Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Links Magazine This Month

cover courtesy of Links Magazine

I think this issue is particularly interesting to read and I thought I would touch on some highlights. I'll share links when/if they become available.

We are presented with both sides of the debate on the renovations to the old course. Historian and researcher Scott MacPherson argues that improvements are more common at the Old Course than people know. Tom Doak counters that the historical importance of the course trumps the importance of tournament golf. It’s fun to read side by side because both make a solid case.

I was amused by the list of the remaining untouchable par fives, The Untouchables, which is an update from the twenty-one holes that Tom Doak identified twenty years ago for a Golf Magazine feature. I’ve seen one, 9th at Rolling Green in Philadelphia, played a few that have dropped off and have no desire to see any of the other ones on the list. I agree with the Bobby Jones quote in the article, “It was one of our principles at Augusta national that even our par five should be reachable by two excellent shots.” I think these holes are a monotonous slog for all but the ridiculously long.

There is an interesting piece called 8 architects, 8 questions which shares each architect’s influences, shows different perspectives, touches on philosophy and finishes with a look ahead at design. The architects were Bill Coore, Tom Doak, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Gil Hanse, Rees Jones, RTJ Jr. and Jack Nicklaus. No surprises really, but a fun read all the same. I plan to answer the same questions in the same limited space this week for my own amusement … and perhaps yours too.

Tom Dunne working at Highlands

The original reason I have the magazine is to read Tom Dunne’s piece called Restoration Hardcore about his experience working on the construction crew at Highlands Links. He describes what the work was like and the characters on the crew and his own feelings about the work being done. He finishes up with his views on the relationship between the town and the course includes the surprise announcement that the course was going to be potentially privatized and the crew would be let go. I would have enjoyed his opinion on that issue, but it was all up in the air at deadline time.

The magazine includes the 100 Most Prestigious Private Golf Clubs in the World. I found out I’ve played more than half including eight of the top ten. They can’t be that prestigious … after all they let me on the property. I was pleased that the only club that ever refused to allow me on the property did not make the list! I’ve found all these clubs to be friendly and accommodating, so credit to all of them.

A piece I particulalry enjoyed was Adam Lawrence’s Courses of Most Resistance. He talks about how Minimalism had won the battle over Modernism to become the current dominant style, but because of the crash of 2008 there will be only a handful of new projects for the minimalists to build. He touches on two of my friends, Mike Nuzzo and Jay Blasi and how they see moving ahead in this era. I also found to my great surprise that I was featured in the last paragraph of the piece.

Canadian architect Ian Andrew, one of the golf industry’s deepest thinkers, takes an optimistically Darwinian view. “I think the economic troubles of today are good for the long term health of golf design”, he says. “With less work, there has been an essential thinning of the herd. The designers of the future have been reduced to a very small group. Only the best will manage to last and see the other side.”  


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