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Elements Of Golf Course Architecture And Change


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#1 languid

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 12:26 PM

I want to get a fix on these elements. I haven't found much in print so I am suggesting the following for comment.

1. Routing  (the actual layout of the golf holes  across the property) reference a Golf Digest article 15 Sep 2014.

2. Tee Pads

3. Fairways

4. Putting Greens

5 . Rough

6. Hazards includes water hazards and bunkers

7.Mounds and swales, contours of the ground

8. Trees and shrubs ( original trees in the landscape  and any plantings)

9 Gardens

9 Pathways such as pedestrian and cart paths

10. Various structures such as irrigation control boxes, pump sheds, equipment sheds

 

  The second part of the discussion is about change.

 

 The elements of the architecture of a golf course change over time.

 

Too often the change is amateurish meddling by the latest Captain wanting to leave his "mark".  

 

Change is inherent in the architecture because of natural events

Trees get damaged, diseased or just get old.

Storms may force changes to water hazards and drainage.

There may be external factors such as housing developments adjacent to the course. There may be new regulations introduced by local government.

 

Other factors might be

Increase in number of carts on the course. 

Adverse safety experience at certain places on the course.

Maintenance costs of original design concepts start to increase significantly

 

 

  I want to get comment on this because I am trying to stimulate some intelligent discussion at my home Club.  

 

Ideas from here can help me get this underway I hope.

 

  

 

 



#2 OldBogey

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 03:41 PM

Drainage - there shouldn't be any boggy patches in the playing areas.  Bunkers should be well drained underneath.  If you have a downpour, the course should return to playability without delay.

 

Challenge - the course should present a good challenge to short hitters (elderly, youngsters and women) as well as to mid-level golfers (10 - 20 hcap) and skilled golfers.  If the comp of the day is "off the blues", it should be achievable for all.  Having to think one's way around the course in order to get a good score, as well as providing for those who cannot do accurate hits.

 

Speed of play - a ball in the rough should pull up short and perhaps limit direction for the next shot, but shouldn't hide the ball so players waste time searching.

 

Turf - can improvements be made to the playability of fairways and trueness of greens.



#3 OldBogey

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 03:41 PM

Good luck with your meddling, Captain


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#4 wisp

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 03:55 PM

The USGA Green's Section has published articles on Course Construction, Maintenance etc going back to 1921 to the present day. It used to be only available to USGA members but is now available to the public.http://gsr.lib.msu.edu
Click on a decade then a year and browse through the publications.
Have fun.
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#5 Li Ning

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 03:57 PM

I want to get a fix on these elements. I haven't found much in print so I am suggesting the following for comment.
1. Routing  (the actual layout of the golf holes  across the property) reference a Golf Digest article 15 Sep 2014.

Is there enough viable land available for re-routing, without impacting on existing tee and green complexes, waterways, neighbours. Why re-route?? What is main issue driving the routing of the course?? Slow play, bottlenecks...

2. Tee Pads
Ensure they are large enough to allow multiple tee positions. Ensure a viable turf species is chosen to eliminate over seeding in cooler months. Trial new varieties of turf for12months, this will provide members with a strong choice of the right variety. Need to be laser levelled when constructed.

3. Fairways
10-18mm height
4. Putting Greens
5 . Rough
6. Hazards includes water hazards and bunkers
7.Mounds and swales, contours of the ground
8. Trees and shrubs ( original trees in the landscape  and any plantings)
9 Gardens
9 Pathways such as pedestrian and cart paths
10. Various structures such as irrigation control boxes, pump sheds, equipment sheds
 
  The second part of the discussion is about change.
 
 The elements of the architecture of a golf course change over time.
 
Too often the change is amateurish meddling by the latest Captain wanting to leave his "mark".  
 
Change is inherent in the architecture because of natural events
Trees get damaged, diseased or just get old.
Storms may force changes to water hazards and drainage.
There may be external factors such as housing developments adjacent to the course. There may be new regulations introduced by local government.
 
Other factors might be
Increase in number of carts on the course. 
Adverse safety experience at certain places on the course.
Maintenance costs of original design concepts start to increase significantly
 
 
  I want to get comment on this because I am trying to stimulate some intelligent discussion at my home Club.  
 
Ideas from here can help me get this underway I hope.


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DEBUT: ANA Inspirational LPGA Mission Hills, Palm Springs, CA 2016
Reacquainted myself with Karrie Webb, Australia's Greatest Golfer

#6 *Mouldy

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 04:12 PM

There should be an even balance to all points on the compass.  So your four par 5s and four par 3s should run N,S,E and W so on any day you go upwind, downwind and across.  Of course the prevailing wind should be taken into account.  Having your longest hole into a SW gale at the height of winter makes no sense.  So you make it a little shorter but you say stick in a dogleg to make it harder in the northerlies on hard fairways in Summer.

 

Similarly there should be an even spread of holes requiring the ball to go L to R and R to L.

 

Don't follow Thomson's stupid ideas and put hazards on both sides of the fairway leaving all risk and no reward.  Use hazards to dictate direction.  To be effective fairway bunkers should extend from 190-250m from the tee so as to catch players of all abilities.

 

Use mature trees to protect greens or direct play.  Graham Marsh did this masterfully at Growling Frog.

 

Many of the signature short par 4s on the Sandbelt have the entrance to the green at right angles to the fairway.  This ensures the 2nd shot is over a hazard and requires great distance control.  Plus it makes getting on in 1 much harder.


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#7 languid

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 04:24 PM

The USGA Green's Section has published articles on Course Construction, Maintenance etc going back to 1921 to the present day. It used to be only available to USGA members but is now available to the public.http://gsr.lib.msu.edu
Click on a decade then a year and browse through the publications.
Have fun.

Just had a quick look. So much info!

#8 languid

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 04:36 PM

thanks for your immediate help.
I can head off any re routing.
I think one of the problems is tendency to leap to a "solution" when the "problem" is not really understood and change not done with both pros and cons considered.
Sometimes things have been done ad hoc.
Add a bunker, put in some mounds, move a tee.
Trees and shrubs are another thing.
Regularly people offer trees and shrubs for planting with their personal ideas which are frankly quite dopey.
That starts the politics.
Good thing is the Superintendent is very knowledgeable about most aspects but architectural ideas are sometimes questionable.

#9 Madambo

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 05:53 PM

thanks for your immediate help.
I can head off any re routing.
I think one of the problems is tendency to leap to a "solution" when the "problem" is not really understood and change not done with both pros and cons considered.
Sometimes things have been done ad hoc.
Add a bunker, put in some mounds, move a tee.
Trees and shrubs are another thing.
Regularly people offer trees and shrubs for planting with their personal ideas which are frankly quite dopey.
That starts the politics.
Good thing is the Superintendent is very knowledgeable about most aspects but architectural ideas are sometimes questionable.

Throw this one out to the committee- they can become liable (and club) for any changes they decide to make without professional advice (The experts) that then cause damage, injury or death.

 

Angle a tee the wrong way, move a tee box that then causes more issues and/or injury etc.

 

The Board are there to protect the members at all times, so they should be taking due care in any decisions.

 

If you have a course that has a big name designer, you may lose their name off it if you tinker around too much. Or you can possibly stuff up a good course!


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#10 Shanks4ever

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 10:24 PM

A course master plan by a recognized golf architect pretty much covers everything you are talking about. Sounds like your club does not have one.

 

I suggest if you are generally interested in this topic read a few books on the topic written by recognized experts rather than mostly uneducated opinions here.

 

A good start would be =

 

modern - Tom Doak - The Anatomy of a golf course 

 

classic - Alister  Mackenzie - The Spirit of St Andrews

 

His 13 principles for GCA still hold true today -

 

The course should have beautiful surroundings.

The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes.

There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes, and at least four one-shot holes.

There should be little walking between the greens and tees.

Every hole should be different in character.

There should be a minimum of blindness for the approach shots.

There should be infinite variety in the strokes required to play the various holes... (with every club utilized).

There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls.

The course should be so interesting that even the scratch player is constantly stimulated to improve his game.

The course should be so arranged that (all levels of players can) enjoy the round in spite of ... piling up a big score.

The course should be equally good during winter and summer, the texture of the greens and fairways should be perfect and the approaches should have the same consistency as the greens.

There should be a sufficient number of heroic carries.

The greens and fairways should be sufficiently undulating.


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#11 languid

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 01:05 PM

A course master plan by a recognized golf architect pretty much covers everything you are talking about. Sounds like your club does not have one.

 

I suggest if you are generally interested in this topic read a few books on the topic written by recognized experts rather than mostly uneducated opinions here.

 

A good start would be =

 

modern - Tom Doak - The Anatomy of a golf course 

 

classic - Alister  Mackenzie - The Spirit of St Andrews

 

His 13 principles for GCA still hold true today -

 

The course should have beautiful surroundings.

The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes.

There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes, and at least four one-shot holes.

There should be little walking between the greens and tees.

Every hole should be different in character.

There should be a minimum of blindness for the approach shots.

There should be infinite variety in the strokes required to play the various holes... (with every club utilized).

There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls.

The course should be so interesting that even the scratch player is constantly stimulated to improve his game.

The course should be so arranged that (all levels of players can) enjoy the round in spite of ... piling up a big score.

The course should be equally good during winter and summer, the texture of the greens and fairways should be perfect and the approaches should have the same consistency as the greens.

There should be a sufficient number of heroic carries.

The greens and fairways should be sufficiently undulating.

Thanks very much. 

On architecture. There was a plan done and executed about 20 years ao by a Course Architect (now deceased). 15 years ago the layout was  pinned to a Noticeboard in the Clubhouse.

Now nobody is sure where the  layout diagram is and whether there were any accompanying notes. There are some archives somewhere. Will try to get a search done. 

On the positive side we have at least 3 members who walked the Course with the Architect who discussed architectural principles on various holes (maybe all holes).

Of course in time many things change due to natural events. Trees grow get damaged and sometimes get diseased or die. Only this week we have had 2 very large eucalyptus trees fall over. One was very significant to the play of the hole if you strayed in the RHS rough with your tee shot.    A lot of skill was needed to negotiate one large protruding branch or playing over the half the canopy or play a conservative shot short and left.  

This element was probably there 20 years ago and recognised by the Course Architect for its value.  

I doubt that there is a good, easy  response to this event.   

The other tree really had no bearing on play except for some of the leaves and twigs that dropped and blow towards area of play with decent winds.

 

 By the way the Club like so many these days is strapped for cash so hiring a new Architect to review the course is not  a proposition. 

I am trying to get proper respect for the original architecture which was very well done I believe,  in the constraints of the property available. 

On the other hand some changes can be made (and must be made) with clear, disciplined thought.

Shanks

Are Alister Mackenzie principles quoted exact? Do you have a reference?

 

By the way i am particularly taken by the following

 

"There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls."

 

Looking for balls slows play. If the ball is unplayable so be it but at least you can get on with play. Lose a ball and unless there is a Provisional Ball available there is more time lost.  



#12 Shanks4ever

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 02:18 PM

Thanks very much. 

 

Are Alister Mackenzie principles quoted exact? Do you have a reference?

 

By the way i am particularly taken by the following

 

"There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls."

 

Looking for balls slows play. If the ball is unplayable so be it but at least you can get on with play. Lose a ball and unless there is a Provisional Ball available there is more time lost.  

Pleasure, Languid

 

I think it is in the book I reference but if you google "alister mackenzie 13 design principles" plenty of references. eg http://www.rolextop1...principles.html






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