Thursday, October 05, 2006

Future Restoration of the Current Architects

The awesome Sand Hills by Coore and Crenshaw

This post begins with some interesting assumptions (by yours truly) on whose work will be seen to be very important down the road. Guessing who will be that important is a bit of a stab in the dark, but I think I have a body of support behind a few of the names.

I do not think that any of the biggest names, like Fazio, Jones and Nicklaus, will have their work actively restored. I see their architecture continual evolving in the Augusta National mode. I think part of my feeling comes from the fact they have controlled so much of the architecture that little has been left to chance and the courses are far less likely to evolve. While their work does not inspire me, this is not a knock on the architectural quality but more my feeling that they are the modern equivalent of Trent Jones and Dick Wilson whose work is considered solid but unspectacular. Every noticed there is nobody out there pushing Trent Jones restoration despite 500 potential courses.

So who will we preserve? My feeling is four guys stand out; Bill Coore, Tom Doak, Mike Stranz and Pete Dye. Bill Coore’s work is definitely the finest of our current generation and has raised the bar for future architects like myself. Interestingly, much of his work harkens back to the Golden Age with the excellence in details and the time spent on finding a routing. The next one is Tom Doak, who has built a series of excellent and very natural courses using vegetation and techniques that will surely evolve. His work again harkens to the Golden Age, but there is an exploration in ideas that will prove to make him a popular architect in the long run. The next guy will have the strongest following, the most detractors, and I feel the greatest following for restoration. Mike Stranz is my version of Tom Simpson in his ingenuity and risk taking. The guts to leave uncomfortable holes and pressure filled situations will encourage many to want to understand the man. If I were choosing one where restoration will need to take place because of alteration, it would be Mike’s work, since much of his work will be under pressure for softening. Pete Dye I will get to at the end because he’s the most interesting.

(There are many others who show the same promise and I’m watching them to see what there next work brings. Gil Hanse and Mike DeVries are too obvious candidates).

Tabacco Road will be preserved as a testiment to Mike

So how will it take place down the road? This is where everything will be different. Each of the three above are well written about and have taken the time to write articles. There courses are all widely photographed and well documented. There is likely as built due to modern irrigation practices available for each course. The owners at most of the courses have chosen to keep all their notes and plans because of the respect that is already out there. Restoration will be much easier looking out 50 years, just because of the technology that we currently live with and the amount of information available in seconds.

The fun part comes from the future decisions at very landmark courses and this is where Pete Dye springs to mind as the most fascinating of all the architects to restore in the future. Look at his work, but more interestingly look at the potential decisions!

1. has any architect changed their ideas as much as Pete Dye
2. Crooked Stick fundamentally changed architecture, and then he renovated it in a completely different style; and I’ve heard he thought it was better before! What do you do?
3. which TPC at Sawgrass do you restore to? The first one the players hated but was the course Pete intended, the most recent evolution that everyone grew to love, or the one that will be unveiled this spring.
4. Do you restore his most modern that was really done by his sons or apprentices?

As you can see there are lots to consider down the road for the next generation of restoration architects.

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