Schmidt-Curley renovates Oakmont


Sean Dudley

California course Oakmont Country Club has reopened after a renovation by architects Schmidt-Curley Design.

The project at the Glendale course, originally designed by legendary golf architectural thinker Max Behr in 1922, included the creation of several new holes and green complexes, updated bunkering, opening of playing corridors to enhance vistas and maximise turf quality and doubling the size of the practice area. Project management was carried out by the firm’s sister company Flagstick Golf Course Construction Management.

A key issue was dealing with a concrete channel running through the centre of the property. Once a natural arroyo, architect Brian Curley returned it to a more natural state by softening its edges with the introduction of a sandy transition area.

“The change to the arroyo accomplished three important ends,” said Curley. “One, it increased playability as the wet, tangled rough that bordered the channel was replaced with player-friendly, hard-packed sand; two, it improved the health of the big heritage oaks running along the waterway, which don't thrive in irrigated areas; and three, the course now features a much more pleasing, natural look.”

Other changes include the creation of a drivable par four and, in a nod to its reputation as a player's course, combining two old holes to fashion a challenging par five finish. In addition, Schmidt-Curley introduced rough-edged bunkering throughout the layout to match the arroyo's meandering, radiating borders and eliminated all hedges and planters.