This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
For good reason, H.S. Colt was recognized as the greatest golf course architect in the world. Colt was the messenger and the carrier of those Oxcam ideas, not Donald Ross, who was still coming into his own as an architect.
I also think that the C.B. MacDonald line of evolution, evidence-based design...
"6) "OE was the ONLY time C&R worked together in person." What of Winnetka (IHC)? The CCD in Detroit? I'd also include, but can't prove, the DGC."I have a copy of a Chicago Star article from June 27, 1915 that shares a bit of info on this topic. Since I cant effing post the pic, I will transcribe two paragraphs:(Mr. Ferguson was the president of Glen View Club which is the topic of the full article.)"Colt and Ross Did the Work" (actual title in article)The creation of Old Elm and Indian Hill has, of course, served to make Glen View less nearly unique than when it had Chicago Golf as its sole rival in this neighborhood. The changes made in 1913have all been in the way of betterment of the links, and are, in scheme, in the precise spirit of the modern golf architecture of the two new north shore coursesThe new aspects of the course represent the work of Colt and Ross, the designers and builders of Old Elm. It was to this admirable team Mr. Ferguson turned over the ideas he had studied and pondered. He caught Colt when the latter was in the country to design Old Elm; and the finishing touches were given by Ross, whose handicraft is to be noted now on every hole.The graceful, easy curves of Old Elm and Indian Hill can easily be recognized in the revisions at Glen View. Not a spadeful of earth was, in making the changes, dug for the mere sake of creating punitive hazards regardless of the logic of distances and of the mixed measurements of par.
Sven, In an earlier post, I mentioned "evidence-based" design quoting Keith Cutten, who has written a great book called, "The Evolution of Golf Course Design." Thank you for all of your extraordinary research and insight which is the backbone of GCA. It's a privilege to talk with you. I'm just trying to scratch the surface! I think MacDonald mostly went down his own path on the way towards the Golden Age. His journey to the mecca of golf, the golf courses of the British Isles, to find inspiration, ideas, and the ideal holes, is a pathway that architects like Ross, Dye, and Doak have emulated. It's interesting that Darwin wrote a book titled the same a few years after C.B.'s first trip. Today, the foundation of every architect's education is to see as many courses around the world as possible. I do think the theories of the Oxcam group led by Hutchinson, Low, Colt, and Darwin came first. My guess is that MacDonald, Travis, Leeds, Emmet all read John Low's 1903 book, "Concerning Golf" and it would have informed their work.
I think the best way to look at the evolution of American design is to think of all of the players almost acting in concert. Travis was sharing ideas with CBM, until he wasn't. Emmet was talking to everyone and anyone who would listen. They all stopped in on Donald when they came down to Pinehurst in the winter. Everyone knew Leeds had done something special at Myopia and Fownes was on his way to doing something pretty cool up in Pittsburgh. Tillie was in the background learning and writing, and even guys like George Thomas were on their way to caching away the information they'd need to produce masterpieces down the line. Some of these guys were amateurs, with their focus on one or a few courses only. Others were professionals who were called in as experts on big money projects or filled the void when a course was going to be built without the local knowledge to make it happen. We often draw a line in these parts between the pros and the ams in this realm, but in reality they were probably all drinking from the same cup, one that was first filled by mother nature, later by Tom Morris and his ilk and then further a bit more be each of them in their own way.This was a spider web of activity, ideas, inspirations and debates. When the market for development truly arrived post-World War I, the web only grew with more players being added on nearly a daily basis. There was room for Raynor and his millionaire CBM connected clients, for Langford and his bold features, for Flynn and his nature-faking, for everything taking place in California, for Willie Park to be the hottest name in town, for the Old Man to shape his greens, for Emmet to plug away into eternity, for Macan and Egan to build the Northwest, for a banker in Oklahoma to shape dirt into rolls, you get my point.To put all of this on the influence of any one person or any one small collection of courses built in one year seems a bit simplistic.