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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #175 on: January 13, 2023, 07:37:33 AM »
Hey Walt, remember telling me about that Brit doing great work with you at your club.  Think hed be willing to pop on over and help us figure out what to do with the piece of property we just bought.  I know youre plenty busy with playing and helping Chuck out there on the Island.  Wed love to have you involved, but no pressure.


Sure thing J.P., H.H. would[size=78%] be all over that and Im sure hed do a bang up job.  Not really my thing right now, what with the magazine and all and still trying to keep the game up to beat Travers.  Be happy to stop by at some point down the line and take a gander at what H. H. comes up with.[/size]


It could have been as easy as that.


Maybe once, perhaps twice.   


But the Travis name wouldn't have been attached as either the designer nor the supervisor of design, in my opinion.


Love the imagined convo, though.   ;D
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #176 on: January 13, 2023, 08:22:12 AM »
Bedford Springs GC/ Philmont CC/ Springhaven CC/ Newport CC -

The source I have for the work here is the Sept. 1909 American Golfer article posted above.  I have not seen anything for any of them that note any involvement by Travis.


Will loop back to this one over the weekend.
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Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #177 on: January 13, 2023, 09:21:19 AM »
But the Travis name wouldn't have been attached as either the designer nor the supervisor of design, in my opinion.



Of course it would have.  You have to remember that for many of these projects the real goal was filling out the membership list.  All of the newspaper articles, all of the hyperbole, and all of the grandiose statements about how great a course could be made were aimed at getting members to sign on the dotted line.  If not, someone was left holding the bag for the initial outlay.


Travis was a name.  Having him attached to your project in any way, even if he really wasn't going to do anything (hence "supervising") went a long way.
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Bret Lawrence

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #178 on: January 13, 2023, 10:08:56 AM »
Adding in a couple of Walter Travis advertisements from Golf Illustrated., 1921.  Walter Travis highlighted several of his jobs as rearrangements.









Columbia is an interesting story.  Travis was in DC every year between 1915-1920 to advise on work at Columbia, but there were many names associated with work on the course.  Barker, Travis, William Connellan, Robert White and Dr. Walter Harban were all there contributing to the final result.  William Connellan and Robert White were both there to carry out the work suggested by Travis.  Connellan also assisted Travis at Sunningdale and Robert White assisted Travis at East Potomac Park.  Its crazy to think with all these grass and soil experts in one place that anything could go wrong, but during the 1921 US Open all the greens suffered from brown patch right before the tournament started.  This resulted in the formation of the USGA Green Section.


Robert White also played in the 1921 US Open at Columbia.  He was the first tee time on the first day.  Surprisingly, Robert White played in many US Opens spanning from the 1890s to the 1920s, but he rarely made the cut.


MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #179 on: January 13, 2023, 04:41:22 PM »
Williamsport CC/ Youngstown CC -

The main source I have here is the article in the Mayfield post above.  I'll wait for Mike to fill in the information he has on any Travis connections here.

To clarify, I'm more interested in reports of Travis taking on a role in the design process than I am in reports of Travis referring the club to Barker.


Mayfield CC

Just noting that one of Sven's recent articles mentions that Travis suggested Barker to Mayfield.


Williamsport CC

The Williamsport CC website mentions the following;

On April 11, 1910, HH Barker, the winner of the 1908 Irish Open turned course architect, was paid a sum of $74.50 to lay out the original nine holes. These holes consisted of what are now our #1, #2, and #12 through #18.

Interesting then how a syndicated article about Maurice McCarthy (this one from the Austin (TX) American Statesman from 4/24/1930 mentions Williamsport as designed by Walter Travis, opening in 1911.







Youngstown Country Club aka Mahoning Golf Club -


The American Golfer of October 1911 starts off familiar enough, with Travis mentioning yet another prominent club that has secured the services of Herbert Barker, who clearly is the traveling, "on the ground" guy for these endeavors.





Yet, back in Youngtown the following spring the local news had a different take on the origins of their course.  The second image blows up the pertinent information from the full page article.


« Last Edit: January 13, 2023, 04:43:59 PM by MCirba »
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Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #180 on: January 14, 2023, 02:35:12 AM »
Mike:


There are reports from 1928 of Donald Ross having laid out Youngstown 16 years prior (June 23, 1928 Marion Star).  I wouldn't pay much mind to that 1930 article about Williamsport.


Be nice to hear Ed Homsey's take on Youngstown today.  His reports from three years ago (as posted earlier in the thread) and from years past on this site note he was convinced it was Barker.  It would also be nice to know when and how much time Travis spent in the city.  In any case, it would appear that Barker was the guy who was "on the ground" out there.  To me it sounds very much like another project where Barker did lay out yet the Travis name was attached, as I very much doubt Barker constructed the course.


Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #181 on: January 14, 2023, 02:23:46 PM »
If you look at it from an either/or proposition I guess but then we're approaching double digits on startling coincidences, no?


I believe they worked in tandem through at least early 1911.  I would add that Barker also maintained a rigorous playing schedule through the period.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2023, 02:25:21 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #182 on: January 14, 2023, 02:25:39 PM »
Show me when Travis was in Cleveland and Youngstown and we can start to have that conversation.
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #183 on: January 15, 2023, 12:24:50 PM »
Philmont -


The late Tom MacWood posted the following here on GCA back in 2011. 





Walter Travis was very good friends with Ellis Gimbel of Philmont, such that he came out for two days of golf in the summer of 1909, and again in 1912 an 1914.  The 1909 date coincides with the subsequent introduction of Barker mentioned in American Golfer later that summer.   From the Philadelphia Inquirer July 17 & 18.   I'm not sure I agree with MacWood's understanding of the table-top representing the new 18 hole golf course but I guess it's possible.

One might fairly ask the question; Philmont just had probably the preeminent architectural mind in the country at that time (along with CB Macdonald and scant others) at their new 18-hole course for 36 holes a day two days in a row.   If they wanted a "modern, scientific" bunkering scheme do you really think they would have chosen Barker independent of Travis a month later?   At the time Barker was essentially Travis's 26-year old protege who was learning architecture under The Old Man's guidance.

This was less than a year after Barker, under Travis's tutelage, helped dig new pits at Garden City to ready it for the 1908 US Amateur that fall.   There were absolutely no courses Barker had designed by this time that were open yet.   He had begun playing golf around age 18 or 19 and became very proficient, very quickly (1904 Irish Open winner), before deciding to come to America to take the professional's job at Garden City but other than Travis touting him through American Golfer magazine had no "on the ground" track record of architectural success yet in this country.  Wouldn't it make more sense for Philmont, much like Atlantic City CC in that same time period, to hire Barker to implement Walter Travis's proposed changes on the ground at Philmont?



« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 01:16:42 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #184 on: January 15, 2023, 12:59:59 PM »
Merion Cricket Club -


I'm reticent to post this artifact from the Merion Cricket Club's archives that was originally posted here by Wayne Morrison as I don't want to go down that rabbit hole but I thought a few things were relevant to this discussion so here is Merion's recount (complete with Barker's letter to Joseph Connell from early June 1910, which was a month prior to Macdonald and Whigham's July visit and subsequent letter to the club (that doesn't mention Barker but does provide cautious, general guidance to the club concerning the land they were considering acquiring)) of Barker's efforts to land that job.   





Incidentally, Myopia and Garden City were Walter Travis's two favorite American courses at the time as National Golf Links was still a month out from their "soft opening" in July 1910 with an invitational tournament that Travis played in with Macdonald.

A few things stand out.   First, I'm not sure if Barker is padding his resume at this point but there is clearly no historical record of the number of courses he claims to have either designed or remodeled.   Second, although it doesn't seem as though the "sketch" was attached to the circular for the benefit of the Merion Board, Barker does state that he sent one along.   Was it on a topographical map as was the growing custom of the time among those expounding the "modern, scientific" approach to architecture?   Or did he visit and then recall the dimensions of the property from memory and sketch out something one might reasonably assume should be reasonably to scale?   I'm not sure that would look very impressive to some very important people he might be trying to impress.   
« Last Edit: January 15, 2023, 01:06:52 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #185 on: January 15, 2023, 04:24:05 PM »
Mike:


What is your evidence that M and W visited Merion a month after Barker?


Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #186 on: January 17, 2023, 11:57:00 AM »
I would add that Barker also maintained a rigorous playing schedule through the period.


What do you base this on?


Here's a look at his schedule in 1909.


Mid-May - plays in the Eastern Professionals tournament at Scarsdale


Late June - US Open at Englewood


July 16 - Foursomes match at Fox Hills


Mid-Sept. - Met Open at Wykagyl


Mid-Oct. - Plays in a short series of tournaments around San Francisco (including winning the open event at Presidio)


That's all I could come up with for his playing schedule in 1909.  Obviously he was playing golf very regularly, but this is far from the type of schedule that Travis was keeping up over the same time period.


That west coast trip is of particular note.  It was most likely on the way out to or on the way back from the west coast that he stopped in Cleveland and Youngstown. 


There was plenty of time for Barker to have worked on the dozen or so projects that he was noted as having laid out or reconstructed during 1909.



"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #187 on: January 17, 2023, 04:06:44 PM »
Springhaven CC -


Came across the following on the club's website;

Andy Campbell, a native of Troon, Scotland came to the Club in 1908.Like Rawlins before him, Campbell was a prominent golfer in the early part of the last century. He played in a number of U.S. Opens, his best finish being a tie for 7th in 1909. And like Rawlins, he supervised changes to the golf course as it matured throughout his 25 years of service. In 1910, Herbert H. Barker, an English golf professional known for his distinctive bunkering, was contracted to toughen up the course. He staked out 50 new sand pits which were rectangular, deep and with an accompanying mound to the greenward side of the sand field. Records of the day indicate it was all and maybe more than the average golfer needed.The Club also turned to world famous golf architect, William Flynn on a couple of occasions in the 1920s. One of his most lasting contributions was the removal of Barkers sand pits and replacing them with the more modern spherical bunkers we see today. Over the 2nd half of the century, the course has continued to evolve just as the game itself has evolved. Holes have been lengthened and rerouted. Bunkers have been added and this plot of ground, which in 1904 supported less than two dozen trees, now features a wide variety of Copper Beech, Dawn Redwoods, Flowering Cherries, Dogwoods and Japanese Maples.

Joe Bausch some years back found information that longtime club member Alex Findlay (yes, that Alex Findlay) made significant changes to the golf course in the early teens which somehow still eludes the official club history.   I have been unable to date to find a Travis connection to Barker's work at Springhaven.   

Still tracking down Newport and Bedford Springs, the latter of which is perplexing as it was supposedly an original 18 hole course in 1895 that became nine holes by the early 1900s, and then supposedly 18 again (with Barker?) in the early teens before becoming 9 again when Donald Ross began work to build an additional 9 for 18 holes, opening in 1924.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2023, 04:49:04 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #188 on: January 17, 2023, 04:10:44 PM »
Well, they have the date wrong for Barker at Springhaven, as the project was reported on in Sept. 1909.
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #189 on: January 17, 2023, 04:26:42 PM »
Well, they have the date wrong for Barker at Springhaven, as the project was reported on in Sept. 1909.


Sven,


Seems likely that Barker drew a plan in around Sept that started construction soon after into 1910.   I'm finding in many of these situations there were lead times between design and construction to realization of 1 or more years.


EDIT - Just re-read and it says he was "contracted" in 1910.  I believe I know someone with the club's Bob Labbance written history book so will see what that offers.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2023, 04:29:04 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #190 on: January 17, 2023, 04:46:47 PM »
Mike:


What is your evidence that M and W visited Merion a month after Barker?


Sven


Sven,


It wasn't a month.   I was thinking they visited Merion in July but that's when the Board sent their circular.


We know Barker's visit (requested by Joseph Connell) was on June 10th, 1910 because he wrote his letter that same day.   The Macdonald and Whigham visit (at the invite of Rodman Griscom) was referred to as a separate event and CBM wrote his findings on June 29th, 1910.   How much time passed between his visit and the letter is unknown.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #191 on: January 17, 2023, 05:11:26 PM »
Mike:


What is your evidence that M and W visited Merion a month after Barker?


Sven


Sven,


It wasn't a month.   I was thinking they visited Merion in July but that's when the Board sent their circular.


We know Barker's visit (requested by Joseph Connell) was on June 10th, 1910 because he wrote his letter that same day.   The Macdonald and Whigham visit (at the invite of Rodman Griscom) was referred to as a separate event and CBM wrote his findings on June 29th, 1910.   How much time passed between his visit and the letter is unknown.


So it is possible, by the timeline, that CBM and HW saw the site first and recommended Barker, as the article earlier in the thread notes. 


It should be noted that CBM's letter was addressed from New York.  I would assume he would have attended the US Open at Philadelphia Cricket (but don't know that for sure), so its possible he wrote (a) after returning from Philadelphia to New York some time after the tournament ended around June 20th and (b) after being able to confer with H. J. Whigham on the prospects for a course as he notes in his letter.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2023, 05:14:08 PM by Sven Nilsen »
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #192 on: January 17, 2023, 07:29:56 PM »
Sven,


Definitely possible but I think it's unlikely.   Here's the second page of the Merion circular that went out in early July (the first page includes the Barker June 10th letter) and at least from Merion's internal perspective at the time, they seem as though they were unrelated events.





One might think that Macdonald's letter that was referred to, but not enclosed, might also mention the Barker recommendation, but it does not.   In looking again at the Brooklyn Times Union article you posted, we are once again hearing the same promotion of Barker as the professional who has done the most work ever in the United States but you and I know that's some major hyperbole at that point as many of his courses and course recommmendations had only been designed and not open at the time of the writing.   What about Alex Findlay, Tom Bendelow, and several others.   Are you sure Walter Travis didn't write for that newspaper?    ;)


For those who haven't seen it prior, here's Macdonald's letter after his visit to Merion;


« Last Edit: January 17, 2023, 07:40:56 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #193 on: January 17, 2023, 08:12:14 PM »
Bedford Springs is an intriguing case.   Lore indicates it was an 18 hole golf course as of 1895, there is even a map to that effect that I haven't really dug into, but by as early as 1903 they were calling it a nine-hole course.   There are indications that an attempt was made in the 1910 timeframe (would coincide with Barker) to build a new 18 hole course but even though there are favorable reports about the progress, by 1915 it was reported as one of the finest nine hole courses in the country.



"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #194 on: January 17, 2023, 09:21:39 PM »
Why would CBM need to recommend Barker in his letter, dated June 29th, if had already done so and knew that Barker had already seen the site?
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #195 on: January 18, 2023, 08:20:40 AM »
Why would CBM need to recommend Barker in his letter, dated June 29th, if had already done so and knew that Barker had already seen the site?


Why would CBM bother spelling out a hypothetically ideal 18 hole course in his letter if he knew Barker had already sketched one out for them during his single day visit and had the matter of Merion in his expert hands?



Both good questions if that article is correct that those two amateurs recommended their pro at Garden City to design Merion.   None of the Philadelphia or other national accounts mentioned that tidbit.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 08:35:24 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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MCirba

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #196 on: January 18, 2023, 08:58:26 AM »
Bedford Springs -


Here is the 18 hole drawing of Bedford Springs, date unknown.   The club website seems to imply that this map is from the Spencer Oldham course in 1895 but I've yet to see other evidence that course was 18 holes.  As mentioned, I'm finding articles as early as 1903 (edit - 1902) indicating only 9 existed.   

From newspaper evidence and Travis's account in September 1909, it seems that Barker sketched out a course for them that was being constructed and near opening in the 1911 timeframe.   Could this sketch be from Barker's proposed course?

The club website also states that A.W. Tillinghast came in 1912 and reduced the 18 hole course to one of 9 holes, implying a new design or consolidation.   I don't know the source of their information but as mentioned earlier, by 1915 the course is again listed as 9 holes in multiple news articles.  Could it be that Tillinghast replaced the Barker course in its infancy?   Perhaps they were having construction and/or agronomy issues that made the course unfeasible?   Speculation, of course, but those are the particulars I've seen to date.   The only other evidence of Tillinghast at Bedford Springs I've seen is a Tilly sketch of a short par three at "Bedford" that is today known as "Little Tilly" accompanying other hole drawings from Tillinghast designs.





The club's website also indicates that A.W. Tillinghast came in 1912 and reduced the 18 holes to 9 holes, implying a somewhat different course that what preceded it.   The only other evidence I've seen is a sketch Tillinghast did of the short par three hole that today is called "Little Tilly" that accompanied some other holes of his design.   Could the website be correct that Tilly changed and wiped out 9 of Barker's holes before they were played, or shortly after?   Perhaps they were having some agronomy issues or construction problems?   Just speculation here, of course.


« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 09:20:48 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

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Bret Lawrence

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #197 on: January 18, 2023, 10:58:41 AM »
Mike,


That Bedford Springs routing looks older to me.  The course appears to pre-date the concept of a dogleg hole. The title also includes the word links, which sometimes can be a clue to its age? 1910-1911 for a date would not be out of the question.


I think Macdonald was just reiterating his philosophy of what makes an ideal course.  The 6,000 yard mark wasnt as important as the variety of holes you use to get there.  If you look at the Bedford Springs layout: Its 6,000 yards, but there is a 600 yard hole and a few holes in the 230-245 category and every hole is straight. If this was what most layouts of the time looked like, it may be a clue why Macdonald would want to reiterate that concept to Merion.


Bret

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #198 on: January 18, 2023, 03:06:43 PM »
A few key moments in the Bedford Springs timeline:

Sept. 1909 American Golfer notes Barker worked on a new layout for the course

-Summer 1910 advertisements in a number of newspapers note an 18 hole course is under construction

-June 30, 1912 Pittsburgh Press notes the course is new

And perhaps the most telling article -

June 28, 1912 Bedford Gazette -

"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #199 on: January 18, 2023, 03:43:42 PM »
That Bedford Springs routing looks older to me. 


Bret:


I agree.  That total yardage and those hole distances are not consistent for what was being built in the mid-1890's.


Sven
"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

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