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The Golden Age of Golf Design Hardcover – 7 Jul 2005

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Amazon Review

One of the great mysteries of the royal and ancient game is how good golf courses leave players convinced they've just spent four hours either floating in heaven or stuck in the bedlam of an Hieronymous Bosch painting. A golf course is not a random creation; the best are truly works of art and it's remarkable how many of the best were coaxed from the landscape between 1911 and 1937. This was, as the title of this lovely celebration proclaims, The Golden Age of Golf Design, a time when the giants of the craft--A.W. Tillinghast, Marion Hollins and Alistair McKenzie, to name a few--were in full flourish. Their courses-- Riviera, Seminole and Augusta National among them-- dominate any list of the best in the world.

Through deft use of archival photographs, sketches, written citations by the architects themselves and a series of evocative water colours by golf pro Mike Miller, Geoff Shackelford aims for why these courses continue to beckon, challenge, impress and endure. His shot is right on target. He breaks down the designers into their various schools of thought, tracing their import, evolution and influence. Next he introduces us to the individual architects themselves through short career summaries accompanied by details about their writings, golfing skills, design theories and characteristics and, of course, a list of their legacies. Best of all are the wonderful oldphotos of great holes, many accompanied by snippets of design philosophy from the creating wizard. It adds up to a book golfers should savour--and study. Knowledge is power on the course and understanding the hows and whys of the demonic challenges that designers subtly and not-so- subtly integrate into their layouts can mean the difference between a scratch handicap and scratching your head in bewilderment. --Jeff Silverman

From the Inside Flap

In Golfweek′s recently unveiled ranking of the Top 100 American courses "opened before 1960," a staggering total of 84 were constructed between 1910 and 1937. There was never a more creative, daring, or fruitful period in the history of golf course architecture, and in The Golden Age of Golf Design the classic courses are revisited and celebrated. Using never before seen old photographs and little known anecdotes, Geoff Shackelford shows us how some of America′s most famous courses looked in their early years.

The finest architects the world has ever known were practicing during this era and each is well–represented in this landmark book. C.B. Macdonald, Alister MacKenzie, Donald Ross, A.W. Tillinghast, George Thomas, William Flynn, and so many others are honored in these pages. Every important early American course built or redesigned during the "Golden Age" is included: Oakmont, the National Golf Links, Pine Valley, Merion, Baltusrol, Winged Foot, Riviera, Shinnecock Hills, Pinehurst, Oakland Hills, Cypress Point, Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Prairie Dunes, the Country Club and more.

In the Golden Age of Golf Design, the original work of these "master" architects is remembered and their work analyzed. And even though the emphasis is on the newly uncovered photographs of these famous courses as their architects left them, biographical profiles and timeless quotes are included from the famous architects and their prominent counterparts to remind us of the true genius of these artists. On top of the remarkable old photography, original golf landscape paintings by Mike Miller introduce each chapter and serve as a colorful reminder of how stunning many of these classic layouts must have looked. The Golden Age of Golf Design brings to life many forgotten holes courses and great architects and is sure to become a classic in golf literature circles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91f3e528) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91ba2198) out of 5 stars A Perfect Overview 28 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is just a perfect overview of the old architects and their design work. I disagree with the reviewer who said certain sections were mailed in. At least to me, each architect was well covered and it did not seem anyone received special attention unless they deserved it, and the Donald Ross chapter was one of my favorites. It includes an incredible picture of the great Seminole course. There is not a single picture in the book I did not want to study closely, and it seemed that every architect included was there for a reason -- their work was sensational golf course architecture that we just don't see these days.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x920482e4) out of 5 stars A Classic Book 23 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The price scared me a bit but when I saw the book I realized it was well worth it. Gorgeous in every sense of the word. The ten or so paintings add so much to the book, but not enough to take away from the real heart of the book, the photos of the classic courses. The text is just long enough to give you information without being boring. I can't even think of a famous course that is missing, maybe Olympic Club? But there probably isn't much to see of it anyway.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x921c1dc8) out of 5 stars Golden Age of Golf 25 Dec. 1999
By Kenneth Bakst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A must have for anybody interested in golf course architecture. As great as Pebble Beach is today, you'll wonder why it was ever changed after seeing the old photos of it following Chandler Egan's work in 1929! Buy this beautiful book and you won't be disappointed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92068654) out of 5 stars Great history, photographs,& biographies 28 Sept. 1999
By Angel Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for anyone with an interest in golf course design and construction or in the history of the game itself. First and foremost the book is about the people who shaped the game.
Over 30 designers active from 1890-1940 are profiled with biographies, contributions to golf and examples of their work. Many never before published photographs are highlights of the book.
You will see great views of the classic courses with scenes under construction and during play, and such unusual hazards as furrowed bunkers and chocolate drop mounds. Many original designers' drawings are also included.
A series of original paintings adds color and life to some of the legendary holes. This is fascinating reading that will immerse you in the history of the great golf courses that are as viable today as when they were created.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92170390) out of 5 stars Fine History of Classic American Golf Architecture 25 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a fine historical book that is a worthy addition to any golf library. Many of the photos are very rare and interesting to one who has "seen it all".
My only criticism is that there is a wealth of information on Thomas and other west coast designers whom Geoff has spent the majority of his time researching for his other books. There is an embarassingly small amount of information and absolutely nothing new about Donald Ross. Geoff could be accused of mailing in this section of the book.
More on MacDonald, Raynor and Banks would have been nice, but we have George Bahto's book to look forward to on that account.
The book is very much reflective of the work previously done for his other books and his personal experience, but it still deserves a solid five stars.
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