Lohmann Quitno Golf Course Architects has completed a renovation of the golf course at the semi-private Abbey Springs golf facility in Fontana, Wisconsin.
The layout, originally designed by Ken Killian and Dick Nugent in 1970 is set on rolling hills within mature woodland and features views of Lake Geneva.
The focus for the renovation was to overhaul the greens. Todd Quitno, who led the project, said: “Many were way too steeply sloped, which required the grounds crew to keep speeds in check through a higher cut, otherwise they were unpinnable. That resulted in complaints about the greens being slow. Several also had very steep surrounds that were tough for the novice golfer to navigate as balls would funnel far away or into deep bunkers.”
Fourteen of the greens were rebuilt to USGA specifications and all 18 surrounds were reworked.
“Our goal was to create a lot more variety in the surfaces,” said Quitno. “We also integrated internal contours to create more distinct pinnable areas guarded by fun bumps, ridges or rolls.”
Bunkers were also reviewed, having issues relating to contamination, size and position.
“We rebuilt the surrounds, and now the bunkering has a more classic, elegant look and is accompanied with bentgrass roll-off and roll-on areas that provide more recovery options and interest,” said Quitno. “There is great variety around the greens now, especially where we were able to utilise the surrounding contours to funnel balls onto the green or strategically use them to get to a tough pin.
“We also created some stunning visuals, creating 18 distinctly unique holes. It is tough for the club to say which hole is their ‘signature’ now, which in my mind means we did a good job of creating variety and interest throughout the course.”
Ground contour was crucial to achieving this interest. “We created a really cool punchbowl green at the tenth hole, which is a tough uphill par five, that now kicks balls inward. Before the green had steep drop-offs all around and was penal if you missed, not to mention impossible to putt,” said Quitno.
The project also included new drainage, fairway regrading and a revamp of the practice area. The range now has three greens at varying distances and Quitno also added a new short-game green.
Golf Creations began construction in August 2021 and completed by early December. The course reopened on 5 July 2022.
“The reaction to the results of our project has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jack Shoger, head professional at Abbey Springs. “Golfers have appreciated the changes to green surrounds, acknowledging the mounding around greens that have been designed to assist play. We’ve also received a lot of comments regarding our new sand. Members love the sand that was selected and understand that it will continue to firm up as the course matures. Overall, the bones of the course got a super upgrade! I can’t wait to see it mature.”
Since completion of the Abbey Springs renovation, ownership of Lohmann Quitno has been transferred to Todd Quitno and the firm has been renamed Quitno Golf Designs.