Golf Course Architecture - Issue 66, October 2021

24 TEE BOX Photo: Midway East River 9 is a new nine-hole par three course at the 150-acre East River development in Houston, Texas. Construction is near completion on the layout, created by the father-and- son team of Mike and Robert Smelek of Smelek Design. It features two sets of tees “so each hole can be played from a different length, angle or elevation,” said Mike Smelek. “The site for East River 9 is an abandoned industrial complex with frontage along Buffalo Bayou and a spectacular view of the city skyline,” he said. Holes range in length from 95 to 145 yards and have been designed “with equal emphasis on both the tactical and aesthetic presentation,” said Smelek. “Important to the design has been the aesthetic considerations, such as the contouring of course features and how the sunlight will interact with them seasonally and at various times of the day. Both offsite views and views to other holes will add to the visual experience and therefore, must be included in the overall aesthetic presentation.” East River 9 COURSE BLUEPR INT The green of the fifth hole juts out onto a lake Alternate tee locations allow each hole to be played from a different length, angle or elevation A large double green for the fourth and eighth hole includes four feet of elevation change from one side to the other “The first and eighth holes are oriented directly toward the city,” said Robert Smelek A 300-yard practice range will be contoured to create an amphitheatre setting After two bunkerless openers, the third green is protected by two hazards Image: Smelek Design