Todd Quitno has completed a first phase of renovation work focused on greens and bunkers at Westmoor County Club near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The architect completed a project at Westmoor in 2008 while an associate with Lohmann Golf Designs, creating deep, grass-faced bunkers inspired by William Langford’s renovation of the course in 1957. But Quitno said this work “diverged on style by including more noses and fingers.”
He added: “Our goal back then was to bring in the bold angles and elevated greens of Langford to the rest of the course, where possible, and to an extent I think we did. However, the styling, specifically in the bunkering, was a deviation from what characterises Langford’s work.”
In 2020, the club asked Quitno to develop plans to renovate bunkers and greens. His goal was a simpler presentation of bunkers, making them easier to maintain, and restoring the Langford style.
“One of the questions posed at the onset of our most recent work was, what is Westmoor’s identity?” said Quitno. “That has always been a difficult question as the course was reportedly designed originally by a member, and then about five or six holes were altered by Langford when Interstate 94 highway was built in the 1950s. Those holes were remarkably different from the originals.
“Our work this time is focused on simplification as well as the broadening of green surfaces. It leans more towards Langford now but is still a unique style to Westmoor.”
The first phase of the project focused on 10 greens and their bunkers. “The major focus with the bunkers was to take the long fingers and bulkiness out that characterised the style we implemented back in 2008,” said Quitno. “At that time, we went too far with earthworks around the back of greens and bunkers.
“By doing this, it has provided a much cleaner, simpler look and there is considerably less hand mowing work on the grass faces. Removing the excessive bulk from behind greens in several locations has also allowed the opportunity to expand putting surfaces to capture edges, add pinning areas, and clean up a few awkward tie-ins. The aesthetics are much improved simply by the elimination of clutter and bulk. In turn, the added pinning areas, via expansions and slope adjustments, allow for greater variety.”
This is the first time Quitno has renovated his own work. “Since 2008 my style has moved much more towards simplification,” he said. “I now tend to focus on more efficient forms that are still bold and elegant but without the excess; long lines that blend into existing landforms, long views and horizons and greater attention to scale.
“One of the things we implemented in 2008 were bentgrass roll-offs, something that was newer to me at the time. The common mistake with those back then was to make them too small and severe with a catch basin in the bottom. They looked like teardrops, and the ball always went to one spot.
“A big focus of this renovation was to expand those to better match the large scale of the features, and to make them longer and more subtle so that balls will finish in a variety of areas. We also took all the catch basins out of the bentgrass and moved them into the rough, at least where we could. I think those kinds of details show how my style has matured.
“I have always been proud of the work we completed in 2008. It took Westmoor to a new level at the time and was hugely successful. I love that they allowed me to come back in and employ what I’ve learned since that project and take Westmoor to a next level.”
With the first phase complete, Quitno will now focus on fairway bunkers, with the aim of improving strategic play. “In the immediate future our plan is to make one or two annual visits to review the work completed and assess what is next,” he said. “It will be a working masterplan where we will continue to adjust as needs, budgets and priorities change.”
Future changes will also cover practice facilities, including the expansion of the putting green and relocation of the range tee, to provide more space and improve safety.