Work is set to begin later this year on a renovation of the front nine holes at Crane Creek Country Club in Boise, Idaho.
The latest project aims to bring Crane Creek’s front nine up to USGA standards, and Druzisky Golf Course Design will be leading the project.
Crane Creek Country Club has been a master plan renovation client of Druzisky Golf Course Design since 2000, and architect David Druzisky spoke to GCA about the latest work.
“Most of the greens are original to 1962 and the membership is generally happy with their design with the exception of about four of them, which have too much slope within the surfaces,”explained Druzisky. “The surfaces were originally Bentgrass from 1962 combined with various challenging strains of Poa. The superintendent does a great job with them, but they have hit the point where the new bents are just so much better.”
The project will see what Druzisky refers to as a ‘core-and-restore’ of the greens. This includes stripping the existing surface turf and then the excavation of the old subgrade materials to a depth of 16 inches.
“Like new green construction, the new subgrade will mirror the old surface contours and then drainage is added,” said Druzisky. “New gravel and greensmix materials are then brought in and installed to refill the cavity with the surface reestablished to original design. The new materials will meet USGA recommendations for putting green construction. While there is much discussion about the benefit of meeting USGA numbers with the materials related to perched water tables and such, the key is that all 18 will be consistent, which they aren’t now.”
Following the completion of the work on the front nine, a second project for the back nine at Crane Creek will commence.
“We are now working from the third installment of the master plan,” said Druzisky. “After I crafted the original masterplan back in 2000 we did an initial project that included a redesign of all the bunkers and rebuilding tees on several holes that really needed it. The project was very well received. Over the next several years we took out a couple hundred trees to re-open views and to provide more area for play. Other yearly projects have been undertaken including some path work, a couple tees and a couple more bunkers as the trees came out. The state of the economy over the last six years slowed things down as it has at many clubs.”
Druzisky is confident that golfers at Crane Creek will be pleased with the work his firm is doing.
“When complete, the members expect to get back the course they have now, only better,” said Druzisky. “They are making a considerable financial re-investment in their primary asset and our goals and mission for the project are pretty simple and straightforward. It is the same at most clubs and they mostly worry about change. Often underestimated in these sorts of projects are all the little details that we now get to fine tune and instill while the grass is removed and are rebuilding the features. Sweating those details is what makes work exceptional.”
The Crane Creek course was designed by Bob E. Baldock, an architect Druzisky feels doesn’t hold the place in golf architecture history he perhaps should.
“Baldock is a name that probably mostly only those of us on the US west coast that follow golf course architecture have heard of,” he said. “Considering he was involved in around 400 courses makes that a bit odd. It’s likely the reason is because few if any of his courses have been singled out for architectural merit, or they have not been identified as such yet. I have visited several and discussed the merits of others with folks in the business and Crane Creek might be one of Baldock’s best and a bit of a hidden gem.”