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Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2022, 06:24:32 AM »
St. Pats isnít edgy. It is just common sense, beautifully executed.


The Loop is edgy and beautifully executed.

Erik J. Barzeski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2022, 08:26:34 AM »
The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.

Express a different opinion, do something different, and while you may have a few ardent fans/viewers/users/whatever, you're most often dismissed by the masses.

It's like the actor who does "one for them, one for me" where "them" is basically $$$. They're raging when they do the film they want to do for themselves, in a small way, and accept that it may not be as popular.

I think some architects might almost do the same, except it may not even be on a project by project basis. I'm not familiar enough with Tom's work, but perhaps there are times when he built a green he wanted to do, but capitulated slightly on some other feature somewhere. You can call it pushing the boundaries, but it's almost the same thing to me - different developers will have different limits.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Steve Lang

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2022, 08:46:41 AM »
Ben:

It's a good topic.  I won't add much, other than to say I generally agree.

...

I am glad that Sean recognizes The Loop, though.  That concept was edgy enough that we didn't have to build 20-foot deep bunkers or 20,000 square foot greens to do something outside the box.  I do think I can afford to be very edgy at this stage of my career; I've got nothing to lose.  But I've got to find clients who agree, and I'd say right now there are only two out of eight I'd put in that category.

Other than being reversable, the incredible aspect of The Loop is it makes business sense. Sure, it will cost a bit more to maintain than a normal 18 hole course on similar soil, but the punters will stay at least one night. I will be thinking about The Loop for a looong time.

What is the other edgy course? St Pat's? If so, why do you think so?

Ciao


Sean, While I don't speak/relate to British slang, are you equating "punters" with "retail golfers?"  The context seems to be in a negative  context... non-anodyne?


Looking up the general meaning, (Britain, Australia, slang) A customer of a commercial establishment, frequently of a pub or (alternatively) of a prostitute.

or

chiefly British : a person who gambles especially : one who bets against a bookmaker. b : a person who uses a punt in boating.
or
customer, patron




If there's anything I rage against, its the cost of retail golfing, at least one doesn't have to stay at Forest Dunes to play there...
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"

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2022, 12:32:51 PM »

What is the other edgy course? St Pat's? If so, why do you think so?



The 2 out of 8 was actually referring to the eight courses I've got in planning now.


It's funny how that works out, though.  The one client who said he really wanted something edgy had a piece of land that produced a less edgy routing; of course the devil will be in the details of what we build.  The most difficult / dramatic site we have could be wild, but it also looks to me like one of the top 50 courses in the world if we just soften the difficult parts; we certainly don't need to ramp up the edginess, it's more a question of how much to tone it down.



I think St. Patrick's is pretty edgy in regards to all the contour we left in the fairways and around the greens.  It's certainly more so than the other recent links courses built in the UK, judging by the reactions to it, except Ally, surprisingly.  But, maybe I compare more to other modern courses than you would.

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2022, 12:45:56 PM »

What is the other edgy course? St Pat's? If so, why do you think so?



The 2 out of 8 was actually referring to the eight courses I've got in planning now.


It's funny how that works out, though.  The one client who said he really wanted something edgy had a piece of land that produced a less edgy routing; of course the devil will be in the details of what we build.  The most difficult / dramatic site we have could be wild, but it also looks to me like one of the top 50 courses in the world if we just soften the difficult parts; we certainly don't need to ramp up the edginess, it's more a question of how much to tone it down.



I think St. Patrick's is pretty edgy in regards to all the contour we left in the fairways and around the greens.  It's certainly more so than the other recent links courses built in the UK, judging by the reactions to it, except Ally, surprisingly.  But, maybe I compare more to other modern courses than you would.


When I referred to St Patricks as common sense, it is - to me - exactly how a links course should be built and Iím not sure I understand any other way. There hasnít really been another new 18 hole links course built on good links land for 20 odd years. And it was about time someone in the modern era actually used the land in the way itís supposed to be used to produce golf. In that respect, I donít consider it edgy in the slightest. Just really good.

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2022, 12:55:46 PM »

The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.


Erik,

I couldnít agree more. But that doesnít mean I have to like it. The way you shift norms is by challenging, innovating, and reaching across that 15-20% acceptance chasm to mainstream. At least thatís what Diffusions of Innovations taught me.  :)

The more interesting thing to me than trying to shift a norm with something new, is how something old retains or even gains charm and interest. Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2022, 01:22:34 PM »

What is the other edgy course? St Pat's? If so, why do you think so?



The 2 out of 8 was actually referring to the eight courses I've got in planning now.


It's funny how that works out, though.  The one client who said he really wanted something edgy had a piece of land that produced a less edgy routing; of course the devil will be in the details of what we build.  The most difficult / dramatic site we have could be wild, but it also looks to me like one of the top 50 courses in the world if we just soften the difficult parts; we certainly don't need to ramp up the edginess, it's more a question of how much to tone it down.



I think St. Patrick's is pretty edgy in regards to all the contour we left in the fairways and around the greens.  It's certainly more so than the other recent links courses built in the UK, judging by the reactions to it, except Ally, surprisingly.  But, maybe I compare more to other modern courses than you would.


When I referred to St Patricks as common sense, it is - to me - exactly how a links course should be built and Iím not sure I understand any other way. There hasnít really been another new 18 hole links course built on good links land for 20 odd years. And it was about time someone in the modern era actually used the land in the way itís supposed to be used to produce golf. In that respect, I donít consider it edgy in the slightest. Just really good.

I agree Ally. I don't think St Pat's is edgy except for isolated features. For instance, it's not as edgy as much of Portstewart, but St Pat's is superior regardless.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2022, 02:17:30 PM »

Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.




I am trying to remember what Bernard Darwin wrote about The Pit.  I don't think it was his favorite hole.  The first time I got excited to see it was in Patric Dickinson's book, A Round of Golf Courses, which was written in 1952.


Trying to get back to your topic, I think that the anodyne came into vogue not long after stroke play became the accepted form of the game.  Certainly all of the old links are built with match play in mind, but really, match play was still the dominant form until right at the end of the Golden Age.  The U.S. Amateur was just as important as the U.S. Open when Bobby Jones won them, and of course, people were less interested in adding up their score when it was that much harder to break 80.


With the "card and pencil" spirit as MacKenzie called it, any non-anodyne feature that might have the potential to wreck a scorecard was cast in an unfavorable light.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2022, 02:39:01 PM »
I think anodyne goes straight back to the emergence of of the first great architects we celebrate. The likes of Colt etc started and largely finished the codification of architecture. It was a done deal by WWII. But we have to remember that at the time, these guys were pretty edgy. It's just that we never moved on...for good reasons.

Ciao.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2022, 02:57:32 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2022, 03:06:01 PM »
Interesting that Dr. MacK was brought up.

An argument could be made that his '13 principles' put golf on the fast path to homogenization.

http://www.montereypeninsulagolf.com/Alister-MacKenzie-13-Golf-Commandments




Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2022, 03:19:14 PM »
Interesting that Dr. MacK was brought up.

An argument could be made that his '13 principles' put golf on the fast path to homogenization.

http://www.montereypeninsulagolf.com/Alister-MacKenzie-13-Golf-Commandments


I don't really think that argument is worth much.  Many of his points were already accepted wisdom for the majority of his peers; only a couple are really unique to MacKenzie, and those aren't the anodyne ideas.  Likewise, I don't think MacKenzie had that much influence on what Robert Trent Jones or Dick Wilson or Jeff Brauer built.  His 13 points are quoted much more often in the resurgence of interest in golf design the past 30 years, than they were before that.

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2022, 03:22:22 PM »

The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.


Erik,

I couldnít agree more. But that doesnít mean I have to like it. The way you shift norms is by challenging, innovating, and reaching across that 15-20% acceptance chasm to mainstream. At least thatís what Diffusions of Innovations taught me.  :)

The more interesting thing to me than trying to shift a norm with something new, is how something old retains or even gains charm and interest. Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.


Ben,


Referring to the "masses" strikes me as more than a bit condescending. And any one person can be anodyne or non-anondyne depending upon the art form (including cooking). I for example enjoy Miles Davis and John Coltrane before their avant garde work. Does that make me anodyne? On the other hand, I put Ken Kesey and Ishmael Reed in my all time great novelist list. Does that make me non-anodyne? Lahinch and NB are two of my favorite courses but so are PH2 and CPC. Anodyne or non-anodyne? Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial was edgily controversial among the "masses" and now it is beloved.


Labels are easy to throw about, including one entitled "the masses".


Interesting thread but specifics always helpful.


Thanks.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2022, 03:25:09 PM by Ira Fishman »

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2022, 03:25:05 PM »

Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.




Trying to get back to your topic, I think that the anodyne came into vogue not long after stroke play became the accepted form of the game.  Certainly all of the old links are built with match play in mind, but really, match play was still the dominant form until right at the end of the Golden Age.  The U.S. Amateur was just as important as the U.S. Open when Bobby Jones won them, and of course, people were less interested in adding up their score when it was that much harder to break 80.


With the "card and pencil" spirit as MacKenzie called it, any non-anodyne feature that might have the potential to wreck a scorecard was cast in an unfavorable light.

Tom,

I recently listened to an interview Brian Schneider gave with Fried Egg around the time the pandemic started. Paraphrasing Brian, he said when someone says that a course is a good match play course, he has no idea what that means.



As far as what his point was, I can only assume that he meant that a golf hole is functionally interesting or it isnít. The form of keeping score doesnít matter. I might be wrong. But thatís what I got from that part of the interview.


I wholly agree with him in ideal. That said, designing for mass acceptance might be the safest way to make the most people happy in places where stroke play is most prevalent. I see both sides. 

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2022, 03:34:35 PM »

The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.


Erik,

I couldnít agree more. But that doesnít mean I have to like it. The way you shift norms is by challenging, innovating, and reaching across that 15-20% acceptance chasm to mainstream. At least thatís what Diffusions of Innovations taught me.  :)

The more interesting thing to me than trying to shift a norm with something new, is how something old retains or even gains charm and interest. Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.


Ben,


Referring to the "masses" strikes me as more than a bit condescending. And any one person can be anodyne or non-anondyne depending upon the art form (including cooking). I for example enjoy Miles Davis and John Coltrane before their avant garde work. Does that make me anodyne? On the other hand, I put Ken Kesey and Ishmael Reed in my all time great novelist list. Does that make me non-anodyne? Lahinch and NB are two of my favorite courses but so are PH2 and CPC. Anodyne or non-anodyne? Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial was edgily controversial among the "masses" and now it is beloved.


Labels are easy to throw about, including one entitled "the masses".


Interesting thread but specifics always helpful.


Thanks.


Ira,


The most specific examples I can think of are the algorithms that music streaming services use to recommend song, a website like Rotten Tomatoes for film, or aggregate golf architecture magazine ratings.


This to me itís a real ďbell curvyĒ way of getting people to think collectively in my opinion. I have discovered that I much prefer Sean Arbleís star designations and happy 100 list and Tomís Confidential Guide style of thinking about golf architecture recommendations.


This is very humorous of course, this sort of well-intended ďthe masses are stupid, listen to this one guy or four guys!Ē opinion on courses. That could be looked at as hypocritical. But I donít think it is. It is more a reflection of my own tastes and the opinions I trust. Which is part of what Iím getting at in this thread. Doing work to better hone in on what we like and what is good is a far more rewarding exercise than waiting for Spotify or Golf Digest to tell me whatís good.

Erik J. Barzeski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2022, 04:04:15 PM »
We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.
Many people are content to eat at McDonald's because while few really LOVE McDonald's, nearly all who go there are unsurprised - they know what they're going to get. It's the same just about everywhere.

"Human being seek comfort." - Mike Tomlin

There's comfort in familiarity. In not being surprised.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #40 on: November 04, 2022, 04:19:16 PM »
We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.
Many people are content to eat at McDonald's because while few really LOVE McDonald's, nearly all who go there are unsurprised - they know what they're going to get. It's the same just about everywhere.

"Human being seek comfort." - Mike Tomlin

There's comfort in familiarity. In not being surprised.


Does familiarity and comfort = good?


Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Mike Bodo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #41 on: November 04, 2022, 05:24:56 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Erik J. Barzeski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #42 on: November 04, 2022, 05:36:14 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?
Is McDonald's "good"?

And if not, why do so many people eat it?
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #43 on: November 04, 2022, 06:07:58 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.


I think clarifying definitions and leaning away from binary positions would help us. I donít think controversial equals good. Nor do I think anodyne means boring per se. To me, anodyne means to do or produce in order to not provoke. Itís sterile, innocuous. Thereís a lot of people in the world that would say there is pragmatism in sterility and not being provocative.


The argument Iím trying to make is that I disagree with that premise. And perhaps shining a light on why Iím looking forward to a place like Dunbar just as much as something much more popular.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #44 on: November 04, 2022, 06:39:54 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.


I think clarifying definitions and leaning away from binary positions would help us. I donít think controversial equals good. Nor do I think anodyne means boring per se. To me, anodyne means to do or produce in order to not provoke. Itís sterile, innocuous. Thereís a lot of people in the world that would say there is pragmatism in sterility and not being provocative.

The argument Iím trying to make is that I disagree with that premise. And perhaps shining a light on why Iím looking forward to a place like Dunbar just as much as something much more popular.

I do have a hard time agreeing with you since so many good and great courses are not provocative.

BTW...Dunbar is popular! Get an early time  :)

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #45 on: November 04, 2022, 08:29:28 PM »

The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.


Erik,

I couldnít agree more. But that doesnít mean I have to like it. The way you shift norms is by challenging, innovating, and reaching across that 15-20% acceptance chasm to mainstream. At least thatís what Diffusions of Innovations taught me.  :)

The more interesting thing to me than trying to shift a norm with something new, is how something old retains or even gains charm and interest. Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.


Ben,


Referring to the "masses" strikes me as more than a bit condescending. And any one person can be anodyne or non-anondyne depending upon the art form (including cooking). I for example enjoy Miles Davis and John Coltrane before their avant garde work. Does that make me anodyne? On the other hand, I put Ken Kesey and Ishmael Reed in my all time great novelist list. Does that make me non-anodyne? Lahinch and NB are two of my favorite courses but so are PH2 and CPC. Anodyne or non-anodyne? Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial was edgily controversial among the "masses" and now it is beloved.


Labels are easy to throw about, including one entitled "the masses".


Interesting thread but specifics always helpful.


Thanks.


Ira,


The most specific examples I can think of are the algorithms that music streaming services use to recommend song, a website like Rotten Tomatoes for film, or aggregate golf architecture magazine ratings.


This to me itís a real ďbell curvyĒ way of getting people to think collectively in my opinion. I have discovered that I much prefer Sean Arbleís star designations and happy 100 list and Tomís Confidential Guide style of thinking about golf architecture recommendations.


This is very humorous of course, this sort of well-intended ďthe masses are stupid, listen to this one guy or four guys!Ē opinion on courses. That could be looked at as hypocritical. But I donít think it is. It is more a reflection of my own tastes and the opinions I trust. Which is part of what Iím getting at in this thread. Doing work to better hone in on what we like and what is good is a far more rewarding exercise than waiting for Spotify or Golf Digest to tell me whatís good.


Ben,


I suggest that you are conflating several different things. Yes, many ďarbitersĒ of taste such as Spotify may play to the anodyne because volume is how they make money. However, that does not mean that the consumer is a lemming who needs to follow. But it also does not mean that the artist who presents something popular has not created something truly special. And to be specific for golf: St. Georgeís Hill is not provocative, but it is a terrific golf course. In the US, I would say the same about all of the courses at Bandon and Streamsong Red and Blue. SS Black is provocative, but I think the weakest of the courses. That may make my tastes seem to run to anodyne, but Lahinch, NB, and Ballyneal are very high on my personal list.


It would be helpful to know which courses you think are anodyne or not.


Ira

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2022, 02:36:04 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.


I think clarifying definitions and leaning away from binary positions would help us. I donít think controversial equals good. Nor do I think anodyne means boring per se. To me, anodyne means to do or produce in order to not provoke. Itís sterile, innocuous. Thereís a lot of people in the world that would say there is pragmatism in sterility and not being provocative.

The argument Iím trying to make is that I disagree with that premise. And perhaps shining a light on why Iím looking forward to a place like Dunbar just as much as something much more popular.

I do have a hard time agreeing with you since so many good and great courses are not provocative.

BTW...Dunbar is popular! Get an early time  :)

Ciao


Sean,


I agree with you principally, but not totally. There are loads of courses are that are considered quite good that have something a bit different and potentially odd about them. In fact, Iím having a hard time thinking of a truly great course that Iíve played that Iíd consider anodyne.


That said, I can think of many Doak 4-6 level courses that I would consider anodyne. The trick then, for me at least, is to find those 4-6 level courses that provide excitement and a unique point of reference. Easier said than done.


Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2022, 02:50:59 PM »

The world likes anodyne. Not every individual, but as a whole.


Erik,

I couldnít agree more. But that doesnít mean I have to like it. The way you shift norms is by challenging, innovating, and reaching across that 15-20% acceptance chasm to mainstream. At least thatís what Diffusions of Innovations taught me.  :)

The more interesting thing to me than trying to shift a norm with something new, is how something old retains or even gains charm and interest. Was North Berwick 13 always considered cool?

We are sort of moving away from my idea a bit and getting into the territory of esoteric architectural discussion about quirk and edginess and why thatís hard to do when someone hires you, etc etc. Iíd rather this was more a discussion on why the masses prefer a thing. And why is that thing boring to some and not to others.


Ben,


Referring to the "masses" strikes me as more than a bit condescending. And any one person can be anodyne or non-anondyne depending upon the art form (including cooking). I for example enjoy Miles Davis and John Coltrane before their avant garde work. Does that make me anodyne? On the other hand, I put Ken Kesey and Ishmael Reed in my all time great novelist list. Does that make me non-anodyne? Lahinch and NB are two of my favorite courses but so are PH2 and CPC. Anodyne or non-anodyne? Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial was edgily controversial among the "masses" and now it is beloved.


Labels are easy to throw about, including one entitled "the masses".


Interesting thread but specifics always helpful.


Thanks.


Ira,


The most specific examples I can think of are the algorithms that music streaming services use to recommend song, a website like Rotten Tomatoes for film, or aggregate golf architecture magazine ratings.


This to me itís a real ďbell curvyĒ way of getting people to think collectively in my opinion. I have discovered that I much prefer Sean Arbleís star designations and happy 100 list and Tomís Confidential Guide style of thinking about golf architecture recommendations.


This is very humorous of course, this sort of well-intended ďthe masses are stupid, listen to this one guy or four guys!Ē opinion on courses. That could be looked at as hypocritical. But I donít think it is. It is more a reflection of my own tastes and the opinions I trust. Which is part of what Iím getting at in this thread. Doing work to better hone in on what we like and what is good is a far more rewarding exercise than waiting for Spotify or Golf Digest to tell me whatís good.


Ben,


I suggest that you are conflating several different things. Yes, many ďarbitersĒ of taste such as Spotify may play to the anodyne because volume is how they make money. However, that does not mean that the consumer is a lemming who needs to follow. But it also does not mean that the artist who presents something popular has not created something truly special. And to be specific for golf: St. Georgeís Hill is not provocative, but it is a terrific golf course. In the US, I would say the same about all of the courses at Bandon and Streamsong Red and Blue. SS Black is provocative, but I think the weakest of the courses. That may make my tastes seem to run to anodyne, but Lahinch, NB, and Ballyneal are very high on my personal list.


It would be helpful to know which courses you think are anodyne or not.


Ira



Ira,


Thereís always a good chance Iím conflating ideas. Chat board format is sometimes hard to keep everything concise and straight.


I would argue that itís wishful to think that consumers wonít be lemmings, given an easy and digestible way to determine quality. It why things like magazine lists and streaming services are money-makers for their respective entities.


To answer your question, Iíd consider Torrey Pines an anodyne course.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2022, 03:14:15 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.


I think clarifying definitions and leaning away from binary positions would help us. I donít think controversial equals good. Nor do I think anodyne means boring per se. To me, anodyne means to do or produce in order to not provoke. Itís sterile, innocuous. Thereís a lot of people in the world that would say there is pragmatism in sterility and not being provocative.

The argument Iím trying to make is that I disagree with that premise. And perhaps shining a light on why Iím looking forward to a place like Dunbar just as much as something much more popular.

I do have a hard time agreeing with you since so many good and great courses are not provocative.

BTW...Dunbar is popular! Get an early time  :)

Ciao


Sean,


I agree with you principally, but not totally. There are loads of courses are that are considered quite good that have something a bit different and potentially odd about them. In fact, Iím having a hard time thinking of a truly great course that Iíve played that Iíd consider anodyne.


That said, I can think of many Doak 4-6 level courses that I would consider anodyne. The trick then, for me at least, is to find those 4-6 level courses that provide excitement and a unique point of reference. Easier said than done.

Ok, I don't think I understand your use of anodyne.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood & Ladybank

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Rage against the anodyne
« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2022, 03:37:31 PM »
Does familiarity and comfort = good?

Itís when I get sold anodyne as good that my disappointment begins.

Conversely, does controversial = good


Where I'm going with this is that some would argue Mike Strantz was the last true maverick of golf course architecture. Love 'em or leave 'em, many of his course designs are controversial for their difficulty and unconvention. He broke rules and thought outside of the box, which doesn't necesarily equate to great architecture. However, he shook up the golf course architecture industry at a time it desperately needed it, as it helped pave the way for the period we're in. Good thing for Mike he didn't care or listen to what critics had to say, which freed him to blaze the trail he did and show the golfing world at large what's possible in course design.


Perhaps it's the same rebellion and unconvention that's needed now for the reasons originally raised in this topic, as part of me empathizes with your original statement, but I also appreciate the great work that's been done the past two decades having seen and played enough shitty cookie cutter community courses designed and built during 70's, 80's and 90's to never ever want to revisit that period.


I think clarifying definitions and leaning away from binary positions would help us. I donít think controversial equals good. Nor do I think anodyne means boring per se. To me, anodyne means to do or produce in order to not provoke. Itís sterile, innocuous. Thereís a lot of people in the world that would say there is pragmatism in sterility and not being provocative.

The argument Iím trying to make is that I disagree with that premise. And perhaps shining a light on why Iím looking forward to a place like Dunbar just as much as something much more popular.

I do have a hard time agreeing with you since so many good and great courses are not provocative.

BTW...Dunbar is popular! Get an early time  :)

Ciao


Sean,


I agree with you principally, but not totally. There are loads of courses are that are considered quite good that have something a bit different and potentially odd about them. In fact, Iím having a hard time thinking of a truly great course that Iíve played that Iíd consider anodyne.


That said, I can think of many Doak 4-6 level courses that I would consider anodyne. The trick then, for me at least, is to find those 4-6 level courses that provide excitement and a unique point of reference. Easier said than done.

Ok, I don't think I understand your use of anodyne.

Ciao


Me either.


I joke. Mostly I think thereís a clear line out there for most of us on what exhilarates us and what doesnít. Itís different for all of us Iím sure. Maybe Iím trying to hit on a combination of sterile/boring/regular?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2022, 03:39:53 PM by Ben Sims »

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