Thursday, May 20, 2010
"Lido is the finest course in the world. It is a standing miracle, the wonder of which will never fade." -- Bernard Darwin
After the success of the first three courses at Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser knew hat he wanted to build a fourth course, and his first idea was to reconstruct the Lido, a long-lost Macdonald masterpiece and the most famous of America's lost course.
The Lido was built at staggering expense on Long Island, where Macdonald dredged 2,000,000 cubic yards of sand to fill in a marshy site. The rough was created by hand-planting 1,000,000 bents, rushes, and eel grass plants. Several holes were built around a lagoon, and the overall result was a course that rivaled the National.
When he read The Evangelist of Golf, Mike was so smitten with the story of the Lido that he called author George Bahto. He asked if George thought it would be possible to recreate the Lido. He said that he had a piece of property in Oregon and would like George to come out and take a look at it to see it would be a suitable site for the Lido.
It didn't take George long to say yes. He was thrilled with the opportunity, and on his trip to Bandon Dunes he drew up a routing plan. When Mike talked to his golfing friends and advisors, he tried the idea out on them. To his surprise, they weren't as fired up about the idea of resurrecting the Lido as he was. They thought it would turn out to be just a novelty or curiosity, another replica course -- one with a twist, admittedly, since the Lido would be a replica of a course that no longer existed.
A new idea began to take shape -- a course that would be a tribute to Macdonald. The holes wouldn't be slavish reproductions of the holes he built at the National and elsewhere, but contemporary versions that employed his design concepts and principles. As the concept evolved, many of the key conversations were between Mike and Tom Doak. What's the difference between a replica and tribute course? Mike has found a way to state it in mathematical terms: his formula is that replica holes are 98 per cent the same as the original, and holes "inspired by" are in the raged of 5-25 percent the same. He says that "holes inspired by are sisters, brothers, cousins, and distant cousins."
For a full story of the rise and fall of the Lido, take a look at Bahto's account in The Evangelist of Golf (there's a link on the left where you can read about the book -- buy it!). There's also a link to an article about the Lido by Macdonald himself, and it's free.
That's George Bahto in the photograph with Mike Keiser, on the Old Macdonald site during construction. Photo below shows the Hell bunker on Old Macdonald No. 6