Golf Course Architecture - Issue 76, April 2024

The global journal of golf design and development I SSUE 76 APRIL 2024

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1 ADAM LAWRENCE WELCOME In the last issue of GCA, we carried an interview with Jeremy Slessor, the boss of European Golf Design (EGD), the architectural firm owned by the European Tour. EGD started off as a vehicle for projects that were marketed as signature designs by touring professionals, but in the last ten years or so, the firm’s courses are now mostly billed to its four lead architects. Of the first generation of big-name signature designers, Arnold Palmer is dead and both Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are well into their eighties, so it is an easy conclusion to reach that this model is in retreat. Slessor told GCA that he believes many developers have concluded there are better ways to spend marketing budget than handing over a substantial signature fee. But there are markets around the world, including some of the fastest-growing where this is not true. Slessor did add that the pro signature model was still very popular in Asian golf markets, and in Vietnam, the subject of our lead feature in this issue, it still seems to dominate. Of the top ten courses in Vietnam on, three were designed by Greg Norman’s firm, two by Jack Nicklaus’s, one by Nick Faldo’s and one is credited to Luke Donald and done by IMG’s design office. Why should this be so? The relative youth of golf in Vietnam is surely the main reason: when there is no great history of golf in a country, an obvious way to attract attention to the game is to bring in names that people who are not deeply enmeshed in the game might have heard of. Another is the lack of a domestic resident golf design industry. Only one of the top ten, Sky Lake’s Lake course by Korean Ahn Moon Hwan, was designed by an Asian architect: if you are having to import designers, it makes sense that you would choose big names. Will Vietnam grow its own domestic golf designers? Given the speed at which golf is taking off in the country, don’t bet against it. Are signatures being erased?

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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. © 2024 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 Follow Golf Course Architecture: 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, Amber Hickman, Laura Hyde, Alex Smith Design Bruce Graham, Libby Sidebotham, Dhanika Vansia Publisher Toby Ingleton Publication & Sales Manager Benedict Pask Production Manager Stuart Fairbrother Website Development Chris Jackson Subscribe Photography Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Mike Benkusky, Canal Shores, Clere Golf, The Club Company, Curley-Wagner Golf Design, Kevin Diss, DMK Golf Design, Fry/ Straka, Gary Player Design, Golfplan, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, Scot Halleran, Steve Hallett, Hanse Golf Design, Kevin Hargrave, Harradine Golf, High Grove, Himalayas Golf, The Inspiration Club, Jekyll Island Golf Club, Nick Kelley, Kura Golf Course Design, Laguna Lang Co, Gary Lisbon, Kevin Marnoch, Kevin Murray, OCM Golf, PGA Tour, Pirkkala Golf, The R&A Royal Belfast, Dave Sansom, Evan Schiller, Southwest Greens Construction, Brian Walters

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8 FEATURE 38 Adam Lawrence finds out why Vietnam looks set to be Asia’s next golf destination. Brian Curley, Adam Calver, Mike Gorman and Kevin Ramsey, who have all worked in the country, provide insight into their experiences and what the future looks like for the nation. TEE BOX 10 Our Tee Box sections opens with news of High Grove, a new Gil Hanse course that will enter construction in December 2024. INTERVIEW 36 GCA speaks with Gareth Raflewski and his Himalayas Golf colleagues about his move from short-game expert to design consultant. CONTENTS PROFILED 52 Bandon celebrates its birthday with a new course, designed by WAC Golf, of 19 par threes built on fiercely undulating sand. Cover photograph courtesy of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

9 ON SITE 58 The Inspiration Club in west London opens this summer. The course has had a complicated birthing process, but thanks to a collaborative effort, it is rather good, says Adam Lawrence. REPORTS 64 The revival of Canal Shores Golf Course nears completion thanks to huge community efforts. 70 The Old course at Broken Sound has been renovated to suit tour pros and club members alike. Toby Ingleton spoke with the design team to find out more. 74 Kevin Hargrave has rebuilt greens and widened playing corridors at Lexington Country Club, which has reopened for play. 78 JDR Golf Design has reimagined an under-theradar course in Florida to add variety and make it more memorable. HOLING OUT 80 The R&A’s Golf it! facility in Glasgow is recognised for its sustainability efforts INTERVIEW 46 Peter Harradine is part of golf design’s most enduring family business – and is one of the best-travelled men in the profession. Adam Lawrence found out the lessons of his long career.

Construction of a new course by Hanse Golf Design for the 150-member High Grove club in Venus, Florida, is scheduled to begin in December 2024. The private club, which will have a limit of 150 members, is the vision of co-founders Ryan Hanks, Colin Sheehan and Bert Guy. Sheehan, former coach of the men’s golf team at Yale and an advisor or founder to several projects including Ohoopee Match Club in Georgia and Tree Farm in South Carolina, and the development team scouted a 1,213acre parcel at the southern end of the 100-mile-long Lake Wales Ridge with Valencia orange groves as the ideal location to build their golf destination. The site rises in elevation from 105 to 175 feet above sea level and has a 40-foot ridge running along the eastern side. “The property is one of the most unique we have seen in Florida,” said Jim Wagner of Hanse Golf Design. “It is not only the dramatic elevation change of the ridge but also the lightto-moderate sandy ‘chop’ throughout that defines the property. The entire property helped us set up an interesting routing that allows the sharper elevation of the ridge to be the showcase.” Once the clubhouse was assigned a central position, Hanse and Wagner began creating a routing that would take advantage of the site’s ridge. The parfour fourth rides along the ridge and the fifth, a drop shot par three, plays off it. The par-five sixth climbs back up to a green defended by expansive bunkering. The par-four seventh plays back off the ridge. The eighth is on lower lying land and the short par-three ninth plays uphill over a massive waste bunker to a green close to the seventh tee. The front nine is about anticipation and surprise,” said Wagner. “There is the anticipation of playing through the citrus and unique ‘chop’ seen upon arrival, while wondering what the property and golf course has to offer. And then there’s the surprise of the 30- to 50-foot elevation changes of the main ridge running through the property that will not be experienced until the middle of the front nine and not seen again until the finish of the back nine. The blend of these property characteristics helps to create the moments that will separate High Grove from most Florida golf experiences.” Holes 10 to 16 wind their way through a section of orange groves, TEE BOX Site for 150-member Florida club spans 1,200 acres of citrus groves on undulating sand dunes. High Grove prepares for construction 10 Photo: High Grove The site for the High Grove club spans 1,200 acres of citrus groves on undulating sand dunes

ridge lines and valleys. “The contours were so good that we changed holes many times before settling on this final set,” said Hanse. “All routings are like puzzles, and this one had many pieces that could have fit in various directions – we were truly spoiled with this site. We also knew that we wanted to build up to a crescendo and play back along the ridge for the final holes.” The ridge gets much steeper on the back nine and Hanse and Wagner wanted to avoid punishing walks at the end of the round. Their plan is for a par-three seventeenth and a par-five eighteenth that hug the ridge line. “With the finish, it was about bringing the players back to the ridge, which is really the theatre of the property,” said Wagner. Faced with a site that has a lot of undulation and sand, Hanse and Wagner have been allowed to be quite creative with course features. Wagner said: “The key word for both greens and bunkers will be ‘unpredictable’. Our goal is to create interesting situations 11 Photo: High Grove “All routings are like puzzles,” says Gil Hanse. “And this one had many pieces that could have fit in various directions – we were truly spoiled with this site. We also knew that we wanted to build up to a crescendo and play back along the ridge for the final holes.” Image: Hanse Golf Design

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for the golfer to overcome while keeping them guessing. There will be a variety of greens shapes and sizes that will complement one another especially in the recovery shot game where the player will have numerous options. “The bunkers will take on the personality of the site sandscape and be used to match the property character as opposed to competing against it. The existing exposed sand and native grasses will be utilised and expanded upon to create natural challenges for the players to navigate. There really isn’t a ‘style’ of greens or bunkers we are looking to create, other than matching the beautiful setting of the property while allowing for fun playable golf.” High Grove’s identity will be complemented by the developers’ plan to maintain groves within the out of play areas and along the property perimeter. Sheehan says: “While there are countless golf courses in Florida, not one of them, as far as we know, plays among citrus groves. We will also be introducing an attractive texture of flora native to the Lake Wales Ridge, which we have seen as precedent at the nearby nature refuges.” Hanse and Wagner have also designed an 11-hole par-three course on the northwest portion of the property, with holes between 102 to 188 yards. “The short course will have multiple routings for daily variety,” said Wagner. “We have also planned several greens and tees within close proximity of each other with the goal of enhancing social interaction.” The project has no real estate component, with the developers planning on High Grove being a golfdriven development. Member equity shares start at $200,000. “This was always going to be a specialoccasion, destination club where we anticipate members and their guests coming for one- and two-night stays,” said Sheehan. “It wasn’t intended to be one of the many Florida real estate golf communities; instead, we will have cabins totalling 48 bedrooms.” Sheehan, Hanks and Guy want High Grove to be different from the flurry of new golf courses that have been built in Florida. “The other new courses in the state are certainly closer to the coast, but they each begin as entirely flat parcels ten feet above sea level,” said Sheehan. “Those flat-earth projects can be interesting as they force architects to create every single feature by shaping millions of cubic yards of earth, but High Grove is endowed with natural terrain and undulation that will make it stand out from those others.” Hanse’s build team Cavemen Construction are expected to complete work by summer 2025, with a planned opening by December 2025. TEE BOX Photo: High Grove The High Grove developers plan to maintain the site’s citrus groves within out of play areas and along the property perimeter “ High Grove is endowed with natural terrain and undulation that will make it stand out from others in Florida” 13

Photo: Kevin Diss Photography Ebert revamps bunkers at Gog Magog TEE BOX Gog Magog Golf Club in Cambridge, England, has completed the penultimate phase of a bunker project, which is being overseen by Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert. Work on its Old course was completed in the winters of 2021-22 and 2022-23, while renovation of the Wandlebury course began in 2022 and will be completed by April 2025. “For the Old, we wanted to keep the traditional style of the bunkering,” said Brad McLean, general manager at Gog Magog. “Martin proposed some relocations, but predominately rebuilt most bunkers in their original locations. The styling is more traditional, with flat bottoms and steeper faces built into the landscape. “For Wandlebury, the brief was a bit different as we wanted to differentiate the two courses. We called for more defined revetted edges and much larger surface areas. The bunkering on many holes was more strategically imagined, and not only were landing areas considered but how the bunkering could add to the shape of the hole. The difference between the two styles is striking.” The last phase of work, the renovation of the final six holes on Wandlebury, which also includes building a new fairway on the short par-four thirteenth, will start in October 2024. “We chose to install China clay with its whiter appearance to help the bunkers really stand out,” said McLean. “The maintenance of the sand has changed too. We get a lot of wind, which sometimes caused issues, but with this variety, we are finding it much more stable and at the same time, playable and consistent. We are now working to develop thin and wispy grasses so that the ball returns to the sand if it hits the face.” Most of the construction work has been done in-house, led by estate manager Andrew Howarth, with some assistance from Paul Davies of Shapewright. McLean picks out the sixteenth (pictured) as a hole that demonstrates the positive impact of the renovation work on the Old. “Off the tee you can 14

Kristine Kerr continues Omaha Beach renovation Omaha Beach Golf Club near Auckland, New Zealand, has reopened its eighteenth hole, part of an ongoing renovation by Kristine Kerr. The club originally opened in 1975 with a nine-hole layout, and nine more holes were added in the 2000s. The original nine, now played as holes one to three and thirteen to eighteen, was built on the northern portion of the site, “a low-lying, sandy peninsula with virtually no elevation change,” said Kerr. “These holes suffered drainage issues in winter and periods of heavy rain, with a high water table.” The south nine was built with modern techniques and incorporated shaping from adjacent sand dunes. “Our work was to update the north nine to harmonise with the south,” said Kerr. This has involved bunker work on fourteen and a remodelling of fifteen, seventeen and eighteen. “The turfgrass bore the brunt of the poor drainage and age,” said Kerr. “All three were completely reshaped, elevated, include new bunkering and grass, better integrate with new wetlands and maximise the relationship and views of the adjacent harbour.” Photo: Kura Golf Course Design see the entire hole, now with stunning China clay sand and imposing bunkering,” he said. “There are two cross bunkers that longer hitters can reach, but for the shorter hitters, there are bunkers either side of the fairway that could catch slightly wayward shots. The hole also runs alongside First World War training trenches that have been recently excavated, and we have evidence that mock battles were held across the sixteenth fairway – a fabulous golf hole with a sobering history.” Work on Wandlebury has required a different approach. “We have been more cautious in how we maintain the edges, allowing the grasses to grow a bit longer than preferred so that the structure of the revet is maintained,” said McLean. “But the crisp wavy edges of the bunkers has helped to produce a more modern looking course.” The club has finished the tenth and eleventh holes on the Wandlebury this winter. “The tenth is a sweeping downhill par four with large, staggered bunkering on either side of the fairway,” said McLean. “Whereas the eleventh is a short dogleg left with bunkers on either side of the fairway and near the green, with a pot bunker located 30 yards out to catch any shots that may be running into the green or off the drive. As it is a short hole with substantial bunkering, it now requires the player to think their way through the hole.” 15

TEE BOX THE BIG PICTURE The new Sedge Valley course at Sand Valley Golf Resort in Wisconsin, designed by Tom Doak and photographed by Kevin Murray. Doak took inspiration from classic English heathland and links designs for Sand Valley’s latest course, allowing the land to dictate a quirky routing with several short par fours, back-toback par threes and just one par five, albeit maybe the longest in the state. The result is a layout that is more intimate than its three big brothers – Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes and the Lido – with a notably lower total yardage. When it opens in July 2024 there will be plenty who will rank it top of the pack. This image shows the green at the par-four fifteenth, which has a central bunker set into a huge rise in the fairway. Golfers that fail to carry the crest may well be left without a view of the putting surface for their approach. GCA visited Sedge Valley in late 2023 and an On Site report will appear in the July 2024 issue. 16

17 Photo: Kevin Murray

David McLay Kidd has completed a bunker renovation at the Tributary club in Driggs, Idaho. Formerly known as Huntsman Springs, Kidd originally designed the course in 2008. Last year, he was brought back and, along with superintendent Guy Johnson, identified the bunkers as in need of improvement. “The project has been a complete renovation, including the removal of some, adding new ones in, recutting every edge and installing Profile’s Flexterra solution for erosion control,” said Kidd. “Edges leading into bunkers have been cut back, returning bunkers to their original shape and making them easier to maintain. “The course originally had around 150 bunkers, many of which had little strategic purpose other than the visual ‘ooh ah’ moment We took a couple dozen out, mainly the ones that were only penalising bad shots. And we made a few bunkers bigger… the ones that were guarding the tightest lines.” Kidd returns to Tributary to revamp bunkers Ground has broken on the first of two new courses at Rodeo Dunes, 50 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado. Rodeo Dunes will be Dream Golf’s third destination after Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Sand Valley in Wisconsin. Developers Michael and Chris Keiser announced the project last year, with Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designing one course and their associate Jim Craig creating the other, which will be his solo design debut. The Keisers say there is the potential for six courses to be built on the 2,000-plus acre site of pure sand. “If it weren’t for the mountain range in the distance, you could very easily mistake this site for one in Ireland,” said Michael Keiser. “Sand Hills is my inspiration here, it is golf in its rawest form, stripped of everything that is unessential, that’s what Rodeo Dunes is and needs to be. Its success will be having the discipline to let go of our egos and letting it be what it wants to be.” The first course is on track to open in 2026, with some preview play available prior to the grand opening. Construction of new course begins at Rodeo Dunes TEE BOX 18

Atlanta Country Club in Georgia has reopened its golf course following a renovation by Beau Welling Design. The Willard Byrd layout first opened in 1956 and went on to host the inaugural Players Championship in 1974 and the Atlanta Classic on the PGA Tour between 1967 and 1996. While most of Welling’s work has been executed in honour of Byrd’s original design, the par-three third and par-five eleventh were substantially redesigned. On the third, tees were expanded by 40 per cent and shifted to the left, with the green and greenside bunkers altered slightly. At the eleventh, the fairway was lowered by an average of eight feet and the green was lowered by 25 feet to bring the pond right of the green more into play. A front greenside bunker was removed, and the green was reshaped to slope front-to-back. Changes have also been made to “recalibrate the bunkering strategy”, with hazards now also featuring liner from Bunker Solution. “For many years, Byrd’s design challenged the game’s greats as a prominent venue for championship golf,” said Welling. “With this renovation, Atlanta Country Club will no doubt continue to be a true test for the elite player, but I’m even more excited about what this will do for the membership and their guests who will enjoy the elevated playability and sense of community that we hope to inspire with all our designs.” Photo: PGA Tour Welling focuses on playability at Atlanta CC Photo: Nick Kelley, courtesy of Rodeo Dunes Photo: DMK Golf Design 19

Steve Marnoch has overseen the completion of another phase of bunker and heather work at Matlock Golf Club in Derbyshire, England. The Scottish architect has been carrying out renovation work on 26 bunkers that were deemed “out of date” on the 1906 Tom Williamson layout. The first phase, which began in November 2022, focused on holes one to four, with the second taking place in December 2023 with four more holes worked on. “As with many older courses, Matlock’s bunkers had lost their shape, their relevance and often penalise high handicap players rather than offer a varied playing strategy to challenge all levels of golfer,” said Marnoch. The architect’s heather plan is part of an initiative to rewild the site, which also includes tree removal to open up the moorland property and enable the heather to thrive, as well as eradicating large areas of bracken. Why was a rebunkering project necessary for Matlock? In combination with the rewilding of the course, our new bunker style fits into this theme. In an open, often windy setting, shallow bunkers do not function well, and sand can be lost. Our new bunker shapes are far more random with patches of heather here and there and shaped so that the internal sanded areas ‘hunker down’ and are protected from the wind, yet not being so deep to be unfair. Patches of heather were translocated to characterise new bunker banks and other areas to influence play. Where bunkers had become redundant, opportunities arose to relandscape these as wilder heather areas with some sand scrapes and heather patches, gorse and self-seeded pines. These give a far more natural appearance and Photo: Steve Marnoch TEE BOX A fairway bunker and heather have been added on the right side of the seventh to act as a visual reference and to better protect players teeing off on the nearby fifteenth “ Heather is an asset that should be protected and developed as much as possible” Steve Marnoch talks about his Matlock project, where he has reshaped bunkers and started to reintroduce heather. Q&A with Steve Marnoch 20

21 Photo: Steve Marnoch The new heather-clad fairway bunker on the 255-yard par-four fourteenth better defines the hole and protects the green from a running approach shot offer a wide range of habitat benefits compared to just taking the old bunkers away and returfing. How will your changes impact the playing experience? The strategy of the fairway bunkers was pretty much non-existent but now, on certain holes, such as the first, seventh and fourteenth, the new bunkers help to guide play. At the greens, the former bunkers did little but catch an already poor shot. Now, they tighten up the greenside pin positions and define green entrances, which, in turn, define which side of the fairway will offer the best approach. The surrounding, rugged features have also been brought more into play, connecting the man-made golf holes with the natural landscape and influencing play, for example at the side of the par-three fifteenth. Naturally sited bunkers with randomly-shaped edges – some with heather patches around them and some with their edges connecting with the natural rough native grasses – will fit far better within an upland moorland than the flat meaningless saucers with no connection or relevance to their surroundings. What benefits will the heather programme bring to the club? Heather is commonly recognised as a vital habitat for wildlife and an enjoyable feature when playing a round of golf. Heather is an asset that should be protected and developed as much as possible throughout the golf course. Where it is suspected to be in the ground as dormant seed, this hidden gold should be exposed and brought back to its former glory. The original site must have been covered in heather – it is visible in paintings in the clubhouse. However, years of unmanaged planting has gradually transformed Matlock from open moorland to more of a parkland layout. Extensive maintenance has also suppressed heather from developing properly. The rewilding plan for Matlock intends to turn this situation around. Tree clearance, particularly between holes twelve to seventeen, of undesirable species will help with the heather development and improve the health of the grasses around the playing surfaces. This will also help to open the site in the higher areas, defining these as moorland again, whilst the land alongside Bentley Brook, which runs through the course, can be managed as attractive woodland. Altering the mowing regimes around known heather areas to allow these to develop and flower in the autumn will also provide better definition and separate the fairways. We are also translocating mature heather and spreading a locally sourced mixed heather seed. And in areas suspected of containing dormant heather seed, such as between holes six, seven and eight, we are carrying out turf stripping down to the black layer to allow that heather to germinate. Read more about the renovation project at

Image:: Gary Player Design 22 New Gary Player course takes shape in Montenegro TEE BOX Construction is under way on the Lustica Bay golf course in Montenegro. The layout has been designed by Gary Player and his lead associate Steven McFarlane. Lustica Development and Orascom Development Holdings are financing the development – on the Lustica Peninsula, a little south of Dubrovnik in Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea – where a marina, village and five-star hotel, The Chedi Luštica Bay, are now all complete. “The property is on a spectacular site overlooking the Adriatic Sea,” said Player, whose firm developed a masterplan for the layout in 2012, working alongside architects EDSA. “The topography is quite severe and very rocky with low growing vegetation throughout; it also has an elevation difference of more than 200 metres. A detailed programme was prepared to balance earthworks and to excavate down into the site to produce natural looking holes that transition into the surrounding terrain. “Fairways have been designed with bold contours and multiple tiers to traverse the steep gradients. Great care has been taken to preserve as much of the surrounding vegetation to create an immediate maturity for the golf course.” ProGolf began construction in 2023 and will complete the course in phases. Bunkers are being built with the EcoBunker system. “The steep topography of the site influenced the design of greens and bunkers,” said Player. “Bunkers are predominantly small bold features with steep grass faces that punctuate and define the undulating and rolling fairways and green complexes. “Greens are slightly smaller than we would normally design so that they sit as naturally as possible into the terrain. This will make approach shots into them quite challenging, but A visualisation of the Gary Player Design layout at Lustica Bay

23 Photo: OCM Golf Photo: The Club Company on almost every hole, the high side of each green will be very receptive and provide a bailout option for the less proficient golfer. The creeping bentgrass putting surfaces will be very fast so we have designed gentle contours to accommodate multiple pin locations. The stylised and manicured green complexes will create a stunning contrast with the surrounding rugged natural terrain.” Nine holes are expected to be ready by 2026 and the full eighteen open by 2028. “The main factors that influenced the routing were the steep topography, dramatic elevation changes, longrange views of the Adriatic Sea, Kotor Bay and Boka Bay mountains, and the integration of the holes with the proposed villa development,” said Player. “The rocky nature of the substrata is extremely challenging and will require jackhammers to be used on every hole. One valuable benefit of this is that we are processing the rock on site to produce our own gravel for capping and drainage. “With so many incredible holes with stunning panoramic views, it is difficult to pick just one standout. But I would say the run of holes from fourteen to seventeen is going to be an incredible combination. This sequence contains two par threes, a par four and a par five all playing downhill with views of the Adriatic on every shot.” Lustica Bay will be the first golf course in Montenegro. “It is with great pride that we are expanding the game of golf around the world,” said Player. OCM continues greens redesign at Mount Lawley Gaunt improves bunker visibility at Lichfield Mount Lawley Golf Club near Perth, Australia, has reopened its course following renovation work by OCM Golf, which has included the reconstruction of eight green complexes and some fairway rebunkering. Four greens were rebuilt in 2022 and a final phase, to be undertaken later this year, will focus on the remaining six greens, rebuilding tees, and creating a new short-game area and practice putting green. “The green complexes have all been redesigned with new contours and bunkering schemes, based on fairly classic principles of strategic design,” said Mike Cocking of OCM. “For the most part, greens feature long tilted grades and fairly subtle contours but it’s the bunkering where the real similarities to the Melbourne Sandbelt exist.” Lichfield Golf and Country Club in Staffordshire, England, has reopened its course following a bunker renovation by Jonathan Gaunt. The project was completed in two phases, one in 2021 and a second in 2023, and included the removal of bunkers that had lost relevance due to advances in distance. “We reduced the sand areas down in the bunkers we have retained,” said Gaunt. “The new bunkers are raised and designed to be significantly more visible from the tees and landing areas. They will have more of a psychological impact upon the golfer playing the course.” Lichfield is operated by The Club Company, and Gaunt is also renovating four of its other courses: The Club at Cams Hall Estate in Hampshire, Castle Royle in Berkshire, Nizels Golf and Country Club in Kent, and The Tytherington Club in Cheshire.

Construction has started on Curracloe Links, a new golf course designed by Dana Fry and Jason Straka, located on the east coast of Ireland. The layout is being built on land that had previously been used for farming, a few hundred metres from Curracloe Beach, the filming location for Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, and next to Neville Hotels’ newest property, Ravenport Resort. “It’s a compact site, so gaining a reasonable length was critical,” said Straka. “After several weeklong trips to study the land and surrounds, we began with several routings on paper. We had to ensure the golf course had a good balance of length, walkability and amenities such a short-game areas.” The €20 million ($27.1 million) project will be Neville Hotel’s second golforiented property in Ireland, following the renovation of the Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock-designed course at Druids Glen in 2023. “The views to the ocean and into the town of Wexford and its harbour were a must,” said Straka. “The site is bisected by a typical, Irish rock-walled road that runs to Curracloe Beach. The south side of the site is linear, so you’ll see holes two to seven are very much oriented east and west. These holes are in between the road and a large wetland that separates the course from a large line of dunes. It’s perfect golf terrain with excellent views across A pond comes into play on the first, seventh and eighteenth holes TEE BOX Curracloe Links COURSE BLUEPRINT According to architect Jason Straka, holes five and six, which share a fairway, are being built on locations “where iron was forged centuries ago” 24 Image: Fry/Straka

the dunes and into the ocean. Even on foggy days you will hear the waves crashing and shore birds squawking from this stretch of holes.” Holes one and eighteen will be built high up on a promontory along with the clubhouse and villas. “The first and eighteenth also utilise an existing on-site pond,” said Straka. “This pond was used by sheep for drinking and bathing in generations past and will continue to be, with a sheep farm immediately west of the course. “Holes eight and nine traverse a large sand ridge to bring golfers to the upper part of the north side of the course. The tenth was identified very early on as it sits in a massive valley running northwards. Similarly, eleven was also chosen early on – it’s a short par three that plays level, but over a very deep chasm filled with gorse and has a backdrop of an Irish rock-walled country road.” The greens on holes nine, thirteen and seventeen have long views from the site’s ridge tops. “Greens will be individually shaped on site, but their locations were chosen for a variety of views and unique shotmaking,” said Straka. “Some are infinity greens while others are more punchbowl. “Everything will be fescue, so greens and surrounds will be maintained very much the same, with the ground game definitely in play. Bunkers will be to a blowout style, meaning we’ll rough them in and then hydroseed them. Once established we’ll go out and hand edge them and fill with sand. The secondary rough will consist of exposed sand and fescue.” The 18-hole layout will be the first in Ireland to be designed by Fry and Straka. “Using the natural topography was critical,” said Straka. “Every hole has unique features – some are views to the sea, sheep farms or the clubhouse, while others are sand ridges that serve as places for skyline greens or backdrops. Holes five and six have archaic locations where iron was forged centuries ago. This story will be told as golfers pass these locations.” 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 – Kevin Atkinson, John Fought and Raymond Hearn discuss whether putting courses are a good investment, and what gives them the best chance for success. “My mentality is almost the wilder the better, because this is for entertainment,” says Atkinson, who has designed putting courses at two country clubs in his home state of Colorado: Red Rocks and Boulder. “We’re not creating these putting courses for practice, it is about laughing and having fun. The direct ROI from the Boulder and Red Rocks putting courses is the food and beverage.” The Spring issue of By Design also includes advice on native grasses from Dave Kaplow, a case study on Greg Martin’s Settlers Hill project, details on the BIRDIE Act and a sketch from Jeff Danner for a proposed project in Portugal. To download the latest issue and subscribe to By Design, visit “The wilder the better” GOOD READ BY DESIGN Excellence in Golf Design from the American Society of Golf Course Architects ISSUE 65 // SPRING 2024 ALSO: // Curracloe Links // Settlers Hill // GCSAA Show NATIVE GRASSES Dave Kaplow provides advice on native grass selection and maintenance FLAT STICK FORMULA Are putting courses a good investment, and what gives them the best chance for success? The par-three eleventh plays over a deep chasm of gorse A large sand ridge, first encountered on the eighth, is a key feature of the north side of the course One of the first holes identified by the design team was the tenth, which sits in a massive valley running north 25

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New course opens at Saint John’s Resort in Detroit The Cardinal, a new course designed by Raymond Hearn, will open this spring at Saint John’s Resort in the Plymouth suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The multimillion-dollar project was commissioned by the Pulte Family Foundation, which acquired the resort in 2021. The course was built on the site of the resort’s previous 27 holes. Almost nothing remains of the original holes other than some playing corridors that were altered. Hearn also designed a seven-hole par-three layout and a twoacre Himalayas-style putting course. “Saint John’s landscape is incredible,” said Hearn. “It has a variety of natural features such as prairie, woodlands, ridges, valleys and water. Add to those a collection of 100-year-old trees and you have a special setting.” Hearn highlights the par-five fifth as one of the standout holes. “At 535 yards from the back tees, it is relatively short by today’s standards, but is an interesting journey,” said Hearn. The tee shot requires a carry over a pond, with the more forward tees cutting off the distance to the fairway. A creek, wetlands and a large tree pinch the fairway at the landing zone, challenging longer hitters. “Better players may go for it in two, using the back-left bunker as a target,” said Hearn. “That, however, brings into play a second pond, wetlands and slopes around the green. The reward is a chance at eagle but bogey or worse is a possibility if you unsuccessfully negotiate the natural hazards.” Hearn has also included a church pew bunker complex on the ninth hole (pictured), which plays alongside the resort (its chapel is located inside). Bunkers on the course feature ProAngle sand and liner from Better Billy Bunker. Photo: Brian Walters 27


TEE BOX Brian Ross and Jeff Stein have developed a masterplan for an 18-hole Great Dunes course at Jekyll Island Golf Club in Georgia, with construction expected to begin in October 2024. In 2023, the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) hired the architects to restore the Walter Travis-designed Great Dunes nine and create nine new Travis-inspired holes on a portion of the club’s existing Oleander course. The front nine of Oleander will be redeveloped to become holes one to three and thirteen to eighteen in the new routing. Seven of the remaining nine holes will be given over to the island’s conservation department. Ross and Stein have been referencing historic materials from an archive maintained by the JIA, which has records dating back to the late 19th century as well as aerials and groundlevel images from the 1920s. “These photos are perfect in guiding us on aesthetics,” said Ross. “We can even see how the greens have altered, especially their elevations.” The pair have also made visits to East Potomac Park, Troy, Cape Arundel and Hollywood – all Travis designs – with greens drawings, photos and lidar scans from each proving useful. “Troy and Cape Arundel have hardly changed, so their greens are great as a reference,” said Stein. “Their strategies have even inspired us for some of our creations at Great Dunes. We’re also thinking of replicating the strategy of the twelfth green at Garden City where giant mounds flank the left and right sides, with a smaller one at the back. We’d love to bring that concept to a par three at Great Dunes. “The big telltale sign that we’ve seen in Travis’s work is that he uses diagonal swales through his greens and has abrupt transitions. The swales will turn along the line of play – they’re not always in the same direction. Travis greens are intricately designed and underrated.” Ross adds: “We recently spoke with the National Links Trust about public golf being accessible, but not always compelling. Our goal at Great Dunes is to be compelling and show what Travis was all about.” Read more about the Great Dunes project on Walter Travis inspires Ross and Stein for Jekyll Island project FROM THE ARCHIVE A 1920s photo of the third hole of the Great Dunes nine at Jekyll Island Photo: Jekyll Island Golf Club 29

Patience is a virtue, but when the results look as good and play as well as a Tee-2-Green course, we think it’s worth it. That’s why it takes a minimum of twelve years to develop our seed. To say we know bentgrass is an understatement. It’s truly all we do. 1–3 YEARS COLLECT NEW PLANTS 1–2 YEARS EVALUATE UNDER STRESS 1 YEAR CROSS PARENT PLANTS 1–5 YEARS SCREEN PARENT PLANTS 1–3 YEARS PRODUCE NEW VARIETY AFTER 12–15 YEARS HARVEST SEED FOR COURSE GREATNESS DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT BENTGRASS. IT'S ALL WE DO. Stop by our booth, #1754, at the 2024 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Phoenix, AZ.

CDP starts developing plans for Royal Belfast’s Colt course The Royal Belfast Golf Club in Holywood, Northern Ireland, has appointed Clayton, DeVries & Pont to develop a long-term plan for its course. CDP’s Frank Pont and Hendrik Hilgert are authoring the plan, with other CDP members assisting as and when needed. “Harry Colt took full advantage of this beautiful, elevated site delivering a great course with spectacular views over Belfast Lough,” said Hilgert. “As with our work when restoring other courses of his in Europe and the United States, recommended changes will remain true to his design philosophies.” “We are thrilled to be assisting two of Ireland’s oldest clubs, Royal Belfast and Royal Dublin, both of whose courses were designed by Harry Colt,” said Edward Cartwright, head of GB&I at CDP. “Our partners have now provided advice to 36 clients with Colt companydesigned courses in seven countries.” Photo: Royal Belfast Sandy went for a stroll through the bucolic English countryside at Tadmarton Heath in Oxfordshire in the January issue. Opened in 1922, and designed by Cecil Key Hutchison, and located close to the town of Banbury, Tadmarton is, in many ways, a blast from the past: its fairways are unirrigated, so become extremely firm and bouncy in a dry summer; its charming Cotswold stone clubhouse, once a farmhouse, offers a warm welcome, and the abundance of gorse on the course means it can play much tougher than its 6,043 yards might suggest. Kai Tore Breiland of Røyken in Norway figured it out, and we hope he will wear his much sought-after GCA shirt with pride. From a small, homely English course, Sandy has gone completely to the other extreme in this issue, finding himself on the longest course ever to host the US Open. Reckon you know where he is, and fancy sporting one of our shirts? Send your answer to GOPHER WATCH 31


Jones letter inspires Benkusky’s work at Point O’ Woods This autumn, Mike Benkusky is returning to Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to oversee a complete bunker renovation. The project follows on from two others the architect has undertaken at the club. The first was the installation of new fairway drainage, which was completed in 2022, while the second was the rebuild of the short-game bunkers (pictured) and construction of a new 20,000-square-foot practice green, completed in 2023. The forthcoming work will see bunkers updated with Better Billy Bunker liner and new Signature BestSand. “As one of Robert Trent Jones’ more prominent golf course designs, our intent is to keep the current architecture whilst updating the course to meet modern standards,” said Benkusky. “The shaping improvements will be modest and will create more variety in the sand lines whilst updating the golf course with a fresh, new look.” A letter that Jones wrote on his final visit to the course around 40 years ago has provided inspiration for Benkusky. “In the letter he referenced adding bunkers to both the sixth and fifteenth fairways to improve the aesthetics and challenge of each hole,” he said. “Also, a select number of bunkers will either be extended, combined or deepened to create more variety and increase difficulty where it is warranted.” “It’s been a pleasure working with Mike and the Point O’ Woods membership on these projects,” said Adam Roels, director of golf course operations. “A lot of time and effort has been taken to update and preserve this classically designed Robert Trent Jones course.” Photo: Mike Benkusky TEE BOX 33

Bois d’Arlon Golf and Resort in southern Belgium has opened nine holes of its new 18-hole Heath course, designed by Stuart Hallett. Hallett’s design was created to complement the site’s natural landforms. “I picked out a few green sites on my first visit thanks to some very exciting features,” he said. “I wanted to exploit the natural landscape to build what I believe are some standout golf holes, including the fourth green, holes five, six and fourteen, and part of fifteen. This interesting corner appears in both loops; a crossroads in the course routing. “We worked hard on a couple of the so-called weaker holes with some good ideas and skilful shaping helping to produce some very interesting holes, such as the third and eleventh.” GolfLink Evolve handled construction and a Rain Bird irrigation system has been installed, as they did for the resort’s nine-hole Park course, designed by Jonathan Davison of Create Golf, which opened last year. Pirkkala in Finland selects design team for nine-hole project Golf Pirkkala in Finland is to extend its facilities from 18 to 27 holes and has hired a team comprising of architects Tim Lobb and Kari Haug plus Kai Hulkkonen and Jim Ferguson of Turnkey Golf, a development and project management firm. The site is hilly, rocky and in some areas forested. “We are hoping to sandcap certain areas, but we are going to have to use the native soil, and we don’t yet have a clear idea of what it is like – except that it is pretty rocky,” said Ferguson, who will serve as project manager. Pirkkala has Finland’s largest junior golf programme, with 500 junior members, and many female golfers. Lobb, who has built a close relationship with Haug from European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) meetings, knew this was the perfect project to partner together on. “The tender documents made specific mention of the needs of the club’s junior and senior membership,” said Haug. “But in our response, we went much further – we will install forward tees to give everyone a choice of length to play. We will include rest stops along the way, which is very important because the terrain is hilly, and the average age of members is 59.” Photo:Pirkkala Golf TEE BOX Bois d’Arlon in Belgium opens Heath course Kari Haug and Tim Lobb pictured with Pirkkala’s chairman Mika Viitaharju and general manager Markus Junni Photo: Steve Hallett 34