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Mark_Fine

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Are “pure“ restorations dead?


All you hear about today are “sympathetic“ restorations and restorations that “take into account the modern game” (whatever that means) and restorations that return a course to its roots but “update” it as well,….


I have always been a believer in trying to restore the original look and feel of an old golf course as well as the original design intent (as best you can where it makes sense based on all your research of the evolution of the design).  That seems to be the trend with many others today.  No one seems to be doing “pure” restoration, whatever that means. 

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2022, 12:08:55 PM »
You can't do pure, because technology of equipment has changed what the architect had in mind.

To elaborate, it seems that my favorite architect from the golden era, Donald Albert Alister "Harry" Hollins-Thomas, was given plenty of land, but built to a distance that seemed to challenge the best and longest golfers of the day. Knowing that a 360-yard hole, with a dogle at 200 yards, wouild be obsolete for the play club within a century, DAAH H-T would have asked for more land.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Tom_Doak

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2022, 01:22:10 PM »

Are “pure“ restorations dead?


All you hear about today are “sympathetic“ restorations and restorations that “take into account the modern game” (whatever that means) and restorations that return a course to its roots but “update” it as well,….


I have always been a believer in trying to restore the original look and feel of an old golf course as well as the original design intent (as best you can where it makes sense based on all your research of the evolution of the design).  That seems to be the trend with many others today.  No one seems to be doing “pure” restoration, whatever that means.


Maybe they are, since I've mostly retired from that part of the business.  But I did quite a few as close as I could manage, including, most recently, Dornick Hills and Bel Air.  Still waiting to find out if Crooked Stick will let me do it there.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2022, 06:59:45 PM »
Bedford Springs comes to mind as a restoration that might be close to what you are thinking. I think Forse did a few tweaks here and there but I don't think he made bunches of changes. The grass would be different though.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Mark_Fine

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2022, 07:42:37 PM »
Tommy,
I really like the work done at Bedford but if I recall correctly there were several architects involved in that design over the years (not just Tillie) so I am not 100 % sure what was “restored”. 


Tom,
In your restorations did you take into account “the modern game” or don’t you worry about that?  Do you try to assess original design intent? 


Ronald,
I agree with you but not sure everyone else does.  Who is to say for sure what the original architect was thinking when they designed a course?  That said, I happen to believe it is part of the restoration architect’s role to try to assess what the original intent was as best they can when completing a restoration. Unlike a chess board which is static the playing fields for the game of golf are not and this needs to be factored into restoration recommendations which seems to be what many are doing today. 


mike_malone

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2022, 10:49:30 PM »
Mark,


  I’m beginning to doubt we can know the original intent.
  As we just put some fairway bunkers back where they were originally I can learn something about the original intent after the fact. It wasn’t the original intent. It was the original location.


I agree that we should just have the best possible course. Sometimes that is what was done originally.
AKA Mayday

Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2022, 07:24:43 AM »
Mike,
Unless you are creating a museum piece, the reason you “restore” a course is because what “was” there is a better design then what “is” there now.  Most of us know a good hole from a bad hole and I don’t know about you, but I won’t restore a bad hole just to restore it (at least I won’t recommend doing so).  The reason why we do all the investigation and research is to find out how the course evolved and to see if the original design is better then what we have today.  Some don’t take the time to do so or just don’t care.

Some architects wrote about their intent and why things were designed the way they are.  This helps us understand original design intent.  You know Flynn for example often didn’t fully bunker his courses until after he saw how they were played.  That should tell you something about how he felt about moving or adding bunkers. If he saw how his courses were played today would he leave them as is? 

Unless an original architect was explicit about his intent we will never know for sure what they were thinking but that is why you carefully select an architect to help.  Hopefully it is someone who might have done enough study and research to have a better clue.

The point of this thread is most all of the restorations I am seeing these days are “sympathetic” but definitely not “pure”.  Maybe they are thinking like Flynn and looking at how the golf course is played today to decide how to tweak it to bring back the original intent??
« Last Edit: June 16, 2022, 07:27:51 AM by Mark_Fine »

JNagle

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2022, 10:22:04 AM »
I've been working on a plan for what can be considered to be a "true" restoration, maybe.  With member approval in the coming months, we will be able to speak more freely about the plan.  There are some deviations from the original design that are required due to equipment changes and other influences.  Those changes will include the relocation of bunkers on four holes.  The ground allows us to essentially just move the bunkers and not needing to create something new.  A couple of the greens are undersized and need to be increased to distribute wear over larger areas.  The ground level photos and aerial images for the course are extensive and will be a part of the process once we break ground.


The work we did at the Country Club of Buffalo was a "true" restoration.  Removal of work done by others, reinstating of numerous bunkers, green expansions and fairway expansions.  The club requested that the master plan be called the "Donald Ross Golf Course Restoration Plan".  To date the club has no desire to deviate from that vision.  I'll be back there in the next year working on an updated plan but that had more to do with other golf related items and a look to be sure things are all well with the course.  There were minor changes needed to the 14th hole because of safety issues and the loss of some significant trees protecting the 5th tees.



As for Bedford, there is a huge misconception on the design and restoration of the course.  The only holes that can be considered fully restored are the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th and 14th holes.  ALL other holes were altered in one way or another.  Nearly all the greens were altered or modified to better suit todays game and course maintenance.  Bunkers were added to the majority of the golf holes.  The 14th hole was reconstructed completely and relocated 20 yards right of the original.  The 17th hole was non-existent at the time of the redesign.  No plans to go off of, just a painting and some photos. 


Hoping there are more instances for full restorations in the coming years.  There are still some great courses worthy of being restored. 
It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; .....  "The Critic"

Kalen Braley

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2022, 11:00:56 AM »
Mike,
Unless you are creating a museum piece, the reason you “restore” a course is because what “was” there is a better design then what “is” there now.  Most of us know a good hole from a bad hole and I don’t know about you, but I won’t restore a bad hole just to restore it (at least I won’t recommend doing so).  The reason why we do all the investigation and research is to find out how the course evolved and to see if the original design is better then what we have today.  Some don’t take the time to do so or just don’t care.


Mark,

I think this site has done a pretty good job of maintaining that the vast majority of courses probably shouldn't be restored because its not worth the effort. 

But of the few that are, from where I sit the effort seems to be 100% worth it. Of course that's easy to say when i'm not writing the checks.  ;)

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2022, 12:39:15 PM »

The point of this thread is most all of the restorations I am seeing these days are “sympathetic” but definitely not “pure”.  Maybe they are thinking like Flynn and looking at how the golf course is played today to decide how to tweak it to bring back the original intent??


That's because many architects and green chairmen are intellectually dishonest, and are just riding the bandwagon of the word "restoration" to prescribe changes out of their heads.


But we've had these conversations before ad nauseum and I'm not going to bother having the same one again.


As to your other question, the only thing you really can restore is for the golf course to play the same as it once did for people who hit the ball 220 yards or 250 yards or 280 yards.  They may not be exactly the same people as they were before, or the same handicap as they were; but if Flynn, say, designed for expert golfers who hit their drives 250 yards, I can assure you there are more golfers today for whom that is relevant than there were when the course was built.  It's only the dudes who think they are better than all that who think the course needs to be changed [for themselves].

mike_malone

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Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2022, 01:50:43 PM »
Tom,


  My experience has been that Flynn did have a distance off the tee in mind but only put the bunker in that range if it fit the land and gave the message he wanted to send.
So putting the bunker back in the original location does change who is affected by it as a hazard but all are still receiving the intended message.
AKA Mayday

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2022, 12:15:30 PM »
I'm watching the feed from TCC_Brookline and they are nearly driving the 17th at 364 yards. Ted Ray would approve. Maybe that's why Ted Ray did not design golf courses. He would have asked for too much land.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Jim Sherma

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Not that there ever was such a thing for an old golf course
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2022, 04:41:34 PM »
When it comes time for all of the RTJ, Wilson, Gordon … restorations a lot of those can be pure restorations given the whole tee it forward ethos.

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