Stanford University Golf Course Home of Champions
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Aerials from 1930 and 2003

Original course aerials | Historic Photos | 1930 Hole-by-hole Review | Club Champions (W) | Club Champions (M) | Course Records

Aerials of the Stanford golf course, designed by George Thomas and Billy Bell in the late 1920s, taken in 1930 and 2003 were used to create these hole by hole comparisons (click on holes above). It is estimated that in the 1930s after the course was first built, top players could carry the ball about 210 yards and with the harder fairways in those days you'd expect the ball to roll to about 250 yards. Today, top male players can easily carry the ball 280 yards resulting with roll in a 310 yard drive. It's useful to note that top women players today will carry the ball 230 with roll to 270. These yardages for men are marked on the aerials for all par 4s and 5s.

"Golf architecture can rightly be referred to as one of the higher art forms man has attempted to undertake. Consider the scale of its very proportions, its lasting contributions on such vast canvasses, and what it has meant to the lives of so many. As in any review of art, there are some examples which are timeless and are considered "classical". Captain Georce C. Thomas, Jr.'s works are among these masterpieces, and as such, are certain to live on and on."

"Thomas's views and opinions are always at the forefront of my mind as well as my architecture partner Bill Coore's whenever we are lucky enough to be involved in any phase of golf architecture. Simply put, the message is sound and it will last." Ben Crenshaw 1996 from The Captain, by Geoff Shackelford about George Thomas.

As Ben Crenshaw indicated above, George Thomas designs are "classical" and "will last". The Stanford Golf Course is testement to the timeliness of good design. Below are some of George Thomas' design guidelines and some quotes from his classic book Golf Architecture in America.

George Thomas Quotes

"The strategy of the golf course is the soul of the game. The spirit of golf is to dare a hazard, and by negotiating it reap a reward, while he who fears or declines the issue of carry, has a longer or harder shot for his second, or his second or third on long holes; yet the player who avoids the unwise effort gains advantage over one who tries for more than in him lies, or fails under the test." George Thomas from his classic Golf Architecture in America written in 1927.

"The rebuilding of courses is often criticized, and in many cases such censure is deserved; but it is well to remember that the gradual and continued improvement of golf courses has been brought about not only by the natural betterment of golf construction, but because of the increased efficiency of the golf ball, the playing value of which is more perfect, particularly with regard to distance." George Thomas

"Do not strive for length where you sacrifice character. Your yardage is the less valuable of the two considerations; but sufficient length, which type and strategy, is the ultimate. The course which demands the greatest number of placements from the tee, and the most diversity of shots, both from tee and to green, is the best test." George Thomas

"... Trees and shrubbery beautify the course, and natural growth should never be cut down if it is possible to save it; but he who insists on preserving a tree where it spoils a shot should have nothing to say about golf course construction." George Thomas

"... diversity, and yet again, variety, is the spice of a golf course." George Thomas