Golf Course Architecture - Issue 70, October 2022

20 TEE BOX Bloomfield Hills restoration leads to membership surge Bloomfield Hills Country Club in Michigan has a multi-year waiting list for memberships following the restoration of its golf course by Clayton, DeVries & Pont. Originally laid out by Tom Bendelow in 1909, Bloomfield Hills was redesigned four years later by Harry Colt to make use of an extra 50 acres of land. In 2019, armed with newly discovered historic materials, Mike DeVries and Frank Pont were hired to oversee a restoration of the course. “To the best of our knowledge, Bloomfield Hills is virtually unique in that it is an American Colt course that wasn’t heavily inf luenced by Alison,” said Pont. “Across town, Colt created the original Country Club of Detroit, but Alison subsequently redesigned the course. As far as we can tell, Alison never worked at Bloomfield Hills.” Pont and DeVries had access to the club’s minutes from 1909, an irrigation map from the 1920s, aerial photography from 1930 onwards, and a wealth of information from the club regarding work completed on the course through the years. “We gathered and studied all relevant information to understand the changes that had been completed,” said Pont. “Often, changes happen for particular reasons, and we try to piece together the valid ones that may have affected the course positively and negatively. We then compared that with what is ‘on the ground’ to determine the direction forward.” LaBar Golf Renovations began work in August 2020, with DeVries on site almost every day while Pont assisted remotely given the travel restrictions of 2020. “The club essentially decided to do everything in one go,” said DeVries. “Perhaps the biggest change came at the first and eighteenth holes – both were par fives with trees between the holes. The trees separating the holes were at the end of their life or already dead, and they were non-native species. Our concept was to remove the trees and make a joint fairway, which Colt did at Photo: Lukas Michel/CDP Greens have been expanded to restore original perimeters and pin locations