The new TPC Colorado course in Berthoud, USA, will open to the public in mid-October. Designed by Art Schaupeter, it is the first new opening in the state for ten years.
Developers Jon Turner, Chris Frye and Jim Birdsall of Heron Lakes Investments tasked Schaupeter with the creation of a course that would work as the centrepiece of their 800-acre Heron Lakes master-planned community.
“Jon Turner asked me to start developing final design and construction documents in January 2015,” said Schaupeter. “We spent all of 2015 on the design and redesign process as the project evolved into a TPC-network course.”
The course can be played from 4,157 to 7,991 yards. “There are seven sets of tees, with the front two sets generally located in the fairways,” said Schaupeter. “This creates a very playable course for the players using these tees as they don’t have to worry about carries across hazards or native grasses. The set up will give players some options and variety of play.”
“While length is a consideration in the design of each hole, it is width that is the more important dimension to consider when trying to create interest and enjoyment of the golfing experience,” said Schaupeter. “The width serves two purposes. First, it enhances playability by minimising the potential for lost balls. Golfers will discover that they have a lot of room laterally off the tee on most holes to find the fairway. Where most courses have 25-35 acres of fairway allocated in 25-40-yard-wide ribbons, this course has 55 acres of fairway with many holes having fairways with upwards of 60-70 yards of width. This should speed up play as it minimises looking for balls in the longer rough or native areas.
“Secondly, width provides the creation of multiple lines of play offering strategic options for the golfers to consider. The wider fairways will allow for daily variety in how to best play the various holes and reward the frequent player with a little advantage in terms of local knowledge and they will also be important in keeping this course playable with the periodic breezes that blow across the course. The width of the holes will enhance the overall sense of adventure, discovery and enjoyment for the golfers.
“The green surfaces, which vary in size from 5,000 to 11,500 square feet, have been designed so that as the hole is moved around to different locations from day to day, the strategy of the hole changes as well. The wide fairways create a larger range of potential angles of approach to the green, which, when combined with the diversity of shapes, sizes and contouring of the green surfaces, will add to the daily variety and interest in play. The green surfaces have subtle breaks and plateaus that enhance the need to learn and understand how best to approach them depending upon the hole location at the time. They generally pitch in two to three directions, emphasising the need to approach them from the ‘correct’ angle so as to set up a viable birdie putt. Much like the golf holes themselves, they are very individual in character.
“The site is tree-less with the exception of hole eight, which is a very site-specific, somewhat unique par three that is located on a narrow, 70-foot-wide peninsula that juts out into Lonetree Reservoir between two groves of cottonwood trees,” said Schaupeter. “I have incorporated a bunch of sod-wall bunkers into the design using Durabunker. Many of the holes are positioned alongside two large reservoirs giving it a character like the seaside links courses. The water is a very visual element, but not necessarily a strong strategic element on the holes that are laid out alongside these reservoirs.
View: Hole by hole photos of the new course at TPC Colorado
Oliphant Golf began construction in March 2016, with Matt Flint as the lead shaper and Cam Martin the on-site construction manager. Local contractor Gerrard Excavating did mass excavation work. Construction was completed in October 2017.
Mike Cooper, golf course superintendent, provided the maintenance perspective, as well as working on the growing-in of the course throughout the two-year construction process. “It’s been very beneficial having him involved with the construction and getting his input on design details to ensure that the design and maintenance practices are meshed together effectively,” said Schaupeter.
“Larry Collins, TPC Colorado’s general manager, has been instrumental in helping the course make the transition from construction to operations. Collins, Chad Poirot and Mick Newburg have already got over 200 members signed up, well before the course even opens.”
The PGA Tour design and construction teams, including Stephen Wenzloff, Leslie Claytor, Richard Brogan and Collier Miller, had active consulting roles in the project. “Steve and Les offered input into the design, especially from the perspective of hosting a professional tournament,” said Schaupeter. “They also were on-site for regular site visits with me during construction. Rich was on site weekly during construction on behalf of the client while Collier made periodic visits as well, especially once the grassing and grow-in process started.”
The course is currently open to members on select days and will open fully to the public in mid-October 2018, when the first phase of the clubhouse construction, which includes the pro shop and cart storage, is complete. A grand opening will follow in spring/summer 2019 once clubhouse construction is fully complete.
TPC Colorado will feature in the October 2018 edition of Golf Course Architecture. Subscribe to the printed edition or free digital edition at www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/subscribe.