Fry/Straka to design second course at Arcadia Bluffs


  • Nemu2

    The clubhouse and existing Arcadia Bluffs course, which was designed by Warren Henderson and Rick Smith

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has been hired to create a second course at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club in Arcadia, Michigan.

Arcadia Bluffs is currently home to an 18-hole course originally designed by Warren Henderson and Rick Smith.

The second course is to be created on a 310-acre site a mile south of the existing course. The project will also include the creation of a new practice range, short game area, putting green and clubhouse at the new site.

GCA caught up with Fry to discuss his plan to ‘create a course that feels as if it has been there forever.’

“The site’s sandy soil conditions and natural topography make it perfect for golf,” said Fry. “It was previously an apple orchard, and the remaining trees are not of a particularly high quality. So the site will be entirely cleared, with the only exception being around the perimeters, where trees will be left to buffer the existing roads and other properties surrounding the course. The site is inland, and has no view of Lake Michigan.”

The course will be officially named ‘The South Course at Arcadia Bluffs’, and Fry says that the new course will be very different to the existing Arcadia Bluffs layout.

“They will look completely different for many reasons, with the most notable being the new course is inland and so very little earthmoving will occur,” Fry explained. “The existing course looks upon Lake Michigan on almost every hole and dirt was moved to create a ‘dunes look’. On the new course  with the exception of moving dirt for features such as tees, greens, bunkers and in some areas for drainage reasons  very little dirt will be moved. The new course will also have very large greens averaging in the 10,000 sq ft range, and be in shapes that are rectangular and in some cases more like squares. Bunkers will be flat bottomed, cut into the existing ground, with steep slopes going up to the fairways and green complexes.” 

Tree clearing will start immediately, and earthmoving and shaping will begin in spring 2017. Grassing is set to begin in the early summer of 2017, with the aim being to grass the whole course by the end of the summer.

“It is the intent of the Arcadia management team and us as architects to try and create a golf course that exposes golfers to a golfing experience unlike any many of them have had before,” Fry added. “The intent truly is to make the course appear as if it was always a golf course.”

The course is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.