COURSE MAS­TER­MINDS

Rob Smith looks at some of the Mozarts and Shake­speares be­hind the new Top 100…

Golf Monthly - - Florian Fritsch -

f we go to an art ex­hi­bi­tion, we go for the paint­ings but need to know their artist. When we lis­ten to mu­sic, the melody comes first but we are in­ter­ested in the com­poser. For many of us, it is the same with a golf course. There are sev­eral ma­jor ar­chi­tects, old and new, whose work has shaped the Top 100.

IThe clos­ing hole at Hank­ley Com­mon The in­her­i­tance left by our early ar­chi­tects is not just phys­i­cal. Their en­dur­ing in­flu­ence on to­day’s ar­chi­tects is pro­found. De­spite this, it is still pos­si­ble for to­day’s ex­po­nents to cre­ate some­thing new and gen­uinely dif­fer­ent. Kyle Phillips de­signed both Kings­barns and The Grove, and Pat Ruddy is the ge­nius be­hind his own Euro­pean Club, as well as Sandy Hills at Ros­apenna and the Glashedy Course at Bal­lylif­fin in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tom Crad­dock. One-hit won­ders Most of those with just one Top 100 course to their name have plenty in the Next 100 and else­where. For ex­am­ple, Nick Faldo (Lough Erne) has an ex­ten­sive port­fo­lio of very pop­u­lar cour­ses all over the world. But there are some gen­uine one-offs, such as Golf Monthly’s orig­i­nal ed­i­tor Harold Hilton (Fern­down) and club maker Cuth­bert Butchart (West Hill). The ta­ble (right) lists those ar­chi­tects whose in­flu­ence ap­pears to have been great­est in the Top 100, and in­cludes cour­ses they de­signed or sub­stan­tially mod­i­fied. I say ‘ap­pears’ be­cause some of the work is un­doc­u­mented and has been lost in the mists of time. Ul­ti­mately, we have ev­ery­thing from some big-name contributors to the odd ‘un­known’, such as Gul­lane (No. 1).

With paint­ings, books or songs, once done they are done. Golf cour­ses, how­ever, are liv­ing, evolv­ing en­ti­ties and some of to­day’s de­signs would be al­most un­recog­nis­able to their found­ing fa­thers. Mostly this has been a good thing, but it does com­pli­cate de­fin­i­tive state­ments on lin­eage. Lahinch, for ex­am­ple, has ben­e­fited from the craft of Old Tom Mor­ris, Alister MacKen­zie and Martin Hawtree. Oth­ers – some to ill ef­fect – have been mod­i­fied to the point where they have the air of de­sign by com­mit­tee. The 7th at Pat Ruddy’s Euro­pean Club

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