Proper Golf

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking back at the future

Ron Whitten, Golf Digest czar of architecture, came out with this list ranking the 25 most in demand architects of the time... 1998

Shall we analyze the list from 12 years ago.

1. Mike Stranz - Good choice. If you haven't played a Mike Stranz course you are missing out on a golf experience you are guaranteed to remember. Mike's career was cut very short, losing a battle to cancer. Aside from a remodel in Monterey, CA, all his work is in the mid-atlantic/south east US.

2. Art Hills - Has made a very successful career in golf course design. I have never played any of his work, but if you made this list today,

3. Pete Dye - I'm a little surprised Mr. Dye isn't higher. Dye has plenty of top 10 courses, let alone top 100's on the GD list. Sawgrass, Kiawah, and Hilton Head had all be around for years.

4. Jack - Certainly one of the most sought after architects, Jack has more courses and has made more money in this business than anyone.

5. Fazio - A household name of golf course design. Tom Fazio is the best of the big earth movers around. Consults for Pine Valley and Augusta National.

12. Doak - Would appear at either #1 or #2 if this list was made today.

13. RTJ jf - Figured he would be higher.

16. Rick Smith - Swing coach for Phil Mickleson.. very hard to believe he belongs on this list.

17. Coore and Crenshaw - Holders of the #1 modern golf course in the US. Would appear at either #1 or #2 on this list today.

Never heard of: #19, 24, and 25

The Golfmeisters todays top 5:

1-2. Doak and Coore/Crenshaw - Leaders of minimalism, both learned under Pete Dye.

3. Gil Hanse

4. Jack

5. Rees - Mostly because of the acclaim from his renovation projects as "Open Dr"

This list was taken from Geoffry Cornish's book "18 Stakes on a Sunday Afternoon" in which he compiles many quotes from people involved in golf course architecture.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photo Essay - Kiawah Island: The Ocean Course

Architect: Pete Dye
Host 2012 PGA Championship, 1991 Ryder Cup "The War by the Shore"







Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The best sayings in golf

Sophia Loren - Looked good for a long time.

Son in Law - Not quite what you expected but you will take it.

Whipped Cream on Shit.

AFB - Another F*ing Bogey.

The Dreaded Straight Ball.

All Lip, No Hole

The Power Fade

Golfing Your Ball

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Interesting Quote

"The best work is always a synergy between architect, construction crew, and property."
-Tom Doak 2002.

While some might think minimalism when they read this quote, I think business model. What allows some of the elite design companies in the world to be so successful is not just their architecture, but their process, and they way they sell their product.

The top minimalists in the world: Renaissance Golf (Doak) and Coore & Crenshaw, both operate as architects and contractors. Hanse, Pete Dye and a few others are the same way. (side note: Doak, Coore and Hanse all can trace their architecture roots to the Dye branch of the gca tree)

As someone who currently in golf course construction business with hopes of entering the design field in the future, I think that in order to create both the best product and highest profit margins, operating as both lead contractor and architect is the best method.

Architecture, building, landscape or golf course, is all about creative problem solving. To do that, you have to be there and you have to understand all the variables. As lead shaper and architect (my ideal business plan) not can you be more creative, but you have the ability to make changes on the fly, have less discrepancies in design and become more intimate with the land, which is what it takes to build special golf courses.

Although one architect clearly cannot take on as many projects with this method, I would be more than willing to give that up in order to have more fun as lead shaper, and you would definitely increase you fee due to the extra time in the field shaping.

Picture: Riverfront Golf Club, Renaissance Golf
While Doak, Coore, and Dye don't act as lead shapers, their design companies do operate as contractors. Gil Hanse, Rod Whitman and others do.