Architect Jim Wagner of Hanse Golf Design is to start a major reconstruction project next January at the Old Trails site belonging to the Jonathan’s Landing club in Jupiter, Florida. The club has a total of 54 holes of golf at two locations, an 18-hole course at its main site in downtown Jupiter, and 36 holes at the Old Trails site to the west of the city.
The two courses at Old Trails were originally designed by Tom Fazio and Art Hills’s practices. The Fazio course was recently renovated by Kipp Schulties, and now the Hanse team has been hired to rebuild the smaller Hills course.
“They really loved the concept of what we had done at Ohoopee in Georgia, with twenty holes and a lot of different options,” Wagner told GCA. “We are looking at everything to make the course all it can be – we will re-do everything, including the landscape. It isn’t a typical south Florida setting – it has more pines than palm trees and it’s a beautiful natural location, so we want to do what we can to make the course something other than a typical south Florida experience.”
Wagner and the Hanse team plan to move the lakes on the course to the outside of the property, so that the golf itself can be more continuous, without water alongside virtually every hole. “There will be a significant amount of tree removal, plus some native plantings – scrub on the outside of play,” he explained. “It is a long way from a minimalist project, but we still want it to feel like a minimalist course once it is done. We want players to be able to stand on one fairway and see across several holes – indeed we want them to be able to hit it across two fairways and still be in play where possible. There will be twenty holes on the property, with a seven and a 15-hole loop, to make the course as flexible as possible. Plus, the facility is something of a destination for club members, being away from the main site. They don’t have a big practice facility at their in-town course, so one of our aims was to increase the size of that, and in fact we are doubling the size of it and adding lots of different practice options. The golf course itself will have a lot of elasticity, with all ribbon tees – we want people to be able to play this course for a lifetime and still be figuring it out.”
The project is currently in permitting, and Wagner expects to break ground at the start of February 2021 and reopen during the autumn. “It is a tight schedule for sure, but grass grows fast down here,” he said. “Our goal is to be done with all grassing by 1 August, but we will start that process as soon as we finish a hole, so most of the holes will have substantially longer to grow in.”