Park Mammoth begins building new short course by Brian Ross

  • PArk Mammoth Boneyard
    Ross Golf Design

    Brian Ross’s routing for the short course at Park Mammoth in Kentucky

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction has started on a new short course, designed by Brian Ross, at Park Mammoth Golf Club in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The nine-hole par-three layout is the latest development at the club, formerly known as Cave Valley, since David Chandler bought it in late 2019. His initial focus was to completely redesign the existing 18-hole course, which was undertaken in 2022. Last year, work turned to the new driving range and practice area, and this year, the clubhouse and creation of a short course is the focus.

“The clubhouse is going to open a lot of doors for Park Mammoth,” said Ross. “With the addition of this new source of revenue and the ability to keep golfers on property for longer, we knew that the next step was to add to the golf offering. From this exploration, the short course project was born.”

Ross Golf Design will also create a 40,000-square-foot Himalayas-style putting green that can be lit for evening play, a corporate centre with hitting bays and Trackman technology, and an indoor teaching facility at the range.

The short course is being built on a 15-acre parcel of land west of the range and practice area. “A portion of this property once housed a short-lived second course at Cave Valley, but it has been sitting fallow since that course closed during the 2008 recession,” said Ross.

The layout will have holes ranging from 65 to 125 yards. “Like the main course, it will have large, undulating greens, minimal but impactful bunkering, and a variety of teeing areas and pin positions that will allow the course to remain interesting no matter how many times you go around,” said Ross.

“This portion of the property has a significant stand of beautiful hardwood trees that we intend to highlight so it will, in places, offer a more intimate experience than the wide-open main course. We also plan to show off a bit more of the karst limestone landscape that exists in this part of Kentucky, so golfers should expect more frequent interactions with exposed rock outcroppings, sinkholes and forested areas.”

Ross devised the routing during two visits in the winter. “The routing makes a figure-of-eight loop as it plays up and around a large central hill, before heading back down to the starting point near the driving range and practice area,” he said. “The routing has two primary highlights for me. The first is the central gathering area where the second green, third tee, sixth green, seventh green and eighth tee all converge in the centre of the site. I’m always looking for places where you can bring golfers together at different points in their rounds and this crossover point in the routing is going to be a really fun portion to build and for golfers to experience.

“The real highlight of the course, though, is going to be the stretch from hole three to five. The third will be the most dramatically uphill hole on the course, playing through a gap in the trees to a wide but shallow green fronted by a bunker and with an awesome eight-to-ten-foot rock outcropping immediately behind the green. Golfers will then climb up this outcropping to the fourth hole, which plays along the top of the ledge over a minefield of exposed rock and native area to a small but dramatic green site with a dry creek bed immediately behind. And the fifth offers tremendous, long views out into the central Kentucky landscape and will play significantly downhill to a large, undulating green fronted by a deep swale.”

Shaping began in May, with DWS Construction starting golf course construction June. Ross and Jeff Stein, who are working together at Jekyll Island, are handling most of the shaping, but are being supported by Chris Staffeldt and Ross Golf Design intern Andrew Hasik. Ian Williams of Green Irrigation Solutions is the irrigation designer and George E. Ley Company will handle the installation.

“Like the 18-hole course, we won’t be moving a lot of dirt but there will be some areas where we will make some minor cuts and fills to generate enough material to build a couple of the more creative greens,” said Ross. “Otherwise, given the short nature of the holes, we should be able to build some really fun, engaging features while still honouring the native terrain of this section of the property.”

Construction is expected to be complete by the end of August, with seeding of the 777 bentgrass greens starting in September. Following the grow-in period, the course is scheduled to open in spring 2025.