Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Architect #21 – Herbert Strong






courtesy of Ron Whitten
















Best Course: Engineers Golf Club

Other notable work: Ponte Vedra Golf Course, Canterbury Golf Club, Saucon Valley (old), Manior Richleau

Overview: Strong left for the United States in 1905 and became the professional at Apawamis Club, a course featuring pronounced land forms and blind shots. When you combine this with his time spent at Royal St. George’s, you start to see a lot of his architectural influence. In 1911, he moved to Inwood Country Club and remodeled the course over several years eventually leading to the course hosting both a PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

He believed in the need for good shot-making and felt that a player should pay the price for a poorly executed shot - occasionally with very dire results. His greens were what set him apart and often set more of the strategy than the more famous bunkers. He designed boldly contoured that required careful approach, from the ideal side of the fairway to avoid running through the green and into trouble beyond.


3rd hole











Praise for the work: At Engineers, Strong's routing approached the hills from every conceivable angle making a full and varied use of the available topography. He routed holes that play straight up the hill, had holes that are routed along the crests with second shots to green sites placed below, and even from one hill to the next. He brought you in at an angle and off the top depending on what topography he could take advantage of. His routing skills were even more impressive at Manior Richleau where he managed to find a great course on a very severe piece of topography with 400 feet of elevation change.


11th hole












The more subtle joy of Strong’s work was the positioning of play. Players were left often to figure out the need for position off the tee. While a play to an open area in the fairway would seem initially ideal, in reality the contours of the green would be extremely tough to access from that angle and the approach would run off the surface and into trouble. This left the player to think that they simple failed to execute the shot, when in reality they failed to play to the right position to approach the green.


The 2 or 20 hole









Criticisms: The criticism is pretty consistent about the severity of his architecture – even today Engineers appears to be looking to soften the contour of his greens for playability. He architecture has been labeled “a bag of tricks” used to make his course tough rather than good. Most struggle with the boldness and aggressiveness of the architectural forms that he used.

My favourite: The original Manior Richleau was fully of fascinating holes that tumbled up and down one of the most severe properties you’ll ever see.


The 16th











What I take from him: The ability to find good holes on land that seems far too severe for golf. The guts to build very bold and distinctive holes that are open to criticism but clearly are more thought provoking and interesting than most other architects work. That green slopes are still the single best defense of a hole.

59 comments:

Mike said...

Herbert Strong, Jr., son of the great golf course architect, currently lives in Columbia Falls, MT, and has never played a single hole of golf in his entire life! Molly Strong, daughter of the golf pro, never played the game either and died recently at the age of 60 due to respiratory failure in Kalispell, MT.

Mrs Marshall said...

My grandfather Cyril Strong was the younger brother of Herbert Strong (golf architect) and travelled to US early 1900's to join his older sibling. We are visiting Canada/New York in Aug/Sept this year. I am currently researching family tree and it has been fascinating to discover that Herbert had children. Sadly my mother, Barbara (daughter of Cyril) is no longer alive to provide such details. My grandfather and their other brother Leonard were also keen golfers; as are my husband and youngest daughter. Great to look at the courses he designed!

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Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs Marshall
I am the grandaughter of Herbert Strong( Molly's daughter) and would love any family tree information that you might have. I am living in Hawaii and you can find me as Anneve Strong.

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Mike Parker said...

Herbert Strong, Sr., father of Herbert Strong, Jr. and Molly Strong (now deceased) competed in the 1904 British Open held at Sandwich, England. The elder Strong shot 93-88 in rounds 1 and 2, respectively, missing the cut.

Mike Parker said...

Herbert Strong, Sr. also played in the 1907 U.S. Open, posting the following very respectable scores:

Herbert Strong 82-85-84-80--331

Mike Parker said...

This is the full results for the 1908 U.S. Open:

1908 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Scores
Results from the 1908 U.S. Open golf tournament played at Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts (x-won playoff; a-amateur):

x-Fred McLeod 82-82-81-77--322 $300
Willie Smith 77-82-85-78--322 $150
Alex Smith 80-83-83-81--327 $100
Willie Anderson 85-86-80-79--330 $80
John Jones 81-81-87-82--331 $70
Jack Hobens 86-81-85-81--333 $45
Peter Robertson 89-84-77-83--333 $45
Percy Barrett 94-80-86-78--338 $28
Jock Hutchison 82-84-87-85--338 $28
Richard Kimball 84-86-83-86--339
Tom McNamara 85-82-86-86--339
Donald Ball 90-81-86-83--340
Alex Campbell 85-83-89-83--340
George Low 92-80-84-84--340
Robert Peebles 85-85-85-85--340
David Hunter 87-87-84-83--341
Herbert Barker 84-85-88-86--343
Mike Brady 86-87-87-83--343
Orrin Terry 86-87-83-87--343
David Robertson 89-83-86-86--344
Laurie Auchterlonie 85-83-83-95--346
H.T. Rawlins 85-89-88-84--346
Isaac Mackie 94-88-84-81--347
Alex Ross 89-85-91-82--347
a-Walter Travis 90-83-87-87--347
Jack Campbell 91-89-87-82--349
David Brown 87-86-91-86--350
David Ogilvie 91-89-87-83--350
Arthur Smith 97-85-85-85--352
Herbert Strong 91-89-88-84--352
Bert Way 92-88-87-85--352
George Cummings 90-85-96-83--354
James Maiden 94-85-86-90--355
John Dingwall 98-83-85-90--356
a-John B. Hylan 93-85-89-89--356
J.S. Pearson 93-84-92-87--356
Ernest Way 89-90-93-84--356
a-John G. Anderson 95-83-89-90--357
Walter Fovargue 93-87-85-92--357
Otto Hackbarth 90-92-84-92--358
Donald Ross 93-86-88-91--358
David Honeyman 91-86-93-89--359
Stewart Maiden 93-89-85-92--359
William Robinson 95-87-86-91--359
Jack Croke 91-90-93-86--360

Mike Parker said...

1907 U.S. Open Golf Tournament Scores
Results from the 1907 U.S. Open golf tournament played at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (a-amateur):

Alex Ross 76-74-76-76--302 $300
Gilbert Nicholls 80-73-72-79--304 $150
Alex Campbell 78-74-78-75--305 $100
Jack Hobens 76-75-73-85--309 $80
George Low 78-76-79-77--310 $60
Fred McLeod 79-77-79-75--310 $60
Peter Robertson 81-77-78-74--310 $60
David Brown 75-80-78-78--311 $35
Bernard Nicholls 76-76-81-78--311 $35
Donald Ross 78-80-76-78--312 $20
Laurie Auchterlonie 77-77-83-76--313
Fred Brand 78-80-73-82--313
David Robertson 80-78-75-81--314
Tom McNamara 82-79-78-76--315
Willie Anderson 81-77-81-77--316
Mike Brady 76-77-84-80--317
David Hunter 77-75-85-80--317
Martin O'Loughlin 81-81-77-78--317
Jack Campbell 78-79-82-80--319
George Bouse 78-78-86-78--320
Stewart Gardner 81-79-78-83--321
James Campbell 76-85-81-80--322
Isaac Mackie 82-83-79-78--322
Walter Clark 88-81-79-84--332
Jack Jolly 78-86-81-78--323
David Ogilvie 82-81-81-80--324
Horace Rawlins 82-76-83-83--324
William Robinson 82-84-80-78--324
a-Jerome Travers 81-84-80-79--324
William Gaudin 80-86-82-77--325
William Ogilvie 80-83-82-80--325
James Thomson 80-82-84-81--327
George Thomson 83-86-82-76--327
a-George Smith 78-82-83-85--328
David Honeyman 82-79-85-83--329
Robert Peebles 85-78-82-85--330
William C. Sherwood 82-84-85-79--330
Herbert Strong 82-85-84-80--331
Alex Cunningham 82-82-83-85--332
David Foulis 82-82-83-85--332
Walter Fovargue 80-84-86-82--332
a-Simon Carr 82-87-80-85--334
J.S. Pearson 79-83-85-87--334
William Byrne 85-84-81-85--335
a-William West 87-79-90-79--335
William Hoare 86-80-86-85--337
a-Hm Forrest 82-82-87-87--338
George Pearson 81-86-90-84--341
John Burke 80-86-89-89--344
a-Warren Cochran 82-80-93-91--346

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