Golf course architect Steve Smyers is part way through a redesign project at Eastwood Golf Course in Fort Myers, Florida.
Last summer, a major connector road construction project was undertaken, which bisected the course’s front nine. This meant most of the front nine had to be rerouted, with the entire nine holes having to be reconstructed.
GCA caught up with Smyers to find out more about the process.
“I regraded the entire site improving drainage, strategy and aesthetics,” said Smyers. “All of the putting surface and surrounds were relocated and redesigned, putting a strong emphasis on subtle movement within the putting surfaces, and requiring pitching and chipping from the greens surrounds. While putting is an option from around the putting surfaces, it would not be the best play.”
The changes to the course included the new bunker locations and reworked rough areas to enhance the strategy and shot making.
“The property was fairly forested,” said Smyers. “We cleaned up or under brushed the property, removed distressed and invasive vegetation, replanted native trees where needed, and installed pine straw in the wooded areas. The contrast between the lush Celebration bermudagrass fairways and the brown pine straw defines the property, and helps expedite play as there are very few opportunities to lose a ball.”
With varying teeing grounds, strategic fairway grading and putting surfaces that have multiple hole locations, Smyers believes the new course at Eastwood has the flexibility to host a high calibre event and accommodate the projected 65,000 to 70,000 annual rounds.
The project’s first phase, which included the redesign and reconstruction of the front nine, took place this summer, with the front nine reopening for play on 6 November.
The project’s second phase, which will see the redesign and reconstruction of the back nine and driving range, is set to begin in the summer of 2018.