Tripp Davis is returning to the University of Oklahoma (OU) to lead a project at the Jimmie Austin Golf Course in Norman, Oklahoma.
Davis and his team have completed a masterplan for the course, practice facilities, entry road, parking lot and clubhose.
The Jimmie Austin course was originally designed by Perry Maxwell, and underwent a major redesign in the early 1990s. This was led by architect Bob Cupp.
The new changes to the course will be focused on seven holes, and include the redesign of the tees, which will see the introduction of new Zoysia turf. Bunkers will be repositioned and restyled, and some alterations to fairways will also be made.
“Today’s best college golfers are playing a great deal differently than they did 20 years ago and the work we are doing at OU is to adapt to those changes while making sure the golf course has the flexibility to be set up in a way that will strategically challenge all players,” said Davis. “Although the course can be set up to play quite long, we don’t want length to be the dominant strength a player needs to play well. We want to make the ability to score as the most important strength.”
Davis is aiming to make the course more reflective of the site’s natural elements, and embrace Maxwell’s styles and influences. In keeping with this, bunkers will feature ragged edges and free flowing lines, while strategically placed native grasses will be made more visually prevalent.
The project will get underway this summer, with Davis initially devoting his time to the creation of a new practice course on the site, named ‘The Ransom Course’. This will consists of four holes that can be played as par three holes from a wide variety of distances and angles.
“The key is giving players the ability to practice in a realistic environment and experience real on-course situations,” Davis said. “It is taking variety in practice to another level beyond the typical driving range and short game area.”
Davis is of the opinion that the changes to the course and the addition of the new practice holes will make the University of Oklahoma’s golf facilities among the best in the US.
“Having played college golf and being part of a National Championship Team here at OU in the 1980’s, I am fortunate to have a unique insight into the college game and how golf teams come together to practice,” Davis said. “Eliminating any barriers to how a golf course can be set up to mimic what players may find at any golf course around the country, and eliminating any barriers to how they can practice, is what is of value to a college golf program. We are achieving that at Oklahoma.”