Sports: March 22, 2000
Dana tees off on new career
Former Tiger golfer turns to course design
Golf architecture is a subtle alchemy of skill. Designers impose their artistic wisdom and resourcefulness on what once was a simple plot of land. Renowned designers such as A.W. Tillinghast, Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones, and Peter Dye have transformed tree nurseries and former plantations into the most majestic, ambitious golf courses in America. Steve Dana '94 would like someday to add his name to that esteemed list.
Dana, a former Princeton University golfer, is now a design associate for Jerry Pate Golf Design. Dana was recruited by Pate, the 1976 U.S. Open champion, after a brief but successful professional playing career, and joined Pate's staff in March of 1999. His job responsibilities include producing working plans and drawings for golf courses, conceptualizing land plans, supervising construction, and integrating the fine details of the course's layout. It's a profession he has long envisioned and now relishes.
"Jerry sought me out because of my background," said Dana, who graduated with a degree in architecture from Princeton. "He contacted me because of my playing experience and my education at Princeton. It means a tremendous amount to my profession that I was a player. While playing, you learn to understand and read the strategy of the designer. That experience helps me to be creative. Jerry tends to gravitate toward course architects with solid playing experience."
After captaining the Tiger golf team in 1993 and 1994, Dana played professionally for nearly four years. He experienced success on both the Hooters Tour and Golden State Tour (in California). He won several tournament championships, including the Greater San Diego Open. The wear and tear of travel, however, took its toll on Dana and he decided to pursue course architecture.
"With the success I experienced on the golf course at Princeton, I wanted to see how far I could go," Dana reflected. "It was challenging and very exciting, but the travel and nomadic lifestyle got to me. I have the greatest respect for the individuals making a living out on tour. I admire their talent, but also their perseverance."
Jerry Pate Golf Design creates courses throughout the U.S. Though headquartered in Pensacola, Florida, Dana has already contributed to projects there and in golfing hot beds such as California and Arizona. He is currently developing a course in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
Dana refers to himself as a traditionalist. Although technological advances and new construction techniques can create staggering holes with both competitive challenge and beauty, Dana remains loyal to the classic verities of elder design masters who created brilliance without disrupting the natural land flow. "Traditional is the type of course layout I like," Dana explained. "It's more based on natural land form. Instead of using modern technology and equipment to move and create land forms, I set out to design the course using the existing landscape. I enjoy the quirks and nuances of traditional courses. It helps keep the game pure."
With the number of golf participants in what seems to be a continuously upward spiral, course design now must accommodate the full spectrum of golfing talent-from beginners to low handicappers. "One of the biggest challenges when designing a course is to create various landing areas for each level of player," said Dana. "We try to design each hole so that it's a different golf hole from each set of tees. That way, it's like playing five different golf courses from one hole."
New developments and improvements to golf clubs and balls have also forced architects to adjust their design strategy. Golfers at every level have increased their length, and have greater success striking the ball clean from various lies. Dana admits that "sheer length has forced us to stretch the courses out longer today."
Once Dana puts the finishing touches on the course in Colts Neck, he'll push forward to the next project. Although the forthcoming destination is still pending, there is one certainty. With each new project, Dana seizes another opportunity to showcase his talents and creative imagination. "The ultimate goal is to be the best course designer around," said Dana. "To design and build courses renowned for their excellence and have my name attached to them. I think that's the aspiration of every course designer."
Squash teams have memorable seasons
Men end Harvard's Ivy reign; women second in nation
In a season characterized by two near-perfect records, an Ivy League title for the men, and a number two national ranking for the women, the Princeton squash teams proved why they belong atop the elite and increasingly competitive collegiate squash circuit.
The men's team, led by the nation's top individual player-Peter Yik '00-and supported by an all-star freshman class, dethroned Harvard as league champs February 13, ending the Crimson's 10-year Ivy reign and capturing Princeton's first outright league title since 1982. In the National Team Championship at Yale on February 25-26, Princeton met Harvard once more-this time in the semifinals-but fell to the Crimson 6-3, despite wins by team captain Peter Yik, his younger brother David '03, and Marshall Sebring '01.
"We beat Harvard [the last time] in as close a match as possible, and we knew this one would be just as close. It was, but this time they won the close matches," head coach Bob Callahan said of the loss. "We tried our best and they got this one." Although the team did not make it to the national finals, Peter Yik was slated to defend his individual national title on March 3.
The women's team may not have had the best finish to their near-flawless 9-1 regular season, but coach Gail Ramsay nonetheless remains optimistic about the future of her team. After back-to-back national titles in 1998 and 1999, the Tigers fell 5-4 to the top-seeded University of Pennsylvania in the Howe Cup National Championship on February 20.
"It simply came down to a question of numbers," Ramsay said of the loss to Penn. "They had five women that could beat five of my players. After our meeting earlier in the season, I thought that maybe we could switch around one of those losses, but Penn's lineup changed in the critical spot, so we did not get the matchup we wanted." Although disappointed at not repeating as national champions, Ramsay was pleased with the promise her young squad displayed and is confident in her lineup for next season.
"Overall, the women gave a tremendous performance," Ramsay said. "We were so close and it was a possibility for a while, but everyone gave an incredible effort and played with great determination."
-Patrick Sullivan '02
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