Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

The global journal of golf design and development I SSUE 73 JULY 2023


1 I have often thought that many of the problems with golf are a result of the fact that most golfers are men. There is no doubt that golf courses have both suffered and benefitted from testosterone. Competitive behaviour may have driven the creation and improvement of many courses, but it has a destructive side too: sometimes that urge results in a determination to achieve results that are far from positive. The quest for faster greens, discussed in this issue’s main feature, is a classic example. While greens that roll smooth and true are undeniably a good thing, and fast rolling is correlated with smoothness, the desire among clubs to have the fastest greens is not. This quest for speed makes golf slower to play (isn’t that a beautiful irony?) and more expensive. It can also make wonderful old greens, built when it was simply not possible to mow grass so low and groom it so well, unplayable. This is most often expressed as ‘a loss of pin positions’. But the truth is that those positions are not genuinely lost. They just become unplayable because the green is rolling too damned fast. In consequence, hundreds, even thousands, of classic greens have been levelled out, removed of the contours that made them great in the first place, so that they can be cut and groomed to be even faster. The architects who do this work should not be unreasonably criticised. We all have to eat, and if clubs want faster greens, in the end it is their right to have them. But perhaps our male-dominated green committees could do with a different perspective. Slow down WELCOME ADAM LAWRENCE

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5 Published by Tudor Rose Tudor House, 6 Friar Lane Leicester LE1 5RA Tel: +44 116 222 9900 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. In 2023, the EIGCA presented Golf Course Architecture with its Harry Colt Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to golf or golf development. Contributing Editor Adam Lawrence News Editor Richard Humphreys Editorial team Alice Chambers, Amber Hickman, Alex Smith Contributors Eric Iverson, Tom Mackin, Mark Wagner Design Bruce Graham, Libby Sidebotham, Dhanika Vansia Publisher Toby Ingleton Publication & Sales Manager Benedict Pask Production Manager Stuart Fairbrother Website Development Chris Jackson Circulation Ritwik Bhattacharjee Subscribe Photography Andalucía Golf Magazine, Arnold Palmer Design Company, Atlanta CC, Beyond the Contour, Cabot Citrus Farms, Steve Carr, CDP, EGD, Vaughn Halyard, Harris Kalinka, Andrew Harvie, James Hogg, Jansen Golf Group, King-Collins, Gary Lisbon, Golfplan, Jason Livy, Taku Miyamoto, Mike Nuzzo, Brian Oar, Prairie Band Firekeeper Resort, Quitno Golf Design, Red Feather, Rees Jones, Inc., Evan Schiller, Schmidt-Curley Design, Jacob Sjöman, SkyRidge Park City, Spogard & VanderVaart, The Club at Lac La Belle, USGA Museum, Verulam Golf Club, WAC Golf

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8 CONTENTS TEE BOX 10 Our Tee Box section opens with news of CDP’s bunker overhaul at Royal Dublin in Ireland. INSIGHTS 30 Eric Iverson describes how Renaissance Golf Design uncovered elements that make Cherry Hills a Golden Age treasure. 34 Mark Wagner highlights the importance of inclusivity and sustainability for the Native American tribe that owns Firekeeper Golf Course in Kansas. ON SITE 52 David McLay Kidd’s Dunas course at Terras da Comporta in Portugal, which opens in October, has had quite the journey as Adam Lawrence reports. Cover photograph by: James Hogg FEATURE 38 Adam Lawrence asks whether architects can convince their clients to keep greens at a speed that allow them to build contoured surfaces, or if we are in a mostly flat era.

9 INTERVIEW 46 Tom Mackin speaks with Cabell Robinson, designer of Finca Cortesin – this year’s host of the Solheim Cup – about his career in Spain, where he has lived for more than half a century. REPORTS 58 A restoration may be on the cards for St George’s Hill with Renaissance hired to produce a masterplan. 62 WAC Golf submits a masterplan for a 36-hole golf facility to be built on 4,000-acre property in Florida. 66 European Golf Design aims to create something special with its redesign of La Grande Mare on the island of Guernsey. 70 Mike Nuzzo designs 21 holes of golf for Cabot Citrus Farms, which is in the midst of a transformation. 74 Rees Jones is finding demand for pre-tournament renovation work is on the rise in the East. 78 Golfplan completes bunker project at Seowon Hills ahead of the South Korean course hosting a LPGA tournament. HOLING OUT 80 We hole out the issue with Jon Garner’s convertible design in Utah, which can be played in two ways.

TEE BOX CDP project sees a return to Colt’s original approach of larger but fewer hazards. Royal Dublin completes bunker overhaul 10

Clayton, DeVries & Pont (CDP) has completed a bunker renovation project at The Royal Dublin Golf Club in Ireland, which has seen hazards rebuilt to a style closer to Harry Colt’s work on the course in the 1920s. Dublin Golf Club was founded in 1885 and moved to its present location on Bull Island in 1889. Two years later, it received its royal patronage from Queen Victoria. Following damage inflicted to the course while it was used as a rifle and artillery range in the First World War, it was rebuilt and redesigned by Colt. In the 2000s, Martin Hawtree completed a renovation and lengthening of the course, also moving previously low-lying green complexes above the water table. By 2019, a member survey had raised issues relating to playability, presentation, safety, sand consistency and the number of bunkers. The club asked CDP to study the hazards. “Their enthusiasm for the project, professionalism, and knowledge of Harry Colt were three key factors for us selecting CDP to oversee our bunker project,” said general manager Jeff Fallon. “The club felt that there were too many bunkers,” said Frank Pont, who completed the audit with Hendrik Hilgert and with input from Mike Clayton. “There were 94. A lot were very steep, and some were small and pot bunker-ish, which made it hard for members to get in and out. Given that there were so many, players would often find themselves in a few during a round, leading to a general feeling that the course was quite tough.” 11 Renovated greenside bunkers on the fourth hole at Royal Dublin Photo: Clayton, DeVries & Pont

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13 Photo: Clayton, DeVries & Pont TEE BOX “Frank and the team found historical photos which allowed them to track the changes from Colt’s work in the 1920s all the way through to the present day,” said Fallon. “They made regular visits and met with key stakeholders to further develop their local knowledge of the site. The results of the audit clearly showed that the club had moved away from Colt’s philosophy of designing severe for the scratch player, but sympathetic for the bogey golfer. The audit also highlighted that we lacked asymmetry of defence, which was another of Colt’s principles, and we had increased the number of bunkers from 70 to 94.” Photography from before the Second World War gave Pont an insight into Colt’s work, and coastal survey photos from the late 1940s confirmed the bunkers were originally bigger, and there were less of them. “There were somewhere in the region of 60 to 70 bunkers,” said Pont. “In addition to them being bigger, they also had a more irregular shape. Prior to our work, bunkers were around 20 square metres on average, while Colt’s looked to be more like 60 square metres. Pont and his colleague Hendrik Hilgert presented the firm’s proposals to the membership. “We proposed going back to fewer bunkers and having the greens more asymmetrically defended,” said Pont, whose renovation plan was accepted by the club. The Covid pandemic delayed construction until October 2022, when DAR Golf Construction, who had worked on Hawtree’s renovation in the 2000s, began work, including the installation of new bunker lining. Pont and Hilgert collectively spent around 80 days on site during the project. Individual holes were closed for play as DAR worked on them, but the remainder of the course remained open throughout the project. “In the winter, the club operates a less-thaneighteen-hole layout, so it wasn’t much of a problem that some holes were closed for construction,” said Pont. “They used about four or five different routings, which helped us a lot as we didn’t feel a lot of time pressure and the members were kept happy. Once we finished a hole, it would be back in play quickly with some areas of ground under repair.” The project was completed in February 2023 and the last of the bunkers reopened at the start of May. “Feedback to date has been very positive,” said Fallon. “All the issues noted during the survey have been addressed. And following their engagement with the CDP team, our members have also broadened their knowledge of Colt’s design philosophies.” Pont added: “Bunkers are now better placed to challenge low handicap golfers who seek birdies. Some have said that it feels like there are more even though we took plenty out! At the same time, the course has undoubtedly become more forgiving for the average golfer.” The new bunkering on the short par-four sixteenth

14 Swede dream for Stenson TEE BOX Construction is in progress on the new Crownwood Club project north of Helsingborg on Sweden’s west coast. The club is owned by pro golfer Henrik Stenson, golf course architect Christian Lundin and Norwegian golf investor Arild Karlsen, and will include an 18-hole course for members and a public 11-hole course, plus extensive practice facilities. “It’s not directly on the ocean, but it’s as close as you are going to get permission to build a golf course on, in Sweden. With sandy soil and pine trees, it’s a great property for golf,” said Stenson, in an interview with GCA. “We want our members and guests and juniors to feel that these guys really care about golf,” said Lundin. “If we can do that, I think the project will be very successful.” Crownwood Club is scheduled to open in summer 2025. Read the full interview with Henrik Stenson and Christian Lundin at Image: Harris Kalinka A visualisation of the new Crownwood Club project on Sweden’s west coast

15 Photo: credit Welling oversees big changes at Atlanta CC Atlanta Country Club in Georgia is carrying out the first major renovation of its golf course since it opened in December 1965. The Willard Byrd layout hosted the inaugural Players tournament in 1974 and the Atlanta Classic on the PGA Tour between 1967 and 1996. In late 2019, the club hired Beau Welling Design to develop a renovation masterplan to modernise the course’s infrastructure. “Several components of the irrigation system were well past their useful life,” said Scott Lambert, course superintendent at Atlanta CC. “Bunkers needed rebuilding, drainage was lacking, and the greens were nearing the end of their lifespan. There was also a desire to install a state-ofthe-art hydronics heating and cooling system under the greens as part of their rebuilding process.” Construction work began in February 2023, including a rebuild of bunkers and greens, new forward tees, and a new short-game area. “The holes on the front nine are nearly complete and much of the earthwork has been completed on the back nine,” said Lambert. The club chose bunker liners from Bunker Solution. “The performance and longevity of our liner will deliver what Scott and the club envisioned for the renovation,” said Morris Johnson of Bunker Solution. “The main liner holds the sand in place incredibly well, particularly after any kind of rain event. This allows architects the freedom to create visually striking bunker faces without the worry of creating maintenance issues, as the labour time to reposition the bunker sand after a rain event is dramatically reduced.” The course is expected to reopen by December 2023. Photo: Atlanta CC

16 TEE BOX THE BIG PICTURE The green of the par-three seventh followed by the split-fairway parfive eighth on the new La Réserve Golf Links course at Heritage Golf Club in Mauritius, photographed by Jacob Sjöman. The course was designed by Peter Matkovich and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and is scheduled to open at the end of 2023. “La Réserve Golf Links has been inspired by the strategy required to play the wonderful old links courses of Ireland and Scotland,” said Matkovich. “Scoring will be dependent on your strategy, choices and playing within your ability. “The eighth is a great example of strategy in golf design. You have a choice to make from the tee because of the split fairway separated by a mountain stream. Either take the wider fairway route to the left, making it a three-shotter, or accept the challenge and go right over the stream to the narrow fairway, protected by two penal bunkers and a waste area. Hit the fairway and you are left with a relatively straightforward second shot into the green. “This option makes the eighth play like a par 4.5, and a good birdie chance for those brave enough to take it on.” The course features wall-to-wall Pure Dynasty seeded paspalum, developed by Atlas Turf International and Pure Seed.

Photo: Jacob Sjöman 17

18 Great plans for Grand-Mère TEE BOX Architect Andy Staples is documenting the history of the course at Club de Golf Grand-Mère in Shawinigan, Canada [not to be confused with La Grande Mare in Guernsey, which features on page 66 of this issue] and overseeing work to preserve the design while renovating some of its weathered features. The first three holes were laid out by a local landscaper in 1912, and the full eighteen features the work of Albert Murray, Walter Travis and Hugh Alison. Staples will restore Travis’s par-three ninth, which played from a location near the eleventh green over a canyon towards the eighteenth green. It will serve as a nineteenth hole, while also recompleting all of Travis’s original nine holes. Work has already started and is expected to take place over five years. Read a detailed history of the course and its architecture by Beyond the Contour’s Andrew Harvie and Zachary Car on the GCA website. Photo: Arnold Palmer Design Company Refreshed Orchid Island on track to reopen in November Arnold Palmer Design Company (APDC) is renovating its layout at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Designed by APDC in 1990, Orchid Island is on a barrier island and has water in play on 17 holes. “We are finding and re-establishing the original green sizes and shapes,” said Brandon Johnson, lead architect. “Targeted work will establish new pin locations and soften contours that limit pinnable square footage on greens. “The reduction and removal of certain bunkers allows us to explore different strategic options in the opened-up spaces. We can better utilise the existing contours and landforms on and around the bunker complexes to enhance the aesthetic and strategic interest of each hole.” Other changes include realigning tees and recontouring fairways to open sightlines to ponds and lake edges. The sixth, ninth and seventeenth fairways will also be reshaped to eliminate contours that feed balls towards existing ponds in key layup areas. Johnson is redesigning the short-game area, with Celebration and Platinum TE paspalum grass used to match what is on the course. “A wide variety of shot scenarios will be incorporated into the facility, allowing members to practice every facet of their game,” said Johnson. Johnson has worked alongside contractor King Villages and superintendent Matt Boyd. The course is expected to reopen in November 2023. Photo: Beyond the Contour

19 Photo: credit In the April 2023 issue of GCA, Sandy was located on the closing hole of Rob Collins and Tad King’s nine-hole Sweetens Cove course. GCA editor Adam Lawrence was the first journalist to see the layout back in 2012 and is now an honorary member. Congratulations to Joe Andriole of Orlando, whose entry was first out of the hat, and who wins a prized GCA golf shirt. This month our intrepid gopher is back on the links, on probably the most famous hole on one of the world’s greatest courses. One golfer intentionally missed the green of this par three on all four rounds of a championship, believing an up-anddown was his best chance for par. If you’d like a chance to win a GCA golf shirt, email with details of Sandy’s location. GOPHER WATCH The Donalda Club in Toronto, Canada, has opened a new practice area designed by Jansen Golf Group. Inspired by the Himalayas putting course at St Andrews, Donalda’s new green and chipping area features pronounced mounds and swales. “By identifying the most likable features of a Himalayas green through technology, the Jansen team has developed an approach that maximises space and packs in as many of these key features as possible,” said Rob Gavarkovs, architect at Jansen Golf Group. The design firm, led by architect Paul Jansen, has used a mix of artificial and real turf for the green, which is in a shaded location next to the clubhouse. “Lately, the members have been coming off their rounds, grabbing a drink and heading straight out to the Himalayas to have some fun and settle some bets,” said head pro Andrew McCarthy. Donalda’s green is the second of three Himalayas-inspired designs in the city created by Jansen Golf Group. The first at Cedar Brae in Toronto having been met with widespread member approval and a third is planned for TPC Toronto. Photo: Jansen Golf Group Jansen brings Himalayas-inspired designs to Toronto

The Furrows is a new par-three layout designed by OCM Golf and now open at Kingston Heath, one of the famed courses on the Melbourne sandbelt in Australia. We spoke with one of OCM Golf’s principals, Mike Cocking, to find out more. How did the opportunity for the short course come about? Since the mid-1990s, the club has had the foresight of purchasing land surrounding the course, as a means of protecting the boundaries. This included what was known as the ‘Madden Land’. Used as a market garden for the best part of the last century, the club have looked at a variety of uses for this strip, starting around 20 years ago when a nineteenth hole was first built. Tell us about the design process An early idea was to incorporate the first, sixth and nineteenth holes so the course would start and return at the clubhouse, but this became awkward jumping in and out of a full field, so it was quickly dismissed. Another design had fewer holes, but included an option to play a short four, and yet another embraced the freeform option. However, these weren’t that practical on a small piece of land, especially if a number of groups want to use the course at once, so we gravitated towards the idea of a formal loop of Photo: Gary Lisbon TEE BOX Cocking has maximised space by incorporating double greens in his design, such as here for the third and sixth 20 “ Bringing holes together with shared fairways and even a couple of double greens helped maximise space” Inspiration was drawn from both Australia and Scotland for Kingston Heath’s new short course. Q&A with Mike Cocking

21 par-threes. Despite not trying to stick to a nine-hole layout, the dimensions of the Madden Land made it hard to create anything but nine. At 600 metres in length, it would be long enough for roughly four holes out and four holes in, and the widest section to the south would also allow for a hole to play across the property, to make nine holes in total. We did, however, want to avoid the feeling of just playing four holes down the same corridor out and back. Therefore, with the routing we were conscious to move the holes around as much as possible. We also wanted to maximise the more attractive backdrops and limit those against the eastern boundary where a few houses were visible. And, just like the Old course at St Andrews, which is also built on a thin strip of ground, bringing holes together with shared fairways and even a couple of double greens helped maximise the limited space. Did you draw inspiration from elsewhere? The main course, in particular the approach to the par-four third and the par-three tenth, provided inspiration. There were other great short holes we were keen to use as inspiration, certainly locally around the sandbelt, such as the third and fourth at the nearby Woodlands, the third on the West course at Royal Melbourne. And at St Andrews, we took ideas from the second, twelfth and eighteenth. These holes are some of the most enjoyable and thought provoking in the game, so we figured with nine of them, why couldn’t a short course like this hold the same interest as something a little longer? What does this short course mean to Kingston Heath as a club? We wanted to create a unique facility for members – outside of the formal practice facility or the main course – a layout that could be played in an hour or two, and allow golfers to hone their skills from under 120 metres. It also helps create a pathway for new golfers to learn and get interested in the game, and short courses such as this help prolong the golfing life for older golfers, who may find the main course a little too long or too difficult. Photo: Gary Lisbon The fourth hole at The Furrows takes players to the far end of the strip of land

22 Todd Quitno has completed the first phase of renovation work at Westmoor Country Club near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The architect completed a project at Westmoor in 2008 while an associate with Lohmann Golf Designs, creating deep, grass-faced bunkers inspired by William Langford’s renovation of the course in 1957. But Quitno said this work “diverged on style by including more noses and fingers.” He added: “Our goal back then was to bring in the bold angles and elevated greens of Langford to the rest of the course, where possible, and to an extent I think we did. However, the styling, specifically in the bunkering, was a deviation from what characterises Langford’s work.” In 2020, the club asked Quitno to develop plans to renovate bunkers and greens. His goal was a simpler presentation of bunkers, making them easier to maintain, and restoring the Langford style. The first phase of the project focused on 10 greens and their bunkers. “The major focus with the bunkers was to take the long fingers and bulkiness out that characterised the style we implemented back in 2008,” said Quitno. “By doing this, it has provided a much cleaner, simpler look and there is considerably less hand mowing work on the grass faces. Removing the excessive bulk from behind greens in several locations has also allowed the opportunity to expand putting surfaces to capture edges, add pinning areas, and clean up a few awkward tie-ins. The aesthetics are much improved simply by the elimination of clutter and bulk. In turn, the added pinning areas, via expansions and slope adjustments, allow for greater variety.” Future changes will cover fairway bunkers and practice facilities. Image: Quitno Golf Design Todd Quitno strives for simplicity on Westmoor return TEE BOX

23 Michiel van der Vaart is leading a renovation project at Golfclub De Dommel, near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, with work scheduled to finish in time for the club’s centenary in 2028. The architect is aiming to improve playability and safety on the course, reinstate De Dommel’s original heathland style, and better connect holes that had been designed by Harry Colt in 1929, Frank Pennink in 1984 and Frank Pont in 2014. “The course has become overgrown over the past decades,” said van der Vaart. “It’s a necessity to open things up to allow for more strategic golf. All the ‘old’ 12 holes [by Colt and Pennink] need more width, not only for playability but for sunlight and airflow across tees, fairways and greens. The result I want to achieve is more clustered trees – mainly pines – combined with open areas where heather, sand and fescue form a more naturalistic look. “The biggest change will be the eighth and ninth. The former plays with a sharp dogleg left that is currently blocked by trees if the drive is less than 190 metres. In opening the left side, from around the 150-metre mark, and changing the woodland into heather with little sandy dunes, players will be able to hit across this area, creating a more Cape-like effect. “The integration of heathlands has everything to do with the identity of this golf course. By incorporating heather in bunker edges, we can draw quirky natural shapes from the side, almost like fingers, close to the fairway. For the players it is a new form of obstacle but know from surrounding golf courses what to expect.” Next phase of Verulam renovation to begin in October James Edwards is overseeing a renovation at Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, England. “Our old bunkers needed upgrading,” said Paul Keen, general manager at Verulam. “They had poor liners, narrow bases, and faces that were either not steep enough or too shallow. We also wanted a comprehensive overview of the entire course. This is not just a bunker project; we want to elevate Verulam from a very good local course to one that is recognised with the very best.” The renovation will be completed within four years, with Conor Walsh handling construction and new course manager Peter Allam and course director Don Ward representing the club, alongside Keen. The first phase was completed in February 2023, with work due to start up again in October. Photo: Spogard & VanderVaart Photo: Verulam Golf Club Van der Vaart begins centenary project at De Dommel

The new King-Collins course at Red Feather Golf and Social Club in Lubbock, Texas, is now growing-in ahead of an August opening. Architects Tad King and Rob Collins were first contacted about the project in 2020, by professional golfer JJ Killeen and technology executive Brad Ralston, who had identified a 135-acre cotton field that they wanted to turn into a private golf course with a real estate component. “The site for Red Feather is a playa lake,” said Collins. “These features, which are dry for most of the year, are very important for the drainage of the surrounding area. It doesn’t rain often in Lubbock, but when it does, it typically rains very hard and water from miles away will drain to the site.” The project saw 1.3 million cubic yards of dirt moved so the heavily contoured golf course site can store enough water to handle a 500-year flood event. “The vision was to create a rugged, west Texas landscape on the formerly featureless and flat site,” said Collins. “The finished course has an 80-footdeep canyon and a network of barrancas running throughout that give it a one-of-a-kind look and feel.” Having visited the site prior to starting the routing process, KingCollins developed their layout remotely. “We went through several different routings with Brad prior to finalising the current one,” said Collins, noting that there were some course changes as it was being built. “One of our biggest goals was to create a great deal of variety in terms of hole length and direction. We also worked to create a thrilling, gambling finish, which includes a driveable par four, a short par three, and a reachable par five. “Each hole is unique and asks its own set of questions, yet they are all tied together visually and thematically. I think people will be shocked at the diversity of the shotmaking interest, the bunkering and greens that our team laboured so hard to create. “Shaper Robert Nelson poured his creativity into building one of the most diverse sets of bunkers that I’ve ever seen on a golf course. There are tiny pot bunkers, nasty little slivers that you’d love to avoid at all costs, and some intricately detailed large ones. Some of the bunkers are hidden from view and play much larger than their size, given that the ground contours funnel to them.” Red Feather will feature Zoysia fairways and bentgrass greens. Fairways will be mown very low and tight to promote the ground game. “The greens, like the bunkers, are diverse in their shapes, contours, and size,” said Collins. “Some greens, like the fourth, will be remembered for their bold contouring, while others 24 TEE BOX Red Feather COURSE BLUEPRINT The Red Feather course is expected to open in August Photo: Red Feather

25 are very subtle and sit neatly on the ground, with the sixth and tenth being prime examples. There will be a great deal of variety in terms of pin locations that will allow the operations team to present a varied and new challenge each day. “The windy conditions will also invite players to keep the ball low, using the contours and the greens to work the ball close to the hole. Almost every green sits low to the ground and is open in front to allow balls to chase onto the surface. I think players will delight in discovering the ideal angles and shot shapes that yield the best scores. “It is a golf course filled with local knowledge that will promote a sense of discovery as players learn through trial and error the best way to play each hole.” The first shot of the round plays to a generous fairway, enticing players to go for the par-five green in two The site’s two lakes are connected by a stream that wraps round the connected eighteenth and practice putting green Around 1.3 million cubic yards of dirt has been moved for water storage alone, and in excess of two million cubic yards in total The seventeenth is just 99 yards, but surrounded by penal bunkering The fifth is the first of four par fours of 330 yards or less, and reachable with the right wind King-Collins has designed short green-to-tee connections throughout the round Image: King-Collins

27 TEE BOX Black Desert course opens in Utah Black Desert Resort in Ivins, Utah, has opened its new golf course, designed by Phil Smith and the late Tom Weiskopf. The layout was built by Heritage Links among black lava fields below Southern Utah’s red rock mountains. Speaking about the layout before his death in 2022, Weiskopf said that elements reminded him of some of golf’s most famous holes. The parthree third which, like the sixth at Riviera, has a bunker in the middle of the green; the thirteenth green takes inspiration from the fourteenth at Pebble Beach; the seventeenth is a “spinoff” of Royal Troon’s Postage Stamp; and the closing hole has a big false front to the green, like the fifth at Augusta. The course is defined by the lava rock: the double green for the second and eighth (pictured) sits among it, the 600-yard seventh has lava islands located at the second landing area, and a lava ridge is a prominent feature of the sixteenth hole. “Black Desert Resort is located at the convergence of three unique landscapes – jet-black lava beds, towering red rock cliffs of Zion National Park, and Utah’s beautiful Mohave Desert,” said Jared Lucero, CEO of Reef Capital, the resort’s developer. “The emerald fairways and greens laced among the lava fields are set against the red rock backdrop, making for an awe-inspiring golf setting.” Shortly after Black Desert’s May 2023 opening, the PGA Tour selected the venue to host the Black Desert Championship in autumn 2024. This will be a first PGA Tour event in Utah for more than 60 years. “In introducing the PGA Tour – and the LPGA in 2025 – to a new market, we look forward to collaborating with the Black Desert Resort team in their vision for professional golf in the Greater Zion community,” said Tyler Dennis of the PGA Tour. “Competitively, our members will enjoy the challenges and incredible views that define the Black Desert golf course.” Photo: Brian Oar

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29 TEE BOX Grassing is almost complete on the East course at City Golf, the new club in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, that was previewed in the October 2022 issue of GCA. City Golf will have two eighteen-hole layouts designed by Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design. The East is set to open in January 2024 and the West will follow in 2025. “We’re aiming to make the two courses as different as possible,” said Curley. “The East offers a much more traditional take on design with formal bunkering while the West will be more rugged and natural.” The project is requiring significant earthmoving, with Curley preferring massive landforms over small-scale mounding, to create a more natural golf experience. “The property was a floodplain, so a fairly significant dirt move has lifted the two courses up and five lakes have been excavated to create the fill,” said Curley. “Although there is a lot of water, my intention was to provide ample room for golf and to not have water constantly in play.” The architect is providing variety in terms of setup and strategy, with multiple teeing options and substantial contour, such as at the driveable parfour fifteenth (pictured) with various angles of attack. The two courses connect at the eighteenth. “The closing hole on the East is a par five with water sweeping from tee to green,” said Curley. “The hole plays from the highest point on the property, atop a huge landform that hosts both course’s eighteenth tees. This offers extended views over the large lake and the island-green nineteenth, which will be a par-three bonus hole accessible by boat.” First of two Curley layouts for new Cambodia club to open next year Photo: Schmidt-Curley Design For 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 – designers share stories of their most exceptional encounters on golf course sites. “You’re always looking for something that people will remember,” says Greg Letsche of Ernie Els Design, who incorporated a network of 17th-century stone walls on the island of Mauritius in the design of holes at Anahita Golf Club. The Summer issue of By Design also includes architects’ thoughts on the distance debate and insight into the Wadsworth Scholar Program from its eight previous recipients. To download the latest issue and subscribe to By Design, visit “You’re always looking for something that people will remember” GOOD READ

30 ERIC IVERSON OPINION I was familiar with William Flynn’s design work before our team took on the project to restore Denver’s Cherry Hills, the centuryold site of this year’s US Amateur Championship. But I would soon learn a great deal more. We had spent the summer and fall of 2002 outside of Philadelphia, working with Tom Doak on his second course at Stonewall. While I missed a couple of Flynn courses, I got a pretty good dose of his work while in the area. For me, Flynn was easier to identify with than most of his contemporaries; he got into design and construction at a very young age, and did so, in part, through the interest he developed from being an avid player in his youth. He wasn’t influenced by courses in the UK as many of his contemporaries were. Instead, he relied on finding inspiration from the graceful contours of the land he was working on. I came away thinking he built beautiful greens with plenty of slope, yet subtle undulations within them that made for great golf. The first thing that stood out on our initial visit to Cherry Hills were trees, trees, and more trees! We couldn’t achieve anything of substance, like restoring greens and bunkers, until we started getting rid of many of the planted trees on the property. That’s a pretty standard refrain when consulting on older courses, particularly when we began talking with Cherry Hills back in 2006. As the trees came down, the longrange views emerged. It became clear that Flynn had taken great care in laying out the course. His third hole is lined up directly on Mount Evans, the tee shot on five directly toward Longs Peak, and the tenth toward the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Park. These things don’t happen by accident. Bunkers had been added and restyled, and two green complexes had been completely redesigned. The rest of the course was pretty well preserved and just needed to be presented more like it was originally by Flynn. Eric Iverson describes how Renaissance Golf Design uncovered elements that make Cherry Hills a Golden Age treasure. Restoring a classic “ As the trees came down, the long-range views emerged. It became clear that Flynn had taken great care in laying out the course”

31 Photo: credit Faceperum velless ecepta del earum eosanimus endel magnihil praecabo dio ium volupta turissit mi, qui ommodis aut pero magnat Photo: credit I was unaware of the Cherry Hills connection to Pine Valley until I read Mark Fine’s comprehensive 2006 report on the course. To me, the most enduring element is the fourteenth hole, which is remarkably similar to Pine Valley’s thirteenth, one of the best holes in the world. Throughout the course, you can see from both Flynn’s drawings for Cherry Hills, as well as the as-built drawings from October 1922, that he had an affinity for breaking up sections of fairways in the same manner as Pine Valley. Some of those remain today on holes like five and seventeen. I’ve heard the term ‘Muirfield routing’ used to describe Cherry Hills, referring to its outer loop of nine holes, with the remaining nine on the interior of the property and, in Muirfield’s case, featuring a clockwise then counter-clockwise rotation. In this case, I think it had everything to do with how the property is essentially bisected, lengthwise, by Greenwood Gulch and to a greater extent, Little Dry Creek. Once Flynn made the decision to play along the creeks instead of crossing them multiple times, the result was a number of holes on the interior that all had water in play. The remaining holes were on the higher perimeter, playing along the hillsides which adds great interest, too. He would deploy this same solution at Huntingdon Valley a few years later. In contrast, Muirfield is routed over rambling links terrain, and I believe the routing there may have been more intentional, whereas I think Flynn arrived at his instinctively, which is genius in its own right. Our restored versions of the third and thirteenth greens represent the biggest impact of the project. It was suggested that we also move the par-three eighth to make room Photo: Evan Schiller Renaissance paid special attention to the impact of the Little Dry Creek, as seen here running between the greens of, from left, the fourteenth, eighth and seventh | PERFECTION EXPECTED ON THE GLOBAL STAGE | MARCO SIMONE, ITALY Bentgrass Pure Distinction® Scan to learn more Seeded Paspalum Pure Dynasty® Tall & Fine Fescues Pure Seed®

33 to lengthen holes nine and sixteen, but we liked our idea more because it solved a significant congestion problem. The first version was an exact reproduction of the original, and served as a good lesson that reproducing greens exactly in a new location doesn’t work as well as just designing a new one that fits the new space. In 2016, we built a new green further west and positioned it atop the bank of Little Dry Creek. It’s still a difficult hole but now complements the others that play along the creek. Flynn designed the holes along Little Dry Creek to be impacted in various ways by the creek. Think of it as a creek bed and not just the water itself. Flynn’s holes played along the high ground, on the banks of the creek bed, and everything below, from bank to bank, was an unmaintained hazard, with the creek itself meandering within the banks. As part of the project to restore the creek to a more natural state, we had a few opportunities to re-establish the alignment and get the creek proper back into play. The fourteenth hole is the best example of this. Also, restoring the original tees, as well as the front-left portion of the fifteenth green revived what was meant to be the shortest par three on the course. There are terrific new hole locations close to the creek. With the bank mowed short, the slightest pull with a short iron will likely find the water. The longer tees remain intact, so the day-to-day setup for the US Amateur will be fun to watch. It has been a privilege to help Cherry Hills restore the brilliance of its William Flynn design. With the altitude of the Mile High City, 7,316 yards from the championship tees may seem modest for the world’s best amateurs, but Cherry Hills will prove again, as she has so many times in the past, to be a thrilling venue for championship golf. Eric Iverson is a golf course architect at Renaissance Golf Design. ERIC IVERSON “ Cherry Hills will prove again, as she has so many times in the past, to be a thrilling venue for championship golf” Photo: Evan Schiller At the fifteenth, restoring tees and the front-left portion of the green revived what was planned as the course’s shortest hole

34 MARK WAGNER Along with Dancing Rabbit and Circling Raven, Firekeeper may be in the hunt for best name for an eighteen-hole golf course. Everything good about Kansas is found here, and the club is planning on adding a short course designed by Christine Fraser. The current layout was designed by Jeff Brauer, former president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (now its director of outreach), and Notah Begay III, a Native American who played on the PGA Tour and is now an analyst with Golf Channel and NBC. Firekeeper sits an hour west of Kansas City, 20 minutes north of Topeka, and a day’s drive from the geographical centre of America. Brauer considers Firekeeper his best work, noting the course traverses three distinct environments while creating minimal disturbance to the existing land. The course, which opened in 2012, is an endeavour of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, and the tribe was very interested in preserving the character of the land, which Brauer feels he and Begay managed. “Their main goal was to build a course that stands with the best in Kansas,” says Brauer. “It seems most people think we achieved that, making it a very successful project for my firm.” Michael Powell, a PGA professional who has been at Firekeeper since it opened, suggests the course has generated a clientele that has changed the perceptions of the area and its tribal cultures. “Gaming has been a source of financial income to take care of each tribe’s people,” he says. Powell, who is a member of Osage Nation, notes Firekeeper sits on land toward the end of the Trail of Tears. “A lot of tribes got shoved off into the middle of nowhere,” he says. “Well, nowhere is now this beautiful golf course. A lot of nations have taken advantage of building topInclusivity and sustainability are valued highly by the Native American tribe that owns Firekeeper Golf Course, which will soon have a short layout designed by Christine Fraser. Everything good about Kansas INSIGHT “ The course traverses three distinct environments while creating minimal disturbance to the existing land”

35 For the Firekeeper Golf Course, Jeff Brauer and Notah Begay III aimed to design a layout that preserved the character of the land flight resorts and changing attitudes and the living conditions of our native people.” The club has already added 10 acres of wildflowers and a pollinator garden. The short course project is personal for Powell. “I see it as a way for me to teach the young kids, and the elders, how to play the game that is a vehicle to better oneself.” Choosing Fraser as the architect is very much in keeping with this plan. Fraser’s MO in design is aimed at making golf more inclusive. “I’m optimistic that golf will change for its own sustainability in terms of participation and interest,” she says. Fraser brings this perspective to her design. “How can we make golf smaller? How can we bring the rules, footprint, land, usage of fertiliser, maintenance and budget all back to size while keeping the architecture, vistas and challenge of the game? This will allow social relevance going forward… equity is always the pursuit.” Powell notes the Potawatomi nation in Kansas now includes a boys and girls club, early childhood education centre, senior centre, functioning government, and an excellent golf course. “It’s nice being part of the operation that invests in continuing to be great,” says Powell. “I mean, let’s face it, reservations were not selected for deeds of access and prime real estate. But we’ve made something great. And we are fortunate that we are within a short drive of major metro areas, pulling from several populations.” Powell adds: “When we first built Firekeeper, people viewed it as ‘The Indian Casino’. There were negative connotations of the reservation, Photo: Prairie Band Firekeeper Resort

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37 but then people came and saw our property, people saw how unique it is. In 13 years, the perception has changed considerably. There are no houses around the course, and it will stay this way. The resort also funds a lot of the operations of a functioning government and culture.” Land with a capital L is deeply embedded in native cultures. Powell sees his role as golf operations, but also to be an ambassador for the community. “I want our course and staff to represent every tribal member,” he says. “We strive to save on resources, to be more sustainable and responsible. When I hand it off, I want to say I have been a good steward. The land is going to outlive us.” And this is where Fraser’s chapter of the Firekeeper story begins. “The minds behind the short course project at Firekeeper have a comprehensive understanding of responsible stewardship, community engagement, and sustainable design,” she says. “The design concept will use equity and fun as the foundation to create a playground for people of all abilities and backgrounds. The small footprint combined with thoughtful design will allow for minimal maintenance intervention and efficient use of resources. The goal is to remove barriers, reach beyond the fences, and invite the community in. The short course will be a service to the community through recreation, environmental justice, and a safe space for people to be themselves. At its best, this project will have a profound effect on the lives of our youth.” Brauer is also in the mix, coming back later in the year to oversee work on bunkers and other items that will be restored to the original intent. If golf is a vehicle for selfimprovement, Firekeeper and its people get better every year. Mark Wagner is a golf historian and the founding director of the Binienda Center for Civic Engagement at Worcester State University. MARK WAGNER Photo: Prairie Band Firekeeper Resort Many of the holes play in a prairie landscape, as seen on the fourteenth “ We strive to save on resources, to be more sustainable and responsible. When I hand it off, I want to say I have been a good steward. The land is going to outlive us”