Wilczynski to restore Chautauqua’s Lake course to original Ross design

Wilczynski to restore Chautauqua’s Lake course to original Ross design
Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Chris Wilczynski has developed a 36-hole master plan for Chautauqua Golf Club in New York, which includes a full restoration of the Lake course to the design created by Donald Ross in the early 1920s.


“We had detailed drawings of the Ross course but, when studied, it was clear that Ross’s original routing and individual hole designs had not been fully implemented,” said Wilczynski. “The original course didn’t fully represent his vision, so we tried to be true to that with our master planning recommendations.”


Three holes from Ross’s original design were also lost when the club’s Hill course, designed by Xen Hassenplug, was built in the mid-1980s.


Wilczynski’s recommendations include new forward and back tees, implementing Ross’s strategic bunkering, tree removal, and expanding greens back to their original shapes and design intent. The Hill course plan outlines simpler refinements.


“The conversion to Ross’s original Lake holes will be relatively easy given that the holes are there,” said Wilczynski. “We have the three holes that were built to accommodate the Lake course rerouting in the 1980s. These holes will convert over to the Hill layout. It works perfectly because the layouts will look and play like the same course.


“In the end, the Lake course is so important to Chautauqua that we have recommended it for restoration. We did this in the spirit of what Donald Ross did. We are all really excited about restoring the course to its original layout. This project was a lot of fun!”


Sebastian Baggiano, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Chautauqua Institution, the non-profit education centre that owns the club, said: “We are excited to have a plan that gives us a series of benchmarks and aspirations to work toward and also to frame a case for philanthropic support. We think there will be great enthusiasm for the opportunities that the proposed changes will present for our members, visitors, and for the attraction of golfers who are looking for that distinctive Donald Ross experience in a unique and beautiful lakeside setting.”