Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture

In addition to his thriving golf course architecture practice, Tom Doak is building up a nice niche with his golf books. His latest issue is targeted specifically at his philosophy of golf course architecture. It is (obviously) modeled after Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book. The 216 page book was issued this year and features little blurbs about an eclectic group of topics related to golf course architecture. Each was excerpted from an on-line discussion group that Doak has participated in over the years. They were compiled and edited down into a coherent format by Bob Crosby.

Some samples:

Pine Valley – “In large part, what makes Pine Valley great is that Crump chose NOT to make concessions to below-average golfers. That’s what gives it the scale and grandeur it has . . . the interrupted fairways, the big carries, the severity of the hazards, etc. Sure, strategy and use of contours are part of it too, but the thing that sets PV apart is exactly what makes it ‘less than ideal.'”

What Makes the 12th at Augusta So Good? – “It’s a very exacting hole, which is most people’s definition of a good par-3 . . . and the Scroogish dimensions DO create strategy where you should aim your tee shot, as opposed to just playing toward the flag as you do on 98% of par-3 holes. The left-to-right angle of the green also sets up to punish the right-handed player’s most common misses: short right is Rae’s Creek, and a long left pull is in the back bunker, or up on the bank behind the green.”

Some Favorite Walks in Golf – Some of my favorite walks in golf: Highlands Links (12th tee to 13th green), Cypress Point (15th green to 16th tee), Barnbougle Dunes (4th green to 5th tee).

Doak is a witty and skilled observer, and his truisms, what sets him apart, I think, is his ability to take complex subjects and distill them down to their essence. When you hear his observations, they make all the sense in the world, but you wouldn’t have been able to articulate them in the same way before you heard them.  Doak’s Little Red Book is available for sale through Amazon, click on the link below to view:

Tom Doak’s Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture

— John Sabino

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Valuable Book Group specializes in rare, collectible and valuable golf books. We are avid collectors ourselves obsessed not only with playing the game, but also its history and the literature of the game.
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