Friday, December 28, 2007
The above picture is from a very memorable round I played a few years ago. I highlighted the ride from a green to the next tee. I say ride as it is an impossible course to walk. It was incredible the number of long walks on the course, which in great part lead to this being one of the worst courses I've ever seen.
Wolf Point's total walk from the first tee to the 18th green is approximately 4.3 miles. The walks from green to tee are miniscule. For reference the above pictured course's walk would have been above 7 miles - if one was allowed to walk.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
There is not mistaking what we created at Wolf Point - it is a big pond (13 acres) and a setting in itself not just trying to add to the existing setting. It is very peaceful watching the choppy water and feeling the breeze at the end of a long day.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Golf Blog of the year
The Naffy goes to-------- >Tie (Ian Andrew's Caddy Shack and Mike Nuzzo)
People who read blogs, really don't like reading. In reality I think they just require visual stimulation first. As a rule, I stay away from blogs full of self promotion or those that are trying to highlight themselves. It is part of the reason I don't have a blog, why listen to a hardbag winge? Ian Andrew is a bloggist who is not afraid to shoot from the lip and moreover he's a wonderful writer and golf architect. Ian's lists and the rationale behind them are fodder for many a discussion over a few beers. If I've learned anything from him, it is this--Truly it is heinous to rank anything in the golf architecture business but a necessary evil that I cannot like Jessica Alba keep my eyes off of. His compilations are superb.
Yet, I will make bold to say, Ian cannot share the Naffy alone. Mike Nuzzo's tag is a horseshoe perhaps not because he works out of Texas but because just knowing him is good luck. Mike can you feng shui my house? I have followed his new project which is the subject of his blog daily. It truly is a wonderful look into what it takes to build a course on a daily basis. If you ever wanted to know how difficult and thrilling it can be at the same time with some one who is on site every day, then read Mike's blog.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
There is no swoop at Wolf Point. The interest comes in the form of three dimensional irregular movement - rumples and waves.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Here he is zoomed in from the picture above. This was taken along the entrance road to the course this summer during the heavy, heavy rains.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
One of my favorite holes on our golf course is the 6th hole. I love this hole because it is so subtle and so simple -- and because it required very little work -- I already had enough work to do! It is a par 3 that can play from 210 to 135 yards. It plays almost due south. The prevailing wind is from the south east and is into the player at about the 10 o’clock angle.
By far the hardest part about building this hole was having the courage to just leave it alone. We debated this a lot as the original plan called for a couple of bunkers to be added and shaped. But as we cleared the few trees and light brush in the area it became even more obvious that very little work was required for this to be a fine golf hole. The hole has a creek hazard running up the entire left side and behind the left portion of the green. Since the lay of the land is sloping right to left, the creek is very much in play and additional hazards were not needed. The green slopes hard to the left and the back half falls away to the creek behind.
The green is highlighted by a number of small crevasse-like drainage cuts that were natural to the area and surface drain the green. Some small ridges were added to the right portion of the green to allow the player to “kick” the ball toward a left pin, and to complicate the chip for the player who bails out to the safer right side of the hole.
Mike has his own modern architectural dislikes, and I don’t have the patience to come up with 10 at this time, but chief among mine is the fact that I believe most architects would have felt the need to “spruce up” this hole, if only so it photographed better. Or they feel the need to “copy” holes that were built over a century ago by architects who worked with the ground they were given. If we need to copy anything from the past, we should be looking at the processes they used to create great holes with the land they had to work with. Our 6th hole represents the type of architecture that I love, and find lacking in most modern work; simple, subtle, yet very challenging. I’m very proud of the work (or lack of) we did to create this hole.
The above illustration is the original layout of the 6th hole at Wolf Point. I visualized this hole early on in the routing process. The green site was surrounded in the back by a drainage way and the creek protects the entire left side. I struggled whether to make it a "real" Redan or to have a similar strategy or not at all. Don would suggest to ignore the fact that there ever was a Redan and we'll just make the hole as good as we can. Tomorrow I'm going to have Don guest host and explain why the 6th is one of his favorites.
The Evangelist of Golf by my friend George Bahto.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
There was and is a predisposition for the golfer to want to see the entire hole when on the tee. Hence the popularity of the elevated tee. I do not like when all 4 or 5 tees are separate land forms that all look like volcanoes. They are artificial looking, hard to climb, harder to maintain and build and they can posses a safety risk. I think their overuse is indicative of a poor routing plan. You won't see any of these at Wolf Point Club.
Pictured is a Crème brûlée.
The size drives up the maintenance costs by increased labor, equipment, fuel and increases the likelihood of damage.
This is a good example of where the golf hole could have looked great without any bunkers. It is competing with this naturally beautiful area.
The bunker seems to be artificially large to make room for the monkey and the excessive fingering.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
This post is a departure from the discussion of Wolf Point Club - the course this blog has been featuring - as there were several votes in the survey to the right. The idea was inspired by my friend Ian Andrew's architectural blog. This link is to a recent series that I thought was quite fun and informative - expressing dislikes is definately a common experience when visiting a course with another architect.
I am continuing his list with my dislikes - I made a list after his first day to see how they would compare - my list came out quite a bit differently.
#1 FLANKED DRIVING RANGE
A range flanked by two holes was the first dislike that came to mind. Unfortunately I didn't have any pictures, I really haven't been visiting any bad courses lately and never saw a need to photograph golf features I didn't like - I try to forget them. The above image is the first one I thought of, but I think there many examples.
A range can take up a lot of space. So much sometimes that is may be the primary item of concern when routing a course - NOT WOLF POINT. When the range is surrounded by containment mounding to separate the holes from the range, everything winds up looking like the driving range. Often it is 1 & 10 or 1 & 9 that wind up a complete bore. In general I don't find ranges to be worth the expense - I don't mind just taking one or two swings on the first tee to warm up. But if a range is best for the business plan or clients needs I like to see it on the perimeter of the property - used as a buffer for a bad view or parking.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The demands of water at grow-in are the greatest and what the pump station is often designed around. We've had a very gradual grow-in and do have quite a bit of flexability for our regular watering regime - which translates to a low concern for the demand on the pumps -- and the lake is pleanty big.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This 24" diameter pipe is what we used to connect the lake to the pump station. Each piece is 14' long, and not all are shown. The unique part is that the pump is over 600' away from the lake -- hidden in the trees. We went to great lengths to hide everything that wasn't grass or a bunker. This link contains a picture from a previous post about our maintenance facility. The stone road passes through the two buildings and then heads to the pump station, which is near the end of the live oaks. If you look at the far left edge of the picture you will see the beginning of the lake -- 600 feet away. The cleaner unincumbered look was very much worth the effort. It is also much easier to get to the pump station from the maintenance facility, and it is on the way to the course so Don and the staff will easiliy be able to check on the pump throughout the day.
Please fill out the survey, it will be open for two weeks.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
To the right I've listed some ideas that I will be posting for this blog -- some sooner -- some later. I'd say this picture falls under the catagory of "behind the scenes construction". Everything about this project has been interesting to me. I'd very much like some your opinions about what is interesting and what you'd like to see or learn. Please let me know what coming soon items would be of most interest and any other topics are welcome too. I added a survey above the coming soon section for easier feedback.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Originally the greens weren't attached. During the refinement process, I kept shifting the 8th green towards the 9th tee, eventually it got so close to the 18th green it seemed natural to join the greens. They aren't attached by a thin mow strip -- a gimmick I've seen often -- but from above look like one giant green. The combined surfaces are approximately 13,000 sft.
This complex is going to be a blast to practice on and have short game matches through the evening hours.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
You can see the two biggest bunkers on the course in the new banner image on top of this page. The one to the right is much nastier.
Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 -11 - 12 - 14 - 15 .
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Can you guess what type of grass this is?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
The cold season is upon us. It was a chilly 70 degrees today in Houston – a few warmer at the golf course. Don was determined to not use any sod at all for the grassing -- if we didn't have the rainiest year ever I'm sure he would have succeeded.
Sod is more costly as compared with spriging -- many modern courses sod the entire golf course at an expense between 1/2 & 1 Million US dollars (sprigging is a small fraction of that expense). When sprigging we also control the plant’s growing medium, either sand or sandy loam and all the nutrients – sod farms usually grow their grass in Texas gumbo soils – although our sod farm is top notch. The sprigs also get trained from an early age towards our final maintenance practices -- deep infrequent watering. (Golf turf bermuda grasses are either sprigged or sodded -- there are no seeds)
Well with only a bunch of grassing days left it was decided we'd need some sod to finish. It looks very much like it will be completely grassed by early next week -- "grassed out" is the industry term. I'm still rooting for an Indian Summer to keep everything growing.
In the picture above the crew is sodding around a drain basin. Water collects at the basin while watering -- it is too wet during the heavier demands of growing in the sprigs. The sod gives the area a great big head start. The black plastic pipe is the basin before trimming. The pipe is perforated to allow water in and keep soil infiltration to a minimum -- this one flows back into our irrigation lake. After sodding we trim it and install a small green color drain grate.
Congratulations everyone. I’ll be bringing a lot more beers on my next couple visits.
Monday, November 5, 2007
My favorite aspect of the hole is the crowned fariway in the 2nd landing area -- just past the tree. It was a natural turtle-back bookended by two existing drainage swales.
You can also see the green in the foreground -- it is quite undulated. It is just after sprigging the green -- it will be rolled several times and take on a perfectly smooth appearance once cutting and rolling have become part of our regular maintenance.
Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 12 - 11 - 15 .
Thursday, November 1, 2007
It is incredible what Don is accomplishing with a crew 1/3 the typical size.
It is going to be verdant this spring -- I'm hoping for a hot winter.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Looking back from beyond the green. It is tilted towards the camera.
Looking from in front of the bunker. Good luck if you try to hit a wedge.
Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 15 .
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The picture shown above if of 8th the tee complex – note the lush grass in the setting sun. The green plays to the left. The tees are an amorphous shaped landform with a few flat spot to start the hole. The foreground is being prepped for seeding of native grasses and wild flowers. The location will have more visitors due to the proximity of the club.
Earlier Holes Featured: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 7 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 15 .
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I also spent two days traversing the property. It is very fun exploring a new site picturing what a golf hole and course would look like draped across the land. I also feel a bit like an explorer looking out for snakes, spiders, steep drops, hopping barb wire fences and keeping away from hunters while trying to not get lost in the woods. I think my time was very well spent -- it takes a lot of interviews and prospects for a project to emerge through the other side. I liked this one.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The existing course is a little steep in spots. If it isn’t immediately apparent from the above picture, it is highly recommended to not leave your shot short on this par 3.
I’ll be back down to my Texas project this week and will have some greener pictures soon.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I enjoy my time there even if everyone isn't looking for a new golf course. Meeting new -- to me -– individuals, talking to other architects and builders is a good way to share ideas. I also find the sessions quite informative, especially the financial ones.
One fun side effect from having a booth, is I greet everyone I see for several weeks afterwards. In the airport, restaurant, bar, anywhere. I’m going to try and see how long I can keep it up for…