Shawn Smith of Hills & Forrest has completed the second phase of a renovation project at the Oneida Golf and Country Club in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.
GCA spoke with Smith to find out how the project at the club, which is operated by Troon Golf, has progressed since the closing stages of phase one in spring 2017.
“Phase one had us rebuilding some of the most problematic bunkers from a maintenance and playability standpoint,” said Smith. “The bunkers were converted from large sand flashed bunkers that were prone to washouts, to a more classic flat-floored bunker with steep fescue grass faces. The success of the first phase led us to a second which consisted of rebuilding all the remaining greenside bunkers and expanding the green surfaces back out to their original dimensions.”
As well as improving the maintainability and playability of the course, the project has seen Smith attempt to recapture some features from the design of the course’s original golf course architect, Stanley Pelchar, who worked on a number of courses around Chicago, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the 1920s and 30s.
“Aided primarily by an aerial photograph from 1938, we were able to largely restore the bunkering to its original flat floor and grass face character, and recapture the strategic value of the bunkers,” said Smith. “We expanded all the greens out to their original dimensions to the edge of the fill pads. We also rolled the collars of the greens just over the top edge of the bunker faces, to create a wonderful strategic relationship which accentuates the shoulders of the greens and highlights the beautiful contours within the greens,” explained Smith. “The result of the new bunkers and expanded greens has completely transformed the character of the golf course, giving it a timeless classic appearance.”
Smith worked alongside Chris Furness, owner of golf course contractor Great Lakes Golf, on the project, as well as the golf course superintendent Mark Storby and his assistant Brian Kindle.
A third phase is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019. Smith said: “Phase three includes rebuilding of all the fairway bunkers and restoring the original strategic alignment of a handful of the fairways closer to Duck Creek. We will also continue with selective clearing of trees throughout the golf course to highlight specimen trees and open up shared views and vistas across the golf course.”
One of the founders of Oneida was Curley Lambeau, the founder of the Green Bay Packers NFL team, and the club remains popular among Packers players.