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Behind the Architectural Curtain – Golf Content Network

Behind the Architectural Curtain - Golf Content Network

SCHAUPETER: I’m not stunned. It’d be an enormous step to introduce into a serious championship with out some sort of trial foundation first. I’d wish to see it finished a minimum of as soon as simply to see what the influence is in order that there may be an evaluation of real-world outcomes to assist information future motion. How and when to try this is the robust half. Perhaps a one-off occasion at Augusta Nationwide is required earlier than dropping it on The Masters.

WESTENBORG: No, I’m not stunned in any respect and would by no means anticipate this to occur. If it did, would this be the case for all the majors, if not all skilled tournaments? Doing this is able to set a harmful precedent. So far as I’m involved, regardless of how good the gear, it’s the similar for all golfers and subsequently a degree enjoying subject. Introducing a “event ball” would solely complicate issues.

DEVRIES: No, as a result of it will be them superseding the USGA and the R&A because the purveyors of the principles of the sport. I feel it might be fascinating in the event that they did challenge a “event ball” only for the Masters to see the way it may change the best way the gamers assault the course, however, finally, the USGA and R&A have to do one thing so at this time’s golf programs don’t grow to be a joke for elite gamers who hit it thus far that each gap is, at most, a two-shot gap they usually solely want a driver, wedges, and a putter to play the sport.

DAVIS: I’m not stunned.  It might require gamers to transform their recreation in numerous instances, not solely that week however in prep for the Masters.  I feel the course does a very good job of balancing the features in distance, partially with the problem of the greens.

BLASI: No. Whereas many people consider Augusta Nationwide is in a singular place to introduce such a ball, doing so has quite a few challenges each technical and political in nature. Technically, making an attempt to design a event ball would probably take years to get dialed into the satisfaction of Augusta Nationwide and would end in push again from some faction of gamers. Politically, creating their very own ball would create rigidity with the USGA, R&A and PGA Tour, three our bodies Augusta Nationwide works intently with. So whereas many people see distance as a urgent concern, it’s straightforward to see how Augusta Nationwide can take the strategy that there isn’t a lot upside for them.

Augusta Nationwide | Gap No. 1 Tea Olive

For this yr’s Masters the fifth gap has been prolonged to 495 yards. The thought course of was to reintroduce the utilization of driver for a lot of within the area. What’s your tackle “the change,” or as former Chairman Clifford Roberts was fond in saying “the development?”


BLASI: Arduous to guage having not seen the brand new tee complicated and the way the opening performs for the sector. Conceptually, I would like a event ball for skilled golf versus continually lengthening programs or shifting options.

DAVIS: I might assume they should watch the wind.  If that gap ever performs into the wind it might be arduous for some to drive it far sufficient to see the flag.  It is going to give the longer participant a bonus if they’re correct off the tee.  For the lower than correct, a driver ought to deliver the left bunkers much more into play.   Most gamers could be a little extra correct with a Three-metal membership.

DEVRIES: I hope that they’ll hit driver and need to hit no less than a 6 or 7-iron into the inexperienced. This drawback pertains to the primary query and the way the elite gamers hit it up to now that technique and shot-making are a lot much less essential for the professionals. They’re nice gamers and have nice expertise however we not often see them have to aim performs like Sarazen’s “shot heard all over the world” as a result of they all the time have a brief iron of their palms.

SCHAUPETER: When it comes to the thought course of and relative to the event particularly, in all probability the fitting name. One among these years, the required change to take care of design integrity will push the membership to the purpose the place they will’t stretch holes anymore. Which may result in the introduction of a event ball.

WESTENBORG: All the time good to have golf holes the place the driving force just isn’t the automated selection which is why the 10th Camellia is such a terrific golf gap. So, on the face of it, not likely that supportive. Nevertheless, whether it is hoped that the driving force will scale back accuracy, subsequently, growing the danger of balls kicking left into the 2 fairway bunkers, and doing this reinvigorates the unique technique of the opening then, sure, I might help this concept.


Fee the majors so as of significance relating to architectural benefit through the years.


DEVRIES:The Open Championship wins as a result of the structure is consistently various the venue among the many greatest hyperlinks programs on the earth and yearly the climate makes the golf thrilling and extremely variable, by no means the identical. The Masters is second as a result of the again 9 on Sunday is nearly all the time thrilling, plus we’ve gotten to know the course so nicely and may examine photographs from years in the past to at this time by gamers in several eras. The US Open can be third however the PGA is near it – the distinction is that the PGA has had extra weak websites than the US Open, however they’ve additionally introduced out some thrilling websites that uncovered new programs to golfers. These two have fascinating programs however there’s much less understanding of their designs resulting from restricted publicity and cramped set-ups that make the structure extra about preserving it within the fairway or struggling extreme penalties within the tough than highlighting nice structure.

SCHAUPETER: On the prime — the Open Championship – all vital golf course structure DNA flows from the bones of the programs within the Open Championship rotation, amongst many others within the UK. Within the second place The Masters in a singular place in that it hosts a serious yearly; it’s capacity and have to constantly tweak the format has allowed the unique danger/reward design intent to proceed to shine by means of yearly regardless of dramatic modifications to the gear. The PGA championship is available in third – often very entertaining competitors on programs which are set-up to permit the gamers some latitude and recoverability. Within the remaining slot the US Open – softening the set-up a bit to permit for extra number of play would permit the structure to return out extra on a number of the nice programs that host it.

WESTENBORG: Mechanically — and it’s not as a result of I’m British — I might say The Open. It has the historical past and the programs that host it have irrefutable selection. The Open golf programs additionally demand a special type of golf in comparison with the predominately goal golf of the three American majors making it stand out much more. My second selection is The Masters. The very fact it’s all the time the identical venue and is understood — rightly or wrongly –for its manicured situation, even by those that don’t play golf. The US Open is subsequent purely due to its title and eventually the PGA Championship.

BLASI: Very fascinating query and really arduous to reply given the variations of the Majors. Making an attempt to boil issues down to at least one takeaway from every, right here is how I might rank them: The Open Championship equals worldwide publicity to hyperlinks golf. The US Open makes use of quite a lot of nice basic venues. The Masters equals good event course that’s continuously evolving. The PGA rounds out the foursome with many trendy venues.

DAVIS: They’re all totally different and have made totally different contributions which have impacted golf course structure.  I like how the “British” Open favors a artistic participant and checks your resolve in actually robust circumstances at occasions.  I like how Augusta has usually proven how wider fairways as an entire, no tough, and undulating greens is thrilling – with a little-discussed aspect being that rhythm of the movement in fact – the way it begins, flows, hits Amen Nook, and finishes.  The US Open and PGA have usually been extra about preserving par in order that they typically exemplify a extra penal design, however that angle is altering with each the USGA and the PGA.  


You possibly can change one factor at Augusta Nationwide what wouldn’t it be and why?


BLASI: Properly I’m happy to say that the issues I had hoped for many have occurred in recent times. The Drive, Chip, and Putt is an excellent occasion for teenagers and I’m very excited concerning the Ladies’s Newbie occasion coming being held now. Hats off to Augusta Nationwide for creating these occasions and for the change in membership coverage. Architecturally, I’d wish to see them remove the second minimize / tough and take away most of the lately planted timber so as to open up the strains of play.

DAVIS:I might not know till collaborating with them.  Good design matches numerous very particular needs, wants, and historical past.  There’s much more there than one can know from the surface wanting in.  

WESTENBORG:I might make it a public golf course in order that I may need the chance to play it.

DEVRIES: Remove the second reduce. The unique intention was for there to not be tough and for the gamers to have the ability to get this specific angle for a shot at that specific flagstick location. Once they added the second reduce, they eliminated a few of these key angles of assault that rewarded accuracy as an alternative of simply size and took away technique. Having all fairway additionally had the fascinating impact of offline photographs operating into hassle within the pine straw or azaleas. Management was required as a lot as energy and gave extra gamers the chance to play Augusta Nationwide their approach.

SCHAUPETER: Deliver again extra of the unique design intent and thus a bit extra selection and drama to the 17th. It seems like a little bit of missed alternative because the drama simply continues to ratchet up via the 16th, then fades a bit earlier than enjoying the appropriately robust eighteenth gap. Mackenzie’s unique design intent was for extra of a ground-game strategy to the opening, which was misplaced when Maxwell re-designed the inexperienced and added fronting bunkers. Widen out the green/create extra angles of play, take away the bunkers, re-design the inexperienced and play the opening from the members tees as a reachable par-Four on Friday and Sunday. It will add one other fascinating layer of choices for the gamers to think about and one other compelling layer of drama for all of us watching.


One of the best gap architecturally is?


DAVIS:The 13th is a really thrilling par-5 and I really like how the width modifications, the creek, the drama.  I feel the third is a wonderful brief par 4.  I feel the 10th is a wonderful lengthy par 4.  All the par three’s are wonderful.  The 13th is my favourite although. 

SCHAUPETER: The 13th is the one which instantly involves thoughts. So many fascinating features to it and such nice number of choices all through the opening from the tee shot by way of the inexperienced contours

BLASI: The 13th. Nice use of topography and incorporating a pure function so as to add technique. Choices off the tee, on the second shot, on a layup and the opening location impacts technique. For my part, nice event holes are people who supply a variety of scores and we routinely see eagles and double-bogeys at 13.

WESTENBORG: All the time a bit dangerous commenting on golf holes I’ve not performed or visited. Nevertheless, based mostly on by no means lacking the Masters on TV, I might say the 12th. I really like brief holes that demand precision photographs, that if not good, are severely penalized. I additionally like the vanity of the inexperienced mixed with its chamber that, relying on the pin location and wind can require something from a wedge to a 7-iron. It all the time creates nice drama; simply ask Jordan Spieth.

DEVRIES: The third. Being a brief par 4 ives gamers choices to hit quite a lot of golf equipment off the tee, however demanding nice strategy photographs to get a birdie probability. The third is an excellent gap that doesn’t get a lot consideration since it’s so early within the spherical. There was no have to hold lengthening the opening, like a number of others at ANGC, to make it related to the elite gamers.


The least efficient gap architecturally is?


WESTENBORG: The 13th is a shocking golf gap, however at 510-yards, for the professionals, a really brief par-5. Sure, the tee shot is tight and the inexperienced undulating however I’ve all the time thought that if the tee photographs is positioned such that they select to not go for the inexperienced, then the lay-up/restoration shot, with that extensive expanse of fairway earlier than the stream, is just too straight-forward. I respect they need to place their lay-up such that the angle to the inexperienced is improved, however for professionals, this isn’t an enormous problem. I might add some bunkering or prolong the creek simply to pressure slightly extra thought/danger into the lay-up shot, or, simply to be controversial, perhaps make the Azalea a par Four?

SCHAUPETER: I’ll be constant and stick to the 17th. Might be a lot extra, particularly since it’s the 17th gap and at such a crucial level of the spherical.

DEVRIES: I might in all probability say the 17th. With the lack of the long-lasting Eisenhower Tree — which didn’t actually have an effect on the tour gamers — and its dialogue level for normal golfers, the drive is an uphill affair bordered by timber – you simply have to hit it lengthy and straight.

DAVIS: I feel all of them work. You may recommend a sure gap just isn’t as robust as one other, however a golf course with nice rhythm like Augusta is that means due to ebb and move. Some holes are extra dramatic, some extra stern, some simpler. It’s like an awesome piece of music that as an entire works – you don’t contemplate which notes are least efficient. The entire is extra essential than the elements.  

BLASI: In all probability the 18th. No choices off the tee and a steeply uphill strategy result in comparable play from the sector.

Augusta Nationwide | Gap No. 17 Nandina

Is it applicable the membership touts the Bob Jones / Alister MacKenzie design effort however routinely leaves out the varied architects who’ve made vital contributions through the years.


BLASI: Onerous to guage this. Jones and MacKenzie definitely deserve the lion’s share of the credit score for designing the course and Jones for establishing The Masters. For the golfing public, they get the course information from the telecast (CBS) and I consider there have been references to the works of others all through the years. I feel it will be truthful for The Masters’ web site, which does function a gap by gap preview, to say the identify of the architects who made a change to a gap.

DAVIS:Completely.  Jones and Mackenzie have been the founders of the design they usually set the inspiration.  All others who’ve adopted have just about labored inside that basis.

SCHAUPETER: It’s a membership tied to its privateness, historical past, and custom but on the similar time pressured to be utterly open to the nation on account of its internet hosting of The Masters yearly. An architect getting concerned in any renovations there would probably perceive that and know what to anticipate stepping into. I’d be okay with it if it was me, so I’ll say that it’s applicable.

WESTENBORG: Sure, I feel it’s completely applicable; the golf course is a Jones/Mackenzie and all the time might be, even when a few of their design philosophies are not obvious. I too have labored on programs initially designed by the previous greats, together with Ipswich and Southport & Ainsdale (Braid), The Manchester (Colt), Cork GC (Mackenzie), however though I promote this reality, I might not want it some other approach for the Membership to retain the identify of the unique architect for historic and advertising functions. I’m fairly positive the opposite architects who’ve had the respect of working at Augusta, are usually not solely already nicely revered but in addition market their Augusta credentials with relish.

DEVRIES: Sure, as a result of the modifications through the years have been accomplished with regard to the unique rules that Jones and MacKenzie put forth for the design on the starting. Jones was additionally concerned with all the earliest, extra vital, changes made to the course, till his passing.


What do you assume Jones and MacKenzie would say concerning the course that exists at the moment?


SCHAUPETER: I feel they’d be fairly impressed with the unimaginable event that’s The Masters and the stainless conditioning of the golf course. They may be much less impressed with the narrowing of the holes and ensuing lack of angles of play and choices of play. They’d in all probability additionally discover the fashionable aerial recreation fairly at odds with the Previous-Course-inspired floor recreation that was their unique inspiration for the design of Augusta Nationwide.

WESTENBORG: Architects absolutely respect that even new golf programs won’t ever cease evolving and altering and I’m fairly positive Jones and Mackenzie would have recognized this. Though, their unique greens have been toned down and the openness of the course closed in by timber, the routing and general design philosophy continues to be obvious. In fact, like all architects, they could properly have had totally different re-design concepts however on the entire, I can consider no cause why they might not be glad with the changes.

DEVRIES: I feel they might be fascinated, and shocked, by the evolution of the course for the fashionable gamers who hit it to date and they might help the longer tees to regulate for that. MacKenzie was an advocate of leaving room for the expansion of programs in response to modifications in know-how, however I’m not positive he would favor the huge differential in talents to hit the ball thus far and not using a concern for accuracy that permeates the professional excursions as we speak.

BLASI: Nicely maybe probably the most colourful define of such could be present in Geoff Shackelford’s nice guide “The Good Physician Returns”. I feel they might each be shocked on the infrastructure and the agronomy of 2019. I might see them each encouraging the membership to recapture the width and enjoying angles which were altered over time.  

DAVIS: In the event that they have been aware about all that has gone into why the course is as it’s at present, I feel they might be very proud.  I’m positive each would ask about this or that, or recommend this or that, however it’s extraordinary.  I’m lucky to get to go for no less than a day yearly to the Masters and to me it’s heaven.  


In your thoughts — is Augusta Nationwide over or underrated or assessed precisely?


WESTENBORG: I can compose a 100-page essay on this query however will summarize by saying “assessed precisely.”

BLASI: As a result of Augusta Nationwide has no peer it is rather troublesome to say it’s overrated or underrated so I’ll go together with precisely assessed. To me, Augusta Nationwide is an impressive skilled invitational venue and The Masters does a terrific job with the telecast, visitor expertise and rather more. I consider the most important destructive of The Masters and Augusta Nationwide is the influence it has on different programs. As a result of all golfers watch The Masters yearly, different programs attempt to make their course like Augusta with out the identical setting or assets.

DAVIS: As a golf course design, it’s among the many greatest on the planet.  The place you’d rank it’s a private choice.  I’ve a handful of programs I put at 1a, b, c and so forth on the earth.  Augusta is a type of. 

DEVRIES: I feel it’s precisely judged and belongs in that higher echelon of programs around the globe. It has many distinctive and iconic holes and all of them are strong, good to nice holes. It’s also one of the crucial desired locations for golfers to play, if solely they might get an invite to attempt their recreation the place the Masters is performed each April and on a course they’ve come to know so properly!

SCHAUPETER: It’s not overrated. Seen as a sporting occasion and an leisure amenity, it’s nonetheless probably underrated. It’s an absolute must-see occasion on the sports activities calendar yearly for all golfers and certain fairly a couple of non-golfers who’re sports activities followers normally. Seen by means of the eyes of a golf course architect, there are quibbles to be analyzed, however that’s what we’re paid to do. Even there, arduous to name it overrated because the challenges and competitors of the event ship compelling golf and leisure yearly.


Your decide to win the Masters and is Tiger Woods succesful in including a fifth inexperienced jacket?


WESTENBORG: I feel I’ll go for Justin Rose to win the Masters and no, I’m not anticipating Tiger Woods to win one other Masters or one other main for that matter.

SCHAUPETER: Tiger could be very succesful in including a fifth inexperienced jacket. I consider that he’ll have his “1986 Nicklaus” second considered one of these upcoming years. That being stated, the record of legitimately robust contenders appears to be as deep as ever, so it’ll be robust. For this yr I’ll go together with Rory to get his profession slam. I like how he closed out the Participant’s Championship, overcoming some tough moments early to complete robust. If he can get the putter dialed in, that have might have some profit in April.

BLASI: I’ll go together with Dustin Johnson. He has carried out properly at Augusta prior to now and appears due for a inexperienced jacket. I do consider that Tiger is able to profitable a fifth inexperienced jacket. Augusta is understood for giant roars heard all throughout the property. Tiger in rivalry once more would produce some epic roars.

DEVRIES: Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose are the apparent decisions however I feel Jordan Spieth is my decide. Regardless of how a lot he’s struggling — and he’s — he appears to seek out his middle on the Masters. I feel he’s mentally robust and is aware of how demanding ANGC is however doesn’t worry that. Actually, he relishes the complexity of the course and it makes him focus that a lot better and that all the time provides him an opportunity. As to Tiger, he is aware of ANGC higher than anybody within the subject and has had such nice success there, and people factors alone give him benefits over the sector however I don’t assume he has management of his recreation properly sufficient to complete it and win.

DAVIS: I might like to see Tiger or Rory win. Tiger could be very succesful. Dustin Johnson might be robust to beat if he’s on his recreation.  



Jay Blasi

A Los Gatos, CA-based designer greatest recognized for his work at Chambers Bay, website of the 2015 US Open. Blasi began his personal agency in 2012 after working for 11 years with Robert Trent Jones II. Acknowledged on Golf Channel as a prime 5 designer beneath 40, every of Blasi’s tasks has garnered quite a few awards. His new designs (as Venture Architect at RTJII) embrace; Chambers Bay, The Patriot in Tulsa, OK and The Stanford College Siebel Varsity Golf Coaching Complicated. Just lately he oversaw a serious renovation of SentryWorld in his delivery state of Wisconsin and an entire redesign of Santa Ana CC in Orange County, CA.

Tripp Davis

President and founding father of Tripp Davis and Associates (TDA), based in 1994 with workplaces in Norman, Oklahoma and New York Metropolis. Davis practices golf structure with an unparalleled ardour for craftsmanship of distinctive landscapes and strategic particulars. Earned a Grasp’s Diploma in Panorama Structure from The College of Oklahoma and is a Member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.  A adorned novice golfer, Tripp was a member of the 1989 Nationwide Championship Golf Staff and a NCAA All-American choice whereas on the College of Oklahoma.

Mike DeVries

A hands-on golf architect, personally shaping his greens and bunkers whereas being on-site all through the development of his tasks. His evolutionary design course of respects the unique designer’s intent on renovation jobs and leads to golf programs of putting up with high quality and curiosity together with his new course designs. DeVries’ most notable works are Cape Wickham Hyperlinks (Tasmania, Australia), Kingsley Membership (Michigan), Greywalls (Michigan), Meadow Membership (California), and Siwanoy CC and Sunningdale CC (New York).

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