James Braid covers it all in an almost exhaustive overview of the game itself in the book Advanced Golf by James Braid.

For the golf architecture student, chapters sixteen through eighteen provide real insight. Sixteen deals with the “Planning of Courses”. Seventeen tackles “The Character and Placing of Teeing Grounds, Bunkers and Putting Greens”. Finally, eighteen explains how Braid would ideally play the championship courses at The Old Course, Prestwick, Muirfield, Hoylake, Sandwich and Deal.

James Braid Design Theory

Advanced Golf by James Braid outlines his six design ideals in chapter sixteen. The logic is that, if followed, the course could not possibly be a bad one. What are they?

1 – Holes should vary in length and character.

2 – Putting greens should be well guarded.

3 – Green size is commensurate with the shot meant to be hit into it.

4 – Multiple tees to allow for course setup in a variety of situations.

5 – Strategy! An ideal position should be obtained in order to make the next shot easier. Failure to do so would result in an extra shot taken.

6 – There should always be two ways to play a hole. The easy way and the difficult way with the reward of gaining a stroke should your attempt be successful.

Curious Conclusions

James Braid doesn’t get enough credit for the work he did. Perhaps this is due to the prolific nature of his work or that much of his work no longer lives up to the ideals he laid out. Either way, James Braid is a legend of golf architecture. 

What often escapes notice is the fact Braid penned Advanced Golf these words in 1908, only a few years after Willie Park Jr (1896) and John Low (1903) wrote their books touching on the subject. Early on in the Golden Age, Braid was not only breaking with tradition he was promoting a new school of design theory held out as radical by some.

Read If...

You want insight to one of the UK's most prolific architects from chapters 16 through 18.