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Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2023, 06:19:09 PM »
I think there is no question that Tom himself was a visionary, using what he learnt to break away at 180 degrees from Pete Dye’s style (whilst holding many of his philosophies and working methods). We’re also lucky that Tom himself still appears to want to try new concepts.


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


Which is kinda Ian’s 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 RTJ’s game when he felt challenged? I don’t think it did. He kept on doing the same thing with ever diminishing returns….


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 I’m seeing isn’t minimalistic enough for me! From a personal perspective, one thing I’d like to see is the use of less sand on sandy sites. A little less loudness perhaps….. 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 shouldn’t 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.


Ally:


All of the praise which I feel compelled to deflect notwithstanding, I agree with your post and especially that there is too much focus on minimalism and not enough on what we actually do (which few writers understand).


On some of my minimalist designs every square inch had to be reshaped- either because they were flat and had to be drained, or completely covered with trees that had to be cleared and grubbed.  Tara Iti was one of the latter.  I wish I could’ve built it as simply as High Pointe v1.0 or St Andrews Beach or my new project in north Texas, but we had to shape and revegetate EVERYTHING.


The one thing I question as feasible is people wanting sites like that or like St Patrick’s to feature less sand.  I am of a like mind to Sean that there are too many bunkers on most courses today, but you’ve got to stop making fairway somewhere, and usually you need a transition from tight turf to lost ball country.  On a sandy site, what else would you consider?  Bigger areas of irrigated and mowed rough?  We actually discussed that for Te Arai North, but the sexier sand and short grass approach was what the client preferred.


I do think one of the main problems today is that sites are so big and designers are afraid to put holes close together, so there are a lot of decisions about what goes in between, and everyone makes the same choice.  There are about eight holes on our new Florida course that I’ve put deliberately close together to try and mimic the feel of a real links, and I’m just hoping I got them close enough.

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2023, 06:44:48 PM »
I have more traditional links and US Golden Age courses among my favorites than those designed in the past 30 years (although the C&C and Doak courses that I have played really are really good). But my question after thinking about this thread is which architects/styles/philosophy are the basis/inspiration for doing something different now that is better than what the “minimalists” have given us? And what directions would that design take?

I would also note that Hanse frequently is grouped with C&C and Doak. I have played only three of his original designs but minimalist is not the term I would use.



Thanks.


Ira


« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 06:51:50 PM by Ira Fishman »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2023, 06:57:54 PM »
There is one more topic I’d like to address here - Ian’s original idea of creative tension, on a personal level.


A hundred years from now, if anyone still cares about golf architecture, perhaps someone who never knew me will speculate about what drove my best designs.  Maybe they’ll think that losing out on the job in Rio (or at Mammoth Dunes) pissed me off and caused me to double down on my effort for those next few projects, which included Streamsong and Tara Iti and The Loop.  (And maybe it’s true that to some degree Mammoth Dunes begat The Lido and Sedge Valley, but it wasn’t personal.)


I’d just like to throw out an opposing view here:  what if my best projects actually happened when I was the happiest and most inspired?  Obviously your first opportunity to design a course provides a lot of inspiration as High Pointe did for me.  I was building Stonewall when my son was a baby; and started Pacific Dunes right after I got my divorce settled and met my future wife.  What if Streamsong and Tara Iti and The Loop (and all of my current projects) were inspired not by fear of competition, but gratitude for still being able to find good projects after the crash of 2008 and the pandemic, when I had time to reflect on what I really wanted out of my later career?


I mean, yeah, you can take motivation from all kinds of different sources, but in the end the ability to act on any of it comes from what’s inside you.  Blake Conant sent me a link to an interview with the music producer/guru Rick Rubin a couple of months ago, which I really enjoyed.  In the end, he said that great work can’t be produced when you’ve got directors and bean counters and strategists advising you on what to do; it only comes when everyone involved loves what they are doing and makes every decision on that basis.  And that’s what I’ve seen for forty years - the best projects are the ones where everybody was having fun.

Ben Sims

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2023, 07:01:59 PM »
Ian, I just spent the weekend on something new.


Old Barnwell.


What Brian and Blake have done there IS distinct and new. Sure, the tenants of fun  and strategic architecture are there as they are on many modern courses that those guys have worked on. But I say again, the course *IS* distinct and different. It’s deliberate and thoughtful while not being obsessive about burying the lede (pun intended).


I’m sure someone will argue it’s more of the same. But I’d need to see a lot more Walter Travis, National Golf Links, a handful of heathland courses, and perhaps Garden City to understand that argument. It felt very new and different to me.



Ian Andrew

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2023, 07:18:05 PM »
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.

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.
I certainly accept the premise that the current crop of developers have certain expectations and that makes it harder to do the opposite. I guess ... here's hoping the next great golf entrepreneur doesn't want to follow the same playbook.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 07:25:07 PM by Ian Andrew »
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Ian Andrew

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2023, 07:22:55 PM »
Ian, I just spent the weekend on something new.
Old Barnwell.

What Brian and Blake have done there IS distinct and new. Sure, the tenants of fun  and strategic architecture are there as they are on many modern courses that those guys have worked on. But I say again, the course *IS* distinct and different. It’s deliberate and thoughtful while not being obsessive about burying the lede (pun intended).

I’m sure someone will argue it’s more of the same. But I’d need to see a lot more Walter Travis, National Golf Links, a handful of heathland courses, and perhaps Garden City to understand that argument. It felt very new and different to me.
Booked along with Tree Farm and Harbourtown for December. I wanted to see this from the moment I heard Brian and Blake had the opportunity. I know a Travis trip he made certainly inspired him. I would love to see how much.
-

Daryl David

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2023, 07:33:15 PM »
There is one more topic I’d like to address here - Ian’s original idea of creative tension, on a personal level.


A hundred years from now, if anyone still cares about golf architecture, perhaps someone who never knew me will speculate about what drove my best designs.  Maybe they’ll think that losing out on the job in Rio (or at Mammoth Dunes) pissed me off and caused me to double down on my effort for those next few projects, which included Streamsong and Tara Iti and The Loop.  (And maybe it’s true that to some degree Mammoth Dunes begat The Lido and Sedge Valley, but it wasn’t personal.)


I’d just like to throw out an opposing view here:  what if my best projects actually happened when I was the happiest and most inspired?  Obviously your first opportunity to design a course provides a lot of inspiration as High Pointe did for me.  I was building Stonewall when my son was a baby; and started Pacific Dunes right after I got my divorce settled and met my future wife.  What if Streamsong and Tara Iti and The Loop (and all of my current projects) were inspired not by fear of competition, but gratitude for still being able to find good projects after the crash of 2008 and the pandemic, when I had time to reflect on what I really wanted out of my later career?


I mean, yeah, you can take motivation from all kinds of different sources, but in the end the ability to act on any of it comes from what’s inside you.  Blake Conant sent me a link to an interview with the music producer/guru Rick Rubin a couple of months ago, which I really enjoyed.  In the end, he said that great work can’t be produced when you’ve got directors and bean counters and strategists advising you on what to do; it only comes when everyone involved loves what they are doing and makes every decision on that basis.  And that’s what I’ve seen for forty years - the best projects are the ones where everybody was having fun.


Thanks Tom. Great post. I think that theory probably applies to lots of good work, whether in golf course design or business or life in general. It comes from the inside and it really helps to have everyone around you that loves and is passionated about the work. Good insight.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2023, 08:04:27 PM »

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.
I certainly accept the premise that the current crop of developers have certain expectations and that makes it harder to do the opposite. I guess ... here's hoping the next great golf entrepreneur doesn't want to follow the same playbook.


There is a focus on high profile developers but Sea Pines Plantation wasn’t that UNTIL they let Mr Dye loose.


But to your other point the only developers who seem to want to break through the Mike Keiser mold are . . . Michael Keiser, and Ben Cowan-Dewar.  I’ve talked about it with both of them quite a bit.  One side of them longs to give the next generation a chance - like Michael’s dad did at Bandon - but it’s hard for them to go that direction as long as the guys they’re comfortable with keep producing winners.  And they’re among the clients who are letting me do something different.

Mark_Fine

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2023, 09:20:50 PM »
It is hard to argue with or criticize the success of many of today’s great architects.  They have without question, designed and built some of the most brilliant golf courses.  It is also hard to criticize a developer who sees a successful formula and doesn’t want to risk wavering from it.  But in the most innovative businesses, the true visionaries never say, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”  Instead they follow the principle, “If it’s not broke, you didn’t look hard enough, fix it anyway.”  That is how innovation happens and it is hard to do in GCA. It is why we all for example have a smart phone in our back pocket :) Steve Jobs thought everything was broke and it all needed change and fixing. 


This is not really GCA innovation, but I saw a course the other day that had three holes/pins on each green.  Turns out you could play to any of them with out declaring.  An innovative way to make the game more fun.  Apparently someone (maybe the Head Pro) thought that having only one hole on a green was a broken idea and needed fixing.  A purist will shake their head but the course was packed :)

Greg Hohman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2023, 07:22:31 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.
"Allen, I have questions in the context of Matta-Clark's 'Fake Estates.'"
newmonumentsgc.com

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2023, 06:23:49 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 Dye’s style (whilst holding many of his philosophies and working methods). We’re also lucky that Tom himself still appears to want to try new concepts.


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


Which is kinda Ian’s 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 RTJ’s game when he felt challenged? I don’t think it did. He kept on doing the same thing with ever diminishing returns….


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 I’m seeing isn’t minimalistic enough for me! From a personal perspective, one thing I’d like to see is the use of less sand on sandy sites. A little less loudness perhaps….. 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 shouldn’t 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.


Ally:


All of the praise which I feel compelled to deflect notwithstanding, I agree with your post and especially that there is too much focus on minimalism and not enough on what we actually do (which few writers understand).


On some of my minimalist designs every square inch had to be reshaped- either because they were flat and had to be drained, or completely covered with trees that had to be cleared and grubbed.  Tara Iti was one of the latter.  I wish I could’ve built it as simply as High Pointe v1.0 or St Andrews Beach or my new project in north Texas, but we had to shape and revegetate EVERYTHING.


The one thing I question as feasible is people wanting sites like that or like St Patrick’s to feature less sand.  I am of a like mind to Sean that there are too many bunkers on most courses today, but you’ve got to stop making fairway somewhere, and usually you need a transition from tight turf to lost ball country.  On a sandy site, what else would you consider?  Bigger areas of irrigated and mowed rough?  We actually discussed that for Te Arai North, but the sexier sand and short grass approach was what the client preferred.


I do think one of the main problems today is that sites are so big and designers are afraid to put holes close together, so there are a lot of decisions about what goes in between, and everyone makes the same choice.  There are about eight holes on our new Florida course that I’ve put deliberately close together to try and mimic the feel of a real links, and I’m just hoping I got them close enough.


I never came back on your response to sandy sites:


For St. Patrick’s, I see four kinds of open sand, three of which make perfect sense to me:


1. Existing blowouts. Leave that to nature to take its course
2. Created “bunkers”. Nothing wrong with the number or look. In fact, everything right
3. The man-made sand scars from Nicklaus construction. This - for me - is my favourite part of the design. To see how the elements had shaped them over 15 years and then to incorporate them in to holes such as 5 and 6 was very sensible.
4. The construction scars created to transplant marram. These are the ones that I’d like to see disappear. And through natural succession, most will over time.


In a place like Tara Iti, where the entire site had to be cleared and open sand was what remained, it also seemed to be the sensible (and easiest / cheapest) solution to leave all that sand off the fairways. However, it actually makes the fairways look more manufactured or artificial. If that site was left to the elements, I’m sure it would end up all grass in 50 years time.


That is what would happen to most sites. That’s why we don’t see all those open sand scars we used to on our classic links courses. Everything succeeds to vegetation in those climates.


Therefore whilst loads of open sand may look cool on opening, it is - counterintuitively - a less natural solution. Almost all of these sandy courses will look very different in two generations time if they are maintained minimally and $’s aren’t pumped in to keep them sandy.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2023, 09:08:27 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hanley Common, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2023, 09:17:07 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao


I disagree Sean. Links golf was first played exactly because it needed no intervention.


Of course there is room in architecture for all sorts. That all sorts just doesn’t seem to extend to going minimal with sand on sandy sites right now… so for me, that doesn’t equal all sorts.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2023, 09:29:30 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao


I disagree Sean. Links golf was first played exactly because it needed no intervention.


Of course there is room in architecture for all sorts. That all sorts just doesn’t seem to extend to going minimal with sand on sandy sites right now… so for me, that doesn’t equal all sorts.


Does minimal include lay of the greens? Are you talking about the illusion of minimal? Cuz I don’t see 100 or 150 reverted pot bunkers as minimal.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hanley Common, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2023, 09:52:05 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao


I disagree Sean. Links golf was first played exactly because it needed no intervention.


Of course there is room in architecture for all sorts. That all sorts just doesn’t seem to extend to going minimal with sand on sandy sites right now… so for me, that doesn’t equal all sorts.


Does minimal include lay of the greens? Are you talking about the illusion of minimal? Cuz I don’t see 100 or 150 reverted pot bunkers as minimal.


Ciao


I’m talking about huge amounts of sand being used on sandy sites and how it is the default position with most all designs right now - that is pretty obvious for everyone to see…..  If you want to keep on arguing other points, please go ahead (incidentally the square footage of sand on links courses with 120 pot bunkers is a lot less than just about any modern design but again, that is not where I was going).


Regardless, I’ve little else to add.




« Last Edit: November 13, 2023, 10:07:58 AM by Ally Mcintosh »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2023, 10:25:18 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao


I disagree Sean. Links golf was first played exactly because it needed no intervention.


Of course there is room in architecture for all sorts. That all sorts just doesn’t seem to extend to going minimal with sand on sandy sites right now… so for me, that doesn’t equal all sorts.


Does minimal include lay of the greens? Are you talking about the illusion of minimal? Cuz I don’t see 100 or 150 reverted pot bunkers as minimal.


Ciao


I’m talking about huge amounts of sand being used on sandy sites and how it is the default position with most all designs right now - that is pretty obvious for everyone to see…..  If you want to keep on arguing other points, please go ahead (incidentally the square footage of sand on links courses with 120 pot bunkers is a lot less than just about any modern design but again, that is not where I was going).


Regardless, I’ve little else to add.


Ally


Your reasoning against sandy waste areas is they are not usually natural. I am merely pointing out that much links is not natural. I would argue that revetted pot bunkers are likely the least natural aspect of links...or perhaps the large manufactured greens. We accept obviously man made stuff in design all the time. I am unsure why waste areas should be the line in the sand. The natural argument doesn't strike me as particularly robust. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hanley Common, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2023, 10:36:06 AM »
Ally,


From your other posts, I do not get the sense that you are opposed to minimalism or that you do not highly value the values of building on sand. Rather it seems that you are concerned that the trend is toward (a) too wide fairways and (b) too large bunkers/sand waste areas. I understand those concerns. My question is what pre the current era courses do you think are good models or inspirations for designs that differ from the trends that you have identified.


Thanks.


Ira

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2023, 10:48:24 AM »
If golf courses were left to the elements they cease to be golf courses. I will never fully understand the obsessive need to delineate between natural and man-made. There is room in architecture for all sorts….and great examples of all sorts.

Ciao


I disagree Sean. Links golf was first played exactly because it needed no intervention.


Of course there is room in architecture for all sorts. That all sorts just doesn’t seem to extend to going minimal with sand on sandy sites right now… so for me, that doesn’t equal all sorts.


Couple of comments.


Revetting on golf courses likely came in when it was used to stabilise the edges of existing exposed sandy areas to prevent further erosion. An example would be Hell bunker on the Old Course. So while on day 1 the average links course might not have needed tweaking it would likely have needed ongoing maintenance to keep it the way it was at the inception of the course. Lets also not forget that the links was suitable for golf in the first place because man had been grazing livestock on it beforehand, and continued to do so afterwards.


Re creating sandy waste areas. Yes, creating sandy waste features is a bit of a thing at present but it is my understanding that a lot of it goes hand in hand with clearing out invasive species such as buckthorn and gorse. Kind of like making a virtue out of a "necessity".


Niall 

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2023, 11:16:39 AM »
I wasn’t really referring to links courses. Others took the conversation there.


But Niall - yes revetting was introduced as a way of controlling the formal edges of bunkers. But that aside, links land moves more to grass than sand as time goes on. That’s why trying to save the mobile dune at Balmedie was such a big deal.


Look at most modern builds (non links) on sandy soil and there is a huge amount of sand introduced to provide drama and contrast. It is a thing right now. I’d like to see some sites restrain themselves on the use of sand rather than just add, add, add. That was my point.


EDIT: Just seeing Sean and Ira’s last response - Ira correct. Sean is just twisting words. My original point had zero to do with minimalism and its primary focus was not about being natural. It was about variety, the essence of this thread. It just so happens that the variety I was looking for is the more natural state.


Ira - I think most courses built on sand 100 years ago have less sand now than they did. That is just nature following the easiest path. But it is also due to the easiest maintenance practices. Hence we are now going through restorations to bring many courses back to their former glory, a glory that was a moment in time and may not have lasted for long. What if we jump straight to the less sand solution but through interesting design rather than the easiest maintenance practices (such as e.g. rounding edges, reducing size etc…)? That way we may not have to focus on another round of restorations 80 years from now.

Out.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2023, 02:31:56 PM by Ally Mcintosh »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2023, 03:44:09 PM »
I wasn’t really referring to links courses. Others took the conversation there.


But Niall - yes revetting was introduced as a way of controlling the formal edges of bunkers. But that aside, links land moves more to grass than sand as time goes on. That’s why trying to save the mobile dune at Balmedie was such a big deal.


Look at most modern builds (non links) on sandy soil and there is a huge amount of sand introduced to provide drama and contrast. It is a thing right now. I’d like to see some sites restrain themselves on the use of sand rather than just add, add, add. That was my point.


EDIT: Just seeing Sean and Ira’s last response - Ira correct. Sean is just twisting words. My original point had zero to do with minimalism and its primary focus was not about being natural. It was about variety, the essence of this thread. It just so happens that the variety I was looking for is the more natural state.


Ira - I think most courses built on sand 100 years ago have less sand now than they did. That is just nature following the easiest path. But it is also due to the easiest maintenance practices. Hence we are now going through restorations to bring many courses back to their former glory, a glory that was a moment in time and may not have lasted for long. What if we jump straight to the less sand solution but through interesting design rather than the easiest maintenance practices (such as e.g. rounding edges, reducing size etc…)? That way we may not have to focus on another round of restorations 80 years from now.

Out.

You made minimalist/naturalism]claims based on maintenance. Sandy wastes would revert to grass. So would pot bunkers or any bunkers. I don’t see the point of your argument other than you don’t like what you see as the overuse of sandy wastes. I don’t disagree, but my angle is more from the idea that sand is overused. This is a playability, aesthetic and most of all variety argument, not something based on 59 years later vegetation will take over, hence naturalism (mother nature) is eventually achieved

Any restoration must be centred around a point in time. In a sense, it makes sense to strip courses back to sand with the idea that going forward less water and chemicals will be applied, not least because there is less maintained grass to worry about. This is more or less what I think is the concept behind the Pinehurst reno. Although, I believe too much grass was removed, probably because of its championship status. I don’t see an inherent issue with the sandy areas so long as the maintenance budget is viable. If not, so 50 years later the process starts again. It’s not as if clubs won’t muck around after that amount of time. It’s more about human nature than mither nature.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hanley Common, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sam Kestin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2023, 06:37:21 PM »
Is there an argument to be made that economic factors create a natural opposition to more original design concepts?


There is always risk inherent in spending a ton of time/money bringing something original to any market (golf or otherwise). We need look no farther than the entertainment industry to see the commercial incentive in eschewing a new idea to film another edition of the Fast and the Furious 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Why take a chance producing a movie you have no empirical reason to believe will sell when you can double down on franchises with an established track record of commercial success?


It's relatively "safe" and "proven" that certain architectural styles will be well-received if they are reasonably well executed. It's not hard for me to imagine project developers nudging their architects towards design themes/concepts that float in the jet stream of established successful trends.


I'm curious to hear from some of the developers/architects who lurk around this board as to whether this suspicion is well-founded.


Do the architects here often experience having their original (or quirky, wacky, etc) ideas shot down in favor of more conservative choices the owner/developers feel more confident will be commercially successful?

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2023, 07:10:49 PM »

There is always risk inherent in spending a ton of time/money bringing something original to any market (golf or otherwise). We need look no farther than the entertainment industry to see the commercial incentive in eschewing a new idea to film another edition of the Fast and the Furious 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Why take a chance producing a movie you have no empirical reason to believe will sell when you can double down on franchises with an established track record of commercial success?

It's relatively "safe" and "proven" that certain architectural styles will be well-received if they are reasonably well executed. It's not hard for me to imagine project developers nudging their architects towards design themes/concepts that float in the jet stream of established successful trends.

I'm curious to hear from some of the developers/architects who lurk around this board as to whether this suspicion is well-founded.

Do the architects here often experience having their original (or quirky, wacky, etc) ideas shot down in favor of more conservative choices the owner/developers feel more confident will be commercially successful?




"Shot down" is the wrong word . . . "discouraged" is more appropriate.  But yes, many times clients are nervous when we really put ourselves out there for something that's a bit wild or unusual.


The question is whether one is willing to push back for what they believe is the right design.  Some do, some don't; the majority get more agreeable as they get older. 


The saddest part is that many others just don't even try what they really want to do, and instead do what they think will be successful, or what the client or the market wants.


One of the reasons I'm still more inclined to push back is that when working on Old Macdonald and Lido, the very same sorts of things the client would normally push back on if they were "my" ideas were suddenly cool, because they were undeniably in tune with C.B. Macdonald's ideas.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2023, 07:16:44 PM »

Look at most modern builds (non links) on sandy soil and there is a huge amount of sand introduced to provide drama and contrast. It is a thing right now. I’d like to see some sites restrain themselves on the use of sand rather than just add, add, add. That was my point.





Ally:


I don't understand your perspective here.


At Lido, or at Te Arai (North), everything was sand once we cleared the pine plantations.  We did not "introduce" sand or "add" it . . . we just didn't want to spend even more money converting that sand back to "native" vegetation or to grass.


In recent years I have worked on very few projects where you could just leave the native growth outside of the fairways:  we left quite a bit at The Loop, and tried to leave a lot at Sedge Valley, though they have thinned it out quite a bit to our dismay.


Also to the point, in America, anyway, "unmaintained" areas require a lot more maintenance effort than people understand.  I remember the first time I was at Pine Valley, the greenkeeper told me they spent more of their maintenance budget off the grass, than on it.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #48 on: November 15, 2023, 10:36:18 PM »

Look at most modern builds (non links) on sandy soil and there is a huge amount of sand introduced to provide drama and contrast. It is a thing right now. I’d like to see some sites restrain themselves on the use of sand rather than just add, add, add. That was my point.





Ally:


I don't understand your perspective here.


At Lido, or at Te Arai (North), everything was sand once we cleared the pine plantations.  We did not "introduce" sand or "add" it . . . we just didn't want to spend even more money converting that sand back to "native" vegetation or to grass.


In recent years I have worked on very few projects where you could just leave the native growth outside of the fairways:  we left quite a bit at The Loop, and tried to leave a lot at Sedge Valley, though they have thinned it out quite a bit to our dismay.


Also to the point, in America, anyway, "unmaintained" areas require a lot more maintenance effort than people understand.  I remember the first time I was at Pine Valley, the greenkeeper told me they spent more of their maintenance budget off the grass, than on it.


Tom,


We are in violent agreement. You are reiterating exactly what I said above referencing Tara Iti - both the point that leaving sand there was the cheapest / easiest solution and the point that keeping that maintained as sand in the future will not be the cheapest ongoing solution.


It is always tempting for folks to suppose that I am referring to Tom Doak or Bill Coore courses when I refer to “modern design”. But often I am talking about the trends they (you) have created through their success. Most architects these days are using sand far more as a texture choice than they did 30 years ago, whether it be Norman in Vietnam, Ebert on links courses or any number of modern designers who have been emboldened to add - sometimes contrived looking - sand in place of roughs to the side of fairways.


To the point of the thread, I actually think a creative choice right now would be to take a sandy site and NOT expose acres and acres of sand, if only to kick against the norm.

Sam Kestin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Creative Tension
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2023, 11:29:20 PM »

"Shot down" is the wrong word . . . "discouraged" is more appropriate.  But yes, many times clients are nervous when we really put ourselves out there for something that's a bit wild or unusual.

The question is whether one is willing to push back for what they believe is the right design.  Some do, some don't; the majority get more agreeable as they get older. 


The saddest part is that many others just don't even try what they really want to do, and instead do what they think will be successful, or what the client or the market wants.



@Tom--without asking you to breach any confidences, I'd love to hear some examples of this at both ends of the spectrum.


What were some wild/unusual ideas you abandoned due to discouragement from owners/developers?


What were other ideas that met resistance but made it through to the final product?

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