News:

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


Ran Morrissett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Wherever Harry Colt traveled Ė France, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, the United States Ė good things happened, with him nonchalantly leaving behind one of the finest courses in each country. Can you imagine being that good at your craft?! :o 
 
During the period from 1911 to 1914 when Colt came to North America, he worked on ~15 courses in addition to his famous input at Pine Valley. Personal favs include Toronto GC and Bloomfield Hills (I havenít played Old Elm). Did you know he also worked at Indian Hill outside of Chicago? Until recently, even the club didnít appreciate its own important Colt connection. Happily, John Challengerís most recent In My Opinion piece provides a clear, concise accounting of Coltís involvement there. Here is the link:

Challenger, John Ė The Routing and Design of Indian Hill Clubís Golf Course Ė Golf Club Atlas

Indian Hill enjoys the unique distinction of having H.H. Barker, Colt, Ross AND Langford work on it. Pretty tasty! In this IMO entry, John meticulously details the courseís foundation, namely the work performed by Barker initially in 1912 and early 1913, and then what Colt did on a hole-by-hole basis in 1913.  John intends to publish a follow-on IMO later this year detailing Rossís and Langfordís subsequent work.

As part of his second of three trips to North America, Colt came to Chicago to design Old Elm. Thankfully, Indian Hill lured him over for three fateful days in May 1913. No less than Max Behr used diagrams of holes 15 and 16 to illustrate Coltís command of design. As John notes, ďOn this 1913 journey, Coltís development of precise plans and drawings was a significant innovation in the history of golf course architecture.Ē As part of Coltís changes, the 17th went from a par 5 to a par 3 and many consider it and his work at the 8th to be the courseís two best holes.

Though there is no evidence that the four architects ever collaborated at Indian Hill, it is still revealing to read Johnís analysis of Coltís work as it captures features that Colt prized in designs, including variety of shapes and sizes in greens that dictate preferred playing lines back to the tee. Colt clearly was a quick study and enjoyed great clarity of purpose, making fundamental and critical changes at Indian Hill after a three-day visit, to Pine Valley after just seven-days, and Old Elm after nine-days. Talk about impactful - The man knew what he was doing!

Thanks to John for sharing this important insight into how Colt worked. Who knows how many more times Colt might have come stateside if not for WWI, but after that, he never returned. Thankfully, his partner C.H. Alison carried the torch going forward but given the relative paucity of courses that Colt himself touched in North America, it makes me appreciate his selective works on this side of the pond even more.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: June 15, 2023, 08:57:30 AM by Ran Morrissett »

Tim_Cronin

  • Karma: +0/-0
This is a tremendous work of scholarship and research. Kudos, John!
The website: www.illinoisgolfer.net
On Twitter: @illinoisgolfer

V_Halyard

  • Karma: +0/-0
Wherever Harry Colt traveled Ė France, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, the United States Ė good things happened, with him nonchalantly leaving behind one of the finest courses in each country. Can you imagine being that good at your craft?! :o 
 
During the period from 1911 to 1914 when Colt came to North America, he worked on ~15 courses in addition to his famous input at Pine Valley. Personal favs include Toronto GC and Bloomfield Hills (I havenít played Old Elm). Did you know he also worked at Indian Hill outside of Chicago? Until recently, even the club didnít appreciate its own important Colt connection. Happily, John Challengerís most recent In My Opinion piece provides a clear, concise accounting of Coltís involvement there. Here is the link:

Challenger, John Ė The Routing and Design of Indian Hill Clubís Golf Course Ė Golf Club Atlas

Indian Hill enjoys the unique distinction of having H.H. Barker, Colt, Ross AND Langford work on it. Pretty tasty! In this IMO entry, John meticulously details the courseís foundation, namely the work performed by Barker initially in 1912 and early 1913, and then what Colt did on a hole-by-hole basis in 1913.  John intends to publish a follow-on IMO later this year detailing Rossís and Langfordís subsequent work.

As part of his second of three trips to North America, Colt came to Chicago to design Old Elm. Thankfully, Indian Hill lured him over for three fateful days in May 1913. No less than Max Behr used diagrams of holes 15 and 16 to illustrate Coltís command of design. As John notes, ďOn this 1913 journey, Coltís development of precise plans and drawings was a significant innovation in the history of golf course architecture.Ē As part of Coltís changes, the 17th went from a par 5 to a par 3 and many consider it and his work at the 8th to be the courseís two best holes.

Though there is no evidence that the four architects ever collaborated at Indian Hill, it is still revealing to read Johnís analysis of Coltís work as it captures features that Colt prized in designs, including variety of shapes and sizes in greens that dictate preferred playing lines back to the tee. Colt clearly was a quick study and enjoyed great clarity of purpose, making fundamental and critical changes at Indian Hill after a three-day visit, to Pine Valley after just seven-days, and Old Elm after nine-days. Talk about impactful - The man knew what he was doing!

Thanks to John for sharing this important insight into how Colt worked. Who knows how many more times Colt might have come stateside if not for WWI, but after that, he never returned. Thankfully, his partner C.H. Alison carried the torch going forward but given the relative paucity of courses that Colt himself touched in North America, it makes me appreciate his selective works on this side of the pond even more.

Cheers,


Outstanding work John! Thanks for the insights!
"It's a tiny little ball that doesn't even move... how hard could it be?"  I will walk and carry 'til I can't... or look (really) stupid.

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Thanks Tim Cronin and Vaughn Halyard for your kind words!

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
John,


A masterfully researched essay. I read that CDP was retained to do a master plan for Indian Hill. Any word on whether they are contemplating implementation of the Colt 15 and 16 holes?


Ira

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
John,

A masterfully researched essay. I read that CDP was retained to do a master plan for Indian Hill. Any word on whether they are contemplating implementation of the Colt 15 and 16 holes?

Ira


As I understand it the CDP proposal -- which I believe includes the implementation of Colt's 1913 plan -- is coming before the membership for a vote at some point in the next month. I hope it passes. There is little enough true Colt work left in the US (I know several of the 20s Alison courses label themselves as at least in part Colt designs, but they're not and they shouldn't need to -- Alison was a very great architect in and of himself) and it would be wonderful to complete his plan 110 years on!
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.

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Hi Adam and Ira,

Thanks for your kinds words and interest in our course. CDP has designed a master plan and the club will present it to the membership in June. I'm not quite sure when it will come to a vote.


I think it would be quite exciting for the club to restore the lost Colt 15th and 16th holes. It would have tremendous historical significance. The holes would be fun to play. Not only would building those holes complete Colt's original plan, but it would make room for a much better practice facility.


In the last 20 years, clubs across the country have restored their courses, and faced the same objections. "The course will become too easy." Or, "too hard." We don't want to lose any trees." "We like it the way it is."


Perhaps after the end of WW2, when people everywhere wanted to forget the past, our membership lost sight of the treasure designed for us 110 years ago by Harry Colt, Donald Ross, William Langford, and H.H. Barker. I hope that they will realize the golf course we have stewardship over is as rare as Wrigley Field. I hope we will think of ourselves as custodians and show the same courage and foresight as our founders by taking proper care of what they bequeathed to us.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2023, 04:29:56 PM by John Challenger »

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
John,


I grew up in the Chicago area. I still cannot get over lights at Wrigley.


Ira

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Ira, I think the CDP plan has some renovation too, but no lights for night golf! John

Connor Lewis

  • Karma: +0/-0
John was nice enough to host me at Indian Hill earlier this year and we had a chance to talk about what could be done on that property.


I hope that the membership embraces the tremendous opportunity to restore this course. If it has any of the feels of Old Elm it would open up a lot of peopleís eyes.


Special thanks for hosting me John!

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Connor, So fun to play golf with you and to show you the course! I think almost by definition, Old Elm and Indian Hill are cousins, or really siblings. So are the other courses Colt worked on in 1913 including Pine Valley and Bloomfield Hills. There are only a finite number of golf courses left on the planet that were designed between 1906 and 1914, which I believe should be considered the first phase of the Golden Age of golf course architecture.


It is likely that Harry Colt worked on Old Elm and Indian Hill in the same week. His approach to golf course design and his design aesthetic were necessarily the same. The land is similar. About ten miles apart, Old Elm and Indian Hill both sit on the land below the ridge of the geological lake front. The land at Old Elm is more varied and contains various tilts and flow missing from Indian Hill. The magnificent restoration of Old Elm, which achieves a near perfect balance between playability and shot challenge, should inform the restoration/renovation of Indian Hill. Hopefully, the membership will agree. John
« Last Edit: May 30, 2023, 10:01:01 AM by John Challenger »

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0

His approach to golf course design and his design aesthetic were necessarily the same.


John


Not sure what this means. Can you explain ?


Niall

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Well done, John.


A quibble. Your statement "There are only a finite number of golf courses left on the planet that were designed between 1906 and 1914, which I believe should be considered the first phase of the Golden Age of golf course architecture," might apply to the US, but the Golden Age in the UK began a bit earlier with Woking, Sunningdale and other courses.


Interesting to note is that Ross was hired to do a bunker plan for someone else's routing. Ross seems to have done a lot of that at the time, including East Lake and Druid Hills here in Atlanta.


 

« Last Edit: May 30, 2023, 11:43:32 AM by BCrosby »

John Challenger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Niall, By "golf course design," I was thinking about John Low-inspired strategy and Colt's approach to routing configurations and manipulation of land forms. By "design aesthetic," I was trying to get more at Horace Hutchinson, Country Life and the arts and crafts movement, particularly Colt's approach to bunker style and landscape architecture.

Bob, Maybe the Golden Age starts in 1903 at the moment Harry Colt walks onto the Sunningdale grounds? Or, do you think John Low and Stuart Paton in 1902 at Woking?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2023, 11:47:46 AM by John Challenger »

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
It's hard to nail down a date for the beginning of the Golden Age, but in the UK things were well down the road by 1906. Low set out the basics of strategic golf architecture in early 1901, ideas that were very controversial but which Colt and others picked up on almost immediately. Changes at Woking followed soon after, probably 1902; Colt's made changes to Sunny a bit later. (Adam is your best source for that.)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2023, 11:55:55 AM by BCrosby »

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Colt was elected secretary of Sunningdale in July 1901. He started altering the course quite soon after, and would continue doing so throughout his tenure at the club and even after he had left. I donít think the emergence of the Golden Age can be precisely dated. Park's creation of Sunningdale in 1900 was certainly a key item in the creation of the Golden Age -- he abandoned the steeplechase bunker completely. but Low and others criticised the course for an excess of blindness, which Colt mostly removed during his twelve years as secretary -- Sandwich was being criticised for excessive blindness even before this. Paton's bunkers on the fourth at Woking are obviously a critical event too, and perhaps we can date the conscious creation of strategy to that. But the other tenet of the Golden Age was naturalism, and that was really Colt's creation, over a good length of time. Fowler was a key figure too, though I think that Walton is something of an outlier.
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.

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back