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Ian Andrew

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Creative Tension
« on: October 29, 2023, 11:41:34 AM »
When I look at the arts, great work often comes as a reaction to something that is currently popular. It also can happen when someone else raises the bar for what can be done differently.

At Harbourtown, Pete Dye famously set out to build the opposite of what Robert Trent Jones was building to separate himself as a designer. He was full of creative ideas from his trip to the UK, but it was that philosophical decision that would be the key to creating something innovative and bold for itís time. This choice would make him a key figure in golf course architecture for the future.

When I researched Stanley Thompson, I was amused to find out through Geoff Cornish that Stan always had a thing for Tillinghast. He was initially depressed after seeing what Tilly had built around New York City, but this eventually spurred him on to do more. The artistic work at Jasper and Banff Springs was a reaction to wanting to be better than Tillinghast. They were competing for work at that time.

Minimalism is a well-established movement in architecture. Itís also lacking any creative tension. The lack of opportunities for all but the few limits its breadth. It been perpetuated by a patterned approach to development and selecting architects. I love golf architecture as an art form. I do really like Minimalism, but what I donít enjoy currently is the uniformity of approach and style. Itís like being restricted to only seeing French Impressionism at the Louvre and being told the rest of the museum is closed.

Art depends on artists, or in our case, architects being upstaged by another. This takes away some of their spotlight and attention. It creates a tension for the first artist, which compels them to try something out of their comfort zone or to adapt what they are doing. Brilliance often comes from having to adapt. It pushes the artist to consider more and go deeper into what is possible, rather than use things that have worked well in the past. Scarcity of work is helpful to creating tension. When you have all the commissions you need, you have no incentive to change what you do.

I recently spent time seeing a few of Robert Trent Jones earliest works and came away surprised by how good they were and how different that work was from what I ďassumedĒ it was. I found the work refreshing. Iím off to Harbourtown in December as a reminder that the opposite can be just as compelling as whatís currently popular.


Do you see anything out there (new) that feels fresh?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 11:45:23 AM by Ian Andrew »
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Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2023, 12:03:30 PM »
Excellent post, Ian.


From recent trips, the freshest new builds I have seen are as follows:


- JCB (England). In essence, this is fresh not because of anything radically new. Just that itís the first inland design Iíve seen in GB&I on heavy soil thatís actually posed lots of different questions and created variety in the golf holes. Itís clearly a step up from all of those parklands that were built through the 80ís, 90ís and 00ís.


- The Loop. This may have come from the same stable as modern minimalism but because of the concept, it put various constraints on the design that needed to be solved. Amazingly well done and should be in the World Top-100 for that alone. Far more individual than many of the modern courses that seem to drop in at will as soon as they open.


- I can definitely say Tobacco Road felt fresh to me also (visited last month). But really that canít be classified as new.


To be honest Ian, there are so few new courses being built by those outside the current crop of celebrated architects that it more or less proves your point.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 12:12:52 PM by Ally Mcintosh »

Mark_Fine

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2023, 12:20:29 PM »
Good post Ian.  I play Harbour Town a lot (played it again last week), and it has helped change my perception of trees on a golf course.  I am a big believer in variety on golf courses and Harbour Town to this day remains different from many other courses.  And it is not just narrow holes lined with trees, that is common and not different.  This is smart different and clever design. 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2023, 12:51:29 PM »
Iíve gotta say that listening to three golf course architects lament than no one is trying anything different is weird.  Why donít you each go and do something different???


Perhaps the answer is that you know itís harder to actually BE original than just to demand it?  I feel lucky when we get to that level on even a couple of holes on a new project.


There have certainly been a bunch of attempts at ďmaximalismĒ in recent years but it doesnít seem that anyone has quite gotten it down yet - it may be big and complicated and wow, but theyíre still playing safe by mimicking the aesthetic of whatís currently in vogue.  Harbour Town would not be what it was if Mr Dye had made it 7200 yards.



Iím actually trying to do different things on many of my new projects, but my style is familiar enough that most of it is inevitably lumped together on the basis of ďthe lookĒ.  Jack Nicklaus really thought that was the main difference between his work and ours!  The level of worthwhile critique of new golf courses is possibly even lower than the level of original design.

John Blain

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2023, 01:01:47 PM »
Ian-
What RTJ, Sr. courses did you recently check out?
Thanks

Ian Andrew

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2023, 01:30:59 PM »
Ian-
What RTJ, Sr. courses did you recently check out?
Thanks
Midvale Country Club
Green Lakes
Durrand Eastman
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Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2023, 01:35:17 PM »
Iíve gotta say that listening to three golf course architects lament than no one is trying anything different is weird.  Why donít you each go and do something different???


Perhaps the answer is that you know itís harder to actually BE original than just to demand it?  I feel lucky when we get to that level on even a couple of holes on a new project.


There have certainly been a bunch of attempts at ďmaximalismĒ in recent years but it doesnít seem that anyone has quite gotten it down yet - it may be big and complicated and wow, but theyíre still playing safe by mimicking the aesthetic of whatís currently in vogue.  Harbour Town would not be what it was if Mr Dye had made it 7200 yards.



Iím actually trying to do different things on many of my new projects, but my style is familiar enough that most of it is inevitably lumped together on the basis of ďthe lookĒ.  Jack Nicklaus really thought that was the main difference between his work and ours!  The level of worthwhile critique of new golf courses is possibly even lower than the level of original design.


Hi Tom,


Everything you say is true. It is far harder to be original than demand it. Perhaps the point of the matter is that you and C&C have been so successful that you have initiated a whole monopoly over how most critics of the last 10-15 years think about golf course architecture.


I donít believe you should read anything Ian - or certainly I - says as criticism of you. It stems from a place of admiration.


The cornerstones of your design philosophy are easily identifiable to most and so - as you correctly say - your designs are starting to be lumped together as ďof a typeĒ. The lack of worthwhile critique of new golf courses is indeed part of the problem. But not the only part. We just need more golf courses to be built so that there is a bigger and more discrete group of architects getting to show what they might be able to do. Many will fail to push any boundaries that they think they might be able to. But at least theyíll learn in the process.


The only names today who get column inches really just come from one stable; or are imitators of that stable. That canít be healthy.






Tom_Doak

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2023, 02:27:00 PM »
Ally:


Yes, thereís a pretty big stable of people who worked for me early in their careers (including several who still do).  They surely arenít the only ones who get attention:  others who come to mind include Andrew Green, Rob Collins, Andy Staples, Kyle Phillips, and David Kidd.  Most of them have at least one entry in the top 100 lists, too.


But what are we talking about here?  If any of those guys are the next great designer, theyíre back where I was in 2000, when Nicklaus and Fazio and Rees Jones got all the attention and most of the big clients.  The difference now is that Iíve been turning out good work for 25+ years and gotten to know a thousand people who write about this stuff. 


You could make a pretty good argument that the handful of Uber successful architects are the ones who taught the writers about golf architecture, over the course of decades of interviews.  And itís certainly going to take any of these younger architects a lot of years to build up a broad network like that.


And if weíre just talking about the last top 100 list, or the next one, thatís kind of a high bar youíre setting; you shouldnít be too surprised if there arenít many designers who can clear it.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2023, 02:38:00 PM »


You could make a pretty good argument that the handful of Uber successful architects are the ones who taught the writers about golf architecture, over the course of decades of interviews.  And itís certainly going to take any of these younger architects a lot of years to build up a broad network like that.



I guess weíre veering away from Ianís point but your above paragraph touches on something Iíve mentioned elsewhere:


The current crop of golf writers are all singing the same tune, partly because that tune is uniformly excellent; but also partly because thatís the tune theyíve been taught.


Tim Gallant

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2023, 03:51:23 PM »
Ian,


Three that immediately sprung to mind:


- Seaton Carew. Maybe it's because I hadn't done much research on the course ahead of time, but it felt so fresh and untouched. I absolutely adored some of the holes that were benched into the ridge that separated much of the front from the back.


- Mulranny. It was quite spiritual walking that course at 6.30am with the Head Greenskeeper/Captain. What a privilege to see that course. What I loved is that the greens seemed to be original takes on old ideas. Ie - the first has a massive two tier green, but not in the traditional way you always see - ie, one flat portion, and another, similar flat portion with a drop between them. Have a look at the photos below and you'll see how wonderfully wacky the course is.


- Cabot Highlands (The new course!) - Since TD has chimed in here, and won't take credit, I'll say that I think some of the ideas they have up there are very fresh for a new course. I won't give away the secrets, but the criss-crossing start, and the greensite at the 5th were just a few of the holes that had me saying 'I've never seen that before!'.






Ian Andrew

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2023, 04:17:19 PM »
And if weíre just talking about the last top 100 list, or the next one, thatís kind of a high bar youíre setting; you shouldnít be too surprised if there arenít many designers who can clear it.
We're not.


Tom,

I feel like you took this personally as some sort of a knock on you. Not the intention.
It's not about any of the great designers from this movement.

I'm not sure why I'm not allowed to want something else from golf architecture.
I expressed this view in the 1990's and I don't remember anyone complaining then.
But I was quoted in a publication about a new Michigan course I had seen and liked very much. ;)

I like to explore different philosophies and approaches.
I'm back to exploring. It's what that blog from a long time ago was all about.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 05:01:58 PM by Ian Andrew »
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Ian Andrew

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2023, 04:26:57 PM »

- Seaton Carew. Maybe it's because I hadn't done much research on the course ahead of time, but it felt so fresh and untouched. I absolutely adored some of the holes that were benched into the ridge that separated much of the front from the back.

- Mulranny. It was quite spiritual walking that course at 6.30am with the Head Greenskeeper/Captain. What a privilege to see that course. What I loved is that the greens seemed to be original takes on old ideas. Ie - the first has a massive two tier green, but not in the traditional way you always see - ie, one flat portion, and another, similar flat portion with a drop between them. Have a look at the photos below and you'll see how wonderfully wacky the course is.

- Cabot Highlands (The new course!) - Since TD has chimed in here, and won't take credit, I'll say that I think some of the ideas they have up there are very fresh for a new course. I won't give away the secrets, but the criss-crossing start, and the greensite at the 5th were just a few of the holes that had me saying 'I've never seen that before!'.



Thank you Tim.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 05:03:56 PM by Ian Andrew »
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Sean_A

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2023, 05:35:20 PM »
I agree with Ally re The Loop. Itís minimalist, but to me itís the on the extreme end of the spectrum. Sort of what I think of as minimalism. If the idea of a reversible course made the final product what it is, I hope Tom does more of it.

In general I think Tom has pushed the boundaries of the genre more than we could reasonably have expected. And yes, to a degree Tom did teach me about architecture and I feel lucky for the tuition.

An example of a guy moving in different directions is Brian Schneider. I havenít seen his work in person, but in pic it floats my boat.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 02:55:18 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Minehead & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2023, 06:44:09 PM »

Green Lakes is a neat, NYS parks course. Terrific topography, and only one hole (that flat par three) that made me yawn. Tough and fulfilling walk, too.

Durand is not what Senior built. Has been altered by highway intrusion, as you know.

Don't know Midvale, despite its proximity to Buffalo

RE What "new" have I seen?

I haven't seen much "new" lately. I saw Staples' work at PGA PSL and loved it. He took the corridors of the Squire course and made some really cool holes. He took two of those holes and made a really neat, pitch-and-putt course for after-hours. I like Staples. I would like to see more from Staples.



Ian-
What RTJ, Sr. courses did you recently check out?
Thanks
Midvale Country Club
Green Lakes
Durrand Eastman
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

Rob Marshall

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2023, 07:46:49 PM »
Ian-
What RTJ, Sr. courses did you recently check out?
Thanks
Midvale Country Club
Green Lakes
Durrand Eastman


Durand Eastman was ruined many years ago. I doubt much of anything is close to original. I first played it 48 years ago and it had already been changed by then. Great place to lean the game! Great cast of characters and a legendary pro in Armand Lannuti.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2023, 07:48:57 PM by Rob Marshall »
If life gives you limes, make margaritas.Ē Jimmy Buffett

Greg Hohman

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2023, 08:00:02 PM »
Golf writers don't have the chops to engage with GCA as an art form. I know what chops are required, possess them to some degree, but, as a writer with a day job, I pursue enough marginal projects already. Contact, say, Allen S. Weiss at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. If you can persuade him to write about GCA, count yourselves lucky.
newmonumentsgc.com

Mark_Fine

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2023, 09:16:52 PM »
No one here said doing something truly different was easy or frankly even possible. Most likely anything done that is truly different will likely be viewed as gimmicky or just too quirky to be any good.  Look at some of Muirheadís work for example.   Acceptance of anything different will likely take a long time, a lot of education, and an owner with deep pockets who is willing to allow something different to be designed and built on their nickel. 


As pointed out by Ally, many of us will not get the chance to try as most of the work out there is to refine or restore what is already there.  Doing something different with these kind of projects is usually heavily frowned upon and not acceptable.  Just think how this site would react if one of us took an old Ross course and turned it upside down. 


I think most different will be in ebbs and flows and take place over a long time frame.  Design ideas will cycle with maybe a few new and different twists throw in along the way. 

Jason Topp

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2023, 10:32:04 PM »
I took the original post as complimentary to the leading lights today.  I also suspect the next revolution will be something different.  No idea what that will be but here are Some ideas I have had:

[/size]1.  Effective incorporation of trees in design.   We know the downside of trees and there are good reasons why the current trend is to cut most of them down.   However, I believe hitting over, under and around trees is a fun challenge in the game.   I went to Firestone this year and actually practiced punch shots because I had not needed one in about ten years.  A successful punch fade was probably my most satisfying shot this year.  Another advantage of trees is that if the underbrush is cut, the resulting bare ground is relatively easy to search.   I think it is possible to make trees more of an interesting hazard.   2.   Rethinking bunkers.  Bunkers drive up the cost of maintaining a golf course.  They also are a disproportionate hazard for higher handicap players.   I would love to see a top level design without them.   The challenge would be to make the visuals work but I have no doubt such a design could be created that provides an interesting challenge.  Plenty of such examples exist in the UK.   Other I teresti g approaches I have seen include bunkers with no lips but also sloping with the terrain.  I was in one of those at Crystal Downs and thought it was a great hazard that was unique and looked natural.3.  The No lost golf ball course.   It would be interesting to endeavor to build a course where it was not possible to lose a golf ball.  (Maybe not literally but for the most part).   

4.   A very angular course.  This has actually happened.  River Hall in Florida is one example but I believe there have been many others.  [/font] [/font]

Peter Flory

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2023, 01:51:05 AM »
I have been having the same thoughts for the last 10 years or so as the minimalist genre has had so much success and pulled everyone else in that directly on the margins.  However, boundaries do continue to be pushed and most of that is coming from those who are established already.  Recent courses that I find to be boundary pushing:

- Tara Iti- it's the closest thing to the wonder of those original photos of Cypress Point.  Mackenzie would even be blown away if he could come back for one last 18. 
- The Loop and Sedge Valley-  only an established architect could get the trust of developers to go for these concepts.  And luckily, we have an established architect who is dying to push boundaries... as long as someone will fund the ideas. 
- Ohoopee- sand belt like edging on the greenside bunkers, 22 holes, throwing out traditional notions of fairness under the guise of match play spirit, and the architect had the freedom to follow his fancy.  It is it's own thing. 
- West Palm Beach- Showing what public golf and South Florida golf can be.  Reminds me of how exciting and raw the old pics of Flynn's Boca Raton South looked.
- Old Barnwell- Brian and Blake have created an exciting fusion of the funkiness of Travis and Macdonald with their own natural styles.  I was blown away by the pics and it plays as good as it looks- very strategic and demanding enough to excite me.  The first hole sets the tone that it's something different. 
- Tree Farm- I don't think that I've ever seen a modern course with a bigger range of bunker styles and they all somehow make sense.  I think that aspect is brilliant.  It's purposely forgiving off the tee and difficult on the approaches, which just makes it fun.
- Silvies Ranch- reversible, but in a different method than the Loop.  It's an architect trying to do something different and not a project where he was just trying to follow the herd. 
- Sheep Ranch- the innovation was in the compact routing and the bunkerless design. 
- Red Feather- I haven't played it, but it looks unlike anything that I've ever seen.  Whether or not it proves to be a good course, they clearly tried to do something original.  It makes me want to travel to see it with high hopes.  I wouldn't feel that way if it looked like just another good course. 
- The Commons at SV (in process).  The Keiser Brothers are actively trying to think about ways to push boundaries- they aren't just stamping out what has already worked.  As a side note, their Court Tennis center (aka Royal Tennis/ Real Tennis) further proves that mindset.

Heavy renovations:
- Meadowbrook- I know that the style influence was WP Jr, but Andy had to invent so much of it and it stands out to me as being ambitious and well executed. 
- Bellair in Tampa- I really love all of the convex sandy mounds and the wire grass tufts and how wild they took the course.  Again, I think that it just proves that FL isn't a bad setting for golf, it's just that the courses were uninspired.
- Sequoyah (plan by Blasi)- I rendered out his renovation plan for the course and it's creative at hell.  I really hope that they adopt it without compromise.  It makes me realize how much potential some older courses on tight sites have with a little rearranging and a lot of fairway widening.

The modern architects have a lot going for them compared to the prior generation:
They are actually doing the architecture and in many cases, involved in the shaping.  They are insanely well traveled and have extensive historical architectural knowledge.  They are getting access to more remote sites with more features and sand.  Not as many projects have to be routed around residential lots. 

So I don't think that the next movement will sweep in quickly because the current kings of the Hill aren't standing pat, but they are pushing boundaries wherever they can.  And I also want to raise the point that the architects can only build what the developers will pay for.  If each architect won the powerball and could self fund, I think we'd see some pretty wild stuff. 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 01:55:34 AM by Peter Flory »

Ben Stephens

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2023, 03:03:49 AM »
Ian


+1 - I agree with what Ian has said. Its Design Evolution. Not only on golf courses other elements that we use in everyday life - the principles stay the same however the design has evolved whether it is better or follows the design style of the times.


If we were standing in year 2000 and imagining fast forward to 2025 - it has been one of the biggest evolution in a 25 year period towards minimalism and more creativity towards golf course design being more hands on with specialist shapers - will this last?

Fast forward from now to 2050 is a mystery - could it be AI and self driven machines which automatically shape to what was drawn on computer or by AI. Its a worrying concept in some ways that takes the designer out of the design control. AI does what the client wants - can it produce the imagination that the designer does more out of box approach - no.
[/size]
Some people may be very protective about their design approach and less willing to evolve with the times which may catch up with them. The key is to stay ahead in the game. The same goes for Architects, Car designers, product designers, fashion designers. I can't see Electric cars surviving in ten years time as we don't have enough batteries likewise golf courses in certain area lacking water.


Some products will be available in future such as graphene which hasn't come off yet as it is still in research and development stages. one can imagine a slender cantilever structure made out of graphene to create tees or even greens at some very awkward sites. I have heard someone is developing a graphene filter which turns sea water to fresh water by having very small holes which prevent the salt moving through it. Could it be a source of water for sea side courses - possibly.

Ben Stephens

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2023, 03:14:21 AM »
Ian,


Harbour Town is awesome piece of golf course architecture - Pete Dye plays with your head and the key to a good round is to put the ball in the right place on the fairway off the tee as if you are in the wrong place a tree or trees get in your way and you have to be creative in getting over or around the tree.


The greens are so so tiny which sets more premium accuracy on your second or third shots and the hazards around the greens come in play more.


Lastly - watch out for the gators!


Cheers
Ben

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2023, 06:47:53 AM »
I think there is no question that Tom himself was a visionary, using what he learnt to break away at 180 degrees from Pete Dyeís style (whilst holding many of his philosophies and working methods). Weíre also lucky that Tom himself still appears to want to try new concepts.


But itís just as well he does. Because no-one else is pushing him to.


Which is kinda Ianís point. When someone feels challenged or even usurped, they tend to pivot and try something new, interestingly so.


All that said, a question or two back to Ian: Are there really any good examples of what you seek in GCA? Dye brought something new. But did it raise RTJís game when he felt challenged? I donít think it did. He kept on doing the same thing with ever diminishing returnsÖ.


And when an architect gets given a fantastically undulating sandy site, is there really any sensible solution other than to be minimalist? In some ways, much of the minimalism Iím seeing isnít minimalistic enough for me! From a personal perspective, one thing Iíd like to see is the use of less sand on sandy sites. A little less loudness perhapsÖ.. Sometimes what an architect really needs is constraints put upon him, whether it be a small budget or a small site. Those constraints can force brave design decisions; part of the reason I hold The Loop in such high esteem.


Maybe - just maybe - we shouldnít be getting hung up on an overarching design philosophy. Perhaps the focus should be on the similarity of the development sites and model: All vast, remote resorts on sandy sub-soils. From afar, that can make the courses seem as similar as the actual design solution does.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 08:10:27 AM by Ally Mcintosh »

Thomas Dai

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2023, 07:52:03 AM »

Where there's a will there's a way.
With a bit of imagination and a soft specification ball, one that doesn't hurt or damage, golf can be played almost anywhere and at very minimal, potentially even no, cost.
At the end of the day it's a simple club, ball, hole game.
atb

Tim Gavrich

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2023, 03:51:33 PM »

The point about the last quarter-century seeing the biggest shift in GCA history is well-taken, but to what extent is it because of affirmative pushing of the art form by a changing cast of practitioners, and to what extent is it because our current ease of access to photography and information about the great old courses is a million miles ahead of where it was at the beginning of the century?

Having been fortunate to see a good sampling of the trendy new courses in recent years, I have found myself wondering when - or if - someone is going to build the next Harbour Town sometime soon. The hot-taker in me is skeptical that it'll ever happen because Harbour Town doesn't look nearly as sexy on Instagram as, say, Landmand does.


That's probably not a 100% fair take (and it's definitely more complicated than that), but toned-down aesthetics and small, subtle but still interesting features are decidedly not being prioritized on new courses or renovations at the moment. I see a lot of very beautifully edged, large bunkers guarding very big, very undulating greens and I instinctively think about how relatively refreshing the 55-year-old Harbour Town is by contrast.


Read any treatment of just about any new golf course or renovation and I'll bet you the number of synonyms for "loud" used in the essay dwarfs the number of synonyms for "quiet" being used.
Senior Writer, GolfPass

Tom_Doak

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2023, 05:54:56 PM »
And if weíre just talking about the last top 100 list, or the next one, thatís kind of a high bar youíre setting; you shouldnít be too surprised if there arenít many designers who can clear it.
We're not.


Tom,

I feel like you took this personally as some sort of a knock on you. Not the intention.
It's not about any of the great designers from this movement.

I'm not sure why I'm not allowed to want something else from golf architecture.

I like to explore different philosophies and approaches.
I'm back to exploring. It's what that blog from a long time ago was all about.


Ian,


I really didnít take it personally, and I hope you didnít, either.


I do think the whole discussion lacks context.  Pete Dye built Harbour Town when he was in his mid forties and he had about ten previous designs to his name.  He took a George Cobb routing for a typical flat and narrow development golf course, and used all of his own creative genius (plus some from Alice and Jack Nicklaus and Charles Price) to build something that stood out right away.  In theory, you or Ally or Mark could find a project like that and do the same thing, instead of just hoping someone else does.


But the other context is that Pete Dye did all of that in 1969 when the competition would have been places like Champions or Pine Tree or whatever forgettable course Mr Jones was building at that stage of his career.  Most would admit that the standard now is quite a bit higher and the cost of developing anything much greater, which makes it much harder to do something that stands out than it was in 1969.

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