David Whelchel completed a bunker renovation at The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks in Silverthorne, Colorado.
The club’s golf course was built in the 1980s and originally known as Eagle’s Nest, but was not fully completed and soon fell into disrepair. Developer Intrawest Holdings acquired the club in the late 1990s and hired Tom Lehman and Hurdzan/Fry to redesign the course.
The Raven was sold to Escalante Golf in 2009 and since 2012 Whelchel, a former Hurdzan/Fry designer, has undertaken various drainage and tee projects.
Whelchel has recently overseen work on bunkers, including the elimination of those deemed unnecessary, building new ones that are easier to maintain, and reducing the overall sand area from 160,000 to under 100,000 square feet.
“We eliminated a few bunkers that were in difficult locations for the higher handicappers, as we wanted to ensure that golfers have an enjoyable round of golf,” said Whelchel. “The long noses on several of the bunkers have also been removed to minimise mowing issues and create different and varied styles of sand hazards.”
Whelchel used white sand from Bestsand and bunker liner from Dallas-based Bunker Solutions.
“Bunkers are now a lot more visible with the white sand that we installed,” said Whelchel. “We also worked on softening the faces of the bunkers to accommodate the natural angle of repose of the sand, which helps with maintenance by decreasing the need to push sand back up the faces after heavy rain events.”
Golf Sculptors International completed construction in August 2022 with the course remaining open throughout.
“As Hurdzan/Fry was involved in the project originally, it was a real pleasure for me to be able to work at The Raven again with Escalante to give the course a facelift and return it to what we had envisioned back in 1999,” said Whelchel. “Dana Fry and Tom Lehman worked together on that initial redesign, and it is now really nice to see it back as a great course like it once was.
“The golf course is really fun to play, with great views of the mountains and lots of wildlife including eagles, moose, elk and even a few bears! And at 5,200 yards from the forward tees to just over 7,400 yards from the back tee, it is challenging and fun for all golfers.”