Architect Chris Wilczynski has completed a US$1.2 million renovation project at the Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Wilczynski’s C.W. Golf Architecture firm also made changes to the course’s layout, which was originally designed by Arthur Hills.
Work began back in April 2013, and the course reopened for play on 1 October.
“The anticipation has been building, no question,” said Frank Leahy, general manager of Stoneybrook G&CC. “We have a large contingent of members who head north for the summer, and they’re eager to see the changes. We’ve also been leaving carts out for our year-round members, so they can tour the property. They’re very enthusiastic about what they’ve seen.”
With a membership predominantly comprised of golfers over the age of 50, the work at Stoneybrook had a focus on making the course less penal, a philosophy Wilczynski is a firm advocate of.
“With the membership policy in mind, and to increase profitability, the course’s entire maintenance process was examined with the goal of eliminating any waste of dollars, natural resources and course superintendent’s time,” said Wilczynski. “Now that each of these goals has been achieved, club members will be able to enjoy an entirely different golf course than they had experienced in the past.”
Design changes were carried out on holes six and nine. A cart path on hole six was relocated, meaning shots no longer skid off the path’s surface into a lake to the left of the hole, while the width of the approach corridor on hole nine has been doubled thanks to the removal of half an acre of trees and regrading of the fairway.
Each green at the Stoneybrook course was reconstructed, and significant changes were also made to the course’s tees and bunkering.
Around 40 bunkers were also restored across the course, many of which had lost their original faces and become too deep. Each of the course’s tees were realigned, leveled and regrassed.
A lot of time was also devoted to eradicating a parasitic Nematode problem that had been plaguing the course’s greens. Microscopic worms that attack turf root systems, Nematodes enjoy the soil qualities that make for good greens.
Wilczynski – who worked alongside worked alongside contractor Westscapes Golf Construction and superintendent John Scott on the project – stripped every green down to the original sub-grade and rebuilt the greens with new soil and TifEagle bermudagrass.
Fumigation was carried out on the new soil and the area surrounding each green to ensure that damage would not be carried out on the new greens.
The greens’ original contouring was replicated in the main as part of the rebuild, but Wilczynski was able to soften slopes on six greens, and a bulkhead was introduced in what was previously a run-off area between a lake and the fifteenth green.
“There was a lot to accomplish, but we got it done because of a wonderful partnership with Stoneybrook’s members, management, maintenance staff, and the golf course contractor,” said Wilczynski. “That’s the key to a successful renovation or restoration project. When everyone participates, they better understand the objectives and the long-term benefits. The folks at Stoneybrook were terrific to work with, and I’m confident they’ll be pleased with the result.”