Golf Course Architecture - Issue 63, January 2021

62 Extreme sports ESSAY O ne day, ESPN executive Ron Semiao said he wanted to televise skateboarders and snowboarders on TV as if they were real athletes. He was told it was a crazy idea that went against classic sports programming principles. Luckily, the powers at ESPN also figured it was an outstanding idea. A new school of sports was born. Stress and tension manifest physiologically. You can smell your own stress, and sense that of others. The agitation was palpable during our filming of Landmand’s first cut. This was going to be a big scrape. Soil samples, seed test plots, topo maps and drainage profiles are useful. The colourful and artful masterplan delivered by Rob Collins was illustrative and informative. All of the aforementioned only go so far. None of them matter until a determination can be made if the dirt beneath the bulldozer can be scraped and shaped into fairway, bunkers, and greens that holds their collective form. We are in Homer, Nebraska, because this is where King-Collins were selected to build the new Landmand Golf Course. We won’t dwell on the history that Tad King and Rob Collins built at Sweetens Cove. If their story is new to you, without judgement, we ask you to take a moment to look them up on your digital device of choice. It quickly became clear this place was going to cause a ruckus as soon as our ugly yet surprisingly nimble rental SUV finished slogging the construction road to the top of the ridge. The plan covers hundreds of acres with thousands of acres left over. The land In the US we have a collection of roads defined as the Interstate Highway System. Legal speeds are in the 70mph (120kph) range. Those that have driven across the US via Interstate 80 may have noted some impressive hills that appear after extended f lat views of crops near the Iowa and Nebraska borders. “Wow, those look like big hills”. That thought quickly recedes into the rear-view mirror at 70mph in search of coffee and clean restrooms. Landmand is being constructed atop some of those landforms, the Loess Hills. The Loess were pushed into place by the glacial migration and melt that created Lake Superior and Lake Michigan’s shorelines. This same glacial mass delivered the terrain for Kingsley, Crystal Downs, Northland, Whistling Straits and Shoreacres. The remnants of prehistoric lakes and dunes extend inland to Beverly, Flossmoor, Olympia Fields and other notable places near thousands of golfers. In person, the Loess are even bigger. Everything around them is flat, for hundreds of miles. They offer 50-mile views on a clear day. But they are not sand, they are glacial till. Landmand will be the first major golf destination constructed on Loess’ glacial till. This first cut will break the seal on this big bang new golf course architecture investment. This is not a restoration, it is a dice-roll of virgin golf construction on land previously untested by premier golf construction. King-Collins is laser focused on the delivery of a big bang. In partnership with an owner committed to the golf- architecture-forward development and delivery of spectacular and publicly accessible great golf, Landmand is a recipe for ruckus that many support. King-Collins Design’s new Landmand course in the east of Nebraska promises to be big news when it makes its debut in 2022. Filmmaker Vaughn Halyard has documented the process