After all of the improvements that we have made to the 15th hole, it is really shining right now. I took a quick walk this morning to grab final photos of the bunkers in the bright summer sunshine to complete this update on our work on #15.
The larger Metra Corner Makeover project (as outlined in this previous JATS post) continues to move along, and has now expanded to include the 14th, 17th, and 18th holes – the entire Metra Loop – in no small part because of the growing wave of support we have received from our volunteers and neighbors. More updates to come on other holes as the work progresses.
For now, I’ll focus on my new favorite hole on the course, the 15th.
Rework of the bunkers began in the fall of 2016. We had an old fairway bunker complex that had grown over that we decided could use a little more character. A bunker short-left of the green was removed, and the bunker short right of the green repositioned and reshaped.
The inspiration for the look of the bunkering came from a photo of Hollywood Golf Club, a Walter Travis design in NJ that has been recently restored by the Renaissance Golf team, as well as a bunker I saw at The Rawls Course in TX, a Tom Doak design.
Our Super Tom Tully cut the sod (thanks to the generosity of Brian Bossert from Bryn Mawr CC), and made us a big ol’ dirt pile from the mounds surrounding one of the grass bunkers.
I dug out and sodded the right nostril.
My buddy Peter Korbakes dug out and sodded the left nostril.
My buddy John Creighton shaped and sodded the nose.
Approaches were seeded, to grow in in the spring.
Next up were the greenside bunkers. Pat Goss, David & Lindsay Inglis and players from the NU golf team pitched in with our volunteers the fill in the left bunker and reposition/rework the right bunker.
The right bunker came to be known as “the gash”, and by the time we finished shaping and sodding, we felt that it was a fitting homage to Mr. Doak’s original.
We were joined in our gash work by Dave Lockhart, videographer and fellow golf geek. Dave did double duty, helping us to finish the digging, while also capturing footage for a nice piece he did on Canal Shores.
In the spring, we had several productive and fun volunteer sessions, working our way down the left side of the 15th. We removed buckthorn and other invasives to help turf thrive and to create space to expand the fairway left. The neighbor support we received at these sessions was astounding, allowing us to move quite quickly.
An out-of-place bush and spruce tree were removed, and the fairway was widened right to highlight the interesting shape of a large grass bunker. Players were also given room to steer clear of the principal’s nose, giving life to our vision for more interesting strategy on a hole that had previously been bland.
Our new Superintendent Tony Frandria and his crew filled the new bunkers with sand, and began the slow process of tuning up the mowing patterns around the new bunkers, and on the green pad. In spite of challenging weather, the 15th looks better every day, and is now a joy to play for golfers of all skill levels.
(click to enlarge images)
Work is already well underway on the 16th hole. Stay tuned for more updates as the makeover of our beloved Metra Loop continues…
More Journey Along the Shores posts:
- Pt.1 – Introduction
- Pt.2 – The Land
- Pt.3 – Principles for Greatness
- Pt.4 – First Steps
- Pt.5 – Tree Management
- Pt.6 – 4 Course Concept
- Pt.7 – Pilot Projects
- Pt.8 – More Tree Management
- Pt.9 – Inspiration for the New Canal Shores
- Pt.10 – Off-Season Projects
- Pt.11 – Blue Sky Findings
- Pt.12 – Good Geeky Fun
- Pt.13 – 4 Course Concept Revisited
- Pt.14a – The Power of Volunteers
- Pt.14b – More Volunteer Power
- Pt.15a – Metra Corner Makeover
- Pt.16 – Super Changes
- Pt.17 – 14th Hole Bunker Rebuild
- Pt.18 – Annual Volunteer Recap
Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf