I’m not privy to all that the Gaughan-Nicklaus proposal involves; I know what every reader of The Buffalo News knows. That said, I have my own opinions on what the project should seek to accomplish. One expects a bit of hyperbole from all involved, but history and facts are irrefutable. Here is what I think:
-Early in his design career, Jack Nicklaus built courses to play as he liked to play. High fades to elevated targets. That won’t work here. More slicers than high faders in WNY, by a long shot. Since then, Nicklaus worked with one of this era’s most celebrated architects at Sebonack, on Long Island. We know he learned a thing or two from Tom Doak, as Nicklaus’ own design style evolved. Let’s see a piece d’resistance here in WNY;
-Golf has transitioned from eye candy to sustainability. The Augusta National model is unsustainable and undesirable for the public course golfer. Brown is the new green, and fast and firm trumps lush and soft 8 days a week;
-How difficult would it be to hold a public forum, and ask the golfers of South Park what they would like in a new nine? “I’d like a risk-reward par five, with a bit of sand and water” “How about a short par three with a small but hittable green?” Give me a short par four, that long hitters might drive, but the rest of us can reach easily in two?” It’s so easy to do;
-There are models for excellent, 9-hole courses in the USA. Anthony Pioppi just released a book called The Finest Nines. These would be worth studying, before plans are confirmed and shovels are buried;
-East Aurora’s Mike Keiser has built courses in Oregon, Canada and Wisconsin, with a model that says, no number of holes is mandatory. Regarding Delaware Park, how about eliminating the 1st and 18th holes, to turn that space into a short-game area for practice and junior golf development? Turn the 16 meadow holes into 12 excellent challenges. Want to play 18? Play another 6 holes after your opening 12. A great architect will find a way to loop the 6th back toward the clubhouse;
-Signature courses are a marketing ploy. They went the way of the dinosaur, albeit back in the 1990s. Build a course that stands up to the hundreds of rounds a day that municipal golf generates in western New York. Signature course also means pricey, and the last thing that south Buffalo and the Delaware district need, is pricey.
I suspect that many of you have ideas on the matters at hand. Don’t be afraid to comment on this thread, since the people should be heard!
–Milfred “Mo” Golf