The Country Club of Florida near Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County, USA, is upgrading its practice facility with the help of golf course architect Lester George.
The project will include an expanded driving range, short game practice facility and teaching facility. The upgrade is scheduled to coincide with a renovation of greens and regrassing. The club also plans to reconstruct bunkers with a modern liner system.
The club’s Robert Bruce Harris-designed course opened in 1957 and was renovated by George in 2006. Since then he has visited the course on an annual basis as the club’s design consultant.
“When Lester did the renovation of the golf course in 2006, it really changed the members’ perspective of how the course plays for all levels of golfer. It was terrific,” said green committee chairman Doug Kannapell.
“Because of its extremely private nature, the Country Club of Florida was somewhat unknown prior to the 2006 renovation,” said George. “Harris’ original classic design strategies had been diluted over time. The redesign helped shine a light on this hidden historic gem and elevate the Country Club of Florida into the top 200 classic golf courses in the country.”
Kannapell said: “More people are utilising the practice facility than ever before. Members will come in and practice for an hour, then come back later in the week when they have a full day to play the course. During tournaments, the range gets very crowded, so we’re going to expand the driving range.”
Director of golf Chris Kushner said: “We will have a comprehensive short game area, a climate-controlled building for swing analysis, and a contoured area for landing. Lester has shown us a lot of options. Thankfully, we have something to work with that a lot of clubs don’t have, which is land.
“He [George] has so much experience navigating the waters of design from start line, to concept, to the finish line. It’s an enormous blessing to us that Kinloch Golf Club is Lester’s baby. [Kinloch’s practice facilities were recognised as the best in the USA in the 2010 Golf World Reader’s Choice Awards] Kinloch is the preeminent practice facility in the country, and other clubs look to that as a model to create their own practice facility.”
Golf course superintendent Jeff Klontz said: “Lester takes a lot of pride in his work and reaches out to everyone involved in the project for their input. We’re always trying to further enhance the playing ability of our members, and with this renovation, we can alter the short-game area to reflect the shots members will find on the golf course.”