Washtenaw appoints Raymond Hearn to develop long-range course plan

  • Washtenaw
    Raymond Hearn

    Raymond Hearn’s plans for the fifth at Washtenaw include tree removal, green expansion and updated bunkering

  • Washtenaw
    Courtesy of RS&GIS

    The architect is using historic imagery to inform his work, including this 1937 aerial

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Washtenaw Golf Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan, has selected Raymond Hearn to develop a new long-range master plan for its golf course.

Hearn will be working with the club’s operating partner Dave Kendall, who, along with his partners, purchased the club in January 2020.

“Right now, I am completing the historical review of the course while playing, measuring features, sketching ideas and studying the course over and over again,” said Hearn. “We are thrilled to have secured an old golf course aerial photograph from the 1930s to review and study.”

The course first opened as a three-hole layout in 1899 and then was expanded to six and later nine holes in the early 1900s. In 1922, the course was expanded to 18.

“We will be generating master planning options for each hole for Dave to review and consider,” said Hearn. “The result will be a combination of restoration and renovation course improvements that make sense in terms of improved strategy and playability. I want to improve the playing experience for all levels of golfing ability.”

Hearn intends to complete the various renovations in phases.

“Restoring old edges to certain historic greens, removing a few trees, repositioning certain bunkers, renovating certain tees, and tweaking fairway limit lines will all add to increased strategy, shot value and playability,” said Hearn.

“My goal is to achieve more angles and play options for all golfers. I also never lose sight of this game’s most important principle, that golf should be a fun and an enjoyable experience. Restoring some of the original course features lost over time has been a true treasure hunt utilising old aerials, photos and sketches along with a handy soil probe.”

“My partners and I are thrilled to be working with such an accomplished veteran architect in Ray Hearn,” said Kendall. “He has successfully worked on a number of pre-1900 golf course restoration and renovation projects. Ray closely studies historical aerials and documents; constantly plays and studies our course and then provides us with strategic master planning options to review and discuss.

“What we like most about Ray is that he makes sure his improvements make the course more enjoyable for all golfers and not just the single handicap and scratch players. He listens carefully to our input and feedback. We are very excited about his upcoming master planning recommendations.”