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Macdonald asks John Low what is the best course."Doubtless there are many professionals who do not appreciate the subtle aspect of golf and do not care for that which is temperamental in the game."
Bret, Thanks for that great quote and it reminds of this one. Macdonald asks John Low about what is it that separates the very best golf courses from the good ones."Mr. J. L. Low somewhere says that most courses are too physical and mathematical, while only the best introduces as well the philosophical and strategical element. Doubtless there are many professionals who do not appreciate the subtle aspect of golf and do not care for that which is temperamental in the game."When Macdonald talks about Sandwich, one of the things he says is: "surely there is no better soil or turf or more attractive undulations on any green--the fundamentals of a good golf course."I am wondering if these qualities, the physical and mathematical ones such as "soil and turf" and "undulations," are found in classical courses, and the "philosophical and strategical" and "that which is temperamental in the game," are found in the ideal platonic courses. I wonder if Macdonald thought of template holes in terms of Plato's theory of forms and ideas.
John,I think Macdonald makes the distinction in his book: “No course can be ideal which is laid out through trees. Trees foreshorten the perspective and the wind has not full play. To get the full exaltation playing the game of golf one should when passing from green to green as he gazes over the horizon have a limitable sense of eternity, suggesting imagination and contemplation.”Yale is a classical course, because it’s inland. Laid out through trees!Bret
In other words, trees make a course less than ideal, so it's a comment on the location of the course relative to trees rather than about the design of the course itself. Or at least that is how I'd interpret that passage.I wonder then what CBM would make of the increasing amount of development flanking many of the classic links, TOC and NB among them. When CBM played those courses there was a lot less building flanking the inland holes. If trees are 90% air then buildings are 100% brick, stone, glass etc. Trees also have the advantage of being natural.Niall