Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jeff Mingay's Article on Architect Arthur Macan

There is a wonderful piece about Canadian designer Arthur Vernon Macan in this month's issue of Golf Course Architecture written by Canadian architect Jeff Mingay.

Macan's first design opened in 1913 and he continued to create courses for over five decades. In fact, his last course opened in 1965, the year after he died.

The majority of Macan's layouts were in Western Canada with a number in the Western United States. His most famous design might be Victoria Golf Club just outside of Vancouver. Pictured here is the course stretching from the 7th green in the right hand portion of the photo, with the 8th tee in the far right hand side, to the 10th tee in the bottom left corner.

I was familiar with Macan's work since one of the chapter is Haunted Golf revolves around Victoria GC. What I did not know is how well Macan wrote about golf course architecture. As one of the view designers to work on both sides of World War II, he had a front-row seat to the deterioration of thoughtful architecture starting in the 1950s.

Macan did a wonderful job succinctly criticizing one of the new design trend promulgated by such architects as Robert Trent Jones.

“Today, the uninformed believe a green should be constructed with the slope from back to front, so that it will retain the ball,” Macan wrote. “In brief, this suggests the shot should be a mechanical operation and the result a mathematical certainty. This is not the game of golf. Golf was not conceived as a mechanical operation but rather full of fun and adventure. Many things could happen to the ball after it pitched on the green. The ill-happenings were not regarded as ill-fortune or ill-luck, but part of the adventure, and the more skilled found methods to overcome the risks of ill-fortune.”

Macan also levels some much-needed and spot-on criticism of the defiling of the Oakland Hills-South Course by Robert Trent Jones prior to the 1951 U.S. Open.

The entire article is well worth the read.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nationwide Tour Heads To Colombia

Coming off a tour stop in Panama, the Nationwide Tour heads to Colombia for the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open Presented by Samsung at Country Club de Bogota March 4-7. The two layouts were designed by John Van Kleek and opened in 1947 (West Course) and 1950 (East Course).

Van Kleek was the business partner of Wayne Stiles. Van Kleek worked in the South and Stiles primarily in the Northeast. The pairing, though, dissolved in 1929 amidst the failing real estate market in the southern region of the United States. After World War II, Van Kleek designed the two Colombia courses and one in Venezuela.

The PGA Tour's Camilo Villegas, a native of Colombia, is the host of the Bogota Open, but will not be playing in the event but should be teeing it up the pro-am as part of whirlwind schedule.

On Tuesday, Villegas's schedule has him hosting a youth clinic, then playing in the pro-am, hosted by his friend, NASCAR driver and fellow Colombian, Juan Pablo Montoya. Camilo's younger brother, and fellow University of Florida graduate, Manuel Villegas, who plays on the Nationwide Tour, is entered in the official event.

Wednesday, Camilo gets on a jet and flies to intending to be in the field of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic at PGA Resort and Spa - Champion Course, one of the very finest of the Florida Golf Courses.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oporto Golf Club and Golf in Portugal

Pau Golf Club in France, with its roots extended back to a pair of Scots fighting the Napoleonic War for England, is the oldest golf club on continental Europe dating to 1856. The second oldest is the Oporto Golf Club located in northwest Portugal, founded by Englishmen involved in the Port Wine business in 1890. At one time, golfers played around spectacular sand dunes that have since been claimed by the sea.

There is still plenty of great golf in Portugal that presents players with spectacular views. The Algarve Region, on the southern tip of the country, is home to over 30 wonderful layouts and has golf-friendly weather all year. Included is the Oceanico Faldo Course, designed by golfing great Nick Faldo, which opened in 2008 and is pictured.

"I like my courses to be challenging to whoever plays them. There might be easy holes in some places, but they are a challenge because you have to think about them, and that is what I am after," said Faldo of the par-72 layout that is 6,598 meters.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tiger Woods Golf Course Progresses

This from the Golf Course News:

In January 2010, site prep was continuing on this high-end project, which involves Tiger Woods' first-ever GC design in the U.S. Earlier in December '09, the project backer, Cliffs Communities, released a statement following Woods' marital improprieties that they were standing behind the GC designer. If all goes well, the GC will open for play in 2011. Woods has been assisted by Beau Welling, a former associate of Tom Fazio's. The president of Tiger Woods Design is Byron Bell. In August '07, Woods announced he'd be doing his first American design at this development on the NC-SC border. Full construction began in '08 following the receipt of final permits. The 5,000-acre site is in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of Swannanoa, NC. In addition to an 18-hole private, 7,500-yard GC designed by Woods, the project by Cliffs Communities involves the above HUs, various recreational amenities and full infrastructure. The development's web address is:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Golf and the Rules

“Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”
--Douglas Bader

For me, often times the most confusing area of golf is figuring out how to set my alarm so I get up early enough to make my tee time. The most others, the rules of golf and how they are applied, causes the most confusion. To that end, I've linked to the Free Drop blog over on the left side of the page under "My Blog List." There you will find insightful comments and explanation of simple and detailed rules with discussion on recent high-profile decisions.