The back nine at Crane Creek Country Club has reopened following a project which saw the creation of two entirely new golf holes.
The project at the club in Boise, Idaho, has been led by architect David Druzisky, with the construction work led by Landscapes Unlimited.
The work on the back nine represented the second phase of a course-wide project that had been some 17 years in the making.
As well as renovations to the greens and bunkers on the back nine, new fourteenth and fifteenth holes are now in place following the acquisition of land adjacent to the course.
What was previously the tenth hole has been converted to a new practice facility, while the thirteenth hole has been converted to a par three that links up with the new holes. The old fourteenth and fifteenth holes have been abandoned.
GCA caught up with Druzisky to discuss the project.
“There is a correct formula for how to best go about renovation work for every club and frankly, that is the hardest thing to determine,” Druzisky said. “In this case, dividing the work up into the front nine and back nine made a lot of sense for Crane Creek. If we had done it all at once they would have been without their course for a year and that would be just about impossible to justify in any business model. Using two off seasons was really a great balance of getting it done quickly and still giving them access to their course. It was then up to me, the superintendent and the contractor to make sure the work remained consistent.”
Druzisky said that the work didn’t stray far from the scope identified in the original masterplan he created.
“The possibility of acquiring the new adjacent land was always an exciting proposition and when that became a reality, I think that really ignited the desire of the club leadership to take the course to the next level,” he explained. “As with many clubs, at times it seemed like we may never realise our vision, and now that it’s done I can’t believe it was 17 years ago I first put pen to paper.”
This new plot of land to work with was a particularly interesting prospect for Druzisky.
“It is beautiful land that, when added to the back nine the way I had it configured, would fit in seamlessly,” he said. “In addition to freeing up an area for the expansion of the practice range, it gave me the opportunity to route new holes and adjust others to dramatically improve the course. I am not one to look to add length to any course, but in this case the routing lacked a long par five and had too many shorter par fours. That was remedied with a beautiful sweeping downhill par five and a strong uphill par four. This had a ripple effect through the entire back nine as we replaced a ‘forced in’ par three with a new dramatic downhill par three with principles of the Redan in its design. We also redesigned and relocated the par five twelfth green, and shifted the tees to add an angle to the drive over the canyon on the par four sixteenth. The redesigned short par four seventeenth green complex is now home to a Biarritz style green that players are really enjoying.”
According to Druzisky, the project saw all aspects of the course over the two phases either replaced, redesigned or renovated.
“It was fast paced and we knew we were flirting with mother nature on the schedule,” he said. “The key was partnering with a contractor capable doing the work within the allotted time frame. Bringing Landscapes Unlimited on board was key because they have the resources and talent to do what needed to be done. I spend a lot of time in the field during construction and we worked well together.”
The architect concluded by saying that with all his projects, his work at Crane Creek was ultimately to deliver a fun experience for members and golfers at the club.
“Early returns from the club suggest members are doing just that,” he added. “The work wasn’t about restoring some old design, but Bob Baldock’s original design did well to use the land he was provided so we had good bones to build upon. I believe the work has been a great combination of improving playability and enhancing strategic and visual interest. The styling we’ve added is classic and timeless and embraces the natural beauty of the surrounding native foothills – all attributes typically found at the finest clubs and courses. What could be better!”