Fazio Design’s Tom Marzolf and Bryan Bowers have overseen a renovation of the golf course at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, New York.
The design firm first worked at the club in 2011 when it rebuilt greens to USGA specification with Marzolf also creating a renovation master plan. His plan identified that fairway bunkers weren’t in play for bigger hitters.
McDonald & Sons began construction in April 2021 with the main aim of the project being to create more strategic interest by removing and repositioning bunkers: bunkers have been reduced from 114 to 48.
“The course dramatically turned into a shotmaker’s strategic-thinking course,” said Marzolf. “Before, the bunkers were all 180 to 225 yards off the tee and there were a lot of them, many in clusters. That was very tough on seniors, ladies, and children playing the course. But those same bunkers weren’t in play for the better player.”
Bunkers are now deep and flashed with the turf cut low right to the lip. Fairway bunkers have been repositioned away from the rough and along the fairways, with some of them inching into the landing areas for bigger hitters.
“If you don’t respect the bunkers’ location, your ball will roll in,” said Marzolf. “So do you play short, play to the side, or try to carry them?”
A low-cut bentgrass has been used around both greens and bunkers. “I think the game is headed in that direction because it’s a lot of fun,” said Marzolf. “For an average or lesser skilled player, it’s easier: they can roll the ball, putt it from off the green, and don’t need a lot of power to hit out of rough. The really good player with a tight lie must think about how to play it – putt up the slope, bump into the hill, hit a flop shot? So, it’s harder for good players and easier for high handicappers, which is perfect.”
Work on greenside bunkers has also included rebuilding bunkers on the fifth and twelfth holes to a square-edged, rectangular form that Seth Raynor, who worked on the course in 1914-15, is famous for.
Other work at Nassau has included tree removal, fairway reductions and extensions, new forward and back tees, reshaping green surrounds, and cart path removal and redirection.