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corey miller

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quirk in design
« on: March 24, 2003, 12:54:29 PM »
One of our esteemed raters made the comment the other day in regards to others raters, that they may judge courses based on "quirk or such touchy feely components"

Is quirk a touchy feely component?  Should it be considered like traditon, walking policy, clubhouse, snapper soup?

I've always just considered it a cool, unique feature that I am unlikely to ever see somewhere else.  What is wrong with that?  Jefferson's Monticello is perhaps the most renowned private residence in America and it is mostly "quirk".

Perhaps 18 holes of "quirk" is overload but often it is holes like Friars Head 9, Sand Hills 14, Fenway 15, Yale 18, Ekwanok 7, NSWales 5,14 that i can't get out of my head.  What is so wrong with that?

Also could their be any validity to the premise that we think the old quirk features are neat because they were discovered and incorporated into the hole(or could not be changed) while modern design with "fairness doctrine" generally bulldozes quirk out with the result being the only quirk left in modern design often is the result of environmental constraints?  Or am I just looking for a reason to favor the classics?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Matt_Ward

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2003, 01:12:29 PM »
Corey:

I guess I am the subject in question -- right?

Corey, I like quirk (within moderation) because all of golf CANNOT be conventional or what I would call as being your basic design aspects. A quirk can often add to the uniqueness of a course because it is often so unpredictable. But overdosing on quirk can become rather annoying because I am a firm believe that some element of fairness must be a part of golf. To be clear I am not saying that total justice must be served on all shots and in all situations. But, quirk should not become the dominant characteristic either which in turn would turn golf as game of skill to a game of simple luck.

Sometimes many of the old time courses were unable to deal with land the way one does in modern times. Nothing wrong with that because that's what makes them so special. Take the 18th at Yale -- would such a hole be built today? I enjoy it for what it is but I also believe having an overload of such things can be a bit much.

A more modern example is the former "jaws" hole at Stone Harbor in Stone Harbor, NJ. Here the Desmond Muirhead layout put together a hole that was literally over the top. It was fun -- it was altogether quirky because it was so unpredictable. What's really funny is how certain people on GCA have such disdain for what Muirhead did but if you changed the last name of the designer from Muirhead to say Ross, Tillie or even C&C such a situation would be looked upon a bit differently. Makes you wonder how they define and apply quirk?

Corey, I have not played all of the specific holes you mentioned, but from those that I have I really enjoyed the unique qualities they possess. The key being this -- the quirk was added to elevate the qualities of the course and is not REDUNDANTLY CARRIED ON AND ON AND ON!

There are quite a few courses in Westchester and even the Island and Jersey where you see a quirk aspect with the routing / hole layout and it does quite well. I also realize that too much of modern golf follows the formula of a McDonald's Happy Meal where everything is so nondescript and formulaic.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2003, 01:16:19 PM »
Corey:

What Matt meant to say and tried to in a roundabout way was what's called;

"esoteric and eccentric aspects"
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

George Pazin

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2003, 02:18:11 PM »
Desmond's efforts aside, what courses have quirk in such abundance as to make it redundant?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:03 PM by -1 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Tim_Weiman

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2003, 02:30:39 PM »
Matt Ward:

I have the same question that George Pazin just raised. Where can you find a course that has too much "quirk"?

While I agree it is highly unlikely anyone would build something like #18 at Yale, overall I don't find the course has too much "quirk". Character? Yes. Too much quirk? No.

If I had to answer George's question, I might nominate Prestwick as the course most loaded with quirk. But, I also can't think of many courses more fun to play.

Any thoughts on where one will find too much quirk? Any theoretical ideas on how many quirky holes are too many?


George Pazin:

Add Dooks as one of the most quirky places in golf. It is also one of my favorite. A good Irish friend of mine described Dooks as follows: "Dooks is really cool.....it doesn't deserve to be....it just is".

You won't find it on any lists, but play it on a nice summer afternoon and you'll think you found the perfect place to retire.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Michael Dugger

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2003, 02:37:10 PM »
wasn't this a topic just a week or so ago??
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2003, 02:54:21 PM »
mdugger,
Yes, there was. I think Tim Weiman (was it you?) mentioned the mole on Marilyn's cheek as an example. I have since found out that she had an even quirkier feature- six toes on each foot !!!! Makes you stop and think.  ;D

Matt,
You opined
Quote
What's really funny is how certain people on GCA have such disdain for what Muirhead did but if you changed the last name of the designer from Muirhead to say Ross, Tillie or even C&C such a situation would be looked upon a bit differently. Makes you wonder how they define and apply quirk?

Now, that's just not the case. And anyway, how did quirk become such a blatant man made fabrication such as the Muirhead hole?  Holes like Yale's 18th derive their quirk from circumstances, as you suggested, they aren't contrived.
Muirhead wasn't going for quirk, at least not from what I've seen of his writings.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

TEPaul

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2003, 06:47:48 PM »
I would say Misquamicut in RI is high quirk. There're 5-6 holes on that course that no one would dare build today and they're some of the most fun and interesting holes on the golf course.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2003, 07:00:34 PM »
"A more modern example is the former "jaws" hole at Stone Harbor in Stone Harbor, NJ. Here the Desmond Muirhead layout put together a hole that was literally over the top. It was fun -- it was altogether quirky because it was so unpredictable. What's really funny is how certain people on GCA have such disdain for what Muirhead did but if you changed the last name of the designer from Muirhead to say Ross, Tillie or even C&C such a situation would be looked upon a bit differently. Makes you wonder how they define and apply quirk?"

Matt:

That statement is positively and utterly not true for a number of reasons. First of all, none of Stone Harbor and certainly not #6 (Jaws hole) could be remotely called "quirk". Incredibly, radically, over the top, man-made looking, symbolic architecture perhaps, but definitely not "quirk". Secondly, if C&C, Tillie or Ross, did something like that they would have been just as criticized and considered controversial as Desmond Muirhead was for it. And thirdly, none of those three would have EVER designed anything like that--not even remotely close.

And finally, since it was so odd, radical and completely different I think it should be restored to original!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Sweeney

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2003, 08:18:24 PM »

Quote
Now, that's just not the case. And anyway, how did quirk become such a blatant man made fabrication such as the Muirhead hole?  Holes like Yale's 18th derive their quirk from circumstances, as you suggested, they aren't contrived.
Muirhead wasn't going for quirk, at least not from what I've seen of his writings.  

Matt,

I don't like to pile on, but Jim's point is a very good one in a comparison of Stone Harbor vs Yale. I have not been to SH in a few years as there are so many better choices these days at The Shore. However, while the Jaws hole is gone, I assume that the 2nd is still basically the same. How many times have I hit a basically straight ball down that fairway, and it bounces right and catches that water where it blindly creeps back in? As the hole was completely manufactured by bulldozer, it is just bad design.

18 and 10 at Yale play over the same two ridges, just in opposite ways. You can argue that the split fairway on 18 is manufactured quirk, but the basic 18th hole was there before CB and Raynor showed up.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

T_MacWood

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2003, 06:33:17 AM »
Quirk is a bi-product of an architect collaborating with Nature. Quirk has long been a part of the adventure of golf going back to the earliest links laid out with little or no man-made improvements. The best architects of the first decades of the 20th C. were products of these golf courses, they understood the positive effect of naturally inspired quirk. It has been said they were forced to accept quirk due to technical limitations, not true, it was philosophical choice. Just as today many architects choose to focus on playability and presenting idealized (hyper-natural) aesthetic. These same designers often view quirk negatively, preferring to control or dictate every detail. The result IMO is usually less interesting and less fun.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

RT

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2003, 06:37:36 AM »
Well put Tom.

RT
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2003, 06:42:17 AM »
"However, while the Jaws hole is gone,"

The notable "Jaws" hole at Stone Harbor is not gonel. All that was done is the teeth were filed off and the sharks jaws were gently closed onto each side of the green (the bunkers are no longer separated by water).
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Mike_Sweeney

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2003, 07:03:48 AM »

Quote
"However, while the Jaws hole is gone,"

The notable "Jaws" hole at Stone Harbor is not gonel. All that was done is the teeth were filed off and the sharks jaws were gently closed onto each side of the green (the bunkers are no longer separated by water).

Tom,

I think I hear Desmond Muirhead turning over in his grave ;) I fished for 6 summers as a kid off of Cape May, and I can tell you the only thing close to Jaws in South Jersey is 80 miles offshore in the Wilmington and Baltimore canyons. DM would be deeply saddened to know that you have made a comparison of the old Jaws hole and its replacement.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Matt_Ward

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2003, 10:03:53 AM »
Gentlemen:

I define quirk is being "unpredictable" and clearly out of the norm. What is the norm? I define that by some allegiance to the proposition that the good shot is rewarded and the poor shot is penalized proportionally to the manner in which it is executed. If I believe correctly isn't that what good design tries to do?

I am very aware (please do not remind me for the upteeeeeenth time) that complete justice is not what quality design is all about -- the vagaries of the game are well respected and appreciated by me even if I'm not a convert to the esoteric and eccentric aspects of design -- I'll let all of you who profess to this apply your own definition.

If quirk introduces the manner of unpredictability as the dominant aspect of that design then you don't have a well designed course, in my opinion. Look, there are guys on this site who really enjoy the quirky stuff -- the kind of holes where goofy outcomes are likely to be the norm. My feeling is simple -- knock yourself guys and swing away.

Jim Kennedy and Mike Sweeney:

Who is to say that quirk cannot be man made? Can't man be part of that circumstance? Must it just be the handiwork of nature? I define quirk as being the handiwork of either nature or man. A number of the older "classic" courses (love to get some sort of defintion on that term -- you know, I'll start a thread today and see what all of the guru's out there think!) were built on diffficult landforms -- heck, if you look at many of the courses built in Westchester you'll see plenty of them that weave and bob around rock croppings and the like.

One of the key things to remember is how there is such a fine line between quirk and the following ...

sporty
tricky
gimmick

People use the word quirk to imply some sort of unique and refreshing aspect in design. I take the more pragmatic approach because golf is still a game about shots and having some sort of feedback to the manner in which you play those shots. It's not just about architecture in a vacuum. One example that's not used today is the par-3 at Engineer's on the Island -- the old 2 pr 20 hole. Yes, it was a fun hole, but imagine having 18 of these types of holes in the round. Oh sure, that would be plenty of fun. ::)

The TPC at Sawgrass was made up of a number of quirky holes in its original state. I happened to have the opportunity to have played the course about a year after it opened and if they left it in the same position I don't how many people would enjoy the experience.

I'll say this again -- I don't care how a hole is designed PROVIDED there is a tie-in to what the game is about -- making shots as needed and getting some sort of consistent feedback based on the manner and the execution level you demonstrate. If a hole bases its value on complete luck or the predominance of it -- you can call it quirk if you like -- I would use another term and you can pick from the three I highlighted above -- sporty, tricky and gimmick.

Mike S:

FYI -- I happen to like the 2nd at Stone Harbor (I've never seen a ball "straight down the fairway" hop dead right into the H20 if properly played -- maybe you hit a sprinkler head ;D) because I can name plenty of courses in Northern New Jersey where the angles are no less demanding / unfair and they happen to be designed by some of the grand names in design.

Mike, if you want a hole with definite man-made quirk that's still in existence at SH try the 6th!

Oh, one last thing -- when people say quirk and then bad design what's the difference? I've already provided my definition and how it relates to the reward / penalty aspect in design. Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2003, 11:24:20 AM »
"DM would be deeply saddened to know that you have made a comparison of the old Jaws hole and its replacement."

Mike;

I don't know why he'd be saddened by my comparison. What he probably would be saddened by is that the hole has been changed at all.

But how has it been changed? Only in that the original separated bunkering on either side of the green (with the shark teeth lines) that had water between the greensides and the bunkers has been now attached to the greensides. Other than that the hole, the green and everything else is basically the same.

Stone Harbor is definitely not a favorite of mine but I think the course has real interest in that it was such a radical departure in architecture. In that context it's important, I think, in the entire evolution of architecture. Since it's sort of one of a kind I think it should be restored to the way Muirhead built it. But of course that would mean returning to its original incredible controversialness and obviously the club doesn't want to do that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2003, 12:08:49 PM »
Matt,
You wrote:
Quote
I define quirk is being "unpredictable" and clearly out of the norm.

I think you are laboring under a misconception if you think that quirk is narrowly defined as being "unpredictable". If this is truly how you feel than it explains your disdain for it. Tom MacWood's post really hits the nail on the head about quirk and its relationship to nature and the architect's use of it.

You then said:  
Quote
What is the norm? I define that by some allegiance to the proposition that the good shot is rewarded and the poor shot is penalized proportionally to the manner in which it is executed. If I believe correctly isn't that what good design tries to do?

Yes, you are right, but just because there may be some quirkiness to a hole doesn't mean good design principles are missing.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Tim_Weiman

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2003, 12:13:46 PM »
Matt Ward:

Given your strong feelings on this topic I'm assuming you must have certain courses in mind.

Which designs stand out for using "unpredictability" too much?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Doug Wright

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2003, 12:47:04 PM »
I guess my training makes me too much of a literalist; hence on topics like these I go looking for my dictionary. Quirk is defined herewith:

a : an abrupt twist or curve; b : a peculiar trait : IDIOSYNCRASY;  c : ACCIDENT, VAGARY  <a quirk of fate>

I really like the descriptve word "idiosyncrasy" in subdefinition b in describing golf architecture "quirk." Something that seems out of place or odd. It certainly can be natural or man-made.

If you look at Bandon Dunes vs Pacific Dunes (wrong thread I know!), one of the distinguishing characteristics of Pacific Dunes is that Doak designed or built quirk into the course. The green at #8 and the entire 9th hole come to mind. I didn't really see quirk at Bandon Dunes--a fine course don't get me wrong, but lacking in quirk. See also Dooks, as Tim Weiman suggests.

Quirk makes me laugh and also can make me cry.  Maybe it's quirk's propensity to do the latter that causes many to decry the presence of quirk in a golf course.

God Bless America,
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Twitter: @Deneuchre

Tim_Weiman

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2003, 01:19:37 PM »
Doug Wright:

I have certainly never cried during a visit to Dooks. Indeed, playing the famous 13th hole one can only laugh. How else to deal with a well placed shot and a possible four putt?

Like my Irish friend said: "it's cool.....it doesn't deserve to be....it just is".
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Doug Wright

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2003, 02:04:49 PM »
Tim,

There's no "possible four putt" about that 13th green--highly likely is more like it!  ;D The more years that lapse between my round at Dooks and the present the more quirk that green acquires in my memory. And that's not all the quirk at Dooks by a long shot. We need some photos to demonstrate--are you going over this year?

Your Irish friend is very wise...

  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Twitter: @Deneuchre

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: quirk in design
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2003, 03:05:39 PM »
Doug:

That quote is one of my all time favorites. Unless someone has spent time at Dooks, you probably can't understand it. But, Dooks so charmingly (is that a word?) violates all the rules that I just don't know how else to sum up the place.

Last summer I took some pictures and may even have a decent one of #13. If I can find it, I'll try to post.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

Matt_Ward

Re: quirk in design
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2003, 09:32:38 AM »
Jim K:

Appreciate your answer but I would urge you to read Doug Wright's following post where he emphasizes the word "idiosyncrasy" or "peculiar trait." Many times Jim, from my playing experiences, the holes that rank high on the "quirk meter" will be ones that do offer a high degree of unpredictability in terms of how they differentiate the type of shots that are played. You say they don't -- but I can name more than a few courses in the NY / NJ area where old time designers took existing land and simply built on it irrespective of the desire to apply even handed application of good shot rewarded / bad shot penalized maxim. I really believe some of these designers included such holes to be 19th hole conversation pieces and many of them still are.

Look, I don't doubt such holes can be fun, but if a course has an abundance of quirk it's likely going to be one that runs very closely to the words I just mentioned before -- sporty, tricky and gimmick.

I'll say this again to avoid being misunderstood -- no one can expect or should expect 100% complete justice on all shots played -- there will be "rub of the green" situations that will happen and as a golfer you'd best realize this in order to maintain your sanity. However, in my experiences high quirk type holes excel at flouting the good shot / bad shot core principle. I don't doubt that there are hole examples with quirk and that some of these still possess desire to reward / penalize appropriately and consistently. Alas, I don't see that many that do and fortunately the overwhelming number of acclaimed superior courses make it a point to avoid these situations whenever possible.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »

George Pazin

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Re: quirk in design
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2003, 11:44:48 AM »

Quote
You say they don't -- but I can name more than a few courses in the NY / NJ area where old time designers took existing land and simply built on it irrespective of the desire to apply even handed application of good shot rewarded / bad shot penalized maxim. I really believe some of these designers included such holes to be 19th hole conversation pieces and many of them still are.

Look, I don't doubt such holes can be fun, but if a course has an abundance of quirk it's likely going to be one that runs very closely to the words I just mentioned before -- sporty, tricky and gimmick.

By all means, please share these holes/courses with us.:)

You still haven't provided many examples of courses with too much quirk.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: quirk in design
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2003, 12:24:40 PM »
Matt Ward:

Once again, I have the same question as George Pazin. Which courses go too far with "quirk"?

Other than places like Prestwick or Dooks, don't most courses have some quirk, but not really an abundance?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1056376800 »
Tim Weiman

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