The Landings Club in Savannah, Georgia, has reopened its Magnolia course following the first phase of renovation work, which was overseen by Brandon Johnson of Arnold Palmer Design Company.
Work began in March 2021 following a review of the golf course by APDC, which identified that the greens infrastructure needed to be addressed. “The subsurface drainage had served its lifespan and the greens had shrunk significantly in size and shape, leaving several with only severe slopes available for pin locations,” said Johnson.
“Furthermore, the existing bunkers had morphed in size and shape and coupled with shrinking greens, had lost their meaningful relationship to the most important feature on the course.”
The focus of the first phase was to redesign and renovate bunkers and greens, with the aim to improve their playability, aesthetics and maintenance.
“The new greens provide a variety of pin locations, some tucked down in bowls, gathering slopes, down on grade, perched on plateaus or next to sideboards and backstops to provide fun creative options to navigate the hole,” said Johnson. “Work on bunkers has seen a significant reduction in overall bunker square footage. The reduction has allowed for slightly wider fairways within the mature oak playing corridors.
“Meaningful width was introduced through the reduction, realignment or elimination of bunkers, reshaping, the incorporation of contour, and the adjustment of fairway mowing lines. While the corridor widths stayed the same, the course will play and feel slightly more generous off the tee. Most approaches and surrounds have been opened up to allow for a wider variety of approach and recovery shots.”
While addressing infrastructure was the main aim of the project, the club hopes the renovation elevates Magnolia’s look, strategy and character for the next 40 years. “We were able to differentiate the course from others within the community with strategic and aesthetic enhancements that simultaneously addressed the functional and infrastructure needs of the club,” said Johnson.
Johnson was assisted on the project by course superintendent Chris Steigelman and shaper Sterling Garner.
A second phase of work will cover tees, fairway shaping, lake line adjustment, tree removal, native vegetation restoration, irrigation and cart path conversion.
This article is based on a piece that first appeared in the October 2021 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.