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St Andrews Old Course "historic redesign"

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Interesting article.  Better get out there quick if you want to play the St Andrews we've grown up watching on TV!

 

http://www.golfclubmanagement.net/2012/11/old-course-embarks-on-historic-redesign/

post #2 of 10

Read an article today that said people were over-reacting to this. They're changing 11 and 17 slightly. The changes to 17 include making the front of the green a bit larger and making the Road Hole bunker 20" wider.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Read an article today that said people were over-reacting to this. They're changing 11 and 17 slightly. The changes to 17 include making the front of the green a bit larger and making the Road Hole bunker 20" wider.


I frequent a forum about golf course architecture where most posters are in that or a related business. Many are up in arms over these changes, many because they think the decision was not well thought out or done too quickly. From what I've read, the changes are relatively small and are to provide more pin positions, especially on 11. Of course for people in this business, TOC is sacred ground.

post #4 of 10
Leave the old lady alone. She has been around since forever and who is Martin Hawtree who doesnt even play golf (seriously) to think he can do better than Old Tom Morris. Let the pro's roll it every 5 years (the R&A can choose plenty of hard pin positions) but leave it alone for the rest of us who are golf's real stakeholders. I for one want to play the same course as Bobby and Jack and Tiger not some tricked up version. The ego of these people needs a haircut. History is history. Leave it alone. As Padraig Harrington said the oldest course is still the best course.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanceman View Post

Leave the old lady alone. She has been around since forever and who is Martin Hawtree who doesnt even play golf (seriously) to think he can do better than Old Tom Morris. Let the pro's roll it every 5 years (the R&A can choose plenty of hard pin positions) but leave it alone for the rest of us who are golf's real stakeholders. I for one want to play the same course as Bobby and Jack and Tiger not some tricked up version. The ego of these people needs a haircut. History is history. Leave it alone. As Padraig Harrington said the oldest course is still the best course.


First of all TOC is not the same course it was when Bobby Jones played it 80+ years ago or even when Nicklaus played it. For one, it plays 500 yards longer than in the 1970's. Courses change over time, greens shrink, bunkers change shape, they are rebuilt, and technology makes courses obsolete. I have read that the Road Hole bunker is rebuilt every year due to the amount of play.

 

TOC under benign conditions is a piece of cake for tour pro's. Most of these changes are minor and only the softening of the back left on 11 is significant and that's because a new pin position is needed.

post #6 of 10

On a long drive across the desert last week I was listening to PGA Tour Radio on Sirius (normally a pretty lousy station, but it was a very long drive and I was bored) and they had an interesting interview with a chap from the R&A about the St. Andrews changes.    He was pointing out that when the greens were designed the speeds were far, far lower and hence they could use much more of the green for pin positions.    However, as turf science has improved greatly in the last couple decades and maintenance techniques have also improved, they are able to maintain greens at faster speeds now and the golfing public has been very demanding about having this speed.  

 

He also indicated that over the decades, the contours of the greens have slightly changed do the the foot traffic, land settling, sand buildup, etc., and that the greens you see today aren't actually the same shape and contour as they were a hundred years ago.  

 

Unfortunately, this means that there are large parts of the greens that simply cannot be used for hole locations.    This greatly shrinks the usable green size, meaning that the normal traffic wear on a green is concentrated in a much smaller area, putting enormous stress on the grass and making it very difficult to keep conditions acceptable for the many tourists and regular players.    Faced with a choice of limiting the number of rounds or reshaping the greens slightly to significantly increase usability, they're going with the latter option.  

 

It's fine for people like Padraig to criticize making changes, but he's not the one who has to maintain the bloody thing and listen to the tourists complain if it is less-than-expected condition.     And who is Martin Hawtree?    Only someone who was carefully selected by the R&A based on his exceptional work at many courses such as Lahinch, Royal Melbourne, Carnoustie, Muirfield, and a host of other historic golf courses,  the namesake of a golf architecture firm celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and someone elected Fellow of the British Institute of Golf Architects.   

 

Sheep aren't being used to mow the grass there anymore.   Let it be maintained and tweaked a little so it can still be enjoyable in another hundred years.  

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clambake View Post

On a long drive across the desert last week I was listening to PGA Tour Radio on Sirius (normally a pretty lousy station, but it was a very long drive and I was bored) and they had an interesting interview with a chap from the R&A about the St. Andrews changes.    He was pointing out that when the greens were designed the speeds were far, far lower and hence they could use much more of the green for pin positions.    However, as turf science has improved greatly in the last couple decades and maintenance techniques have also improved, they are able to maintain greens at faster speeds now and the golfing public has been very demanding about having this speed.  

 

He also indicated that over the decades, the contours of the greens have slightly changed do the the foot traffic, land settling, sand buildup, etc., and that the greens you see today aren't actually the same shape and contour as they were a hundred years ago.  

 

Unfortunately, this means that there are large parts of the greens that simply cannot be used for hole locations.    This greatly shrinks the usable green size, meaning that the normal traffic wear on a green is concentrated in a much smaller area, putting enormous stress on the grass and making it very difficult to keep conditions acceptable for the many tourists and regular players.    Faced with a choice of limiting the number of rounds or reshaping the greens slightly to significantly increase usability, they're going with the latter option.  

 

It's fine for people like Padraig to criticize making changes, but he's not the one who has to maintain the bloody thing and listen to the tourists complain if it is less-than-expected condition.     And who is Martin Hawtree?    Only someone who was carefully selected by the R&A based on his exceptional work at many courses such as Lahinch, Royal Melbourne, Carnoustie, Muirfield, and a host of other historic golf courses,  the namesake of a golf architecture firm celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and someone elected Fellow of the British Institute of Golf Architects.   

 

Sheep aren't being used to mow the grass there anymore.   Let it be maintained and tweaked a little so it can still be enjoyable in another hundred years.  

I agree with most of what you say but it's a huge stretch say Hawtree did "exceptional" work at the courses you listed. He's the architect that best executes what the R and A and others want him to do. He's kind of like the Rees Jones of Europe meaning he's a great politician but not a great or sensitive architect.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post

I agree with most of what you say but it's a huge stretch say Hawtree did "exceptional" work at the courses you listed. He's the architect that best executes what the R and A and others want him to do. He's kind of like the Rees Jones of Europe meaning he's a great politician but not a great or sensitive architect.

  And it is not up to the "real" R&A or the "new R&A" that now operates the tournament and rules. The course is owned by the Links Trust, not either R&A. The Royal & Ancient Golfers of St. Andrews may have some input. The real R&A spun off the tournament and rules making activities into a new enitity, which also calls itself the R&A, to avoid grief about being all male, avoid liability, etc. That new entity may have the least input of all and anything they suggest still needs to be carried out by the Trust.


Edited by VOX - 12/5/12 at 5:08pm
post #9 of 10

Here is a photo of the latest changes to The Old Course

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally Fairway View Post

Here is a photo of the latest changes to The Old Course

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

LOL.  They're turning it into a x-country ski resort or something???

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