Saturday, 21 January 2017

5 Courses For The Rest of My Life - Jasper Park

    2. Jasper Park, Alberta, Canada. Stanley Thompson, 1925

In Jasper, Stanley Thompson inherited a marvelous piece of land from the Canadian National Railway. The site had wonderful rolling terrain which got progressively stronger the closer you were to the mountains. The heart of the property contained a beautiful glacial lake that could be incorporated into the golf course, but the vast majority of its shoreline had to be left for the lodges. The routing stays mostly on the softer undulations, but it does venture down into a lower valley and right up to mountains a few times during the round for drama. What’s most memorable about the routing is the way Stanley managed to line up all 18 holes with 18 different mountain peaks.

What I enjoy the most at Jasper Park is the scale of the golf course. Stanley recognized that if he increased his clearing width, he would open up wider vistas out to the mountains, but it would also change how the course played. While it is hard to lose a golf ball, the golf course could have become insignificant within the setting. So Thompson added a lot of very large bunkers to match the scale of the site to bring the attention back down to the golf holes.

When you play there you are in awe of how the visual canvas works in harmony with the setting. You find out the scale provides you with so much more room that you hit more fairways. The elevation means you gain a few extra yards on each shot. As you play you will have likely made more pars or birdies than you’re used to. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the mountains than a fun filled round of golf at Jasper Park Lodge.
11tth hole - courtesy of Edmonton Journal

Friday, 20 January 2017

5 Courses For The Rest of My Life - The Old Course

3. The Old Course, St. Andrew’s, Scotland. Robertsom/Morris

St. Andrew’s is the well-spring for golf course architecture. Almost every great idea ever incorporated in golf design can be found on this immaculate links. The irony is many ideas were not planned by expert nor was the course built over outstanding terrain. The magic lies in the multitude of small details that when collected together deliver an incredible playing experience. It reminds us every time that golf is not about how a course looks, but how it plays on the ground.

After finishing a recent enjoyable round at St. Andrew’s Old, played in very aggressive winds, I had an epiphany about the experience. I realized that the style of the architecture at the Old Course had little to do with punishing poor shots and had much more to do with encouraging intelligent play. Its greatest attribute was the freedom to choose. I had always appreciated how the course provided me with the option to select an appropriate route and the opportunity to play a variety of shots. I’m still thrilled by the unlimited options throughout the round, but it took a round played under difficult conditions to drive home the importance of having the freedom to set your own path.

I played well that day despite the wind. While I was pleased with the results, I knew that to improve my score that I would need to take on much more risk the next time out. St. Andrew’s Old is one of the few courses I know where you can have this sort of experience regardless of weather.

Eden Hole Image courtesy of St. Andrew

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

5 Courses For The Rest of My Life - Royal Melbourne (West)

4. Royal Melbourne (West) Melbourne, Australia. Mackenzie

Royal Melbourne is one of golf greatest collaborative efforts. It begins with Alister Mackenzie’s fantastic routing. His routing challenges the rolling terrain from so many different ways, mostly diagonally, but on occasion even straight up. The impact is tremendous variety of cants and fairway contours in play in landing areas. In fact, it’s one of the best driving courses in golf. The course also features a series of beautiful green sites, some on plateaus others within bowls, but each beautifully blended into the surrounding landscape. Russel and Morcom deserve much credit for getting Alister’s plan and details in the ground, but it’s Claude Crockford’s integration of native plant materials and course presentation that make this course sublime.

What I enjoy most is the epic scale of the site. Mackenzie added multitudes of dramatic bunkers that are very much in play. You are constantly asked whether you should carry a hazard in order to gain position or play safe and take on a longer tougher approach. But you know that if you’re going to get anywhere you must take on some of the trouble. This balance of playability and disaster engages you. Missing fairways or approaches comes with a price, but making the shot comes with a just reward.

I love the freedom to choose and think. I love the notion of taking on as much as I dare. I have all the safe options I would ever want, but just as many dangerous and compelling options that I can’t pass up. It’s all up to me.

6th Hole West by David Scaletti

Sunday, 15 January 2017

5 Courses For The Rest of My Life - Riviera CC

I was asked by to pick 5 courses for the rest of my life. I'll post one hole a day.

He is the piece:

5. Riviera C.C. Pacific Palisades, CA. George Thomas

It’s so easy to underestimate the routing of Riviera. The site is a simple box canyon with not a lot of features, but Thomas incorporated the central barranca so effectively on six holes. He then utilizes the side slopes and elevations changes at the edges of the canyon to play a significant role on another six. But what takes Riviera to a whole other architectural level is the excellence in design details on remaining six holes that traverse over the lesser land of the property.

The 10th hole is the game’s greatest creation. Thomas’s used deception, strategic angles, pitch and the juxtaposition of grand and small scale to confuse and confound the player. It is also a testimony that a player’s ego can be used against them to reduce their chances of succeeding. In other holes he relied on dramatic bunkers and creative green contours to play an essential role in how the hole must be approached. In all cases he insists upon constant positional play, which means even when the land isn’t dramatic, the challenges still hold your attention.

There is no course that plays quite like Riviera. You are constantly asked to hit either a draw or fade off the tee. Thomas did this in a variety of ways, including the use of key trees, careful placement of bunkers, slopes of the green, and even the keen use of side slopes that require a tee shot to be shaped to remain on the fairway. The joy at Riviera is the constant flow back and forth between fade and draw, even alternating on the same hole at times (like the 3rd hole). It’s a course where skill and cunning is required to score, but on the occasion where find yourself well out of position, the ball is still easy to find and easy to put back in play. And that ensures it's fun too.

10th at Riviera - courtesy of Loe Turf

Thursday, 15 December 2016

2016 The Year in Review - Part 5 – Ian Andrew Golf Design

18th at Knollwood - what a golf hole!

So this is the final installment. Hope you enjoyed seeing the year through my eyes.


It was a great year for construction projects, but an unusually quiet year for planning. My work around New York City continues to grow and it’s become a major source of new work for me in the last two years. I do see signs of clubs becoming more confident and see projects beginning to start in other parts of Canada, but Ontario continues to be the laggard.

The Numbers


Miles Driven: 35,930 km. (not including rental car miles)
Flights Taken: 56 (similar to last year)
Total Miles Flown: 51,888 miles
Nights in Holiday Inn: 49
Rental Cars: 21

My Business

American Clients: 33%
American Income: 50% in 2016
Last 10 Clients: 9 of 10 are American Clubs
Interviews: 2
Clients from Interviews: 1
New clients: 4
Potential for 2017: 1

New Clients

  1. Ardsley CC, NYC – putting green project
  2. Edmonton G&CC, Alberta – Range project
  3. Pepper Pike Club, Cleveland – Restoration Master Plan
  4. East Aurora CC, Buffalo – Master Plan
18th at Laval

In the Field

Construction – Part One – Laval-sur-le-lac’s (Green Course)

I found some 1920’s aerials a few years ago and pitched my desire to take the Green Course back to its Willie Park Jr. roots. The club supported the approach and we began to return the grass faced bunkers and square green sites in 2015. We also rebuilt the 18th green, but I retained the steep pitch that was its primary defense. The work was finished in May and back in play for the Lesley Cup played at Laval this fall. Positive feedback from that esteemed group was appreciated. Work by NMP Golf

Construction – Part Two – Penn Hills Greens

The original nine is a compelling short course by Walter Travis featuring some very elaborate small greens. The back nine was done by Dick Wilson (much later) and does not have the same charm as the front nine. There were three greens that were too steep and we took the opportunity to use Walter Travis’s original green drawings for those holes to create three highly contoured Travis greens. The 17th might be the wildest green I’ve ever built. Work all done in August by Faery Landscaping

Construction – Part Three – Oakdale’s Thompson Nine Bunkers

I finally got a chance to finish the renovations on the Thompson Nine at Oakdale G&CC. The work involved rebuilding 7 tees and the remaining 21 bunkers. Some of the work was restorative, like the shared bunker between 2 and 8. But since the original course lacked the planned bunkers, most of the work was renovating the newer bunkers on the nine. The work was done by Flightline Golf and took place from September to the end of October.

11th Cedar Brae mid-construction

Construction – Part Four – Cedar Brae Bunkers

Like Oakdale, this was a chance to get the remaining bunkers renovated and finish what we started. Cedar Brae’s bunkering is grass faced and the work was done to create something much more sustainable and historically based for the long term. This is a good example where the bunker count was reduced and the maintenance eased in an attempt to prepare the club for the current economic environment. The work was done by KCM Construction and took place September till the end of October. The highlight was the change to the 11th hole.

Alison's 11th fairway bunker at Park CC

Construction – Part Five – Park CC Bunkers

The work at Park Country Club started in September and will continue into June of 2107. It was an opportunity to finish the restoration of Charles Alison’s Park CC. The upper holes were completed this fall and all the valley work will begin this spring. The work was done by Faery Landscaping. The highlights include the second landing on the 1st hole, the green side bunkering on the 7th and the restored carry bunker line on the 14th. 

Short 14th at Knollwood

Construction – Part Six – Knollwood CC Bunkers

I never thought you could restore all 19 holes worth of bunkers, build a new green, drain a fairway, add new tees and remove a hundred trees all in 10 weeks. The entire project got completed in the months of October and November and the credit goes the NMP Golf. I loved working on my first Seth Raynor course, having been such a huge admirer of his work, so I consider this one a special honour. The highlight for me was the work at the 8th green, which involved returning a serious kicker slope.

Construction – Part Seven – Wheatley Hills Bunkers

The club continues to plug along on an Emmet restoration. The bunkers were done on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 9th holes in this phase. The 3rd hole will become one of those transitions that you will need to see to believe. Work began in November and continues through into the spring of next year. Work was done by Geoff Porteus.

Construction – Part Eight – St. George’s 4th Green

The front of the 4th green was raised up on the left side to increase the available pin in the entire front of the green. Additionally, new bunkers Bunker were added into the major knoll short left of the green and on the left side of the green to replace the large Oak lost on that side. The work was done in early November by KCM Construction.


The Year Ahead – Part One – Sure Things

  1. Pepper Pike Club – finish up Legacy Plan this winter
  2. Park CC Bunkers – finish up the bunkers in April, May and June
  3. Pinegrove Bunkers - two greens to be bunkered this May
  4. Oakdale Homeniuk Nine – renovate bunkers & tees for remaining 8 holes
  5. Wheatley Hills – more bunker work on a few holes

Trump has alluded to the fact he may cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement. If he does, he will remove the way I permit to work in the US. This doesn’t necessarily end my work in the US, but it likely ends my ability to self-permit which kept my costs down for clubs I worked with.

Springdale by Flynn on the grounds of Princeton University

The Year Ahead – Part Two – Potential Projects

1.  Springdale, NJ – full bunker project
2.  Spring Brook, NJ – full bunker and green surrounds project
3.  Huntington Crescent – possible Master Plan

Final Thoughts

Ian Andrew@IanAndrewGolf Oct 28
The unsung heroes of all renovations are the ladies and gentlemen who spend their time on the smallest of details

I'm only as good as the people around me. To everyone I spent the year with ... THANK YOU 

2016 The Year in Review - Part 4 – Ian’s Travels

The E green at Wolf Pointe
I usually make at least one trip to go and see new courses. This was the year where I made less effort. It was a combination of too many trips the year before and a lull in work in the Spring. But I still saw some interesting golf and I plan to see more next year.

By The Numbers

Rounds Played: 58
Average: 24
Rounds in Texas: 6
Lowest Round: 81 (the Last One)
Strangest Nine: 43 with a 10
Lessons Taken: 6

7th Green at Wolf Pointe - one of the game's best
The Courses

Favourite Modern Course - Wolf Point

I did play a few other games around Houston including Champions Club, but the highlight of the trip was easily Mike Nuzzo’s Wolf Point. I loved all the playing freedom and his green contours were terrific. The course had a few over the top moments, but that didn’t take away anything from the quality of the course. Greatness lies in taking big risks and I considered Mike’s work an architectural “breath of fresh air”.

5th at Bluejack National - courtesy of club
Runner Up - Bluejack National

Went to see it out of curiosity after Adam Lawrence had suggested I should. The golf was smarter than I thought it was going to be. It looks just a little too much like Augusta for me to be comfortable. There was a little too much shaping in spots, but some surprising restraint in other areas too. It’s really good and credit must go to the designers for thinking of fun first.

Favourite Golden Age Course - Pepper Pike Club

I wish I could share photos of the 2nd, 8th, 11th and 18th, but Pepper Pike is a very private club and has asked me to not share photos. The course was designed by William Flynn over some outstanding rolling terrain. The course invites risk, but offers ample room for every day play. You only need to go around once to realize that it would be a wonderful place to call home. The only note is I would play it back to front every time if I could, because the second hole is the hardest two shots of the day.

Best Nine Holes - Quogue Field Club

You know the details are great when the highest elevation on the property is four feet and it’s still compelling golf. The interior trees are all gone opening up the fescues and long views. But even better is the steady ocean breeze that impacts how you will play your shots. Simply golf as it’s meant to be.

Applebrook's 9th courtesy of Larry Lembrecht
Biggest Surprise – Applebrook

The front nine at Applebrook by Gil Hanse stands out as my favourite work of his to date. Where he ratcheted up the architecture it creates moments where you’re back on your heels. But the reason I’m so taken by the front nine is the other moments where he shows tremendous restraint and allows the golf to sit quietly into the surrounding landscape. There’s a rhythm to this that I like more than the having the architectural features come at you non-stop.

Favourite Canadian?

I played St. George’s for the first time since the greens were rebuilt, had a great time playing the restored 3rd green. I also made a return trip to Highlands Links to play this summer and saw the greens in the best condition I have seen since 2003. So how do I pick a favourite round, well I can’t, but both days were among the best I had all year.

Ardglass GC - courtesy Tee Off Times UK
Confidential Guide comes to Montreal

I took Tom Doak to see Laval-sur-le-lac Green and Blue, Royal Montreal Red and Blue, Mt. Bruno, Beaconsfield and Kanawaki on a quick trip. His favourite was Mt. Bruno. The highlight for me was playing the Blue Course at Laval-sur-le-lac on film for a potential Confidential Guide Podcast. He said some nice things about the greens and made a few observations for improvements which I agree with. It was a really nice few days with one of golf's best architects.

On Site at Streamsong (Black)

I spent two weeks working on Streamsong (Black) with Gil Hanse and his crew. It's always helpful to see how others do things differently and for me an education on finishing and springing into sand. I really like some of the bold concepts and feel strongly that this may become the strongest of the three resort courses.

Future Travels

Spring – Ireland North
Royal County Down - my favourite place for golf
Royal Portush - want to see changes and not play in 40mph wind
Machrahanish – will access by ferry - my single missing course in Scotland
Portstewart - not played yet
Ardglass - not played yet
Ballyliffin - not played yet
Portsalon - not played yet
Rosapenna - not played yet

The holy grail - Sand Hills - courtesy of Wisconsin Golf Addict
June – Nebraska (quick trip)
Sand Hills - the only Top 50 in the Wold I have not seen or played!
Ballyneal - worth the return trip
Might add round at Dismal River too

July – Cleveland (quick trip)
The Country Club - great threes
Kirtland - is it one of the best back nines in golf ...
Brookfield - under the radar ross
Canterbury - Herbert Strong!

Camargo's threes may be the best set in golf! - courtesy of Planet Golf

August – Cincinnati (quick trip)
Camargo - plan to take up this standing invite
Moraine - if I can make the extra time

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 The Year in Review - Part 3 – In the Media

Tom Simpson's 5th Green at County Louth - photo by Aiden Bradley
Once again this reflects my own interests and in this particular section I cover what I have written and what was written about me. I at least edited that down to the more interesting bits and pieces

On Television! 

Relaunching Laval-sur-le-lac
by Jason Logan
Score Magazine

On You Tube

Sunningdale Architecture Panel - begin video at 16 minutes in

Books on Golf Architecture

box cover of book

Crump's Dream
by Andrew Mutch

I'm not sure if this book is for sale. Mine came as a gift from the Pennsylvania Golf Association. It contains all the drawings, plans and images of the course from Crump's original purchase through to 1936. It's strictly about the course. The collection of early pictures is stunning, but the real amazing part is he shares all of the Colt and Alison hole and green plans that I always wanted to see. It also carefully lays out the contributions involved from finishing the final four to seeing Crump's vison to completion. Truly awesome read.

Simpson & Co.
by Hawtree & Steele

Simpson was intellectual who push the envelope quite a bit with his design work. His greens at County Louth are among my favourite in golf. I also love his opinions on architecture including this one on the 4th at Woking, "I realized for the first time, as soon as I saw this much maligned hazard, that the true line to the hole should not always be the centre of the fairway, and the placing of a bunker had a far more serious and useful purpose than merely the punishing of a bad shot. This led me to see the importance of golf architecture as an art as well as a science."

The Life and Times of Donald Ross
by Chris Buie

Chris says that he set out to not elevate the status of Donald Ross, but to tell the story of Donald Ross. I like his premise. He has found lots more information about Ross himself and spends a great deal of time talking about the man. He also widens the story to include his impact in areas other than golf. I expect this to be a popular Christmas gift.

The Buried Loonie

Yes I buried a “lucky loonie” in the 18th green at Rio. It was done spontaneously after playing sand golf to supply some Canadian karma for the players. It drew attention when Gil Hanse mentioned it at a media event. Turns out I had the wrong pin location for the final day. It did get a bunch of mentions in various media outlets … but unfortunately no medal karma.

The Golf Architecture Show?

If I was asked to revamp Golf Architecture Week , I would change it into The Golf Architecture Show. I would ask an authority on golf architecture like Brad Klein to host a half hour weekly program. I would provide the host with five minutes to discuss recent events and bring in guests he desires, since Architects would travel to Florida to take part. I would run it live from the second week of January through till the middle of March (10 weeks) and then stop. I would also have a camera team spend the fall, after the FedEx Cup finishes, travelling to collect arranged interviews with architects on golf courses (preferably well known ones) where they can explain architectural ideas or what their working on at the time.

The show would always feature a major segment on an important golf course or architect (usually historical but occasional present day). One of two shorter segments on golf design concepts, produced out on course with a guest architect explaining how it all works. Each day would feature a couple of interviews, sometimes with a single architect talking about an active project, but usually a group discussing design issues like the golf ball or should we change the Old Course.

My Opinions on St. Andrews (Old)

Seeing The Old Course Through Architectural Eyes
By Matt Ward (his interview with 4 architects about The Old Course)

Link to full article:

IA: “I’d be happy if they just stop tinkering with the course. If I had to pick one thing, I would remove the recently added two bunkers on the right of the 2nd green. I’ve collected ideas for decades and the 2nd green site was one of my “Essential 18” for future architects to see and understand before you practice golf course architecture.”

I can be followed on Twitter:

17th after work done at Highlands Links

My Writing

The Full History Highlands Links
For Golf Architecture
Published by Australian Golf Architects Association - not available by link yet

"By the end of 2012 we had restored the bunkers, recaptured greens and returned the original playing corridors and views. The conditioning had come around and the course was improving every year”

Articles On My Business

Restoring Glory
by Jason Logan of Score Golf Magazine

“Andrew’s most important project — and perhaps the most notable in Canada — was the bunker restoration at Toronto’s St. George’s G&CC. Over the years the famed club had seen its highly artistic Thompson bunkers either removed altogether or, for lack of a better word, bastardized to ease maintenance work and costs.

However the advent of such things as bunker cloth made proper maintenance of any bunker, however wild, possible, and former St. George’s superintendent John Gall pushed for a restoration, hiring Andrew because he knew other architects would stray from the plan and try to leave their own mark.

“Ian is just not like that,” Gall explained. “He’s all about getting it right.”

Ian Andrew’s restoration project at Park Country Club nears completion
By Sean Dudley, Golf Architecture Magazine

“The course at Park Country Club was originally designed by the Colt & Alison design firm, and hosted the 1934 PGA Championships.

The current project is being led by architect Ian Andrew, who has worked with the club for the past 15 years. Andrew developed a masterplan for the 18-hole track, with the aim of restoring, in his words, ‘the massive scale of the course.”

5th Hole at Knollwood

Knollwood Country Club Gets Seth Raynor Facelift
By Dave Donaldson, Westchester Magazine

“Knollwood Country Club members and their guests will face a rejuvenated golf course when they return to the venerable Elmsford club next spring.  A major restoration of the course under the direction of Ontario-based architect Ian Andrew began this fall and promises to present players with some new and interesting challenges.”

Ranked Courses

Golf Magazines Top 15 Canadian Places You Can Play

8. Muskoka Bay Club, Gravenhurst, Ontario

“This Doug Carrick/Ian Andrew creation opened to rave reviews in 2006. Ten years later, this 7,367-yard head-banger rocks you with pine-studded ridges and granite outcroppings. Heaving terrain affects every lie and stance, even on the greens, which ripple with hollows and ledges. Wetlands, beaver ponds and a set of beefy back-nine par-4s help form an ideal combination of beauty and brawn.”

4. Highlands Links, Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia

"This is the Cypress Point of Canada for sheer beauty," said the late George Knudson, a Canadian who won nine times on the PGA Tour. While this remote 1939 Stanley Thompson product in Cape Breton Highlands National Park had fallen on hard times, architect Ian Andrew has recently helped with design restoration and conditioning issues -- all the better to mend a stunning, sprawling, forested layout within sight of the Atlantic Ocean.

11th Hole at St. Georges

Golf Digest World Top 100

41 St. George's G. & C.C.
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada / 7,145 yards, Par 71

“St. George's is outstanding Stanley Thompson design routed through forest-covered glacial land, with meandering fairways that diagonally traverse valleys and greens perched on domes. The putting surfaces are tightly bunkered and full of hidden undulations. These are considered some of Thompson's best bunkering. Some of the credit belongs to Canadian architect Ian Andrew, who supervised their rebuilding over a five-year period, highlighting their sweeping lines and graceful movements.”

3rd Hole at Laval's Blue Course

Score Golf Canadian Top 100

51. Laval-sur-le-lac (Blue)
Laval-sur-le-lac, Quebec

“Though not a brand new build, Weir and his design partner Ian Andrew completely overhauled the Blue Course at Laval. The result is terrific.”