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QUOTES

As noted elsewhere, Maxwell never wrote publicly about himself, his life, his work or his architectural philosophy.  Fortunately, we do have Maxwell's own words in a handful of articles published by others, most notably “Perry D. Maxwell – Creator of Ardmore” by Bob Davis, The American Golfer, February, 1935.  Similarly, we have the thoughts and commentary of others on Maxwell.  We hope these quotes provide some insight into the man and his work.

Mr. Maxwell speaks of my ability to make a good fairway or develop a worthy green, but I wish to tell you that in laying out a golf course and to give it everything that the science and art of golf demand, Mr. Maxwell is not second to anyone I know.”  [Alister MacKenzie on Perry Maxwell, as recounted by Charles Evans, life-long friend and Secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Daily Ardmoreite, January 4, 1953]

 

“It is my theory that nature must precede the architect, in laying out of links.  It is futile to attempt the transformation of wholly inadequate acres into an adequate course.  Invariably the result is the inauguration of an earthquake.  The site of a golf course should be there, not brought there.  A featureless site cannot possibly be economically redeemed.  Many an acre of magnificent land has been utterly destroyed by the steam shovel, throwing up its billows of earth, biting out traps and bunkers, transposing landmarks that are contemporaries of Genesis."   [Perry Maxwell, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

"Better than the three America courses I have been hearing about all my life, The Links, The Lido and Garden City."  [Alister MacKenzie on Twin Hills, Oklahoma News, January 26, 1926]

 

"Say, my friend, has not God been good to me?  Through His Grace, I have been permitted to live with two of the noblest women man could be given to know."  [Perry Maxwell on his wives, as recounted by Charles Evans, life-long friend and Secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society, “Perry Duke Maxwell”, by Charles Evans, The Chronicles of Oklahoma 31 (Summer 1953)]

Perry Maxwell, Unknown Date and Source

“Leave the earth where you find it, - and the tee where it lies.”  [Perry Maxwell, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

"In my opinion, the most important thing which has occurred in the development of American golf is the discovery of the vegetative method of the propagation of the bents and the subsequent and continued selection of the finer strains of this variety.  I do not believe any considerable part of my audience appreciates the magnitude of this discovery and its effect on the future of your greens.  Bermuda grass is much like bent; it is a creeping grass, and will grow fairly well in almost any soil, but better in sandy loam with clay subsoil, and still better if plenty of manure is mixed with the subsoil.  I know the vegetative method is going to revolutionize the development of Bermuda grass, and therefore, southern golf; and that is the real objective of my remarks."   [Maxwell, speaking at the annual meeting of the USGA greens section, Bulletin of Green Section of USGA, Vol. IV, No. 2, February 23, 1924]

“We can’t blame the engineers, surveyors, landscape experts and axmen for carrying out the design in the blueprints, most of which come into existence at the instigation of amateurs with a passion for remodeling the masterpieces of nature.  A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle.  The less of man’s handiwork the better a course.”  [Perry Maxwell, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

"It is one of the most beautiful pieces of golf architecture I have seen in America.  It is delightfully natural looking while it is artistic."  [Dr. Alister MacKenzie on Twin Hills, Daily Oklahoman, January 26, 1926]

“You will never see it until you play each of its eighteen holes, for the very simple reason that it does not obtrude and is not an eyesore.  Not a square foot of earth that could be left in its natural state has been removed.  No pimples or hummocks of alterations falsify its beauty.  There are but six artificial bunkers, the rest are natural, and all the driving tees are within a few steps of the putting greens.  To date no man has played Ardmore in par, yet my daughter, still in her ‘teens, has broken 100 on it."   [Perry Maxwell on Dornick Hills, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

"Maxwell was one of the best and most discerning readers that I have ever known in my life.  Whether it be a play of Shakespeare or the modern philosophy of Will Durant, whether a Tennyson or a Robert Frost, Maxwell often sat by my side and read and I came to know these thinkers of the world better because he often interpreted them better than I could.  His library was never large, perhaps, in number of books, but it was as large as all time in his choice of world wide and diversified authorship.  He became such a man of learning that when he visited the great universities, the noted libraries of the world, or found himself in certain centers of learning as at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Ann Arbor, all these and more, eminent scholars welcomed him and made him a friend."  [Charles Evans, life-long friend and Secretary  of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Daily Ardmoreite, January 4, 1953]

“Professionals and topnotch, who have played it, pronounce the greens and fairways perfect.  The total cost of construction and upkeep over a period of eleven years is less than $35,000.  By that I mean about $3,000 per annum.  Nature has been kind, because we have not defied her.  We co-operate with the seasons, and dividends never fail.”  [Perry Maxwell on Dornick Hills, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

 

“Far too many exist in our land.  Oakmont, Pittsburgh, where the National Open will be played this year, has two hundred.  Other courses famed everywhere average one hundred and fifty.  From twenty to twenty-five, plus the natural obstacles are ample for any course.  Millions of dollars annually are wasted in devastating the earth; in obstructing the flow of the rainfall; in creating impossible conditions."   [Perry Maxwell on bunkers, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

"Don’t blame all of this on the architects; the guilt lies primarily with the influential misguided club members who take sadistic joy in torturing the good earth.   As a result, the majority of American golf clubs are in the red, gore of the steam shovel, blood drawn by the mound-builders.  We have learned nothing from Scotland or England where the ancient and honorable game can be enjoyed on marvelous links at one tenth the admission fees, dues, green fees, etc., that prevail in the land of the free.”  [Perry Maxwell, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

“When I originally asked you to come into partnership with me, I did so because I thought your work more closely harmonized with nature than any other American Golf Course Architect.  The design and construction of the Melrose Golf Course has confirmed my previous impression.  I feel that I cannot leave America without expressing my admiration for the excellence of your work and the extremely low cost compared with the results obtained.  As I stated to you verbally, the work is so good that you may not get the credit you deserve.  Few if any golfers will realize that Melrose has been constructed by the hand of man and not by nature.  This is the greatest tribute that can be paid to the work of a Golf Course Architect.”  [Alister MacKenzie on Melrose, “The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie”, by Tom Doak, James S. Scott and Raymund M. Haddock (2001), Pg. 128]

“It was my wife’s suggestion that Ardmore be built.  She did not live to see the course completed.  I have since made golf architecture my life work, having built several along the lines of Ardmore, never, at any time attempting a piece of property devoid of natural features."  [Perry Maxwell on Dornick Hills, The American Golfer, February, 1935]

“Frequent visits to Scotland and among our home courses have convinced me that the time is ripe for a stupendous revision looking toward a saner and simpler plan for turning the good earth into the playgrounds for those who follow through.”  [Perry Maxwell, The American Golfer, February, 1935]