Monday, June 25, 2007

Architect #11 William Flynn

(image courtesy of Geoff Shackelford)

Best Course: Shinnecock Hills

Other notable work: Cherry Hills, Huntingdon Valley, Philadelphia, Rolling Green, The Country Club (Squirrel 9), Lancaster, Cascades, Lehigh

Notable Renovation: Merion

Overview: He began his career as the construction supervisor at Merion and remained on as superintendent for a short time helping establish the course. He would continue to be involved with Merion assisting Wilson in 1924 with a major renovation and eventually would make his own modifications to series of holes leaving the general layout we know today. There are many who feel Flynn should get a co-design credit at Merion.

Flynn partnered up with Howard Toomey just after WW1 with Flynn the designer and Toomey handling the engineering side of the work. They remained partners through to 1933. Flynn hired and trained a series of great assistants and future architects including Red Lawrence, William Gordon and Dick Wilson. Flynn was particularly active around Philadelphia producing a series of solid golf courses which compete with each other for attention. The culmination of an excellent career had to be Shinnecock Hills where he had his finest site and certainly produced his greatest work.

Shinnecock Hills 5th hole

Flynn was more than a designer, he wrote extensively on the issues that effected design and the game including the problems with the ball (in 1927!). He also produced a series of articles on turfgrass and design for the USGA Green’s Section.

Praise for the work: William Flynn was one of golf architectures greatest strategist. His routing skill was certainly one strength of his work and varied to working with the land or running intentionally hard against the contour when he wanted to increase the challenge. He is one of the few architects to really embrace the intentional use of hard cross-slopes and reverse cants to really ratchet up the pressure and difficulty on his courses. While some would dismiss this as a poor choice in the routing, this is far cleverer than most would give him credit for.

Philadelphia CC 3rd hole, notice the use of carry angles

He meticulously planned out his courses from the routing through to detailed design on paper. Flynn’s drawings were certainly the most detailed of any architect of the time and it’s still quite amazing to go out to one of his courses and see how well his plans translated to the field. Flynn also was made site changes or came back to make improvements to his courses often providing more detailed drawings which make following his intent easier than just about any architect from that era.

Criticisms: Flynn certainly knew how to make a course tough. His use of reverse cants to make the player have to work the ball just to stay on the fairway adds a great deal of difficulty to many tee shots. When he follows this up like the 16th at Huntingdon Valley with a green that requires a draw approach from a fade lie, you have one of the toughest holes in golf. Flynn understood the strategic possibilities of the land, the tendencies of side hill lies and often would use this against the player to challenge their ability to hit shots. Many don’t like this, but others like me see this as a brilliant technique – and the way to build for the PGA Tour players without resorting to length.

My personal criticism of Flynn comes from the presentation of the holes themselves. Flynn’s architecture, while extremely well thought out, tends to look very similar. The courses can be hard to distinguish when you see a lot of them – the fact that so many are located around Philadelphia hurts rather than helps his legacy. There is no question in my mind that he should be called the father of modern architecture for how much he controlled the way the player must play his courses. His work is so carefully planned and thought out that it lacks the touch of whimsy or unusual that in my mind creates a more memorable experience.

Great Quotes: “The principle consideration of the architect is to design his course in such a way as to hold interest of the player from the first tee to the last green and to present the problem of the various holes in such a way that they register in the player’s mind as he stands on the tee or on the fairway from tee to green”

Favorite Course: Huntingdon Valley

While I can’t deny Shinnecock is better, Huntingdon Valley is still my favorite for how he chose to route his way through the site. I happen to love the high banked holes on the front nine that either force you to work the ball into the slope to stay on fairways or give you opportunities to occasional “use the grade” to make a shot. I love the contrast on the back nine where he takes you through a variety of holes featuring some great carry angles, clever use of the creek and a dynamite reverse cant hole, all ending on the spectacular uphill 18th. The variety and unique nature of the course make this a must study for architects.

What I take from him: Flynn is a great example of how to use land to influence play. This begins with the value of a cross-slope and the infinite ways it can be used to influence play. His heavily sloped greens teach us how they can be used to add options like the redan style greens or force an approach angle through a stiff green slope. Flynn used carry angles about as good as anyone ever has and is a great study for how to set up a risk and reward shot with hazard placement.

(Wayne Morrison and Tom Paul are currently writing a book on Flynn due out fairly soon)


Anonymous said...

Hey, landed on your blog, nice stuff. I found a cool new tool for our blogs... It helps get latest news for our keywords directly on to our blog. I added it on mine. Worked like a charm.

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

Chris Henry said...

Hi Ian! Hope the move went as smoothly as moves can go...!
A reader of my blog (guy from China) wants to know if there are any notable Japanese course architects.
Do you know of any?


the redanman said...

Quoting you
"My personal criticism of Flynn comes from the presentation of the holes themselves. Flynn’s architecture, while extremely well thought out, tends to look very similar. The courses can be hard to distinguish when you see a lot of them – the fact that so many are located around Philadelphia hurts rather than helps his legacy."

-you could not be more spot on. I do think that some of the similar appearance of his varied works comes form a combination of maintenance evolution and the more than occasional similarity of properties, but he certainly did a bit too much similar greenside bunkering as he did at my home course Lehigh.

Chris Heins said...

Ian thank you for putting more information about Flynn in one place than I've ever seen. I'm a member at a Flynn course, Springdale Golf Club in Princeton NJ, (c)1926. I play it 50 times a year for 30 years now and I never get tired of it.

If you're in the area let me know and I'll work you into my Saturday morning "eight-some" at "The 'Dale" My boyz would love to hear your insights as we play our beloved tract. We'll shift you between groups at the turn.


Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Anonymous said...

[b]discount software stores, [url=]student discount software[/url]
[url=][/url] office 2003 sp3 is there photoshop cs4 for mac
software stores london [url=]software at discount[/url] adobe acrobat 9 pro extended serial key
[url=]software programs for sale[/url] windows xp microsoft word free download
[url=]opensource educational software[/url] sales in software
educational software company [url=]how to remove oval image adobe photoshop cs3[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

[b]best office software, [url=]rules of order software[/url]
[url=]software for orders[/url] coreldraw engraver engraver tutorial discount software australia
discount microsoft office suite [url=]microsoft software packages[/url] free adobe software for students
[url=]store checkout software[/url] filemaker pro printing functions
[url=]academic software programs[/url] android software store
software sold in canada [url=]how do i burn a dvd from nero 9[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone

Mansour Engineering maintains a cost-effective approach which incorporates life-cycle analysis in the selection of materials and systems

[url=] click here to go to Mansour Engineering[/url]

Anonymous said...

Dear friends

We do not agree with this year BRITs 2010 decision.

Please visit our little web poll

Lady Gaga can not be better than heavy metal

Poll supported by BRIT awards 2010 sponsor femmestyle
[url=]brustvergrößerung günstig[/url]

Do you have a burning question we could ask all the stars at The BRIT Awards?

Anonymous said...
[url=]standard drug test kits[/url] cialis generica [url=]esomeprazole recent studies[/url]
cialis trial offer
[url=]photos of frank lucas drug kingpin[/url] class d drug [url=]fluvoxamine induces p450[/url]
target drug discount list
[url=]van der sloot drugs[/url] drug and alcohol test [url=]facts cholesterol to low to high[/url] fda annatto drugs [url=]fluoxetine overdose induce parkinsonism[/url]

Anonymous said...

beligum travel bureau state of vermont travel and tourism
[url=]ladybug travel mug[/url] wedgewood travel [url=]tourism of nelson bc[/url]
ez baby travel
[url=]travel discounts for college students[/url] annual cheap family insurance travel 20 [url=]chicago vacation packages[/url]
san franscisco travel iowa travel co [url=]tourist carribean[/url]

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon

Finally you can sell your used and new products FREE on the new advance is what people will use in the future to sell their new and used products FREE.

Anonymous said...

full figured fashions mirrors designer bath [url=]nike shox elite bb shoes[/url] fashion hair for balls carlos santana shoes [url=]replics designer handbags[/url]

Anonymous said...

strap on anal sex
[url=]amateur movies upload[/url] free hentai pron sites [url=]bdsm pictures for free[/url]
cv of lubricants sales manager arabic fluent
[url=]mature adult video[/url] free trial just email address hentai [url=]outdoor bdsm[/url]
anti virgin
[url=]hentai passes[/url] girls who love anal [url=]orgy in crowd[/url]
flash free game hentai xxx
[url=]quicktime porn clips[/url] free fucking porn movies quick easy [url=]shemales and young boys movies[/url]

Anonymous said...

spring shoes free preview of a fashion show [url=]designer dog bed online[/url] money cars clothes hoes motherfuckin diamonds on my motherfuckin toes cracker gator shoes lyrics oldfashioned christian music [url=]cinch clothes for sale[/url]

Anonymous said...

cheats dragon quest monsters joker casino in tampa fl
[url=]excel spread sheet lottery number picker[/url] bad dog playing cards [url=]winning slot strategies[/url]
cheats for dqm joker how to get king slime
[url=]santa barbara association of realtors casino night[/url] wildcard 2 lottery [url=]winterfest slot dec[/url]
vodafone gambling horse betting racing [url=]jokers restaurant new hampshire[/url]

Anonymous said...

free simpson movie and game downloads [url=]the deal 08[/url] gung ho movie review breath control play and sex movie
movie theatres kingsport tn [url=]death rattle crystal ice[/url] mountaineering movie downloads movie fur
opening a movie theatre [url=]the match[/url] charlton heston movie list
ipod movie convert software [url=]whitechapel[/url] signs movie satire alabama movie theaters
movie sounds wav [url=]redemption a mile from hell[/url] best movie sex scene account movie pass adult

Anonymous said...

movie the women [url=]whirlpool 70[/url] lexington nc movie theaters movie plus 5 video tuner does not work
death at a funeral movie [url=]species[/url] free bootleg movie sites lexington movie tavern
free movie american chopper [url=]privates on parade[/url] warrington and pa and movie
mature lesbian free movie [url=]donalds decision[/url] movie the game young philippine teen movie stars
clear and present danger movie [url=]haven[/url] what car was used in the movie the matrix contrast 300 movie

Imitrex said...

guanacaste costa rica real estate

comprar tablet pc said...

Hey, there's a great deal of helpful information above!

Anonymous said...

clomid injection | clomid price at walmart - how to get clomid online, clomid 150 mg success stories