Nuzzo and Mahaffey team up again at Nine Grand

  • Grand Nine

    The meandering creek defines the par three second

  • Grand Nine

    Architect Mike Nuzzo in a bunker at Nine Grand

  • Grand Nine

    The Principal’s Nose feature on the ninth hole

Adam Lawrence
By Adam Lawrence

Ten years on from their successful collaboration at the ultra-private Wolf Point Club in south Texas, architect Mike Nuzzo and contractor Don Mahaffey have teamed up again on a new project, part of the large Grand Oaks residential development in Cleveland, Texas, about an hour north of Houston.

Grand Oaks is being created by Texas firm McKinley Developments, but is backed by Chinese money. McKinley hired Nuzzo to create a golf offering for Grand Oaks, but the project wasn't entirely straighforward.

“We had 110 acres available for golf, but it was not in one contiguous parcel,” Nuzzo told GCA on a recent visit to the site. “In particular, one corner of the site was basically no use for the ‘main’ course because of the access in and out of that piece of land.”

Nuzzo and Mahaffey solved this problem by creating an innovative solution that should contribute to the finished golf offering being usable by a much larger proportion of Grand Oaks residents that would be the case with a traditional 18-hole course (and also by green fee visitors – the facility will be public). He routed a full sized nine hole course – Nine Grand – across the main part of the property, but put a nine hole par three loop – Three Grand – and a large putting green – still to be named, but which will have a routed nine hole putting course on it – in the corner segment.

The previously wooded site is basically flat, but careful clearing work has revealed interesting small-scale contours in some areas, while a series of wandering creeks (or bayous as they are called in the area) create extra ground interest, especially on the par three second hole on the main nine. Holes five and six will play around a 45 acre lake currently being excavated to provide fill for the housing development, while the ninth hole is a 610 yard par five featuring a beautiful Principal’s Nose bunker complex in the second landing area.

Mahaffey, whose company Greenscape Methods won the contract to build the job in a competitive tender process, has assembled an all-star cast of shapers and construction experts. Project superintendent Robert Young worked with Nuzzo and Mahaffey at Wolf Point, as did shaper Joe Hancock. Mahaffey’s brother Gary is a key part of the crew, as are shapers Keith Rhebb and Angela Moser. Construction should be complete by late summer of 2018 with a soft opening expected in the autumn.