Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

65 REPORT The masterplan was submitted to Martin County almost two years after Bakst identified the land. “The site is so vast that it would have allowed for many options,” says Cutten. “However, Kenny’s vision is to preserve all of the natural areas of the 3,900-acre ranch, 95 per cent of which will remain as green open space. Locating golf in the southern third of the site, far removed from both people and traffic, will provide golfers with an incredibly remote and serene experience in uninhibited nature.” Once the team had settled on that area, design work began. “We would have plans spread out on a dining room table for weeks at a time,” says Cutten. “Then we would share options with Kenny to get his thoughts, which, not surprising to us, were always invaluable. It took nearly a year to settle on our current routings and we are still working on minor refinements every time we are on site together. “The flow of holes was very important to us, as was the distinctiveness of the two courses. The core principles of routing – changes of direction, wind and sun angles and so on – were of course critical, but exploring the site’s diverse habitats, while preserving their best parts, was equally significant. We simply let the site inform our decision making, and did not hesitate to make adjustments in the field where the inclusion of site assets could further enhance the journey.” The two eighteen-hole layouts – East and West – both max out at around 7,500 yards. “The site characteristics will help to differentiate the courses from each other, and we will employ traditional design elements reflecting their differing landscapes,” says Cutten. “One course will be broader and bolder, with sweeping views across the entire golf course, while the holes on the other course will weave in and out of upland pines and prairie land to provide a more intimate walk through nature.” The practice areas were given the team’s utmost attention too, with Cutten saying nothing comparable has ever been built. “That’s a bold statement, but Kenny is known for his love of practice and belief that great practice facilities are a source of great enjoyment and absolutely critical to providing golfers of all abilities with the means of learning how to take their games from the range to the course. “The Ranch is a major undertaking, both in project scale and vision. We have been gifted a great opportunity to deliver something truly special for golf in Florida and America. We do not take this opportunity lightly and have crafted a team to help us deliver.” Earthworks for mass grading, drainage and irrigation could begin as early as autumn 2023, with construction of the courses and practice facilities anticipated to begin in winter 2024. “ We have been gifted a great opportunity to deliver something truly special for golf in Florida and America” Photo: Andrew Harvie The site is home to around 800 Brangus cattle and Bakst intends to continue to operate a cow calf operation on the property