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Your Mount Rushmore of Golf Course Architects?


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#1 schley

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 12:27 PM

Not sure if we have many architecture enthusiasts here, but started this on GCA and wanted to give guys an opportunity to throw out their own opinions.

There is no criteria other than pick 4 iconic golf course architects in your opinion deserve to be on the Mount Rushmore of Golf Course Architects.  You can state a sentence or two about your explanation, but it is your opinion which we all have a different one. In any case, there are only 4 faces on the mountain in South Dakota. Tough.... yes, thought provoking of course.

My humble list.

Classic or Golden Age
"The Good Doctor" Alister Mackenzie - How could he not be on here right? ANGC, CPCC, etc. Traveled internationally quite a bit, notably to Australia. Great greens IMO.  Tutored a young Maxwell.

CB MacDonald - Father of the template holes and first great American architect and major influence on Raynor's successful career.  Bonus points for being first in the US I guess.


AW Tillinghast - Had his own unique style with groups of fairway bunkers, designed many courses.  Has more designs that have hosted majors than any other designer at one time (maybe still I don't know).


Harry S Colt - There are designers with more iconic courses or volume, but he played a role and influence over many designers and projects.  Probably more of a mentor figure than stand alone golf course designer, with Mackenzie and Colt obviously partners. Influence on Crump at Pine Valley and Ross and his career.


I guess I gave special consideration to the forerunner (sans Old Tom Morris), not the accomplished apprentice who would create greatness themselves (Alison, Raynor, Maxwell, Ross).

Modern


Pete Dye - After WWII he was one of the most successful to create designs.  Penal designs, genius with hazards, not flat and boring for sure. Many here know his influence on present day architects via his company's projects and development of associates. Assist from his wife Alice I think many would want mentioned.

Tom Fazio - Hated by some for his flash and high end, big money projects, he is like Frank Sinatra in that he did is "my way" as I see it(albeit empowered by clients big $).  He created whatever by moving tremendous amounts of dirt and sand. Epitomized the gluttonous 80/90's golf course boom.


Tom Doak - So fortunate he posts here for all of us to give perspective. Minimalist who I think because of the new course construction slowdown has had to do much of his work as a consulting architect as much as his relatively small portfolio of new designs. Quality over quantity. Had he started out on his own in 1980 I think we would have been all the better with more designs.


Bill Coore / Ben Crenshaw - Sum of the whole more valuable then the parts. Ben was still playing full time when they started and as a golf historians they are minimalists who challenge the golfer with using the ground when able in the US, which is not a typical course stateside. Wonderfully nice gentlemen where had Ben just been a GCA with Coore they could have maybe had 30-40 more designs to their names through the boom times.


As this totally subjective, I left of Nicklaus as I just don't enjoy his penal designs with raised greens and too many bunkers IMO. Hanse I enjoy as well as Kyle Phillips, but with so few spots sorry. RTJ could maybe had found a place as well. It is apples and oranges to a certain extent as there just aren't many courses being built in the last 10 years and the near future so it will be hard for young guys to elbow their way to projects.  It will be renovations and redesigns for the near term.

Who is on your Mount Rushmore? Enjoy.
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Edited by schley, 26 December 2018 - 12:28 PM.


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#2 PirateLion85

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 12:14 PM

Classic Era:

Mackenzie
Tillinghast
Ross
Raynor


Modern Era:

Coore/Crenshaw
RTJ Sr.
Tom Fazio
Gil Hanse
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#3 duffer987

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 02:27 PM

 schley, on 26 December 2018 - 12:27 PM, said:

Tom Doak - So fortunate he posts here for all of us to give perspective. Minimalist who I think because of the new course construction slowdown has had to do much of his work as a consulting architect as much as his relatively small portfolio of new designs. Quality over quantity. Had he started out on his own in 1980 I think we would have been all the better with more designs...

Not getting enough replies for your liking over on GCA, you could at least edit it first :blush2:

And I'm no huge fan, but leaving RTJ Sr. off a 'modern' list is a massive oversight, especially when including Doak and C&C (who I am a koolaid drinker of). How many golfers actually get to play their courses on a regular basis?

And CBMac and Tilly over Old Tom?

I get having favorites - we have it here http://www.golfwrx.c...ourse-designer/ - but that's surely different than a legacy or real influence on the game, which would get your head in stone.

Edit - Don't want to be a negative Nelly, so to answer the OP Q:
Old Tom
Colt
MacKenzie
RTJ Sr.

Not just for what they did, but also for the number of golfers who would have played, and continue to play, their courses, and the reach of the last two around the globe.

Edited by duffer987, 27 December 2018 - 03:33 PM.


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#4 schley

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 02:52 PM

 duffer987, on 27 December 2018 - 02:27 PM, said:

 schley, on 26 December 2018 - 12:27 PM, said:

Tom Doak - So fortunate he posts here for all of us to give perspective. Minimalist who I think because of the new course construction slowdown has had to do much of his work as a consulting architect as much as his relatively small portfolio of new designs. Quality over quantity. Had he started out on his own in 1980 I think we would have been all the better with more designs...

Not getting enough replies for your liking over on GCA, you could at least edit it first :blush2:

And I'm no huge fan, but leaving RTJ Sr. off a 'modern' list is a massive oversight, especially when including Doak and C&C (who I am a koolaid drinker of). How many golfers actually get to play their courses on a regular basis?

And CBMac and Tilly over Old Tom?

I get having favorites - we have it here http://www.golfwrx.c...ourse-designer/ - but that's surely different than a legacy or real influence on the game, which would get your head in stone.

I said, "but started this on GCA".   Does architecture discussion have to be limited to GCA? Not IMO.

I like OTM and he was certainly one of the first and the rest of my list does favor the forerunners, sans OTM.

So your 4 are? :fan_1:

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#5 James the Hogan Fan

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 04:09 AM

The fab four:
Mackenzie
Macdonald
Ross
Tillinghast

BUT, as a California native I have played a number of William (Billy) Bell designs and like a couple of them (Tilden Park, Alameda North, Castlewood CC) and he had his hand in some other top-notch courses, namely Riviera, Bel Air, and Torrey Pines, so he gets a mention. (Though he also had a bad misfire at Palo Alto Muni) Also a shout out to Jack Neville, who did pretty well at Pebble Beach, and produced the gem that is the Pacific Grove back nine.

Edit: Im sorry I dont have more nuance than that, Im not too into architecture. I think of Mackenzie as the guy who made all the best courses everywhere with subtle tricks and sometimes dramatic bunkering/drops.

Tillinghast just screams Bethpage Black and there is something beautiful about massive, ragged cross-bunkers on holes carved out of fescue/forrest.

Macdonald: If you like it then you shoulda put a windmill on it. Honestly hes the one Id swap Bell with, just because hes mostly on the wrong end of the country and Im not familiar with his stuff outside National and I thiiink Shinnecock?

Ross: see Macdonald, not too familiar with him outside of Pinehurst.

Old Tom Morris could be on there, but I think of him more as Greenskeeper extraordinaire and less so architect in the traditional sense, perhaps erroneously.

Edited by James the Hogan Fan, 28 December 2018 - 04:30 AM.

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#6 FairwayFred

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.
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#7 schley

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 05:54 AM

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.
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#8 shotmark

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:41 PM

As there's only one Mount Rushmore i'll split my choice between Golden Age and modern;

MacKenzie
Colt
Dye
Cabell Robinson.

My caveat re Robinson is that I'm probably biased having played some absolute gems which he designed.

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#9 shotmark

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 01:45 PM

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.

At risk of being hung, drawn and quartered I don't think OTM was a great architect.  He was fortunate enough to be given great plots of land and laid greens and tees on them where they would be playable as golf holes with minimum landscaping required.  Almost all his courses have been dramatically changed for the better over the years.

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#10 FairwayFred

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 07:00 PM

 schley, on 28 December 2018 - 05:54 AM, said:

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.
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#11 FairwayFred

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 07:12 PM

 shotmark, on 28 December 2018 - 01:45 PM, said:

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.

At risk of being hung, drawn and quartered I don't think OTM was a great architect.  He was fortunate enough to be given great plots of land and laid greens and tees on them where they would be playable as golf holes with minimum landscaping required.  Almost all his courses have been dramatically changed for the better over the years.

Consider what course "architecture" was before OTM and what it became very shortly after.  Also consider the difference in equipment then vs now or even vs 1925 and distances people hit the ball.  Many of the courses he designed were not even 18 (or 9) holes originally much of the changes made to his courses were necessitated by these things along with WW1/WW2, airports being built and things he never would have dreamed of.  Many of the great holes he designed still exist in many ways and I think he deserves a ton of credit as a great architect especially for his day and compared to his contemporaries.  That said it's a very tough argument and it's kind of like trying to compare Babe Ruth to Bryce Harper.  

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#12 wingedfoot97

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:03 PM

MacKenzie
Tillinghast
Raynor
Dye
Doak
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#13 schley

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 11:43 PM

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 07:00 PM, said:

 schley, on 28 December 2018 - 05:54 AM, said:

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.
Narin?
Prestwick?
Crail Balcomie?

Machrahanish

What are they doing for a clubhouse now that it burnt down?

How was the #1 opening tee shot?????????

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#14 FairwayFred

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 03:54 AM

 schley, on 28 December 2018 - 11:43 PM, said:

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 07:00 PM, said:

 schley, on 28 December 2018 - 05:54 AM, said:

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.
Narin?
Prestwick?
Crail Balcomie?

Machrahanish

What are they doing for a clubhouse now that it burnt down?

How was the #1 opening tee shot?????????

Fortunately the pro shop is a separate building across the street so it is fine.  There is also the old pro shop pub and the hotel/cottages right there.  Very sad though looking at the burned out structure.  I'm just glad everyone is OK!

Best opening hole of golf in the world!

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#15 kro88

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 09:02 AM

 FairwayFred, on 28 December 2018 - 05:04 AM, said:

Old Tom was certainly an architect in the traditional sense.  He was really the first one and he designed a TON of courses.  His influence on golf was HUGE obviously but nothing he did moreso than his work as an architect imo. Obviously this is limited to GBI but he started the trend of having a name designer and built many of the great old courses in GBI. He traveled all over at a time when that was very difficult and really threw himself into course design when his son died.  I don't think most people in the USA really know his history.  On a personal note he is responsible for the original design of many of my favorite courses including the one I am staring at right now.

agreed, a founding father of Golf Architecture,  but Rushmore is in the states, so I'd yield to these guys

Dr. Mackenzie
CB Mac
Ross
Tillinghast

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#16 ChunkAndRun2

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 12:17 PM

Mackenzie
Coore and Crenshaw
Dye
Ross

I feel like each have been at the forefront of a change or a movement in the design of their era and what comes after them.  Yes, I know C&C is presumptuous in this regard, but they are the godfathers of the new minimalism movement.
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#17 Billy__Baroo

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 01:54 AM

Mackenzie
Ross
Coore-Crenshaw
Doak

Honorable Mention - Pete Dye. He was the first name that I ever really heard when it came to golf architects, and Big Fish in Hayward, WI holds a soft spot in my heart.
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#18 El Gringo

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 02:55 AM

Given the makeup and characters of Mt Rushmore, I will try to use archies to fill the spots.

That makes OTM a dead obvious choice as the Grandfather of architecture and extremely important for filling this role even if he never designed decent stuff...but he obviously OTM designed a lot of great stuff, some of which survives.

I don't know of a near contemporary of OTM which is worth including on such a short list so I shall have to move on to an early archie after the turn of the century.  With hugely influential early heathland courses such as Sunny Old, Huntercombe and Notts, Willie Park Jr is often a forgotten figure. The interesting aspect of Park is he straddled two eras of design and his courses reflect this experience.  

I think HS Colt is the man we must firmly look to as the inventor of the modern concept of golf architect.  

Finally, Dr Mac would be choice as the man who was able to seemlessly combine aesthetics and first rate design in many parts of the world.  

It is a great shame to leave off Ross and Braid.  On another day I may have mentioned them both.  I am particularly fond of Braid's work and he proved himself again and again when given good land to work with.  It is also a great shame to leave off another of my favourites, H Fowler.  Unlike the case with US presidents, there are simply too many worthy candidates for such acclaim...and I didn't mention a modern archie.

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#19 Chrismydawg

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 12:11 PM

Ross
Mckenzie
Dye
Crenshaw/Coor

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#20 thejuice

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Posted 04 January 2019 - 06:39 PM

I am new to actually paying attention to golf course architecture, so please don’t beat my lists up too bad.  I cared more about the conditions of the course compared to the design, but I have become more of a fan of WHY a course is designed like it is in recent years.  

Classic:
Donald Ross
Seth Raynor (love his influence on some courses I play)
CB MacDonald
Robert Trent Jones, Sr (I think the father of modern course design here in the South)

Modern:
Pete Dye
Arnold Palmer (his courses seem to have really tough holes and really fair holes all in the same 18 holes)
Tom Fazio (he seems to like a lot of bunkers, which I think I like to see on golf courses)
Robert Trent Jones, Jr (big fan of his work, just like dear old dad)

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Gameball: Vice Pro Plus, Srixon Q Star Tour

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#21 Roadking2003

Roadking2003

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:19 PM

Nicklaus
Fazio
Dye
R T Jones

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#22 baudi

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:17 AM

By far I lack extensive knowledge on this subject but Donald Steel deserves honorouble mention.

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