Golf Course Architecture - Issue 69, July 2022

TEE BOX Fry/Straka restores Ross design on Belleair’s West course FROM THE ARCHI VE Dana Fry and Jason Straka are progressing with a restoration of the Donald Ross-designed West course at Florida’s Belleair Country Club, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. “After a full survey of the members, it was clear they desired and supported no mere run-of-the-mill renovation of the West course, but a restoration that embraced its historic significance and pedigree,” said Ed Shaughnessy, chief operating officer at Belleair. “The bunkers and greens definitely required reconstruction. That resolution led to several investigative trips to the Tufts Archives in Pinehurst, where we learned just how important this design is, historically, and the amount of documentation we have from Donald Ross himself – regarding both his original design effort in 1915, and his redesign in 1924. That information enabled us to make informed decisions culminating in a full and faithful restoration.” Every green is being rebuilt to USGA specification with contours restored according to Ross’s 1924 construction drawings. “A lot of older clubs struggle to show that Donald Ross was on site at all when he laid out their golf courses,” said Straka, who is also the president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. “To have a course where Ross was on site so many times, for the initial design, and then for the remodel of his own work 10 years later – that’s incredibly rare. Then, to have such detailed construction drawings – and notes in the man’s own hand. That’s rarer still. “We basically took all the plans from 1915 and 1924 and turned them into modern construction drawings. So, if Ross had a cop bunker seven feet high at 16, we’re building it seven feet high. Ross detailed a lot of ‘cop’ bunkers on this 1924 routing. These are mounds totally in play – that’s what we’re building, because Ross’s own cross36 Images: Belleair Country Club