Golf course architect Mike Gogel has redesigned 18 of the 36 holes at the former Alvamar Golf and Country Club in Lawrence, Kansas. Construction of the new course is almost complete and ready for the May 2019 reopening of the club, rebranded The Jayhawk Club and now a 27-hole facility.
“For a number of years prior to 2016, the club – like many standalone facilities – began to face financial struggles,” said Gogel. “In 2016, a new group of local investors purchased the club and The Jayhawk Club was born.”
Gogel worked with the investors to identify land from existing 36 holes that could be developed into housing. Of the remaining 27 holes, nine were left untouched and Gogel has completely redesigned and rerouted a new 18, with new tees, fairways, bunkers, greens and an upgraded irrigation system.
“We combined six holes from the private course back nine with twelve holes on the championship course to make an 18-hole golf course,” said Gogel.
“We built a new five-acre lake allowing us to come off city water,” said Gogel. “The original courses were laid out over a beautiful rolling terrain and wonderful tree cover. It is very much a parkland course. We have introduced a generous amount of native grasses throughout the property to both accentuate the design as well as reduce the daily maintenance.
“We have one or two minor details to wrap up this spring and we anticipate opening to members in early May. The course has yet to be rated – it will happen in the spring – but will play from 4,913 yards to 7,103 yards. I strongly believe in designing courses that both the seasoned and less accomplished player can both enjoy and be challenged commensurate with their skill level.”
Daryl Pearson and the AFP Golf Construction team handled construction with Doug Thacker leading the shaping with help from Doug Snyder.
The golf facility will continue to be the home facility for the University of Kansas men’s and women’s golf teams. The Alvamar championship course had hosted the Kansas Open; the USGA Women's Public Links Championship; the Big Eight and Big Twelve Championships; as well as numerous Kansas Golf Association and Midwest Section PGA Championships.
“The most enjoyable part for me was working with my brother Matt [a former PGA Tour player],” said Gogel. “Matt played golf at KU for four years, along the way he set the championship course record en route to winning the Kansas Open at Alvamar. Matt and his family live in Mission, Kansas, and our parents live a few minutes from him. Our father and mother both attended KU and played the course while living in Lawrence in the early 70s. It’s not often – almost never – that a designer gets the opportunity to redesign a course that has had so much family history, much less have the chance to do it with a family member who has been a major part of a course’s history.”
Long-time Alvamar superintendent Mel Anderson pioneered the use of zoysia in the region.
“The courses were the first west of the Mississippi to have zoysia fairways, which was a genius step by Mr Anderson as the club is in the middle of the transition zone,” said Gogel. “This turf type helped ensure the courses could be found in good condition at almost any time of year.”
As part of the project, the public clubhouse was removed. “This opened room for multi-family development, a new swim facility, a new state-of-the-art wellness centre, and a significantly expanded KU indoor practice facility,” said Gogel.
“The KU indoor practice facility has team locker rooms, lounge rooms, coaches’ offices, seven hitting bays, a chipping/putting green and a simulator. On the outside, the golf teams now have their own 10,000 square-foot putting green, three separate short game areas with bent greens and three different fairway surfaces of bent, zoysia and bermuda.”
The Jayhawk Club has already been selected to host the 2019 Kansas State Mid-Am and the 2020 Kansas State Am.