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Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
You can't know what you don't know.
« on: June 01, 2023, 02:22:22 PM »
But you can know that you don't know it all.


Thirty years ago I belonged to a club on the Eastern. Shore of Maryland. It wasn't very good. It was dead flat, with round greens that had very little break or slope. It was wall-to-wall green with lots of trees. I have a friend that learned to play on that course and had never traveled for golf.


A couple of years ago, I brought him to Ballyhack, where there is a lot of elevation change, forced carries, few trees, greens with a lot of movement, tight lies in the fairways, and shots he has never hit. He hated it. It was only "missing the clown's mouth." It made me nuts. But what else could I expect? His knowledge was severely limited. He thought every course should be similar to his own: flat lies, lots of trees, and straight putts.


He didn't know what he didn't know but thought he knew it all. I have played an embarrassing number of courses, and I figure I only know 20% of what I should.


On the other hand, he loves the course he plays. So he doesn't need me to tell him he shouldn't love it.


 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 10:14:26 PM by Tommy Williamsen »
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

Wade Whitehead

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2023, 07:16:31 PM »
Tommy:

I really like this post.

I think many of us can point to a moment of awakening, where we experienced a new level of architecture or design that caused us to ask "What's going on here, and why do I like it so much?"When I started playing, I worked part time at a private club that had 27 holes in excellent condition but which I found to be inferior to a local public course that was much busier and in far worse shape.  I could never figure out why I enjoyed the "lesser" of the courses until I began to study the tenets of great design and how they are applied on excellent courses around the world.  The community of this website eventually, especially including eleven years of George Cup conversations, certainly became a key part of that learning adventure.

Numerous of Mike Strantz's courses have this impact on lots of people (because almost all of them are public).  Lots of players finish playing them and wonder what just happened.  There's something different, and they know it, even if they can't quite put their finger on what it is.  I know Royal New Kent had that effect on me when I first saw it.

Ballyhack's features and routing are so bold that even first-timers who have played lots of good courses are blown over.  For a guest like your friend, who hasn't seen property on that scale or holes that play straight into dramatic land, it can be information overload.

Pacific Dunes has this impact on people, too.  Just imagine playing having never seen more than a Doak 3 or 4 (as many people do)!

I'd say you know way more than 20% of what you should, and can't wait for your thumb to heal so we can get out to learn more together.

WW
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 10:09:47 PM by Wade Whitehead »

Craig Sweet

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2023, 09:27:21 PM »
Mr. Whitehead, that sounds a tad elitist.  99% of golfers have no idea what the Doak scale is. Nor do they care.  The 99% will think Pacific Dunes is very difficult and expensive. They won't feel they are missing much if all they play in life are a "Doak 3 or 4".  There is no sin in not knowing what you don't know. Nor is there any shame with playing a Doak 3 or 4 everyday.
LOCK HIM UP!!!

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2023, 09:48:18 PM »
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you......
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Wade Whitehead

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2023, 10:07:45 PM »
Mr. Whitehead, that sounds a tad elitist.  99% of golfers have no idea what the Doak scale is. Nor do they care.  The 99% will think Pacific Dunes is very difficult and expensive. They won't feel they are missing much if all they play in life are a "Doak 3 or 4".  There is no sin in not knowing what you don't know. Nor is there any shame with playing a Doak 3 or 4 everyday.
Hi Craig:

I'm not sure you heard the point I was trying to make, but it's probably because I must have made it poorly.

I understand yours, though, and hope we get to meet some time,

WW

Matt Schoolfield

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2023, 10:10:14 PM »
Art can be elevated to whatever level you want it to. At the end of the day, it's a stick and ball game that's just supposed to be fun. Some people spend a lifetime seeking out the finest glasses of bordeaux, others are just as happy to knock back a few bottles of high life.

Both perspectives are fine.

I (high handicap) love golf architecture because I love how golf can make me think. My old roommate (former sub-scratch) played at UCSD and can only see the value in penal architecture and course conditions. To me golf is about interacting with the architect, to him golf is about perfecting the swing. We'll likely never see eye-to-eye on it, but the point is that there really isn't any winning of the argument.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 10:12:12 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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2023, 12:42:49 AM »
But you can know that you don't know it all.


Thirty years ago I belonged to a club on the Eastern. Shore of Maryland. It wasn't very good. It was dead flat, with round greens that had very little break or slope. It was wall-to-wall green with lots of trees. I have a friend that learned to play on that course and had never traveled for golf.


A couple of years ago, I brought him to Ballyhack, where there is a lot of elevation change, forced carries, few trees, greens with a lot of movement, tight lies in the fairways, and shots he has never hit. He hated it. It was only "missing the clown's mouth." It made me nuts. But what else could I expect? His knowledge was severely limited. He thought every course should be similar to his own: flat lies, lots of trees, and straight putts.

He didn't know what he didn't know but thought he knew it all. I have played an embarrassing number of courses, and I figure I only know 20% of what I should.

On the other hand, he loves the course he plays. So he doesn't need me to tell him he shouldn't love it.

Tommy, you know much more than 20% of what you should if you know what you like.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Craig Sweet

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2023, 01:01:44 AM »
Wade, I think I hear your point...To quote Ted Lasso, quoting Walt Whitman, "Be curious, not judgmental"


Curiosity leads to knowledge etc...etc...etc.   




LOCK HIM UP!!!

Cal Carlisle

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2023, 09:10:45 AM »
I watched a client pick all the white truffles off his pasta. He proceeded to clean his plate, leaving a small pile of truffles on the edge.


As a tear built up in the corner of my eye watching them carry away the evidence of this culinary crime, I asked him, "Not a truffle fan?"


"It's the first time I've ever had them. Not sure what all the fuss is about. Not a fan."


This was not an insanely expensive dinner, but not exactly cheap either (thankfully he was a beer drinker). On the way back to the hotel he said to me, "Hey, next time let's go to Carrabba's."


There are a lot of people that look at dining much differently than I do. While I really enjoy the artistry involved in preparing a dining experience, I understand that there is a large segment of the population that sees it as sustenance and not much more. Some people really love familiarity, and I have seen similar reactions such as your friend as it pertains to golf architecture.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2023, 09:19:49 AM »

There are a lot of people that look at dining much differently than I do. While I really enjoy the artistry involved in preparing a dining experience, I understand that there is a large segment of the population that sees it as sustenance and not much more. Some people really love familiarity, and I have seen similar reactions such as your friend as it pertains to golf architecture.


I sympathise. When I was younger my father used to tell me that nouveau cuisine was French for "nae chips".


Niall

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2023, 11:54:29 AM »
I watched a client pick all the white truffles off his pasta. He proceeded to clean his plate, leaving a small pile of truffles on the edge.

As a tear built up in the corner of my eye watching them carry away the evidence of this culinary crime, I asked him, "Not a truffle fan?"

"It's the first time I've ever had them. Not sure what all the fuss is about. Not a fan."


When I was younger, except for eating at the club to spend down my minimum, fast food was all I needed or wanted. The same friend demanded that we have a "proper dinner." So we went to a "proper" restaurant. Since then he succeeded in costing me a lot of food money. I still can't get him to try out different courses.
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

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2023, 12:46:24 PM »
Tommy,

Great thread.  I've mused this topic quite a bit over the years as nearly all my buddies are perfectly content playing their local DS 2 and 3 munis. And while we bemoan the vast masses who just don't care and fail to stray even a few towns over for something new much less half way around the world, I'm guessing they pity us even more for being golf architecture weirdos.  ;)

in general, we get exposed to stuff and we either run with it or we don't, and it certainly seems true for everything in life whether it be sports, food, work, booze, cars, tech gadgets, or even women.

So as I see it, we don't pick the things we are passionate about, they pick us. 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2023, 12:48:56 PM by Kalen Braley »

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2023, 12:50:40 PM »
What's the most architecturally interesting bowling alley you've been to?
Mine had Bud on tap,and a friendly, attractive bartender.


Different strokes.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

John Kavanaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2023, 01:58:14 PM »
But you can know that you don't know it all.


Thirty years ago I belonged to a club on the Eastern. Shore of Maryland. It wasn't very good. It was dead flat, with round greens that had very little break or slope. It was wall-to-wall green with lots of trees. I have a friend that learned to play on that course and had never traveled for golf.


A couple of years ago, I brought him to Ballyhack, where there is a lot of elevation change, forced carries, few trees, greens with a lot of movement, tight lies in the fairways, and shots he has never hit. He hated it. It was only "missing the clown's mouth." It made me nuts. But what else could I expect? His knowledge was severely limited. He thought every course should be similar to his own: flat lies, lots of trees, and straight putts.


He didn't know what he didn't know but thought he knew it all. I have played an embarrassing number of courses, and I figure I only know 20% of what I should.


On the other hand, he loves the course he plays. So he doesn't need me to tell him he shouldn't love it.


 


I can not think of a more extreme course than Ballyhack. The guy may have had a point.

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2023, 02:40:20 PM »
But you can know that you don't know it all.


Thirty years ago I belonged to a club on the Eastern. Shore of Maryland. It wasn't very good. It was dead flat, with round greens that had very little break or slope. It was wall-to-wall green with lots of trees. I have a friend that learned to play on that course and had never traveled for golf.


A couple of years ago, I brought him to Ballyhack, where there is a lot of elevation change, forced carries, few trees, greens with a lot of movement, tight lies in the fairways, and shots he has never hit. He hated it. It was only "missing the clown's mouth." It made me nuts. But what else could I expect? His knowledge was severely limited. He thought every course should be similar to his own: flat lies, lots of trees, and straight putts.


He didn't know what he didn't know but thought he knew it all. I have played an embarrassing number of courses, and I figure I only know 20% of what I should.


On the other hand, he loves the course he plays. So he doesn't need me to tell him he shouldn't love it.


 


I can not think of a more extreme course than Ballyhack. The guy may have had a point.


Oh, come now, John. He is a 20 handicapper and would need a dozen balls just to finish the front side at Victoria National.
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

John Kavanaugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2023, 02:53:58 PM »
Iíve outgrown the big courses myself.

Mike Wagner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: You can't know what you don't know.
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2023, 10:32:12 PM »
Mr. Whitehead, that sounds a tad elitist.  99% of golfers have no idea what the Doak scale is. Nor do they care.  The 99% will think Pacific Dunes is very difficult and expensive. They won't feel they are missing much if all they play in life are a "Doak 3 or 4".  There is no sin in not knowing what you don't know. Nor is there any shame with playing a Doak 3 or 4 everyday.


This is just a sad response. He's certainly not shaming anything. Get a grip.

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