Date: Mon 16 Apr 2018

2018 Masters - Behind the Architectural Curtain

EIGCA members, David Krause, Augie Pizá and Jonathan Gaunt, took part in a discussion on the design elements of Augusta National, led by Matt Ward of Golf Content Network.

Jeff Brauer, Brian Schneider, David Krause, Augie Piza and Jonathan Gaunt

Would Alister Mackenzie be pleased or not pleased on how his original design has been changed over the years?

Jonathan Gaunt: I think MacKenzie would feel the Augusta National course today shows too much “control” over nature, he’d find it over-maintained and be displeased by the extreme green-ness of the site, being overwatered and over-fertilized. The changes to design features — with greens shaping softened to cater for the change of grass species from slower Bermuda grass to faster bent grass. The bunker shapes altered throughout, to a pristine, sharp –edged highly manicured style — all make for a great and fun tournament to watch. However, MacKenzie courses such as Crystal Downs, which has retained its natural look, are closer to his style and vision. I consider Cavendish GC in Derbyshire to be hist most authentic remaining design anywhere in the world.

Jeff Brauer: I think so. Good architects always tinker with their designs. I doubt he would believe they should be static. He wrote about elasticity, so he wouldn’t be surprised that length was added, but might be amazed by how much. Given the USGA Green Section was founded in 1920, he would be a proponent of better maintenance.

David Krause: I believe Dr. Mackenzie would be most happy with his golf course. The changes made over the year have been implemented to continue to challenge the best players today and were necessary due to the improvement of equipment and the players themselves. Without the lengthening and improvements, the golf course may have lost its allure to the players and the patrons alike. And I am most certain he would be amazed at the condition of the golf course today!

Brian Schneider: Dr. MacKenzie should be proud of its place in the game, though I’m sure he may not agree with the ways the course has changed. MacKenzie and Jones sought to create an ideal course that could provide a fun, challenging and cerebral test for the best players in the world while also accommodating every class of player. Today’s course doesn’t accomplish that as well as the original version.

Agustin Pizá: I don’t know about pleased but I don’t think he’d mind. He was a very progressive man. If he had lived a longer life he would’ve most likely foreseen golf as we live it today. All great minds adapt to change and he would’ve not been the exception.

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