American architect Tripp Davis has broken ground on a two year project at the Spring Lake club in New Jersey. Originally designed in 1911 by Riviera creator George Thomas, Spring Lake's current layout dates largely from 1918 when AW Tillinghast worked on the course.
Oklahoma-based Davis was engaged to create a long term master plan for the course in 2011, with a goal of returning the course to its original character as created by Thomas and Tillinghast.
“Our direction and focus in developing a Master Plan for Spring Lake was to keep Thomas's solid routing intact, then look to what Tillinghast did so we could work to re-establish the importance of angles off the tees, restore and enhance the strategic intent of the bunkers and return them to their original style,” he said. “Additionally, fairway widths that were altered over the years will be regained, the once sandy scrub areas that were a prominent feature will be reintroduced, some greens will be rebuilt, and overall there will be a more open feel to the landscape.”
With Spring Lake being close to the Atlantic, Davis and his team will introduce fine fescues in various areas to promote more of a seaside feel. As well as making the course more strategically interesting for modern play, the architect says he hopes to let golfers experience a step back in time.
“Spring Lake is a special place that will have a stronger connection to its heritage when we are done,” he said.
The plan is being implemented in phases with the first phase focusing on the back nine bunkers, sandy scrub areas, select tees, the expansion of certain greens and fairways, planting of fescue areas, as well as some drainage improvements. The front nine changes are scheduled for October 2014.