Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mount Pleasant Golf Course: The WPA and Perry Maxwell

 The original design of golf architect Perry Maxwell is still in use at the Mount Pleasant County Club, Mount Pleasant, Texas (countryclubmtpleasant.com).  Many of the some 300-600--exact counts vary--(Shackelford, G. 2009, Part of the solution? Golf Digest. Retrieved from http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2009-01/gw20090119shackelford) golf courses constructed by the New Deal Administration were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), but some were built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (wpamurals.com), including the one in our neighbor state, City Park, New Orleans.

Of Perry Maxwell, Chris Clouser said:
Maxwell is one of the more unsung golf architects and designers of his generation. (Clouser, C. (n.d.) Perry Maxwell: The Master of the Plains. USGA/US Amateur. Retrieved from http://www.usamateur.org/news/maxwell.html) 
 This screenshot of Google Maps shows the original nine-hole layout of Maxwell's design for Mount Pleasant.  Yesterday, I mentioned that Rand had commented on use of the WPA to build golf courses and country clubs.  One might think this was an elitist use of the program and funding, but there were good reasons for building golf courses, just as there were good reasons for employing artists to put art within the community of ordinary people--a legacy we still enjoy today in our post offices across the nation--well, still enjoy until the completion of the destruction of the US Postal Service and the buildings that belong to the Post Office.
Looking toward hole # 1 at Mount Pleasant, I wonder what Perry Maxwell was thinking about use of the natural terrain.  If you are like me, you have never heard of Perry Maxwell, or, given much thought to golf and golf courses.  Maxwell, whose parents were Scottish though he was born in Kentucky, was a banker devastated by the Great Depression (Shackelford).  He traveled to Scotland to study the golf courses where the game originated, and learned how to "incorporate the naturalistic elements" (Shackelford).  Golf was originally played in the pastures and rural areas of Scotland, by common folks, and the links made use of the natural terrain which was part of the challenge (http://www.pasturegolf.com/archive/wpa_courses.htm).  The game focused on the challenge of the course and the pleasure of the game.  Pasture golf courses and games are in existence, and I could not help but think of Tundra Golf in Unalaska, and have a renewed appreciation and respect for the sport.
(You can see all six of the posts about Tundra Golf Classic in Unalaska here.)

How about it, ya'll?  Any pasture golf courses near you?


Lana Pugh said...

The golf course in Macon, MS might as well be a pasture golf course. It has a little bit of a design to it, but really the biggest obstacles are the trees and how much beer you've drank while you're playing.

My brother and sister in law live in Gulf Hills in Ocean Springs. That subdivision was originally a dude ranch, so I guess you could say it has a "pasture" golf course too. Though that one is a lot nicer than the one in Macon!

Suzassippi said...

Okay, I cracked up on the "challenges" of playing the Macon Golf Course. LOL