I think the initial version of G4G on blogspot was the first golf blog of note in Canada (since then there have
been several), but one thing is clear — I think Canadian golf architect Ian Andrew was the first golf designer to blog, maybe anywhere.
Yesterday, after nearly three years of blogging, Andrew decided to stop blogging on his site, called The Caddy Shack. It is a loss for anyone interested in golf because Ian, with his heart on his sleeve, offered a unique perspective on the game of golf, one that hardly anyone had seen, at least not since Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide. He talked about starting his business after leaving Doug Carrick. He talked about the trouble he had convincing clubs of his vision for their courses. He talked about his travels and his perspective on the game and its challenges.
The blog was something I urged Ian to do once he left Carrick Design at the start of 2006. I thought it would provide him with an opportunity to share his ideas with those that were interested and do something no golf architect was doing.
Along the way he ran into a bunch of issues, both good and bad. Ian isn’t a natural writer, and I think that was his first stumbling block. But he quickly found ways of articulating what he wanted to express and his work has found a home in magazines across North America. It raised his profile among those that mattered and probably generated recognition from those who didn’t know who he was prior to the blog. Associates at design firms are typically obscure until they go out on their own — something Ian found first hand.
His problems with the blog often involved his clients, many of which didn’t want to be publicized, especially if what they were promoting seemed foolish or counter-intuitive. Ian would often highlight clubs and courses he was especially proud of, only to find the clubs didn’t want it known that they were in the midst of a restoration, or in some cases, debating the merits of the way forward.
I always found this surprising, especially in the current golf climate where private clubs across North America are searching for members. Ian often demonstrated their commitment to their courses, though this seemed to bother several of them. Most came around in time, and some, like Saskatoon G&CC, actually had members embrace Ian’s work in the blogosphere.
Anyway, Ian felt he had said enough, and I know having a huge amount of current work hasn’t helped his writing time. I feel for that — I sometimes find writing this blog a chore, though I very much enjoy the debate that ensues.
Well done Ian — you’ve left a unique piece of Internet literature. I learned a lot along the way.
Note: I’m still on holidays, returning soon. I’ll be back with regular postings on Monday, where at least I won’t have to steal someone’s wireless connection to post.