US architect Rees Jones is working on a renovation of the AW Tillinghast-design Tulsa Country Club in Oklahoma.
The club, which dates to 1908, moved to its present site on the outskirts of the city in 1916, when Tillinghast was employed to redesign an existing course.
Jones says much of the character of the original Tillinghast design had faded over the years, and, that with limited historical documentation available, the challenge was imagining what Tillinghast had intended for the site.
“We took inspiration from what we did at Baltusrol’s Upper and Lower courses,” Jones said. “Mindful of the membership’s expectations, we tried to instill Tillinghast’s design imperatives back into the golf course.” He noted that while the layout and sequence of the golf holes did not change, nearly everything else on the course is new.
The US$4.7 million construction budget had to cover the installation of a new irrigation system and pumphouse, which together accounted for a third of the sum. The remainder, Jones noted, was spent on building eighteen new USGA greens and surrounds, rebuilding and relocating tees, new fairway bunkering, regrading fairways for better surface drainage, and other infrastructure works. “We were able to squeeze every last drop out of the allocated budget,” Jones said. “We proved that with the right team and a good contractor in place, we can do a lot of quality work on a limited budget.”
The front nine has been grassed this autumn, ahead of a planned June 2011 reopening. Greens were seeded with a new strain of heat-tolerant bentgrass, while the fairways are bermuda.
“We’ve added some length — the revised course will stretch to just over 7,000 yards, par 70 — and greatly varied the yardages on the par fours,” said Jones’s associate Bryce Swanson.