Golf course architect Mark Mungeam is leading a renovation and restoration project at the Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter, Pennsylvania.
The Fox Hill course was originally designed by AW Tillinghast, and Mungeam has used an original routing plan and an aerial photograph taken in 1938 to help with his work.
“Interestingly, when I first visited Fox Hills, I did not believe it was a Tillinghast design,” Mungeam told GCA. “Most of the bunkers had been changed or removed, thousands of trees had been planted and the course no longer had the Tillinghast design character I had seen at other courses he designed. The routing is good and there were a few holes that stood out – the sixth and tenth with their distinctly elevated greens, and on the par-three seventh you could see the resemblance to other Tillinghast designs, but the rest was lost.”
Mungeam is restoring a number of bunkers that have been removed from the course since Tillinghast’s original design, and is adding new bunkers in selected places to help improve the ‘strategy and visual character’ of certain holes.
“On the eighth for example, a great Tillinghast approach bunker had been removed fifty years ago that I wanted put back, but I also have added a right fairway bunker on the inside of the hole which balances the design and improves the strategy,” Mungeam explained. “A shot played near this bunker provides the best angle to the putting surface.”
Mungeam said that though the original routing plan and aerial photograph have been very beneficial to his work, the project is not bound to that information.
“The course has evolved since its opening and there are many features of the Tillinghast design that club was not interested in restoring due to the amount of work this would require,” Mungeam said. “The ‘spirit’ of Tillinghast will be restored through the return of some bunkers that had been eliminated and the style of the bunkering will be similar to the original features. There were half a dozen bunkers that did not appear to have been changed, and I am using them as the template for the other bunkers. We are also restoring greens out to their former dimensions and this work is really identifying the Tillinghast genius.”
Work began in late September 2016, and four holes being worked on at any one time. This will minimise disturbance and keep the Fox Hill course open throughout the time the project is taking place.
Mungeam is planning to have the work on between 12 and 14 of the course’s holes completed by mid-December, with the remaining holes then being worked on in the spring of 2017.
The project is scheduled for completion in May 2017.