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Title: Creative innovation in golf course architecture, retrospective judgments of quality, and magazine golf course rankings Authors:  Douglas Hodgson - UQAM (Canada) [presenting]
Abstract: In creative production, there exists a competitive struggle to persuade the field to value the new work. This is a challenge as cultural innovators do not produce in response to existing demand, but must create new demand for what is supplied. A common tactic is to demarcate the new style by appealing to the virtues of an earlier style of classic status and lacking the corruption of the prevailing style. The proposed innovation is purported, by the creators themselves or the critics who champion them, to renew the classic principles of the historical style, and in their polemic, the new breed of creators attempt to persuade the field to evaluate the historical style, and thus by affinity the new style, to the detriment of the prevailing style, which must be devalued. In golf course architecture, the stylistic revolution unleashed in the early 1990s was accompanied by the new architects and their critics extolling the pre-war Golden Age of architecture to the detriment of what they called the Dark Ages of post-war architecture. We measure the effect of this polemic on the field's overall judgment through an empirical analysis of 30 years of widely read and discussed biannual rankings of the 100 Greatest Courses in the United States as assembled and published by the major magazines Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and find significant evidence that the rankings evolved during this period in favour of pre-war courses as opposed to post-war courses built before 1990.