Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Year in Review – Part Four – The Blog

I began this little exercise begrudgingly cursing Robert Thompson all the way for suggesting this was something that I should do. I was dumb enough to be initially excited which resulted in me sending out emails to friends and people in the golf industry to let them know I was going to write a regular blog and that they should check it out. While I was long on opinion, I was short on writing talent, and quickly wondered if I was going to make a fool of myself.

While I still occasionally curse this blog, I must give full credit to Robert since this turned out to be an outstanding idea. My original belief was this blog would be used to promote my ideas, my business and my views; but really it evolved into a completely different outlet. I do use the blog as an ongoing place to let people know what I’m up to, but it’s now become more of a place for personal expression.

I’ve always had something to say and this gave me an opportunity to finally speak my mind on certain ideas and aspects of golf architecture. I found that the more I got into the blog, the more I became serious about writing on golf course architecture, the more I needed to read and research things to explain them to an audience. This helped me collect my thoughts and fully understand what I wanted to do in future projects. I gave me a much clearer picture of what I liked and what I didn’t like. It eventually lead to a clarity for what ideas in golf course architecture that I wanted to apply and has lead to me being better prepared to design a new course.

There were other lessons along the way. I found out quite quickly that I couldn’t say exactly what I thought. This still kills me at times since I’m fairly open and candid about what I think. Tom Doak’s style in the confidential guide was the original intent, but I eventually realized that I could not afford to be that candid in the end. I also discovered blogging has the grammar police and people expect the same quality of writing found in any printed publication. At first I was pissed off – but they won out – since I edited more to avoid them.

A regular blog like this is truly like writing a short column or articles a day. This was pressure that I didn’t expect and coupled with the constant search for fresh ideas, pressure that occasional makes me want to pack it all in. I think my strength was when I found big ideas to concentrate on. Looking at individual holes, hole types, or the basic elements of golf architecture has lead to the best of my writing. The 10 courses you should study was my personal favorite idea for a series –and it must have been a good idea –since it lead to a 4 page article in Travel + Leisure Golf that I’m quite proud of.

I plan to continue on exactly as I currently do even after I finish the year I committed to. I hope to eventually take people through the actual design of a course - on line – I just need that project (and that will come). You may get an advance look at this process since it looks like I will need to produce a series of holes this spring for a major renovation project. Till then I will finish the hole series and also put out a series on what I won’t do and why

Tomorrow: the final installment at my year looking back - my business in review


Anonymous said...

You've done an admirable job, Ian. You're correct that your blog is akin to writing daily columns for a newspaper...except you aren't being paid.

I think the blog will be beneficial for you in the long run, if it hasn't been already.


Anonymous said...

I'm happy to hear that you will be continuing. Your blog is my first stop of my internet day.


Anonymous said...

With your elegant prose and subtle opinions, you have created a corner of the internet that I am drawn to daily.

Keep up the good work!


Robert Thompson said...

Why should I be to blame for all of this?

Just kidding, of course -- congrats on a great year, Mr. Andrew. The glass is surely full now.

Mark Nessmith, executive editor said...

Ian: We have included your fine blog on our blogs list at Any chance we can get a link to added here in exchange?

Keep up the great work, and have a super 2007.

Brian said...

You are providing me with a real education on golf design which should be furthering my appreciation for the game. But I'm afraid that I'm still feeling a bit like the sidekick in the film "Sideways" -- the connoisseur can describe the complexities of each bottle in dramatic detail while the sideckick simply goes "yummy!".

Keep it up! happy holidays to you and your family.

- Brian