Wednesday, 2 February 2011

10 Things I Don't Like in Design - Two Bunker Styles on One Course

Lots to like at Dakota - but I don't get the saucer bunkers

In nature there is as much variety as there is repetition and since great architecture comes from reflecting what we see in nature golf architecture must also have some repetition and consistency too.
In golf architecture most would select variety as the key component to creating superior golf courses, but consistency plays an equally important role in drawing all the individual pieces back into the broader canvas. The variety is hopefully greatest in the playing experience whereas the consistency is usually more predominant in the style or aesthetics of the course.

I have found through my own experiences that bunkering is generally the most common element what links the course together. This is a particularly important element when there is a transition from one setting to a completely different one on the golf course. The key to the success of a course like Cypress Point is the linking of the dunes to the forest to the ocean side through the bunkering.

Like the course - but not the mix of styles
I have recently gone out to see a couple of really good modern designs where the bunker work was done in multiple styles. I found that despite some great holes and some really good bunkers, the architecture felt disjointed. In particular a couple of designs tried to combine naturalized bunkering with formalized bunker and the results were so jarring as to be distracting. You can add an element that contrasts with the land or one that compliments the landscape, but in my opinion you can’t place two similar elements like bunkers that work in contrast to each other.


  1. Ian, would the above photo also have containment mounding in your opinion? Just I dont understand your "great course" comment if it has two examples of 10 things you dont like in design.

  2. Anony,

    I posted a reply before and wonder where it went...

    Yes it's containment mounding and yes the course has many other things that I'm not crazy about, but it plays well on the ground which is a key element I look for in a design.

    The "great" comment (now changed) has more to do with past working relationships and avoiding hard feelings.