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Patrick_Mucci

influenced, in terms of the design, by the developer and more importantly, by the end user ?

Mike Keiser has referenced the "retail" golfer with respect to Bandon Dunes.

If instead of a public access course, Bandon Dunes was a private course, what would you have done differently ?

Same question with regard to Old Macdonald ?

Are you more inclined to add quirk for a private course ?

When and where do you think the introduction of "quirk" would be an design asset ?

Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 07:30:37 AM »
Patrick:

For me, at least, quirk is not something I add to a golf course ... it's something I find out there that I will either incorporate, steer around, or whittle away at, depending on my mood.  The personality of the client and the intended market are certainly factors in those decisions.

Over time, I would say that I have tailored courses to my clients' tastes more and more over the years.  My first few years in the business, I thought that good design was bulletproof, and I ought to make the same decision everywhere.  Eventually, I realized that if I didn't want to follow Seth Raynor and keep repeating myself, I would have to let my clients (and my associates) factor into the decisions a bit more often.  Plus, somewhere along the way, I realized that if the client didn't like a particular hole, it wasn't likely to last, anyway.  The original 14th green at Sebonack was a favorite of mine, but I would not have grassed it if the client had spoken up at the time and said he didn't really like it ... because it was inevitable that he would change it later on.

Every client is different.  Mr. Keiser is not adverse to quirk in his courses, and his retail golfers don't seem to be, either; but Mike does not like big internal contours within the greens, so we worked on smaller greens with big features at the edges for Pacific Dunes.  [It's a wonder that the same client let us build Old Macdonald, but perhaps he understood the need for variety there.]  I didn't actually design Bandon Dunes, so I will take the Fifth on what I would have done differently there. ;)

I am not in favor of "dumbing down" a public course to pander to an assumed demographic.  All you'd have to do is go see Common Ground to figure that out.  At the same time, I now tend to save my more complicated greens for the private courses, on the grounds that the members would appreciate day-to-day variety in the set-up, while the resort golfer is less likely to stick around long enough to learn all of the different hole locations.  I can't imagine that the greens at Lost Dunes or Ballyneal would go over as well if most of the players were first-timers.  [Even if some people fall in love with those greens at first sight, remember, they are usually playing with a member who's telling them what to do on every tee.]

I have always said that the one element I would tend to save for private courses was blind shots.  [I suspect you'd find me telling Ran something like that in response to a similar question in one of his interviews.]  But, the only course where I've used more than one blind shot was at Old Macdonald, so go figure!

archie_struthers

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 07:35:37 AM »
 8) ??? 8)

Hey Tom , aren't there a couple blind or semi- blind tee shots at Lost Dunes?   It's been a while but I still remember the shots if not the exact hole number.   

Carl Rogers

Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 08:09:48 AM »
TD,
I & friend Scott Weersing, were able to play 3 rounds Beechtree (NLE) 6 weeks prior to its sad demise.  I am very struck by its contrast to Riverfront.  I assume you, and not your clients, were the driving force behind the differences???

Maybe it is function of how one defines quirk, but I do not see either course as having any quirks.  Riverfront's green complexes are just highly resistant to scoring.  Beechtree's were very very quick.

Would you agree that there are (were) no quirks to either course?

Is there a conspicuous example of what you would define as quirk?

Tim Bert

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 09:06:02 AM »
There isn't supposed to be more than one blind shot at Pacific Dunes?  Perhaps that is why I have struggled so much to get the ball in the hole there. I have played many blind shots at the course!

Approach at 1
Approach at 2
Pitch shot up to 3 from the 13th tee after flying the green
Pitch shot to 4 from the extreme left back over the dune/bunkers
Bunker shot at 6 from greenside bunker
Tee shot at 9
Approach at 9 to upper green from lower fairway
Bunker shot at 11 from front bunker
Approach to 12 from 4th fairway
Pitch to 14 from 13 bunkers or fairway
Pitch to 15 over the knob on the right side of the green
Pitch to 16 from short and right
Second pitch to 16 after first one rolls back down
Third pitch to 16...
Second shot at 18

That's just a typical round. I'm sure there are a few more out there waiting to be discovered as well.

Patrick_Mucci

Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2011, 09:08:08 AM »
Tom,

Thanks,

I understand the "finding" of quirk, but, you still have to make a decision as to whether to incorporate it or avoid or eliminate it.

Is the end user a factor in making that decision, or, is that a decision you make regardless of who the end user is ?

Jerry Kluger

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 11:10:14 AM »
Pat: I think the end user is critical in determining the architectural features - let me give you an example.  Nicklaus redesigned North Palm Beach GC which is a muni and he moved a whole lot of dirt and created some really tough green complexes with very contoured greens; the locals that I met while playing it hated the renovations and said the course was now too tough for them.  Not too far away Osprey Point was built in Boca Raton which is very enjoyable and strategically interesting but nothing too severe as far as green contours - the course is full and the locals love it. 

You should get out to Denver to see CommonGround - great example of keeping the end user in mind by making it challenging for all without being too tough for the average public golfer.   Bandon is a different story because I think you can generally say that most golfers who go to Bandon are pretty serious and enjoy the challenges presented. On the other hand,  I think part of the reason why Chambers Bay is struggling is because it is a course in a major metropolitan area which is far more enjoyable for a serious golfer and the average guy will find it far too difficult so they are not getting the repeat business they were counting on.

Terry Lavin

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 11:17:06 AM »
I suppose Tom Doak would rightly take the Fifth Amendment if asked how he would have dealt with the routing dilemma presented at Bandon Trails, where the transition from the forest to the shore had to take place.  I believe Mike Keiser said that Gil Hanse had proposed a tunnel or something else that cost him the job.  It would be interesting to hear a number of architects talk about that issue, keeping in mind that the view from the tee at 14 is surely the most majestic on the property.  It's an issue that had to be dealt with and I'm sure that a lot of people, amateurs all, are not all that satisfied with that hole, which seems to elevate quirk over quality while ignoring the hike between holes by use of a big cart to transport golfers, caddies and clubs to the 14th tee.
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  H.L. Mencken

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 11:32:47 AM »
I suppose Tom Doak would rightly take the Fifth Amendment if asked how he would have dealt with the routing dilemma presented at Bandon Trails, where the transition from the forest to the shore had to take place.  I believe Mike Keiser said that Gil Hanse had proposed a tunnel or something else that cost him the job.  It would be interesting to hear a number of architects talk about that issue, keeping in mind that the view from the tee at 14 is surely the most majestic on the property.  It's an issue that had to be dealt with and I'm sure that a lot of people, amateurs all, are not all that satisfied with that hole, which seems to elevate quirk over quality while ignoring the hike between holes by use of a big cart to transport golfers, caddies and clubs to the 14th tee.

Having never seen nor heard about this transition problem at BandonTrails, I'd be very interested to hear what the issue was / is between forest and shore?

It's obviously not a straight forward "one minute you're in the trees, the next minute you're not"

Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 11:33:39 AM »
Terry:

I have never heard that story about Gil Hanse and Bandon Trails, but even if it's true, I doubt it cost him the job.  Bill and Ben had that job from the beginning, as long as they could agree with Mike on where the course would be.  The fourteenth hole was a big part of that decision ... Bill felt strongly that the course should straddle the ridge, and it probably helped him that his tee is very close to where Mike first saw the property and decided to buy it.

I could not comment on whether I would have found a different way to do that routing.  I only ever looked at the property in the back, not the area along the road, because originally Mike's idea was to have all 18 holes back in the trees.  But, I will say that the quirkiness of the 14th hole is 95% about the green complex, which is independent from the climb to the tee.


Patrick_Mucci

Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 11:38:52 AM »
Jerry Kluger,

Where, exactly, in Boca is Osprey Point, I've never heard of it.

How new is it ?

archie_struthers

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2011, 11:46:23 AM »
 ??? ??? ???

Tom....is it number 7 at Lost Dunes that is a blind tee shot ...I remember it as pretty exacting !

Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 11:47:30 AM »
Carl:

Yes, Riverfront and Beechtree were very different courses.  The clients were somewhat similar -- both good players -- but very different in terms of personality.  At Beechtree, Mr. Knott said he wanted a classic-styled course, similar to Five Farms where he was a member, and it was clear he was not much into quirk.  At Riverfront, John Gorman was not a lover of quirk, either, but I did have the advantage of having known him for several years, and I knew he wanted something a bit more innovative and exciting to look at.  [Even though it's a public course, it is also the backyard for a large development, so there is an ulterior motive for the bunkers to look flashy.]


Archie S:

As Tim Bert's review of Pacific Dunes indicates, there are plenty of blind shots on most courses if you want to go and find them.  I guess you would be calling the tee shots at #6 and #7 blind, but they are only blind for someone hitting it more than 220 yards to one particular side of the fairway [left on 6, right on 7] looking for a turbo boost.  You try to draw it around the corner on #6, and then you play it over the big right bunker on #7.  The second shot on 15 is also blind if you don't hit a good drive; I tried to move some of that hill out of the way, but there was just too much dirt to worry about it.

Jerry Kluger

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 11:51:42 AM »
Pat: Osprey Point is 27 holes located at the western end of Glades Road.  Opened a month or two ago.

Peter Pallotta

Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 11:54:35 AM »
"Eventually, I realized that if I didn't want to follow Seth Raynor and keep repeating myself, I would have to let my clients (and my associates) factor into the decisions a bit more often."

Tom - that really struck me, and I've never thought about the subject that way, and it is maybe the most interesting and valuable 'rationale' i've ever heard for any artist/service provider who believes (I'd say, probably rightly) that great work is 'bullet proof' to nonetheless make room for the influence of clients and others on/in that work.

Peter

Tim Pitner

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 01:37:40 PM »
I suppose Tom Doak would rightly take the Fifth Amendment if asked how he would have dealt with the routing dilemma presented at Bandon Trails, where the transition from the forest to the shore had to take place.  I believe Mike Keiser said that Gil Hanse had proposed a tunnel or something else that cost him the job.  It would be interesting to hear a number of architects talk about that issue, keeping in mind that the view from the tee at 14 is surely the most majestic on the property.  It's an issue that had to be dealt with and I'm sure that a lot of people, amateurs all, are not all that satisfied with that hole, which seems to elevate quirk over quality while ignoring the hike between holes by use of a big cart to transport golfers, caddies and clubs to the 14th tee.

Terry,

As I'm sure you know, the golf cart was not always there.  The hike up the 14th is a steep one, particularly for a course that often gets play in the afternoon (i.e., for the 2nd round of the day) and features another tough cliimb up 16.  But, in my view, the cart on 14 isn't necessary--it was only installed after the unfortunate health incident that occurred there (at least that's what I was told).
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 07:14:11 PM by Tim Pitner »

Richard Hetzel

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 05:40:14 PM »
Tom,

If I could find a public course with similar greens to say, Lost Dunes, they would quickly tire of me playing there. Are you implying, generally speaking anyway,  that people who don't typically play a lot or only now and then on vacation wouldn't enjoy severe contouring of the greens?

I see what you are saying, but it surely does not apply to all the people I golf with.
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Fort Jackson Wildcat (SC), True Blue Golf Club (SC), Pinewood CC (NC), Asheboro Muni (NC), Pete Dye River Course (VA)

Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2011, 05:51:55 PM »
Richard:

The greens at Lost Dunes and Ballyneal are really complicated, as you know (at least in part).  The course is not that severe to play (in my opinion) if you understand the options ... that when the flag is right on #3, it's okay to miss short and straight, but when it's back left, you had better be sure you're pin high.

Bandon Dunes and Barnbougle have those same sort of situations, and they have developed a regular clientele who return once or twice a year (or more), so they come to learn the options.  For that matter, so would the regulars at a city muni, if they didn't get too frustrated on the first attempt and vow never to return ... as Jerry was mentioning about Nicklaus' redesign of West Palm Beach.  But, there are certain projects where you know most people are going to visit only once or twice in their lives -- say, Cape Kidnappers -- and I think it would be crazy to build greens like Ballyneal on a project like that.

Also, remember, the greens at Lost Dunes would not likely result in an inexpensive green fee.

David_Elvins

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2011, 06:37:59 PM »
Bandon Dunes and Barnbougle have those same sort of situations, and they have developed a regular clientele who return once or twice a year (or more), so they come to learn the options.

Tom,

The highly contoured greens at Barnbougle are loved by a lot of first timers I have played with.  You don't have to get to know them to enjoy them and I think that the reason is that the slopes deflect the ball towards the hole almost as often as they deflect the ball away from the hole.  (Of course this depends on the course set up.)   

Providing a few slopes that help the player, definetly takes the edge off the times that the first time player is punished unexpectedly by the contours.
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Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2011, 06:56:28 PM »
David:

One of the key things I learned in Scotland is that almost every severe slope has a right side and a wrong side.  The same slope that makes it impossible to get close to the hole if you're on the wrong side of it, is a backstop from somewhere else around the green.  But most players only think FORWARD and never think about playing long on purpose.

Jeffrey Stein

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2011, 10:26:48 PM »
Quote
The highly contoured greens at Barnbougle are loved by a lot of first timers I have played with.

I certainly found this to be true.  I had a blast putting the greens at Barnbougle, the choice of line and speed was unlike anything I have ever seen. 

I'd also like to note that although the greens at Cape Kidnappers are obviously less wild than those at Barnbougle, while caddying at the Cape last summer most visitors found the greens extremely vexing to putt.  Its not the speed, as the green staff keeps the surface at a good but not overly fast speed.  With many exposed green sites and significant slopes the golf course can really bare its teeth on the putting surface.  The real difficulty on the greens lies in the internal breaks of the greens converging with the over riding surrounding grades.  The ninth green is a notorious example, its extremely slow when putting from the back tier to the front.  The putt is clearly down a significant slope but its slow everytime.

I have played the golf course dozens of times and found these greens to be some of the toughest to get the correct line and speed. 
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Tom_Doak

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2011, 10:33:18 PM »
Quote
The highly contoured greens at Barnbougle are loved by a lot of first timers I have played with.

I certainly found this to be true.  I had a blast putting the greens at Barnbougle, the choice of line and speed was unlike anything I have ever seen.  

I'd also like to note that although the greens at Cape Kidnappers are obviously less wild than those at Barnbougle, while caddying at the Cape last summer most visitors found the greens extremely vexing to putt.  Its not the speed, as the green staff keeps the surface at a good but not overly fast speed.  With many exposed green sites and significant slopes the golf course can really bare its teeth on the putting surface.  The real difficulty on the greens lies in the internal breaks of the greens converging with the over riding surrounding grades.  The ninth green is a notorious example, its extremely slow when putting from the back tier to the front.  The putt is clearly down a significant slope but its slow everytime.

I have played the golf course dozens of times and found these greens to be some of the toughest to get the correct line and speed.  


Jeffrey:

I did not mean to rag on the greens at Cape Kidnappers.  They are wolves in sheep's clothing ... it doesn't look like there is much going on, but when tied together with the natural 3-5% grades of the fairways, they are much trickier than they look.  

For example, regarding your comment on the ninth green, that green is a major cut ... originally everything in that area was sloping out toward the sea, but we cut the green down into the ground so it wouldn't be so steep to approach.  It may look like it drains hard to the front, but most of the drainage is actually going out the left side, toward the dip in front of #7 green.  On other holes, the grade of the green simply follows the natural grade ... going away from the line of play on the holes playing out to sea.

After the course had been open for about a year, my friend Tom Ramsey, the Aussie golf writer, called to tell me how much he liked the course and the greens in particular.  I thanked him for being the first person to notice the greens contouring.  That landscape is so spectacular that hardly anyone really notices any features of the architecture ... which is fine by me.  But the quality is still there.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:47:48 PM by Tom_Doak »

Jeffrey Stein

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2011, 03:42:40 PM »
Quote
That landscape is so spectacular that hardly anyone really notices any features of the architecture ... which is fine by me.  But the quality is still there.

If there was ever a hole on that course to appreciate the quality of the design its the par-5 second hole.  Its one of my favorites on the golf course, its no where near the Bay but there is a beautiful red barn to aim at.  This hole is great because of the choice faced after the tee shot.  I have hit this green in two from over 200 yards, but have probably put myself in more trouble by being too aggressive from the wrong side of the fairway (left).  More often than not I had to decide whether to lay up short of the cross bunkers or try to drop one in on the next plateau of fairway, which slopes heavily to the right rough starting 50 yards from the green.  The green can also be a bear if you miss anywhere long or left.  A great hole where good strategy is rewarded and conversely punished.

Hole #2  (about 165m or 180 yards from the center of the green)



9th green from the left side, perhaps 4-5 ft below the far side of the picture

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Brett_Morrissy

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Re: For Tom Doak - When you design a golf course how much are you
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2011, 01:10:56 AM »
Hi Tom,
can I rightly detect a subtle increase in your discussions of Barnbougle after your recent visit, it would be very interesting for all us lovers of that course to hear you speak a little about it, and how you think it has aged in it's first years. I imagine you do not want to speak of changes without getting someone to 'appreciate' your suggestions and changes to be made ;D, but has it turned out as you imagined (not the development) - the actual golf course and it's playability?
Speed of turf, turf quality, tees, teeshot carries, greens, rough and FW width - the weather/wind certainly seems to affect some features more than others on the course, I imagine the 12th FW at 200m off the tee is a couple of feet higher than when originally turfed?!

I am hesitant to ask this on a brand new thread if it is inappropriate for you to discuss it?

Cheers
Brett
@theflatsticker

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