|St. George's, New York (couresty of Geo. Waters)|
Gaining understanding of how the world's best courses look, play and feel, and how those layouts relate to their surroundings (etc.) is invaluable; and often inspiring.
Here are three seemingly fascinating courses I plan to visit soon, with hope to gain inspiration for specific upcoming projects:
St. George's Golf and Country Club
Setauket, New York
Not the famed Stanley Thompson layout in Toronto, but Devereux Emmet's intimate 1917 design on Long Island. Emmet was a pioneer golf architect who laid-out many revolutionary courses during the pre-1920s era. Today most Emmet courses have either been redesigned or are often considered too short and quirky for "modern standards". Emmet's original design appears to be very well-preserved at St. George's; and, the engineered look of many features is distinctly attractive. Moreover, plenty of open space presents stunning long views across a property beautifully decorated by swaths of lovely native grasses.
Boston Golf Club
The artistry of Gil Hanse (and his partner Jim Wagner) is consistently remarkable. Rustic Canyon and Castle Stuart have been talked about quite a bit in recent years. Lesser known Hanse designs, like French Creek and South Fork Country Club, look pretty cool too. Boston Golf Club, which opened for play in 2005, is one of Hanse's latest creations. I've heard pictures are worth a thousand words, so check out photos of the course at the club's web site, here. Boston Golf Club appears to be a stunningly beautiful celebration of the New England landscape.
Essex County Club
Essex County Club was established in 1893, but its current course is dated 1917. Its design is attributed to Donald Ross, who went on to layout some 400 courses across North America. Ross cut his teeth at designing and building golf courses at Essex Co. While serving as the club's golf professional and greenkeeper between 1909 to '13, he apparently tinkered with the course incessantly. Like Boston Golf Club, Essex Co. celebrates the beautiful nature of New England brilliantly. And, like Emmet's work at St. George's, the "built look" of many features at Essex Co. is uniquely appealing.
Ran Morrissett's posted an excellent profile of Essex Co. Club, here, at Golf Club Atlas.