The Cut : The Cut - Autumn 2018
84 THE CUT QYou worked for Tom Doak, who designed Cape Kidnappers, did you work on that project? Have you done any work in New Zealand? My last year working for Tom was 1993, so I departed well before he did Cape Kidnappers. My company has not had the opportunity to work in New Zealand, although we would love to be considered for work there. The country looks as beautiful as any place I have ever seen, which is why New Zealand is number one on my family’s travel list. We’re planning a trip there next year. QWhen you set up your company, what were the points of difference you set out to achieve? Having worked for Tom Doak, I was always keen on the methodology he learned from Pete Dye – that is, to design in the field. I operate heavy equipment and shape courses myself, with my partner, Jim Wagner. We dedicate a lot of time to being in the field, creating as we go, the aim being to improve on the concepts that we’ve developed on paper by shaping our own work on the actual site. QWhat, in your eyes, is the number-one consideration in good golf-course design? Working with sites that have natural advantages, ones conducive to great golf and then maximising the potential of the site with the design of the individual holes. QHow does technology and players driving the ball greater distances affect your work? Is it as simple as making courses longer? Lengthening a course is part of it, but our goal is to build courses with a high level of precision, where angles and course set-up are part of the equation, too. QAugusta National recently purchased land from Augusta Country Cub to extend the 13th hole. What’s your take on that? I think the 13th at Augusta is a great hole as it is – possibly one of the best golf holes in the world, as it comes at a point in the round where the player has just emerged from the most difficult stretch of holes on the course. It is perfectly situated to be a hole where consequential swings in momentum can occur in a positive fashion. Part of the brilliance of Augusta National is the pacing of the holes and the ebb and flow of the total round. I think it would be a shame if the amazing foresight by Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones was being disrupted just for the sake of more distance. QCaveman Construction is the earth-moving company you contract. (Readers can check your website, www.hansegolfdesign.com, to learn how the company got its name.) What situations determine whether you shift dirt or not? We always try to maximise the natural potential of a site before we move dirt at all. The Caveman company is a group of talented shapers who work with Jim and I on all our projects. Without those guys, our work would not be as good and we certainly could not take on the number of projects we do. We are also fortunate that, like their whimsical name, they are fun to work with.
The Cut - Summer 2018