Mike DeVries of DeVries Designs and Frank Pont of Infinite Variety Golf Design have been hired by Bloomfield Hills Country Club in Michigan, to restore its Harry Colt golf course.
Originally laid out in 1913, Bloomfield Hills is the last remaining Colt course in America to have been designed solely by him.
This is the first joint venture to be undertaken by DeVries and Pont, with both architects experienced in restoring classic golf courses.
“Frank approached me about working together and utilising our different skills in a complementary manner,” said DeVries. “We have developed a really strong understanding and I am looking forward to working with him and his team.”
Pont said: “Mike and I have been discussing working together on Colt and Alison designed courses in North America for some time. We offer a very complementary skillset. I have studied Harry Colt’s work in great detail and have provided advice to many Colt courses in Europe. Mike has great experience with regard to the restoring of classic courses in North America. When Mike mentioned that he had been in dialogue with Bloomfield, Colt’s only remaining solo design in the USA, we agreed immediately that it made perfect sense for us to join forces.”
LaBar Golf Renovations will be the on-site contractor working closely with DeVries. Construction is scheduled to take place between mid-August and mid-November 2020.
Dan Billette, the club’s golf course manager, re-grassed the greens several years ago with Pure Distinction and is continuing with this process throughout the reclaimed areas. The course’s irrigation system will also be updated.
The third and fourth holes will be redesigned to restore a lost and challenging par three. Colt originally designed the third as a long par four and the fourth as a long par three. However, during the Depression, these holes were changed to become a mid-length par four and a short par four respectively. The new third will be a 255-yard downhill par three. The fourth will become a long par four of 440 yards.
“I am excited about re-establishing the long par three, since it will bring back the course’s original balance as laid out by Colt,” said DeVries. “It will also provide a great view of that corner of the property, sweeping down to the green with the fourteenth green off to the right.”
The architects will aim to restore bunkering to an early Colt style and reclaim edge margins of the greens in order provide golfers with more recovery shot options.
“I am really looking forward to creating the joint fairway for the first and eighteenth holes,” said DeVries. “The beautiful vista from the clubhouse running down those two holes with the first, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, seventeenth and eighteenth greens all in view across the undulating terrain will be spectacular.”
The driving range will also be widened in order to enhance visibility and provide more teeing space. A new practice green will integrate with the first’s teeing ground, providing more room for events.
Pont said: “I hope that this project encourages other Colt/Alison clubs in North America to consider our unique blend of services. I am excited to be working with Mike on what I hope will be the first of several collaborations.”