Architect Chris Wilczynski is overseeing a series of alterations to the golf course at the Wanakah Country Club in Hamburg, New York.
Situated close to the shores of Lake Erie, the course at Wanakah CC is separated from the lake by Lake Shore Drive and housing – both of which were previously not visible from the course due to vegetation.
However, in 2015 the State of New York installed an eight-inch drainage pipe under Lake Shore Drive. The state invoked eminent domain to claim an acre of the Wanakah property behind the green on the 15th hole. This work involved the stripping of vegetation, which resulted in the road becoming visible from the hole.
Wilczynski had drawn up a masterplan for the club back in 2009, and phases one and two of this plan had been completed in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Due to the unsightly backdrop to the 15th hole following the state’s drainage work, the club decided to accelerate the project’s third phase and work to improve certain areas of the course earlier than originally planned.
Wilczynski oversaw the creation of a 15-foot berm behind the 15th green, on which 60 evergreen trees have been planted. This will eventually see the return of a vegetative backdrop to the hole.
A creek that flows alongside the green has also been rerouted, in accordance with the Wilczynski’s original masterplan.
The masterplan’s third phase also includes the resculpting of the fairway on the 14th hole to improve drainage, and the complete reconstruction of the tee and green complex on the 12th hole. This includes the introduction of a broad swale between the tees and green, which is being created using soil displaced to create the berm on the 15th hole.
Work has also been done on the course’s final hole, with new fairway and greenside bunkers introduced and new tee boxes added.
“Wanakah is a great example of a club that’s committed to its master plan,” said Wilczynski. “They’re using it as a tool to steadily move forward. It’s gratifying to see our original plan coming together.”