Sweetgrass grows better


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

A new golf course in Michigan, USA, is to incorporate the myths of the Native American tribe on whose land it is being built as part of its design. The Sweetgrass course, attached to the casino complex run by the Potawatomi tribe in the north of the state, is being designed by architect Paul Albanese. And Albanese, who teaches golf design on the Edinburgh College of Art's Masters degree programme, is making use of tribal mythology to drive his design.

"Golf holes with stories attached can be too literal – it's no good to take a story about a rabbit and build a hole that looks like a rabbit – but in landscape architecture, often these type of ideas are explored and embraced very easily. Cross the line to golf architecture and people are very scared of it," said Albanese. "At one point, the tribe had to leave the area they were living in because they were under attack, so they built a fort on the side of Lake Michigan. We've built a redan – or fortress – green on the fourth hole, partly to honour this legend, but also because the hole fit that part of the site perfectly. But I wanted to enhance the hole further and bring the story into play, so we took some cedar posts we'd found on site and put them on the mounds around the green.

With fescues around them it looks like a remnant of the fort!"