Throughout this “Best in Buffalo-Niagara” series, we’ve all had the opportunity to act as “armchair” architect critics.  You’ve all been voting your approval on the work of many course designers over the past several weeks.  I’ve been adding my commentary in the “Omissions” series, finding certain themes in the types of holes I enjoy.

However, I realize my limitations.  Whenever I reflect on the creative process involved with designing a golf course, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of considerations involved and have great respect for the designers.  Luckily, was fortunate to have access to the minds of several architects.

I’ve loved analyzing golf holes for years – how to play them, the risk/reward tradeoffs, the startegic options, the aesthetics, etc…   But, I find it even more interesting trying to figure out “what was the architect thinking?”

Through a series of articles, Scott Witter gives us some insight into the mental workings of a professional architect.  Many of you may not be aware of Scott by name, but you probably know his work through Ironwood, Arrowhead and the latest 9 holes at Deerwood.

If you’ve followed my “Omissions” series, you’ve detected my affection for short par 4s, an appreciation of “mental” hazards such as elevated approaches, and enjoyment of subtle challenges from topography.  I’ve also generally stayed away from the “beastly long” holes among my favorites.  Recently, I re-read Scott’s articles on length, subtle hazards, and short par 4s, and it’s no surprise that Ironwood is one of my favorite tracks in the area.

Beyond Scott’s writings, we’ve also been fortunate to obtain interviews with several professional architects, including Tom Doak, George Bahto, Tim Nugent, and Jeff Mingay.

Everyone has certain holes that they love in the area, as evidenced by your votes.  We hope that our “Best of” series may inspire you to think a little more about the “why” and the elements of design involved.