TONY RISTOLA, MASTER GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT


On-site all-day, every day. 100% focus & commitment during your most costly & permanent design phase... Construction.
If there were a better way to protect the client... I would use it!!!

THE HARD REALITIES

Driving the Green, a book by John Strawn, follows a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), at the time considered a Top 5 American Architect, through three years of course development. It is the rare documentary on modern golf architecture that exposes the limitations of golf architects who work in the “Typical” manner.  It reads like fiction; it is not.
Excerpt from the architect's letter to the developer;
pure salesmanship vividly illustrated by the following.


The architect was on site a meager 40 of 2400 hours; 2% involvement!!!
This is the architect's commitment, for "a course of exceptional beauty."



An eye-opening example of 2% involvement; the construction workers needed information, clear communication and oversight. Instead they labored in a state of ignorance absent of leadership, and the architect's intentions… wasting time, effort and money. And he's stumped!


Most projects are constructed by shapers who don’t know golf, and architects who make infrequent “site-visits”. It's not surprising, of the 100 greatest courses, 75 were built before 1935, when the process was slow and the architect more intimately involved.
 
Internationally the situation is far worse. Construction companies and "architects" who don't know golf are building and designing golf courses! The resulting projects reflect their lack of knowledge; it is tragic for investors and the golfing public. Unfortunately, many don’t find out how tragic until it is too late.



Spending little time on site require workers familiar with their pet "style." By limiting the number of "experienced" bidders, expect construction costs to increase while reducing the chance of your course being unique. And aren’t successful business so because they are different?
 
The "Leadership Driven Architect" pays for himself by working with the builder who makes an aggressive bid; even if they aren’t the most experienced building golf courses. That is the power of having the architect leading construction daily.



"...the potential price the owner might pay"!  Amazing!!!  Now the architect isn't even accountable for the quality of the finished product!
 
Builders left alone struggle. They are not incompetent. They require guidance, information and communication. Without it escalating costs are a good possibility or the course is left in an inferior state. And what does this say about so-called “detailed plans”?




This astounding quote comes from the associate architect!
Even with years of experience and detailed plans, the contractor could not decipher what the architect wanted. The architect's 2% on-site involvement was used to edit and re-edit completed work.
 
Do you think he had time and budget to correct everything?
What do you suppose happened with costs?




A telling comment by a leading American golf course builder;
his company has worked with virtually every major American golf course architect.



Less than 5% involvement may be "idyllic" for the architect, but not the investor risking millions attempting to secure their position in the marketplace by developing a project of excellence, economically.
 
John Strawn illustrates the regrettable state of modern golf course architecture. Sign numerous contracts, go on vacation for days, weeks or months at a time, leaving the construction crew to build in a state of ignorance… and collect. .. Collect… Collect!
 
Five percent or less on-site involvement by the architect, the industry norm for an investment of millions that depends on the quality of the architect’s product! Doesn't this boggle the mind?