Historic Belvedere course undergoes restoration work


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    Belvedere Golf Club lies close to the shores of Lake Michigan

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    The iconic sixteenth hole will see the reintroduction of a bunker on the left hand side of the green

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    Stover Creek winds through the front nine, including here on the third hole

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    The course was originally designed and constructed in 1923

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The golf course at Belvedere Golf Club is being restored to its original design following the recent discovery of architect William Watson’s original plans for the layout.

Designed in 1923 by the Scottish architect, the course in Charlevoix, Michigan was created using five teams of horses and 150 men.

While aerial photos of the course from the late 1930s were in circulation, until recently, there had been know known documentation of Watson’s original design.

This changed however when original drawings for the course were unearthed during the demolishment of an old building in Charlevoix.

Following the discovery, Belvedere Golf Club quickly took the decision to restore the course to its original Watson design, and hired golf course architect Bruce Hepner to work alongside course superintendent Rick Grunch on the project.

Hepner and Grunch examined Watson’s original plans extensively, and drew up a series of alterations to the course to bring it back in line with the architect’s original vision.

As part of the restoration, the putting surfaces on many holes are being expanded, while selected trees will be removed from the course. This will help open up the Stover Creek, which winds through the course’s front nine.

Lost fairway and approach areas will be restored, as will a number of bunkers that have been removed at various points during the course’s 95 year history.

The iconic par four sixteenth hole, once described by Tom Watson as one of the great par fours in America, is one which will undergo significant work. Having lost some of its green complex over time, Hepner is expanding the putting surface and bringing a bunker to the left of the green back into play.

The project is set to be completed ahead of the course’s reopening for the 2017 season.