The second day of a series observing and commenting on Canadian golf designers.
Architect: Ted Baker
Years in industry: 20+
Past and Present Associates: Bo Danoff, Mario Patitucci (both former associates)
Key Courses: Lionhead Legends, Masters (Mississauga, Ont.); Royal Niagara (Niagara-on-the-lake, Ont.), Braeben GC (Mississauga,Ont)
Recent Projects: Stone Ridge GC (Elliot Lake, Ont.)
Quote: “A great golf course should come out of the landscape effortlessly, as if the holes were already there. I design good golf courses. Once every ten years I get to design a great golf course.”
- Lifetime client in developer Iggy Kaneff, who has given Baker the opportunity to work regularly over the past 20 years.
- Links to Stanley Thompson through Bakers earlier work with Howard Watson.
- His work on a landfill in Mississauga where he created Braeben has been well received.
- Lifetime client in Iggy Kaneff, who has given Baker the opportunity to work regularly over the past 20 years — but insists on a certain style of course.
- His courses often are too penal for the average player, while others feel like too many holes were forced onto land that wasn’t suited for more than 18.
- His key design, Lionhead Golf and Country Club, has not aged well. The courses key strategies and small greens make it difficult for all but the best players to enjoy.
- Some hole concepts simply do not work when played.
Overview: Bakers work has largely been done for a single client “ Lionhead owner and developer Iggy Kaneff. Since opening his first course for Kaneff in the early 1990s, Baker has built several more using the same model, including Royal Niagara and Royal Ontario. These courses are often one-dimensional, requiring players to hit high soft approaches in order to hold Bakers small, difficult greens. Often these greens are not receptive to the clubs that are required on a specific hole (see Lionhead Legends opener, for example), rendering some holes dysfunctional. Baker has branched out from simply working under the Kaneff banner in recent years, including a well received design for the city of Mississauga called BraeBan.
Whats possible?: More of the same. However, with rumors that the Kaneff courses are for sale, and Iggy getting up in years, it is possible Baker too slows down any new projects.
Overall rating: C