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Forrest Richardson

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Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« on: February 28, 2023, 02:22:37 PM »
As someone who spends time trying to understand and sort through popular culture — trying to keep up with my actor daughter! — I often see and hear things that many in my world may not "get to" see or hear. One such example is the JAX hit song, Victoria's Secret...the chorus goes like this:

I know Victoria's secret
And, girl, you wouldn't believe
She's an old man who lives in Ohio
Making money off of girls like me
Cashin' in on body issues
Sellin' skin and bones with big boobs
I know Victoria's secret:
She was made up by a dude (Dude)
Victoria was made up by a dude (Dude)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFKnuJB_WkM

I've heard this creative song several times now. It's a brilliant commentary on the BS aimed at young women for the past 20+ years. And, not just from Victoria's Secret, but from many fashion, make-up, retailers and popular culture messengers. They have, quite masterfully, with the help of media and entertainment — created a fantasy world where "the only good look is the Victoria's Secret look..." JAX (Jackie Miskanic) presents a series of lines that has (equally masterfully) taken aim at big media and the critics and people who make things happen. She exposes that Victoria's Secret is really nothing more than a brand and look "made up by a dude..." ... "...an old man who lives in Ohio..."

It got me thinking. Has golf design got its own "Victoria's Secret" syndrome? Has the crinkle edged, old-style, wide fairways, less trees, it-can-only-can-be-one look-or style-to-be-good genre been force fed to us. Are there only just "so many brands" that are cool in golf design? And, is this because the writers and critics of golf courses have, themselves, been brought up to only respect a certain look and style? If the course has not been created by _____, ______, ______ or ______, is it "not cool" and should be avoided at all cost? Well, that's what JAX is admitting — that young women have, for years, been fed the line that there is only one good and attractive look...and it begins with the Victoria's Secret and all the look a-likes. I'm sure you know the brands. Such and such are "cool", but anything else is certainly not.

Have we entered this stage in golf design? Are we hearing from the current crop of writers, critics, media and reviewers that "there is really only one good direction..." — and if you are not headed that way, well, you're ugly and not viable? I fear we are to some degree. But, I'm looking forward to opinions. Of all the arts and endeavors, it seems golf design should a place for a much more 'open' and wide array of styles and genres.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 02:27:25 PM by Forrest Richardson »
— Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2023, 02:52:31 PM »
Forrest,


I fell in love with golf architecture when I was about 3-4 years. When I was 10 years old I bought my first book on golf courses: Dan Jenkin’s “Sports Illustrated’s Best 18 Holes in America”.


It was then that I realized if golf architecture was the art form I loved, I would have to travel to see the best it has to offer. Travel takes time and money, not to mention some connections or just the people skills to gain access.


Put another way, most people don’t get to see and play every course they would like to. Most people can’t. Thus, they pick and choose, both specific courses and architects whose work they would like to see. IMO, there is nothing wrong with that and being selective doesn’t mean a course that doesn’t make one’s bucket list must be “avoided at all costs”. To the contrary, it just reflects one’s preferences and travel budget.
Tim Weiman

Jeff Segol

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2023, 03:01:54 PM »
I think the issue for me is that a golf course built in a particular area should follow the topography, flora and fauna of that area. It would be silly, for example, for someone to try and make a links-style course out of MacKenzie's Northwood course by the Russian River, which is bounded by and sits in an area of huge redwood trees. I would note that the trees are sufficiently penal that the course has no water hazards nor much in the way of bunkering. It also note David Owen's comment in his book that a lot of golf strategy on American courses has been defined by trees, which I agree with.


On the other hand, it would have been silly for you to try and preserve the eucalyptus trees at Baylands, which were not native to the area and were probably planted on the propery as windbreaks back when it was probably ranch/farmland.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2023, 03:11:43 PM »
There is no doubt that there is a narrowing view of “good architecture” brought about by a fawning media at the moment.


I’ve danced around this topic on various threads, never committing fully, firstly because I do think the architecture is good (although I worry about the pretenders) and secondly because there is a wider world that I may not necessarily be so tuned in to.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2023, 03:12:56 PM »
Jeez, Forrest, that is quite an analogy even by your standards. A few thoughts in response that may or may not address what you had in mind.

* In every form of human activity, there are leaders and there are followers, and human nature is for the followers to attach themselves to the most successful leaders. Not always, but perfect competition is a myth created by economists. Oligopoly at best, verging on monopoly, is a more common state once a market (whether in goods, ideas or anything else) has existed for long enough.

* There is no doubt that most of the very best work the last twenty years has been done by those who adhere to a Coore/Doak formula, derived ultimately from Dye, whatever that might be. I don't think the frilly bunker aesthetic is at the core of that formula, and there are plenty of people who come from a different lineage who have done great work, Kyle Phillips being an obvious example.

* One of the key developments of the last twenty years or so is that a number of people in the industry have got a lot better at shaping that kind of golf course. Take Whistling Straits (I wrote about this in my editor's letter in GCA after Herb Kohler died). Now it is widely known that Kohler asked Pete Dye to build him a course that looked like Ballybunion. It is uncontroversial that WS doesn't play like Ballybunion: even with the scale of the construction operation, there simply wasn't enough sand brought to site to create a course like that. But the truth is that it doesn't look much like Ballybunion either. In the years since the course was built, the industry has simply got a lot better at building realistic looking sand dune environments; Kingsbarns is an obvious example but it's far from the only one. The standard of shaping has improved massively in the eighteen years we have been producing GCA, partly but not entirely because of the amount of shaping talent coming out of the Coore/Doak family tree.

* There are still a lot of architects (especially on this side of the Atlantic) whose family tree and outlook is broadly speaking Jones-derived. But they are mostly not getting the prime jobs that attract most attention.

I will add more as I think on the subject.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 03:22:31 PM by Adam Lawrence »
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Tim Martin

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2023, 03:14:50 PM »
Forrest-I think this site to a large degree operates in a bubble and the Victoria Secret analogy may generally apply to that population and many of it’s readers. I believe there is a greater population of golfers that don’t know or care that it’s not cool to play Nicklaus, Jones, Fazio and Palmer courses. They actually seek them out because they find them enjoyable to play as blasphemous as that may sound to the usual suspects. :)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 03:18:20 PM by Tim Martin »

Jeff Segol

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2023, 03:24:44 PM »
Forrest-I think this site to a large degree operates in a bubble and the Victoria Secret analogy may generally apply to that population and many of it’s readers. I believe there is a greater population of golfers that don’t know or care that it’s not cool to play Nicklaus, Jones, Fazio and Palmer courses. They actually seek them out because they find them enjoyable to play as blasphemous as that may sound to the usual suspects. :)


I think this is probably right. Also, for those of us that are basically public course players, we don't have the same choices. Although I enjoy playing Forrest's Baylands, some issues in the design that were out of his control, IMHO (holes mostly playing straight upwind or downwind, requirements to plant native bunchgrass that have limited the opportunity to play recovery shots) in some ways make the playing of the new course more difficult and slightly less enjoyable than the old course, even though the course is in much better condition that it used to be.

John Kavanaugh

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2023, 03:25:58 PM »
As someone who is body shamed by most who I hold dear, are you Doakshaming?

Mike Bodo

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2023, 03:26:47 PM »
I believe there is a greater population of golfers that don’t know or care that it’s not cool to play Nicklaus, Jones, Fazio and Palmer courses. They actually seek them out because they find them enjoyable to play as blasphemous as that may sound to the usual suspects. :)
LOL! Quote of the day so far and an accurate statement at that.  ;D 
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2023, 03:36:22 PM »
Do we really have to decide between tighty whities and frilly pink panties again?
I have a playing partner who LOATHES links golf. Yes, he’s a bleddy eedjit, but no amount of persuasion - gentle or otherwise - from me has ever, or will ever, make him move his position on it.
He just likes green grass, tidy fairways, neat greens, well-tended bunkers and so on.
The world is a great big carousel of colour and we need to appreciate that there’s a spectrum of opinion out there - educated, uneducated or otherwise.
It’s only golf.
F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Sven Nilsen

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2023, 03:36:44 PM »
Hi, my name is Sven, and I've always had fun on Jim Engh courses.
"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

Charlie Goerges

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2023, 03:47:40 PM »
The only way the analogy can really work is if there's some non-golfer behind the curtain telling us what to play (or at least a purported non-golfer  ;) ).
Severally on the occasion of everything that thou doest, pause and ask thyself, if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives thee of this. - Marcus Aurelius

John Kavanaugh

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2023, 03:49:02 PM »
One of the finest men that ever walked this site hired Art Hills. I still remember the day he told me. RIP

Sean_A

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2023, 04:20:53 PM »
Do we really have to decide between tighty whities and frilly pink panties again?
I have a playing partner who LOATHES links golf. Yes, he’s a bleddy eedjit, but no amount of persuasion - gentle or otherwise - from me has ever, or will ever, make him move his position on it.
He just likes green grass, tidy fairways, neat greens, well-tended bunkers and so on.
The world is a great big carousel of colour and we need to appreciate that there’s a spectrum of opinion out there - educated, uneducated or otherwise.
It’s only golf.
F.

I concur. To add, I have listened to these arguments of woke architecture taking over the world many, many times. In truth, it is false. To worry about the state of the art based on a 25 year snap shot of low course production, which, btw, has seen lots of other stuff happening, is short sighted. In any case, why judge architecture on this window rather than see the big picture? Once we step back it is easy to see woke architecture makes up an incredibly small percentage of courses regardless of social media influence. I think people are stuck in their social media bubble and eventually start to believe the bullshit.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 01, 2023, 06:20:18 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Winterfield & Alnmouth

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2023, 04:31:42 PM »
Do we really have to decide between tighty whities and frilly pink panties again?
I have a playing partner who LOATHES links golf. Yes, he’s a bleddy eedjit, but no amount of persuasion - gentle or otherwise - from me has ever, or will ever, make him move his position on it.
He just likes green grass, tidy fairways, neat greens, well-tended bunkers and so on.
The world is a great big carousel of colour and we need to appreciate that there’s a spectrum of opinion out there - educated, uneducated or otherwise.
It’s only golf.
F.
I think people are stuck in their social media bubble and eventually start to believe the bullshit.
Ciao


Spot on as the social media phenomenon has some measure of influence on virtually everything. It sucks those in that are susceptible.

Michael Chadwick

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2023, 04:31:49 PM »
In all seriousness, I'm wondering the exact opposite of Forrest: my hunch would be that there was less variety in golf course construction, design principles, and aesthetics in the 1980s compared to today. I'm not in the industry, but from a consumer point of view, I see a wide spectrum presently that includes the offerings at Big Cedar Lodge and Bandon Dunes (notwithstanding one architectural duo overlap). Plenty of newly opening courses diverge as to whether they appear situated to its natural environment or superimposed onto it. Evan Schiller posts about the same number of pictures from Cal Club and the (to me) eyesore stairway tee boxes of Union League National's 5th hole.


To name but a few, future builds of King/Collins, Jackson/Kahn, Brian Schneider, Kyle Franz, and Angela Moser will add more diverse examples to what consumers and critics will consider the most popular, strategic, attractive, and "best" in contemporary design. I see arguments on that topic increasing over the coming years, not consolidating.   


 
Instagram: mj_c_golf

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2023, 05:35:06 PM »
Ally — I think "fawning media" is aptly described. That's what I'm getting at. There are 250± active golf designers in the world and if you took the time to survey the media on who they cover, like and "push", you'll probably get a list of about 20. Considering what we do is both art and science — and business — I think that limits broader thinking. Not to mention it creates a "trend". The young designer who may otherwise be stirred to create something outside the box, is instead led along to do what "so-and-so" does. Why? Because "so-and-so" is one of those on the short list...who does a certain thing with a certain look...and gets attention.

Adam — Thank you for acknowledging I have standards!  :)

Jeff Segol — Good points. Re: Baylands, thank you for playing. I must defend "our baby" there...Holes 1, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15 play north/south. No. 12 and 15 are par-3s, so into or downwind is not as big deal. The other 12 holes are all at 45-degrees to north/south or 90-degrees, direct cross-winds. Did you only play 1, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15?  :)

John K — No. No shamming.

Micheal C — There may have been less variety in the construction and variety back then (1980s+), but I believe the media was hyped to cover all sorts of design and trends. They did not unilaterally agree on one or a few. The golf media in the 1980s was excited about golf courses across the board. The writers and publishers had many more names on their minds — it was a celebration of all sorts of designs...not just a few looks and feels.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 05:37:23 PM by Forrest Richardson »
— Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2023, 06:25:20 PM »
Forest, I have been thinking for quite a while that ragged-edged bunkers have become the rage. Very few times do we see gleaming white-edged bunkers in a new design. Many courses that used to have them have changed their bunker design. In the last ten years, I have played some 40 new designs and a similar number of renovations. Most have that raggedy-edged bunker look. I like it, but that look is becoming too commonplace.


I remember playing Creighton Farms outside DC the year it opened. It is a Jack Nicklaus design built around the same time he did Sebonack. So when I saw the bunkering, I thought to myself that TD must have influenced him on bunker design. It was far different than the bunkering he had done previously.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Mike Bodo

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2023, 06:32:59 PM »
This is a very interesting and enlightening discussion from the standpoint the topic is extremely multi-faceted. I'm blown away by the number of golfers my age and older (I'm 57, BTW) that couldn't name a Tom Doak, Coore-Crenshaw or Gil Hanse course if their life depended on it, but will go on and on about how great a particular Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Fazio or RTJ design is. Theese same individuals don't pay much attention or even care about golf course archicture, but they're attracted to recognizable names they grew up with and know what they like and you can't tell them anything different. Fine. There's a place for you at the golf course buffet.


On the flip side, those younger than me in their 30's and 40's not only know who Doak, Coore - Crenshaw, Gil Hanse, McKlay-Kidd and other contemporary architects are, they're often viewed as rock stars thanks to the influence social media has had in cultivating their personas. The NLU's, Random Golf Films (AEL), Good - Goods and Fried Egg's of the world have played a huge role in shining a spotlight on these individuals and helping them become "brands." Sites like GCA and the traditional golf media outlets have also contributed to this, but social media has had a far greater impact among the younger demographic. These archies are seen as cool and have become celebrties to varying degrees. Not so the aforementioned group. Those 40 and younger could care less about anything Jack Nicklaus designed save, perhaps, Muirfield and that's only because they see it on TV every year.

It'll be interesting to see who the next wave of architects is that follows in the footstepts of today's heralded group and what it portends for the golf course design industry and golf as a whole.



"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Forrest Richardson

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2023, 07:53:21 PM »
Tommy — I may have unfairly used "ragged edge bunkers" as there is nothing at all wrong with them. It's just that many in the media seem to feel there is only one "good" look. We've done work that qualifies as ragged edged...and so did my mentor, Jack Snyder as long ago as Oakmont where he was the super. Yet it came to mind when I wrote the thread premise. I do feel that there is a media bias at play in the world of golf design — and many writers make no bones about it. That, perhaps, is the part that is bothersome. It's become obvious to many of us. And, by the way, a lot of us who have noticed this DO get attention in the media, so it is not a sour grapes attitude. There are a lot of golf architects who simply look at the landscape of golf media who see very clearly that there is a inkling to jump on the same trend wagon...in very similar fashion to what JAX eloquently writes in her Victoria's Secret lyrics. I personally don't think it's very healthy to the art of golf design. Nor do I look back and think — as much as I slowed down to glance — that Victoria's Secret was necessarily the best "look" to be imparting to our youth.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 07:58:17 PM by Forrest Richardson »
— Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

Craig Sweet

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2023, 08:53:45 PM »
Just a hunch, but I think developers see a course they like and hire someone to replicate it for them.  They know a handful of names and call them until someone says okay I'll build you whatever you want.
LOCK HIM UP!!!

Craig Sweet

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2023, 08:55:32 PM »
BTW, I always liked Fredricks of Hollywood. His crotchless panties are the rough edged bunkers of underwear.

LOCK HIM UP!!!

Michael Morandi

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2023, 11:10:13 PM »
We have indeed entered a  throwback era architecturally that requires a certain topography to render its aesthetics and strategy. But the requisite type of land and soil is far away and so we see more remote course complexes that are miles away and require a private plane to a small airport. Doak and Coore/Crenshaw seemingly limit  much of their work to those terrains that meet their concept of what golf should be about. That is their right. But most golfers can’t make it to these remote destinations. They want to play where they live, which often doesn’t enjoy ideal old age golf topography. This begs the question: are architects who limit their work to the best palettes better than those  who work with the land that they are given?  Architects in other fields would appreciate the debate. Their work is reflective and incorporates the surrounds that they are given.

Michael Morandi

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2023, 11:16:14 PM »
Put another way, would today’s revered architects accept a commission to work on the nursery land now known as Augusta National, with all its hills and valleys and not the desired sand base? No frilly,  rugged bunkers.

Ken Moum

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Re: Victoria's Secret — Are We There In Golf Design?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2023, 11:46:30 PM »
I believe there is a greater population of golfers that don’t know or care that it’s not cool to play Nicklaus, Jones, Fazio and Palmer courses. They actually seek them out because they find them enjoyable to play as blasphemous as that may sound to the usual suspects. :)
LOL! Quote of the day so far and an accurate statement at that.  ;D


In my circle there's a hell of a lot bigger chance that they'll play courses by those guys simply because they've heard of them.


Except for Crenshaw,  the favorites around here will usually draw a blank stare if you drop a name.
Over time, the guy in the ideal position derives an advantage, and delivering him further  advantage is not worth making the rest of the players suffer at the expense of fun, variety, and ultimately cost -- Jeff Warne, 12-08-2010

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