Andrew Green has overseen a renovation of the William Flynn-designed golf course at Indian Creek Country Club, located on the exclusive, man-made Indian Creek Island on Biscayne Bay, in Miami Beach, Florida.
LaBar Golf Renovations and Bunker Solution began construction in January 2022 and finished before the end of the year, ahead of the course’s grand reopening earlier this year.
“The goal of the renovation was to reinfuse Flynn’s character into the layout, while enhancing the refined golf experience the members have enjoyed through the decades,” Green told GCA. “The golf course had aged significantly, and new infrastructure was needed throughout the entire property.”
The project included rebuilding greens at an expanded size and to USGA specifications as well as relocating bunkers and reshaping them in a style in keeping with Flynn’s design intent.
“Large areas of sand on Flynn’s original plan were accounted for with bunker clusters that allowed the sand to dance in the landscape without being unkempt,” said Green. “The Flynn-inspired bunkering, which broke many large bunkers up into a series of smaller ones, aids in the presentation of the golf course and the strategic elements of the design. The bunker styling and placement harken to Flynn’s vision. While not as rugged as some images, we worked to provide varied shapes, sizes, and depths that we could point towards in the historic documentation.”
Green made significant changes to the fourth hole, also to recapture Flynn’s vision. He shifted the fairway to the right, towards the bay, with the green now in a position to be better attacked from those who take the most challenging line of play. The architect says the hole now rivals the course’s highlight stretch from eleven to fourteen.
“Many approaches were graded to better accept the ground game, whether it is run-up approaches or shots made in recovery from around the green,” said Green. “Sightlines were opened that balanced the oasis qualities of the layout with long vistas. We also worked to reclaim green space from the pictures we had of the course when it was young. These differed a bit from what Flynn had drawn, so we tried to blend the historic information to best represent what Indian Creek was meant to be.”
The project has also seen the levelling of tees, plus the addition of new back and forward tees to add more flexibility in course setup.
Stormwater management was an important aspect of the redesign. A new drainage system was installed, and new water storage was created, to help the course cope with Miami’s rising sea levels and protect Biscayne Bay. The result is two large ponds that fit in between holes; soil generated from these ponds was used to elevate the lowest playing surfaces and protect them from flooding.
The course has been completely regrassed, with TifTuf bermuda on fairways and rough, TifEagle on greens and Primo Zoysia on tees. “The presentation of the course is quite different,” said Green. “There is a higher level of refinement with the quality of turf. The presentation of the playing corridors creates more interest, and the long vistas are powerful.
“Overall, the playing experience at Indian Creek has been elevated to the highest level. The installation of modern systems, while making the course feel of a certain vintage, was always at the forefront. Allowing each hole to reflect Flynn’s vision inherently made them thoughtful and unique. Coupling together with the polish and imaginative nature of the course allowed us to create a very special and unique experience.”
This article first appeared in the April 2023 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.