Paul_Turner

HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« on: June 08, 2002, 05:13:39 am »





Remind you of anywhere ;)














































« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2002, 05:33:23 am »
Paul, Just some really amazing stuff here, and it really adds to the enthusiasm a late friend of mine had for this course--Desmond Muirhead. He spoke to me many times of his love for Hirono.

Once again adding to the confusion of many on how his own designs could be so wild.

I need for the Ralph to get back open soon so I can get more great stuff like this posted here on GCA.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

brad miller

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2002, 06:21:07 am »
Paul, thank you
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Evan_Green

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2002, 09:42:09 am »
I noticed it said that when the article was written ( i think it said 1933) that if you stayed at a certain hotel you could get on the course- does anyone know anything about the history of the club and why and when it became the exclusive club it is today?

Also just out of curiosity has anyone here ever played Hirono, Kasumagaseki or Naruo? How were they? and how the heck does one ever hope to get on any of these courses? To me it would intuitively seem harder for an American to get on these courses than Cypress or Pine Valley- any thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

BV

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2002, 02:10:31 pm »
!

Very taxing for my dial-up, but worth it.

Uncanny resemblances, someone was paying attention somewhere.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2002, 03:42:26 pm »
That is an amazing looking golf course. Ever since looking at Alison's recommendations to the 1921 Pine Valley Advisory Committee I knew the man had to be really good!

The photos are reminisent of Pine Valley to a degree but much of the bunkering on the flatter holes is what Coore calls the "ridgy heathland" style (rising out of flat terrain in ridgy formation and rugged grassy line style). Ironically that's the bunkering style C&C just used on New Jersey's new Hidden Creek (at tribute to the "heathlands").

Some of the other bunkering used in the massive natural "cuts" and "dips" is just amazing looking stuff and reminds me of some of Colt's look at #8 St George's Hill or even MacKenzie's #18 Pasatiempo's that in the beginning seemed to defy gravity.

What an apparent switch in look on the bunkers on #16!! Grass appears draped all the way down to flat bunker floors for a sudden transition to a "shadowy" look.

There seems to be a good amount of "forced carry" off the tees on this course. Is that something that Alison picked up after being at Pine Valley following Crump's death? The constant "forced carry"/"island fairway" style of Pine Valley is a sharp departure from Harry Colt's PVGC hole drawings which appear to have little of the eventual "forced carry" style that Crump later developed there as a theme!!

But my God what beautiful looking holes some of these are! You can see the severe strategies in the photos and even a little on the routing plan. Those par 3 are gorgeous and dramatic--#5!!, #7!!, #17!!, I forget the number of the other that looks a bit like #5 (and PVGC's #14). Some really interesting use of dips, hollows etc fronting some of the greens. I think #4's has really interesting approach strategies with the front dip if I'm reading the photo correctly (looks like a small ridge coming into the dip near the right bunker that casts the ball right onto the green but it's a narrow opening with that small ridge and anything left of it looks like it filters left and back into the hollow to the front left of the green!).

But #6 is the one I would really like to see with its mini "alps" approach!!

I hate to think it but those photos are 70 years ago and the course has that rugged piney heathland look to it but I bet today the course and all the features have been super "prettified" to look like a Japanese garden instead of the rugged heathlands as it was designed to look like!

I've never seen modern photos of Hirono but I would bet a lot it has that Japanese garden look to it today! Somebody please tell me it ain't so!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Paul_Turner

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2002, 04:23:56 pm »
Tommy has compressed the files further and sharpened them, I'll swap these over and hopefully the download time will be reasonable!

I think Alison was clearly influenced by Pine Valley.  I've seen modern photos and yes some of the bunkering has lost its rawness: some holes look better than others.  But it's still a unique looking course.

More trees too.

The 13th now has a ridiculous new bunker (oval) smack in front of the green.  It's truly awful!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

TEPaul

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2002, 04:42:16 pm »
Who knows when golf first arrived in Japan? Was Hugh Alison the one who first brought it there? If so the country sure did open on a high!!

Hirono is a world apart from a few fields and an apple tree where the players hung their jackets--that's for sure.

In about 40 years (1890-1930) golf architecture evolved light years in my opinion!! And at what I consider to be almost the pinnacle of the art (late 1920s) the names Colt, Alison and MacKenzie (occasional partners) always seem to be in evidence almost everywhere!

From the American East coast to the West Coast, from England/Ireland, the Continent, to Australia and even in Japan, their names always seem to be attached to the best of the best.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tim Weiman

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2002, 08:20:43 am »
Paul & Tommy:

Thanks very much. †Hirono is probably the best course in the world that I'll never see, but always have an interest in.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2002, 08:43:33 am »
Spectacular. They were playing golf long before Alison arived. I would say the PV had an influence on Alison as did Burnham & Berrow his early course, the Heathland courses (which influeced PV) and he was very much influenced by what he saw in Japan - the Japanese aesthetic.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Doug_Nickels

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2002, 11:36:57 pm »
Paul,

Wonderful photos.  Thanks for sharing.  It is hard to believe it is Japan!   I am very curious to see how the bunkers have evolved especially considering the intensity of the rainfall in the monsoon season.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

RT (Guest)

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2002, 01:13:56 am »
Tom,

This is interesting information Alison did Burnham & Berrow. Where did you find it?  I'll pass it on to Martin Hawtree.

Russell
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tim Weiman

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2002, 01:25:00 am »
Tom MacWood/RT:

Surprised to hear about Alison and B&B.  Still think it is a really cool place and would greatly enjoy a return visit.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2002, 02:20:27 am »
RT
I believe he may have done some minor design work at B&B - I'm really not sure how much he did.

But BB was the course he grew up playing, I metioned it in the context of his influences.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

RT (Guest)

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2002, 02:22:39 am »
Tim,

As usual welcome, no more "footie" with the lads before the golf (= no cracked ribs), this time. Also new territory to see.  Hawtree has done a great job on no. 6, was the "least best" greens complex on the course.  JH Taylor had a stint as professional there, after Westward Ho!, before coming to the SW London area.

Russell
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2002, 02:37:10 am »
I went to bed last night thinking about this course. Even going so far as to pull out the World Golf Atlas to read even further.

I have done about three hours of searching on the web for pictures and have yet to yield anythign so far. But I did happen to find that they do welcome outside play--if you can afford it!

(I didn't find out how much.)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Paul_Turner

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2002, 04:01:23 am »
Tommy

I found Hirono to be pretty elusive in web searches:  I just couldn't find anything.  So imagine my glee at finding this old book.  It really is a wonderful old tome.  Like an huge elaborate scrap-book and very dusty on the outside, so I think it hadn't been opened in decades!

Did you get my email?  Try:  [email protected] for the sharper images.

Found a book on Naruo too.  And it looks wonderful, with those very distinct Alison bunkers.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Todd_Eckenrode

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2002, 04:11:33 am »
This is really fantastic looking stuff, caught me completely off-guard as I knew little of this course.  Many thanks for posting.  First impressions are heathland, Pine Valley, Pinehurst, etc...it brings to mind so many great things.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Ran Morrissett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2002, 05:38:11 am »
What a fascinating variety of holes.

Alison certainly seems to have picked up Colt's trick for finding/creating green sites for his one shotters - the first three at Hirono look to be laid over sensational topography. Conversely, half of the first 10 holes (1, 3, 6, perhaps 8, and 10) seem to be over flatter terrain than I would have guessed.

Apparently, Alison specifically remarked about similarities between the properties of Hirono and St. George's Hill but I don't see it at all. SGH has no flat holes and certainly the water hazards are unique to Hirono. There is no bunkering remotely like the manufactured one that fronts the right part of Hirono's 6th green at SGH.

Was Alison in California in the late 1920s, perhaps before heading to Japan? I ask because the 7th hole bunkering as it runs down the ravine wall reminds me of 18 at Pasatiempo (which MacKenzie built in the late 1920s)? And the 12th has similarities with 18 at Pebble Beach (as the associated text alludes to).

Doesn't this 1930's course look like a brute, especially being in a relatively windy locale? I wonder how it would have stacked up with Timber Point on the tough guy meter?

Looks like a lot of special holes to choose from for favorites - †5, 7, 12, 13, 15 and 18? With such excellent holes well spread throughout the course, Hirono seems deserving of its world fame.

Hasn't Hirono always hovered between 35-45 in GOLF's world ranking? That seems about right, with 35 (or 30 †;)) †more right than 45.

Cheers,

PS Great job Paul in piecing all this together - perhaps we should create a formal course profile?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:06 am by -1 »

Mike_Cirba

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2002, 07:31:00 pm »
Now fellows...

Can we really make determinations about a golf course from...perish the thought....PICTURES??!!  ;D
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tommy_Naccarato

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2002, 08:16:53 am »
Many thanks again to Paul Turner for pulling this Hirono topic out of his bag of tricks. The following is the excerpt on Hirono from the World Golf Atlas, and hopefully it can further describe what a wonderful golf course it must be even to this day. (Do I hear the faint whispers of a possible GCA outing from those as equally impressed as myself?)

Domo narigoto (Just practicing!)

Hirono--Alisonís Restrained but Inspired Architecture
The Westernization of Japan, a breakneck process during the early decades of this century, was most marked in and around the great maritime cities like Tokyo--and farther west on the island of Honshu--the port of Kobe. It was within these cosmopolitan communities that the game of golf first took root and at Kobe, Japan, was to acquire one of the world's great courses--Hirono. It set the standard by which oriental courses are measured.

The site chosen for Hirono was in every way ideal. Twelve miles to the northwest of the port it was, in a contemporary description "dotted with many pretty ponds, winding streams, running rivulets, pine woodlands, ravines, and gentle undulations.'' The materials were at hand for an architectural artist, the Englishman Charles Allison and the course he designed in 1930 remains unaltered to this day.

At Hirono, Alison took advantage of the terrain to arrange, as at Sunningdale and St George's Hill (where he had worked with Harry Colt), several splendid carries from the tees. He planned intriguing greens at the end of generous fairways and sprinkled the course with bunkers of the type that in Japan bear his name to this day. In every way it was a piece of Berkshire transplanted to the Orient.

Charles Alison was a skillful draftsman; it was a talent that would have appealed to the Japanese. The holes, hazards, and greens in Alison's drawings were produced with amazing accuracy after he departed, a tribute to his skill in designing and to the high esteem in which he must have been held by all those with whom he came into contact.

Hirono measures 6,980 yards from the back tees and 6,100 yards from the forward ones; Alison gave it all the length a championship course should need. Nowadays too much importance is attached to playing a course of 7,000 yards or more especially in Japan. There is generally thought to be some inadequacy in a layout that measures less More monstrosities have been constructed in the name of length than would be thought possible; a look at Hirono provides an answer to the argument, for 6,980 yards of architecture is worth 7,400 yards of most other kinds.

Few courses outside Britain have this striking difference and variety in each hole that Hirono possesses. Each is named after its peculiarity Lake End, Fiord, Wee Wood, Devil's Divot, Boulevard and Quo Vadis? We can assume that Alison had a hand in the naming, which is thoroughly appropriate. In playing or just walking the course the titles immediately strike home Devilís Divot, for example, is a par three across a huge gouge in the earth, in the shape of a giant divot. Fiord is another par three. Across an inlet of a lake resembling a small Norwegian harbor. Some of the names commemorate people associated with the clubís founding. But most announce a holes feature or situation.

At first the greens were all of creeping bent grass but it was soon found that the ten times more virile Japanese Bermuda grass encroached and took over, in spite of all efforts to stem its advance. A fine variety of korai grass-of the same family as the fairways--was substituted and properly maintained and mown short. It is a suitable enough putting grass even though it browns off in winter and goes dormant. It does, however, have a wiry texture that baffles nearly all golfers who are new to its acquaintance. Varieties of American seed grasses make up the rough grass together with some local flora. The trees are almost entirely pines indigenous to the area. And they are lovingly cared for.

The whole is a vista of beauty and naturalness that changes color through the seasons. In summer its a rich green with only the sand traps offering a contrast to the softness mirrored in the lakes and ponds, while in autumn and winter it changes to the light brown of hibernation. At all times it is an inviting golf course of outstanding dignity and class.




Like Sunningdale. which in many ways it resembles Hirono starts off with a par five hole. It is straight, narrow, and flat and clear of obstacles all the way to the flagstick, which can be clearly seen from the tee though 500 yards away. Two shallow depressions cross the fairway at the 100 yard and 400 yard marks. Alison placed his traps for the wayward drive at the 200 yard range on the right and at 220 yards on the left, a pattern that has been almost universally adopted by all students of his work in Japan. Two plain and modest bunkers guard the green, which inclines enough to drain itself. Here, as throughout the course, natural features are used to their best effect. Two man-sized par fours follow the blank spots of article are filled with large mound work that suggests something of a linksland course. The 4th hole requires a spectacularly long tee shot and the green is raised high above a typical Alison sand trap. The 5th hole is a picture postcard par three of outstanding merit high across a large lake. Fearsome-looking sand traps guard a modest-sized green so that even at 150 yards of length the hole is a difficult one for golfers of all classes and experience.

The course turns inland then by way of another first-class par three of 200 yards. A natural. well cleared ravine courses diagonally across it and, against a wind, it is farther then most people can hit, but the regular tee is set at 170 yards so that at this distance it is a pleasure for all golfers to play.

The 8th hole uses a small pond by the green to effect. The second shot must skirt or carry the pond to an interestingly shaped green. For club golfers it is fun and terror, the choice of shot never easy.

The 9th takes the route straight to the clubhouse. A par five of 525 yards, the tee shot is all carry across brush and pathways to a generous fairway that disappears into a natural grassed and cut hollow in front of tide green. The 10th and 11th holes are two pleasant fours that take the golfer out to the lake again. The 12th hole is one of the courses best and also one of the best par fives in Japan. Its tee shot is across an inlet of the lake beyond which there is a small natural ditch reminiscent of Carnoustie to worry about. The shot is fearsome for lesser players and difficult enough for professionals To alI except the very longest and straightest hitters the green is still two shots away. The tee shots at the 13th and 14th holes both have to carry water of marvelous proportion and beauty giving pleasure to the player who makes it but no offense to those who donít. These two shorter holes lead to another outstanding par five in the 15th at 560 yards, Allisonís longest hole. The 16th climbs farther away from the lake to a high plateau green seemingly set against the sky. From the back tee, the 17th is a 230 yard par three across the margin of another lake with plenty of open space to be aimed at by those who are not ambitious or strong enough. Here Alison could have made the mistake of duplicating his 5th and 13th holes but sensibly he offered something different; water plays a lesser part but sheer length is used to compensate.

The 455 yard 18th is in every way a rewarding final hole. First there is the carry across a gully to the fairway. Then the fairway turns left for the long slog to the green. Again there is an area of mounds and hollows and sand traps off to the right more to distract than to impede, but the greenside traps have been sited in earnest. Eighteenth greens are almost always given the best attention by constructor and maintainer alike, and this one is no exception Allison never even dreamed of television but made a marvelously spectacular finish.

Hirono was host to the Japan Amateur championship in 1933 and the Japan Open in 1939 but since then there has been nothing of national or international importance staged there This is to be regretted because there is much to show off and as far as champion golfers are concerned much to test them.

« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:06 am by -1 »

Dave Q

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2002, 06:36:29 am »
Alison / Burnham & Berrow Fans -

Played B&B this Spring and picked up a copy the club's recently completed history by Philip Richards.  The book is excellent, with a robust chapter on the history of the course's design.

A quick summary to answer some of the question's on Alison's influence...

1890:  Club founded by Canon Kennard (a Catholic priest), and original 9 holes laid out by Charles Gibson (professional at Westward Ho).  19 year old JH Taylor named as the club's first professional!

1897:  First 18 hole course laid out - again by Gibson.

1901:  18 hole course extended to point of current 7th green.  Extension laid out by committee of members.

1910:  Course extended again (this time to the point of the existing 8th green) by Herbert Fowler.  

1913:  Report on course prepared by Harry Colt suggesting that blind holes be removed.  

1918-23:  Alison apparently worked closely with Colt during this time period.  The team of Colt and Alison extended course further and rerouted / redesigned several holes.  The Colt / Alison course is basically the one still played today.  During this time period, the club also received more advice from Fowler, and suggestions from MacKenzie, who apparently prepared a report on the entire course (report was lost), and is given credit with Colt for the design of the par 3 ninth.  

1930-40:  Alison is the only architect employed by the club for periodic advice.  A few changes are made to course, but nothing too material (I believe Alison moved the raised 8th green to its current location during this time period).

Alison was a member of the club for forty years and served as captain in 1907-08.  

Does any other course enjoy an architectural "resume" of this strength?  Fowler, Colt, Alison, MacKenzie!!

-Dave Q

« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tom MacWood (Guest)

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2002, 07:01:16 am »
Dave Q
Very impressive - I can't think of any courses off the top of my head with a similar resume.

Ran
You asked about Alison being influenced by the courses in California. I've read everything I can get my hands on that Alison wrote (and he wrote extensively about golf around the world), but I've never read anything from him about California golf and assumed he had never been there. But it turns out he did travel to Japan via California and if his travels in Japan are any indication, he no doubt saw a lot of golf courses. I've also had the impression that he and MacKenzie got along pretty well -- perhaps his lack of mention of California golf/MacKenzie was out of respect for Colt.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Paul Turner

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2002, 04:02:57 pm »
Dave Q (or man with the longest email address on the planet!)

That is interesting.  I've never read of the B&B design connection to Colt and Alison.  Does Philips detail any other changes other than the 9th?

Isn't the 9th a super hole-a worthy addition to their collection of top par 3s.  We played it from an unusual tee to the right of the 8th green which is perhaps the original tee given that the 8th green was moved up to the right.

I like B&B.  Some people find the course dissapointing after such a strong start because it has few dullish/marshy holes at the far point.  But I think there's a bit more to those holes than most appreciate, like the hogs back spine running down the 7th fairway which just melds into the green and even the 11th has a nicely contoured green.  

Hawtree's changes to the 6th should help too, what did that green play like, Dave?

And the run in from 12 is strong with super holes like 12,13,15 17 and 18.

I wonder if Mackenzie built the 16th green, it's pretty wild and you're "stuffed" if you push your approach.

PS
I've been assured by AOL that the Hirono pages haven't been lost, but it has been over a month now and I beginning to think they're a bunch of fibbers!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Bill Wright

Re: HIRONO: CH Alison's Masterpiece (V Long!)
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2002, 06:32:56 pm »
Paul:

I've read your post before on Hirono not long ago and it was awesome.  Unfortunately, NONE of the photos are opening up when I've gone to this thread, either last night or this morning.  I have a 56K modem working at 50.6 right now.  Does anybody with computer expertise (I don't) know why these photos aren't coming on?  What can I do?

Thanks for the help.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Tags:
Tags: