Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Week That Was, july 10, 2016

     Donald “the Candidate” Trump is threatening to pull the plug on his resort in Doonbeg, Ireland. Rough seas have been chewing up the dunes at Trump International Golf Links Ireland in recent years, so the Presumptive Nominee wants to build a wall (no jokes, please) to stop the encroachment. In a petition to County Clare, Trump’s consultants described the proposed two-mile wall as “vital to the survival of the business,” warned of massive job losses if the unthinkable should happen, and vowed to hold local elected officials “responsible for any resulting damages or lost income.” So far, though, Irish lawmakers and coastal protectors aren’t buying the resort’s argument, and that’s a real problem for Trump. He may be a climate-change denier on the campaign trail, but he’s seen first-hand the destructive power of raging oceans and knows that Doonbeg’s erosion troubles are only going to get worse.

     For as much as he claims to aspire to greatness, Greg “the Living Brand” Norman also appears to view golf architecture as a numbers game. In a press release announcing the hiring of a new associate, Norman boasted about a recent achievement -- “100 courses opened across six continents and in 34 countries” -- and proclaimed himself ready to “embark on the journey to reach another 100 courses.” The trouble is, there are only 78 courses on the “completed” list at Norman's website, and one of them -- the Great White track at the property now known as Trump National Doral Golf Club -- no longer exists. So if Norman’s design group has truly reached the century mark, it’s either counting renovations and redesigns or failing to post a complete list of its portfolio. This really isn’t a knock on Norman, because golf-course architects are always fudging their numbers to beef up their resumes. But I’m wondering: Is the practice legitimate? Should renovations count the same as original works? And if they shouldn’t, why do we let architects value them equally?

      On the eve of the Scottish Open, and with the Olympics right around the corner, Castle Stuart asked Gil Hanse to flesh out a little of his design philosophy. “The two words that Mark Parsinen kept telling us at Castle Stuart, as it relates to public playability, was to keep the golfers engaged and hopeful,” Hanse recalled in a press release. “We always felt that the way to do this was to create wide playing corridors for the tee shot and to have short-grass recovery shots, with humps and hollows around the greens. This type of course allows all golfers to remain in play and to be hopeful of hitting a comfortable, quality shot as they make their way around the course. These conditions allow players to ‘play’ the course and enjoy their round. However, for golfers to score on the golf course, their level of precision needs to be much higher, and this can be accomplished by building greens with some very challenging hole locations for the top-level golfers, so that they need to approach these hole locations from a particular angle in order to score. We believe that this style of design has worked at Castle Stuart and has been a great model for us on the Olympic course.”

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