“New England Golf Monthly” magazine sought out the views of architects to comment on Augusta National in 2014 and compare it to the past. ASGCA members Andrew, Kavanaugh, Kay, Liddy and Richardson responded.
No two golfers view a course the same way. Naturally, neither do two (or in this case, five) architects hold the same exact opinion. But Ian Andrew, Ken Kavanuagh, Stephen Kay, Tim Liddy and Forrest Richardson agree the famed Augusta National remains one of the top venues in the game.
A sampling of their comments follows:
Matt Ward: What was your first impression of Augusta National and approximately when was that?
KAY – I was there the year Sandy Lyle won (1988). First impression – much more hillier than I thought – you can ski down #10.
ANDREW – How playable the golf course was for the average person. Yes, the greens are complicated and sure there’s water coming in, but the reality is the width of playing corridors and options around trouble were greater than television had ever made clear. It simply looked like a fun place to play for me. This was in 2009 and this was the Sunday before the Masters week began which meant I could walk anywhere I wanted.
KAVANAUGH – First impression was/is Arnold Palmer on black and white TV.
RICHARDSON – I always was told it was a legend, and that is how I was brought up thinking of it.
LIDDY – Beautiful. The best maintained golf course in the world.
Matt Ward: The best hole from an architectural perspective is …
KAY: The heroic hole #13.
KAVANUGH: #12 & #13 equals par-8 — the most fun. #11 is the most correct. Amen to that.
ANDREW: For me it’s the 14th. The approach is confounding regardless of the pin position. There are many ways to get the job done, but somehow none of them seem like good options because you can only think of the consequence of missing rather than the possibility of success.
LIDDY: 13. It allows many different playing options for the average golfer. The greens on August are the stars. With their variety of hole locations they can make the approach shot from relatively easy feeder pins to impossible crowns. They allow for the tournament committee to control the winning score of the tournament.
Matt Ward: Has the club been faithful to the original intent Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie envisioned ?
KAY: I would compare it to a old classic restaurant built in the 1930?s with the goal of giving great Polish food to the Polish neighborhood. Over the years the neighborhood changes and the restaurant adapts changing its menu to suit the times but continues to provide great food.
KAVANAUGH: The clubs intent has been to be faithful and all good intentions of smart men evolve over time.
ANDREW: I believe it has. The damage has been in the details, not in the broad concepts. There are aspects I would love to undo, many of them recent, but most of the great aspects remain unaffected.
RICHARDSON: They have given its great regard, but they have done so in context to the modern game and tournament demands.
LIDDY: Unfortunately, the tournament aspects, testing the best golfers in the world, have taken over the original strategy of the golf course. The original wide strategic playing corridors, allowing golfers to tack their way around the golf course for the best angle into a specific hole location, have been narrowed removing 90% of its strategic value.
The entire article can be found here.