Members of the Derrick Club in Edmonton, Alberta, have voted to approve a total rebuild of their golf course by Canadian architect Jeff Mingay.
The club, founded in 1959, includes a wide range of of athletic and recreational facilities, including fitness and aquatic centres, tennis and badminton courts and curling rinks, as well as the golf course. Club management commissioned Mingay to study its course, and recommend improvements, back in spring 2010.
“I immediately noticed two fundamental problems,” Mingay said. “The course is laid out over a relatively flat property, with heavy soils, so drainage is poor in many areas. The general layout and sequence of holes had been significantly changed since the course was designed. These are the two most important elements in golf course architecture. If the club wants the best course possible, significant improvement to drainage and the routing and sequence of holes is absolutely necessary.”
Mingay's plan for Derrick includes a comprehensive subsurface drainage system and major adjustment to the general layout of the course and sequence of play. Six new holes, designed to will improve flow and enhance variety, will be created; the other twelve holes will play through existing corridors, but every feature, including tees, bunkers and greens, will be redesigned. “When we’re done, the club is going to have a brand new course that will match all its other excellent facilities,” said Mingay.
The project is scheduled to be completed in two phases. The first three and last seven holes, plus a short game practice area with a three hole pitch and putt loop, will be completed in 2013, while the remaining holes and an improved practice range will be built the following year. Nine holes will be available for members’ play throughout the duration of the project, with the new course scheduled to debut in 2015.
“My hat’s off to the members,” said Mingay. “It’s not easy to vote to close your golf course for two years. For me, it’s very gratifying to see a membership support such an ambitious plan that will undoubtedly serve the club’s best interest well into the future. This is a very exciting opportunity to take a golf course that few people outside the Edmonton area have even heard of and turn it into one one of the very best courses in Alberta.”