He has improved golf course design as we know it know thanks to the use of technology - modern diggers, measuring and levels devices, accurate contour drawings plus much shorter time to travel to more sites than the pioneering Golden Age predecessors who came up with the imagination and originality which Doak has upped the ante in that regard.
Whilst I said Iíd take this offline, I will say I agree with some (but not all) of Seanís analysis. The international / variety aspect ainít relevant.
I will also say that if people actually think that TD & Renaissance are just rehashing the Golden Age, they are far off the mark. It is a very new take on design of that era.
Finally, perhaps the most pioneering element is the control & type of the detail in the build.
Doak & Coore - for better or worse - have influenced golf design so much in the past 25 years that we have never had a narrower take on what defines good architecture.
I think Doak is unusual for his foreign designs with OZ, NZ, Scotland, Ireland, France and Mexico. All highly respected and considered among the best in the world.
Its mostly down to the site what was there. TD has been rather fortunate to work on incredible sites that allows him to visualise and create holes of what is there in a skilful way like C+C as well especially in Cabot St Lucia. Has he worked often on blank and boring sites which in some respects needs more creativity to make the site feel 'alive'.
Most golf course architects work on bland sites, work within means and have to use more imagination to create something out of blandness. JCB was a bland site prior to Robin's work there and its unrecognisable now to what it was before. I think the nearest one for TD at the moment is the 2nd course at Cabot Highlands (Castle Stuart) can he and Clyde create something that makes it feel 'alive' I am interested to see it come to fruition and whether they come up with something different to what they normally have done over the years.
Ben, you seem to assume that the Renaissance crew will not be as creative on bland sites. You are basing this on only seeing their work on good sites.
I donít think you should be basing your question on ďblandĒ rather than soil type. We know that they can be incredibly creative on a bland but sandy site. Think of the constructed from nothing project in China that never opened. There is also an element of sand at Cabot Highlands, which along with some existing features and water views will Iím sure give us an excellent course.
On the other side of the coin, heís built what looks like a really lovely course on clay at St.Emilion. Why not look at the other projects where he has worked on clay? I doubt youíll find any of the finished products lacking in creativity.
What about courses like Common Ground or his major renovations like Memorial.
And when you are talking about lack of creativity, then you clearly havenít seen The Loop.
In other words, I think you are projecting your perception.
(EDIT - If you want to know the areas where Iíve no idea whether Tom would excel from the pack, it wouldnít be to do with creativity. I think that is without question. I donít know whether Tomís routing skills on very tight sites are better than everyone elseÖ or whether he understands the technical aspects of design, engineering and drainage on a poor site better than others. Those are areas that most architects have to deal with on all projects, even if the final product doesnít get the glamorous column inches. Those are the areas where other architects probably donít get enough credit.)