Lohmann Quitno has designed Pioneer Pointe, a new 13-hole par-three course in Verona, Wisconsin.
The design firm had been working at Hawks Landing Golf Club, also in Verona, with course superintendent Neil Radatz and owners, Jeff and Kyle Haen, on improvements to bunkers and other small projects.
“The area has been booming of late and the Haens came across an opportunity to purchase an existing 18-hole golf course, formerly known as Tumbledown Trails, to cater to this growth and the demand for more housing,” said Todd Quitno.
The initial idea that the owners had was to develop a new housing community along with a nine-hole course, using some of the existing holes on the property.
“After touring the course and reviewing their initial housing layout, we expressed concern over the limited space for golf and the limited adaptability of the existing course,” said Quitno. “Given the agreement they already had for the housing and the demands the various regulatory agencies were requiring for the development in terms of water management, the overall space and width was limited for longer holes. Not to mention the Greater Madison market is pretty saturated with traditional golf.
“It also so happens that the ‘movement’ toward non-traditional golf models was afoot, including the recent surge in par three offerings of various hole configurations at prominent US destinations, such as Sand Valley’s Sandbox, which is a couple hours up the road.
“With all of these factors merging, we reworked the housing layout a bit and proposed the idea of doing something different with the golf, which ultimately resulted in a 13-hole par-three course because that is what fit most naturally.”
The entire site is being redeveloped, apart from a couple of corridors from the old layout. Holes six, seven and eight will occupy corridors of two former holes on the south end of the property, while the eleventh uses the fairway corridor of two old holes that previously ran parallel. The twelfth will play within the corridor of an old par three emanating from the highest point on the property.
Pioneer Pointe will have holes ranging between 95 and 280 yards with teeing areas primarily marked out at the start of fairway grass. Greens will be large to accommodate a variety of pin locations. Holes have been designed more as greens and approaches, rather than traditional tee-to-green par threes.
“We wanted every hole to be designed to such a high standard that they could be plucked from this routing and put on any ‘traditional’ golf course without a loss in quality,” said Quitno. “I actually heard Bill Coore describe this mandate from Mike Keiser, I believe when they were doing Bandon Preserve, and related that to the Haens.”
The routing includes green layouts that have been inspired by some of golf’s most famous holes, including Road, Short, Double Plateau, Redan, Boomerang, Lion’s Mouth, Biarritz, Punchbowl, Eden, the seventh at Lawsonia, the sixth at Riviera and the seventh at Pebble Beach.
“I am excited about all the holes, and about employing some template concepts,” said Quitno. “Several areas of this site lack a bit in terms of inspiring existing terrain; thus, we are having to manufacture several of these holes. Without the influence of great land, we have been challenged to come up with the variety that we feel this course needs and so we are borrowing a bit from some tried and true architectural icons as inspiration, concepts that we know will be strategic and fun to play, plus create a fun overall story for the course.”
Construction of roads and housing is expected to start in April, with contractor Golf Creations’ anticipated starting date for work on the golf course in May and finishing in September.
“The ultimate goal is to cater to entry level golfers and skilled golfers and be maintainable with minimal staff and inputs,” said Quitno. “Our current plan is to grass everything other than the greens in a low-mow bluegrass. We want to provide tight, upright lies for beginners to easily clip or sweep the ball while still providing a premier playing surface. With the newest blue cultivars, we can do that, plus it gives us the ultimate flexibility in adjusting fairway lines and adapting to maintenance needs in the future. Neil, who will oversee maintenance here as well as at Hawks, has been a key collaborator thus far in our efforts to realise these goals.”