Blow up hole

12/07/2015

George Costanza asserted that no pursuit was more respected than architecture.

Whenever Jerry Seinfeld’s hapless best friend put on a face it was often as an accomplished architect. Costanza gave out a scholarship through his deceased wife’s foundation because the applicant told him he wanted to be an architect.

Coincidentally, at least for the sake of this post, avid golfer Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, loosely based George’s character on himself. If David has an obsession with architecture akin to George’s, one wonders what he thinks of golf’s version.

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This week, he’ll have an opportunity to find out more about the sport’s most famous architects. Golf Channel’s Morning Drive will spend the week discussing the science and theory of course architecture by highlighting some of the biggest names in design, all on Architecture Week.

A Monday morning preview will set up the week before each day focuses on a specific aspect of the industry. Names old and new will be featured, while the future of the game and some of the innovations meant to put a new twist on golf are discussed.

If the last point is of interest, check in on Friday when Tom Doak is profiled. He’s designing “The Loop” at Forest Dunes Golf and Country Club, a course that can be played in either direction.

In a similar vein, the brilliant Gil Hanse takes us through his latest addition to the Streamsong Resort in Florida, a favorite spot among destination golfers. Of course, Hanse has more famous work including the design of the Olympic course in Rio. (He also designed the Horse Course at the Prairie Club, which mimics the popular basketball playground game).

The Prairie Club

The Prairie Club in Valentine, NE.

The week culminates Sunday with an exploration of Chambers Bay, perhaps the most controversial Major championship venue of all-time.

Any way you look at it golf course architecture is becoming a common topic among fans, some who play, some who follow. Tiger Woods’ course is set to open soon. Jack Nicklaus’s designs have hosted a Ryder Cup and a Presidents Cup in back-to-back years. Each new major venue creates a celebrity out of the man who sculpted the track.

Remember some of these names, because you’ll surely hear them throughout the season.

Have a look at the full Architecture Week schedule below (from Golf Channel):

Monday, Dec. 7Architecture Week Preview – Matt Ginella and Golf Digest contributor Geoff Shackelford will set the scene for Architecture Week, with open discussion on some of the game’s greatest architects and golf courses.

Tuesday, Dec. 8Mike Keiser: Cabot Cliffs/Bandon Dunes – Mike Keiser developed one of the top destinations in the U.S. – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. Golf Channel will air a feature on Keiser and the widespread popularity of Bandon Dunes and Cabot Cliffs (Inverness, Nova Scotia) named Golf Digest’s Best New Course in 2015, and the impact Keiser’s projects have on the surrounding communities.

A.W. TillinghastGolf Channel will pay tribute to newly inducted member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, A.W. Tillinghast, course architect for many of golf’s major championship venues, including Bethpage Black, Winged Foot Golf Club, Ridgewood Country Club and Baltusrol Golf Club, home of the 2016 PGA Championship.

Wednesday, Dec. 9Gil Hanse: Streamsong’s newest course, Streamsong Black – Course architect Gil Hanse gives Morning Drive host Gary Williams a tour of Streamsong Black, currently in development as the third golf course at Streamsong Resort in Florida, which opened in 2012 and is quickly becoming one of the top golf destinations in the U.S.

Fazio Family: One of the most decorated architects in the business with more courses ranked in Golf Digest’s Top-100 in the U.S. than anyone else, Tom Fazio discusses the family business and passing the baton to his son, Logan.

Thursday, Dec. 10Michael Keiser Jr.: Sand Valley – The Keiser family are bringing their successful concept of Bandon Dunes to the Midwest with the development of Sand Valley Golf Resort in Rome, Wis. Michael Keiser Jr., Craig Haltom – the man behind the vision of Sand Valley – and course designer David Kidd gives Ginella a full tour of the property, with the two golf courses scheduled to open in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Dye Family Tree / Dye Protégé Bobby WeedGolf Channel will examine the rich history of the Dye family in golf course design, considered by many to be “America’s First Family of Golf.” Pete, his wife Alice and their sons Perry and P.B. have designed more than 200 courses around the world, and have influenced a generation of young and up-and-coming golf course designers, including Bobby Weed, who will join Golf Channel in-studio to discuss the Dye family’s legacy.

Friday, Dec. 11Tom Doak: Forest Dunes’ “The Loop”, the first 18-hole reversible course in the U.S. – Course architect Tom Doak provides a tour of The Loop, a course in development at Forest Dunes Golf & Country Club in Michigan that will be the first 18-hole golf course in the United States that can be played in two directions. Doak gives Ginella insight into the challenge of designing a reversible golf course and how this concept can be a model for future courses.

Roundtable Discussion with Major Champion Geoff Ogilvy 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy will join Morning Drive along with his design partners at his golf course architects firm – Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking and Ashley Mead – in a roundtable discussion on their firm’s first assignment in the United States – restoring historic Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, home to Ben Hogan.

Saturday, Dec. 12Jones Brothers – Jimmy Roberts uncovers the complicated and often rocky relationship between course architects (and brothers), Rees Jones and Robert (Bobby) Trent Jones Jr. Following in the footsteps of their father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., – a renowned course architect in his own right – the Jones brothers have made their own mark on the game, albeit in markedly different ways, and with an inordinate amount of friction along the way.

Sunday, Dec. 13 Chambers Bay – Ginella details the story of the development of Chambers Bay, site of the 2015 U.S. Open and its transformation from a site that was formerly a gravel pit into a major championship venue.

Enjoy!

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