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Steve_ Shaffer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Palmer firm shuts doors
« on: October 04, 2023, 07:56:32 PM »
One of golf course architecture’s most famous names is no more: the Arnold Palmer Design Company has closed down.
The Palmer family, owners of the business and the name of the late golfing legend, has decided to wind down its design operation. One of the firm’s two lead architects, Thad Layton, has already opened his own new practice. The other, Brandon Johnson, is expected to do so shortly.
Since the death of Arnold Palmer in 2016, the company continued as an attempt to create a new type of business in the golf architecture market, which has traditionally been defined by the physical presence of the principal. In similar sectors, most notably buildings architecture, it is commonplace for brands to survive their founders, but there has, to date, been no significant example of a golf design firm doing so.


Read more:


https://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/palmer-firm-shuts-doors
"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan “The most important shot in golf is the next one”

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2023, 08:21:26 PM »
It was a nice try, and it kept them going for several years.  But in the end, golf courses are marketed by the architect's name, and when the brand name passes away, you can't really pretend he's still the designer.


The one exception to the rule seems to be European Golf Design, which builds courses among several different designers without giving them personal credit.  (Which kind of sucks, to be honest.)  But European Golf Design is not named after anyone.

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2023, 05:02:40 AM »
It was a nice try, and it kept them going for several years.  But in the end, golf courses are marketed by the architect's name, and when the brand name passes away, you can't really pretend he's still the designer.


The one exception to the rule seems to be European Golf Design, which builds courses among several different designers without giving them personal credit.  (Which kind of sucks, to be honest.)  But European Golf Design is not named after anyone.


EGD have given Robin Hiseman (JCB) and Dave Sampson (Marco Simeone) as much credit as possible on social media channels.


Pinehurst keep referring Course X as a Doak Course (isn't it Angela who has done most of the work) and Cabot Highlands new course - isn't that Clyde?

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2023, 05:10:42 AM »
Yeah, I think EGD are getting much more inclined to identify and big up their individual architects. They used to do almost entirely pro 'signature' projects, but I don't think they have had one of those for quite a lot of years.

I agree that EGD is a different animal because the firm is the brand, not any one of the architects, but that doesn't mean the architects themselves are anonymous. They used to be a bit -- I remember when Robin did the Royal club in Bahrain, a Monty signature. I was really surprised by how severe some of the greens were, especially for a place that was seeking professional tournaments. The European tour went there, and a number of the players apparently had a bit of a go at Monty about the greens. Ian Poulter, though, was a little bit more nuanced -- he said 'Apparently the architect was trying to make a statement. I'll make a statement about them -- they're s**t!'

Certainly if you compare the amount of attention Dave Sampson has had for Marco Simone compared to that which Ross McMurray got for the Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor (which was not a signature project), I'd say it was night and day.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2023, 05:21:11 AM by Adam Lawrence »
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.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2023, 05:25:04 AM »
Adam (or indeed Robin)


How do Robin's greens at Bahrain compare to those at Marco Simone in terms of severity of contour ?


Niall

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2023, 05:27:22 AM »
Adam (or indeed Robin)

How do Robin's greens at Bahrain compare to those at Marco Simone in terms of severity of contour ?

Niall

I haven't been to Marco Simone so couldn't say. It's also fifteen years since I was in Bahrain, so...  :)
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.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2023, 05:44:17 AM »
Thanks Adam, I was just wondering whether Robin's greens were ahead of their time in "Europe" ?


As an aside, I noted that Hovland made a remark that the players loved Marco Simone for matchplay but hated it for strokeplay. Not sure why that would be but I'd imagine it had something to do with the risk reward nature of some of the holes ?


Niall

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2023, 07:33:58 AM »
It was a nice try, and it kept them going for several years.  But in the end, golf courses are marketed by the architect's name, and when the brand name passes away, you can't really pretend he's still the designer.


The one exception to the rule seems to be European Golf Design, which builds courses among several different designers without giving them personal credit.  (Which kind of sucks, to be honest.)  But European Golf Design is not named after anyone.


EGD have given Robin Hiseman (JCB) and Dave Sampson (Marco Simeone) as much credit as possible on social media channels.


Pinehurst keep referring Course X as a Doak Course (isn't it Angela who has done most of the work) and Cabot Highlands new course - isn't that Clyde?




I would guess I did at least as much work at Pinehurst as any of those EGD guys did at their courses.  I did the routing, I drew the [limited] plans, and I made 25 days of site visits during construction.  And I even got on the bulldozer myself to shape the 10th and 14th greens! 


Angela was the lead associate and spent many more days on site -- just like Eric Iverson for Rock Creek and Stone Eagle, or Brian Schneider for Barnbougle, or Brian Slawnik for Tara Iti -- but if none of those are "mine", then I guess the only course I ever designed was High Pointe.


I'm not retired just yet, or I wouldn't have been away from home 115 days so far this year [not to mention the 48 days I spent at High Pointe].

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2023, 10:19:26 AM »
It was a nice try, and it kept them going for several years.  But in the end, golf courses are marketed by the architect's name, and when the brand name passes away, you can't really pretend he's still the designer.


The one exception to the rule seems to be European Golf Design, which builds courses among several different designers without giving them personal credit.  (Which kind of sucks, to be honest.)  But European Golf Design is not named after anyone.


EGD have given Robin Hiseman (JCB) and Dave Sampson (Marco Simeone) as much credit as possible on social media channels.


Pinehurst keep referring Course X as a Doak Course (isn't it Angela who has done most of the work) and Cabot Highlands new course - isn't that Clyde?




I would guess I did at least as much work at Pinehurst as any of those EGD guys did at their courses.  I did the routing, I drew the [limited] plans, and I made 25 days of site visits during construction.  And I even got on the bulldozer myself to shape the 10th and 14th greens! 


Angela was the lead associate and spent many more days on site -- just like Eric Iverson for Rock Creek and Stone Eagle, or Brian Schneider for Barnbougle, or Brian Slawnik for Tara Iti -- but if none of those are "mine", then I guess the only course I ever designed was High Pointe.


I'm not retired just yet, or I wouldn't have been away from home 115 days so far this year [not to mention the 48 days I spent at High Pointe].


Tom


Based on your comments I wonder how many days did Colt, Simpson, Alison, Mackenzie, Vardon, Taylor etc actually worked on the course design and its construction or left it with their associates and take the credit for it.

On the other hand if it is a big name that normally attracts golfers to play the course no wonder why Pinehurst and Cabot Highlands are doing so.

High Pointe looks like its moving forward a lot - the instagram page shows pretty good updates - boy those wide fairways 'again'!! ;D  did you design to suit your game?


Cheers
Ben




Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2023, 07:10:32 AM »
Adam (or indeed Robin)


How do Robin's greens at Bahrain compare to those at Marco Simone in terms of severity of contour ?


Niall


Just dropped in to find a photo or two of JCB bunkers for a bit of Photoshop work and happened upon this thread.


To answer your question Niall, they were more severe than Marco Simone, with the emphasis on 'were'. I've recently been back to soften a few ahead of Bahrain's return to the DP World Tour in February. Worth saying that the Bahrain course wasn't developed with tour events in mind, so the sporty nature of the contouring wasn't initially an issue. The fact it was quickly elevated to tour status is to its merit. It would have continued on tour for several years were it not for the Arab Spring.


I was happy to moderate some of the gradients if it meant getting new hole locations closer to the edges. The Tour seem happy, having given the redevelopment a recent seal of approval.
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x9), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunny (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake, East Berks, RSG, West Sussex, Hollinwell (x2), Alwoodley, JCB (x2), Beau Desert, Painswick (x2), Stranahan, Belfry (Brab & PGA)

Paul Rudovsky

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2023, 03:00:16 AM »
Based on your comments I wonder how many days did Colt, Simpson, Alison, Mackenzie, Vardon, Taylor etc actually worked on the course design and its construction or left it with their associates and take the credit for it.

I think Ross belongs on this list as well.  While he was great architect...IMO he was an even better entrepreneur and businessman. 

Tony Ristola

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Palmer firm shuts doors
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2023, 12:32:18 PM »
One of golf course architecture’s most famous names is no more: the Arnold Palmer Design Company has closed down.
The Palmer family, owners of the business and the name of the late golfing legend, has decided to wind down its design operation. One of the firm’s two lead architects, Thad Layton, has already opened his own new practice. The other, Brandon Johnson, is expected to do so shortly.
Since the death of Arnold Palmer in 2016, the company continued as an attempt to create a new type of business in the golf architecture market, which has traditionally been defined by the physical presence of the principal. In similar sectors, most notably buildings architecture, it is commonplace for brands to survive their founders, but there has, to date, been no significant example of a golf design firm doing so.


Read more:


https://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/palmer-firm-shuts-doors
I could see finishing projects begun when he was still alive, but beyond that? The ultimate in ghost writing. Incredible the press didn't question this. Then again... not really.




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