Golf Course Management

MAR 2017

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

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26 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 03.17 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. Bayou Oaks Golf Course at City Park, New Orleans It has been almost 12 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, leaving much of the city under several feet of water and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes. This spring, one of the city's best- loved leisure facilities will finally rise again from the ashes, as City Park, the largest open space in the Crescent City, will open its new Bayou Oaks Course, designed by Rees Jones and Greg Muirhead. CEO Bob Becker has been at the park's helm since before Katrina, and his stories of attempting to get the fa - cility's driving range operational to generate some income in the aftermath of the disaster — with the city still on its knees and golfers appearing out of apparently nowhere to practice and then collecting their own balls — are both tragic and inspiring. The new course will act as a beacon for the commu - nity in more ways than one. In an echo of how East Lake in Atlanta has served as an engine to regenerate the area around it, so will Bayou Oaks do for the surrounding parts of New Orleans. The Bayou District Foundation will man - age the course, and its share of the revenue from golf will be spent on development projects. The most memorable features of Jones and Muir - head's course are the huge, spectacular live oaks that dot the park. Some over 600 years old, the trees define the routing, and in the case of the excellent par-5 13th hole, create the strategy, too. Only the biggest curmudgeon could wish the course anything but the best. Streamsong (Fla.) Black The already-remarkable Streamsong Resort in central Florida will take another step forward this fall when the venue's third course, the Black, opens. Designed and built by Gil Hanse and his Caveman Construction team, headed by partner Jim Wagner, the Black Course occupies rather different land than the existing Red and Blue, and is ac - cessed off the entrance road to the resort. There is plenty of elevation change on the new site; there may, in fact, be even more than on the other two. What there is not are the huge, dramatic dunes of the Red and Blue, but this absence means that the Black has an upland feel, with long views across the whole property, including many of the two existing courses, and to the 250-bedroom lodge, which is several miles away. The vi - sual scale of the course is huge, and the golfing landscape matches it, with wide fairways, huge sand features and enormous, undulating greens. Standout holes on the Black include the 640-yard, par-5 fourth, with a split fairway challenging players to make a decision and execute accordingly; the truly epic uphill par-3 fifth, with a green that — though enormous — is almost entirely invisible atop a mountain of sand; the dramatic punchbowl green on the ninth; and the 18th, an - other par 5 with a deep pond protecting the green, which is offset to the right of the playing corridor. Cautious golfers can play around the water to the left, but anyone hoping to get home in two has no option but to take it on. Lakewood National Golf Club Lakewood Ranch, Fla. New golf and housing developments have been rare since the housing crash of 2008, so it's good to hear of a major builder undertaking a new project. Lakewood Na - tional, near Bradenton, Fla., is interesting too, as it will be the first new Arnold Palmer Design course to debut since the golf legend's death. Architect Brandon Johnson has persuaded developer Lennar Homes to let him be quite adventurous with the design — remarkably so in some places for a housing course. Johnson argues, persua - sively, that this kind of design is what's needed for devel- opment courses to thrive in the future. The course has good undulations despite the flat site, as a result of about a million cubic yards of earthmoving — mostly the excavation of lakes to generate fill. The dominant feature of the golf course is Johnson's greens, which are in many cases rather bold, such as the steeply back-to-front, par-3 fourth hole — which is reminiscent of the right half of the 11th green on the Old Course at St. Andrews — and, most of all, the very short par-4 13th. The drawing board This hole, which will be drivable by many, looks relatively benign from the tee, but if the pin is located in the back-left portion of the green, beware. A steep downhill slope in the green protects this pin, and leaving the approach short will lead to a most treacherous putt. Maridoe Golf Club Carrollton, Texas Texas oilman Albert Huddleston acquired the former Honors Club on the north side of the Dallas metroplex a few years ago, and he promptly started planning his dream golf club. Huddleston hired Florida-based architect Steve Smyers to handle design, and gave Smyers a brief he has become familiar with over his career: Build me a tough golf course that will challenge the best and be the ideal home for a "player's club," focused on low-handicap golf - ers. Smyers, who already has challenging courses such as Wolf Run in Indiana and Old Memorial in Tampa, Fla., on his résumé, has delivered again, but not in a way that will prevent weaker players from enjoying the newly named Maridoe course. Maridoe is long, with relatively narrow fairways and some tough greens, but the course has relatively few forced carries and should be quite playable for anyone ca - pable of keeping the ball in the right ZIP code. Smyers has tackled some difficult sites in his career, and at Maridoe has had to deal with some of the worst soils any archi - tect will ever encounter. More than a million cubic yards of earth was moved, most of which came from increasing the size of the lake at the center of the property, which Huddleston envisions providing world-class bass fishing. That fill was used to create a huge landform on the far side of the course, which screens surrounding homes. In time, I believe Maridoe will be regarded as one of Texas' best courses. Adam Lawrence Twitter: @adammlawrence Bayou Oaks GC in New Orleans' City Park will open this spring. Photo courtesy of Bayou Oaks

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