Monday, 27 December 2010

1920-1930 - Part 1- Architects Venture to Other Lands

The 7th at Hirono by Charles Alison

Through the twenties Harry Colt remained a major influence to all, but now his protégée’s are also becoming prominent too. Charles Alison began to work all over the world on Colt’s behalf. He was to eventually push Colt’s influence into many countries including America. His greatest influence would be in Japan where his work in 1930 at Hirono is still revered and looked up to by all current Japanese architects. Alison was one of the first architects to travel the world to design courses.

Mackenzie's Royal Melbourne

One of Colt’s other protégé was Alister Mackenzie, and while the relationship was not as close as it was with Alison, Mackenzie’s was equally as skilled an architect. Mackenzie would also travel, but in case on his own behalf after he left the short partnership with Colt. He would also have the same mythical influence on a country, and in Mackenzie’s case it would be Australia. Royal Melbourne would have been enough alone, but his visit brought a series of great courses that influenced everything that followed. His work is so prominent in that country that his architectural style and aesthetic reflects in what is still built today. I think it would be fair to say he also have a massive impact on golf architecture in America as well – which I will touch on tomorrow.

Tom Simpson was a very prominent architect in the United Kingdom, and his impact was stretch into mainland Europe where he and Colt built many of the finest courses found there today. He played a particularly important part is design most of France’s finest courses and would be considered their most influential architect – must have been the cape or the beret! Simpson was also responsible for many changes to famous links courses where he continued to introduce strategic architecture anywhere he could. The 14th at Baltray remains a persona favourite of mine.

The Dixie course at Royal Montreal by Willie Park Jr.

Other architects continued to seek greater opportunities abroad like Willie Park Jr. who would end up working extensively in Canada and the United States planning a series of prominent courses before in his case eventually having to head home due to health issues. Golf was expanding quickly and so were the architects who had opportunity to work further and further from home. Some choose to stay close to home, but most couldn’t resist the chance to have a great impact on the golf in a new country.
Thompson's Devil's Cauldren - under construction - without bunkers

There were also a few architects who were homegrown themselves including Canada’s Stanley Thompson. Thompson began his long and illustrious career in 1920 at Muskoka Lakes and by the end of the decade had built many of his greatest courses including Banff and Jasper. Even Thompson would head to other countries including America and then throughout South America.

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