A project to enhance the North and South courses at Peninsula Kingswood Golf Club’s Frankston site is progressing well.
The courses, which lie on the edge of the Australian sandbelt, are being redesigned by the team at Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead (OCCM).
Six holes on the North course – holes ten to fifteen – have recently had a ‘soft opening’, allowing members to get their first glimpse of the new holes on the northern side of the property. Work on the South course started in March 2015, with that course now having been open for play for the past year.
Mike Cocking of OCCM told GCA that the club’s Peninsula site in Frankston had, beside Royal Melbourne, possibly the “best combination of sand, undulating terrain and heathland vegetation in the region.”
“The original driver of the course changes were really condition-based, with drainage, irrigation and reconstruction of greens required to create the firm, fast surfaces the sandbelt is synonymous with,” Cocking said. “However, this process has also allowed for many design improvements. On the lower lying South course, we have reinstated old creek lines to become functional, strategic and attractive hazards.”
All bunkers on the property have been completely rebuilt and many repositioned, while sandy wastes and patches of heathland have been added to help improve the interest and strategy of the holes.
“Tees have also been reconstructed, with several new back tees allowing for possible future tournament play, as well as providing some elasticity to the layout, so some holes can be varied both in length, and even par,” Cocking said.
Work got underway on both courses in March 2015, with six holes on the North course currently open for preview play to members. These holes have been combined with 12 of the holes on the South course to create a composite layout.
“The tenth was always a strong par four, but a new green some 40 metres further back, along with a new set of tees, has made for an even stronger hole while also offering the chance to play as a medium length par five,” said Cocking. “The redan style green and bunkering works well under either scenario. We’ve used this concept elsewhere, with the par five fifteenth on the North course now featuring some par four tees to take advantage of a dramatic sand carry, create a better relationship with the previous green, and above all add to the variety.”
“The eleventh through to thirteenth look similar but new greens, bunkers and sandy wastes and the addition of short grass has added to the strategy and options,” Cocking said. “Perhaps the most picturesque hole on the course – the medium length fourteenth – has also undergone some subtle changes. A new green has added a number of interesting pin positions and work to the heathland vegetation in the carry and surrounding the green has created a dramatic visual.”
The architect described the new greens as being a little more complex than their predecessors, with the combination of bunkers eating into greens and putting surfaces extending to the edge of the bunkers creating a number of dramatic pin positions and a greater focus on positioning from the fairway.
“We’ve kept the width of the fairways, in places even making them a little wider,” Cocking said. “One of the great features of the best sandbelt courses is their pure expression of strategy. There’s a reason the hazards are positioned where they are and usually there’s a benefit playing close to them, be it a shorter shot or a better angle into the greens. Sometimes with a change in pin position, the preferred side of the fairway can reverse but rarely is the middle of the fairway the best position.”
“We hope they find the new holes a little more interesting, with more options, and more clubs they find themselves choosing from,” Cocking added “Every hole has been changed in some way or another – some more than others. But the routing and hole corridors themselves have stayed the same.”
“With the North course now basically completed and under grow-in, our work at present is focused on the holes immediately around the clubhouse, along with the practice facilities,” said Cocking.
All 36 holes at Peninsula Kingswood’s Frankston site are expected to be ready and open for play later this year.