Title page for ETD etd-05082006-145052


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rundall, Shane
URN etd-05082006-145052
Title Artistic Action and Contemplation: Recapturing The Elements of Mystery That Make Every Round of Golf A Voyage of Discovery
Degree Master of Landscape Architecture
Department Landscape Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bork, Dean R. Committee Chair
Jacobson, Wendy R. Committee Member
Katen, Brian F. Committee Member
Keywords
  • Aesthetics
  • Phenomenology
  • Golf Course Architecture
  • Art
  • Blacksburg Country Club
  • Experience
  • Perception
Date of Defense 2006-04-07
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Artists think differently. They challenge the practical and apply their ideas to the contemporary world creating many journeys and excitement along the way. Without them, the world would have remained flat and as unique as black and white.

This thesis investigation is grounded in phenomenological theories of aesthetics proposed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and John Dewey, the artistic approach of Jackson Pollock and Yves Klein, and my own perceptions of the process of creating art. The objective is to apply aesthetic concepts and principles derived from these sources to the practice of golf course architecture and expand the way we view and play in our golf course environment.

Golf, unlike any other sport, is carried out over an area of awarded luck and encouraged misfortune that also happens to be a living environment. Without question, no two courses are alike. Nor is any hole on any course ever the same. Nor is any hole, even if played the very next day, going to relinquish the same experience. Daily tee and hole locations make for an infinite number of configurations; as does wind, the temperature, the condition of the grass or the suddenly drooping branches of a once upright tree. However, not all courses reach their potential and capitalize on the environments possibilities and the perception of those experiencing it. Some course designers simply place holes in a pattern to reach desired numbers of par and yardage in order to fulfill a requirement. With the unrelenting expense of land and the continued awareness of negative development impacts, the art of golf course architecture could be viewed a bit differently. By incorporating the attitude of an artist such as Jackson Pollock, or the mentality of a psychologist such as Merleau-Ponty, and revealing the possibilities of the subconscious, the golf course architect’s design can do more than give shape to space.

Blacksburg Country Club, located in Ellett Valley just outside of the town of Blacksburg, Virginia serves as a case study site for this design investigation. The intent of the thesis is to develop a design that addresses the technicalities of golf course architecture

and the history of the profession while creating a piece of ‘art in nature’ that touches all the senses – the gateway to the soul. There just happens to be a game inside.

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