The global journal of golf design and development I S S U E 71 J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3
1 Too wide? For the last 20 years or so, playability through width has been the dominant mantra in golf architecture. Without adequate width there can be no strategy: when a fairway is but 20-25 yards wide, the only question for the golfer is, ‘Can you hit it?’ There is no question of playing to one side or another to get a preferred angle into the pin. With strategy comes playability: greater width reduces the amount of time spent searching for balls in long grass. Width is good. But if width is good, does it automatically follow that more width is better? Or is there a point beyond which extra width just implies more maintenance and more cost, without a matching payback in increased playability? Recently there has been a small, but noticeable trend of ultra-wide golf courses making their debut. I shall not name them here: alert readers know which ones are meant, and there is no need to make this about particular architects. Tom Doak is one of the architects who helped to create the current love affair with width. But, in this issue’s lead feature on designing for bad golfers, Doak says he thinks the quest for width has gone too far, and that the effect of today’s extreme width is to encourage young male golfers to swing as hard as they can at the ball – with consequent effects on the distance they hit and the distance by which they sometimes miss their target! If courses were not so wide, Doak says, these players might be induced to throttle back a bit, with consequent benefits for courses that would not be required to maintain so much turf. In a world of more than 30,000 golf courses, it seems unlikely that a few ultrawide ones are having any effect on a significant number of players, but Doak’s point is well made. There must be a point where more width is a bad thing, otherwise it would make sense to build golf holes a mile wide. We do not want any sort of a return to bowling alley fairways, especially now that the philosophy of tree management seems to be gaining some critical mass. But, as with everything else in life, it is important to find a happy medium. WE LCOME
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PEFC Certi ed This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources www.pefc.org PEFC/16-33-576 Toby Ingleton Publisher Benedict Pask Publication & Sales Manager Ritwik Bhattacharjee Circulation Stuart Fairbrother Production Manager www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/subscribe Subscribe Tudor House, 6 Friar Lane Leicester LE1 5RA Tel: +44 116 222 9900 www.tudor-rose.co.uk Published by Tudor Rose Golf Course Architecture is published with the support and guidance of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, and GEO Foundation. 7 Adam Lawrence Editor Richard Humphreys News Editor Mike Clayton Contributor Bruce Graham, Libby Sidebotham, Dhanika Vansia Design Chris Jackson Website Development Arora Group, David Cannon, Jon Cavalier, Darren Chisholm, Faldo Design, Jeff Howes, Huxley Golf, JMP Golf Design, Gary Lisbon, iStock/jvoisey, Lobb + Partners, Lukas Michel, Ryan Montgomery, Kevin Murray, Nicklaus Design, Darius Oliver, Pinehurst Resort, Robert Trent Jones II, Drew Rogers, Evan Schiller, Skamania Lodge, Skylens Aerial Videography, Dave Smith – Golf Graphics, Kristopher Streek, Tamarack Resort, Tilander Golf Design, Mike Toy, WAC Golf, Chris Wise Photography ISSN 1745-3585 (print), ISSN 2754-9828 (online). Printed in Great Britain by Micropress Printers. © 2023 Tudor Rose Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored or transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means, including whether by photocopying, scanning, downloading onto computer or otherwise without the prior written permission from Tudor Rose Holdings Ltd. Views expressed in Golf Course Architecture are not necessarily those of the publishers. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply official endorsement of the products or services concerned. While every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of content, no responsibility can be taken for any errors and/or omissions. Readers should take appropriate professional advice before acting on any issue raised herein. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject advertising material and editorial contributions. The publisher assumes no liability for the return of unsolicited art, photography or manuscripts. It is assumed that any images taken from sources which are widely distributed, such as on the Web, are in the public domain. It is recognised though that since such images tend to be passed freely between sources it is not always possible to track the original source. If copyrighted material has ended up being treated as public domain due to the original source not being identified please contact the publisher, Tudor Rose.
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9 Arnold Palmer Design Company With a storied history of projects in over 37 states and 25 countries, Arnold Palmer Design Company senior architects Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson bring an unparalleled depth of knowledge, expertise and Mr Palmer’s influence to every project. www.arnoldpalmerdesign.com Clayton, DeVries & Pont CDP is a partnership of three of the world’s foremost regional architecture practices: Clayton Golf of Australia, DeVries Designs of Michigan, and Infinite Variety Golf Design of the Netherlands. www.cdpgolf.com European Golf Design European Golf Design was established in 1992 and is the golf course design company of the European Tour. www.egd.com Golf Course Architecture By Caspar By Caspar is the design firm of golf architect Caspar Bay Grauballe, whose aim is to help improve the beautiful game of golf by creating and refining exciting and spectacular golf courses. By Caspar aims to develop golf courses with a clear and unique signature – a signature that enables clubs to attract more players. www.bycasper.com Golfplan David Dale and Kevin Ramsey have designed over 200 courses across the world, providing clients with market-oriented design solutions through an approach that is innovative, user-friendly, and environmentally and financially sustainable. www.golfplan.com Harradine Golf Donald Harradine founded the family’s golfing practice in 1929. Harradine Golf has designed, remodelled, constructed or supervised construction of more than 200 courses in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Many have won awards and some host PGA tournaments. www.harradine-golf.com Hunter Industries Hunter Industries manufactures innovative irrigation systems and solutions. Family-owned and based in San Marcos, USA, it offers over 1,000 products including a spectrum of water-efficient solutions for golf, sport turf, commercial, residential and high-end irrigation systems. www.hunterindustries.com JMP Golf Design JMP Golf Design’s extensive portfolio includes worldclass designs in the US, as well as award-winning private, public and resort golf courses on four continents around the world. www.jmpgolf.com Kyle Phillips Golf Course Design The Kyle Phillips design philosophy stems from the belief that golf courses should have their own character and personality derived from the site’s existing natural features, as well as its location and history. www.kylephillips.com Pure Seed Pure Seed is the global leader in turfgrass genetics. With award-winning plant breeding, Pure Seed is dedicated to developing the world’s best turf varieties. www.pureseed.com Rain Bird Since 1933, developing and manufacturing innovative irrigation products has been Rain Bird’s sole focus. Rain Bird Service Team’s sole focus is irrigation and water conservation. We call it The Intelligent Use of Water. www.rainbird.eu Robert Trent Jones II With headquarters in Palo Alto, California, Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects is a global golf design firm that has created more than 275 courses in over 40 countries on six continents.. www.rtj2.com Schmidt-Curley Design Founded in 1997 with offices in Scottsdale, Arizona and Hanoi, Vietnam; Schmidt-Curley is a fullservice, international golf course architecture and master planning firm with more than 150 layouts in 25 countries. www.schmidt-curley.com Southwest Greens Construction The official construction arm for Southwest Greens International, responsible for all major golf course construction projects. The Southwest Greens product is the preferred putting surface for more than 40 professional golfers on the PGA and LPGA Tours. www.southwestgreens.eu Sports Turf Solutions Sustainable Turf Farms is a subsidiary company of Sports Turf Solutions and is the largest producer of certified turf grasses in South East Asia. www.sportsturfsolutions.com Stirling & Martin Blake Stirling and Marco Martin have successfully designed golf courses for 30 years. With a motto of ‘SM-art Golf ’, the firm provides clients with a complete range of design services, construction supervision and budget control, ensuring high levels of satisfaction. www.stirlingmartingolf.com Tee-2-Green For over 50 years, Tee-2-Green has led the field with game-changing bentgrass like Penncross, the A’s and G’s, and Pure bents. We set the standard for quality and purity with groundbreaking varieties bred to improve playability, resist disease and tolerate extreme conditions. www.tee-2-green.com Toro The Toro Company provides innovative, efficient solutions to help homeowners and turf care professionals worldwide enrich the beauty, productivity and sustainability www.toro.com Whitman, Axland & Cutten Whitman, Axland & Cutten (WAC Golf) is an international design-build practice with more than 90 years of collective experience specialising in thoughtful, field-driven solutions. www.wac.golf SPONSORS Arnold Palmer Design Company G O L F C O U R S E D E S I G N KYLE PHILLIPS
11 CONTENTS ON THE COVER The Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club in New Zealand, a new 27-hole layout by Chris Cochran Photographed by: Gary Lisbon 14 Our Tee Box section opens with news of the 27-hole layout Chris Cochran has created for Royal Auckland and Grange in New Zealand 44 Mike Clayton explains why he believes Britain has been relatively slow to share in the fruits of the current age of great golf design 48 Designers have long laid out courses to be playable for all standards of golfer. But what level of bad golf can an architect be expected to design for? Adam Lawrence reports 54 Ron Kirby talks about his career in the golf design business and what he has learned 60 Adam Lawrence reports on the dramatic changes that have taken place at The Addington, which is in the middle of a five-year transformation process 66 Renovation work at Old Chatham was designed to raise the challenge while remaining playable for all, as Toby Ingleton discovers 72 Pinehurst has hired Tom Doak to design the resort’s tenth course on a dramatic site
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13 MA I L BOX Dear Editor Your article ‘Losing the crutch: holes without bunkers’ gave solid insights on the origins and usage of bunkers in course design. I tend to support a middle ground: put in bunkers with strategic merit, but don’t overdo it. As far as entire courses with no bunkers, I have encountered a few. One was the public Prairie course in Lincoln, Nebraska, which was my unofficial home course during 1991. I then moved to Dallas, Texas, to an area with lots of wellbunkered golf courses. One result was that my sand game struggled for that first year in Texas. So, if your course has no bunkers, your home crowd suffers a skill disadvantage when playing courses with bunkers. Hence, the idea of balance in bunker installation. More common in St. Louis area is courses with most – or all – bunkers removed. A prominent example is Ruth Park Golf Course, a nine-hole muni designed by Scottish architect Robert Foulis. Robert and his brothers combined for dozens of courses in the Midwest in the early 1900s. At Ruth, the bunker removal hurt playability, as many of the bunker areas were simply levelled to promote drainage. As for prairie grass touches and hazards, area courses tried it a decade ago. Nature lovers seeking Audubon certification thought it would be challenging and pastorally elegant to line fairways with prairie grass. Ruth Park tried it brief ly. The main result was a plague of slow play by foursomes with directionally-challenged golfers. A few years back, I went out in March and was delighted to find that the prairie grass had largely retreated to the outer borders of the courses. In closing, I wanted to share with you an excellent hole with no bunkers, and no water. This is the fourteenth at Normandie Golf Club, another Foulis course. The course was recently spared from home developers by a partnership between Nicklaus Design and the local amateur golf association. The hole goes uphill to a landing area, and downhill to a diagonally-set shelf green with swale in front and hill at the back. You have to think about every shot. John Orr St. Louis, Missouri We are delighted to receive letters from readers, and the best in each issue will be rewarded with a golf shirt. Send to 6 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA, UK, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Sandy was in Scotland, in fact in the home of golf itself in the last issue, sat on the edge of the Ladies Putting Course, otherwise known as the Himalayas. Originally laid out by Old Tom Morris, it is believed to be the oldest mini golf course in the world and is run by the Ladies Putting Club. Richard Phillips of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, figured it out (as did quite a lot of others, but Richard’s was the first name out of the hat). We hope you enjoy your GCA golf shirt, Richard! A slightly unusual location for Sandy this month. One might almost say precarious in the event of a very high tide, because the timbers in the shot are to protect the golf course from the inflowing sea – it is, effectively, located in a tidal creek. A little younger than the Himalayas, the course has still been around for well over a century. Know where it is and fancy one of our coveted shirts? Send your answer to email@example.com. GOPHER WATCH
14 TEE BOX Transformation complete in Auckland NEWS ED I TOR : R I CHARD HUMPHREYS New 27-hole layout created by Chris Cochran following merger of neighbouring clubs
15 The first (foreground) and third green complexes on the Middlemore nine Photo: Gary Lisbon Nicklaus Design’s Chris Cochran has completed a new 27-hole layout for the Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2017 the adjacent Royal Auckland and The Grange clubs merged, each of which had an 18-hole course and limited practice facilities. Cochran had first visited the Royal Auckland course in 2014 and submitted renovation plans. Before leaving, he visited the neighbouring Grange club, where some members were talking about the possibility of a merger. “They were both shortish golf courses, but had great bones,” said Cochran. “The Grange had some nice land with Middlemore [Royal Auckland] having some very nice trees. I strongly recommended that the clubs join.” Following the merger, Cochran developed a new plan to transform the 36 holes into a 27-hole layout with a new clubhouse, short-game area and a state-of-the-art practice facility. Around 20 hectares of land was sold to finance the project. “There was talk of having a fulllength eighteen-hole course and a short nine, or maybe a par-three layout,” said Cochran. “However, I felt they had enough land to have three equal nines. Although the Grange nine is the shortest, it still has some great golf holes. The Tamaki nine goes around the estuary, so you play across and alongside
16 TEE BOX it. Then the Middlemore nine is more of the old rural Auckland property, kind of a big domey hill but with stately trees that you play in and out of.” Construction started in October 2018, with the Grange and Tamaki nines completed in 2019, with the Middlemore nine completed in early 2022. “There’s a lot more elevation change on the Grange in comparison to Tamaki,” said Cochran. “There’s fewer trees and it’s a little bit hillier and open. Architecturally, the holes on both nines are quite similar. Middlemore is a bit different.” Middlemore was the last nine to be worked on, with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting Cochran’s ability to visit the site. “A couple of local guys did the bunkers and so the bunker style on the third nine is a little bit different,” said Cochran. “It’s a little bit more distressed, but it’s beautiful. “The 27 holes are a really good test of golf. There’s a huge amount of variety in terms of green contours, sizes and shapes, as well as bunker depths and placement. “On the Grange, the second hole is a favourite of mine. It’s a short par four with plenty of interest and strategy. The seventh and ninth on Tamaki are very interesting and different golf holes. The par-four seventh has a double fairway. Naturally the holes that go along the estuary – six, seven and eighth – are great.” On Middlemore, the second hole is a mid-length par three. “It is very interesting,” said Cochran. “It’s kind of like a punchbowl. If you miss the green, you have a pitch or chip over these mounds that are inside the green. Middlemore’s ninth is a driveable par four that goes back to the clubhouse and ties into the practice putting green. “It has been a total transformation. We pretty much stayed within existing corridors – for example, on The seventh on the Tamaki nine is one of three successive holes that play along the estuary “ The 27 holes are a really good test of golf. There’s a huge amount of variety”
17 the Middlemore course, the third hole is the old Royal Auckland eighteenth, but in reverse – the fourth and fifth on Middlemore are the only two holes that stayed in the same corridor and played in the same of the entire property.” Cochran wanted to realise the property’s full potential. “There was wasted land,” he said. “The old Auckland didn’t go to the estuary, so there was probably 30 to 40 metres of dead space there, so we cleared the bamboo and other trees and moved the golf holes to the estuary. This helped to fit everything in. “Because of the estuary, there are some force carries, which add some spice and variety to the round. Like I tell an 18-handicapper, it’s my job to ensure you can make 18 bogeys. If players hit from the correct tee; it is very playable.” Middlemore and Tamaki combine for the longest eighteen-hole round, playing up to 7,200 yards. Tamaki and the Grange combine for the shortest round, which can play between 4,600 and 6,850 yards. Cochran says if the club hosted a tournament, it would play on a composite of all three nines. Since opening in 2022, member reaction to the new holes has been very positive, with tee sheets fully booked, says Cochran. The new short-game area is proving popular too. There are four greens, two that are fairly f lat and two with plenty of contour. Cochran remarks on the great leadership and communication throughout the project. “There are countless people who have been a big help on the project,” he says. “General manager Rob Selley, who was the GM at the Australian Golf Club when we renovated it several years ago was at RAGGC when we did the work – he is now at New South Wales. His experience has been very helpful. “Paul Garvie, who I have worked with all around the world since 1997, was the project manager and has done a great job putting a team together, including shapers Greg Stringer, Bob Ramos, Scotty Dansmuir, Gordy Johnstone, Cliff Hamilton and Scotty Wells; contractor Grant Puddicombe; Steve Marsden, a Kiwi superintendent, who was super helpful; and Mark Hooker, our director of agronomy.” Middlemore’s ninth green blends into the practice putting green Photos: Gary Lisbon
19 TEE BOX Second nine complete at new Bucharest course The final nine holes are growing in at a new golf course designed by Jeff Howes near Bucharest, Romania, ahead of a full opening in May 2023. Bucharest Golf Club is located about 20 miles north of Romania’s capital, near the village of Tâncăbești. Construction of holes seven to twelve and sixteen to eighteen was completed last year, and seeding of the remaining nine holes was completed in autumn 2022. “Five holes cross the two valleys that run through the site,” said Howes. “We also massaged a par four and five into the landscape on the most prominent of the two valleys.” The irrigation pond is also located within one of the valleys to maximise retention of water runoff. “Using the natural landscape has created a roller-coaster routing with clusters of short and long holes,” said Howes. “The start is a longish par four followed by a long par five. The beautiful third is the shortest par three with Lake Tâncăbești in the background and is followed by two driveable par fours. The fifth will be much talked about as the dramatic, 2.5-metre-deep bunkers will be very penal for any errant tee shot. After this short loop comes a group of long holes from six through to ten. The eleventh is a treacherous and short par five. Holes twelve to fourteen are again long holes with fifteen and sixteen short enough to catch your breath before the testing par-three seventeenth and long par-four eighteenth.” Howes points to the greens as the main challenge. “The greens will be very slick and designed in such a way that there will be places on each complex where you will not want to miss,” he said. The holes currently open have been popular among members and guests. “The enthusiasm from this young golfing country is incredible,” said Howes. “They have waited a long time for an 18-hole golf course in Bucharest and they can’t believe they are getting one which will rank right up there with the best!” Photo: Jeff Howes
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21 Osprey Meadows to reopen following update by RTJ II Tamarack Resort in Idaho will reopen Osprey Meadows golf course in summer 2023 following a renovation by the Robert Trent Jones II design firm. The course was originally designed by RTJ II and opened in 2006. It closed in 2015 and was bought by the neighbouring Tamarack Resort in 2016. The scope of work has included a slight rerouting to allow for residential development and repositioning many bunkers to better challenge the big hitters, while making the layout more playable for shorter hitters. Tees have also been reshaped and more short grass has been introduced as a defence. Many of the changes made will improve playability. For instance, the number and length of forced carries has been reduced, while fairways have also been widened. A par-three nineteenth ‘Gambler’s Hole’ has been added, between the first and eighteenth holes. With the course having expansive views to the nearby mountains, the RTJ II team approached the project with a ‘listen to the land’ philosophy, making full use of the property’s natural contours, wetlands and meadowlands. Careful pruning and removal of some vegetation has been undertaken. “We explored opportunities to provide some ‘plastic surgery’ to many of the golf holes while providing room along the perimeter for resort and residential development,” said Bruce Charlton, president of RTJ II. “This is definitely what I consider a reinvigoration of the Osprey Meadows course, mostly an allocation of more space to the golf course to make it more fun.” Photo: Tamarack Resort Image: Robert Trent Jones II The Osprey Meadows course has been reconfigured to make room for real estate The original layout, pictured shortly after it opened in 2006
23 TEE BOX New South Wales Golf Club in Sydney, Australia, has appointed Mackenzie & Ebert to develop a masterplan. “Mackenzie & Ebert has a wellestablished reputation for successfully and sympathetically upgrading courses of all types, particularly windy seaside courses like ours, and including the likes of Turnberry, Royal Portrush, Royal Dornoch and Royal St Georges,” said Chris Coudounaris, the club’s president. “We felt that Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert were the right fit to help us maximise the potential of the exceptional property on which our course is located.” The New South Wales course dates back to 1926, but parts of the original layout by Alister MacKenzie were lost during World War II. Since then, aspects of the course have been rebuilt by various architects, which has resulted in an inconsistent architectural theme. Renovation work will aim to improve strategy, playability and aesthetics, with all 18 greens complexes designed by one architect and built in one summer season. “Having travelled to Australia to meet with the club’s board in August, we are enormously excited to be appointed to work with New South Wales Golf Club on the renovation of their course,” said Mackenzie. “It is an incredible property, and the course is already very highly regarded, but there is so much opportunity for improvement. “Our shared priorities, in accordance with the brief, are to make the course even more interesting, fairer and playable for the members and, at the same time, more varied, strategic and challenging for the best players. The overall intention is to produce a course which remains demanding, but which is also enjoyable to play in whatever the conditions experienced.” The project will be Mackenzie & Ebert’s first in Australia, and they will visit New South Wales again in early 2023 to progress the masterplan, aiming to start work on the course in 2024. New South Wales appoints Mackenzie & Ebert for masterplan Photo: Skylens Aerial Videography
24 TEE BOX THE B I G P I CTURE A distinctive thumbprint features on the green of the ‘Short’ fourteenth hole at the new Ballyshear Golf Links course at Ban Rakat Club near Bangkok, Thailand. In the background of the image is the green of the ‘Lagoon’ eleventh hole, a dogleg par four with a plateaued putting surface. Gil Hanse and his partner Jim Wagner designed the course as a tribute to Long Island’s famous lost Lido course. “The Lido is the holy grail for the ‘created’ golf course, the ultimate manifestation of what can be done with enough creativity, money and sand,” said Hanse. “The fact that it no longer exists makes it more romantic in nature and inspires all of us to elevate it in the pantheon of golf course architecture.” Covid restrictions prevented the duo from visiting the site since 2019, so their Caveman Construction team completed the project. “It’s incredible to think back – through two and a half years of Covid – to when this project began,” said Wagner. “Just ref lecting on what this property was when we showed up: a dilapidated, perfectly f lat golf course. What has it become today: a total and truly remarkable transformation from a golf course, landscape, earthwork and vegetation standpoint.” Photo: Chris Wise
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26 TEE BOX Drew Rogers is preparing for another phase of renovation work at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Michigan. In 2023 he will conduct studies of the practice facilities and green surfaces, and continue landscape work that he says “will present the course with heightened colours, textures and long, dramatic views”. This work builds on projects already completed, beginning with f loodplain remediation work in winter 2019 and renovations associated with the impacted holes in spring 2021. Rogers also completed a tee and bunker renovation project in 2021. “Tees were enlarged and rearranged with more varied playing angles,” said Rogers. “The bunker character is quite bold, with features of great scale and depth, more in the character that Hugh Alison likely built. Trees were also removed to open up the playing corridors so that dramatic vistas would be restored throughout the property and fairways could be properly aligned to their intended widths and angles. “Our goal for the overall project was to re-establish playing strategies, improve course conditions and aesthetics and to provide greater balance. Speed of play and overall enjoyment are part of that equation as well.” Work has been well received by the membership. “It has been really pleasing to have members remark about all the playing options that are now in effect that were previously unrealised,” said Zachary Savas, president of Plum Hollow. “Drew has been able to create more variety, especially around the greens with more runoff and bailout areas. The members exude nothing but pride now. New member interest has also seen an uptick, along with our ability to raise the initiation fees.” The cover story of the latest issue of By Design magazine – produced for the American Society of Golf Course Architects by the team responsible for GCA – sees architects discuss the techniques they employ when working on sites with significant elevation change. “It’s important to consider the site’s natural features,” says Kevin Atkinson, who has completed several projects where severe elevation change was a factor. “Distant views play a key role in the memorability of golf holes.” The Winter issue of By Design also includes an interview with new ASGCA president Brit Stenson, thoughts from Todd Quitno on the trade-off between slope and speed when designing greens, and profiles of the five projects recognised in the 2022 ASGCA Environmental Excellence Awards. To download the latest issue and subscribe to By Design, visit www.asgca.org “ It’s important to consider the site’s natural features” GOOD READ BY DESIGN Excellence in Golf Design from the American Society of Golf Course Archite cts IN AT THE STEEP END How do golf course architects cope with the challenges of extreme elevation change? ALSO: // Greens: speed v slope // Environmental Excellence // ASGCA Annual Meeting CRITICAL THINKER ASGCA President Brit Stenson discusses his work around the globe and a focus on sustainability ISSUE 60 // WINTER 2022 Photo: Drew Rogers Rogers gears up for more work at Plum Hollow
27 Rogers restored a grander scale to bunkers during his 2021 project, as seen on the seventh When considering Plum Hollow and its designer Hugh Alison, two thoughts come to mind. The first is Alison’s big scale routing, which makes excellent use of the Rouge valley and the ridges and deep swales caused by its various tributaries. Of Alison’s routing, unchanged since 1921, only the third and fourth holes make no use of the deep swales and serve to remind us of the flat farmland which surrounds the course. Starting with the first hole the second shot plays across the swale which begins at Lahser Road and crosses the first, second, ninth and tenth holes before entering the Rouge. On the back nine, the big scale of the property becomes more evident, and all the holes make use of the contours created by the creeks and river. Plum’s bunkering, when viewed in hindsight, was neither consistent from hole to hole nor at a scale appropriate to the property. Was this Alison’s fault or Wilfrid Reid’s, who was retained in 1928 to rebunker a course less than a decade old? Our information regarding Alison’s original bunkering is scant… actually nil. Our earliest photo is an aerial from 1937, long after Alison’s original efforts and those of Reid and others. Drew Rogers’ recent renovation has only improved the routing with his change to eleven. He moved the fairway right to play along the ridgeline, removing trees and opening up long views into the Rouge valley. Rather than a short ‘get well’ hole, it becomes a strategic one from the tee onwards. Taking inspiration from other Alison courses, such as Japan’s Hirono, Rogers has created a big-scale bunkering scheme that now compares with the best of Alison’s work. Plum Hollow is again ready to take its place among the best, and most fun to play, courses of the Detroit area. Alison, Rogers and Plum Hollow Golf historian and writer Anthony Gholz provides insight into Alison’s original design of Plum Hollow and the impact of Drew Rogers’ work A 1937 aerial of Plum Hollow, one of the earliest photos the club has of Alison’s design
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29 TEE BOX The Infinitum resort near Tarragona, Spain, host to the DP World Tour’s final qualifying school in 2022 is planning changes to its Hills course. The work at Infinitum – formerly known as Lumine before a rebrand in 2021 – follows the regrassing of its Lakes layout from ryegrass to Tifway 419 bermuda, to reduce water usage and therefore support the resort’s sustainability goals. Work planned for 2023 on the Hills course, which was designed by Catalan architect Alfonso Vidaor, will be led by architect Dave Sampson of European Golf Design and includes bunker removal and restyling for consistency. Several holes on the front nine will get new back tees, and tees on the tenth will move to accommodate a new parking area. “With up to three driveable par fours currently on the back nine, which we feel is too many, the seventeenth will see one of the biggest changes, with the hole being extended to a mid-length four,” said Sampson. This will also lead to tees on the adjacent fourteenth being moved over slightly to accommodate. The fifteenth and sixteenth holes will be switched to play in opposite directions to improve safety, with a nearby housing development due to begin soon. The green of the dramatic eighteenth will be moved closer to the cliff face that sits behind it and dominates the hole, while the lake will be extended closer to wrap around the new green. A boutique hotel is to be built on top of the cliff, overlooking the hole. Infinitum plans more changes Photos: Kevin Murray The eleventh hole on the Hills course and, top, the eighteenth green, which will be moved closer to the cliff face, and the lake extended closer to the green
30 Skamania Lodge, located in Washington, USA, close to the border with Oregon, is seeing increased play and revenue following a transformation of its golf facilities by Brian Costello of JMP Golf Design. The resort had an eighteen-hole golf course, a Gene Mason design that opened in 1993, routed over 175 acres of heavily forested terrain with dramatic views towards the Columbia River Gorge. But an inf lux of new layouts in the region combined with the resort increasing the range of other activities available to guests, led to a decline in play. “The owners and management realised that they needed to take a fresh look at the golf course to re-evaluate the asset and to completely reimagine the golf experience,” said Costello. He proposed a new masterplan that replaced the existing course with two shorter layouts, a nine-hole par-three course and an eighteen-hole putting course. Verde Sports Construction started work in February 2020 and, despite some Covid-related delays, completed ‘The Gorge 9’ course in June 2021, with a grand opening taking place a month later. “The original required a golf cart to navigate the hilly terrain and took close to five hours to play,” said Costello. “The new Gorge 9 is a fun, walkable short course that features some of the former ‘all-star’ signature approach shots, and typically takes under 90 minutes to play.” Holes range in length up to 201 yards. There are multiple teeing options on each hole, including forward tees that allow the holes to be played to lengths of around 50-75 yards. The routing also allows for a loop of four or seven holes. “We wanted to incorporate elements from some of the best holes and existing landscape features into the new routing,” said Costello. “The holes closest to the clubhouse provided the best terrain for a golf course trail which avoided the steeper slopes. We explored numerous routings to keep existing green sites, reverse holes and find new holes until we settled on one that kept six original green sites and created three new greens. “The final routing was fine-tuned to provide a variety of lengths and minimise forced carries. We removed the sand bunkers and created grass TEE BOX Short course decision pays off for Skamania Photo: Skamania Lodge
hollows and collection areas to provide strategic interest and more playable recovery shots.” A new Rain Bird IC irrigation system, designed by Greg Baer, has been installed and synthetic turf was used on tees and fairways. “The engineering beneath the synthetic turf and the topdressing within the surfaces replicates the characteristics of real grass when receiving tee and approach shots,” said Costello. “The design of each green has 10 to 12 hole locations to add tremendous variety to the course experience.” General manager Kara Owen said: “The change in our course size and the use of synthetic greens and tees has greatly reduced our water and chemical use. In addition, the hours that it takes to be sure they are weed free and meticulously managed to maintain the right conditioning, consistency and speed has also been reduced. This allows our teams to focus on other priorities both on the course and around the lodge.” There were several existing walking trails that laced through the golf course property. Costello considered how to route the course so golfers could experience the best views of the gorge and meadows. “The original fourteenth was a very narrow downhill par four with a small creek fronting the green, a signature pond and a breathtaking backdrop,” he said. “If you could place your drive in the ideal spot in the fairway, you enjoyed this awesome view and a relatively level lie. The tees for the new fifth hole places you in this same vantage point recapturing the thrill of this approach shot into this picturesque and dramatic green setting.” In place of the former driving range, a new eighteen-hole putting course, ‘The Little Eagle 18’, has been built, also using synthetic turf. “The putting course features realcourse strategy with creative and fun contouring such as elevated plateaus, ridges, collection hollows, def lection mounds and bumpers amongst rock outcrop obstacles and rough,” said Costello. “Each individual hole is set apart from the others amongst native trees and colourful and contrasting landscaping that add beautiful interest to the experience.” Owen said: “Both The Gorge 9 and The Little Eagle 18 putting course have added value to our lodge. More of our corporate groups have taken advantage of the courses. In our first 1.5 years we have focused on making golf approachable for all and focused on its ability to be a team building activity for groups. As we begin 2023, we will increase our focus on bringing more youth into the game of golf as well as giving our younger guests an opportunity to try golf when they visit.” 31 Photo: JMP Golf Design Skamania’s new eighteen-hole putting course, ‘The Little Eagle 18’, has been built on synthetic turf
33 TEE BOX Construction is progressing on the new Jack Nicklaus signature course at Kilada Country Golf & Residences, located in the Porto Heli area of the Peloponnese region in southern Greece. Work began in 2020 as part of a larger development led by Dolphin Capital Investors, involving a hotel, sport and leisure facilities and luxury resort homes. The project is being overseen by Dirk Bouts, a senior design associate at Nicklaus Design. Some holes have now been grassed, with greens featuring Platinum TE paspalum, provided by Atlas Turf International, and all other playing surfaces seeded with Pure Dynasty. “Various obstacles were overcome in order to achieve this goal, which makes it even more satisfying to see the first greened-up holes,” said Bouts. “With the first holes complete, it becomes even more apparent how the course integrates f lawlessly within the existing terrain, landscape and numerous features throughout the property. “Greens have been kept gentle and will be fun to play on. Bunkers are on the small end; however, we are making sure they are strategically well placed. There’s a great variation in golf holes, and all through the course there are amazing vistas, not only over the golf course, but towards the sea and the surrounding mountains.” Construction and grassing will continue in spring 2023. “Our mission has always been to design great golf courses but equally to help grow the game of golf around the world,” said Bouts. “The team at Kilada has given us the opportunity to bring to life our vision for this property and we look forward to seeing this be a successful project for years to come.” Kilada course takes shape in Greece Photo: Nicklaus Design
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35 New public course to be built on Colorado dairy farm TEE BOX A new 18-hole public golf course, Bella Ridge, designed by Art Schaupeter, is to be built on land in Johnstown, Colorado, that was recently home to a working dairy farm. “The site is wonderfully set up for a golf course,” said Schaupeter. “There is about 150 feet of elevation change from the south of the property to the north. A deep valley and creek run the length of the site, with the creek to act as a conduit for the delivery of ditch water that will be used to irrigate the course.” An existing irrigation lake is being cleaned out and the dairy farm is being dismantled and moved to a new location in preparation for golf course construction to begin this year. “The golf course routing is set up so that players can play multiple loops and different lengths,” said Schaupeter. “The opening six holes play out and back to the clubhouse. After passing the clubhouse, players reach a neat three-hole loop which brings them back, ready to begin the back nine. “The back nine generally plays out and back, with holes ten to fourteen working their way uphill to the top of the property at the south end. The fourteenth and fifteenth holes play back and forth across the valley and are the shortest par four and par three on the course. The final three holes are all very long, albeit playing downhill. It’ll be a challenging finishing stretch, which will emphasise the need to post low scores on fourteen and fifteen.” The clubhouse will sit on a small hill, overlooking most of the course, with holes one, six, ten and eighteen to the west. The practice facilities, which will have the ability to operate as a standalone facility, will include a 400-yard range, a 20,000-square-foot putting green and a two-acre shortgame area with a pitching range. Meetings with developers regarding residential and commercial real estate are ongoing. Three planned residential areas on higher areas of the site around the perimeter of the course will have spectacular views of the golf and the Rocky Mountain Front Range to the west. Images: Dave Smith – Golf Graphics A sketch of the fourteenth and fifteenth holes, which play over a deep valley
A nine-hole short course, named Avalon Links, by Greg Norman Golf Course Design, is now in play at Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club. The par-28 1,315-yard layout is located on 19 acres of land between the fifth, sixth and seventh holes of the resort’s eighteen-hole Championship course, which underwent a ‘remastering’ by Norman’s firm in 2022. The resort, formerly named CuisinArt Resort, is now owned by American businessman Richard Schulze and managed by Salamander Hotels & Resorts. The idea for a short course was conceived during a tour of the property by Schulze and Norman, with the resulting Avalon Links layout comprising eight par threes and one par four. “The first hole begins with panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and unfolds with a rich variety of tee shot angles, distances and carefully integrated design elements, including white sand belts and large areas of grass to make it playable and fun for beginners,” reads a statement from the resort. “Water features and a double green provide elements of excitement, and a short drivable par four was conceived to complete a great golf experience. Undulating greens and collection areas provide different ways to attack every f lag around the green, including f lop shots and bump and runs.” Photos: Zuri Wilkes New short course in play at Aurora Anguilla TEE BOX 36
37 Lobb and Lundin collaborate on Gävle masterplan Gävle Golfklubb in Sweden has appointed golf course architects Tim Lobb and Christian Lundin to develop a new masterplan for its two 18-hole courses and practice facilities. It will be the first time Lobb, whose firm is based in Woking, England, and Lundin, the Swedish architect who also heads up Henrik Stenson’s design practice, have formally collaborated on a design project. “We were both invited to submit a proposal to the club separately,” said Lobb. “We’re good friends and have great respect for each other professionally and felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to combine our skills.” Gävle’s Old course is 6,100 yards and the Avan is 6,900 yards. “The Old is quite short and narrow – it’s quirky,” said Lundin. “Whereas the Avan is longer and more open.” The club also has a nine-hole par three course. “What we’re exploring now is how to create a really strong identity and contrast for each course,” said Lobb. “The Old will remain shorter and more intimate and may be a bit more friendly to players with slower swing speeds. Whereas the Avan will be a true championship venue.” “Gävle has a real tradition of creating great golfers, so the practice facilities will be a very important aspect of the project,” said Lundin. “The club has always had indoor practice options, which allow golfers to train in winter and I think is part of why they have been so successful.” Lobb and Lundin are now working on several masterplan options, to give the club solutions for a range of budgets and design preferences. They will present their initial ideas before the end of 2022 with hopes of creating a final masterplan by spring 2023, aiming for work to begin in 2024. Photo: Lobb + Partners Tim Lobb, left, and Christian Lundin
New bulkhead walls have been built on lake edges as pictured here on the par-five fourth 38 “ As the game evolves and equipment improves, the golf architecture must react and adjust” GCA spoke with Fazio Design’s Tom Marzolf about the renovation of Bonita Bay’s Cypress course Bonita Bay Club in Naples, Florida, reopened its Cypress course in October 2022 following an 18-month renovation by Tom Marzolf of Fazio Design. The course, originally designed by Tom Fazio, debuted in 1996, and is located close to the Everglades and other protected wetlands. It is adjacent to the Sabal layout, also designed by Fazio, which will undergo a renovation by Fazio Design in autumn 2023. What have been the biggest changes to the course? We worked with contractor Glase Golf to raise the entire course by twelve to eighteen inches to improve drainage. We did this by creating six new lakes, expanding the four that already existed and distributing the resulting 200,000 cubic yards of earth across the property. In addition, fairways have been lifted and reshaped, with 450 new catch TEE BOX THE I NTERV I EW with Tom Marzolf Photo: Evan Schiller