Golf course architect Mike DeVries is overseeing a pilot project at Flint Golf Club in Michigan, USA, to restore lost features of the original Willie Park Jr design.
Flint, which opened in 1918, is one of several courses Park Jr designed in the area, including Red Run, Pine Lake, Battle Creek, and Meadowbrook. It is distinctive for having five par threes and five par fives, and an outer nine which rotates around the inner nine.
“Flint is a Willie Park Jr design with wonderful original greens and their contours intact, although they have shrunk considerably over the years,” said DeVries, whose firm is based in Traverse City, Michigan. “The bunkers have also been lost or changed considerably over the last 100 years. We are doing a pilot project, so the membership can begin to see what a gem they really have.
“The eighth hole is a par three in a flat section of the property and the green is considerably smaller than its original size. The superintendent, Jim Moore, has expanded the collar but it is not out as far as it should be to restore the original perimeter.
“Five original bunkers are now only two, but there are two grass cavities at the back left and right of the green intact, so we will restore the two front bunkers at the green and reintroduce the two back greens. There was also a crossing bunker at the beginning of the fairway, but we will leave that out of this project.”
DeVries, who describes the project as a basic restoration of lost features, said: “The mounding at the back of the green is impressive and varied – serving as a backdrop to the green and framing the two bunkers and centre section of green that is pinched by the bunkers.”
DeVries and his design associate Joe Hancock are handling shaping work with the support of the club’s own team. Construction started on 17 September and is expected to be finished by the end of the month.