Golf Course Architecture - Issue 66, October 2021

32 TEE BOX Jones breathes new life into Ocean Winds Rees Jones has completed a renovation of the Ocean Winds course, originally designed by Willard Byrd in 1973, at Seabrook Island Club, near Charleston, South Carolina. “When it was built it was regarded as one of the best courses in the state,” said Jones. “It’s like two courses in one; you have the live oaks on the front nine, and the saltwater marshes and long views, then dunes holes on the back nine. It’s a very diverse site that enabled Byrd to really use the natural features effectively.” Jones, with lead designer Bryce Swanson, began the project with a full assessment of the course. “We identified what we considered to be some problems,” says Jones. “The live oaks are spectacular in how they frame the holes but present some issues with overhang. While you can trim them, you can’t remove them. So we had to look at the shade issues.” “A lot of our changes focused on playability,” said Swanson, in a video about the renovation available on the club’s website. “The original architect had elevated greens, with bunkers in front, so it made it really hard to access the surface for people – it only allowed them to f ly the ball onto the green.” The design team also wanted to address crowned fairways, which had originally been created that way to help with drainage but often punished players by kicking balls away from the line of play. Another significant aspect of the renovation was bunkering. With hazards to be rebuilt using new technology, Jones and Swanson had the opportunity to review placement. “We could make them smaller and more playable and locate them where they don’t hurt the average golfer, yet they challenge the better player,” said Jones. “We eliminated a lot of the Seabrook Island Club is located on the South Carolina coast, just south of Charleston Photo: Seabrook Island Club