Golf Course Management

JUN 2019

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 24 06.19 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.19 Editor's note: The Drawing Board is a quarterly feature that spotlights new golf course development and construction projects in both the United States and around the world worthy of note to superintendents. The feature is authored by Adam Lawrence, the editor of Golf Course Architecture magazine as well as By Design, the quarterly publication of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Marco Simone Golf and Country Club Guidonia, Rome, Italy The course selected as the venue for the 2022 Ryder Cup is in the middle of a total rebuild. Marco Simone Golf and Country Club is 10 miles from Rome and has spectac- ular views over the Eternal City. The course was originally designed by American architect Jim Fazio, but the recon- struction is in the hands of Dave Sampson of European Golf Design, the firm co-owned by the European Tour. The back nine, which had been under construction for some months, was completed at the end of May and is now in grow-in, while the front nine will be reconstructed at a later date. EGD now has extensive experience in pre- paring courses for the Ryder Cup and knows from research that more matches finish on the 16th hole than any other. Sampson has therefore redesigned that hole into a down- hill drivable par 4, with a lake to the front right of the put- ting surface and a huge spectator area around the green. EcoBunker's AquaEdge solution, which uses recycled arti- ficial turf, has been deployed on the lake edges, while the bunkers are lined with Capillary Concrete. The Biltmore Golf Course Coral Gables, Fla. Donald Ross came to the newly incorporated city of Coral Gables, Fla., in 1925 to lay out a golf course sur- rounding the enormous luxury hotel called the Biltmore then being built for hotel magnate John McEntee Bow- man. For two years, the hotel was the tallest in Florida. The hotel was a venue of choice for the beautiful people of the 1920s and '30s but was requisitioned during World War II and became a hospital, which it remained until it was abandoned in 1968. The city of Coral Gables started to restore the building in 1983, and the hotel finally re- opened in 1987. Like much of Florida, the Biltmore site is fairly flat, with only one compelling natural feature — a creek that winds across the property. Ross used that body of water exten- sively in his design, notably at the 17th hole, where the green sits right on the edge of the water. Apart from the creek, the course features no water hazards, with fairway bunkers being Ross's main defense and source of strategy. Architect Brian Silva led a significant restoration project at the Biltmore back in 2007, but the absence of clear original documentation of what Ross did meant that Silva had to proceed carefully, rebuilding bunkers that had clearly been grassed over and moving green surfaces back to the edge of the fill pads. But then, director of golf Bob Coman found the original course plans in the Tufts Archive in Pinehurst, N.C., enabling Silva to come back to Coral Gables and complete the restoration. North Ridge Country Club Raleigh, N.C. Architect Kris Spence has begun a renovation of the George Cobb and Gene Hamm-designed Oaks Course at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh, N.C. Construction work should be complete and sprigging of greens under- way by mid-July. Spence says he will return green complexes and bunkers to something more akin to their original forms, while also addressing shade issues through selected tree removal. The greens will be regrassed from bentgrass to Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass, and surface contours will be softened where needed to compensate for expected faster green speeds. Spence's work will reverse previous renovations, which have included containment mounding around holes and especially greens. He expects many greens at the fin- ished course to be surrounded by short grass, while ap- proach areas will be widened to make the course more forgiving to less-skilled players. The drawing board Bunkers will be reconstructed in a more natural style and lined with Capillary Concrete. The second phase of the project, covering fairway bunkers and landing areas, should be completed in Au- gust. The course is expected to reopen in the middle of September. Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago has hired golf architect Andy Staples to create a renovation mas- terplan for its South Course, originally designed by Tom Bendelow in 1915 and more recently renovated by Steve Smyers. Olympia Fields had contracted with architect Keith Foster for the project, but Foster's recent legal troubles meant the club was on the lookout for a new architect. Staples says that his work will reflect the recent dis- covery of documentation on the course — including pho- tographs dating back to the 1920s — that reveals Willie Park's strong influence on the whole of the Olympia Fields' complex, not just the North Course, which Parks designed. No work will be carried out on the course until after the North Course at Olympia Fields hosts the 2020 BMW Championship. A key focus will be making the course more playable in wet conditions. Cape Fear Country Club Wilmington, N.C. Cape Fear CC in Wilmington, N.C., believed to be the oldest private country club in the southern United States, is almost complete after a project to restore original Don- ald Ross features led by architect Andrew Green. Ross worked at Cape Fear on at least three occasions through his long career. Drainage problems on the existing bentgrass greens prompted this project, which is seeing surfaces converted to ultradwarf bermudagrass. All greens are also being low- ered by at least 18 inches to return them nearer to their original elevations. McDonald & Sons is handling the con- struction work. Green has also expanded the club's practice facili- ties by creating a nine-hole par-3 course, with holes of up to 130 yards in length, built in a style similar to that of the main golf course. The short course used four double greens and one single green and occupies land that had previously housed two holes (a par 4 and a par 3) that were subsequently abandoned. Adam Lawrence adam.lawrence@golfcoursearchitecture.net Storied Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago has hired Andy Staples to create the masterplan for the renovation of its South Course. Photo courtesy of Olympia Fields Country Club

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