Golf Course Architecture - Issue 64, April 2021

26 TEE BOX THE B IG P I CTURE The recreated ‘Sahara’ bunker complex on the seventeenth hole of the Lower course at Baltrusol, photographed by Evan Schiller, and part of a year-long project by Gil Hanse at the New Jersey club. The bunker complex is now more in play for the longer hitters, while allowing shorter hitters to lay up. A narrow opening to the green has also been restored. Baltusrol hired Hanse to bring the original AW Tillinghast style back to the Lower course, which has hosted multiple major championships since opening in 1922 and is set to host its third PGA Championship in 2029. Hanse’s restoration has focused on widening and twisting fairways, tree removal and returning greens to their original scale and size. Fairway bunkers that had been removed over the years have been reinstated, while others were eliminated to restore the ground game. According to Hanse, the biggest change has been the lowering of the course’s features, which has made greens the high point, and focus, of the holes. “Over the years, bunkers and green surrounds were raised for framing,” said Hanse. “And it was our belief that the golf course would present itself more authentically if we removed these raised features. Now the course better fits the ground and our perception of how Tillinghast presented it.” The Lower course will reopen in May, and work on Hanse’s plans for the Upper course will begin in 2024. Photo: Evan Schiller