Architect Neal Meagher recently completed an extensive course renovation project for the Belmont Country Club in Fresno, California, USA. Belmont was constructed in 1956 as the second of 16 courses to be built by the golf professional and designer, Bert Stamps.
Meagher redesigned and renovated Belmont's fairway and greenside bunkers, while maintaining Stamps' original routing. "Much of the original strategy had been usurped by today's superior playing equipment," Meagher said. "So, I worked closely with the club to determine which bunkers were appropriately placed. This helped us determine which to reconstruct and which to replace."
Meagher then focused on the bunkers that no longer provided the challenge intended by Stamps. These were then rebuilt in new locations. Finally, Meagher replaced some bunkers with banked landforms. The architect worked these new contours into the course's flat terrain to provide more strategic playing options.
In all, Meagher rebuilt a total of 50 bunkers. Many were sculpted as part of a larger swale, or excavation area.
"Aesthetically, we wanted these to look completely natural, to blend seamlessly into the native topography," he said. "The site's native sandy loam soil made it easy for us to create beautiful strategic and visual companions to the sand bunkers. I'm very proud of the work we did."
Specialized Shaping of Forest Ranch, California oversaw construction of Meagher's work.
This article first appeared in issue 14 of Golf Course Architecture, published in October 2008.