Golf Course Architecture - Issue 59, January 2020

41 TEE BOX Eckenrode returns Diablo to Golden Age Todd Eckenrode of Origins Golf Design has completed a historic restoration of the golf course at Diablo Country Club near San Francisco. Greens have been rebuilt to their original dimensions and, together with new surrounds, re-grassed with the latest bentgrass. Drought-tolerant bermuda has been used on the rest of the course, with the overall maintained turf area reduced by 35 acres, which have been restored to drought-tolerant fescue, native grasses and California Oak understory returned to its natural state. All bunkers have been reconstructed, with many restored in their historical locations and teeing areas lent a more natural shape and contour. Eckenrode and his senior designer Andy Frank, working with Landscapes Unlimited and lead shapers Matt Flint and Brett Hochstein, as well as Joe Hancock and Scott Clem, have retained the original routing and worked to ensure that all features respected the course’s Golden Age heritage. The original nine holes at Diablo were designed in 1915 by Jack Neville, his design debut before completing Pebble Beach with Douglas Grant. The second nine was laid out in 1920 by William Watson, who then continued to work in San Francisco, designing The Olympic Club and Harding Park. Diablo is the only golf course in the world to showcase the designs of both Neville and Watson. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the dramatic improvements that have evolved in this massive renovation and restoration project,” said Eckenrode. “This project has given us a wonderful opportunity to provide Diablo with the infrastructure and agronomic conditions that will position the course well into the future,” said course superintendent Ryan Nicholson. Photo: Todd Eckenrode