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Ronald Montesano

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2011, 01:16:35 PM »
Ed,

It seems like no one else recognizes the spiritual eruption that it took to compile and post this thread, so I'll be the first to tell you that it is, without question, the best thread I've read since I joined GCA. I don't know why the rest of the guys on the site haven't taken the time to read it and comment, but hey, it's their loss and Charlotte's gain.

When I was a freshie at Wake Forest, Coach Haddock let me try out for the team. I played my one and only round at Old Town, realizing then and there that I didn't have what it took to make the team. One thing I did not realize, however, was that I was treading over greatness and I've been aching (despite Kye Goalby's best efforts to meet up) to get back there. That's what sucks about teaching...can't just up and head south for Homecoming during prime teaching months.

I believe that Mr. Maxwell had an incredible gift. I would love to know what his formative years and influences gifted him, in terms of lay of the land. We know what Mackenzie did, regarding his war service. How was Maxwell influenced as a youth and teenager? As you say, the ability to weave the creek into nearly every hole of a space of property, without making it seem forced, is transcendent.

Looks like America's heartland, for the new builds of SH, DC, BN, et al., and the great classics of PM is the new dream trip.
Coming in August 2023
~Manakiki
~OSU Scarlet
~OSU Grey
~NCR South
~Springfield
~Columbus
~Lake Forest (OH)
~Sleepy Hollow (OH)

Colin Macqueen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2011, 05:45:47 PM »
Ed,
A very nice thread indeed. As I have not played any Maxwell courses I cannot add to the discussion. However I have been given a tutorial in golf course architecture by yourself and Maxwell! To my mind the majority of GCA principles and ideas are presented in your piece here and in a very accessible manner.

I was particularly taken with your sequence of nine to ten descriptions of Maxwell greens covering the gamut (I think) of putting green architecture. As you suggest a testament to his ability.
Your description of "movement", vertically and laterally, supplemented by the aerials and photos allows me to interpret much more meaningfully this aspect of golf course architecture. Fairway shape and bunker placement, or lack thereof, clearly articulated.
Your writing captures the essence of the hazardous nature of a seemingly benign creek as it snakes around the greens. Once again the aerials and photos add that extra dimension allowing me to recognise the twisting, sinuous nature of an innocent stretch of water and how well it can be incorporated into the design.

I bet your Dad enjoyed every minute of his golf with you.

Thanks for all that (except I now have another unattainable goal; I want to play Maxwell courses!)

Colin.
"Golf, thou art a gentle sprite, I owe thee much"
The Hielander

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2011, 08:45:44 PM »
Ed:

Great thread.  Not all of the pictures come up as I am reading this from China ... perhaps their bias against golf courses is stronger against photos of good ones?  Anyway, your observation that I found most striking was this:

"when he found a striking natural feature, he pretty much bashes you over the head with it.  Im not sure I have seen any other architect use bold features as aggressively as Maxwell.  For example, at Oklahoma City G&CC there is an amazing creek which snakes its way through the southern portion of the property"


I have written much the same about Dr. MacKenzie.  Of course, he and Maxwell worked a bit together, and their first bit of collaboration was the very same Oklahoma City G&CC.  I don't think MacKenzie was very involved there ... I believe Maxwell had already signed up the job when the Doctor came through town on his way to California.  But he might have gone out and looked at a routing and suggested squeezing things together.

For MacKenzie, this tendency was sometimes a flaw.  Wherever his courses have been altered or narrowed by trees, safety between two holes in close proximity is usually the culprit.  I don't know if that's true for Maxwell's courses also.

Tom MacWood

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2011, 10:26:44 AM »
Thanks for all the very kind compliments!  However, I didn't start this thread to get a pat on the back.  What I'd really like to see is some discussion develop.  So I'll toss a few things out there in hopes of getting the ball rolling:

For those who have played other Maxwell courses besides those I mention, do you see similar things?  Crystal Downs anyone?

The MacKenzie/Maxwell partnership has always seemed a bit odd to me since I don't see much commonality between their courses.  For those who have greater experience with Dr. Mac's designs, how do they compare?  

And how about my Flynn question?  I don't have the Morrison/Paul treatise on Flynn since my NASA-sized servers haven't been installed yet.  Does anyone know if there is any connection between Maxwell and Flynn?

Mark, would you believe that at one point I had visions of a "Get Smart" theme for this thread?  Of course, that idea missed it by that much!

IMO both Crystal Downs and Univ of Michigan course have much more of a Maxwell feel than a Mackenzie feel.

I have not seen a direct connection between Flynn and Maxwell, but I wouldn't be surprised. Another similarity they share is the grass island or islands you will occasionally find in their bunkers. Unfortunately a few of those Maxwell bunkers have disappeared, or have been altered, over the years.

Excellent piece.

Jay Flemma

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2011, 10:45:09 AM »
Oklahoma City is one of my all time faves!  Not only the windingburn, but the great terrain and the wondrous routing and great green complexes.  That is a hidden gem the quality of a Silmaril!  Love it!
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Ed Oden

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2011, 11:47:46 PM »
Thanks to all for the compliments I've received, both publicly and privately.  I'm a bit embarrassed, but grateful nonetheless.

One question, why do you seem to think Mac and Max were not necessarily compatible archies?

Sean, I'm not sure I can give a good answer.  Visually, their styles appear different to me.  Maybe its mostly the bunkers.  It seems they used them very differently.  I also don't see that Maxwell emplyed the visual deception that MacKenzie did.  And I thought Maxwell pretty much lived at his courses during design/construction while Dr. Mac played hit and run.  At the end of the day, it's more a gut feeling than anything else.

Sean_A

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2011, 02:03:21 AM »
Thanks to all for the compliments I've received, both publicly and privately.  I'm a bit embarrassed, but grateful nonetheless.

One question, why do you seem to think Mac and Max were not necessarily compatible archies?

Sean, I'm not sure I can give a good answer.  Visually, their styles appear different to me.  Maybe its mostly the bunkers.  It seems they used them very differently.  I also don't see that Maxwell emplyed the visual deception that MacKenzie did.  And I thought Maxwell pretty much lived at his courses during design/construction while Dr. Mac played hit and run.  At the end of the day, it's more a gut feeling than anything else.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say Mac and Max weren't compatible (how can I when their collaborations are so widely praised?), but I do think you have hit onto something.  If it is the case that UofM was originally routed by Max then altered a bit (making it a much better course imo) by Mac, it is that extra flair or risk taking in the design which makes the course a keeper.  Other than the difference of bunker style and quantity, from what I can tell Mac seemed to want to be bolder in his green shapes.  Perhaps Max was more likely to keep things simple.  In general though, I think both guys seized on interesting features and tried to route course to get the maximum out of those features. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ed Oden

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2011, 11:48:56 PM »
Great stuff, Twin Hills is one of the best under the radar courses you will find anywhere.

Sam, I agree entirely.  Twin Hills is really good and I think worthy of mention among Maxwell's top designs.  While working on this thread, the two  courses I kept coming back to were Dornick Hills and Twin Hills.  All of the qualities and characteristics I wanted to talk about were exhibited at those two courses.  I could have done this thread by using examples from Twin Hills and Dornick Hills alone.  But I doubt I could have done it without mentioning those two courses.  Some commentary is out there on Dornick, since it was Maxwell's first design.  So I had some idea what to expect there.  But I was not prepared for the quality of Twin Hills.  It's just a bunch of very good holes.

JC Urbina

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2011, 01:22:03 AM »
Ed

I agree with the others, a very well written piece.  I have long been an admirer of Maxwell, in my mind the contours of the greens are the heart and soul of his work.  In my early years of discovery I remember making the loop from Denver to Firethorn to Prairie Dunes and back to Denver several times.  I  have always thought the other Maxwell courses that I have had a chance to explore leave me with the same feeling you expressed in your piece. 

I believe that Maxwell was a wonderful addition to Mackenzie's portfolio of work. I am curious if you think Perry is in the same vein with Mackenzie and Ross and others

Ed Oden

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2011, 12:48:51 AM »
Jim, any architect that can claim full or co-credit for Prairie Dunes, Southern Hills, Crystal Downs and Old Town has a portfolio of top courses  that merits attention.  For me, however, the next tier down is just as important.  I saw nothing in Maxwell's lesser known designs that would give me cause to pause.  On the contrary, in my opinion, he produced consistently solid golf courses.  I think Maxwell deserves to be discussed with the other top architects of his generation.  Where he falls in the pecking order is a matter of personal preference.

Mike Tanner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2011, 12:48:15 PM »
Thanks for this extensive and informative look at Perry Maxwell. I've never been able to see such a concentrated examination of his work before. Having never played one of his courses, I can't add any comments of an architectural nature. However, after reading your post, I'm inspired to seek out one of his designs and experience it in person. Great post! 
Life's too short to waste on bad golf courses or bad wine.

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2011, 09:46:22 PM »
Thanks for this, Ed.  A well done look at some of Maxwell's work and style.  Makes we want to see Dornick Hills even more.

If I might offer a slight bit of criticism, it's with the name of the thread.  I didn't really know what it was about from the name or would have clicked on it sooner.  You might get even more attention and comments if the subject were clearer.

John Mayhugh

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2011, 09:47:34 PM »
Oops - doubly posted somehow.  Sorry.

Tiger_Bernhardt

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Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2011, 10:40:23 PM »
I too love the thread. I grew up on a Maxwell course in Monroe, La. The childhood moments playing this course, working during the summers there and watching the best amateur golfers play match play there will never leave my mind.

Ed Oden

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2011, 10:42:54 PM »
If I might offer a slight bit of criticism, it's with the name of the thread.  I didn't really know what it was about from the name or would have clicked on it sooner.  You might get even more attention and comments if the subject were clearer.

John, sorry about that chief!  Would you believe I was trying the old golf architect/1960's TV show double entendre thread name trick?  Guess I missed it by that much!    ;D

Jim Eder

Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2012, 10:50:46 AM »
Ed,

This really was excellent as others have written.  Wonderful!!  Thanks.

Mike_DeVries

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2012, 01:15:54 PM »
Ed,

EXCELLENT post and commentary.  I think it is a really fine synopsis of why Maxwell's work is so intriguing and definitely worthy of more study.

Mike

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2012, 03:48:37 PM »
Ed,

I was thinking just this week that I hadn't heard from you in a while.

What a triumphant return!

Thanks for this wonderfully documented and thoughtful piece.

The 3rd (perhaps 12th?) hole at the RTJ Golf Trails's Oxmoor Valley Ridge course has a par 5 with a green perched on top of a shale outcropping.  It's a really cool whole - perhaps the most interesting that I played on all of the Trail courses. I am trying to find a picture online, but have not been successful yet. 


Morgan, I have played that hole too and immediately thought of it when I saw Ed's photo of the hole at Dornick Hills.    It's the perfect length at about 495 yards to cause a lot of anguish for longer hitters!

ward peyronnin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2012, 05:31:38 PM »
Ed

I would mainly repeat what the others have said complementing the thread and the courses.

If I may offer a criticism.... have you any idea what the hell is that new tree doing planted in front of that wonderful rock scarp. Totally out of place
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Ed Oden

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Maxwell Smart
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2012, 09:31:31 PM »
Thanks for all the kind words.  They are appreciated even though I don't feel they are warranted.

If I may offer a criticism.... have you any idea what the hell is that new tree doing planted in front of that wonderful rock scarp. Totally out of place

Ward, the only thing I can think of is that maybe it was planted to replace a large that died in that spot.  It sure does look out of place though.


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