Friday, January 11, 2008

Scarboro Article in the Globe & Mail

The course, in Toronto's Scarborough suburb, is undergoing a $1.2-million renovation to bring back many of the original Tillinghast features. Bunkers, for example, have been deepened and brought in tighter to the greens. Some trees have been removed, and chipping areas and feeder slopes around the greens have been restored.

The architects hired for the project, restoration specialist Ian Andrew of Brantford, Ont., and Tillinghast expert Gil Hanse of the United States, have also added some fairway bunkers that were part of the original drawings but never built. Renovations are to be completed by June 1.

Article on Scarboro Golf & Country Club is here:

CuttenClub : Before - Concept - Actual

The 3rd Hole

The hole before the work

The concept for the hole - there was an irrigation line where the left bunker was supposed to go

The hole taken yesterday with the fairway added back in

The 7th Hole

The 7th hole before

The concept for the hole with the bunkering returned

The 7th hole right now with the new bunkering

Other Photos

The new back tee on the 5th

The 18th green

The 9th before

The 9th done, but a little hard to see

The 1st hole from the ladies tee

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? – Lots of Lateral Movement

I happen to love "z" shaped holes and the strategic possibilities

One of the first chances I ever had to put a proposal in for a new golf course was on a flat property with no trees. The last one at Grand Bend was also for a mostly flat site. While most architectural ideas revolve around some terrain and architect must have ideas on how to building a hole on a flat site with little or no natural features or their no use to any developer, since very few properties are without a flatter section.

The solution is scale. Think about it this way, if you have a wide open space with panoramic views, your canvas has just increased dramatically. If you are going to fill the canvas with your composition it also must be on a larger scale to fit the setting. The way to do this is exaggerate the architectural technique that you are using for that project. The bunkering becomes the key to these sites since it must be on a very large scale to make it stand out from the surroundings.

The fairways have to also venture much further from side to side and need to swing another 50% (or more) than they normally do to help fill up that empty space. The advantage of this technique is that the natural swing create an even better risk and reward scenarios by extending the carry angles and strategies. The reward for gambling is still the best angle, but the penalty for playing away involves and even tougher angle than normal since your so much further off line.

One advantage I see with having holes out in the open is the wind. Holes in the open bring the wind more into play making them a larger part of the game. This is why the fairways themselves need to be a bit wider to accommodate the winder days. That also creates more opportunity to play positional shots. The wider fairways along with bigger bunkers help fill the large open space because of the scale of the architecture and therefore fit the setting better than a conventional sized hole.

This type of hole blends naturally into the land around needing only some low native vegetation to separate the holes. The alternative and more common approach to add mounding down each side for definition never blends and never looks natural. That’s what I have proposed to deal with each of the wide open and flat sites the way I have.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? – Deep Bunkering

I’m a big believer in bunkering being the best of the strategic hazards. I like the fact that a player has the opportunity to hit a recovery out of a bunker shot and save a stroke or conversely could get too aggressive and leave the ball in more than once and compound their own problems. I like the fact that the recovery requires skill and judgment – no other hazard does this quite as well.

I’ve never been a fan of hazards like out of bounds and water (although I like creeks) where the loss is stroke and distance giving the player a two shot penalty. Other architects believe that water hazards are required to place additional pressure on the player. Well, the same can be said for an exceptionally deep tough bunker, but the difference is that the player may still recover from that hazard and on occasion may not even lose a stroke through truly exceptional play.

For strategy to be meaningful, the bunkering must have enough depth to punish the player a shot to par unless they manage through great skill to save that shot.

Great bunkering not only defends and defines the lines of play but it also supplies the psychological pressure of knowing what your fate will be if you miss the shot. The recovery shot required to extricate you from a bunker is what defines the punishment you will face, which in turn defines the value of the hazard. If the bunker is very deep, and the possibility exists of losing more than one shot, a player will play away to lessen the risk. If the bunker defends the ideal place to be and must be flirted with to gain the ideal position then that same deep bunker has great strategic value.

If the player always wants to flirt with the bunker until he eventually hits it in, only to find that he immediately plays well away the next round, only to begin to flirt closer and closer until he hits it in once more - then you have a perfect bunker.

You see there is nothing more thrilling or appealing than skirting over an impressive or fearsome hazard, but it’s only a thrill when you know the certain disaster that you just avoided. The only way to create that scenario – to have meaningful hazards – is with bunker depth.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What Might an Ian Andrew Course Have? – Alternate Route to the Green

The format for this week – and hopefully each week going forward is - three posts on what a new Ian Andrew Golf Course will look like followed by a written blog about another subject.

I’m a big believer in creating playing freedom. The freedoms to try new routes, test your skill, or keep as far away from trouble as you need to. I think to make a course exciting you should be given the choice to roll the bones – as Max Behr said - and take on enormous risk if you so desire. I still think conceptually no course quite matches the playing freedoms and opportunities of the Old Course – play to safer areas – or challenge the hazards to attack the course.

While centerline bunkering or interior bunkering is ideal in this task – and I will touch on both this subjects in coming weeks – separate fairways have never appealed to me. I have only found one hole with two separate fairways where the choice between two fairways is tough to make. The best of the bunch is the 15th at World Woods where long hitters are enticed to give it a go – and short hitters tend to play safe. It’s most fun if you’re right in between! Too many split fairways are complete disasters including ones created by some of the better known architects of yesterday or today.

The bottle hole created by CB MacDonald offers the perfect solution. A player can play either left of right of the bunkering running up the centre of the hole on a diagonal to play. I have illustrated what I feel is the ideal hole with alternate routes. You can play left and safe to a wider fairway and without a carry off the tee – or you can play right requiring a carry and the need to thread the needle in order to find a landing area. You shorten the hole and gain a distinct strategic advantage into the green for your efforts.

This would make a great example of what I would be trying to accomplish with a mid-range par four. A safer tee shot followed by a tougher longer approach or a very demanding tee shot followed by a simple flip right into the heart of the green. This I feel is a fun hole to play – do you risk or play smart – both options are compelling depending on how you are playing.

One additional note – the bunkering must be deep enough to make a recovery shot to the green very tough – or the strategies begin to become meaningless.