Rees Jones returns to Griffin Gate to lead bunker renovation project


Rees Jones returns to Griffin Gate to lead bunker renovation project
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Rees Jones has been commissioned to direct a US$1 million bunker renovation project at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa in Lexington, Kentucky.

Marriott Golf, the club’s operators, has hired the architect to direct the work at one of his original designs, which opened for play back in 1981. 

“I am happy to be returning to work on Griffin Gate, one of my first designs. It's like seeing an old friend after 34 years,” said Rees Jones. “1981 was quite a while back, so a bunker renovation to bring the course ‘back to the future’ will serve the course well. We are also re-defining the fairway lines and creating chipping areas to give the course more varied challenges. We feel the changes will maintain the popularity that Griffin Gate has enjoyed for the last three decades.”

Jones will use the Better Billy Bunker Method across the course, which has been successfully introduced at a number of courses. These include Valhalla in Louisiana, Bethpage Black in New York State, and the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, which will host the Ryder Cup in 2015.

Jones’ work will also see a complete refinement of the course’s greens complexes. The project will be carried out in two nine-hole phases, which will allow nine holes of the course to remain open during the work.

“We are extremely excited to have Rees Jones return to Griffin Gate and lead not only the bunker renovation, but the greens complex refinement as well,” said Mark Ravenscraft, general manager, Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa. “Aside of his famed expertise, no one knows the facility better, which means this project will greatly enhance a golf course already known for its competitive play, beauty and environmentally friendly appeal. Griffin Gate enjoys a tremendous history and popularity in the rolling hills of Kentucky and we are excited that Rees Jones will help to take that distinction to another level.”

The project is set to be completed by May 2015.