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Thursday
Oct122017

Annika On Design Career: "Tougher than I thought."

The legendary Annika Sorenstam made some interesting comments about her golf course design career's lack of trajectory to CNN Living's Shane O'Donoghue.

Bunkered Golf Magazine links to the interview and paraphrases, but in essence she senses that as a woman clients just assume she'll build "short and easy". Besides the shame of assuming one gender builds short and easy, it's a reminder how many awful developments were built on the premise of championship and tough. If only golf had more "short and easy."

“Being a female, when they throw my name in the ring as a designer candidate a lot of times they say, ‘Oh, well then this course will be short and easy’.

“I don't know where it comes from. I think they just have that predetermined notion of women designing shorter courses, and that's not really what comes to my mind.

“I consider myself, of course a female, but I'm also a golfer and I feel like I can play any golf course out there and I guess maybe my defensive mechanism is, 'Hey, I'd play you anywhere, anytime and then we can go from there’.”

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Reader Comments (12)

Till say 1960(?) golf course architects designed courses that anyone could play. There was a grassy route to the green perhaps with a small stream a few metres wide to chip over.
Now water hazards are built which are simply impossible for some golfers to carry or carry and stay on the green (17th Sawgrass). That's what most developers of Championship Delusions want.
Presumably Annika has more sense than that.
Golf Couse Design has taken the easy option, reduce hazards by utilising lakes, large ponds etc. to form Island Greens - Out of all the hazards available to the designers they seem to love these water features - these very features that offer no recovery shot, that can kill a round, game or tournament at the sound of a splash, as they offer no recovery shot. But for what reason - well I believe it’s because designers have forgotten the true nature of what a golf course is and how it plays, as well as water features, which to many today are rather easy to design yet expensive to build and to some they look good – but only in country estates or formal gardens – Nevertheless, we are talking golf, and golf course architecture which for some reason seem to becoming a forgotten art. To be honest it only takes a few minutes to draw an Island Green before one goes down the pub to celebrate a brilliant design based upon snooker table finished fairways and Greens and that ubiquitous water feature, the island green.

The word ‘Design’ should be removed from many of today’s designs because it’s hard to see any design in many a new course. Gone, its seems are the free thinking flowing ideas that once generated Holes like The Road Hole on TOC or the Redan at North Berwick or even Sea Headrig at Prestwick and many more besides - then why should we be surprised because many a golfer no longer thinks his game so why should we expect modern designers to also have that capacity to think Golf course design.

We reap what we sow - never a truer word spoken.
10.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
Tom,

You clearly need to see more of what's being built in this decade (and the last .... )
10.13.2017 | Unregistered Commenterian andrew
@ Ian-I would tend to side with Tom on this one although to say that all modern course design is poor simply isn't true. An awful lot of it is absolutely dire though and without good ground the water feature does appear to have become an easy option. As Tom sys the recovery shot doesn't exist and I would put artificial water hazards up there with knee high rough as my least favourite features.
10.13.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Annika needs to take lessons from Crenshaw. Glad hand, speak in platitudes, tell everyone how much they like (fill in client) and what special (people, land, history, tradition). Crenshaw has perfected the Mad Libs golf banalities, while Coore and crew have done the heavy lifting. Not sure if he knows boo about moving dirt or building a course, but man, he knows his lane.
10.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJR
@ Ian Andrew

May I draw your attention to what I said
"The word ‘Design’ should be removed from many of today’s designs because it’s hard to see any design in many a new course." noting I used the word MANY not ALL .

I have seen some of the new designs and wonder just what was destroyed in their making - we still to this day seem to be unable to work with nature, it seems we have to destroy or remove much of it before we rebuild to course in the image of some designers mind which has more to do with assisting golfers scores than producing sporty courses.

Ian - the design industry is still struggling in understanding its own history. It certainly does not seem to understand what when on pre 1899, yet many of the so called Golden Age designers copied many designs from the 19th Century.

I try to base my comment on facts and research, I do so to try to assist and inform as I believe that acquired knowledge assist all. My comments are not always accepted, but then who's done the research.
10.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
Interesting photo. Is that Annika giving the ol' forearm salute to Rees Jones?
10.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Ian,

Thanks for posting. You may wish to talk to people who actually work in the field of GCA to round out your knowledge.

Another good reference I found was a blog written by a Canadian named Ian Andrew.

Perhaps you will have the qualifications to post on here in the near future...
10.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
with all the education, time on machines, and experience in design, it's surprising Annika isn't doing more.

And yes, I say the same about Jack, Arnold etc

Have C&C become Crenshaw design, and the courses will look like his scores the last few years on the Champions Tour.
10.14.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
I have been involved in a long range planning process on our Stanley Thompson designed course with @ Ian Andrew. I have never met anyone with more passion for getting it 'right'...making sure the holes reflect the way the game was played in the first half of the 20th Century...not being designed just for the expert, but interesting for all levels. Ian, I am pleased to see you still drift in here once in a while, and i hope you drift back to New Scotland sometime in the future.
10.14.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
@BDF - is that Thompson designed course St. Thomas near London? Played it once and loved it.
Cheers
10.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTim in NZ
@ Tim, no, it is in Truro, NS
10.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF

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