Brambles course construction on track for 2021 completion

  • Brambles
    James Duncan

    The new Brambles golf course, designed by Coore & Crenshaw, is taking shape

  • Brambles
    Benjamin Warren

    “Brambles will value strategy, options, and decision-making over length or brute difficulty,” says Eric Berridge

  • Brambles
    Coore & Crenshaw

    Coore was on site recently establishing concepts for greens, tees, and other features

  • Brambles
    Benjamin Warren

    James Duncan is leading the project, which is expected to be completed in 2021

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction of the new Coore & Crenshaw-designed Brambles golf course near Middletown, California, is on track for completion in 2021.

The project is being led by golf course architect James Duncan. “James has been our pioneer, visionary, and leader for the past ten years on the Brambles project,” said Eric Berridge, the majority investor in the Brambles project. “Over the years he assembled a group of investors, found the property, arranged for its purchase, and brought us through the permitting phase, which is not easy to do in California.”

The project was officially approved, by unanimous vote, by Lake County on 9 April.

Berridge says: “The site is comparable to an English heathland course – very walkable with interesting contours and ridges.

“The scale is huge, with a main property of 600 acres. There are beautiful panoramas of the California landscape, including Mount Saint Helena and other comparable vistas. It has a ranch-like feel, somewhat similar to certain well-known courses, although the property is quite different.

“Brambles is routed out and back. It starts out on the northern side of the main valley, with a descent from the first hole, before moving up into some oak trees and along the edges of the property. The fifth is a blind, 300-yard hole, reachable with a drive to a green that slopes away. Like all Coore & Crenshaw courses, Brambles will value strategy, options, and decision-making over length or brute difficulty.”

Construction is under way, with shapers Dave Axland, Ryan Farrow and Benjamin Warren assisting Coore & Crenshaw on the project. Coore completed the routing last year and was on site at the end of June establishing concepts for greens, tees and other features.

“Chris Hauswirth and Greg Kaplan, high school friends of mine, are additional landowners and are helping to build our membership,” said Berridge. “Michelle Cox is our lead coordinator and spends time in the back office, providing meals for the crew, and mowing out fairways on our salvaged ‘bat wing’ mower.

“We have a local team who are in the field building infrastructure, including our mainline irrigation. The coronavirus has focused the project in an incredible way, creating an ‘all hands on deck’ approach and leveraging the fact that our crew and architects mostly live nearby, making travel easier.

“The ethos of Brambles hopes to resemble that of the best clubs in the British Isles,” continued Berridge. “Access will be available to those that are not members, provided that they make a bit of an effort to make arrangements. Members will be provided with a walking golf course that they can call their own, and a vibe that values camaraderie and aims to shed some of the unnecessary rules that have crept into American golf.”

A local contractor, Rich Williams of Jan-Mar Corporation, constructed a modest clubhouse – The Milking Parlor.