, they produced both playable and well-liked members courses as well as challenging championship tests, and both were the most successful architects of their eras. Jack Nicklaus and Donald Ross: shoulder to shoulder they walk, the two giants of 20th century golf course architecture. I wonder if in 30 or 40 years history won't look back and mention JN and DR in the same breath, both as professionals and in terms of the actual courses they left behind.
 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 02:04:08 PM by PPallotta »

Mark Mammel

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2022, 03:48:12 PM »
I would beg to differ here as regards Nicklaus and Ross being remembered as on a par with each other. Ross understood the need to design courses that challenge the scratch player while providing fun as well as challenge for the handicap player. Nicklaus designs for Nicklaus. If you don't have a wedge into his greens, goodby score. I have played many Nicklaus layouts and have yet to find one that i liked overall.  Good holes yes- good layouts no. I haven't played Muirfield Village which friends have said is very good- maybe the quirkiness of Desmond Muirhead somehow balanced the Jack-ness of Jack.
So much golf to play, so little time....

Mark

Jeff Schley

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2022, 03:54:07 PM »
Maybe Nicklaus Design has as many courses, but I don't think Jack himself has that many.  Numbers are sort of a measure of the times, quality vs. quantity and fair to say we here always favor quality.
However Kudos to JN for his longevity.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Jason Topp

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2022, 03:54:56 PM »
Nicklaus has perhaps the widest variety in quality of designs that I have experienced.  Some, such as the original Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, are about as good as it gets, others - such as Old Corkscrew and the Concession, are just nasty to the average player, still others are are relatively bland resort courses. 


My reaction when I hear of a course designed by Nicklaus is that it could be good or bad but likely will be in good condition.

David Kelly

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2022, 04:00:36 PM »
JN will always be remembered as the greatest or one of the greatest golfers who ever lived.  Towards the end of his obituary there will be a paragraph about how he also had a successful golf design business among other not so successful business ventures.
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Peter Sayegh

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 04:14:41 PM »
Peter, I applaud you for poking the GCA bear with this thread. I assume you are applauding both gentlemen's long time love/contributions to the game.
Twenty years here and I've learned two of the dirtiest phrases in the DG are "a JN signature layout" and "designed by Tom Fazio." It's de rigueur to dismiss them.
Looking forward to all the responses on this one.


Matt_Cohn

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2022, 06:59:24 PM »
A question I'm curious about is whether Ross went through as many phases and philosophy changes in his design career as Nicklaus has? You never really hear about "early Ross" or "late Ross," but 80's Nicklaus vs. 2000's Nicklaus are very different products.

Mike_Trenham

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2022, 10:06:49 PM »
A question I'm curious about is whether Ross went through as many phases and philosophy changes in his design career as Nicklaus has? You never really hear about "early Ross" or "late Ross," but 80's Nicklaus vs. 2000's Nicklaus are very different products.


Yes Ross evolved but it was a personal evolution.  Jackís designs changed each time his lead designer changed.  This would be a very interesting thread or study.
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2022, 08:46:30 AM »
I wonít go with the merits of their efforts but say that DRís are more loved than JNís. DRís will continue to age well. Not sure about the other guy.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Tom_Doak

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Re: Jack Nicklaus has designed as many courses as Donald Ross
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2022, 09:31:16 AM »
A question I'm curious about is whether Ross went through as many phases and philosophy changes in his design career as Nicklaus has? You never really hear about "early Ross" or "late Ross," but 80's Nicklaus vs. 2000's Nicklaus are very different products.


Yes Ross evolved but it was a personal evolution.  Jackís designs changed each time his lead designer changed.  This would be a very interesting thread or study.


I don't think I would say it that way.


The two designers operated in very different eras.  Jack's era was more commercial, and there was more pressure to stay up with the latest trends, or to change up the look of the course if you are designing something just down the road from a previous project -- just look at all of the courses he's built in SE Florida, and how different they are [or were originally].  Compare that to Ross who built half a dozen "parkland" courses around Rochester, NY that don't vary much at all in terms of style, because all of those clients wanted the same thing.


Plus, Jack is a more restless personality than I imagine Donald Ross to have been, so he gave his courses very different looks, even if they are still similar in terms of golfing requirements.  I don't think that was really Bob Cupp's call, or Jim Lipe's -- they may have had input on it, but Jack Nicklaus does not just hand over the details to someone else.  Indeed, Donald Ross may have done that more than Jack Nicklaus did.

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