Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Project 2021 - Update #15

 "As the essence of golf is variety, it would not be wise to be too didactic as to what does constitute the ideal golf course, but my suggestions for it would be very much on the lines of what I wrote twenty years ago, and as I can hardly improve on that, I set it down here as it was originally written.

General Principles

  1. The course where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes.
  2. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes, and at least four one-shot holes.
  3. There should be little walking between the greens and tees, and the course should be arranged so that in the first instance there is always a slight walk from forwards from the green to the next tee: then the holes are sufficiently elastic to be lengthened in the future if necessary.
  4. The greens and fairways should be sufficiently undulating, but there should be no hill climbing.
  5. Every hole should be different in character.
  6. There should be a minimum of blindness for the approach shots.
  7. The course should have beautiful surroundings and all of the artificial features should have so natural an appearance that a stranger is unable to distinguish them from nature itself.
  8. There should be a sufficient number of heroic carries from the tee, but the course should be arranged so that the weaker player with the loss of a stroke, or portion of a stroke, shall always have an alternate route open to him.
  9. There should be infinite variety in the strokes required to play the various holes - that is, interesting brassie shots, iron shots, pitch and run up shots.
  10. There should be a complete absence of the annoyance and irritation caused by the necessity of searching for lost balls.
  11. The course should be so interesting that even the scratch man is constantly stimulated to improve his game in attempting shots he has hitherto been unable to play.
  12. The course should be so arranged that the long handicap player or even the absolute beginner should be able to enjoy his round in spite of the fact that he is piling up a big score. In other words the beginner should not be continually harassed by losing strokes from playing out of sand bunkers. The layout should be so arranged that he loses strokes because he is making wide detours to avoid hazards.
  13. The course should be equally good during the winter and summer, the texture of the greens and fairways should be perfect and the approaches should have the same consistency as the greens."
(Alister MacKenzie - The Spirit of Saint Andrews pp.41-42)

Golf Course Design

There is a big difference of taking care of a golf course and building one. Equally different is the building of a golf course and the renovation of a golf course. Some golf  courses,  like a home, have great bones, are built on a phenomenal piece of land in a wonderful area in the world, but just need a few little tweaks that can take it to an entirely different level. I have always held  we only needed to get the turf right to take this property to the next level. I dont believe I was wrong, but lacked the insight into what can really take this course to the next level.  Now that I am seeing the transition of what is being  done here at Granite Bay, I am equally excited about the course design revisions as I am about  the conversion of turf varieties.

An analogy for this  or any renovation process would be like comparing the work to a classic symphony or piece of classical music. The original composer's of Granite Bay were Mark Parsinen, Dave Cook, Jim Fitzpatrick and Robert Trent Jones II with his lead designer at the time, Kyle Phillips. The revisions  to the piece, are now being composed by Jay Abbott & Salvador Rodriguez who have built and remodeled over 400 golf courses between the two of them. The conductor of this symphony is the lead shaper Steve Page. Steve's baton or paint brush is a D5 caterpillar and and eye for shaping golf courses that extends 31 years.

Steve Page, Granite Bay Golf Club 4/22/21

Steve is a third generation golf course builder and shaper who has worked on five continents including 7 years in Asia, 4 of which were in China. He has worked on close to 50 projects for golf course architects like Jack Nicklaus, Brian Curley, Tom Fazio, Perry Dye, Robert Muir Graves, Tim Jackson & David Kahn, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskoph, & Chet Williams

Steve fine tuning the shape and movement of #2 green in early April 2021.

The aforementioned Dr. Alistair MacKenzie – the mastermind behind Augusta National and Cypress Point and known as the “course doctor,” – died in 1934 before seeing his vision for the The Ohio State Scarlet Course in Columbus come to fruition. He completed the original drawings and supervised the work of contouring the greens, but what the course eventually became didn’t feature his distinct design traits. "To get a better understanding of a bunker style that MacKensize would have developed," "lead shaper, Steve Page went on a tour of the remaining West Coast golf courses that still show the MacKenzie influence. During that tour, the "what would MacKenzie have done" or the new Scarlet bunker style was developed." 

In 2004 Jack Nicklaus sent Steve on that trip to study Dr. MacKenzie's work and bring it back to both Muirfield Village and The Scarlet Course at Ohio State University where Steve simultaneously worked on the shaping of both courses renovation's, both for Jack Nicklaus.  It goes without saying  that Steve is a student and  big fan of Dr. MacKenzie, and has brought his skill, experience and admiration of Dr. Mackenzie to Granite Bay. Jack Nicklaus told Steve once "you know Steve, not every bunker has to be a masterpiece. Sometimes a bunker can just be a bunker." And Salvador Rodriguez upon gazing at Steve's renovation of GBGC's #1 bunker said, "well Steve, you'll never build a better bunker then that.", and I said wait until you see #2,  which after seeing Sal said, "Steve, you'll never build a better bunker then that."  

Enjoy some pictures of Steve's work below both here at GBGC and elsewhere.

New bunker #5 at GBGC 

New bunker #2 GBGC. Form following function, the ribboning texture to the edges are of course a design feature but are functional as well with the main finger in the center of the bunker providing easy functional access  into and out of the bunker from above.

New bunker #1 GBGC. Same easy access design feature in the middle of the bunker

Steve Pages work and photography in New Zealand for Jack Nicklaus

New Zealand for Jack Nicklaus

Costa Palmas Mexico for Robert Trent Jones II

 Steve Page's work and photography, Singapore 2021

Singapore 2021

1 comment:

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