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Ben Sims

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2023, 04:14:12 PM »


She would say the same for AI.  Maybe it will produce a great course, but does it really KNOW what it's doing?  What's the next one going to be like?  More likely it will just look for good spots to place C. B. Macdonald's templates, and there will be long green to tee walks!



I think your wife is generally correct. In some ways itís like a new golfer hitting a great shot and someone in the group has to say, ďyou have no idea how good that is.Ē


Appreciation of art, for me, has as much to do with the artist as the art itself. I guess thatís what beard pulling is, but I donít mind so much. One is the cool aspects of being friends with someone that knows so much about music is when I say I like a song, they provide color, background, and context. It makes the music even better to me.


An aside, Iím enjoying the little tiny swipes at templates every now and then. Very funny.

Anthony Butler

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2023, 04:35:36 PM »

Are you saying a new course cannot be top 100 or so if it has some quirk? Ballybunion, Lahinch, NB all safely in Top 100. Is there a different standard for new courses?



Ira:


I would say there is a different standard for new courses. 


Part of it is client-imposed.  A client this week said he wanted the greens "to run consistently at 12, sometimes faster," which eliminates a lot of potential quirkiness on the greens.  Yes, some of the older courses in the top 100 still have that quirk, and they are forgiven for it, but a new course doesn't have the defense that we never imagined the greens could get that fast.


Likewise, heavily sloped fairways . . . as Jeff notes, those slopes nowadays mean a ball won't stay in the fairway and everything will roll in the rough.  On an old course, that's stupid maintenance . . . on a new course, it's bad design.  :D

AI could also perform a soil analysis and tell you what grass strains were best for the course you designed... As the outputs from AI get more finely grained, it could also suggest maintenance protocols for expected traffic levels, weather patterns, upcoming elite tournaments etc.

In essence, I believe the best outcome for Artificial Intelligence when comes to Golf Course Design and Maintenance would be similar to the initial purpose for IBM Watson - ingesting huge amounts of data in whatever field the user was involved in and provide recommendations on cancer treatments, marketing spend or an infinite number of other topics.

The issue at this point is that many of the 'assets' of golf course design - routing maps, environmental mitigation plans, permitting documents, build budgets - are stored in the offices of about 200+ architecture firms around the world and thus too scattered and too paper-based to form enough of a data lake for people to have confidence in whatever recommendations are made. An industry has to be digital at its core for AI or indeed any algorithm to have a sizeable impact... 

Some of the demos we had at Watson Health were fairly mind-blowing in terms of the potential they demonstrated but it never quite made it out of prototype due to the sad state of Medical Data and the various d____s who were running that division.

I can see a time in about 20 years where people who use technology will sell digital design services to the property developers and the people with notable industry experience stick to the usual ways of doing things. The smart ones will figure out a way to incorporate digital capabilities into their design/builds to reduce the shorten the construction timeline and thus the delivered price of the golf course.
Next!

Anthony Butler

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2023, 04:37:56 PM »
Old Barnwell had a Little Lido competition where kids got to design a hole to go on the Kids Course. Brian and Blake chose a winner. Without divulging too much, the winner has a ramp and a penguin involved. Suck on that AI.


The hole was named "Madagascar" I assume...
Next!

Tom_Doak

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2023, 07:57:12 PM »
Old Barnwell had a Little Lido competition where kids got to design a hole to go on the Kids Course. Brian and Blake chose a winner. Without divulging too much, the winner has a ramp and a penguin involved. Suck on that AI.


In college, my landscape architecture classmates decided to have a golf hole design competition one evening, and asked me to judge.  The winning entry had an island green with no bridge . . . and a tiger chained to the flagstick.  [And that was just before the TPC at Sawgrass.]

Tom_Doak

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2023, 08:03:51 PM »

AI could also perform a soil analysis and tell you what grass strains were best for the course you designed... As the outputs from AI get more finely grained, it could also suggest maintenance protocols for expected traffic levels, weather patterns, upcoming elite tournaments etc.

In essence, I believe the best outcome for Artificial Intelligence when comes to Golf Course Design and Maintenance would be similar to the initial purpose for IBM Watson - ingesting huge amounts of data in whatever field the user was involved in and provide recommendations on cancer treatments, marketing spend or an infinite number of other topics.

The issue at this point is that many of the 'assets' of golf course design - routing maps, environmental mitigation plans, permitting documents, build budgets - are stored in the offices of about 200+ architecture firms around the world and thus too scattered and too paper-based to form enough of a data lake for people to have confidence in whatever recommendations are made. An industry has to be digital at its core for AI or indeed any algorithm to have a sizeable impact... 

Some of the demos we had at Watson Health were fairly mind-blowing in terms of the potential they demonstrated but it never quite made it out of prototype due to the sad state of Medical Data and the various d____s who were running that division.

I can see a time in about 20 years where people who use technology will sell digital design services to the property developers and the people with notable industry experience stick to the usual ways of doing things. The smart ones will figure out a way to incorporate digital capabilities into their design/builds to reduce the shorten the construction timeline and thus the delivered price of the golf course.


You mentioned the OCM proposal for Medinah . . . the flip side of that is that when they interviewed for a job with Michael Keiser, he wanted them to come out and walk the ground with him and talk through golf holes, and they wanted to get back to the computer to work on the plan that way.  So it can also be a great way to lose a job, I guess.


All of my designs are on paper in some form or another, but they are also in much greater detail in LIDAR on various county web sites, as are all the other great golf courses in the world.  It's a treasure trove for a real student of design. 


But somebody has to tell the AI what to do with it all, and that's where I think things would get lost in translation.  In Mike Hurdzan's book he had a case study of how he would do a routing . . . the process followed mine until he got to step 8 or something, which insisted that grades in the fairways be 4% or less, so then he bulldozed all the fairways on a piece of ground that looked pretty good to me!  AI is like every other computer thing ever . . . Garbage In, Garbage Out.


Most importantly, though . . . WHY in the world do you want to turn everything over to Artificial Intelligence?  Will you not be happy until every cool job is usurped by AI and we all have to work as slaves to provide power for the machines?  It's not like the machines are going to give us all money so we can enjoy golf at our leisure.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2023, 08:06:18 PM by Tom_Doak »

PCCraig

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2023, 08:14:43 AM »
What would be worse...using AI to design a course or being so predictable in your actual work that everyone assumes you used AI?
H.P.S.

Kalen Braley

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2023, 11:05:23 AM »
I don't think its a matter of people want to turn over stuff to AI, in most cases most people probably want the opposite.

But from the perspective of the person who is cutting the checks, its a different story.  So whether we like it or not, tools like ChatGPT are going to put a lot of people out of work...

Charlie Goerges

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2023, 12:07:23 PM »
I don't think its a matter of people want to turn over stuff to AI, in most cases most people probably want the opposite.

But from the perspective of the person who is cutting the checks, its a different story.  So whether we like it or not, tools like ChatGPT are going to put a lot of people out of work...


It makes me wonder who companies think they're going to sell their products/services to if everyone is out of work.


Honestly, I have more faith in some future artificial general intelligence (which the current large language models are definitely not) than I do in a lot of the current business folks.
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

Kalen Braley

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2023, 01:32:12 PM »
I don't think its a matter of people want to turn over stuff to AI, in most cases most people probably want the opposite.

But from the perspective of the person who is cutting the checks, its a different story.  So whether we like it or not, tools like ChatGPT are going to put a lot of people out of work...

It makes me wonder who companies think they're going to sell their products/services to if everyone is out of work.

Honestly, I have more faith in some future artificial general intelligence (which the current large language models are definitely not) than I do in a lot of the current business folks.


It'll be interesting to see which industries are affected the most.  Golf Architecture & Building seems fairly limited compared to others like Education/Academia, Tech Companies, Law Firms, etc. which could see massive reductions

Charlie Goerges

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2023, 02:07:43 PM »
I don't think its a matter of people want to turn over stuff to AI, in most cases most people probably want the opposite.

But from the perspective of the person who is cutting the checks, its a different story.  So whether we like it or not, tools like ChatGPT are going to put a lot of people out of work...

It makes me wonder who companies think they're going to sell their products/services to if everyone is out of work.

Honestly, I have more faith in some future artificial general intelligence (which the current large language models are definitely not) than I do in a lot of the current business folks.


It'll be interesting to see which industries are affected the most.  Golf Architecture & Building seems fairly limited compared to others like Education/Academia, Tech Companies, Law Firms, etc. which could see massive reductions


It will be interesting, but I think the threat from tools derived from the current iteration of programs out there is greatly overblown. I think we're reading so much about it because it is so concentrated on creative areas and journalists feel a little threatened by it and they're the ones who write the stories or make the videos that we all consume.


But again, even if a lot of people can be replaced, without a stronger social safety net, who is going to buy burgers, pickup trucks, phones etc?
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

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2023, 02:33:14 PM »
So, in my byline below I have the phrase "I think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture" and I think this conversation is illustrative of what I mean by that.

I moved to in Northern CA about a decade ago, and my girlfriend is from Sonoma County. There is a bit of culture clash between Napa and Sonoma which, I think, is relevant to the golf world. Napa is home to some of the most artisan wines in the world, and much of the region is set up to sell people on that experience. The idea is that someone in an expensive suit tells you that you are drinking the best wine, it's won these awards, this is why it matters, and you're in a beautiful setting that's appropriate for this exclusive experience. And, without question, the wine they're selling you is indeed amazing.

Sonoma County also makes some of the best wines in the world, but ironically, they're much more known for their beer. Russian River Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Bear Republic, Moonlight... etc. The clash in culture couldn't be more evident. Even the esteemed Russian River eschews any sense of that marketing-as-product you get in Napa. Their tasting room is a bar in downtown Santa Rosa, that has regulars, and basic pub food and pizza. The same culture clash exists in their wine industry too, where the best wine I've ever tasted was in a warehouse in a parking lot, made by the same wine makers that made the high-end wine on a vineyard for a fancy members-only winery.

What does this have to do with golf culture? There will always be an audience for "the best" golf courses. The napa-style best course, made by the best people, in the best setting, which you're paying top dollar for... if you're even allowed to access it. It will always exist because the gatekeepers and exclusivity are almost necessary to justify the experience of greatness many people are seeking. The bona fides are necessary for the product.

What does this have to do with ML in golf course development? I've studied a bit of Machine Learning (which is a term i much prefer to the nebulous "AI"), and so I have a fairly elementary, but educated view of how many of these algos work (I've even tried my hand at a couple automatic golf hole mapping U-net algorithms and failed miserably). Machine Learning is nothing more than a tool that educated people can use to help them complete a task. Could it make it easier for use to develop a golf course? Sure, in theory, but I'm very skeptical at this point, but let's assume I'm wrong about that...

If this comes to pass, that "AI" will make golf course development trivially easy. Then developing a golf course will actually became achievable for much, much less wealthy individuals. Much like how you can trivially brew a batch of beer for pennies in your cellar without being able to buy a plot of land in wine country, I would hope the use of ML could make the backyard par 3 an achievable goal for folks with a cottage in the country. And the few folks that excel at that could even go on to become famous designers much like the folks in Sonoma County with their (at the time) highly experimental/avant garde beers.

The idea that we need to protect the golf course architecture cannon from AI just seems so backwards to me. The idea that we can go from a world in which only the educated (and obviously very talented) few can try their hand at golf course design (your Budweisers, Coors, Millers, and dare I say Jones's), to a world where you could have a couple of extremely popular architects in every metro area seems like a huge win for golf culture (and more importantly, pace of play  ;) )
« Last Edit: April 28, 2023, 02:46:33 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Charlie Goerges

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2023, 02:53:04 PM »
Then developing a golf course will actually became achievable for much, much less wealthy individuals.


I feel like this would be the case if designing the course was the expensive part. I just don't think it's enough to make a huge difference. Someone with more recent knowledge can answer, is design generally more than say 10% of the cost? To say nothing of ongoing maintenance and operations.
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

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2023, 02:58:57 PM »
I think ML will much sooner bring us a "here's how to build/grow a backyard par 3 in this region, with this soil, in 25 easy steps" before it brings us the thoughtful nuance of architecture. We're not talking about stimping 14 daily with the toro, we're talking about getting something workable in the ground with basic maintenance.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2023, 03:02:23 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Tim Martin

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2023, 03:04:13 PM »
I donít see AI as replacing the talent/art form of golf course architecture as we know it. That said I donít see how it is a negative as a tool to aid the designer and or construction team.

John Kavanaugh

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2023, 03:50:51 PM »
Itís a crutch not a tool.

Charlie Goerges

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #40 on: April 28, 2023, 04:09:57 PM »
Itís a crutch not a tool.


Technically speaking, a crutch is a type of tool...


Anyway, yes, especially Dall-e seems to be a bit of a crutch to produce art that allows people not so inclined or blessed to produce works they wouldn't otherwise be able to. I'm still not sure that it's that big of a problem. Earlier in the thread I mentioned being underwhelmed with what was generated by my prompt "golf course at the end of the world". The results were fine/meh. I know I'd get something way more interesting if I gave Tommy N. the prompt and proper pay. It's not even close at this point.
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

Kalen Braley

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2023, 04:16:04 PM »

 Machine Learning is nothing more than a tool that educated people can use to help them complete a task.

Matt,

This is the key factor as I see it.

In my area of expertise with development teams of various types (software, hardware, patching, etc), you have people who aren't the decision makers and basically do the grunt work. So say a project team of 10 (6 devs and 4 testers) could be plausibly reduced by 3 or 4. Extrapolate this across an entire industry and its millions of jobs that vanish in many cases in the short term.  And that's just one field....throw in others as mentioned above and we could easily run into the 10s of millions.

Then factor in this current form of AI is still in relative infancy. ChatGPT is already very effective and its still in BETA.  Its going to get even better and useful by leaps and bounds in a very short time frame, and employers will continue to adapt and find even more ways to use it save costs...

Ian Andrew

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2023, 05:30:01 PM »
I expect AI to more about raising the floor for less talented people, than raising the bar for the most talented.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2023, 06:30:37 PM by Ian Andrew »
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John Kavanaugh

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2023, 05:35:09 PM »
News flash: We will make it to 2040 and still be able to play outdoors. Crisis averted.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2023, 09:31:29 AM »



I have given this a couple of days of thought.


First, let's all admit there is an ENORMOUS amount of hype around AI right now . . . story after story in every kind of media about how it is going to change every aspect of life.  Why all the stories?  Because a few Silicon Valley companies are trying to cash in on the hype and ramp their valuations to the moon.  They want to live in those mansions NOW, not in ten years IF the technology proves itself.


Will AI have that kind of effect?  In some businesses, maybe yes; in others, no.  Remember all the hype around self driving cars?  Well, artificial intelligence and enormous investment still haven't produced a self driving car that is reliable enough to deliver on those promises.  (Time to change the subject . . . and they are very glad they didn't label that "AI driving".]


For golf course design - or art - AI is more likely to succeed, because success is mostly subjective -- nobody is going to crash and die -- and only a small percentage of the users know the difference between really good work and schlock.


But, AI is not going to make it cost a lot less to build a golf course.  You might cut out one or two people in the architect's office, and you might cut out the best shapers in favor of guys sitting on a computer . . . in the same way that drone warfare has cut out some pilots, but hasn't seemed to lower our defense budget.  And if you believe that a guy sitting in his basement on a computer, or the computer itself, is going to produce BETTER work than a guy sitting on a machine at the site of a future golf hole, well, then maybe AI will take over golf course design.  But only because of my previous paragraph.

Cal Carlisle

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2023, 10:36:20 AM »
Golf course maintenance is what I thought would be coming, not golf course design. Lots of possibilities there in terms of a dwindling labor pool, cost savings, etc.

Golf Course Design? Why would someone even bother with the hassle? Seems if someone did want to construct (and finance) such folly, it would just be to show people it could be done. It would be a gimmick.

Phil Young

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #46 on: April 29, 2023, 11:52:45 AM »
After seeing a number of quite questionable "restorations" of golden age courses, I'm wondering how AI would define what a "golf course restoration" is? How it is different from a redesign? What "original design intent" is? If what they have to work from is the claims of architects and golf clubs after their work was completed, it will be quite interesting to see how badly they can "miss the boat" while convincing a client that they are an expert in a specific architects work...

Steve Lang

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2023, 08:45:09 PM »
 ;D  Well, the HAL 9000 final experience portrayed in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY


HAL: I know Iíve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. Iíve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you. Dave, stop it. Stop, will you? Stop Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop Dave. Iím afraid. Iím afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it.

Dave the human knows the plug has to be pulled ...  would be nice if we could do the same with the AI hype.  After all, who's going to hook up the tow line to get the shaper pulled out of the mud?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 12:44:44 PM by Steve Lang »
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"

Ira Fishman

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2023, 09:07:52 AM »
AI could potentially be used in the design process of a golf course, but it would likely require significant input and guidance from human experts in the field.
For example, an AI system could be trained on a large dataset of existing golf courses and their features, such as the length and layout of holes, the placement of hazards, and the overall course design. It could then generate new course designs based on that data and the specific parameters provided by human experts, such as the desired level of difficulty, the available terrain, and the surrounding environment.
However, designing a good golf course involves more than just technical specifications and data analysis. It also requires an understanding of the sport of golf itself, the preferences and expectations of golfers, and the aesthetics and natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. These are areas where human expertise and creativity are likely to be more important than AI algorithms.
Therefore, while AI could certainly play a role in the design process, it would need to be combined with the knowledge and experience of human designers and golf experts to create a truly outstanding golf course.
*****************************************
The above was answer from ChatGBT to query whether AI could design a good course. At least it is ďsmartĒ enough to hide its intentions to take over the world.

Ira

« Last Edit: April 30, 2023, 09:10:16 AM by Ira Fishman »

Tom_Doak

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Re: The topic you knew was coming- AI & Golf Course Design
« Reply #49 on: April 30, 2023, 10:14:58 AM »

The above was answer from ChatGBT to query whether AI could design a good course. At least it is ďsmartĒ enough to hide its intentions to take over the world.


I found that especially funny because I have heard the same non-denial denials from several people who later wound up hanging out a shingle as designers or design consultants.  :D

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