Chris Wilczynski has developed a master plan for a renovation of the original nine holes at Pine River Country Club in Alma, Michigan.
The project was initiated by co-owner Al Kommel, who hired Wilczynski after a recommendation from the Golf Association of Michigan. Randy Lewis, a member of the club and winner of the 2011 US Mid-Amateur championship, consulted with the architect in the creation to the plan.
“The design and routing of the course was well thought out,” said Wilczynski. “Over time, many of the natural elements of a course begin to fade and exceed their life cycle. The master plan is a comprehensive road map that will lead to improved conditions and a better golf experience.”
The original nine holes were designed by the Chicago Landscape Company in the 1920s, with a second nine added in the 1960s by Jerry Matthews.
The renovation is scheduled to begin in the summer with the removal of over 250 trees to expose the surrounding landscape and enhance the playability of the holes. Native grass areas will be expanded by four acres, to reduce the maintenance requirement and provide a diverse habitat for wildlife.
The plan will then see greens expanded back to their original size and new tees built on every hole, allowing the redesigned nine to be played from 1,950 to 3,300 yards. “There will be four sets of tees,” said Wilczynski. “By adding forward tees, we are creating a shorter course that invites players of all ages and skill levels to the game.”
New bunkering will feature steep grass faces and slightly concave sand floors.
“We’ll focus on strategic bunkering and repositioning them at more appropriate angles to the line of play, which is an essential design element in creating challenge and interest,” said Wilczynski. “The course will have a very natural and timeless feel as the bunkers will be placed within the property’s existing landforms and ridges.”
“The master plan is really the first step to unveiling the inherent beauty of the course and restoring it to its original design intent, but in a modern way,” he continued. “I’m honoured to be part of this transformation.”