By Design – Issue 51, Winter 2020

17 Photo: David A Parker Photography course architecture: “To me this reference to blindness as a virtue implies the concept of what I’d call strategic blindness. “I think there’s a more subtle implementation of this concept by varying the degree of blindness. A small mound or roll that blocks the bottom half of the flagstick from a suboptimal position off the tee is a great example of this kind of nuanced blindness.” Layton and the Palmer team implemented this concept on the fifteenth hole at the Royal Golf Club near Minneapolis, where they built a drivable par four with a pond fronting the small green. The hole provides an unobstructed view of the target from the tee, “only to conceal it should you find your ball out of position,” says Layton. “It’s fun to try to take a crack at the green but not always the most prudent play.” Not all Golden Age architects are known for their naturalistic designs, however. “A hallmark of Macdonald and Raynor’s designs, which is likely a reflection of Raynor’s engineering background, is the ‘engineered’ character of their courses which incorporates simple straight lines and square shapes and forms,” said Shawn Smith, ASGCA, of Hills Forrest Smith. “This is most pronounced in the bunker style, which often has a trench-like feel with flat floors and steep straight grass faces, but it is also apparent in the square green shapes and straight fairway lines. The duo’s layout at Chicago Golf Club and Macdonald’s National Golf Links of America on Long Island are known for their use of ‘ideal’ holes, templates that were often inspired by an original hole on the links of the United Kingdom and can be seen in some form or other on courses throughout the United States. “It is quite easy to distinguish a Macdonald and Raynor course as they continued to utilize certain green designs like the Biarritz, Redan and Punchbowl,” says Clark, who is currently working on an 18- hole project in Virginia, where he is Thad Layton, ASGCA, employed 'strategic blindness' on the drivable par-four fifteenth at Royal Golf Club near Minneapolis, where the base of the pin can be obscured if tee shots are out of position