Range of renovations for Brauer


Sean Dudley

Dallas-based architect Jeff Brauer has won approval for three substantial renovation projects, two in Texas and one in Minnesota.

At the municipal Oak Hollow course in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Brauer's plans for a six-year improvement programme have been accepted by the City of McKinney. The course will remain open throughout the works, which will include conversion to 419 bermudagrass, rebuilding of greens and bunkers, an extra 200 yards of length and twenty more bunkers and a new irrigation system.

“We sought public input, and found that Oak Hollow currently is used more for senior play than most public courses,” Brauer said. Because of this, Brauer's renovation plan will add a back and forward tee to each hole, providing a family tee at a more suitable length of 4,400 yards and moving the seniors up. “Many seniors indicated they wanted a shorter course and specifically some shorter holes and shorter carries, but they wouldn’t play up because those were the ‘red tees.’ Problem solved!” the architect said.

Now Brauer’s plan has been approved the McKinney City Council will begin to seek funding for the various projects, estimated to cost about US$5.4 million over the life of the renovation.

Elsewhere in the DFW area, Brauer has signed a contract in to renovate the nearly-half-century old Mesquite Golf Club. Mesquite, originally designed by Ralph Plummer and opened in 1964, will undergo a US$2 million renovation beginning in March 2013. The course will be closed for around seven months.

“In the past few years, the city of Mesquite has made impressive strides in improving maintenance, including returning many native areas to turf,” Brauer said. “We view this as a continuation of those efforts, and we are putting the infrastructure in place to have great tees and greens, too. We will reorganise the tees and return the back tees to about 6,900 yards and provide popular playing length for all players, including new forward tees at about 4,400 yards.”

In Duluth, Minnesota, Brauer is working with the city's parks and recreation department to map out a master plan that that could include the total renovation of the city’s historic Enger Park course.

The 27-hole Enger Park complex was originally built as an 18-hole facility in the 1920s and expanded to its current configuration in 1988 by architect Dick Phelps. The course is located close to Lake Superior, with extensive views over the water.

The city commissioned first the National Golf Foundation and now Brauer to provide a plan to that would maximise the course as an attraction for tourists staying in local hotels and retaining the local golfer. Brauer is aiming to restore the classic look and feel on the golf course. “We want to use rectangular tees, low-profile greens and some old classic design concepts to give the feel of a step back in time,” he said.

Enger Park approaches its centenary in 2014, and Duluth aims to have a new clubhouse in place for the celebrations. Brauer’s plan would provide additional room around the current clubhouse for expansion.