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Tom,You can't get any more definitively clear than what Tilly stated in the article where he announced that White was going to Shawnee:"This arrangement is considered ideal and the NEW GREENKEEPER WHITE..." He was hired as the greenkeeper and nothing more.There is also absolutely NO DOUBT that he was NOT hired to do any design work at Shawnee and that he didn't do any. Tilly redesigned and rerouted the course with the work completed BEFORE White was hired as grrenkeeper. The design and construction of the revamped course was finished by September of 1913 and White didn't begin working until NOVEMBER of 1913. When he arrived, White was specifically put in charge of the "TURF" grow-in. This makes sense as he was viewed as a turf expert when at Ravisloe. Also, it was as a turf expert that he was appreciated in the 1919 article. His work on the CONDITION of the putting greens of North Shore is why the article was prefaced by the editor writing, "The beautiful condition of the North Shore putting-greens so impressed us that we asked their creator, Mr. Robert White, to tell us how he did it." It is in regard to the EXCELLENT TURF and NOT the design of the greens that the Editor used the term "creator."The editor goes on to further state that he viewed White's work at North Shore in the sense of his being the GREENKEEPER by stating, "This is not by any means the first example of Mr. White's genius as a greenkeeper par excellence..."By the way, he finishes this introduction by again defining what White did at Shawnee and Ravisloe. "His work at Ravisloe and Shawnee bears eloquent testimony of his rare ability in this direction..." That "direction" being as greenkeeper.Interestingly, the final paragraph of the editor's introduction actually takes him down a few pegs by his statement, "We are, however, not quite in accord with Mr. White that the superb condition of the greens is due to the top-dressings. Rather we should say it is wholly attributable to the excellent foundation layers described. top dressings, in our opinion, are a fruitful source of many of the troubles of so many kinds..."Amazing statement that. First White is a "genius par excellence" and then its 'he's wrong in what he's written!'
Tom,I am uncertain as to exactly when White left Shawnee. I will be able to answer it exactly in about a month as I will be traveling to Shawnee where I am being given access to their historical archives and records. I'll let you know then if not sooner. I believe, though, that he was still employed by Shawnee at this time and that he didn't leave there until the fall of 1915. So how could he have been "working on the plans for several weeks" if he was still employed by Shawnee? That is quite easy to understand because as Greenkeeper of Shawnee his work would end in the late fall as the course was closed to all until spring. There was very little for him to do as the Inn changed to its winter resort mode.Can you explain why the Editor of his 1919 article viewed him as a greenkeeper "par excellence" rather than an established golf course architect? Can you explain why Tilly viewed him as someone who had spent the last few years at Ravisloe as the "greenkeeper" when he hired him for Shawnee? Can you explain why, White himself, at a time when he was employed as the general golf professional at Ravisloe, would call himself the "greenkeeper of Ravisloe" rather than as the golf professional or golf course architect?Are the two - grass expert and golf architect - mutually exclusive? Obviously not, there are numerous examples of greenkeeper/golf architects and grass expert/golf architects...not to mention construction man/golf architects, like Raynor.What point are you trying to make? To me, these point to a man who, although he may have been testing the waters of course designing as a career, was unable to find substantive work and was covering his bases. Now that may be an incorrect characterization, but based upon these it is hard to believe that he was in anyway viewed by his contemporaries as being more experienced in the field of golf course architecture than Raynor who was at least actively working in course design and building full-time prior to North Shore whereas White clearly was not... Is this conjecture on your part or is this based on research you've conducted into White's career? If it is the latter, would you please detail White's career?
Tom, You asked, "Are the two - grass expert and golf architect - mutually exclusive? Obviously not, there are numerous examples of greenkeeper/golf architects and grass expert/golf architects...not to mention construction man/golf architects, like Raynor. What point are you trying to make?"I would think it is fairly obvious. First, that I believe your characterization of White as a well-established golf course architect in 1914-15 and recogniozed as more experienced than Raynor is incorrect. For exaample, in your post #123 you stated, "I think White was more active than what is generally known, starting with his last years at Ravisloe..."Where did I write White was a well-established golf architect? Well what did he actually do during his "last years at Ravisloe?" He certainly didn't do any major design work and for proof of that we have HIS OWN WORDS. In the January 1913 article from the American Golfer (shown above in my reply #201) White, himself, after identifying himself as the GREENKEEPER at Ravisloe wrote, "The Ravisloe course was originally laid out in 1901 and, except for some changes made in 1902, the locations of the greens remain practically the same..." Are you familiar with White's career?Now I don't know how you measure time, but late that fall he would be gone from Ravisloe and employed at Shawnee. This would certainly qualify as being in "his last years at ravisloe" and yet he states that almost nothing of consequence had been done to the green complexes since 1902! So, exactly what was he more active in from a golf course design standpoint that he did in the next 8-9 months? And if he did anything major, how & why would he leave Ravisloe in October-November?Secondly, he himself viewed himself as a GREENKEEPER, as did Tilly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, those who hired him at North Shore!Are you under the impression greenkeeper and golf architect are mutually exclusive? In those days wasn't it pretty common for pro/greekeepers to also dabble in golf course design? In 1916 White became the first president of the newly formed PGA of America, other PGA officers and committeemen were Herbert Strong, Jack Mackie, Gil Nichols, Wilfred Reid, Jack Croke and George Sargent. What did these men all have in common? From the North Shore Board meetings notes, "On November 12, 1914, the Club hired Robert White, at $1200.00 per year, to begin on December 1, 1914, with an option to terminate after 6 months with 30 days notice. His duties were: To take charge of the present golf course and to superintend the building of a new one, if undertaken, and to perform such other duties as the Board may direct..."Notice that he was NOT hired to design the course! Seth Raynor was. Again, we go to the board minutes from the week BEFORE White was hired. "On November 5, 1914, the Club authorized the sum of $400.00 to hire Seth Raynor in an advisory capacity for possible improvement of the existing course on the property."After this, once again as found in the board minutes, "On January 26, 1915, the Club approved plans by Raynor for a new golf course with $37,500.00 to be expended under supervision of the Greens Committee, subject to the approval of the President. Raynor was to be paid a fee of $1800.00 for carrying out this work." Plans by RAYNOR. No mention of White or a collaboration, but pretty definitive that it was his plans and design they approved and now agreed to pay him an additional $1,800 for!Finally, and once again from the board minutes, "On March 12, 1916, at the Club’s Annual Meeting, the President, Henry Calman, noted that the links were now complete with the exception of some bunkers and traps and that the course should be opening by Decoration Day. He said the results are the product of the deep thought of Robert White, our greens expert, Seth Raynor, the leading golf architect in the United States and Charles B. Macdonald, the recognized authority among amateurs on golf course construction and the well considered work of our Greens Committee." Are you disregarding this excerpt from Steve's timeline? "On March 13, 1915, at the Club’s Annual meeting, it was reported that the original course was under 5000 yards and that Raynor was hired, with the active and intelligent cooperation of White, and have laid out a course, the nature of which can be seen on the diagram in the office of the Harmonie Club. This course will measure about 6400 yards, will take 15 acres of woodland and take full advantage of the vantages offered by the rolling ground, which we own."Notice how differently Raynor and White were viewed. Raynor, the LEADING GOLF ARCHITECT in the U.S., with White being OUR GREENS EXPERT.I'll ask you since no one else seems to be able to answer my question. What golf courses had Raynor designed by January, 1915?Raynor deigned the course. White worked with him in the construction of it and White especially and specifically worked on the turf of the putting surfaces, which is what he was hired to do, possibly even at the recommendation of Raynor (pure speculation).Are you trying to discover the truth or you trying to prove your theory, because if you were really trying to discover what happened I would think you'd approach this subject with a more open mind. You appear hell bent on proving White was nothing more than a lowly greenkeeper while ignoring the entirety of his career. You also appear to be ignoring Raynor's career - in 1915 wasn't his experience and expertise in construction? This thread is illustrative on how your mind works. Yes, White would go on to become a full-fledged architect in his own right, but he obviously wasn't sure of the directions that he was going and what he should be doing in 1914-15. Otherwise he would have been actively advertising himself as an architect and not taking full-time work on as a professional and greenkeeper.Could the same be said for Raynor?You've asked several times for people to "detail White's career" especially during this time period. I think I laid out pretty well exactly what he was doing during the time period prior to his coming to North Shore. I did make one mistake though, and that is when I stated in answer to your question as to when exactly he left Shawnee that I mentioned late in the fall of 1915. This was incorrect and nothing more than a typo as he left Shawnee sometime in the late fall of 1914. As I stated, I will get you the exact date next month (if Shawnee has it in their files).I don't recall you detailing his career at all - where he worked and what he did prior to NS. The only two jobs you mentioned were Ravisloe and Shawnee. And you have already admitted you have no idea how long he worked at either position. What is interesting and the reason i bring it up is your statement, "Phil, From what I've read its unclear if White was hired as greenkeeper at Shawnee or simply hired to redesign the golf course. [He wasn't, see my earlier comments on this] A few months later he was laying out a new course on Long Island, before eventually being hired by North Shore."This statement is not quite accurate. The article from Golf magazine that you posted announcing this work was the December 1914 issue. It stated that White had been "working on plans for several weeks" at that time. That means that he had begun his design work sometime in early to mid-Novemebr. As he was hired by the club on Novemebr 14, 1914, and expected to begin work on Decemebr 1st, it would appear that he did this work at the same time as he began work at North Shore.Now North Shore must have been aware of this design work that he was doing. so I ask you, why did they hire Raynor and specifically as the architect for the new course and specifically state such and NOT state anything even remotely hinting at White as their designing architect?That is not exactly true. The quote above (that you ignored) said Raynor laid out the course with the active cooperation of White, and their plan was hanging on the wall. By the way construction began February 1915.The club hired both men around the same time, and I think they were wise to do so. White had recently been involved with a highly publicized redesign (with Aleck Bauer & William Watson) and Raynor had experience building two of the highest profile designs (for CBM) in America. It is quite possible the club was under the impression hiring Raynor also meant you were hiring CBM. Obviously being an amateur and not accepting a fee meant he could not be hired in the traditional sense. We do know CBM was involved in some way.