Friday, June 18, 2010

Art and Golf Course Architecture

There is a relationship between art and golf course architecture that is unmistakable. What I have come to understand is that representations of golf course architecture in the form of drawings, sketches,  paintings, and clay models must take liberties with reality to convey the sense of what is or what will be.

This is my first solo effort at paint markers since my daughter taught me how to do it while we worked on a painting/drawing two days ago. Trust me, she still did plenty of coaching. I look at this medium as just one more method of conveying the message that we  (Suny, Zokol Golf Design) just do things differently. We are intuitive golf course designers.

Sagebrush Golf & Sporting Club # 5

An amusing aside, this is where Rod Whitman taught me how to run a dozer. He took two minutes to show me the controls and sent me over the cliff, literally. Perhaps he thought that I wouldn't come back....I did.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Medium to Express Golf Course Architecture

My daughter is teaching me how to paint with markers. We worked on this together. I think I helped and she insisted that I also sign it. If you have been following the blog, you know that I started drawing this year after 40 years of not drawing. It's a way for Suny, Zokol Golf Design to convey our design ideas. And by the way, Zokol also can draw and sculpt. I don't see this as art in the sense that it isn't Josh Smith but it does work to convey a sense of the vision. We feel that drawings, clay models, and paintings convey our ideas better than Photoshop, CAD and topographical maps. Is this a sign of our Luddite tendencies? Maybe we are advocates of Neo-Luddist Golf Course Architecture.

#4 Green and Nicola Lake

Maren and Armen Suny

Friday, June 11, 2010

Intuitive Golf Course Architecture

Intuitive Golf Course Architecture is how the great courses of the Golden Age of Design were built. Intuitive Golf Architecture validated by logic, produces special golf courses. These golf courses "feel" better than the conventional, paint by numbers, formulaic courses that are driven by rigid strategic parameters.

Deepak Chopra stated that, "Logic relies on reasoning, it relies on cause and effect relationships, its more or less linear. Intuition goes into a deeper part of yourself, which is your soul. Therefore intuition is a form of intelligence that is contextual, it takes everything into account, it is nurturing, it doesn't have a win lose orientation. It literally eavesdrops on the mind of the universe."

Zokol and I (Suny, Zokol Golf Design) are, in our souls, Intuitive Golf Course Designers. We are "feel" guys that look at land and the golf course in context with the surroundings and postulate the potential playability of what feels right. Playability is a byproduct of this intuitive connection process and is never overlooked. Quirkiness is not a disqualification by any means and originality is absolutely a plus.

Recently, while working with a client on reno/restoration of a property, we were slightly perplexed over starting the project on arguably one of the more architecturally challenged holes. At the green we eliminated the symmetry of bunkering and created a green/surrounds that is dissimilar to anything either of us remembers seeing or hearing about. We believe that it may be original; originality was not the intent but the byproduct of our intuition. The design captured the overall sense, feel and historic era of the property. The design concept was hashed out on site with clay models and followed up with hand drawn sketches, a step back to the process of the Golden Age when plasticine models were often the norm. We believe in creative collaboration along with open, frank discourse and seek it from others. Creative discourse is critical to our design process and some ideas that seem to be just too extreme may have unique and interesting aspects that can and often do enhance the end results.

Does it seem as if the conventional/analytical designers who start with preconceived notions are open to creative input through discourse? Do their golf courses suffer for it? Are golfers slighted by the one-dimensional aspect of logic/fear/reason/linear based golf course design? Do their golf courses ever reach down into your soul? Are they compelling? Is it possible to apply intuition to a logic-based design? Is that why some designer's courses look the same no matter what the surroundings?

Zokol and I believe that Intuitive Golf Course Design validated by logic and reason produces golf courses that are superior in every way.

A sketch of a current project from the left side of the green complex.