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Re:This day in Dig it or Dig it Up History - Alister MacK.
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2004, 01:59:33 PM »
George - In my post I did not mean to intend anything as fact, and if that wasn't clear I expressly stated that in a post on page 2.

My comment about Friar's Head was a mirror of Tom's question "How do you know so much about maintenance" the implication is the same. I don't believe in the Muccian theory that you can't make innocuous observations on photos without playing the course. Nor, by the same token, do I think my relative knowledge of maintenance disqualifies me from making an observation, as Tom's post implied. Just trying to even the playing field.

Tom -

The analogy to the WTC or the FDR memorial (unbuilt and built, respectively) is valid and works on the very broad level I was employing. Like many comparisons, it of course can be disqualified the narrower you draw it (e.g. grass vs. brick, solemn place of memory vs. recreational construction).

I am not saying (nor did I ever say) what you attribute to me (to wit: that MacK. failed in his design, and that all non-strategic bunkers should be removed).

I think we are approaching this from a different perspective - I am trying to get to the root causes of altered golf courses, which at some point may require restorative work.  But at the same time, an architect, in view of maintenance practices bears some responsibility in creating the conditions for neglect and contributing to a shrinking bunker or an elimination of a hazard.

Do I think that is Mac's fault? no.
Do I think he failed? no.
Do I think that Lake Merced hole as pictured doesn't look marvelous? no.
Do I think that it appears there are some bunkers which are extraneous and contribute little to the play of the hole (notwithstanding the George P.'s of the world)? Yes.
Can I see why a club might want to cut down some of the bunkers for a variety of reasons (budget, time, etc.). Yes.

Mac. might not have foreseen that, i'll grant that. But it can be a lesson to modern architects, particularly in view of all of the evidence we have about how a course changes.

Take for instance this hole at Purgatory in Indiana.

It looks like this hole takes a lot in the way of upkeep. In a tough cycle, a club may find that it is justified in cutting some of the bunkers out, and, in doing so, not affect the playability of the hole.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2004, 02:00:09 PM by SPDB »


Re:This day in Dig it or Dig it Up History - Alister MacK.
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2004, 02:38:52 PM »
Tom MacW:

Did you read the Golf Illustrated articles of Ambrose about Behr's theories on the structural integrity of convexity vs concavity in golf architecture I pointed out to you in a post earlier today? Have you read any of what Behr said in his essays about the forces of Nature--wind and water--and the degrees of their destructive potential on various types of landforms (convex or concave)? If you have what do you think those articles and essays as they relate to the convex vs the concave in architecure and the forces of Nature meant?

Sure, a huge portion of Behr's philosophy in architecture had to do with architecture appearing natural to the golfer so he would be less critical of it and less willing to change it but do you seriously think that by that Behr meant that the golfer inherently preferred the convex over the concave in golf architecture or that the golfer preferred the concave "overlayed" by the convex in golf architecture or that the golfer inherently appreciated or even understood the forces of wind and water on landforms and was therefore less critical? Of course not.

That was Behr's point and premise about the structural integrity of golf architecture to render it more permanent! He pointed out Nature's own lines indicate that type of structural integrity if an architect is simply properly aware of it. That was Behr's point about the weakness of the concave vs the strength (protecting or otherwise) of the convex!

How could you miss that? What did you think he was referring to by it? This isn't that much different to me than somebody failing to understand 2+2=4. Must it be translated into 1+1+1+1=4?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2004, 02:44:42 PM by TEPaul »


Re:This day in Dig it or Dig it Up History - Alister MacK.
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2004, 06:13:05 PM »
Your comparisons are awkward in my opinion. First comparing a completed and long gone Lake Merced (without evidence of maintenance problems) to a working, yet to be constructed design for the WTC (where potential maintenance issues are being addressed).  Followed by the comparison of Lake Merced and the FDR Memorial—again neither with a history of maintenance problems (In your defense the NY Times article was a little misleading regarding the FDR which isn’t your fault).

And now the bizarre exchange as a result of my first maintenance question to you (which was inspired by your suggestion of digging up the bunkers based mostly on perceived maintenance issues).  And evidently my second maintenance question to you (when I asked you to expand your maintenance opinions/expertise to similar bunkers at SFGC, Oakland Hills and Friars Head).  I was frankly confused by your question to me about FH….I was trying to recall when I expressed a deep understanding of FH. But now I know it was meant to mirror my question to you—a little odd.

Again your analogies—WTC and FDR—do not seem to support your conclusions on a broad or narrow level. In fact they do just the opposite—both are examples of thoughtful and thorough design, the kind of designs you wouldn’t want to dig up.

IMO the bunkers at LM are strategic.

If you are trying to get to the root causes of altered golf courses…why didn’t you say so? But why would you select LM as your example--a course that was redesigned/compromised by a highway project? (I guess highway encroachment is a root cause)

“But at the same time, an architect, in view of maintenance practices bears some responsibility in creating the conditions for neglect and contributing to a shrinking bunker or an elimination of a hazard.” A broad statement which is often true, but it does not apply to LM as far as I can tell. Each situation should be evaluated individually, because each situation has different circumstances.

I don’t believe your hypothetical dealt with fault or failure, at least I didn’t read it that way. Your question was dig it or dig it up—pretty cut and dried.  IMO if a hazard has to be crossed and the hazard gives the golfer a thrill, then it is not extraneous and could easily contribute to the play of the hole and to the interest of the hole.

I too can see why a club might cut down on some bunkers and I can also see why a club might want to pay a little more to maintain bunkers. In this case LM certainly had SFGC right next door and Pasateimpo and CPC down the coast as models – they could see the pros and cons of bold bunkering. I believe they made the right choice hiring the Good Doctor with his proclivity for bold bunkering. I’m certain they knew what they were getting in to.

We do know one thing MacKenzie didn’t foresee….the new highway.

Yes I read the Amrose article, and I read the Behr article dealing with permanent architecture. I don’t believe he refers to structural integrity in either article, at least not directly.

Yes in the concave/convex article he says concave work does create practical drainage issues and the potential for a landslide. But his main argument seems to be that there is a psychological impression given off by concave and convex features. He says the concave green appears like it might slip away, whereas the convex green appears to be held in place by buttresses. Perhaps he is right. I’m not sure what to think…the convex example appears to have a concave green surrounded by hillocks.

In the article dealing with his theory of permanent architecture….he doesn’t mention structural integrity. Again he discusses a physiological impression given off by artificial and natural features….the artificial features prone to be rejected and ultimately altered because they are unnatural and vice versa with the natural features. Ironically Ambrose suggested the bunker Behr designed (in the Golf Illustrated article) was unnatural in appearance.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2004, 06:14:50 PM by Tom MacWood »


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