June 8, 2023

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Jim Wagner and the power of surprise

The mystery at the rear of superstar style tandem Jim Wagner and Gil Hanse? Shock!

Jon Cavalier

What particularly helps make a golfing course terrific? Scores of weighty volumes and a zillion breezy site posts have resolved this query, several of them settling on this answer: Fantastic programs marry artistry and surroundings with shot-generating assortment in a fashion that blends seamlessly with their environment. That’s for starters. The consensus retains that good courses also make you consider. They interact and entertain. Provide up any of these observations with your friends over a article-round consume and it’s unlikely anyone will argue. But they could appear back again with “How about some illustrations?”

To assist you strike an authoritative stance without the need of coming off as a windbag, we asked a quartet of premier architects — Tom Doak, Monthly bill Coore, David McLay Kidd and Jim Wagner — to talk about their individual operate as illustrations of how their design strategies participate in out in the industry.

Jim Wagner and Gil Hanse’s work on Ohoopee Match Club remodeled it into 1 of the ideal classes in the United States.

Jon Cavalier

Architect: Jim Wagner

System: Ohoopee Match Club

Design theory: Provide endless shock

Every time anyone praises a program that Jim Wagner and his spouse Gil Hanse developed for “being right out there in front of you,” Wagner is aware of that he’s supposed to be flattered. But that is not how he normally takes it. Obviousness is by no means his intent.

“If you determine everything out the very first time all-around, then we have not carried out our work,” he states.

The aim is to place you through a range of encounters and emotions: elation, deflation, clarity, disappointment. The “A” gap at Wagner and Hanse’s Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia does the trick. Part of a 4-gap “whiskey” routing that complements Ohoopee’s key 18, it stretches a shade underneath 500 yards. (Par is not shown on the scorecard, as every hole at Ohoopee is established up for match play.) Getting the fairway off the tee is not the concern. The architects built that action rather straightforward because that’s in which the true enjoyment commences.

gil hanse holding a course map

Walk a golfing training course with designer Gil Hanse and you’ll see the game in another way


Michael Bamberger

The inexperienced is something of a sunken thumbprint, set at an angle to the fairway. Players getting goal in two are asked to carry a swatch of sandy squander and a smaller, volcano-shaped environmentally friendly-aspect bunker. Every person else is vying for posture, plotting a route to a punchbowl putting area that can possibly receive or repel.

On a inadequately conceived hole, the sole function of your 2nd shot is to advance the ball. A wonderful style and design makes it possible for for so substantially additional. Aerial assaults. Floor-activity entertainment. Dangers, heroics, pitfalls, prospects. Consider it a puzzle with no set resolution.

“Ideally,” Wagner says, “it should really just take a life span to figure it out.”

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A golf, foodstuff and journey author, Josh Sens has been a Golfing Magazine contributor due to the fact 2004 and now contributes throughout all of GOLF’s platforms. His get the job done has been anthologized in The Most effective American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Acquiring Any Fun Still: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.