Once again, the folks at Golf Channel have put together a nice Architects week feature. Matt Ginella continues to evolve as a voice for the good of the game, giving us a break from Tour & Tip coverage, to help us connect to the soul of the game – golf courses and the people who create them.
A WALK THROUGH THE WEEK
“The more I learn about architecture, the more I want to know.” – Matt Ginella
The week kicked off with a preview from Matt, Geoff Shackelford, and a panel. Bill Coore was originally slated to start off the week, but dropped of the agenda at the last minute. Such are the lives of successful men, perhaps.
- Matt Ginella (Preview) – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/matt-ginella-previews-architects-week/
- Geoff Shackleford – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/geoff-shackelford-previews-architects-week/
- Panel – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/how-course-architecture-plays-game-strategy/
“Think of golf holes as human. You are wrestling with another animate object.” – Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
After a visit with Tom Weiskopf and discussion of his recent updates to TPC Scottsdale, next up was Robert Trent Jones, Jr. It was an interesting segment with the veteran architect that culminated with discussion of Chambers Bay, the 2015 U.S. Open venue which promises to be a strong follow-up to last year’s game-changing event at the renovated Pinehurst #2. “It is both the aerial game and the ground game,” said Jones of Chambers. Clearly, he is excited to the see the best golfers in the world take on his course.
- Tom Weiskopf – Coming soon…
- Robert Trent Jones, Jr. – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/father-son-robert-trent-jones-jr/
- Robert Trent Jones, Jr. – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/robert-trent-jones-jr-talks-chambers-bay-course-changes/
“Let the land speak and lay golf holes out that were relatively straightforward.” – David McLay Kidd
The old guard gave way to members of the next generation of great architects – David McLay Kidd, Mike DeVries and Gil Hanse. This trio has already produced a portfolio of amazing courses, including my home course the Kingsley Club. They are also working on some of the most exciting projects in golf – Sand Valley #2, Cape Wickham, The Rio Olympic Course, and now Streamsong Black.
- David McLay Kidd – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/course-architect-david-mclay-kidd-designing-after-bandon-dunes/
- David McLay Kidd – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/plans-sand-valley-wisconsin/
- Mike DeVries – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/most-underrated-architect-%E2%80%93-mike-devries/
- Gil Hanse – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-hanse-talks-olympic-course-progression/
- Gil Hanse – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-hanse-talks-wagner-trump-and-olympics/
“He’s so creative. He’s a real sculptor with the Earth.” – Alice Dye on Pete
A full day was given to Pete & Alice Dye, perhaps the most influential duo in golf course architecture history, not to mention a heart-warming story of love and marriage partnership. Geoff Shackelford said of Mr. Dye, “He was sort of a change agent; that will ultimately be his legacy.” Hard to argue with that assessment.
- Pete & Alice Dye – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/pete-and-alice-dyes-love-each-other-and-golf/
- Pete & Alice Dye – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/pete-and-alice-dyes-professional-partnership/
- Pete & Alice Dye – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/pete-and-alice-dyes-design-legacy/
- Geoff Shackelford – Coming soon…
- Panel – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/pete-and-alice-dyes-relationship-portrayed-their-course-design/
- Panel – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/pete-and-alice-dyes-design-philosophy/
“It’s something I’ve had on the back burner for 20 years.” – Tom Doak
The week wrapped up with Tom Doak sharing what might be the most exciting thing to happen to architecture since C.B. MacDonald realized his “ideal hole” architecture at National Golf Links of America. The reversible course at Forest Dunes.
- Tom Doak – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/tom-doak-designs-two-direction-course-forest-dunes/
- Tom Doak – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/tom-doak-talks-streamsong-and-pinehurst-no-2/
- Geoff Shackelford – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/two-different-directions-shackelfords-take-doaks-new-course/
- Geoff Shackelford – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/shackelfords-best-books-golf-course-architecture/
The architects segments were great, as was the commentary between Matt and Geoff, and I highly recommend combing through the clips as a means to find leads to take you on further explorations into the field of golf course architecture.
There are really only three things that disappointed me about this second Architects Week:
- The lack of new faces, other than Mike DeVries. I understand the need for the big names to keep the ratings up and the momentum going for GCA coverage. In spite of that reality, it would have been nice to have more international representation, and a no-less-talented, but lower-profile architect or two.
- The lack of “field time”. The modern minimalists who are at the forefront of architecture today like Tom Doak, Mike DeVries and others consistently point to the field as the place where the rubber hits the road in GCA. Driving a bulldozer, shaping the sandy earth, doing the finishing hand work – generally playing in the dirt – this is where architectural magic happens. Although I love the interviews and the routing discussions, it would have been great to see Matt strolling and chatting with at least one architect on-site.
- The segments were just too darn short. There was not a single segment on the show that didn’t leave me wanting more. Much more. At a certain level, good entertainment leaves you wanting more. But golf architecture coverage goes beyond entertainment. Given the time appropriate for a subject with the depth and breadth of GCA, it could be educational and inspirational. It could truly expand the horizons of the audience, and connect them more deeply to the soul of the game.
I have made my argument for a regular GCA show on Golf Channel in this previous post. Architects Week just reinforced my commitment to keep agitating until this gets done.