Old School Thinking

This quote from Ian Andrew, an accomplished Canadian golf course architect, reflects the Golden Age of Golf design philosophy that he brings to his current new designs and restorations.  It is why players of all capabilities find courses from the hands of Raynor,  Ross, Tillinghast, Macdonald, and other sages from this age infinitely fascinating and playable.

“I believe in playing freedoms. I think you should have a choice between challenging yourself and playing for fun.

For the elite player, along the ideal lines of play, there must be strategic slopes and hazards that complicate the direct line. The more challenging the recovery shot, the more strategically important the hazard. This in turn must be counterbalanced by offering up a reward for successfully challenging the hazard. This will compel the elite player to actively flirt with disaster in order to score. That type of course is very exciting to play.

In contrast the average player requires the additional room to safely play away from danger. They can avoid the worst of the pitfalls and enjoy tacking their way across the property. They will be able to make a few pars for fun, but not enough to reward them for their passive approach.

And this is where the greatness in this approach lies. As players begin to show more skill and competence, this style of architecture will encourage them to take on more risk to shoot lower scores. And this is where the dance begins …

They will flirt ever closer to the key hazards to gain better positions. But as soon as they find the hazard and begin to lose strokes they will play far away from trouble the next time out. But they can’t score from the outside line and so the dance will begin all over again, ever closer to the key hazards … that’s the golf I believe in.”

Ian Andrew



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