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To know is to appreciate

Readers of The First Call agree that a golf course is more enjoyable to play when knowing the designer and the thought that went into the layout

Baltusrol Lower
Baltusrol Country Club's Lower Course was originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1922. In 2018, the club retained Gil Hanse to perform a restoration of the course. Shown is the par-3 12th hole.

Questions of the week [Feb. 6-13]: How aware are you of the course architecture at the courses you play, and which golf architecture podcasts, websites or social media sites do you follow?

RELATED: The First Call Inbox archive

I'm very aware of the architect who designed the course I'm playing.  

Like picking a book to read, I have an expectation as to what the author creates. Whether William Faulkner or Tom Clancy, I have an expectation as to whether my round will be a mental grind or one that is a quick and fun challenge. Pete Dye would be the grind, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer would be Clancy and James Patterson.

I don't spend a lot of time on social media, but have a nice golf architecture book collection.

W.H. Cosgrove
Bend, Oregon

I am aware of the golf architect when I play a new course. Blessed to have grown up in the Northeast as Donald Ross’ creations are everywhere and always available to enjoy, and you have an idea what to expect. When on vacation getting to play a Tom Fazio or a Pete Dye is like a different sport sometimes.

Jimmy O’Malley
Needham, Massachusetts

I am always aware of the course architect. Knowing who designed the golf course gives me important context as to the time, era and philosophy of the layout. In terms of golf architecture podcasts I listen to, The Fried Egg I find very informative.  

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

I’m on the North Carolina Golf Panel. We rate golf courses throughout North Carolina and Pinehurst No. 2 is always rated as the state's top course. Best shot values in golf for sure. Lots of wonderful golf in our state. With 27 Donald Ross-designed courses here, I must admit I lean toward his style of architecture. The works of Tom Fazio (Mountain Top, Wade Hampton and more), Perry Maxwell (Old Towne, Quail Hollow), George Cobb and Arnold Palmer also add to a state that is rich with history of PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events, majors, the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. People have different tastes in golf architecture. Some like old courses, some new. I’m glad there are so many different courses with different styles throughout the world.

Butch English
Charlotte, North Carolina

I am acutely aware of a course’s architecture at any course I play. It’s the primary facet of what excites me, as well as a major differentiator of the day’s experience. A course with boring architecture and/or too many artificial features is an immediate turn-off. If I’m playing a MacKenzie, McDonald, Raynor, Thomas or Tillinghast I’m excited. Same goes for a Coore & Crenshaw, Hanse, Doak or King-Collins. Old or new, great architects require you to think your way around their 18 holes. They combine natural land with interesting features. Combined, these equations create maximum fun.

My media appetite for course architecture started nearly two decades ago with and now ranges from the visuals of Linksgems, to periodicals like Golf Course Architecture or the American Society of Golf Course Architects. For podcasts, I prefer those interviewing with various architects. Sure, plenty of people now finally recognize course architecture and have formulated very public opinions and preferences. All that awareness is great for the game, yet have elevated a few pundits to pseudo pedestals and self-promotion. There are fewer truly great "eyes" than those who have been studying it for decades.

No recognition of great course architecture gains validity without having traveled overseas to see where nearly all the best ideas originated. Only those kind of journeys yield the ultimate appreciation for the game’s best architecture.

Steven Lapper
Far Hills, New Jersey

I’ve been a fan of golf architecture for a very long time.  Can get on some excellent public courses but will probably never have access to the best private courses.  

When playing golf, I notice architecture when it’s either good or bad. A dog leg with a tempting risk/reward target area from the tee box. A long par 5 with two fairways, forcing a choice. A green complex with some hills and surrounds allowing you to shape a shot into the green.  A nice version of one of the template holes.  Love it.

— Feed The Ball 
— The Good Good Golf Podcast
— The Cookie Jar Golf Podcast
— The Fried Egg Golf Podcast
— TalkinGolf
— Australian Golf Passport

Cookie Jar Golf
The Fried Egg
Golf Course Architecture
Golf Club Atlas

Social Media: Most of these are also active on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

Mark Chatfield
Houston, Texas

Very aware of golf architecture. I play at Lulu Country Club outside of Philadelphia — Donald Ross course, great layout. Also follow the Philly architects — A.W. Tillinghast, Hugh Wilson, William Flynn.

Charles Boyle
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jim Krause. He designed our course, Desert Aire Golf Club, and many others in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Great 18-hole course along the mighty Columbia River in central Washington.

Tom Claggett
Desert Aire, Washington

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