Restoration of the historic Victoria Golf Club, in the posh Oak Bay section of British Columbia’s capital city, continues under the direction of Canadian golf architect Jeff Mingay.
Mingay has been working at Victoria since January 2009, when the par three seconrd hole was restored to provide members with a look at, and feel for what is planned for the rest of the course.
Since then work has continued each autumn and winter, with Mingay providing design and shaping services and the club’s maintenance crew providing support.
Eleven green sites have been restored so far, including bunker work, putting surface expansions, adjustment to fairway mowing patterns, and some tree removal. The first and seventeenth holes were completed in November, while holes three to six are scheduled to be restored next, beginning in early January.
“We’ve purposely taken our time with this important project,” said Mingay. “And this comparatively slow pace has been beneficial. Taking on work at two or three holes at a time allows us to really concetrate on details. Some times when too much is going on, some details can get lost in the bigger picture, unfortunately.”
By spring 2012, three green sites will be left to complete. Work on the fairway bunkers and other details are planned to follow.
Golf has been played over the same seaside property at Victoria Golf Club since 1893. The course was significantly improved between the 1920s and early 1950s by legendary Irish-Canadian golf architect AV Macan, who was also a member of the club until his death in 1964. The blueprint for Mingay’s work is an aerial photograph taken during the early 1950s, when he believes the course reached its architectural peak.
“What we’re trying to achieve at Victoria is much more complex than simply restoring an original Vernon Macan design,” Mingay explains. “The character of this golf course today is nearly as attributable to its evolution than the hand and mind of single person. So, while we’re trying to a restore strategies consistent with Macan’s philosophies at many holes, we’re also embracing and preserving interesting features which existed prior to his involvement and others that have simply developed over time.”