News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #225 on: January 31, 2023, 10:42:20 AM »
Is it known when topographical maps were first used? Is there some point when CBM or Travis or Colt, perhaps the first architects of the Golden Age, started to make their own more complex drawings and instructions, or when these golf course architects started to use topographical maps and grids instead of relying on surveyors to translate their stake-laying-out processes or sketches into scientific plans for the constructors? 

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #227 on: January 31, 2023, 01:14:19 PM »
Is it known when topographical maps were first used? Is there some point when CBM or Travis or Colt, perhaps the first architects of the Golden Age, started to make their own more complex drawings and instructions, or when these golf course architects started to use topographical maps and grids instead of relying on surveyors to translate their stake-laying-out processes or sketches into scientific plans for the constructors?


John,


Almost every job Raynor worked on with the Olmsted Brothers reported an engineer in the field.  Charles Baird, William Nugent, Ralph Linderman, Charles H. Neal, Frank Coleman, James OíHear were names you may see associated with Raynor courses.  All of these guys were engineers.  Nugent and Baird were from Southampton while the other engineers tended to be local to the courses they were building for Raynor.


I think this gets back to the idea that as time went on, more expertise was required to build a golf course during the Golden Age.  Scribbling a design on paper wasnít going to cut it anymore. You needed to truly analyze the piece of property in order to maximize its potential. The graph paper designs by Colt and Ross donít really show contour as much as they describe the contours in their notes.  These graph paper drawings were probably easier to interpret for the course constructors than a topo map? Willie Park Jr. stated that he never used contour maps. 


Bret
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 01:32:06 PM by Bret Lawrence »

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #228 on: January 31, 2023, 02:52:59 PM »
The evolution seems to be along the following lines: 1. stick drawings; 2) engineers (Raynor, Olmstead) or surveyors using topo maps to translate the architect's sketches and on-the-ground plans for the constructors; 3) architects who use topo maps or make graph paper designs, hole-by-hole drawings and notes, 18-hole routings with the fairways, bunkers and greens drawn accurately, etc. for the constructors.

Bret Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #229 on: January 31, 2023, 03:04:52 PM »
John,


Iím not sure itís that easy to simplify.  I think some of the architects used different methods to achieve the same result.  There were engineers who designed courses before Raynor, like Lawrence Van Etten.  Raynor used models, Ross used drawings, Willie Park just walked the land with the guy who was going to build his courses, but they all got the results they wanted at the end of the day. 


They also used these methods simultaneously .  There are maps from Royal St. Georgeís in the late 1890ís made by surveyors showing extensive details of the course, there are stick routings of courses in the 1920ís newspapers giving readers an idea of how the course will be routed.


I think you can look at an architect like Ross and see how his methods evolved, but to group all of the architects together isnít as easy because they all did things their own way.


Bret

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #230 on: February 01, 2023, 09:58:03 AM »
I know we might not all be aligned in agreement here on some particulars but I think this is an excellent, enjoyable discussion and thank all you guys for your expertise and insight.   
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #231 on: February 02, 2023, 06:06:03 PM »
I was reading Bahto's book on C.B. MacDonald and I ran across a passage that reminded me of the questions just above. "In 1902 he (MacDonald) returned to the British Isles with the expressed desire to compile sketches, notes, diagrams, and surveys of the holes that he and his many overseas friends felt to be timeless classics." At a much earlier date than I realized, CBM was recording much more complex information about the architectural properties of golf courses.


BTW, is there much info on Barker at Newport CC? Wonder if some of the country's earliest clubs already share or might considering digitizing/sharing all of their early historical documents with some central source, perhaps USGA History? Many are private, but there is a public responsibility and golf clubs are such important entities in the social and economic history of our country. It's important to assemble and share the information with the future because it's getting lost all of the time.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2023, 06:19:00 PM by John Challenger »

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #232 on: February 04, 2023, 08:08:03 AM »
I had forgotten that Hugh Wilson also came back from his trip abroad with sketches, photos, etc., and am now wondering if perhaps those items had topographical information?   The reason I'm curious is I was looking back at my IMO piece on Wilson from 2013 and came across the follwing quote from Richard Francis.  Perhaps I'm reading too much into it but it also sounds as though a Committee already existed and he was added to it specifically because the Committee realized they needed those skills.

"...member Richard Francis recollected in the 1950 US Open program, ďIn 1909 or 1910, it became apparent that the old golf courseÖwas antiquated and it was decided to build a new course.  The Committee in charge of laying out and building a new course was composed of Messírs Horatio G. Lloyd, Rodman E. Griscom, Hugh I. Wilson, and Dr. Harry Toulmin.   I was added to it, probably because I could read drawings, make them, run a transit level and tape.Ē

« Last Edit: February 04, 2023, 08:23:59 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #233 on: February 04, 2023, 12:06:49 PM »
It seems whatever suggestions Barker and/or Travis may have made at Philmont in 1909, progress was slow going or more likely, never implemented.   This July 24, 1911 "Philadelphia Inquirer" article gives some indication. 






It seems that was the case up until 1914, (Philadelphia Inquirer 11/08/1914) when Green Chair Henry Strouse, with an assist from Hugh Wilson made significant revisions and new bunkering schemes.





This retrospective snippet from the Inquirer in January 9th, 1916 refers to Philmont and "leading member" Ellis Gimbel, who was one of the GAP Presidents who fought for a public course in Philadelphia.




Finally, this 1919 article in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent refers to the fact that the golf course and it's evolution was not the result of hiring professionals.

« Last Edit: February 04, 2023, 12:14:07 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #234 on: February 04, 2023, 12:34:40 PM »
Mike:


When it opened in 1907, Philmont had 9 holes.  It had 18 by 1911 as noted in your first article.  Do you have anything specific on that expansion?


A 1909 design being in play by 1911 wouldn't surprise me.  As the article notes, Rome wasn't built in a day and that kind of time frame was pretty normal around that time. 


Sven


PS - That last article specifically notes that the "improvements" were made without paid professional assistance.  To use the word "evolution" in your description is disingenuous and comes across as intentionally misleading.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2023, 12:47:12 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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #235 on: February 04, 2023, 01:27:37 PM »
Mike:


When it opened in 1907, Philmont had 9 holes.  It had 18 by 1911 as noted in your first article.  Do you have anything specific on that expansion?


A 1909 design being in play by 1911 wouldn't surprise me.  As the article notes, Rome wasn't built in a day and that kind of time frame was pretty normal around that time. 


Sven


PS - That last article specifically notes that the "improvements" were made without paid professional assistance.  To use the word "evolution" in your description is disingenuous and comes across as intentionally misleading.


Sven,


Good catch, but no intent to be either misleading or worse.  Please stop trying to imply motives or intentions from me that I don't have, thanks.


In fact, it was professional John Reid who designed the original nine holes, and Reid again with landscape architect Oglesby Paul who designed the second nine.    That's previously been documented here by Joe Bausch and others.   


This from the late Tom MacWood on Philmont;


That is what I have on the chain of events at Philmont:* the club was founded in 1907 and nine course was laid out by John Reid the professional* in June 1909 it was reported that the club had purchased 54 additional acres and the nine hole course was increased to 18* in July 1909 Walter Travis played in event at Philmont, partnered with Elis Gimbel, the president of the club against Reid and the VP of the club. Travis and Gimbel won; Travis set the course record. At a dinner afterward honoring Travis the table was decorating with a large model of the new 18-hole course including all the bunkers, mounds and other hazards.* in August 1909 American Golfer reported on that event and discussed the new golf course. The article said the green committee had refrained from putting in bunkers to any extent, allowing observation of play on the course so as to know the best location for hazards. A very comprehensive modern bunkering scheme however had been prepared and work would be begin shortly.* in September 1909 American Golfer reported that Barker had been engaged by Philmont* a 1925 article profiling Philmont (in the Phila. North American) reiterates Reid designed the original nine, and also added the second in 1909 with Ogelsby Paul, a landscape architect.If I was to guess I'd say Baker was the person responsible for the new modern bunkering scheme (probably reflected in the model), and was not involved in adding the new nine. Modern bunkering schemes was one of his specialities based on his involvement re-bunkering GCGC with Travis. That same year he put in a new bunkering scheme at Springhaven, also in Philadelphia.



"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #236 on: February 04, 2023, 01:34:20 PM »

I have no doubt that Travis was involved in some way in the work Barker was doing, whether it be on the recommendation side or actually offering advice on design concepts (aka supervising).  But he wasn't the guy on the ground, walking the sites, staking out the courses.  There is plenty of evidence that this was Barker, on his own. 

I keep going back to the idea of Travis hiding any design work.  It just doesn't make any sense.  There are instances from this time period of design suggestions he made being covered in the press, his Fall 1908 visit to Essex County being one example.  Why would he have to hide anything.  No club was going to pay him, and he certainly wasn't going to accept any money.  So if he did offer advice or was even more involved in any work, what was the harm in having that story told?


Sven,


I think we're getting closer alignment and agreement on the relationship between the two men.   Right now I'm mostly trying to collect evidence and try to figure out what work of Barker's was actually done and when, as well as explore why so many courses had a common theme of involvement by both.


On a lighter note, two different friends of mine have a history book for Newport and Springhaven, respectively, and neither can find them!   
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #237 on: February 04, 2023, 02:10:50 PM »
Sven,


Due to the vagaries of copying and pasting on this site, I've taken a few screen grabs from my previous Travis/NGLA IMO piece that attempts to answer your question of why Travis may have felt he needed "professional assistance" in his design efforts.   They were in Part Two and I've just clipped a few relevant sections, sans the associated articles some snippets refer to.


For anyone interested who hasn't read them, the three-part IMO can be found in the "In My Opinion" section of GolfClubAtlas.







« Last Edit: February 04, 2023, 02:25:51 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #238 on: February 05, 2023, 01:06:09 PM »
Mike:


The sensitivity to the amateur/professional line certainly makes sense.  And it helps to partially explain why the bulk of Travis' work in the beginning of his design career was localized.  Why would he take on the expense of travel for a project he wasn't going to get paid for?  It helps to explain why he would refer to Barker projects like Waverley and Spokane and even the work Barker undertook in Ohio.  I'm of the mindset that there are other reasons why Travis didn't want to take on these kind of projects, but I do think the travel and expenses (and what it might mean if they were covered by others) were a factor.


It was Barker who was going out to the sites, examining them for suitability and staking out the courses.  And those two steps often went hand in hand.  Sometimes another player had already passed on the suitability of a site.  In many cases it was someone like Bendelow, who would stop in at a club on their request for a day or two simply to give this kind of advice. 


There was a marked shift in how courses were built around World War I.  Donald Ross had a lot to do with the practice of the contiguous design and build process, where an entire course was plotted on paper before construction began.  Prior to that time, and as we see on many of the projects listed on this thread, the first steps were to route a course, clear the land and grow grass, with bunkering and fine tuning seen as a down the line second process.  Often times hereabouts the fact that a course underwent tweaking in its early years is seen as some kind of criticism of the original design, when in fact it was part of a longer term plan for its development.  This paradigm shift helps to explain why preconstruction plans became the norm, and the Oakmont model of adding bunkers after observing play went by the wayside. 


As design moved further into the Golden Age, the process changed and you saw more and more projects where routing, bunkering and fine-tuning where treated as one process.  Part of this probably had to do with a shift in the economics of course construction, and part had to do with the expertise that the architects in America had developed.  CBM was already heading in this direction prior to the war, and you could say that Colt and Ross were doing the same with the way they developed their plans either in concert or working on their own.  In a few years, you'd have guys like Langford taking the a design plan to perhaps its highest art as he laid down the roadmaps for the construction teams of American Park Builders.


In some sense, Barker was always part of the old school.  As we discussed, there really aren't any Barker construction plans out there, as I don't believe he ever worked that way.  His routing work was done in the field, and if he was going to bunker a course, it was after the preliminary work was completed.  One has to wonder if his practices would have changed if he'd remained in the States, a question for which we'll never have an answer.


With respect to Barker's body of work, i think it makes sense to view each project in light of what he was hired to do.  At places like Waverley, Spokane, and New Orleans, he was providing the framework for the club's to get started on their courses, as he was not going to be returning to oversee the further development.  On projects like Springhaven, Detroit and East Lake his advice was limited to specific aspects of the course.  And then there are the bigger projects like Rumson and Roebuck where his role as both professional and architect involved a more intensive engagement with the long term development of the course.  Other projects like Columbia, CC of Virginia and Belle Meade might fall more in a middle ground, where his work might have been seen as more than just a one-stop routing project.  At Capital City and Raritan Valley, he had roles in the initial work and work that took place a few years later.


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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #239 on: February 06, 2023, 10:40:58 AM »
Sven,


I'll try to respond later today or tomorrow as time permits, thanks.   It did occur to me overnight that by jumping to the snippets in Part 2 of my IMO that it was lacking context I originally laid out in Part 1 for anyone with a casual interest following along at home.   I've corrected that, as follows;













« Last Edit: February 06, 2023, 10:49:37 AM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #240 on: February 06, 2023, 11:08:35 AM »
Whitney's quote speaks to a broader understanding of the classification of a professional across all sports, not just golf.  An interesting nuance that takes the broad USGA definition beyond just a creation of that body, and places it more in a cultural realm.


Seems to me that what CBM is saying is pretty basic.  Those that were raised with the game understand its basic tenets (or traditions), while those late to it must learn them.  It is obvious he did not feel Travis walked away from his 1901 travels having learned much about those traditions, perhaps a notion influenced by the later actions of Travis in 1904.


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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #241 on: February 07, 2023, 10:28:30 AM »
Sven,


I really appreciate the thoughtful answers you provided and agree almost entirely.   In the case of the Barker/Travis relationship, I still have some unease about how they worked together, whether formally or just supportive of each other's efforts to improve American course design.   I've been a bit scattered with work and home demands in recent weeks but I'll try to give it some mental time to refine my thinking and perhaps formulate some particular questions.  Thanks.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #242 on: February 13, 2023, 11:57:36 AM »
RE: Philmont;


Additional land was obtained in July 1908 and was somehow ready for play by September 11th of that year, although the official opening took place sometime later.   


Also, the first nine holes were designed by Donald Ball who was the pro at Philly Cricket at the time.  The club hired John Reid who along with Oglesby Paul did the second nine.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2023, 12:56:30 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #243 on: February 13, 2023, 05:41:27 PM »
Mike:

John Reid was hired as pro at pretty much the get go, as reported in the Feb. 1907 edition of Golf Magazine.

The newspaper reports from the opening of the course note the first nine holes were laid out under the direction of Reid.  Can you point me to where the Donald Ball info comes from?

Sven

May 16, 1907 Philadelphia Inquirer -





"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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #244 on: February 13, 2023, 06:51:01 PM »
Sven,


Sometimes these news accounts can be maddeningly contradictory.   This is from the May 20, 1907 New York Sun, and I'm inclined to believe the local (Philly Inquirer) news per your last post.   Thanks.


« Last Edit: February 13, 2023, 06:52:34 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #245 on: February 13, 2023, 07:25:47 PM »
Sven,


There must be more to the story.   I went back to my database to see I had previously credited Ball with the first nine, but in 1906, not 1907.   A bit of further searching to me to my friend Pete Trenham's awesome website trenhamgolfhistory.org


There I came across the following under the profile of John Reid.   I don't know Pete's source but will ask him;


Reidís most lasting creation was probably what would come to be called the South Course at Philmont Country Club. Donald Ball, who was the professional at the Philadelphia Cricket Club at that time, designed the first nine holes in 1906. That same year Reid was hired to rebuild the course and be the pro-green superintendent. Two years later Reid laid out the second nine.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #246 on: February 13, 2023, 10:20:36 PM »
Mike:


There's an early December 1906 article noting that the grounds for athletics were to be laid out.  That's a pretty small window for Ball to have designed the course in 1906, but its possible.  It is also possible that Reid oversaw the construction of Ball's design (similar to Old York Road where John Laing's design was selected in a contest and the course was "laid out" and built by James Dougherty). 


Not sure if its enough however to disregard the pretty clear language in the May 1907 article.


As an aside, in 1909 Philmont was considering moving to a new location as they only had a lease on their original property and thought being closer to the city would be advantageous.  The club actually held options on two separate properties.  There's a chance that Barker was consulted in connection with this move.


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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #247 on: February 14, 2023, 07:54:33 AM »
Sven,


It's highly likely that Reid was originally brought in to oversee construction as well as give lessons, etc. to the budding membership.  However, from the sounds of it, there seem to have been considerable changes to the golf course from the time it opened in the spring of 1907 til the close of the first year, articles going so far as to call it a "new course".   All of these articles (see chronological dates) are from the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent newspaper.


October 13, 1906




June 28, 1907



September 13, 1907




September 27, 1907


« Last Edit: February 14, 2023, 12:18:07 PM by MCirba »
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Sven Nilsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #248 on: February 15, 2023, 10:51:48 AM »
Sven,


It's highly likely that Reid was originally brought in to oversee construction as well as give lessons, etc. to the budding membership.  However, from the sounds of it, there seem to have been considerable changes to the golf course from the time it opened in the spring of 1907 til the close of the first year, articles going so far as to call it a "new course".   All of these articles (see chronological dates) are from the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent newspaper.



Mike:


Those articles read as if construction of the course was rushed for the May opening of the club and it took a little while afterwards for it to really be in "first class playing condition."  Not the first time this happened.


As for the "new course" comment, it was new, it just hadn't been fully polished until later on in 1907.


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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Walter Travis and his Impact on H.H. Barker and Donald Ross
« Reply #249 on: February 15, 2023, 11:31:27 AM »
Not sure about that, Sven.   The September 13th report about the tournament being postponed due to rain seems to say, paraphrasing, but no worries...the new course will be completed soon.   Begs the question of where the tournament would have been staged, no?


Just a guess but suspect it was just an expansion of the original with some new greens but that's speculative of course.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back