Renovation work is progressing on a new practice facility and changes to the nine-hole course at Philadelphia Country Club, Pennsylvania, in a project led by architect Jim Nagle of Forse Design and contractor Mottin Golf Course Renovations.
“Mottin Golf and Forse Design have worked together on many projects in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York and have built a great working relationship and trust,” said Brett Nagy, golf operations manager for Mottin Golf Course Renovations. “We were excited about the opportunity to work at Philadelphia Country Club and add such a great course to our resume that is in our backyard.”
The work includes the construction of a new driving range on the footprint of the Centennial Nine’s original second and third holes, resulting in a rerouting of the nine along with various other changes. The Centennial Nine course was originally designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1991.
“With over 700 golfing members, the club identified that their current practice facilities were undersized to accommodate the needs of members,” said Nagy. “Over the course of 20 years, the club explored many different routings and locations with input from a variety of architects, with Forse Design submitting 14 different conceptual plans. In the end the members desired a course that was shorter in length but utilised the land in the best possible way, without disrupting or altering the routing of the original 18 of the Spring Mill Course.”
Nagy explained the changes to the Centennial Nine: “The first hole remains as-is but is being lengthened by 10 yards. The second hole is a new downhill ‘short’ par three to a tightly bunkered green, while the third hole now encompasses portions of the original fourth fairway set at a lower elevation combined with an alternate more strategic upper fairway, with the green set on the higher ground.
The fourth hole plays to its original green but now as a 170-yard uphill par three. Holes five to seven remain as designed, with each being lengthened from between seven to 45 yards. The eighth is being converted into a par four with a new green sited 55 yards beyond the original, while the ninth plays within the footprint of the original hole but is being converted into a short par five, with the green being built 85 yards beyond the existing one.”
The Centennial Nine has now been closed for re-grassing, with only a three-hole loop consisting of the fifth, sixth and seventh hole remaining open. Construction has been progressing according to schedule, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. All employees have been socially distanced during the project, while other safety measures include sanitisation of equipment and tools each day and the mandatory wearing of masks.
“We feel very fortunate to be a part of a project on a course with such a rich history and strong architectural bones,” said Nagy. “It has been a pleasure to work with the Philadelphia Country Club membership and staff throughout the process.”
Work is set to be completed by the spring of 2021.