The global journal of golf design and development I SSUE 74 OCTOBER 2023
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1 The closure of the Arnold Palmer Design Company marks the end of an era in golf course architecture. Founded in 1972, APDC, along with Nicklaus Design, essentially created the concept of the marquee professional golfer signature design. It was a model that worked very well for many years. Many thousands of people bought a membership or a house at an Arnold Palmer club; the association with the King, for decades the most popular golfer in the world, convinced them that they were getting something desirable. By the time Arnold died in 2016, the golf design market had changed. Overbuilding in the years around the millennium, followed by the crash of 2007-08, essentially put paid to large scale development of new golf courses. When building started to come back, it was of a very different type, centred around a small number of projects, most of which aimed to build something truly special. Whatever you thought of Palmer courses, it’s unarguable that such a model was not what made the company great. Since Arnold’s death, architects Brandon Johnson and Thad Layton, both very talented designers and fine men, have kept the name alive, and done some excellent work in doing so. But it has always seemed a strange situation. Golf design, probably because it is such a small business, has always been a personalised affair. Clients expect to see the person whose name is above the door, perhaps not every visit, but certainly at critical times during the project. The post-Arnold version of APDC was an attempt to create something new, more akin to traditional professional services businesses. If you hire KPMG to audit your company, you don’t expect Klynveld, Peat, Marwick or Goerdeler to show up with a calculator; if you choose Foster + Partners to build you a new tower block, nobody expects to see an 88-year-old Lord Norman appear with surveying equipment to view the site. But golf design is different. Now, Thad and Brandon will, presumably, go on to run more traditional design businesses. We at GCA wish them well, trust they will succeed, and look forward to reporting on their work. The end of a legend WELCOME ADAM LAWRENCE
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7 Published by Tudor Rose Tudor House, 6 Friar Lane Leicester LE1 5RA Tel: +44 116 222 9900 www.tudor-rose.co.uk 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 www.pefc.org 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, Rebecca Gibson Contributors Ron Forse, Brandon Johnson, Brad Klein 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 www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/subscribe Photography Mark Alexander, Aloha Golf Club, Apogee Club, ASGCA, Bend Media, Mike Cocking, Contour Golf Design Group, Tripp Davis, Dreamland Golf Club, Dye Designs, EGD, Erbil Hills Golf Club, Foxhills, Harris Kalinka, Hunter Industries, IDG, JDR Golf Design, Jerry Pate Design, Brandon Johnson, Larry Lambrecht, Kevin Larson, Richard Mandell, Jim Mandeville, Lukas Michel, Momentum Golf Photography, Nicklaus Design, Pinehurst Resort, PopStroke, Renaissance Golf Design, Resorts World, Ricky Robinson, Royal Birkdale, Tremont Sporting Co., Troon International, Al Wilson
NMP was honored to receive the 2023 Golf Inc. Best Global Private Club Renovation of the Year award for Metairie Country Club, New Orleans by Mr. Brian Silva. (Pictured, Hole #13 Knoll) NMP would like to thank all its clients for such a wonderful year! NMP is a full-service golf construction, irrigation, and drainage company. Please contact us today for full details. Hole #15 Punchbowl Other notable projects from 2022-2023: The Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, Orlando FL – Mr. Rees Jones. 18-hole bunker and greens restoration. The Country Club, Cleveland, OH – Mr. Gil Hanse. 18-hole bunker and greens restoration. Quail Ridge, Boynton Beach, FL – Mr. Jason Straka and Mr. Dana Fry. 18-hole full remodel. Lexington Country Club, Lexington, KY – Mr. Kevin Hargrave. 18-hole bunker and greens restoration. The Links at Audubon, Memphis, TN - Mr. Bill Bergin. 27hole full redesign and irrigation. Springdale Golf Club, Princeton University, NJ – Mr. Ian Andrew. 18-hole bunkers remodel. The Four Seasons Golf Club, Orlando, FL. Bunker improvements. Charles River Golf Club, Newton, MA – Mr. Eric Iverson, Renaissance Golf. 18-hole bunker and green improvements. The Country Club, Brookline, MA – Kelly Ami Drainage. Greens and fairway drainage improvements. Metacomet Golf Club, East Providence, RI – Mr. Robert McNeil. 9-hole full remodel and irrigation. Mendham Golf & Tennis Club, Mendham, NJ – Mr. Robert McNeil. Bunker remodel. The Monster Golf Club, Lake Kiamesha, NY – Mr. Rees Jones. 18-hole full remodel and irrigation. Lookout Mountain Club, Lookout Mountain, GA – Mr. Tyler Rae. Full 18-hole remodel. NMP and its sister pipe company Soleno Inc. have become a sponsor of ASGCA. Hole #8 Double Plateau and Principal’s Nose Hole #3 Biarritz NMP Golf Construction Corp. firstname.lastname@example.org | www.nmpgolf.com 1-888-707-0787 25, Bishop Avenue, Suite A-2 Williston, VT 05495 14050 SW 16th Avenue Ocala, FL 34473
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10 CONTENTS TEE BOX 12 Our Tee Box section opens with news of OCM’s redesign of Course Three at Medinah. INSIGHTS 38 Ron Forse explores the crossover, in reality and in language, between golf and warfare. 40 Brandon Johnson considers the relationship between ‘good’ and ‘hard’, in golf course design. FEATURE 44 Golf emerged from the global pandemic with participation figures not seen in decades. Adam Lawrence asks whether this is translating into a boom for golf course architects. Cover photograph by: Momentum Golf Photography INTERVIEW 52 Cynthia Dye McGarey speaks with Richard Humphreys about her experience of designing the only golf course in Iraq.
11 ON SITES 58 Adam Lawrence got an in-construction view of the Tom Doak-designed No. 10 course at Pinehurst. 64 The Foxhills resort and club is investing heavily in its courses to improve its offering to members and visitors. REPORTS 68 Aloha Golf Club in Marbella, Spain, unlocks more pin locations following reconstruction of all greens. 72 Richard Humphreys speaks with Nicklaus Design’s Chris Cochran ahead of Panther National’s opening. 76 Jerry Pate will oversee a facelift of Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog in 2025. 78 Rees Jones and Bryce Swanson bring back the Monster for a New York casino resort. 82 Brad Klein reports on Dan Hixson’s carefully budgeted work at Bend GC in Oregon. HOLING OUT 84 We close the issue by considering the rise in offcourse golf participation.
TEE BOX Architects have overseen a significant rerouting, restored a Golden Age bunker style and brought the ground game to the fore at the Presidents Cup 2026 venue. OCM completes redesign of Course Three at Medinah 12
OCM Golf’s redesign work on Course Three at Medinah Country Club, near Chicago, is complete and the new layout is now growing in ahead of a planned reopening in 2024. “The project is best described as part restoration, renovation and redesign, with the major routing changes occurring in the last six holes,” said Mike Cocking of OCM Golf. Referencing old aerial imagery, hand drawn plans and photos from the 1920s, the design team had a clear picture of how the course has evolved over the past century. “Early aerials showed a very interesting bunker style, somewhat reminiscent of other Golden Age courses,” said Cocking. “They were rugged, natural looking hazards with fairly irregular shapes. There were also some great ground shots of holes three and four, which showed a very dramatic bunker arrangement – something we have looked to restore. “Then there were several holes where we’ve retained the basic structure, and the changes are mainly to the green and bunker style. Holes like the old seventh [which will become the tenth], eighth [eleventh] and twelfth are good examples.” The most significant of OCM’s changes have been to the closing six holes. Rerouting now sees a new thirteenth hole that plays alongside Lake Kadijah, a shortened fourteenth, removing the old fifteenth, converting the old par-three seventeenth into a short, Cape-style par-four sixteenth, a new par-three seventeenth that plays back across the lake on the diagonal, and the 13 Photo: Kevin Larson Significant changes have been made to Medinah’s closing holes, which play alongside and over Lake Kadijah
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15 TEE BOX eighteenth that plays up the original corridor alongside the first hole. “There were a number of reasons behind the development of this concept, including the similarities between the second, thirteenth and seventeenth,” said Cocking. “There was also the lack of a truly great short par four; Lake Kadijah being repeatedly used across the line of play when golf’s most exciting water hazards are positioned diagonally; the potential to make a more dramatic finish; and most importantly, our aim to improve the architecture and variety of shots.” The course closed in October 2022 for tree removal and the demolition of old paths and irrigation. Construction began in April 2023 and by midOctober all shaping and grassing has been completed. One aspect of the project has been to reduce the elevation of some elements of the course. “The most recent version of the course had many tees, greens and bunkers elevated well above the natural ground,” said Cocking. “It created a somewhat artificial appearance, and, in some areas, the natural character of the land had been lost. “Course Three sits over some wonderfully undulating ground, and we felt it didn’t need this additional height to add drama, so one of the first things we’ve done on each hole is to remove the features and return the land to how it once looked. “Some bunkers – especially on the fairways – had been placed on flat ground which wasn’t necessarily suited to building great looking hazards. It seemed like these sites had been chosen because of the distance they measured from the tee rather than how the land moved. And to be visible, they had been built well up and out of the ground. In contrast, our bunkers have been built where they best suit the land – into natural rises – to create more visual interest. This also results in bunkers scattered at a range of distances to ensure a wide range of golfers will have to deal with a bunker at some point in their round.” The number of bunkers has been increased from around 70 to 100. They are generally placed close to the line of play, and at the greens the bunkers are much tighter to the putting surface. “ These changes make for a much more natural looking course with a scale that’s more in keeping with the broad and expansive nature of the site” Photo: Mike Cocking At holes five, six and seven (pictured), OCM has reintroduced a boundary fence, making out of bounds a strategic hazard
17 TEE BOX Three from Three Mike Cocking picks out some of his highlights of the redesign Hole 6: One of the more controversial changes has been the incorporation of a split rail fence along the fifth, sixth and seventh. The boundary used to play a more integral role in the design, but urban growth converted the dirt road and farmland into housing and a three-lane motorway. We were keen on bringing that concept back into play while providing much needed separation from the original boundary fence and busy road. The club were lucky to have a lot of room to the right of each of these holes… so much so we were able to shift the line of play by 30 or 40 yards. There is now a huge reward for playing close to the fence. However, we’ve also given a lot of space to play away on each fairway but obviously the approach becomes a lot harder. Hole 8: The eighth (the old eleventh) had a dogleg with tall trees on the inside corner – making the hole difficult for the average golfer, but long hitters like Rory McIlroy could launch drives over the trees and have a lob wedge to the green. We have removed 15 to 20 trees on the corner and replaced them with a string of bunkers and fescue rough to create a diagonal line of hazards. There’s a small, narrow green with a right-to-left tilt and more bunkers guarding the right and rear, so there is a huge advantage in keeping close to the bunkers on the corner. There is lots of space to the right but for every yard to the right, the pitch into the green becomes more difficult. Hole 16 (pictured): When we looked across the lake at the old seventeenth our eyes would turn to what appeared like a wonderful short par four near the then fourteenth tee. It looked like a great Cape hole, but we weren’t sure it could ever be played. But with our rerouting, we have managed it! Multiple tees help to vary the line and length of the carry, and the views from the elevated back tee will be dramatic. However, arguably the more interesting shot is from the forward sets of tees where golfers may be tempted to go for the green. Photo: Mike Cocking Water, which previously wasn’t much of a threat for better players, is now more in play. And at holes five, six and seven, OCM has reintroduced a boundary fence, making out of bounds a strategic hazard. At holes six, seven and eight (the original sixth, tenth and eleventh), OCM has returned the character of the land. “There are still some bunkers, but this part of the course was originally an oak savannah and so we’ve established some broad sections of fescue rough to reintroduce that feel,” said Cocking. “We hope these changes make for a much more natural looking course with a scale that’s more in keeping with the broad and expansive nature of the site.” OCM has also emphasised angles and contour. “Every hole is wider,” said Cocking. “If fairways are 25 yards wide the game just descends into a test of execution. But when the fairways are 40, 50 or even 60 yards wide, and you have a green where one side is heavily defended, you can create angles to both reward and penalise depending on which side of the fairway you play to. We like to place a hazard somewhere near the ideal position to play into the green to help create some thoughtprovoking decisions back on the tee. “There are some holes where contour short of the green, or a putting surface that tilts away from the fairway, really encourages golfers to use the contour to feed the ball towards the pin. So there has been a lot of work in the approaches to try and make sure they play firm for most of the year.” Course Three will host the Presidents Cup in 2026.
18 Portmarnock Resort near Dublin, Ireland, has reopened its course, redesigned by Jeff Lynch and rebranded it to Jameson Golf Links. Located on the former estate of the Jameson family, Ireland’s famous distillers, the original course was built in the 1990s by architect Stan Eby of European Golf Design with Bernhard Langer as the signature name. The hotel and golf course were acquired by the Canadian Gagliardi family in 2019, and Lynch was appointed for the redesign shortly after. Several of the course’s holes, mostly those located in the dunes close to the Irish Sea, have been rerouted. The dog-leg eighth has been transformed into a straighter par four, with a new fairway, green complex and grass pathways. A new par-three ninth set in the high dunes close to the water is a highlight of the course, while the now par-five twelfth hole has a highly elevated ‘volcano’ green offering stunning sea views. An irrigation lake has greatly increased the course’s water collection capabilities. Perhaps the most dramatic change is still in progress. Lynch has built a Photo: Momentum Golf Photography Portmarnock hotel course redesigned by Jeff Lynch TEE BOX
19 The Shell Bay Club in Hallandale Beach, Florida, has opened its new 18-hole layout by Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD). The project has been led by real estate development firms Witkoff Group and PPG Development, with GNGCD conducting a comprehensive overhaul of the former Diplomat Golf & Tennis Club. Work began in November 2018 and was completed earlier this year with GNGCD creating a 7,254-yard golf course as well as a nine-hole par-three layout and a 12-acre practice facility. The 18-hole course is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, with golfers presented with a variety of risk-reward shots with water challenges in play from the back tees. “Completely isolated from its surroundings, the walkable layout will capture the true essence of the game with immaculately conditioned fairways, sweeping sandbelt-style bunkers and contoured greens that test every club in your bag,” said Norman. The par-three layout includes various template green designs, including versions of Punchbowl, Redan and a Double Plateau. Els Club in Malaysia completes turf project The Els Club Desaru Coast in Malaysia has completed regrassing work on greens and fairways at its Valley course, one of two at the resort. “Having recently visited The Els Club Desaru Coast, and witnessed first-hand the improvements to the Valley course, it is no surprise that the layout is held in such high esteem in Malaysia, but also across Asia and beyond,” said DJ Flanders, executive vice president at the club operator Troon International. “The course will continue to flourish on the back of these improvements.” Photo: Troon International Photo: Larry Lambrecht new green for the seventeenth hole, in dramatic, previously unused land beyond the existing green, so the hole can be changed from a difficult par three to a short par four. This is expected early in 2024. A full On Site report about Jameson Golf Links will feature in the January 2024 issue of Golf Course Architecture. Shell Bay opens in south Florida
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21 TEE BOX Brandon Johnson of Arnold Palmer Design Company is leading a renovation at Omni Barton Creek Country Club at Lakeside in Texas. Work includes restoring the original shapes and sizes of greens, realigning edges and expanding them in selected places to recapture significant square footage that had previously been lost. “We are reintroducing lost pin locations and establishing new ones, which improves shot set-up options,” said Johnson. The architect is also addressing issues with thatch, organic build-up, and poor surface drainage on greens, while also recontouring the surrounds and approaches to introduce strategic playing opportunities and increase recovery options. Bunkers will also be realigned, repositioned and recontoured to give them a “much stronger visual and strategic presence”. In several areas, removing and/or reducing the bunkers will open up new sightlines and increase playability. Tees will be realigned, reshaped and laser levelled, while new forward tees will be added. Select trees will also be trimmed or removed to alleviate shade issues and open up angles of play. Brandon Johnson remodels Omni Barton Creek Photo: Brandon Johnson 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 – Gil Hanse, Andy Staples and Tom Marzolf share their thought processes for designing for match play. “When it’s match play, the hole needs to taunt the player into offense or defence, depending on how the match stands,” says Marzolf, of Fazio Golf Design, who helped to redesign Adare Manor in Ireland ahead of it hosting the 2027 Ryder Cup. The Fall issue of By Design also includes an interview with Frank Jemsek, a profile of The Battlefield course at Shangri-La Resort in Oklahoma, and insight into the GCSAA First Green program. To download the latest issue and subscribe to By Design, visit www.asgca.org. “The hole needs to taunt the player into offense or defence” GOOD READ
22 Ten-time Open Championship venue Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, has started work on a series of course changes by golf course architect Tom Mackenzie of Mackenzie & Ebert. Among the changes will be the introduction of a new par-three hole, on land between the current fifteenth green and sixteenth tee, which will play as the new fifteenth. According to the club, the design will add variation to its set of par threes, and will play towards the clubhouse. The existing par-five fifteenth is being redesigned and will become the new fourteenth, with the existing fourteenth green being converted into a short-game area; the tees will be used for a nineteenth hole. Another hole to be redesigned is the par-four fifth, with the aim of bringing the hazard on the right more into play with the addition of significant fairway bunkering. The seventh will also become a short par three with an elevated green. Renovations to bunkers, tees and pathways are also part of the project. GolfLink Evolve began construction in early October, with the first phase expected to be complete in spring 2024. The next will begin in autumn 2024 and conclude in spring 2025, with all work set to be finished in time for the club to host the Open in 2026. Royal Birkdale begins course changes ahead of 2026 Open TEE BOX Photo: Royal Birkdale Work on the fourteenth and fifteenth at Royal Birkdale is already under way
23 Heritage Spy Ring Golf Club on Long Island, New York, has conducted a grand opening for its new nine-hole course designed by Tyler Rae. The site was previously home to the 18-hole Heatherwood Golf Club, which closed in early 2020. Rae’s new par-36 layout can be played from 2,323 to 3,105 yards and has holes ranging from 97 to 520 yards. Eight greens are open at the front, allowing for approach shots to run onto the putting surfaces. “The greens are mainly perched up and their vast sizes and flowing contours should provide a thoughtful test for each golfer,” said Rae. “There likely won’t be a straight putt on the golf course but they won’t feel contrived or forced. “All bunkers were shaped and built into landforms as if to feel like they were always meant to be there. The wandering sand lines and natural feel to them derives from some of the heavy land movement.” Photo: Laurence Lambrecht Tyler Rae nine-holer opens at Spy Ring Ben Davey to begin Yowani redesign in November Ben Davey, director of Contour Golf Design Group, will lead a redesign of the course at Yowani Country Club in Canberra, Australia, beginning in November. The work is possible following the sale of eight hectares of the club’s land, which has now been rezoned for an apartment development. A requirement for Davey’s redesign has been to have both nines return to a new clubhouse, which meant a reconfiguration of several holes was needed. All greens and tees will be rebuilt, with putting surfaces expanded to provide more interest and pin positions. “The greens have been designed to have tilts and broad falloffs on their sides, with spacious short grass surrounds often flowing seamlessly through to the following tees,” said Davey. “I want lots of variety, lots of movement but not wild contouring. I also want to introduce a few quirky features that the members may not have seen before.” Read more about the changes at the Yowani project on the GCA website. Photo: Contour Golf Design Group
24 TEE BOX THE BIG PICTURE The par-three second green on the new North course at Te Arai Links in New Zealand, designed by Tom Doak and photographed by Ricky Robinson, looks out to the wildlife refuge of the Hen and Chicken Islands. The green has wide and undulating surrounds, flanked by sandy waste areas with native grasses. “We planted over 100,000 native plants consisting of 10 species that thrive in this area,” said Nick O’Brien, who is a superintendent at Te Arai Links alongside Brian Palmer. “Once they mature, the vegetation will blend with the New Zealand coastal palette.” The hole can be played from 164 to 242 yards and is protected by a large mound in the line of play, with several other ripples of contour to contend with if the green is missed left. Beyond the green is the teeing area of the par-four third, where players turn back inland having played two holes towards the ocean. The new layout is now open, and joins the Coore & Crenshaw South course, which opened in 2022. Both can now be booked for public play.
Soluptatis ea ilignie nducid modi odi dolum vendem esciant harumenetUptatia vidit etur, optatem porion et queitius erundae rsperum quostrum que audigenisci si recus Photo: credit 25 Photo: Ricky Robinson
26 Davis restores Dye style at Gasprilla TEE BOX Florida’s Gasparilla Golf Club has opened its renovated 18-hole course, just over a year since it was decimated by Hurricane Ian. Originally designed by Pete Dye, the course was scheduled to be rebuilt in 2024 but the project was brought forward after the hurricane damaged trees, greens and the irrigation system. Tripp Davis has spearheaded work, which involved installing new irrigation and drainage, as well as turning over the organic build-up under fairways and rough to enhance surface drainage. Other tasks included shifting some tees, bunkers and fairways lines, and relocating greens. “We had the opportunity to modernise how the course plays,” said Davis. “We enhanced enjoyment for the average to higher-handicap player by taking Photo: ASGCA Benkusky becomes new ASGCA president Mike Benkusky has become the 79th president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, at the Society’s annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Illinois-based architect succeeds Brit Stenson in the role. Benkusky has over thirty years’ experience in golf design, initially for Lohmann Golf Designs and since 2005 with his own firm. He works primarily in the Midwest, with projects in his home state of Iowa, as well as Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin. “We have seen a resurgence in golf and our members are busier than ever with all types of projects,” said Benkusky. “After a slowdown in design, many of our members downsized to one-man shops. Now some of them have started to team up, which allows them to complete more work, share their talents and meet their client’s timeframe.” The meeting also saw Frank Jemsek honoured as the 2023 ASGCA Donald Ross Award recipient, following a long career operating the Cog Hill, Pine Meadow and St. Andrews clubs in Illinois, and Summer Grove in Georgia. In accepting the award, Jemsek spoke of his work on initiatives to introduce new players to the game. Education sessions covered a range of topics, including pace of play, strategy, putting courses, fast and firm conditions and native grasses. ASGCA director of outreach Jeff Brauer spoke about the Chicago School of golf course architecture, Garrett Gill provided a retrospective on his father David Gill’s life and career as a golf course architect, and golf historian Dan Moore provided insight into the work of William Langford and Theodore Moreau.
27 Photo: Tripp Davis Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland is widely seen as the greatest work of Harry Colt. The epic par-three sixteenth/fourteenth (the traditional routing has changed since the course was altered to bring the Open Championship back to Portrush) has a deep ravine to the right that so scared the great South African Bobby Locke that he deliberately missed the green to the left every day of the 1951 Open. The depression he played for has been known as Bobby Locke’s Hollow ever since. Mark Mennell, head greenkeeper at Fulford Golf Club, spotted where Sandy was visiting, and was the first entry out of the hat. Mark, your prized GCA shirt is on the way. Sandy has journeyed to a course that is short by modern standards, but it still very highly regarded. It was designed in the mid 1920s by one of golf architecture’s big names. Know where Sandy is and fancy a shirt? Answers to email@example.com. GOPHER WATCH Golf course architect Richard Mandell’s fourth book, published last year, sets out the design process in terms of principles, as referenced in the title, and also elements – the ‘building blocks’ used by designers to create a composition. His first eight chapters are devoted to the latter – line, space, shape, form, texture, colour, scale and nature – exploring their meaning, often with reference to art and architecture, then providing examples of their application in golf design. He then devotes a chapter to each of 27 principles. “The fact there are no hard rules – only principles – is what separates the design philosophy of one person from that of another,” he says. Some of Mandell’s principles, such as variety, visibility and playability, might come as no surprise to the reader. Others are less obvious. Chapters on intention, definition and connection, for example, are thought provoking and might find you looking at golf holes with a new perspective. At 278 pages and illustrated throughout, Principles of Golf Architecture has a depth that will see you returning to the bookshelf for more. $35 plus shipping www.golf-architecture.com Principles of Golf Architecture GOOD READ some of the trouble out of their way, while also making the course more strategically interesting for better players by adding sharper angles and more distance control challenges.” Davis restored Dye-style features, including the depth, shape and sizes of bunkers. “While we made changes to every hole, it was always with an eye to what Pete’s design intent was originally, both stylistically and strategically,” said Davis. “We wanted our work to be a tribute to his style and substance.”
28 Whitman, Axland & Cutten (WAC Golf) is preparing to begin shaping for the 18-hole Cabot Pacific course at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia, Canada. Site works are under way for the course, which will sit at the base of Mount MacKenzie. It has been designed by WAC Golf’s Rod Whitman, who was selected as the architect following his work at Cabot Links in Cape Breton. The project is being managed by WAC Golf design associates Dan Philcox and John Cavanagh, with support from course superintendent Bradley Allen. “This site has constant contour, but isn’t too severe,” said Keith Cutten. “Most of the property is gently rolling, with some big washes coming off the hillside. Very little will have to be manufactured, and I don’t see us using a lot of dynamite, if any at all – there are rock outcroppings, but nothing that impedes golf.” Shaping to start at Cabot Pacific in 2024 TEE BOX
29 Drew Rogers focuses on width and bolder features at Pine Lake Pine Lake Country Club in Michigan, Detroit, is set to reopen for play in 2024 following a renovation by JDR Golf Design. Formerly known as the Automobile Club of Detroit, the original nine was laid out in 1916 by Willie Park Jr before nine more holes were added in 1921. Since then, the course has been worked on by Robert von Hagge, Jerry and Bruce Matthews, and Craig Schreiner. Drew Rogers, who was hired in 2014 to develop a renovation plan, has aimed to create an “old meets new” course with “subtle hints of Willie Park Jr sprinkled into a very classic architectural presentation”. This has involved building new greens, bunkers and tees, as well as work relating to fairway turf, paths, irrigation and drainage. “The site is not blessed with interesting topography, so we had to rely more on maximising space and width and build bolder features to emphasise traditional, risk/reward playing angles,” said Rogers. “All of this is more in keeping with what might have been envisioned when the course was originally produced.” Work is being directed by the club’s superintendent Terry Poley, who is collaborating with LaBar Golf Renovations, Thielen Irrigation, and consultants Michael Kuhn of MKA Irrigation and Dr John Rogers, professor of turfgrass management in the department of plant, soil and microbial sciences at Michigan State University. “When we’re done, the course will offer a pure and enhanced golf experience,” said Rogers. “It will look and feel as though it has been there for 100 years. Members will not only be greeted with a new ‘old course’, but also with enhanced shot values and playing options that were missing previously. It should be a really enjoyable round.” Photo: JDR Golf Design Recent renderings show greens surrounded by woodland and large rock outcroppings as well as long sightlines towards Mount Revelstoke National Park and across the Columbia River. Cabot is planning to open the course for preview play in 2025. Image: Harris Kalinka
TEE BOX Westside Golf Course in Guyana is low maintenance and aimed at beginner players Aleem Hussain, the only Guyaneseborn golf course designer and president of the Guyana Golf Association, is on a mission to develop the sport in the South American country. He has completed the first of ten planned low-maintenance starter courses. Westside Golf Course is in Vreed-en-Hoop, a village on the mouth of the Demerara River, on the opposite bank to the capital, Georgetown. What was the vision behind Westside Golf Course? The idea was to have a starter course that would introduce new players and kids to the game yet be challenging enough for an experienced player. It would be low maintenance, situated near highly populated areas and be a public facility with a low cost. Traditionally, the cost and availability of land situated close to populated areas is prohibitive and as such, membership and green fees are extremely high. The second aspect of traditional courses is that their sheer size makes it difficult and costly to light the entire facility and host night play, which would allow more Photo: Al Wilson “ These courses will allow the average person easy access to the sport” A new golf course has opened in Guyana, to become a template for nine more. Q&A with Aleem Hussain 30
31 rounds and generate more revenue. And, with the new generation having shorter attention spans, a traditional three- to five-hour round was proving to be a stumbling block to attracting new players and kids. I examined cricket, football, basketball, etc, and found that the average game takes between two to three hours, and all are played on a regulation pitch/ court. I determined that to grow golf, I would have to ensure that I could match those metrics and thus Westside Golf Course was born. The course is the first of a series of 10 I plan to build and all will provide players all over the country the opportunity to play under the same conditions and avoid long travel. How did you develop the layout for Westside Golf Course? The course has three fairways, six tees, five greens – one juts out into a lake as a semi-island green – and holes (ranging from 70 to 450 yards) that can be played as a par three, four or five depending on which tee is being used. The added difficulty is the positioning of the sand traps that takes the ocean breeze into consideration. The course is like a links and while short in length, the greens, wind and water make it quite challenging for every level of player. The footprint is large enough for the course to be used as both recreational and teaching golf but small enough to be lighted for night play and easy to maintain, reducing cost while extending hours of use. How will your courses impact golf participation in Guyana? These courses will allow the average person easy access to the sport at a minimal cost, and provide schoolchildren with a location to learn and practice. With Guyana being a cricketer’s paradise, the crossover between the two sports will allow golf to grow rapidly. Just like cricket went through a makeover from five-day test matches to T20, it is my goal to bring a similar format to golf. Imagine golf being played in less than 90 minutes – just like all other major sports. These standardised courses that I’m building will allow for matches to be played all over the country simultaneously! What is next? Under the NexGen Golf Academy, I have partnered with the Ministry of Education to introduce the sport to more than 8,000 children around the country as a part of their PE timetable. With land already identified in various areas for more courses, new players will have easy, low-cost access to the sport. This model can lead to an exciting golf feeder programme and bring in an influx of new golfers. Photo: Al Wilson
33 TEE BOX Hudson National on track for spring 2024 reopening Tom Fazio, project lead Tom Marzolf, Rick Phelps and Jeff Lawrence are nearing completion of a Fazio Design renovation at Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Every green has been rebuilt by contractor LaBar Golf Renovations and regrassed with 007XL bentgrass. Some greens have been relocated, while others were redesigned to have more contour to match the rest. A few putting surfaces have also been reshaped or expanded to create new pin positions. Bunkers have been rebuilt on holes three, six, seven, nine, twelve, fourteen and eighteen, and fitted with liner from Bunker Solution. Many fairway bunkers have been relocated further from the tee due to advancements in club and ball technology, and some extended into areas of play to pinch the landing areas for longer hitters. “Bunkers are strategically located to direct the lines of play,” said Marzolf. “The course will see a combination of styles across bunkers. For example, the addition of low mow bent-edge bunkers will be memorable and dramatic. The edges of many bunkers will be made up from seed-head, brown and fine fescue.” Morris Johnson of Bunker Solution said: “The members will experience greatly improved bunker playability, from the reduction of golf ball plugging potential to consistent moisture content of the bunker sand. With the ability to hit golf balls right off the Bunker Solution liner, players at Hudson National will never hit anything other than sand. “The feature that superintendents like the most, is how incredibly well the Bunker Solution liner holds sand in place on the bunker faces. This equates to huge labour savings, as the sand repositioning time after a rain event is dramatically reduced.” All fairways have been re-seeded with bentgrass, and rough will feature a new variety of fescue bluegrass. “The members are going to love the golf course additions,” said Theron Harvey, director of club operations at Hudson National. “We’ll be able to provide them with slightly more contour on the greens, more hole locations, interesting bunkering and the best turf conditions.” Photo: Tremont Sporting Co.
34 TEE BOX COURSE BLUEPRINT Cabot Highlands in Inverness, Scotland, is expected to open for preview play in 2024. Development group Cabot unveiled the routing plan earlier this year, with the Tom Doak course designed around the 400-year-old castle that is located on the Castle Stuart property. “For nearly three decades I have worked with Tom,” said Don Placek, lead associate for Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design, and the graphic artist responsible for the Cabot Highlands’ routing map. “From the beginning he aimed to build interesting, compelling and varied golf holes using whatever the site inherently offered. But perhaps one of the loveliest residuals, throughout his resume, is a conscious effort to present the golf as simply ‘discovered’, rather than constructed. He would tie in even the softest new contours with their naturally existing counterparts… appearing as if they had always been there.” Placek’s responsibilities include drawing plans for Renaissance’s new designs and keeping track of Doak and his associates: Eric Iverson, Brian Slawnik, Brian Schneider and Angela Moser. “Area historical records are often the best way to engage graphic styles demonstrating course features and contours finding their way into compelling fairways and greens,” said Placek. “Clever fonts often emerge from studying the oldest drawings geographically associated with a new project. Old documents and historic records frequently disclose ideas and ways to help convey and present the third dimension in a twodimensional format. “Over the years I’ve considered the methods and media that course cartographers in the early 1900s used to display hand-drawn concepts. An aged parchment or sepia-based paper for example, or what several years ago became a personal favourite, cyanotype. A blueprint method first introduced by Sir John Herschel in the early 1840s, cyanotype was the precursor to Leonardo da Vinci’s Camera Obscura, circa 1502.” Of the Cabot Highlands routing map, Joe McDonnell, a golf artist and now head of imagery at Clayton, DeVries & Pont, said: “It’s just like a treasure map, your eye travels around the entire thing looking for the ‘X’ that marks the spot, but the real treasure is the plan itself.” Placek adds: “Consciously keeping that sense of finding something hidden or even lost for a good while, much the way a century-old golf course might also look and feel, is certainly the goal. Hopefully people enjoy ‘finding’ the old farm bothy, a permanently moored fishing trawler, St Columba’s Old Petty Church and especially – standing sentry over the site since 1625 – Castle Stuart, in this plan… as much as the pathway of the new Cabot Highlands golf holes!” Cabot Highlands The first and eighteenth holes share a fairway, while the second and seventeenth share an expansive bunker complex
35 The par-five fifteenth runs alongside Moray Firth’s tidal estuary Green to tee connections will be a feature at Cabot Highlands Image: Renaissance Golf Design Shared fairways can be found throughout the round The second shot on the par-five eighth will require careful navigation around several bunkers
36 New holes open at remodelled Ingestre TEE BOX Ingestre Park Golf Club in Staffordshire, England, has reopened 11 new holes following a remodelling by International Design Group, with the remainder opening by May 2024. The work was completed following plans to route the UK’s new HS2 highspeed railway line through Ingestre’s golf course. The club lost 12 holes and needed to reconfigure others due to safety considerations and HS2 landscape mitigation requirements. Contractor MJ Abbott began course construction on 12 new holes and the renovation of the remainder of the layout in 2021. “We took the opportunity to level up the playing experience by introducing more playing strategy into the game,” said Jon Hunt, golf architect at International Design Group. “We now have sharper doglegs, approach bunkers and new ditches.” Bunkers are also steeper and deeper as well as having a more “characterful” edge, with greenside bunkers closer to the putting surface. “The new first is a classic risk and reward hole,” said Hunt. “If the player can fly the bunker on the left of the fairway, there’s an easy bump and run into the slightly uphill green. However, if their tee shot finds its way to the right of the fairway, the adjacent lake will come into play and a flop into the green is needed.” Another new hole is the ninth, which has a ridge running diagonally across the landing zone. If a player’s tee shot reaches the top of the ridge, they will have good visibility of the green, if they are short, they face a more difficult approach. “The ridge runs across the green, linking the two bunker noses, makes long putts difficult, so accuracy into the green is critical to make a birdie,” said Hunt. “The new sixteenth [old eighth] is the only significant drop hole on the course. The new teeing position forces a tighter dogleg. Some long and accurate hitters could reach the green but there’s danger all round. It is far better to lay up with a long iron The new eleventh, twelfth (foreground) and thirteenth at Ingestre Park
37 Photo: credit Hunter helps Formby with water savings Formby Ladies Golf Club near Liverpool, England, is realising the benefits of its new Hunter irrigation system. The project to install Hunter GT885 fairway sprinklers and the Pilot CCS central control operating system was completed between January and March 2023. “This was the culmination of a five-year project to future-proof the club’s irrigation infrastructure and water security,” said course manager Rob Sandilands. The club had undertaken consultations and audits as well as establish an irrigation sub-committee and concluded that it needed to expand its irrigation system to include fairways and walkways. “We immediately entered a very dry period in spring and early summer once the system had been installed, meaning it was necessary to use it in earnest straight away, which we were able to do and give irrigation coverage to areas that would otherwise have been lost to drought,” said Sandilands. “We can also water in products like wetting agents at times that suit us, rather than being tied to the times when rain was forecast. “Members and staff have already noticed a significant improvement of the fairways due to the Hunter GT885 rotors consistency and distribution of uniformity, and the fairways will only keep improving as the new system gives us total control of playing surfaces.” Photo: Hunter Industries or rescue club in front of the tight fairway bunkers for an easy pitch into the green. “At the first landing area on the new seventeenth [old ninth], the righthand approach bunker appears to block access to the diagonal green. However, once closer, players will see there is plenty of space behind the approach bunker on the right. “And the new eighteenth has comically been dubbed ‘the world’s first dogleg par three’ with a long iron off the tee needing perfect placement to land on the small, undulating green. Less confident players can lay up on the fairway meandering round the new pond.” Photo: IDG