The 13th at Addington by Abercromby
The 25 architects on my list span from golf architecture’s origins to very recent times. I made the decision that I would not include active architects, since that could lead to hurt feelings, and this would avoid the fact that their status may rise and fall with a single project. My list of architects vary from men with hundreds of projects to their credit through to architect’s with a single course. I decided that it was best to include everyone regardless of the amount of work they did, and to not combine architects that worked together. I wanted to judge them separately where possible. As I write this I still do not have the list in a final order and likely won’t until the day I write each piece!
When I knocked the list down to 25 architects, I was quite surprised at the quality of architects that didn’t make my top 25. Consider the following names and the work that they did and you’ll see why:
The 1st green at Paraparaumu Beach by Russell
So why did the above list of architects not make the list? Many simply have too limited a body of work without that significant project that sets them apart. Other architects were famous from one very important course but they were not the only one involved, even if they were a key figure. A few of the architects worked in partnership with a more significant architect and their own solo work was not strong enough to warrant inclusion. The best example of a tough choice is William Frownes. Nobody can argue against the quality of the course that he built at Oakmont, but Oakmont has not had the same influence over the future of golf course architecture that other courses have – when you combine this with one great course – it was not enough. When I have struggled, I have often turned to influence to help draw the line.
The more interesting debate for me came with some high profile architects who have dominated the periods they practiced in. I’m not a believer in popularity or quantity as a measure of greatness, in fact quantity is often a source of my criticism since it breeds mediocrity - but I did find it hard to exclude all their influence and to recognize the quality found in some of their projects.
Enjoy the list as a source of fun – make your comments and offer your criticisms too – just remember this is not intended as a definitive list.
First Architect: http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2007/05/top-25-golf-course-architects-25-mike.html