Golf Course Architecture - Issue 72, April 2023

The global journal of golf design and development I SSUE 72 APRIL 2023

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1 WELCOME Seventy-two is not, in any normal sense, a very special number, but because it is four times 18 it has particular significance and resonance in golf. Since 1892, when the Open Championship moved from being played over 36 holes to 72, the vast majority of important golf events have been contested over four rounds of 18. Nowadays, if a tournament is not played over 72 holes, it is tantamount to an admission that it is not a serious event. This issue of Golf Course Architecture is the 72nd that we have published since we made our bow, way back in 2005. The golf business has changed dramatically in the eighteen years since GCA began. Back in 2005, the great course building boom of the early twenty-first century was just starting to lose its impetus; the crash of 2007-8 brought it to a very rapid stop. In the aftermath, many golf architects left the industry. For those who remained, renovation work has been bread and butter since. New course building has never returned to those levels, although the boom in golf that has followed the Covid-19 pandemic means a lot of architects are currently very busy. In 2005, the industry was dominated by ‘signature’ design projects created to sell housing; the crash put paid to most of those too. In the intervening years, the preeminent model of new construction has been the destination course, whether a resort or a club. Mike Keiser, his partners and those who have sought to emulate his success, and the architects he, and they, have preferred, have come to be the elite of the industry. Finally, the media has changed too. In 2005, the only other outlet focused solely on golf architecture was the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects’ excellent annual journal. Journalists like Ron Whitten and Brad Klein were there too, but in the mainstream golf media, architecture was at best an afterthought. Now though, there are blogs, podcasts and niche magazines for whom architecture is, if not their be all and end all, a very major part of their offer. Mainstream golf magazines too are much more likely to talk about architectural-based subjects. If we have played a small part in that change, it’s not a bad legacy. Here’s to the next 72! Four rounds ADAM LAWRENCE

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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. PEFC Certi ed This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources PEFC/16-33-576 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. 5 Toby Ingleton Publisher Benedict Pask Publication & Sales Manager Ritwik Bhattacharjee Circulation Stuart Fairbrother Production Manager Subscribe Tudor House, 6 Friar Lane Leicester LE1 5RA Tel: +44 116 222 9900 Published by Tudor Rose Adam Lawrence Contributing Editor Forrest Richardson Contributor Richard Humphreys News Editor Alice Chambers, Amber Hickman Editorial team Bruce Graham, Libby Sidebotham, Dhanika Vansia Design Chris Jackson Website Development Mark Alexander, Arnold Palmer Design Company, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Belleair CC, Joe Compitello, Coore & Crenshaw, Effingham Golf Club, Ralphe Dörnte, Golfgraffix, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, Griffin Haddad, Vaughn Halyard, Hanse Golf Design, Nicholas Hoffmann, James Hogg, Marc Howard, Jansen Golf Design, Jösef Potter Golf, Larry Lambrecht, Lobb + Partners, Mackenzie & Ebert, Lukas Michel, Harrison Minchew, Dan Moore, National Golf & Country Club, Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Preserve at Ironhorse, Quitno Golf Designs, The R&A, Steve Rankin, Richardson/Danner, Edwin Roald, Drew Rogers, Evan Schiller, Jacob Sjoman, Thornburgh Resort, Tiger Point, Ryan Vold, WAC Golf Photography EXPERTS IN GRASS SEED A RESEARCH FIRST APPROACH TO PERFECTING TURFGRASS Testimonial Spec Sheet NTEP Data LEAVE YOUR OFFICIALLY EU LISTED e international source for the world’s finest warm and cool season turfgrasses. PASPALUM BERMUDAGRASS ULTRA DWARF BERMUDAGRASS ZOYSIA BENTGRASS FESCUE KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS PERENNIAL RYEGRASS NATIVE GRASSES Phone +1 706 845 0148 Email Turf on a Global Scale™

7 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. Atlas Turf International Atlas Turf International provides turf on a global scale as a worldwide distributor of the highest quality turfgrasses for golf courses and sports fields. 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. Golfplan David Dale and Kevin Ramsey have designed over 200 courses across the world, providing clients with marketoriented design solutions through an approach that is innovative, user-friendly, and environmentally and financially sustainable. 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. Jansen Golf Design Jansen Golf Design creates high quality courses and destinations that are environmentally friendly and sustainable in nature and cost-effective to build and maintain. 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. 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. 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. Rees Jones, Inc Rees Jones, Inc is internationally recognised for its customised design and construction supervision of new courses for private clubs, resorts, real estate communities and public facilities, as well as renovating, restoring and updating existing courses for everyday play and major championships. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Toro The Toro Company provides innovative, efficient solutions to help homeowners and turf care professionals worldwide enrich the beauty, productivity and sustainability 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. ZLine Bunker Systems ZLine Bunker Systems is the premier choice for architects, owners and contractors seeking industry leading bunker lining solutions. SPONSORS Arnold Palmer Design Company

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9 66 While his portfolio of solo designs would be the envy of most, Canadian architect Rod Whitman is perhaps best known as one of golf’s great collaborators 72 Adam Lawrence visits Belleair’s West course in Florida, where Jason Straka and Dana Fry have completed a stunning transformation of the Donald Ross design 78 Richard Humphreys looks ahead to the opening of Point Hardy, the Coore & Crenshaw design growing in at the Cabot Saint Lucia resort 84 GEO Foundation’s Jonathan Smith considers what progress has been made since he wrote, in the first issue of GCA, about the need for ecological design 12 Our Tee Box section opens with news of the nineteen-hole short course designed by WAC Golf and now in construction at Bandon Dunes 52 The R&A and USGA’s new model local rule is too little for too few, says Toby Ingleton 54 It’s rare to find unique green designs in golf. Forrest Richardson describes his quest for something completely different at Promontory in Utah 58 Golf is at a crossroads, says Adam Lawrence. It needs to find new ways to reduce its water usage, and perhaps some of the new innovations in turfgrass can help CONTENTS ON THE COVER The par-three sixteenth on Coore & Crenshaw’s Point Hardy course in Saint Lucia Photographed by: Jacob Sjoman

11 This issue’s mailbox was dominated by one subject: the proposed ball rollback. Dear Editor It seems to me that to roll the ball back will be a logistical nightmare. But let’s just say it’s possible. I think there’s an argument that the whole game could benefit from a ball that didn’t go quite so far. If golfers hit the ball a little less off line with their driver, could more courses on small parcels of land keep their historic layouts? I worry that many inner-city courses, for example, are in danger of closing, being shortened or having their boundaries covered in nets. The safety margins in modern golf are much larger than eras gone by and, coupled with many tournament venues needing to be over 7,000 yards, the footprint is huge. I don’t see these guidelines changing, but a rollback would ensure that we don’t go bigger. If the ball does roll back, I don’t think it will be enough to change our role as designers too dramatically. Topography often dictates where a hazard is placed specifically within the zone we look to work in. The reduction in length is not big enough that those zones change. Alex Hay Whistler, Canada Dear Editor The timing of the announcement from the USGA and R&A suggests a new test of the cohesiveness between our global governing bodies. The combination of technology advancements and player athletic conditioning has stretched the game to its limits, and the problem is most definitely real and should be addressed. Managing change is critical for the long-term health of our sport. Therefore, the process should play out, and the right organisations are leading the process. For the PGA Tour to suggest that they may not adopt final outcomes, at this early stage, is irresponsible and another indication of the unnatural control they have over the other entities in the global golf ecosystem. We expect adversely impacted manufacturers to lobby against change, but not the governing bodies, who should project unity in mission and purpose, while providing support and influence. Dave Shultz California, USA Dear Editor As any golf course architect that has had to explain proposed improvements to members will know, golf does not like change. With balls going further and further, we have had to publish safety guidelines for the design of holes, but the truth is many new and old courses do not meet these guidelines. Reducing the flight of the ball seems like the obvious innovation. Separating professional and amateur equipment might sound odd but it happens in other sports. Golfers will not want this change, and we already know tour pros do not want it. This is an improvement to the game, but the people who play the game do not want it. My guess is there is not a compelling case to rollback just for touring professionals. Andrew Craven Bristol, United Kingdom MAIL BOX In the last issue, Sandy made a trip to Royal West Norfolk, or Brancaster, which is situated between the sea and a salt marsh that floods at high tide – making the course inaccessible when the water rises above a certain level. John Crawford, a member of Glasgow Golf Club, was the first correct entry out of the hat and wins a GCA golf shirt. This month, Sandy's destination is a course that nearly failed several times, but was saved by social media popularity and is now a major success; the hole at which he appears is one of the most dramatic Redans you will see. For a chance to win a coveted GCA golf shirts, please send your entry to GOPHER WATCH

TEE BOX NEWS EDITOR: RICHARD HUMPHREYS WAC Golf’s 19-hole layout is being built on dunes immediately south of Bandon Preserve New short course coming to Bandon Dunes 12

13 Construction of a new short course is under way at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. The layout, being built on sand dunes immediately south of the resort’s Bandon Preserve course, has been designed by Whitman, Axland and Cutten (WAC Golf). It will join the resort’s six existing courses – Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old Macdonald, Bandon Preserve and Sheep Ranch. WAC Golf becomes the first new design firm to work at the resort since Coore & Crenshaw designed Bandon Trails in 2005, although all three principals have previously worked on several Coore & Crenshaw projects. “The site for the new course is all sand dunes, but more undulating than elsewhere on the Bandon property,” Keith Cutten told GCA. “It would have been almost impossible to build longer golf on this site, but it is ideal for a short course. Our goal is to make the best short course in golf. I think we have a great chance to pull it off.” “We spent several weeks trying to get the routing just right,” continued Cutten. “Our initial walk with [owners] Mike and Chris Keiser proved very successful as our sequence of holes received one of the highest total scores ever given by Mike – he ranks every hole out of 10. I believe we did so well because the golf is right there in front of you. Our routing makes the most of 19 incredible and natural green sites.” The design had begun as a 12-hole routing, before the team expanded it to 15, then 18 and finally 19 holes. “The land was just too good to stop at 12 holes!” said Cutten. A second short course (the first being the 13-hole par-three Bandon Preserve layout) was a priority for the resort, to give more options for those who don’t want, or have time for, a full round. Cutten explains: “While more options for families is a priority, a second short course will also allow guests to add more great golf in between other rounds at the resort or even before late departures or after late arrivals, maximising everyone’s time golfing.” Clearing work began in early March, and will be followed by a six-month window for construction. Grassing is then expected to take place towards the end of 2023. “This will not be a simple pitch-and-putt,” said Cutten. “All 19 par-three holes will be of a quality to match the rest of the superlative offerings at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. However, multiple teeing areas will ensure that golfers of all abilities Photo: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

14 will have fun. There are more than 16 acres of connected turf – highlighting incredible natural and shaped ground contours – which will add to the interest of this design.” The opening six holes will traverse undulating ground with WAC Golf using dune ridges to link teeing areas through to the green sites. Cutten said: “This southern end of the site is truly captivating and will allow the golf course to start with a real bang! “Holes seven to eighteen were routed first. These are incredibly walkable holes playing along and around some remarkable dune ridges. Holes seven, eleven and fourteen will likely be favourites for their dramatic settings.” The nineteenth hole was added in late February during a visit between the design team and the Keisers. “The clubhouse site is located on the highest dune on the property, further south than what we had initially anticipated. As such, we had additional room for a spectacular finish at the top of the site. We think we are done with 19 holes, but the site is so good that we could easily keep going!” Whitman, Axland and Cutten will be shaping the key golf features and Tony Russell, a local contractor who has contributed to every golf course at the resort, will be assisting with construction. Irrigation design is being handled by Greg Baer, with Bandon’s head of agronomy Ken Nice and team assisting with irrigation and managing the course’s grow-in, in time for preview play in 2024. Whitman, Axland and Cutten originally laid out 12 holes – the seventh to eighteenth – and have now extended the routing to 19, following a change in the site for the clubhouse Image: WAC Golf TEE BOX Photo: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

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TEE BOX Bunker reconstruction work at Hankley Common Golf Club in Surrey, England, has taken another step forward following recent construction work by MJ Abbott, to a design plan set out by Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert. The course originally opened in 1897 as a nine-hole layout, with James Braid expanding it to 18 in 1922. Harry Colt remodelled parts of the course in 1936 and, according to Ebert, it is one of the finest heathland settings in the country – located on a Site of Special Scientific Interest on the North Downs. In 2020, the club engaged Ebert to develop a masterplan, and he proposed reworking bunkers and creating new sand areas for greater harmony with the course’s heathland landscape. Ebert’s plan also covered greens surrounds, areas of heather, tees and paths. “The project has focused upon bringing the bunkers to life, making them blend into the heather surroundings and giving them a more Martin Ebert transforms bunkering at Hankley Common Photo: Mackenzie & Ebert 16 An exposed sand area has been created short of the par-three second green

17 classic, rugged look,” said Ebert. “The majority of the old bunkers were very simple in shape with little to commend them visually. There have been some adjustments to the bunker layout as well to ask the right questions of the better players. “The green surfaces have not been touched but there has been quite a lot of work to the green surrounds, which has raised the interest level around the putting surfaces. In some ways, that seems to have drawn out the features of the green surfaces themselves a little more. “Some bare sand areas have also been developed which make a real impression. They provided heather for the bunkers and other areas, and these will soften into the landscape as they establish.” Following a pilot project and two phases of construction work, 14 holes have now been completed. Shaper Quinn Thompson, who worked on Mackenzie & Ebert’s project at Hirono in Japan, joined the project team of MJ Abbott and Hankley Common’s greenkeeping crew. “The club wanted to carry out all lifting and replacement of existing turf and final sanding of bunkers,” said Steve Briggs of MJ Abbott. “Quinn fitted into the project on one of our excavators working with the club and Martin to agree final shaping and the club slotted in as required to open up and close out areas. “The site is blessed with fantastic heather coverage and the redesign brings heather closely into bunker complexes and lines of play. Clearance of sightlines between back-to-back greens on the fifth and eighth holes has transformed those green complexes, and the large sand scrape bunkering on the second is a dramatic contrast to what was there previously.” Ebert said: “In terms of bunkering, I think that the changes have been as dramatic as any project we have been involved with. Some of the bunkers were so simple and, frankly, disappointing. There is still another phase to go to complete the implementation of the plan, but I think we are well on the way to achieving the overall vision for the course and the members seem to be very supportive of what has resulted, which is the most important result of course.” The club plans to complete the third and final phase in winter 2023. Photo: Mackenzie & Ebert Ebert says bunkers at Hankley Common now blend into heather and have a more classic, rugged look

18 Andrew Green has overseen a renovation of the William Flynndesigned golf course at Indian Creek Country Club, located on the exclusive, man-made Indian Creek Island on Biscayne Bay, in Miami Beach, Florida. LaBar Golf Renovations and Bunker Solution began construction in January 2022 and finished before the end of the year, ahead of the course’s grand reopening earlier this year. “The goal of the renovation was to reinfuse Flynn’s character into the layout, while enhancing the refined golf experience the members have enjoyed through the decades,” Green told GCA. “The golf course had aged significantly, and new infrastructure was needed throughout the entire property.” The project included rebuilding greens at an expanded size and to USGA specifications as well as relocating bunkers and reshaping them in a style in keeping with Flynn’s design intent. “Large areas of sand on Flynn’s original plan were accounted for with bunker clusters that allowed the sand to dance in the landscape without being unkempt,” said Green. “The Flynn-inspired bunkering, which broke many large bunkers up into a series of smaller ones, aids in the presentation of the golf course and the strategic elements of the design. The bunker styling and placement harken to Flynn’s vision. While not as rugged as some images, we worked to provide varied shapes, sizes, and depths that we could point towards in the historic documentation.” Green made significant changes to the fourth hole, also to recapture Flynn’s vision. He shifted the fairway to the right, towards the bay, with the green now in a position to be better attacked from those who take the most challenging line of play. The architect says the hole now rivals the course’s highlight stretch from eleven to fourteen. TEE BOX Green reinfuses Flynn at Indian Creek

19 “Many approaches were graded to better accept the ground game, whether it is run-up approaches or shots made in recovery from around the green,” said Green. “Sightlines were opened that balanced the oasis qualities of the layout with long vistas. We also worked to reclaim green space from the pictures we had of the course when it was young. These differed a bit from what Flynn had drawn, so we tried to blend the historic information to best represent what Indian Creek was meant to be.” The project has also seen the levelling of tees, plus the addition of new back and forward tees to add more flexibility in course setup. Stormwater management was an important aspect of the redesign. A new drainage system was installed, and new water storage was created, to help the course cope with Miami’s rising sea levels and protect Biscayne Bay. The result is two large ponds that fit in between holes; soil generated from these ponds was used to elevate the lowest playing surfaces and protect them from flooding. The course has been completely regrassed, with TifTuf bermuda on fairways and rough, TifEagle on greens and Primo Zoysia on tees. “The presentation of the course is quite different,” said Green. “There is a higher level of refinement with the quality of turf. The presentation of the playing corridors creates more interest, and the long vistas are powerful. “Overall, the playing experience at Indian Creek has been elevated to the highest level. The installation of modern systems, while making the course feel of a certain vintage, was always at the forefront. Allowing each hole to reflect Flynn’s vision inherently made them thoughtful and unique. Coupling together with the polish and imaginative nature of the course allowed us to create a very special and unique experience.” Andrew Green has restored William Flynn’s design intent to Indian Creek, as seen on holes thirteen and five (top) Photos: Joe Compitello/Indian Creek

20 Städler & Reinmuth Golfdesign has completed a new layout for Bades Huk Golf Club, near Wismar on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, on the site of the abandoned Golf Club Hohen Wieschendorf course. “Golf has no history in Eastern Germany,” said architect Christoph Städler. “Before World War II, there were only a handful of golf courses in that area. When the German Democratic Republic was founded after the war, these courses were abandoned and used for other purposes, because golf was not compatible with the ideology of the workers’ and farmers’ state. Golf had ceased to exist there – until the reunification of the two German states in 1990.” The Hohen Wieschendorf course was established in 1991 on a peninsular location jutting out into the Baltic Sea. “The budget for the original course was obviously very limited because the construction quality was very simple, with tiny push-up greens and tees, small flat bunkers and fairways without shaping,” said Städler. “Maintenance was also limited to the bare essentials, which had a negative impact on the quality of play.” Ultimately this led to the club’s collapse. “By the end of 2018, operations and maintenance ceased and the golf course became overgrown and lay abandoned for some time,” said Staedler. “Some holes were only recognisable by the trees and hedgerows on their sides and almost had the character of ‘lost holes’.” Austrian investor Oliver Soini acquired the land in 2019 and began plans to renovate the course to accompany the resort development he had built in the corner of the site. Soini invited proposals and selected Städler & Reinmuth for the project. “We decided to disregard the original layout and create completely new, more challenging holes,” said Städler. “In doing so, we made optimal use Städler and Reinmuth revive neglected site in Germany TEE BOX

21 of the gently rolling topography, characterised by moraines and ideally suited for golf, and of the beautiful tree stands which had grown up over the last three decades.” Construction was overseen by Städler’s partner and co-designer Achim Reinmuth and carried out by German firm Jösef Potter Golf. “We followed the minimalistic approach, taking great care to carry out only minimal earthmoving and to keep the construction costs for the investor very low by using sand and gravel from the site for greens construction,” said Städler. “The selection of the grasses was based on the aspects of low-cost maintenance and the lowest possible water consumption.” This approach was taken to achieve both constructional and economic sustainability. Städler added: “Due to the ideally rolling topography, we were still able to create an aesthetically stunning and player-friendly golf course with many visual highlights.” The new course has a total length of 6,320 yards. “It has no championship calibre but is specifically designed for vacation and recreational golf,” said Städler. “Due to the combination of undulating terrain, slopes and small greens, which are well defended by bunkers and ponds, even ambitious golfers will find the course has challenges and is a lot of fun to play. “What makes the Bades Huk golf course special is the panoramic views over the Baltic Sea, the scenic beauty and the exceptional tranquillity – three trump cards that are rarely found together and give hope for a high popularity.” A new golf hotel and clubhouse is expected to be built by the end of 2025. “The new golf resort will form another important link in the chain of courses on the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – a new point of attraction for golf tourists,” said Städler. Städler & Reinmuth’s new course for Bades Huk features gently rolling terrain, as seen on the par-five seventh. Top, the par-three fourth runs alongside the Baltic Sea Photos: Ralphe Dörnte

22 TEE BOX THE BIG PICTURE The 130-yard seventh (foreground) and 100-yard eighth holes at the Gravel Pit, a 13-hole par-three golf course in Brainerd, Minnesota. The course was designed by Scott Hoffmann and photographed by his son Nicholas. “The seventh plays downhill to a peninsula green,” says Hoffmann. “The putting surface is quite large at about 11,000 square feet. The left side of the green is very approachable but divided by a small bump that requires good placement on the proper side for a birdie opportunity. The right side is quite narrow, requiring a very accurate approach, and has subtle contours. “The eighth is an uphill 100-yard version of the Short hole, with a large upper level but with a smaller thumbprint in the centre of the lower level that plays larger than it looks. The green slopes from three sides to the pin areas. The right pin behind the bunkers is probably the most difficult to get to. A left side miss will receive the benefit of the side slopes. Right or long is trouble. The green is about 9,000 square feet but with four distinct, pinnable areas.” Read more about the Gravel Pit on

Soluptatis ea ilignie nducid modi odi dolum vendem esciant harumenetUptatia vidit etur, optatem porion et queitius erundae rsperum quostrum que audigenisci si recus Photo: Nicholas Hoffmann 23

24 Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club in California is entering its first full golfing season since the completion of a renovation by Brian Costello of JMP Golf Design. With construction work completed over two years to allow the club to keep nine holes in play at all times, the front nine reopened in May 2021 and the back nine followed in June 2022. “There were multiple layers to the dramatic transformation of Palo Alto Hills, starting with a totally reimagined course presentation that morphed from a parkland, treelined character to one that is more rustic, open and in tune with the oak savannah and adjacent nature preserve,” Costello told GCA. “We turned up the volume on the wow factor throughout the entire course. A key component to this effort was the removal of non-native and ornamental trees, to recapture the amazing views of San Francisco to the north, of the bay, and the preserve that wraps around nearly half of the course.” Costello, who worked closely with the membership, course superintendent Andrew Morgan and others at the club, says there has been a “complete strategic reset” at Palo Alto Hills. New forward and back tees have been added, and existing tees repositioned for better angles. On the first, tees were shifted away from the clubhouse to allow the club’s staging area to be tripled in size. Many fairways have been reshaped to provide better sightlines, reduce side slopes, and so landforms blend more seamlessly into the landscape. The project has also seen bunkers reshaped and rebuilt, with all now fitted with CapillaryFlow liner and white sand. “All the green complexes were reimagined and enlarged to provide multiple target zones and pin locations,” said Costello. “This is a huge difference from the original greens, where pins were often forced into the same flatter areas day after day. The new putting surfaces also feature some very creative perimeter rolls and ridges, and transitional tiers that add tremendous strategic variety and interest. Whether you are hitting your approach shot, a short pitch or chip, or putting, the contours reward well-executed shots. “A lot of the green complexes were elevated, and many members were hitting lower trajectory shots into these severely sloped ramps which TEE BOX JMP turns up the ‘wow’ factor at Palo Alto Hills

eliminated any chance of a bumpand-run shot. We lowered eight greens between three and six feet to be more receptive.” Other work at the club includes the installation of new drainage, a new Rain Bird irrigation system, a restyled bunker and chipping area, a new short-game area, a new putting green, and new cart paths. Sandcapped fairways, approaches and green surrounds allow for quicker drainage during inclement weather, and firm and fast conditions most times of the year. The selection of more droughttolerant fescues around bunker complexes and fine fescues transitioning into the native areas has also reduced staff time in these areas. “Several golf holes were weak links in the original routing for a variety of reasons,” said Costello. “The opening sequence of holes were simply lacking in drama and strategic interest. The first was a very short, blind, dogleg par four lined with Monterey pine trees, leading to the second, a very short downhill par three. We combined these two holes into a longer par four without the sharp dogleg and provided a dramatic view all the way to the green with a sweeping vista. We identified a remnant corner of the property to create a new par three to complete the front nine. “The par-four tenth was the other obvious weak link with some unusual playability constraints and characteristics. Tee shots would land in a large valley with a perched lake above, leaving a blind shot into the smallest green on the course, guarded by the lake, and buttressed by railroad ties between the cart path and green. By shifting the tees forward and raising the fairway by 12 feet, the landing area is now above the lake level with the lake providing visible strategic value. We also pushed the green complex back about 40 yards, creating a really great starting hole for the back nine. “On many fronts the course is a much better overall golf experience for the wide spectrum of the membership. The strategic values, playability characteristics, and overall presentation and spectacular views have all greatly improved.” 25 Drought tolerant fescues now accent bunker complexes, as seen at the fourth Photo: Marc Howard Photo: Marc Howard

26 A new eighteen-hole golf course designed by Stirling & Martin is taking shape near Bucharest, Romania. The course is part of a new resort and residential community, National Golf & Country Club, being developed by Turkish-Romanian entrepreneur Metin Dogan in the Niculești commune, a 30-minute drive north of Romania’s capital. Over 60 million euros is being invested in the three-year project that will include the course and a golf academy, plus a five-star hotel, more than 170 villas and 100 apartments, a wellness centre, sports courts, bars and restaurants, a playground and events halls. “The aim is to provide a private club lifestyle experience to the local market,” said Mircea Dragomir, the club’s chief operating officer and project coordinator. “It will be the premier facility in Romania. This five-star resort represents the vision of the owner, who dreams of building a stress-free destination, where everyone feels like they are on a permanent vacation.” The first phase of the development includes the golf course and country club facilities, hotel and villas. Course construction began in July 2022 and earthmoving and lake work is now complete, eleven holes have been shaped, and drainage and irrigation systems have been installed. Construction of villas has started, and the remaining residential units will be built in a second phase, planned for January 2024. “With all the high-end facilities and upscale residential units, the golf course had to reach the same lofty standards, and it looks like it will,” said architect Marco Martin. “Through our design choices, the course will offer views of breathtaking skylines from every angle, along with an exceptional golfing experience. “A lot of effort went into the design phase as we wanted this layout to be unique, a ‘National’ course in the true sense of the word. It is built for the entire range of golfers: beginners will have a fun round, advanced players are going to enjoy how technical the course is, and the elite will face a tough challenge to beat par. “We have put a big focus on aesthetics. We wanted golfers to be amazed by the surroundings wherever they are on the course. We took various elements into consideration; sun position, wind direction, shade, colours, plants and materials.” Blake Stirling adds: “A walk on any of the already shaped fairways is a unique experience, it is the closest thing to walking on water… no kidding! The feeling is of permanent movement, a waves effect, that will immediately let you see that the TEE BOX New course takes shape near Bucharest A visualisation of the closing hole at the forthcoming National Golf & Country Club

27 Each of the 170 villas planned for the development will have a view of the golf course shot options for each hole are simply infinite! It’s the kind of course you can play a million times and it will still feel like you’re playing it for the first time.” Dogan originally planned 250 villas but reduced the number to 170 so that each would have a direct view of the golf course. Each villa will be energy independent, with its own solar panel system. “The name, National, was chosen to underline the need to produce golfers and promote golf values within the local community,” said Dragomir. “The club aims to become a home of Romanian golf. We are also going to integrate the latest technologies to assist with major business decisions. “It is definitely one of the most interesting projects to follow, developed in a country with one of the fastest growth rates of golfers.” A soft opening of the golf course later this year will be followed by the official opening in spring 2024. Images: National Golf & Country Club

28 TEE BOX Todd Quitno will begin a renovation project at Canal Shores Golf Course near Chicago, Illinois, in June. The project is part of the public facility’s efforts to improve youth development in the community. The initiative is a collaboration between Canal Shores, Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association (EWGCA), KemperSports, Western Golf Association (WGA), First Tee – Greater Chicago, Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation, Chicago District Golf Association, and other key donors. Quitno’s masterplan will see the current first hole converted into a Himalayas-style putting green, with the second playing as the new opener. “The first – as it exists today – will be removed from the routing and become the new half-acre putting lawn,” said Quitno. “To compensate for this loss, we have made a three-hole routing change at the north end of the property, where existing holes six and seven will now play as five, six, seven, but in a clockwise fashion. The impetus for this change is multifold: first, to replace hole one which was taken away from the clubhouse area; second, to create three exciting and dynamic new holes which include a Punchbowl, putting hole and Redan; and third, to open some amazing views of Baha’i Temple, Wilmette Harbor and even a peak of Lake Michigan. “On select days when youth programming requires extra space, the proposed first hole will also be used for practice, taking it out of the eighteenhole rotation and moving the round’s start across the street. On those days, ‘hole 17.5’, which is otherwise a bonus hole, will then be added to the lineup to complete the 18. The green here occupies the location of the original seventeenth but doubled in size. A newly excavated wetland area will be added between tee and green to serve as both a stormwater storage area and a buffer for the existing wetland found immediately to the east. “Having these extra holes and flexibility in the routing allows the opportunity to maximise the limited space that we have for youth golf development and caddie training, which is the impetus and the inspiration for completing this exciting project!” Canal Shores focuses on youth development and environment Images: Quitno Golf Designs A 70-yard ‘putting-only’ hole at Canal Shores will play directly towards the Baha’i Temple

29 A 27,500-square-foot green will be built that can be used in a variety of ways, including as a four-hole junior loop when combined with the first green Quitno will also create two new holes, one of which is the sixth that will play as a putting-only hole at 70 yards with the Baha’i Temple as a backdrop. Several of the greens will feature template designs, while the remaining dozen greens will be restored to their original green pads, which date back to the 1920s when Tom Bendelow first routed the golf course. “The new sixth hole, dubbed the ‘Temple’, is the first of its kind in the Chicagoland area, and maybe in the greater US,” said Quitno. “Designed specifically to be a putting hole, this shorty plays on a southeast axis deliberately aimed at the majestic Baha’i Temple. Clearing of the invasive scrub growth along the top of the steep ridge behind the green will open up an incredible view of the temple. The green plays along the edge of this ridge and is shaped to hint at a crescentmoon, one of the sacred symbols of the Baha’i faith.” Other work includes practice grounds, irrigation and drainage upgrades. The First Tee – Greater Chicago chapter will operate from the new practice campus which will be the base for the club’s youth development programme and the WGA’s caddie training academy. “Canal Shores is so incredibly ingrained in the greater community,” said Quitno. “Making this course economically viable for the long term is critical to its preservation. We’re doing that both with our physical changes to the course infrastructure, and also with the youth programming that will recruit, train and endear future users… especially disadvantaged youth who may otherwise never be introduced to the game.” Wadsworth Golf Construction will begin work in June with the facility gradually closing holes through to August. Canal Shores is working with owner, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the city of Evanston and the Wilmette Park District to ensure that work is completed and ready for reopening by summer 2024. 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 – explores what the current economic environment means for new course projects. “Short courses are here to stay,” says Tom Smith, former general manager of Falling Rock at Nemacolin, now an SVP in Wilson, Arkansas, where a six-hole reversible course opens in May. “They are fun, functional and inclusive. The model approach should always be to provide what the customer is seeking.” The Spring issue of By Design also includes an out-of-the-box design that has nine sets of twin holes that play alongside each other and Mark Wagner reflecting on the layouts created by Arthur Jack Snyder in Hawaii. To download the latest issue and subscribe to By Design, visit “Short courses are here to stay” GOOD READ

Edwin Roald is adding nine new holes to Selfoss Golf Course in Iceland. Roald has been consulting architect for the nine-hole layout since 2018, and has already replaced three holes, required due to the realignment of Route 1 – a ring road that circles Iceland. The current project is a response to the increasing popularity of the town of Selfoss, less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, with locals and tourists. The municipality has provided most of the funding and wants an eighteen-hole layout to satisfy the increased demand. “It is a very interesting and attractive piece of property along the banks of the Ölfusá River,” Roald told GCA. “The site for the new holes is on the waterfront and one of the main objectives has been to use the additional land so that golfers arrive at the water at least twice in a round. Some new holes will be on the front nine and some will be on the back to create a figure-eight routing. “We’re designing a course and providing a playing experience that everybody can enjoy. The emphasis is on our largest core customer group – the high handicap players. However, TEE BOX Edwin Roald progresses with new nine at Selfoss Photo: Edwin Roald 30 A large sand hazard forms the primary defence to the opening hole at Selfoss Golf Course

31 for the better players, there will be plenty of strategic interest in terms of angles, firmness of the ground and pin positions.” Roald is introducing template concepts to Selfoss. “We have a replica of the Eden hole at St Andrews – our par-three sixth has the Ölfusá behind the green rather than the Eden River,” he said. “We’ve got a reverse Cape at the seventh, the fifteenth is a riverfront par five with a reverse Road Hole green entrance, and the sixteenth is a Redan. We’re playing around a bit and trying to mix an original design that underlines the unique nature of the site and Icelandic golf with template holes and such concepts so golfers can have some fun.” The architect expects eighteen holes to be completed by 2026, with a 14-hole routing ready by late 2024. With no specialised golf contractors operating from Iceland, the new holes at Selfoss are being built by a local contractor – although Roald is making use of technology to ensure they are built to a high standard. “We’re using automated machine guidance (AMG),” said Roald. “We design everything to a high degree of detail and produce 3D models that we send directly into the construction machinery. Those machines can be set on automatic or can be manually controlled. The minutest detail can be achieved; we have contour lines just a few centimetres apart. It’s traditional architecture meeting modern technology! “It is an absolute gamechanger because AMG allows us to do business with local companies – that’s the social corporate social responsibility element – and it obviously makes all the logistics a lot easier. We’re receiving excess soil from nearby construction, housing and road projects, which contributes to considerable savings in haulage distances and carbon footprint. While much of the site is quite flat, we’re able to add character to the fairway surroundings with this additional soil. I’m seeing around a 27 per cent decrease in the number of machine hours via using AMG.” Selfoss has also approved a plan to introduce a short course by Roald that will be located near the entrance of the site and is expected to open in 2025. “Considering the recent completion of indoor and outdoor practice facilities, it can be said that Selfoss will have a full range of golf options,” says Roald. Image: Edwin Roald Among the new holes to be built along the banks of the Ölfusá River are the reverse Cape seventh, the par-five fifteenth inspired by the Road hole, and the Redan sixteenth