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John Challenger

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The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« on: August 24, 2023, 09:54:51 AM »
Last week, I accused C.B. Macdonald of not being one-dimensional. A question I had was: how did CB's design philosophy evolve from NGLA to The Lido? Look at CB's willingness to utilize MacKenzie's design for the 18th hole. In the first decade of the 1900s, I think CB's design philosophy was based on trying to recapture the essence of the great holes of the British Isles. He came of age at St. Andrews. He sought to commune with its spirit and he sought scientifically to create templates that would serve as the creative foundations for the holes at NGLA. 


In the second decade of the century at The Lido, although he did not abandon templates (The Lido redan might be the course's most difficult hole), I don't think he thought that the MacKenzie and Simpson designs were template-based. Did he freely design any of the holes at The Lido? Harry Colt seemed to feel that designing holes based on fitting on templates was too mechanical and structured. By the time he designed The Lido, was CB Macdonald moving toward Colt's philosophy based on giving the architect more of a free hand? The interesting thing about The Lido is that in some ways there wasn't much land to wrap the course around. There was land and sea but he mostly built the course up from a flat canvas.

Niall C

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2023, 10:57:01 AM »
John


I'm undoubtedly not the best person to answer your basic question and I look forward to what others have to say about CBM's design evolution.


But what I did want to say was that neither MacKenzie or Simpson were novices at the time of the Lido competition as is sometimes made out. Simpson didn't enter the comp proper only because of his working relationship with Fowler who was one of the judges, while MacKenzie was one of the most experienced and well-known gca in the country at the time who wasn't also a professional golfer.


The other thing was that CBM's idea of producing template holes was roundly mocked in the press in this country so it wasn't just Colt who was sceptical (as an aside, I don't think I've seen Colt's comments on templates). In fairness they probably didn't appreciate quite how much dirt he was shifting to create the template holes....or maybe they did and that was why they mocked him ? Either way they were turning a blind eye to UK based gca's reproducing certain ideas.


Niall 

Michael Chadwick

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2023, 10:59:33 AM »
Good topic, John. Looking forward to who can make insightful contributions.


I have an ancillary question related to this. Before Merion's construction, we know Hugh Wilson visited NGLA and spent time with Macdonald, for NGLA was considered the premier design at the time. Yet--unless I'm mistaken--I haven't heard of Macdonald having any role or interaction with the collaborators in the creation of Pine Valley. Is there specific context for why that may have been the case? Was there an antagonism between Crump and members of the Philly School with templates or with Macdonald himself? 
Instagram: mj_c_golf

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2023, 11:06:45 AM »
Designing from a dead flat piece of ground is a very different exercise than laying out a course over natural topography, and it requires a different approach.  I think youíre seeing a different situation more than a different philosophy.


It was maybe less different for Macdonald than it would be for me, because all of his designs were template-based and then influenced by the site; mine are the other way around.



But, Macdonald was certainly intrigued by the clientís invitation to build all of the holes he had never found a place for, as most architects would be.  The Channel hole is his own idea, and the sixth was Raynorís favorite from the Country Life competition.  I assume the MacKenzie hole was really the clientís idea to attract attention to the project, and Iím not sure how they really felt about it.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2023, 11:27:54 AM »
Good topic, John. Looking forward to who can make insightful contributions.

I have an ancillary question related to this. Before Merion's construction, we know Hugh Wilson visited NGLA and spent time with Macdonald, for NGLA was considered the premier design at the time. Yet--unless I'm mistaken--I haven't heard of Macdonald having any role or interaction with the collaborators in the creation of Pine Valley. Is there specific context for why that may have been the case? Was there an antagonism between Crump and members of the Philly School with templates or with Macdonald himself?


CBM visited Pine Valley very early on in the course's development and was later quoted as saying "Here is one of the greatest courses -- if grass will grow". Which, given the problems that were experienced getting Pine Valley established, was quite a prescient remark.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
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Phil Young

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2023, 11:48:16 AM »
C. B. Macdonald and Tillnghast had an interesting friendship, as can be seen in what he wrote about him when Macdonald died in 1939: "I have known Charley Macdonald since the earliest days of golf in this country and for many years we have been rival course architects, and I really mean rivals for in many instances we widely disagreed. Our manner of designing courses never reconciled. I stubbornly insisted on following natural  suggestions of terrain, creating new types of golf holes as suggested by Nature, even when resorting to artificial methods of construction. Charley, equally convinced that working from models was best, turned out some famous courses. Throughout the years we argued good naturedly about this and that, always at variance it would seem. Now he is gone and I can only salute his memory."

In addition to wishing that one could have listened to these 'friendly debates', it also makes me wonder how often he must have had similar discussions/debates with other contemporaries of his about how to approach designing golf courses. It only seems reasonable that some did have a bit of an influence on his approach, though I doubt that one of these would have been Tilly. 

John Challenger

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2023, 11:58:10 AM »
Tom, The Channel Hole is an extraordinary hole. The fact that it sprung out of CBM's mind makes it even better. Because he had a blank canvas, CB could have decided, at this point in his career, to design his ideal conception of each of his favorite template holes. He didn't have to worry about fitting them into the land like he was forced to do everywhere else. But he didn't choose to do it that way. He created new hole designs. Perhaps in a certain way, The Lido is the first modern course. It might have been the first time a golf architect was not constrained, in one way or another, by the natural topography of the land. The first time there was enough technology to prepare the land in this way.

Adam, Wasn't CBM speaking from hard-won experience about Pine Valley? He had a very difficult time getting the grass to grow in the early days of NGLA. Agronomy and sorting out the best seed, fertilizer and soil became a top priority sometime in the first decade of the 20th century, or maybe it was just earlier? Perhaps, it coincided with the move from the linksland to the parkland? At this point, it was still a very inexact science with a lot of trial and error.

Michael, Very interesting question. Even though CBM and Whigham visited PV in 1913 in its early period of formation, why isn't CBM included as one of the collaborators? Maybe his personality? Maybe it was a Philly/NYC rivalry issue? But rivalry doesn't account for Hugh Wilson and, I am sure, other members of the Philly school, who must have scrutinized every inch of NGLA for ideas and inspiration.

Phil, That is a fascinating quote from Tilly! Maybe Crump felt that CBM's design philosophy was too rigid. Perhaps CBM's recognition of how people thought about his approach influenced his evolution at The Lido?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 12:04:58 PM by John Challenger »

Ira Fishman

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2023, 01:45:46 PM »
John,


I am not an expert on MacDonald or the Lido, but I am not convinced that your premise about MacDonald evolving is correct. All of his courses had at least a few non-template holes from the beginning of his career, and courses designed contemporaneous with and subsequent to Lido relied heavily on templates. Indeed, as you note, so does Lido itself. Certainly, Tillinghast did not note any meaningful evolution.


Glad as always to be enlightened.


Thanks.


Ira




John Challenger

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2023, 02:58:43 PM »
Hi Ira,


My contention is that C.B. Macdonald is a more complex character than we often give him a credit for. History can be reductive. Of course, it would be wrong to view him only through the lens of his actions as a young man in the first years of the U.S. Amateur championships.


We know that later he believed in the R&A's primacy in terms of authority and governance. I think he acted as a diplomat in the conflict that erupted in the years before WW1 when the Americans and the U.S.G.A. led by the sometimes intransigent Walter Travis, and others, wanted to break away. With friends on both sides of the ocean, CBM sought to create a unified body, including people from North America, to govern golf. He took on a more conciliatory role.


As a golf architect, just like anybody else, I am sure Mcdonald learned from his mistakes and grew, and his ideas evolved. He was a traditionalist but that doesn't mean he didn't mature. I believe as he grew older and gained experience, there were ways in which his ideas and his personality became more supple, like all of ours. I am making the assumption that there was growth in his ideas and his design philosophy from NGLA to The Lido. I was hoping to explore more about what those changes were and whether they can be identified by examining and analyzing the differences between the earlier and later designs.


Should The Lido be seen as his crowning achievement, and the ultimate expression of his work? Over the last 20 years, we have probably thought about NGLA as his magnum opus, but in the 1920s and 1930s, The Lido and Pine Valley were often considered the two greatest courses in the United States. Will our understanding of C.B. Macdonald change as people begin to experience The Lido in tangible reality instead of in photographs and memories?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 03:14:48 PM by John Challenger »

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2023, 03:58:00 PM »
John:
Myou really should re-read the chapter in Macdonaldís book titled ďMid Ocean- Yale - LidoĒ.


I had the sense from it that CBM was a little disappointed in the finished product or how the course had changed since its opening.  I think he was much more fond of NGLA (where he had virtually complete control of things) than of Lido (where he had a client).

Paul Rudovsky

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2023, 04:34:23 PM »
Tom (and Peter Flory)--


Do we know for sure what the original Lido plot of land looked like before CBM started Lido's construction?  For example , what occupied  the space that became the ponds that defined the split fairway of #4.  Was it typical Long Island barrier island land...which would mean that CBM conceived of #4 entirely in his own mind.  Or perhaps were there small ponds in these areas and/or wetlands in these areas...and seeing them helped CBM formulate the shape of #4...which would make his "design process" somewhat more similar to Tom's.


I guess this becomes two questions...


1.  did CBM find some features in the land as he found it and use any of them, or did be spread tons of sand and create every feature himself and Raynor and his team?


2.  do we have any real evidence pointing ot the answer to #1, or is the answer mostly presumption?

Bret Lawrence

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2023, 05:44:46 PM »
John,


I get the feeling that Macdonald only planned on building one course when he was studying the greatest holes in Europe.  I donít think he planned on building courses for all his friends too.  I think that was a result of his success at NGLA.  By the time they got to Lido, they had used just about every idea he thought made for good golf, outside of a few holes youíll find at Lido, (like the Channel hole).



The contest seemed to give the architects some fresh ideas to work with.  All of the prize winning holes, outside of Mackenzieís design, were a dogleg hole of some sort.  Perhaps more important than the hole design itself were the features found within the hole. These features would dictate the strategy of the hole and create the interest for the players.  Many templates are not exact copies.  Often Macdonald, Raynor and Banks holes include a composition of features which makes the hole interesting.  You may find a horseshoe depression in the Biarritz at Forsgate or the first green at Yale may consist of a Road Hole green and a Punchbowl green.   The 17th at Wyantenuck, one of my favorite holes, has a bottle neck fairway to a Punchbowl/Alps green with a Leven like mound on the left side.  The templates didnít stop them from being creative and evolving their designs.  Their ability to design multiple features into their holes is what makes them so recognizable and interesting to so many people.


The Macdonald concept that may have evolved the most between NGLA and Lido was the variety of holes.  Early on he had very specific rules about what makes up an ideal golf course.  So many drive and pitch holes, so many two-shot holes and so many one-shot holes.  By the time he got to Lido he had substituted many of the drive and pitch variety for longer two-shot holes.  Perhaps this was to make the course more difficult than some of his other courses, or perhaps more geared towards the scratch player than the high-handicapper? 


In any case,  every architect I can think of has used inspiration of existing holes to develop new holes. They may have mocked him at first, but many architects of his day had either templates of their own creation or would relate a hole to another in order to give the audience an idea of what they were in for.  I feel like templates still get mocked today. There is nothing wrong with templates, if you are creative, you can use them to your advantage, if you so choose.  Maybe we should be building some other architects templates and features, or at least evolving these templates further!  Templates should have flexibility, they should not be set in stone!


Bret

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2023, 08:26:56 PM »
Tom (and Peter Flory)--

Do we know for sure what the original Lido plot of land looked like before CBM started Lido's construction?  For example , what occupied  the space that became the ponds that defined the split fairway of #4.  Was it typical Long Island barrier island land...which would mean that CBM conceived of #4 entirely in his own mind.  Or perhaps were there small ponds in these areas and/or wetlands in these areas...and seeing them helped CBM formulate the shape of #4...which would make his "design process" somewhat more similar to Tom's.

I guess this becomes two questions...

1.  did CBM find some features in the land as he found it and use any of them, or did be spread tons of sand and create every feature himself and Raynor and his team?

2.  do we have any real evidence pointing ot the answer to #1, or is the answer mostly presumption?


Paul:


Everything I've read is that the site was very low and there was nothing much to work with.  It is probably an inevitable bit of engineering that there needed to be a fairway or something along the channel, holding in the lagoon, but the Channel hole was not Macdonald's invention from scratch . . . it was the realization of his idea for a heroic short-cut fairway on the 16th hole at Littlestone, which didn't actually exist when he saw it.  So, he might have understood the engineering necessity and thought that was the perfect place for that hole, but the way I've always heard it, the chance to finally build that hole was one of the reasons he accepted the job.


The design was conceived in the form of a plasticine model, and a photograph of the model was a huge piece of Peter's info gathering to build his own [digital] model.  The aerial photos of the course confirmed that many of the contours in the fairways were exactly the way he had moulded them in the model.

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2023, 08:31:58 PM »

I get the feeling that Macdonald only planned on building one course when he was studying the greatest holes in Europe.  I donít think he planned on building courses for all his friends too.  I think that was a result of his success at NGLA.  By the time they got to Lido, they had used just about every idea he thought made for good golf, outside of a few holes youíll find at Lido, (like the Channel hole).





Bret:


Maybe, but Macdonald used a lot of holes for inspiration that he had played and liked.  He used a hole from Scotscraig, which became his Knoll hole -- there is no mention of it in his book, so I suspect he might have remembered it from his early days in St. Andrews, or from going over to R & A meetings separate from his "ideal golf holes" trip.  Likewise, I believe the 16th hole at The National might have been inspired by what's now the 17th at Lundin Links . . . the hole AFTER what is now called the Leven hole on scorecards of Macdonald's courses. He had holes from Littlestone, and from Brancaster.  I think he had considerably more than 18 holes in his head that he was considering for The National, and used somewhere later.

BCrosby

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2023, 09:30:30 PM »
When I saw the title to this thread I thought it was going to be about the change in CBM's design philosophy from his early, highly Victorian versions of Wheaton/Chicago GC to the 'strategic' design philosophy that CBM adopted later at NGLA, Chicago GC (with a Raynor assist), Mid-O and other of his later courses.


Moving past his early Victorian predilections involved dramatic changes in CBM's architectural thinking. It would make for an interesting thread.


Bob   
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 09:54:06 PM by BCrosby »

Peter Flory

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2023, 12:08:33 AM »
Just adding a bit of info.


THE SITE:
- I've seen various descriptions of the site that CBM had to work with at the Lido.  Some referenced 15-20 feet of water over most of the site.  I'm sure that there were some parts that were sticking up, but I really don't think that there was anything there to prompt an idea for the 4th.  He logically used the length of the property for 3 of the 4 par 5s, so my guess is that he wanted to use the width of the property for at least one of them.  The South end was the better end with the Ocean and the starting point was sort of in the middle of that section- therefore I think that the North end was a better spot for it.  Following that logic, it was much more realistic to put an interior body of water on that side.  The lagoon had doors (or whatever they would have been called) to open it and close it from Reynold's Channel. 

I'm attaching a few pics that show the initial site and then some of the construction work on the 4th hole.  I think that they prove that there was nothing there that was found at all.  100% CBM's manufactured design. 

THE INSPIRATION:
CBM- "The discussion which raged throughout the United Kingdom in 1901 and 1902 as to which was the best one-shot, two-shot and three-shot hole, showed that a large majority of the first class players considered this (the Alps) the best two-shot hole in the world and time has not in any measure altered that opinion.  ...  I might say here that it was this "best hole" discussion in 1901 and 1902 that gave me the inspiration to build a classic golf course, the result being the National Golf Links of America.  My experience in that undertaking, my study of golf construction, and heed of the criticisms of those entitled to criticize, all are expressed in the construction of the Long Beach course.

This seems to me to answer a lot of the questions being posed here.  He got the idea to do templates from the 1901-02 debate in the UK and he viewed the Lido as his chance to outdo his work at NGLA with additional experience and feedback.

Regarding the templates vs original holes:
1) sort of a Narrows template, but I'd argue that it's just the 2 bunkers that make it so.  As far as I know, everything else on the hole is unique.  The fairway contours are amazing, the green is one of a kind w/ vertical waves through it, and the drop off beyond is a key element.
2) CBM claimed that the green is a double plateau and was built after one of the prize greens selected by the judges.  We don't have that entry.  But the green is insane.  If it really was taken from an entry, then the principal's nose is really all that is template like.  The blind drive over the ridge with a speed slot seems like a CBM designed element here. 
4) As mentioned in this thread, he got the spark of an idea from the 16th at Littlestone (a 460+ yard dogleg left), but then added a major twist to improve it in his mind by adding a fairway in the dunes as a short cut.  CBM's version doglegs to the right and is so different overall with the water element, that I think it should qualify as his own hole.  It became just about the most famous hole in the US and not because of any relation to Littlestone. 
6) Original hole, but from JC Walsham.  CBM mentioned that the green was like a mirror image of the road hole, but I think Walsham's submission was basically that as well.  I still don't know if he ever credits JCW anywhere. 
7) It has a hog's back in the fairway, but is there anything else about the hole that is templatey?  He originally designed the hole without the fairway spanning trench bunker, but added that in the final plans.  The sunken crescent bunker short and left of the green is a key element.
11) He called it a composite hole.  I would think that means that he took elements from holes that he admired, but he never referenced them. 
12) It has a punchbowl green, but the rest of the hole seems unique.  There is some question as to whether he used MacIver's contest entry (3rd place), which had a diagonal carry and a substantial bunker short of the green (attached).
15) Simpson's design, mirror imaged.
17) CBM called it a composite hole, "based chiefly on the principle of the bunkers in echelon".  But it was called Long and seems to resemble the 14th at TOC in certain ways, mainly with Hell bunker. 
18) Mackenzie's entry.  CBM put up the money himself for the contest and seemed to really like the hole.  He said "As a finishing hole, I know of none that will give a golfer whose opponent has him one down a better chance to retrieve himself at the last hole than this one, unless it be the eighteenth at the National."  If this was his true motivation for closing with it, he really valued giving the underdog a chance at a comeback on the 18th. 









MacIver's 3rd place entry- has certain key elements that look like the 12th hole... if so, CBM just substituted in the punchbowl green instead.  MacIver's concept for the bail out left and the additional room on the angle to the green over the cross bunker if you hug the water was pretty clever though. 



« Last Edit: August 25, 2023, 12:11:00 AM by Peter Flory »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2023, 12:29:22 AM »
Peter,


Your contribution to the Lido project is pretty amazing. It is sad that George Bahto passed before getting to see the course.
Tim Weiman

Peter Flory

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2023, 12:37:37 AM »
I'm very sorry that I never got to meet George. 

Bret Lawrence

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2023, 09:31:14 AM »

I get the feeling that Macdonald only planned on building one course when he was studying the greatest holes in Europe.  I donít think he planned on building courses for all his friends too.  I think that was a result of his success at NGLA.  By the time they got to Lido, they had used just about every idea he thought made for good golf, outside of a few holes youíll find at Lido, (like the Channel hole).





Bret:


Maybe, but Macdonald used a lot of holes for inspiration that he had played and liked.  He used a hole from Scotscraig, which became his Knoll hole -- there is no mention of it in his book, so I suspect he might have remembered it from his early days in St. Andrews, or from going over to R & A meetings separate from his "ideal golf holes" trip.  Likewise, I believe the 16th hole at The National might have been inspired by what's now the 17th at Lundin Links . . . the hole AFTER what is now called the Leven hole on scorecards of Macdonald's courses. He had holes from Littlestone, and from Brancaster.  I think he had considerably more than 18 holes in his head that he was considering for The National, and used somewhere later.


Tom,


I would agree with your statement that he used features and concepts from many holes he never talked about.  I would also agree that he had a lot more than 18 holes in his head. He mentioned he had surveyors drawing up detailed plans for several courses overseas. I have played Raynor greens that remind me of pictures of the original Hades green at Sandwich, with two spines running perpendicular to the the line of play, (like two speed bumps in the green), but because he never told us where he got the idea from, its really just my interpretation or speculation.  I have always appreciated your interpretation of some of his holes and features like the Knoll hole discovery. He may have visited that course on his trip overseas?  He was in St. Andrews again in 1906.


I think the two holes at Leven, the hole at Brancaster and Littlestone were mentioned by Macdonald in his list of ideal holes, but I agree with your point that he did have plenty of other ideas up his sleeve that he never mentioned.  The Maiden green from Sandwich would be a prime example.  He told us in his book the only thing he liked about the hole was the bunker, but today you can find several Maiden greens on Raynor courses.  I think you can occasionally find a Maiden green on Travis courses as well.  My point about using multiple features per hole would indicate he needed far more than 18 holes in his head to design some of the composite holes he came up. If you expand that over 4-5 courses he built before Lido, he likely pulled inspiration from many different holes.


Bret

Nigel Islam

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2023, 09:53:12 AM »
Bret,


   As we have talked about before he mixed and matched hole details as well. This gave him even more options. Hill to Carry with an Eden green at Ocean Links is a prime example.


You mentioned CBM (and Raynor?) using the spine and the Hades hole.I have no idea who put it in, but the 3rd at Blowing Rock has this crazy spine running parallel to the line of play in the middle of the green. If you play enough of these courses there are little features that start to stand out.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2023, 12:17:12 PM »
I'm very sorry that I never got to meet George.
Peter,


I last saw George when the Walker Cup was at NGLA. He was being taken care of by Neil Regan who sadly we have also lost. I am sure Neil would have also enjoyed seeing the Lido project.


While George never got to see the Lido, as you probably know he did have the opportunity to be involved with the Old Macdonald project. I know that meant a lot to him.
Tim Weiman

Peter Flory

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2023, 04:33:20 PM »

While George never got to see the Lido, as you probably know he did have the opportunity to be involved with the Old Macdonald project. I know that meant a lot to him.


I love that golf course.  They (everyone involved in that) made a great decision to do what they did there vs try to force in the Lido. 

Bret Lawrence

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2023, 10:52:51 AM »
Tom (and Peter Flory)--


Do we know for sure what the original Lido plot of land looked like before CBM started Lido's construction?  For example , what occupied  the space that became the ponds that defined the split fairway of #4.  Was it typical Long Island barrier island land...which would mean that CBM conceived of #4 entirely in his own mind.  Or perhaps were there small ponds in these areas and/or wetlands in these areas...and seeing them helped CBM formulate the shape of #4...which would make his "design process" somewhat more similar to Tom's.


I guess this becomes two questions...


1.  did CBM find some features in the land as he found it and use any of them, or did be spread tons of sand and create every feature himself and Raynor and his team?


2.  do we have any real evidence pointing ot the answer to #1, or is the answer mostly presumption?


Paul,


Here is the best visual I can give you for what the land in Long Beach looked like before and after they built the Lido Golf Course.  These three screenshots show the exact same area spanning several decades.
(1912-Topo Map)


(1929-Topo Map)

(1947-Topo Map)



For a clearer version of this map, visit historicaerials.com and click on the Topo map tab for Long Beach, NY.


The Country Club of Fairfield (built around the same time as Lido) has a very similar development to their topographic timeline.


Bret

« Last Edit: August 30, 2023, 10:57:06 AM by Bret Lawrence »

John Challenger

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2023, 01:11:08 PM »
In an earlier post, I wondered if the Lido might be CBM's crowning achievement. Tom gave me homework to read "Chapter XII. Lido-Yale-Bermuda" in "Scotland's Gift: Golf," which I have now completed. I also wondered whether C.B.'s design philosophy and approach evolved over time.

Here are some interesting quotes from the section on the Lido.

"(Roger Winthrop) said he knew I had in mind a number of wonderful holes I had seen on the other side, but for which I had never found any fitting place...To me it seemed a dream. The more I thought it over the more if fascinated me. It really made me feel like a creator."

"I knew that no improvement could be made over the great holes which I had reproduced at the National, such as Alps, the Redan, the Eden..."

Interesting use of the word "reproduced."
 

In regard to the 16 designs from the Country Life competition that CBM says he looked at closely, he says:

"What was most interesting was the way they designed the putting greens, and this was of real value to me...I certainly did incorporate certain excellent features from some of them."

It does suggest that he believed the Lido greens included new ideas that he had not seen or noticed in his earlier visits to the U.K.


"It is a pity toward the end of the fill the company did not carry out exactly the contours of the original map. So the course was not exactly what it might have been."

CBM suggests the course could have been better, so there was some disappointment in the finished product. It certainly didn't have the historical impact of NGLA. By the time he wrote the book, he already saw that the course was not being properly taken care of, which might have contributed to his evaluation of the course and its legacy.


"The finest holes, namely, the fourth, fifth, seventh, twelfth, fifteenth, and eighteenth..."

These are Channel, Cape, Hog's Back, Punch Bowl, Strategy (Simpson), Home (MacKenzie). Interesting that he doesn't include Alps, Redan, and Dog's Leg (Raynor's prize dogleg). What might be Raynor's most famous hole was created at the Lido, which seems important. Interesting that Macdonald created this course in Pine Valley fashion with multiple collaborators of a kind.

CBM quotes a 1910 Horace Hutchinson article about the National, which I think is relevant to HH's belief in CBM's ability to evolve and change.

"What has been said...of that course is that its intent was to make itself a replica and compendium of the best eighteen holes to be found in the whole world of golf. That heroic counsel and Titanic idea may have animated Mr. Macdonald at one time..."

"The larger number (of golf holes), and possibly the very best in character, have been planned out of the designer's brain with such suggestions as his experience, gathered in Europe, and the natural trend of the ground he had to deal with, supplied to it."



In regard to the question of whether this course could possibly be Macdonald's crowning achievement, Macdonald does say some other interesting things that might add some credence to the idea.

"...the character of the course depends on the building of the putting greens. Putting greens to a golf course are what the face is to a portrait."

"Fine drives and fine long second shots give the finest emotion or thrill in golf."


CB seemed to feel the greens he created at the Lido were new and different because of the ideas he gathered in from the contest. The course is made of up of a heavy concentration of long two shotters.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2023, 07:24:09 PM by John Challenger »

John Challenger

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Re: The Evolution of C.B. Macdonald's Design Philosophy
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2023, 04:46:18 PM »
Two CBMac questions for the cognoscenti:


1. CBM draws a line between classic and ideal courses. What are his definitions for these two types of golf course?


2. Where are the 30 or 40 drawings he made during his third and last official journey to Great Britain before he created NGLA?

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