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Desert Forest Daydreaming

This post started as a cure for the winter blues.  My business travels usually take me to Scottsdale in December, affording an opportunity to see my favorite desert golf course – Desert Forest.  No such luck in 2017, and I found myself missing it greatly.

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The understated clubhouse at Desert Forest – Photo by Dan Moore

My first visit to Desert Forest was with Dan Moore, after David Zinkand had already done the bulk of his renovation work.  I never played Red Lawrence’s original, but Dave Zinkand’s update immediately grabbed ahold of my heart.  Wonderfully routed, minimally bunkered, with interest-packed greens, the course demands strategic thought and creative execution to score.  It is a fantastic golf course, presented beautifully by Superintendent Todd Storm, at a club with just the kind of friendly, low-key vibe that resonates with me.

Dave and Dan both graciously offered their contributions to this post, which turned my simple daydreaming into a comprehensive tour, with a unique twist.  Dave provided his commentary on the changes he made during the renovation, and the reasoning behind those changes.  Dan added his beautiful feature photos (his are the rectangular ones and are copyright Dan Moore) and his player’s knowledge of the course.  Although nowhere near as good as Dan’s, I pitched in the best of my photos for some additional perspective (mine are in the circles and can be clicked to enlarge).

Think of what follows as a conversation among three geeks out at twilight, walking, playing, talking architecture and snapping photos.  Hopefully, all in, we have done justice to this special place.

Enjoy!


THE RENOVATION

DZ: Desert Forest Golf Club attained its status in the golf world thanks to Red Lawrence’s strategic minimalism.  Other venues in the Southwest United States predate Desert Forest, yet Lawrence’s routing was the first desert golf course truly integrated into this unique and inspiring ecosystem.  His patient study of the terrain yielded undulating fairways resting easily upon the rugged Sonoran desert.  He complemented these natural contours with perched greens shedding in multiple directions to provide a particularly challenging test of which one never grows tired.  The appreciation Members showed through the Club’s first fifty years maintained the integrity of this layout.  

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The foremost goal of my 2013 Masterplan was to fulfill a directive set out by Staff and Members during the architect selection process – secure the long-term vitality of the Club.  Deteriorating turf conditions, advances in playing equipment and somewhat elemental aesthetics from an original construction budget of $250,000, combined to hamper the Club’s legitimate status as a pioneering gem of American golf.  Fifty years after the Club’s inception, the course had undergone relatively little in the way of alterations.  Club Leadership wished to address both how the course plays and how it will be perceived over the next fifty years.

After years of gradual agronomic decline, establishing strong turf, healthy soil profiles and maximum pin-able space were the utmost priorities with Desert Forest’s greens.  Doing so while maintaining the small, push-up green complexes for which the Club is known would maintain its challenge and design integrity, but increasing pin-able space within the footprint of the existing green complexes required compromises.  The Membership clearly wished to retain the rigorous demands of putting at Desert Forest.  The original strategic concepts related beautifully with the fairways, and so were maintained.  Though small, the greens exhibited many long slopes, often steep with five or six percent grades.  This meant that in providing putting surfaces which allow enough cupping area and still ensuring a challenge, the transitions between pin locations would necessarily be more abrupt.  Internal contours were given more individuality and complexity than the original, rather repetitive surfaces.  The results left a learning curve for Members who had never before experienced such change at the Club.  The new challenge was offset, however, by a thoughtfully considered long-term directive to provide moderate green speeds (around 10.5 on the Stimp Meter).  This enables the Club to produce high quality turf conditions while ensuring environmental sustainability, even in the desert surrounds.

Green perimeters had become disjointed from their surrounds after years of topdressing up to their edges.  This hindered the running game, as well as being unattractive; a seamless transition was returned with installation of the new profiles.  Sand recycled during demolition was incorporated during the reshaping of approaches to provide firm entries and enhance the ground game.  A topdressing program for surrounds has also been devised to ensure a fulfilling running game year-round.

Advancing the strategy and aesthetics of the course to fulfill modern expectations of such a minimalist gem rounded out the primary masterplan goals.  Plenty of Members were vocal about the need to increase course difficulty even though the challenge of Desert Forest had very much remained substantial for the vast majority of golfers.  My intention was therefore to maintain the degree of difficulty overall, while increasing the test for low-handicappers and providing high-handicappers a more reasonable path.  The finished results produced an increased Course Rating to challenge the best players combined with a reduced Slope rating to accommodate less-skilled play.

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Rendering by Patrick Burton

With so little change in the layout since the course was opened in 1962, tees were necessarily a priority.  Advances in length meant many of the Club’s toughest holes no longer required a driver for better players.  Holes intended to provide such a test were lengthened, as well as given new angles from the back tees where appropriate.  A new set of “Copper Tees” were installed as a shorter option.  The suitability of all tees in between were considered; as islands of turf amongst the desert, many were added, shifted or eliminated to best suit existing and future Members.

While we substantially enhanced the aesthetics of Desert Forest’s feature work, we did so mostly through subtle, often handcrafted, implementation of the objectives.  More than a dozen objectives were typically addressed on each hole through such refinements.  We expanded and refined many fairway edges for strategic, playability and aesthetic considerations.  On others we removed turf to ensure good custodianship of the Sonoran Desert.  This allowed for returning native vegetation to areas that had been lost over the years.  In conjunction with mending native areas, many non-native trees were removed.  This allowed improved strategy, turf conditions and vistas. The limited budget for Desert Forest’s original construction meant a great many areas along the edges of holes were cut to enable contouring nearby.  This left an artificial feel to the perimeters of holes. We utilized good spoils from other renovation tasks to recontour these areas, tying them naturally back into the surrounding desert, improving the look and feel of the holes.  A less desirable variety of Bermuda grass was simultaneously removed from the rough to improve playability, expand and refine fairway mow lines, as well as produce better grow-in during overseed.

The most visible change at Desert Forest is the greenside bunkering.  The course has never had fairway bunkers.  As Brad Klein says, “there’s just one big one” – the desert.  The greenside bunkers, though eventually deepened in the 1990’s, were originally very shallow dishes with simple oval forms.  Members used to have a photo contest in their weekly e-newsletter to determine on which hole the image was taken.  This proved highly challenging and competitive because of the repetitive contouring and bunkering around each green.  Fortunately, the contest lost its challenge due to the identity instilled within each green complex during the renovation, which includes a rugged, natural feel to the bunker forms and edging to complement the desert.

Altering an historic layout after so many years without change is a difficult path to navigate.  However, the rewards to Members are now evident, providing a bright forecast for the Club’s next fifty years.


DESERT FOREST

DM: Lawrence routed the course through the desert taking care not to disrupt the natural flow of the desert floor while expertly utilizing the ebb and flow of the terrain.  He reportedly walked alongside the machines clearing the fairways to make sure they disrupted the native desert as little as possible, and he even left a few trees and saguaros in the fairways.

Lawrence was quoted at the time Desert Forest opened, “This is a desert course. We used as rough and hazard only desert material.  No two fairways offered the same two problems.  If anything, there was an overabundance of opportunity.  The trouble was in leaving a maximum of the raw desert growth.”  He called Desert Forest “the most challenging and satisfying piece of construction I have ever enjoyed.”

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My doodle illustrates Lawrence’s intimate routing

HOLE 1 – Par 4 – 397 yards

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JW: The 1st at DF is a hard dogleg right par-4.  The drive is semi-blind, which is a theme throughout Red Lawrence’s wonderful routing.  This is a course that takes multiple plays to learn.

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DM: The drive on the first hole hammers home that hitting the fairway is paramount at Desert Forest, a course with no fairway bunkers.  To provide strategic interest off the tee Red Lawrence relied on the desert flanking each fairway and natural undulations of the desert floor.  An uphill 2nd shot takes you to one of the nicest green sites on the course.

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DZ: Both the first tee complex and the practice range tee were lowered 3-4 feet to improve vistas, gain valuable ground and simplify the elegant grounds radiating out from the clubhouse.  This enabled a new rear tee to be built, the opportunity to re-establish the uphill feel of the fairway, and rethinking of nearby practice amenities. 

This hole’s dogleg provides a challenging opening drive for Members and new forward tees help to soften the degree of difficulty.  The challenge of skirting the dogleg off of the tee was complicated by a back-right green section that fell sharply towards the desert and cart path.  In recontouring the green complex, I supported this section of the green and expanded the surrounds slightly to ensure the fall-away pin position was retained, while providing reasonable playability.  Turf behind the left bunker was eliminated to better focus one’s eye in on the target and enhance the native surrounds.

HOLE 2 – Par 4 – 428 yards

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JW: The subtle angles on this hole are genius.  The fairway winds between two protrusions of the desert, making the tee shot disorienting.  The green, which is protected by a large bunker right, is best approached from the left half.

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DM: A great example of how Lawrence used natural terrain to define the tee shot without fairway bunkers.  Utilizing natural contours in place of staggered fairway bunkers, the tee shot is defined by a finger of desert that juts in on the left and a larger shoulder of desert 20 yards farther on the right.  The large green is receptive to long shots and features a significant left to right tilt which accentuates the difficulty of missing to the left.

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DZ: The second hole provides a rare opportunity for a truly aggressive drive at Desert Forest.  Though early fairway width provides a generous beginning to the landing area, native vegetation and natural contours defend the latter portion of the landing area, demanding players decide just how far they wish to play up the fairway.  Recontouring of hole perimeters allowed us to enhance the options and playability.

The front of this green was expanded and supported to regain provocative pin locations lost over the years to increasing green speeds. Interestingly, some Members were adamant that the steep nature be maintained so that guests might continue to experience the possibility of putting right back off the front of the green!  Reestablishing a ‘false front’ by extending green height down over the front slope, while also introducing more support within the green itself accomplished increased pins, playability and a treacherous front slope.

Many greens at Desert Forest are guarded with bunkers on either side.  The left bunker at this green was not original.  I opted to replace it with a closely mown slope guarding the entire left side.  This distinguishes the green from five and thirteen, which once appeared quite similar.  Happily, this spoils the fun of the Club’s former photo contest from when holes were nearly indistinguishable around their respective green complexes.

HOLE 3 – Par 3 – 160 yards

JW: DF’s first one-shotter plays to an elevated putting surface with bunkers on all sides.  The tee is slightly elevated, which makes hoisting a tee ball toward this green an exercise in choosing thrills over intimidation, especially with the pin in the front sliver among the bunkers.  Get too aggressive and miss the green here, and you could experience adventures in recovery.

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DM: Affectionately known as Desert Forest’s shortest par 4, the third presents a small, well-guarded green and deep drop off long left.  A high, quick stopping shot to the middle of the green is the best play regardless of pin location.  Lawrence beautifully framed the green between the prominent nob at the end of Black Mountain on the right and a large boulder on the left now obscured by a large tree.

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DZ: This is a classic, treacherous short par three.  As opposed to being surrounded by bunkers on all sides, trouble in the way of fall-away green slopes and surrounds awaits left and back right.  The key to improving this hole was supporting these fall-away slopes in a manner so a balance was struck between degree of difficulty and playability.

As with all of the holes, bunkering was modified to focus attention more on the greens and provide detailed interest.  An unattractive rear bunker was lowered entirely out of view from the tee, but widened for improved playability, helping to emphasize the diminutive target from the tee.

HOLE 4 – Par 4 – 441 yards

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JW: A simple, but elegant hole, with an ever so slightly angled drive to a straight fairway.  A lone bunker guards the contoured green left and a tricky little runoff, the right.  The word pure is thrown around perhaps too liberally.  It applies at Desert Forest.

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DM: A mid-length par 4 that beautifully pairs a sloping fairway with a dramatic false front on the right.  The left half of the fairway is relatively flat and is the best angle from which to approach pins on the right, especially those tucked near the false front.  Any drive to the right half will take the slope leaving the ball close to the right edge of the fairway with a tough shot over the false front to any pin on the right.

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DZ: Among the many new tee locations added, a forward tee was sympathetically carved into the native terrain along the right side of four to provide an improved angle of play for shorter players.  The fairway was expanded both left and right to improve playability and allow high left and low right options of play off the tee for attacking various pin positions.  Ground along the left edge of this fairway was raised to allow for expansion and contoured to fit seamlessly in with the surrounds.  While the bold slope off of the front right of this green was repaired and retained, the center ridge in this green running parallel to play was lowered and the right side supported to recapture challenging far right pin placements.  The backline of this green was raised for support and turf expanded beyond for playability.

HOLE 5 – Par 4 – 440 yards

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JW: The hard dogleg left on this stout four par invites the player to bite off as much as they dare.  Once that line is chosen, the swing better be confident.  A lone Dave Zinkand bunker guarding the green right.  Sometimes, one bunker is all you need to create strategic challenge.

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DM: A cape-hole dog-leg to the left, the 5th is another hole where the slopes and angles of the fairway work in concert with the green to define the strategy of the hole.  The tee shot is designed such that you must take on an isthmus of desert which rewards a right to left shot.   The green features a significant drop off on the left quarter and is best approached with a left to right shot from the left center of the fairway providing an angle away from the false side.  Lawrence clearly valued shot-making ability.

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DZ: Red Lawrence was an avid fan of shot-making.  During my early days studying the golf course, it became apparent he favored a draw off of the tee, while more often than not, bunkering the green more severely on the right to reward a fading approach.  Lawrence surely saw a running draw off of the tee as a tactic for golfers to tackle what was a rather long layout at the time the Club opened.  Conversely, a slight fade into the greens offers access and control on these small sloping targets.

This is clear on hole five, where a finger of native creeps into the landing area from the inside left, emphasizing the dogleg.  This finger was included in the native desert rehabilitation effort.  A sliver of turf along the outside of the dogleg was removed to complement the improvements to views down this hole.  More than any other hole, the tree removal along both sides of five enhances the desert feel, vistas and enjoyment of the bountiful saguaros uncovered, for which the Sonoran Desert is famous.

As with many approaches, the entry to five green was supported to enable running shots.  The right edge of this approach near the bunker was filled to better define a line upon which to enter the green.  The right greenside bunker was extended along the approach to highlight this edge.  A rise in the back middle of this green was highlighted to increase interest and the value of shot-making when attempting to reach back pins.

HOLE 6 – Par 4 – 361 yards

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JW: The hole is dead straight, but that does not mean you should hit it down the middle.  A center fronting bunker built into a mound dictates play from the tee.  Whichever side of the green the pin is on is the half of the fairway the player’s drive needs to find. Approaches from the wrong side that hit the front mound run the risk of shooting all the way into the back bunker.  Not the place to be.

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DM: The 6th hole is defined by a gaping Lion’s Mouth bunker fronting the middle of the green the back of which forms a large mound that divides the green in half.  The large mound off the back of the front bunker is paired with a smaller mound in the back half of the green. Except when the pin is on the front half of the right side, it’s best to play to the left side of this fairway to avoid a valley on the right which often kick balls into the desert.

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DZ: The sixth was affected by gains in distance due to modern technology as much as any hole on the course.  For short and mid-length golfers, the right side of this landing area rolled off repeatedly into desert surrounds.  Whereas, the far end of this landing area offered the most forgiving ground on the hole, so that the longest players had a decided advantage with much less risk.  Mid-length contours down the right side were supported and vegetation along the landing area thinned to improve playability.  Several yards were added down the left of the landing area where existing mesquites were removed to provide width for the short to medium length player and create a more attractive hole corridor.  Further down, the left was pinched abruptly to heighten the challenge to longer tee shots.

Standing on the tee in my early visits, it was apparent something was amiss at the green.  As lofted as many greens are at Desert Forest, the visibility to this green was poor.  It turned out this was one of several greens altered in the 1970’s.  I raised the green one and a half feet to return what is believed to be original grade and improve visibility down the hole.  An existing bunker stretched across the middle and right side of the approach to this green.  This was replaced with a small central bunker in the approach and the right side supported to provide an alternate entryway for pins along the right side of the hole.  The left greenside bunker was expanded to tie in with the native desert.  Strategic pin positions along the edges of the green were recaptured and the roll up to the rear bunker removed to bring this hazard better into play.

The original green was particularly unsuited to modern green speeds and its contours were no longer part of Member’s collective memory, so I installed a milder slope with internal contours for challenge and interest.  A front hump was placed in the green to support the front bunker and extend this hazard into the putting surface as a consideration for those seeking to attack surrounding pins on this fairly short hole.  A central hump was also added to reward shot placement. 

HOLE 7 – Par 5 – 530 yards

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JW: The first five par is a strategic gem.  A safe left route can be taken to play the hole as a three-shotter.  Or, rifle a field goal between the cactii and over the desert, and you’re looking at a green light special from in front of the wash that cuts diagonally across the landing area for layups.  There are no throwaway shots on this hole.  The green sits atop a small hill and is well defended by bunkers left and right.  Brilliant.

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DM: Yes, brilliant!  If there is a better split-fairway par 5 I have yet to see it.  The right fairway is blind from the tee, but framed beautifully by Lawrence between the twin peaks of the mountains in the distance.  The second shot must contend with a wash that crosses the fairway 120 yards from the green.  With a new tee and the desert extended away from the tee by 20 yards in 2013, a carry of 265 yards is required from the back tee (240 from the Black tee) with the reward of being able to go for the green in two.  A drive to the left fairway leaves either a lay-up before the wash and a longer approach over the right bunker or a long shot that must carry the wash for a third shot straight into the green between the flanking bunkers.

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DZ: This is readily thought of as Desert Forest’s signature hole.  Red Lawrence made fun use of the massive wash running the length of this par five by locating a crossing where many Members might wish to place their second shot.  To better address the needs of shorter Members, a new white and copper tee were added down the left.  This shortened the white tee from 466 yards to 404 yards and allowed for a 370 yard copper tee.  For longer players, dramatic changes in equipment over the years have affected the way all of the Club’s par fives play, including seven.  In an effort to return the challenge of this hole for these players, a new back tee was added, lengthening the hole from 534 yards to 551 yards. A shift left with this new back tee also emphasized the wash along the right side of the optional far right landing area.  Vegetation was selectively thinned between the tees and each landing area.  A large mesquite at the start of the right fairway, along with other trees closer to the wash were removed to allow visibility towards the green.  Turf at the beginning of the right fairway was removed to increase the challenge of carrying to this more direct line.  Turf was also removed alongside the bank to require greater accuracy and highlight the natural wash. These former turf areas were revegetated with native plants.

The front of this green was expanded.  Pin-able space was recaptured along the right bunkers and an additional pin was captured back right.  Turf outside of the right bunkers was removed to enhance aesthetics, eliminate unnecessary irrigation and improve focus on the target.  The left bunker was expanded along the approach to enhance the right to left angle of the green.  The demanding back left pin was recaptured by softening this fall-away slope to accommodate anticipated green speeds.  Turf back left was expanded to improve playability and provide forgiveness to those attempting to reach these back pins.

HOLE 8 – Par 3 – 203 yards

JW: The par 3 8th plays slightly downhill to a green that appears crowned.  The little bunker front center has a big impact as it draws the eye and prompts shots that bail out left and right.  The green is big, but plays much smaller due to the spine running through the middle.  Miss on the wrong side and a three-putt is almost guaranteed.

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DM: Desert Forest’s longest par 3 plays significantly downhill to a large receptive green. Usually a club or two less than normal is all that is needed as long as you carry the middle front bunker.

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DZ: The Membership heartily identifies with the challenging nature of the course.  Along with the Club’s very golf-centric focus and a walkable, lay-of-the-land routing, this identity contributes greatly to the Club’s strong market niche.  In considering how modern play had diminished the original challenge of Desert Forest, the ease with which “flat-bellies” finished the front nine was as important a consideration as any.

Given the tee and green settings of each par three, the eighth hole presented the best option to provide a long one-shot hole.  This was particularly advantageous considering the contribution it could make to strengthening the test at the end of the front nine.  Unlike the existing long par three 17th, the eighth also naturally required players walk right by the ideal back tee location upon exiting seven green.

A rear tee was built, lengthening the hole from 206 yards to 231 yards.  Middle tee placements were shifted back as well, largely by utilizing existing tee space.  The existing forward tee was regraded to accommodate a new copper tee.  Approach area was added along the left and vegetation removed to improve visibility.  A rare front bunker was narrowed and shifted slightly right and the putting surface built up to accommodate the natural left to right green setting and longer shot.  The green surface was also expanded towards the tee between the existing front bunker and two left bunkers to allow better access and increased pin positions.  The right approach was tied gently into the enlarged green surface and supported along the right edge to allow a broad area of access for higher handicappers.  Support was added all along the rear of the green to better accept longer tee shots.

The left and central bunkering were resculpted for a more natural appearance, as well as to emphasize the strong left to right feel that has always defined this hole.  Turf was removed on the outside edges of both left bunkers and replaced with native vegetation to improve aesthetics and eliminate superfluous turf.  A right bunker was replaced with turf when a cart path tucked in a wash beyond was relocated left of the hole amid construction.

This right bunker was reinstalled in 2014 when green contours were softened due to concerns over the hole’s increased degree of difficulty.  It has become accepted that lengthening eight was a worthwhile venture.  Not only did this improve the finish to the front nine, it also provided balance with other holes on the back nine.

HOLE 9 – Par 5 – 533 yards

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JW: The ninth is bunkerless tee to green, playing straightaway up over a rise, and then down to the well defended green.  The shortish length makes it gettable, but the margin for error is small, and the green cant and contours make you earn your birdies.

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DM: The longest par 3 is followed by the shortest par 5.  With the nob on the end of Black Mountain as a target, Lawrence angled the fairway into a series of ridges running perpendicular to the fairway.  Find the speed slot right center and you might get a look at the green for your second shot.  Play up the left or far right and your second will be blind to a tightly guarded green with just a 10 yard wide opening.  A cactus behind the green provides the line.  A large green filled with subtle undulations.

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DZ: This reachable par five previously had a ridge running perpendicular across the first landing area. Balls landing on the downslope of the ridge were supplied additional distance without taking on any risk, while balls landing shy were stunted.  In an effort to increase the interest, challenge and playability, this ridge was recontoured. The left side was left intact, so long shots played accurately down this side could still take advantage of the added length and retain visibility to the green.  The right side was shaped to cause longer drives to veer toward the right edge of the landing area, where the view to this green is obscured by a second ridge further up.

A great deal of unnecessary turf was removed right of the first landing area to focus attention down the hole and improve sustainability, while a great many trees were removed to improve turf and open up surrounding views.  Numerous unnecessary catch basins were removed from fairways, particularly on this hole.  Back at the tees, a rear tee was added to lengthen this par five from 501 yards to 533, continuing the effort to bolster the front nine finish.  As part of the effort to improve tee placements overall, the forward tee just beyond the wash was shifted right to a central location, creating a much better angle of play for shorter ball-strikers.

As on the sixth, this green had been revised in previous years.  It did not provide a target suitable for a reachable par five, nor was it a particularly flattering finish to the front nine.  A new putting surface was sculpted, which incorporates a new back right pin location that was previously inaccessible due to severity of the slope.  The bail-out back right was recontoured to help contain balls, improve drainage and enhance playability.  The right bunker was brought around the front right of the green to protect the putting surface.  A far left aiming bunker, as seen from the tee, was incorporated into the left green side bunker, which was enlarged to accommodate this important role of informing play down the hole.  This newly shaped bunker was brought snugly against the green.

HOLE 10 – Par 4 – 382 yards

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JW: The par-4 10th features a tough tee shot uphill and around a corner to the right, followed by an approach into a green with a particularly cavernous bunker left.  The putting surface features wonderful internal rolls and contours.  Familiarity is a prerequisite for making putts.

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DM: A drive left of center on this dog-leg to the right will provide a straight shot into the green guarded left and right.  The green features a plateau on the back right whose slopes define the rest of the green.  Cavernous bunkers gobble up any less than purely executed iron.

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DZ: The nines at Desert Forest were reversed shortly after the Club opened.  Members felt what is now eighteen played less directly towards the setting sun.  So, the tenth tee is positioned right out the front door of the pro shop.  A great big non-native mesquite was removed down the inside of this dogleg right.  Contours on this inside of the dogleg, including an awkward swale, were improved for strategy, playability and drainage, while support was added to the outside to improve interest, playability and safety with the range nearby.

A false front on this green was recaptured to provide better visibility and support at the front of the putting surface.  The entire green was widened and pin-able space along the left bunker recaptured to reward those playing down the recontoured strategic inside of the dogleg.  A roll was emphasized in the back-middle of the putting surface.  This supports and defends a prominent, fun back pin location, while adding interest to surrounding sections of the green.

Alterations to the bunker forms continued on the tenth, with the left bunker greatly expanded to tie-in directly with native ground on the left for aesthetics and playing interest.  The outside edge of the right bunker was lowered to focus attention back on the green. Turf behind the green was expanded and the cart path shifted beyond surrounding trees to improve playability with valuable rear pin positions.

HOLE 11 – Par 5 – 573 yards

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JW: The par-5 11th is the longest hole on the course and snakes over rolling fairway around to the left.  The green is fronted by a deep swale and center bunker.  To make birdie, a player must be precise with both the layup and approach – angles matter at the eleventh.

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DM: The 11th features a fairway that flows beautifully through the desert in a right to left direction finishing at a green perched above a grassed over desert wash that cuts in front of the green at an angle.  Lawrence placed each of the four par 5 greens beyond desert washes providing strategy for the second shot.

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DZ: Many non-native mesquites were removed along the lengthy turf edges of this par five to improve playability and turf health.  Grass was also removed along either side and replaced with native vegetation to enhance strategy and aesthetics.  

Whereas the par five seventh features the Club’s broadest wash in its native form, a smaller turfed wash guards the green and approach on this three-shot hole.  The swale was previously closer to the green with a channelized feel.  We shifted it away to expand and raise the approach and right edge.  This lends a more natural appearance with improved playability.  A large mesquite in front of the left side of the green was removed.  A bunker between the tree and green was reduced in size and shifted toward the center.  Along with removing a back left bunker, these efforts allow for more conservative play to the now forgiving left side.  The remaining rear bunker was recontoured for interest.  Turf behind the bunker was eliminated in favor of native vegetation and the leading edge tucked closer to the green with a lower lip to engage the putting surface.

HOLE 12 – Par 3 – 185 yards

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JW: A longish one-shotter that plays slightly uphill to a well-defended green, the twelfth is one of DF’s holes that is just plain tough.  However, the glorious combination of Red Lawrence’s green setting, Dave Zinkand’s minimalist aesthetic and Superintendent Todd Storm’s ideal presentation is more than enough to offset any pain inflicted on a player’s scorecard.

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DM: The mid-length par 3 12th is visually deceptive with the green defended by a series of deep bunkers that along with the uphill nature of the hole hide much of the quite generous green surface.  The front half of the green is fairly tight but opens up in the back.  The middle of the green is usually a good play regardless of pin location.

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DZ: While not a long par three, the twelfth has always provided a difficult target with demanding cup locations.  Pin-able space was dramatically increased, including at the front along the bunkers and both strategic sections back left and right.  Lowering green surface along the front bunkers also enabled better receptiveness for tee shots.  Turf was expanded back right of the green and bail out areas behind either side of the green recontoured to provide more forgiveness to fall-away pin locations on either side of the green.  A great deal of unnecessary turf was eliminated at the start of this approach, while a new forward tee was provided along the left to provide more reasonable access to the narrow green entrance for forward tee players.

HOLE 13 – Par 4 – 449 yards

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JW: Hug the inside of the corner on this slight dogleg left, and you have an open look on approach.  Take the safe route off the tee and you’re staring at a stacked pair of Zinkand specials in the face.

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DM: Pucker up and let it rip, but avoid the steep drop off into the desert on the left.  Nothing too tricky here, just uphill all the way to a green located up a steep slope.  It will simply take two of your best to reach the raised green in regulation.  If that’s not enough, the green is difficult with a shelf on the back left.

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DZ: Twenty yards were added to thirteen through a new rear tee to return the teeth of this long uphill climb to the Club’s highest green setting.  Thanks to several new forward tee placements, unnecessary turf at the beginning of this fairway was replaced with native vegetation for aesthetics and improved sustainability.  The right side of this landing area was recontoured to improve drainage and retain balls in the fairway on this right sloping portion of the dogleg left.  Turf at the end of the landing area was removed along with select trees to improve aesthetics, enhance the desert feel and stiffen the challenge for the longest of players.

This is the last of the three greens that had previously been altered, along with six and nine.  The green was expanded, particularly at the back left and front right.  A sharp, disjointed approach was softened and tied seamlessly together with the green.  Green surface was extended down the front slope to better accept running approaches and provide a greatly improved appearance.  Pins closer to the front of the green and near the right bunker were recaptured.

The right greenside bunker was expanded to two to guard the right side of this approach and provide a prominent focal point displaying visual feedback at the tee as to the angle of this hole.  This effort also improved maintenance considerations over the previous bunker configuration.  The greenside edge of this bunker remained high to provide a unique identity as compared with previously similar bunkers on holes such as two and five.  The leading edge was lowered for enhanced visibility on the tee.  The left two bunkers were joined as one to provide visual impact.  Their outer edges were tied into the native surrounds for aesthetics and to better focus the eye on the target.  The turf edge back right of this green was reestablished to improve playability and the surrounding swale recontoured to improve drainage.

HOLE 14 – Par 4 – 309 yards

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JW: This short four is reachable in the right conditions with a high left slope that will feed balls onto the narrow perched green.  Efforts that lack the necessary gusto or courage?  Well, let’s just say that the options low and right range from “Ouch” to “Lord help me”.

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DM: Essentially a new hole in 2013, Dave Zinkand moved the green forward 30-40 yards adjacent to a small nob left of the green and significantly reshaped the fairway with a high and low side.  The end result – a very clever, driveable par 4 to follow the longest, toughest par 4.  The ideal line is at the nob at the end of Black Mountain to the high side of the fairway that feeds the ball to the green.

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DZ: As previously mentioned, for the majority of Members there was no need for increasing the overall difficulty of the layout.  The previous fourteenth green was the least playable on the course, requiring an aerial shot.  With the putting surface falling away, lower trajectory players had little chance of holding the green, while longer players could readily stop a wedge on this short par four.  Introducing a generous approach and shortening this hole to become a reachable par four provided a nice balance with the effort to bolster the test of the front nine finishing holes.

High ground at the beginning of this fairway was carved down four feet to improve visibility from the tee and gain fill material for other components of the renovation, including the new approach on this hole.  To differentiate fourteen from similar length holes, such as six and fifteen, and to encourage a reason to play boldly, the hole was shortened forty yards. 

A new larger green was created with what is generally a front left to back right orientation and slope.  Despite the elevated green, a gentle, open front left approach provides playability along with variety as compared to the course’s typically narrow entries.  This plays off the natural tilt of the surrounding land, while enabling a much shorter green to tee walk in line with others around Desert Forest.  This simpler connection to the following holes also improves safety issues related with the former green location.  A steep roll-off behind the green allows for playability, while protecting the integrity of the hole.  The former greensite was regraded and vegetated with native plants, including saguaros salvaged during the renovation.

HOLE 15 – Par 4 – 435 yards

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JW: The rumpled fairway tumbles down to the green from a hillside on the left.  The green is canted in the opposite direction.  A brilliant design that requires real shotmaking to have a look at birdie.  Players must beware the beautiful and nasty Zinkand bunkering guarding the green right.

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DM: Framed by Black Mountain, the 15th is a picturesque, downhill, postcard of a hole with a generous fairway.  Featuring a false front, it is best to get at least a third of the way into this green.  Bunkers right protect a terrific pin position on the back right hand portion of the green.

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DZ: As seen on a 1962 aerial, the original middle and back tees wrapped progressively to the left.  This provided fifteen a much more provocative angle, in part, by engaging a ridge short of the fairway and highlighting Black Mountain in the background.  This angle was returned and a new rear tee created thirty yards behind the existing back tee.  Vegetation, particularly down the left edge of the hole, was thinned to allow the renewed tee angle and improve the general look and feel of the hole.  Turf edges along the landing area were expanded slightly to improve playability and invite more aggressive play from the tee.  This hole required particular attention in regrading the outskirts to tie together the turf areas with natural ridges in the surrounds.

The front of the green was widened along either side.  Pin-able space along the greenside bunkers was increased and the back left section of the green was supported to soften the slope falling away and return the ability to use these provocative pin locations.  Ground behind this green was a particular playability concern.  The area was recontoured and turf extended to increase the likelihood of balls staying on turf, as opposed to rolling into a desert wash beyond.  A right approach bunker was added to increase interest along the approach, as well as the view down the hole.  The right greenside bunker was reduced in size to allow more creative access to back right pins and increase playability by reducing the severity of attempting to reach these pins.

HOLE 16 – Par 5 – 523 yards

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JW: With so many great golf holes in the world, it is hard for any one hole to be unique…unless a hole’s strategy is ingeniously dictated by a centerline tree in the rumpled fairway.  Initial reaction, “What the?” Upon further reflection, “So good”.

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DM: Perhaps my favorite hole at DF, a true journey through the desert forest framed by the backdrop of Black Mountain.  Tree and brush removal up the left side last summer opened up a view of the green from the tee and, more importantly, restored the ability to play up the left side of this hole on the second shot.  A drive to the narrow plateau on the upper right side of the fairway opens up an opportunity to go for this green in two.  The large mesquite at 160 yards from the green must be navigated on the 2nd shot.  A grassed over wash crosses the fairway at 95 yards and it’s best to get beyond this with your second shot to avoid a downhill lie to an uphill green.

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DZ: Sixteen is a thoughtful driving hole thanks to the varied elevations and turf edges in the first landing area.  A low left section of turf offers forgiveness for shorter drives, while yielding a less desirable angle from which to play one’s second shot.  A long tee ball to higher ground is met with significantly narrower turf on a right to left angle.  Trees at the end of the lower left section of fairway were removed to facilitate use of this side of the fairway for those less capable of surmounting the high side.  Fairway was expanded right along the second landing area and several trees removed to further the efforts towards improved playability.

This green was shifted back twelve yards onto naturally high ground, shortening the walk to the following par three and adding valuable length to this, the final par five.  Although the new green is larger and contains a prominent mound to work balls in off of in the back left, the concept of the original green complex was retained.  The right bunker was expanded and its lip lowered to provide contrast with those on the left, as well as those on the right of fifteen.  The outside edge of this bunker now ties into desert terrain.  The left greenside bunker was tucked against the expanded green to reflect modern club selections on this hole and protect nearby pin locations.

HOLE 17 – Par 3 – 169 yards

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JW: This beautiful mid-length one shotter plays to a green surrounded on three sides by four bunkers.  A wonderful natural desert setting for the penultimate hole.  Recovery for tee shots that miss the putting surface is no small task.

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DM: The 17th features a benign looking target that belies its internal treachery.  A narrow opening of rumpled ground makes front pins difficult to attack.  And the green itself is full of tricky double and triple breaking putts.

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DZ: Seventeen had previously been the long one-shot hole thanks to an added back tee.  However, the tee was removed because it imposed a long walk back on what is an unusually walkable desert course, and the intensely sloped green was less ideal for a longer hole than natural landforms on eight.  The front left bunker had been pulled away from the green in recent years.  Green space was provided up against this bunker to expand pin-able space and increase playability.  Unnecessary turf was removed behind the two rear bunkers to focus the eye upon this challenging green surface and provide a rugged, intimidating appearance counter to the green’s actual receptiveness.

HOLE 18 – Par 4 – 415 yards

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JW: The tough finisher is pinched right in the landing area, which not surprisingly is the best angle for approach.  A last bit of strategic brilliance from Red Lawrence.  The well defended green includes a stellar combination of cant and contour.  A par on the 18th is satisfying, as it must be earned from the tee to the bottom of the cup.

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DM: A strong finisher requires a long, accurate tee shot.  If you can clear the crest of the hill on the right, a speed slot will add distance.  The approach is deceptive in that it often plays shorter than the actual yards and the green tends to run away from the fairway.  Be happy with a par and enjoy the cold beverage that awaits.

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DZ: Much like the sixth hole before the renovation, eighteen provided a challenging drive for short to medium players, while offering long hitters a rather forgiving target.  The right side of eighteen is particularly deceptive, as balls that appear safe when first struck on the tee can easily careen right into a native swale, betraying the fairway’s gentle right to left angle.  A new rear tee was added to play on this provocative angle, while other tees were shortened and, in some cases, given a more forgiving angle.

The wide wash bottom at the end of the landing area, which provided such a forgiving space for long hitters was reconsidered.  Turf edges were pinched in along both sides and a desert ridge introduced along the right side of the wash to force longer players from all tees to consider the placement of their drives.

The approach was recontoured to reduce balls running through the green into desert beyond, which forms an attractive backdrop from the clubhouse.  The front of the green was also expanded significantly into the approach.  A small bunker was added at the front left corner of the green and the left bunker reduced in size. The high outer edge of the right bunker was lowered significantly to remove this visually awkward sand edge and improve definition of the green’s right edge.

A day at Desert Forest is a day that a player will remember.  Strategy, challenge and fun are all wrapped in an intimate and beautiful package.  I’m counting the moments until my next visit.

DesertForest-Sign


ABOUT DAN MOORE
A Desert Forest member since 2011, Dan Moore is a member of the USGA Architecture Archive Committee.  He lives in Chicago and is an avid golfer who qualified for the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.  Through his company Moore Golf, Dan works with architects and clubs to provide a variety of photography, golf history research and consulting services including:
  • Detailed Architectural Evolution Reports for restorations or renovations.
  • Golf Course Photography.
  • Historical research and consulting related to creation or execution of Master Plans.
  • Course histories and photography for club websites, newsletters, new member marketing, etc.
  • Course tours for club websites including course history, hole descriptions and photos.
  • Historical Maps comparing original course architecture to the course today.
His clients have included Old Elm Club, Riverside Golf Club, Flossmoor CC, Shoreacres, Chicago Golf Club, Briarwood Golf Club, Stevens Point CC, Golf Courses of Lawsonia and Oliphant Haltom Golf Management.
I highly recommend Dan’s recent article on Chicago Golf Club for the USGA.

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Copyright 2018 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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Journey Along the Shores – Part 19 (All About the Trees)

Over the past several years, countless hours have been spent in the field and in meetings to assess the state of our tree population, and to chart a course forward toward making that population larger and significantly healthier.

Our findings will not be a surprise to anyone who has taken the time to look closely at the ecological picture at Canal Shores.  In many places, the property is a disaster area, and it has been for many years.  I am grateful to the members of the community who decided that the “gem in their backyards” was in distress and stepped in to save it.  For those who have not yet done so, now would be a good time.  We have a plan, and there are opportunities to target contributions of volunteer time and money to revitalize Canal Shores, including its trees.


ASSESSMENT

We are not short of trees at Canal Shores, but as it turns out, we are short on good ones.  Planning Resources Inc. sent their Arborist out to do a tree survey.  They were looking for valuable trees to keep and incorporate into the ecological master plan for the property (full Plan coming soon…).  “Valuable” is defined as important native species, or large, healthy trees that are not invasive species.  The survey found that Canal Shores has 904 trees on our 82 acres.

At first glance, that number might seem big, but it really isn’t.  Given that the golf course occupies less than half that total acreage, a healthy tree population would number in the thousands.

PRI tagged every valuable tree they could find.  I encourage anyone walking or playing the course to look for tags to better understand which trees are desirable, and sadly how few of them we have.

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Tagged trees are numbered and catalogued for reference, and have been geo-located onto the map that follows.  The map, along with the associated illustrations, is a great reference for learning more about where our desirable trees are, and what they are.  I have learned a great deal about trees from PRI’s work, and I have started to share that knowledge with my boys.

Valuable trees are circled, and “key” trees (meaning high value species and of size) are in orange.

GREEN BAY TO LINCOLN

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LINCOLN TO CENTRAL

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CENTRAL TO ISABELLA

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ISABELLA TO LINDEN

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LINDEN TO SHERIDAN

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INVASIVES

Invasive species are making Canal Shores unhealthy.  I am far from being an expert, but what I have learned is that a healthy ecosystem has layers, each layer ideally containing a variety of species:

  • An herbaceous (ground) layer of grasses, flowers and groundcover that are the home to pollinators and other important insects and animals.
  • An understory (shrub) layer of small trees and shrubs that provide food and habitat for birds.
  • A canopy of trees, of varying species and age.

The primary problem that Canal Shores has with its invasives is in the understory, specifically with buckthorn and honeysuckle.  That problem has manifested in three ways:

  • First, within the understory, buckhthorn and honeysuckle are extremely aggressive competitors and they have left us with almost no other shrubs, greatly decreasing biodiversity.
  • Second, they form dense thickets, starving the herbaceous layer of sunlight.  Where buckthorn grows densely, there is bare ground underneath which also creates erosion problems on the canal banks.
  • Finally, the buckthorn and honeysuckle leave no space for desirable trees to regenerate.

There are good reasons why it is illegal to sell or plant buckthorn or honeysuckle in the state of Illinois.  They are parasitic plants that take over and leave the areas they populate in much worse health.  To say that one likes buckthorn is the equivalent of liking a tapeworm.

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In fighting buckthorn at Canal Shores, I have learned first hand the many ways that it fights back.  It has whacked me in the face, hit me in the head, poked me in the eye, cut up my arms and legs, and more.  Suffice it to say, I have never been a fan.  However, when I watched the video below, I was tipped over the edge.

Not only is buckthorn bad for the other plants around it, but the berries produced by the females have a laxative effect on birds, while providing no nutritional content.  Are you kidding me?  This demon weed must go.

Many thanks to Brandon from Ringers Landscaping for allowing us to share his webinar.  I highly recommend watching at least the first 18 minutes.


STEWARDSHIP

During the course of this lengthy process of assessment and learning through pilot projects, I have heard and read statements like “Save the buckthorn!” and “Can’t we just let nature take care of itself?”.  These statements are born of ignorance and are in direct conflict with the principle of land stewardship for which our community is responsible at Canal Shores.

Abdication of our stewardship responsibility has directly resulted in ecological degradation.  In the hundreds of hours that I have spent on the ground with fellow Buckthorn Warriors, I have seen what this degradation looks like.  We have saved desirable trees that were literally being choked to death by invasive vines.  We have watched in disappointment as a large, unhealthy tree falls over in a storm, taking with it several desirable trees that we hoped to save.  We have seen the bare ground under buckthorn thickets suffering from stormwater erosion.  And we have seen newly cleared areas spring back to life with grasses and flowers when sunlight is allowed to reach the ground.

The results of doing nothing are obvious and incontrovertible.  It doesn’t work.  Based on our learnings and the counsel of experts, we are now moving forward.  Special thanks to Grounds Committee member Matt Rooney who drafted our Tree Policy, and then painstakingly revised it to incorporate feedback from numerous parties.  Click here to read the Canal Shores Tree Policy, which has been approved by our Board of Directors.

What does this look like on the ground?  Before areas can be revitalized, clearing has to take place.  We are prioritizing spots that directly impact the golf course – tees, greens, fairway landing areas are all of highest priority as we want to enhance the turf quality, playability and visual beauty for our paying customers.  We have selected specific trees (e.g. black cherries) to add to the tagged group for preservation, and buckthorn has been painted for removal.

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The work is well underway on holes 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12-18.  We have applied for a burn permit from the EPA to deal with the cut brush.  We are also recruiting a Landscape Architecture / Ecology intern whose focus will be on maintenance of cleared areas as well as site-specific habitat design and implementation.


CONCLUSION

Decades of neglect and mismanagement are not going to be undone overnight.  However, we have made a beginning and we will continue working toward our goal of making Canal Shores a healthy ecosystem that includes a variety of native and other desirable trees.

We hope that all members of the Evanston-Wilmette community join us.  Check the Greens & Grounds blog for dates of upcoming volunteer work sessions, or email me at jwizay1493@hotmail.com to be added to the Buckthorn Warriors mailing list.  Inquiries about tree donations can be made with Dan Bulf (dbulf@canalshores.org).  This is a big job, but together, we can do it.

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Copyright 2018 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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Musings on Greatness

First things first – there is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to assessing the greatness of a golf course.  And objectivity in ranking one golf course’s greatness versus another?  Please.  

Fortunately though when it comes to having good geeky fun with your buddies talking golf courses, objectivity is irrelevant.  What is relevant when having the endless discussions and debates is the standards by which one assesses a course.  The standard matters because it gives context.  There are several standard that my fellow geeks and I like to use:

  • The Memorability Standard – Can you remember every hole on the course the next day?  
  • The 18th Green to 1st Tee Standard – When you walk off the final green, do you want to go right back out?
  • The One Course for the Rest of Your Life Standard – Could you be happy playing just that one course every day for the rest of your life?
  • The 10 Rounds Standard – When comparing courses, how would you split ten rounds among them?

These are all good standards, and provide interesting perspectives on the greatness of courses.  A new standard materialized for me in 2017, and I am now on the hunt for courses that qualify.  

The inspiration for this standard – which I call 108 in 48 – is Prairie Dunes.  I had the good fortune of spending another weekend in Hutchinson this year (thank you Charlie).  Both of my visits to PD have been golf binges.  Around and around we go.  Every time I come off the 18th hole of that course, I want to go right back out.  

My experiences at Prairie Dunes have set the standard in my mind.  The question is, which courses would I want to go around 6 times in 2 days?  What that means to me is, which courses are interesting, challenging and fun enough to stand up to that kind of immersion experience?  Can’t be too hard or I get worn out.  Can’t have weak stretches of holes or I lose attention.  Can’t be too easy or I get bored with the lack of challenge.  And of course, the greens have to be great.  

Prairie Dunes passes the 108 in 48 test with flying colors for me for three reasons:  First, the sequence of holes is packed with variety from a length, straight vs dogleg, and directional perspective.  Second, the greens are, well, you know.  Third, the course is drop dead gorgeous – color contrast, texture, land movement, tree management – it is just the right kind of candy for my eyes.

Of the courses I re-played in 2017, Essex County Club and Maidstone also pass this test, but for different reasons than PD.  Both Essex and Maidstone play through multiple “zones”.  Essex has its brook/wetland zone and its stone hill zone.  Maidstone with its wetland zone and linksland zone.  This gives them both a meandering adventure feel that I find compelling.  Both are outstanding at the level of fine details.

All three of these courses share a peaceful, refined beauty in common that creates a sense of transcendence during the course of a round.  The passage of time melts away.

There are a handful of other courses that meet this standard for me.  There are also quite a few courses that I love dearly and consider favorites that do not.  My list of current 108 in 48 qualifiers is below.

I ask you, which are your 108 in 48ers, and why?


108 in 48ers

SAND HILLS – Mullen, NE

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If you have been to Sand Hills, you know.  Coore & Crenshaw’s modern masterpiece, lovingly cared for by Superintendent Kyle Hegland’s team, is incredibly strong from start to finish.  It is no surprise that it started the revolution that has grown into a second Golden Age.

ESSEX COUNTY CLUB – Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

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This Donald Ross course resonated with me from the first play, and repeat visits deepen my love of it.  It doesn’t hurt that, just when I think that Superintendent Eric Richardson’s team can’t make it any better, they prove me wrong, again.

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PRAIRIE DUNES – Hutchinson, KS

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In addition to my thoughts above, I would add that the combination of Perry and Press Maxwell holes adds even more variety to the course, and if there a better set of greens in America, I would love to hear the argument.  Superintendent Jim Campbell’s team presents the course beautifully, and the staff and membership could not be more welcoming.

NATIONAL GOLF LINKS OF AMERICA – Southampton, NY

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Photo by Jon Cavalier

If C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor’s attempt to create the ideal golf course falls short of the standard for perfection, it’s not by much.  The routing and strategic design, the variety of hazards, the greens, and the numerous iconic views conspire to create magic.  Caring for such an intricately conceived course is no small feat, and Superintendent William Salinetti’s team does a masterful job.

KINGSLEY CLUB – Kingsley, MI

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Go ahead, call me a homer.  The rollicking ride that Mike DeVries has created has its share of thrills, but is also packed with strategic questions that take repeat plays to answer.  The staff creates the perfect vibe for a golf geek, and our Superintendent Dan Lucas?  Nobody is better.

SHOREACRES – Lake Bluff, IL

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Seth Raynor took what might have been a challenging piece of property to some architects and devised one of the most brilliantly routed golf courses I have ever seen.  The central ravine feature is used brilliantly and provides a wonderful contrast to the bold template features greens.  Superintendent Brian Palmer’s team relentless refines the course and revels in creating firm and fast conditions that accentuate every nuance of Raynor’s creation.

LAWSONIA LINKS – Green Lake, WI

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I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it – Lawsonia is the most underrated golf course in America.  Attempt to describe the scale of the features created by William Langford & Theodore Moreau in this bucolic setting is pointless.  It must be experienced to be believed.  The quality of conditions that Superintendent Mike Lyons and his crew deliver with modest green fees makes Lawsonia an unbeatable value.

MAIDSTONE CLUB – East Hampton, NY

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In addition to my comments above, it is important to note the brilliance of Coore & Crenshaw’s restoration work on this Willie Park, Jr. gem.  Having visited pre- and post-renovation, there were moments that I could not believe I was playing the same course.  Superintendent John Genovesi’s team continues to push forward with fine tuning that perfectly walks the line between providing excellent playing conditions and allowing the course to have the natural feel intended by the designers.

KITTANSETT CLUB –  Marion, MA

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An argument could be made that this Frederic Hood and William Flynn design is the best flat site course in America, especially after a Gil Hanse restoration.  Strategic challenges abound, and the set of one-shotters are second to none.  Superintendent John Kelly’s team continues to bring out every bit of Kittansett’s unique character.

BALLYNEAL – Holyoke, CO

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Ballyneal is far and away my favorite Tom Doak design.  It is a glorious collection of holes that meander through the Chop Hills.  Birdies do not come easy, but the course doesn’t beat you up either – it strikes the perfect balance.  Jared Kalina’s team knows quite well how to provide fast and firm conditions, and the staff and membership conspire to make it the golfiest club I’ve ever visited.

OLD ELM CLUB – Highland Park, IL

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Another homer alert – I grew up going around Old Elm as a caddie and we were allowed to play every day, which I did.  I loved the course as a kid, but with the progressive restoration back to Harry Colt and Donald Ross’s vision that has been undertaken by GM Kevin Marion, Superintendent Curtis James, Drew Rogers and Dave Zinkand, OE has gone next level.  

SWEETENS COVE – South Pittsburg, TN

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The King-Collins creation is everything that golf should be.  Strategically challenging, visually interesting, and holes punctuated by stellar greens.  Combine the design with the ability to play cross-country golf and it is impossible to get bored going around and around Sweetens.  Need a playing partner?  No worries, Rob and Patrick are always willing to grab their sticks and geeks won’t find better company anywhere.

SAND HOLLOW – Hurricane, UT

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Subtle and strategic on the front nine, and breathtakingly bold and beautiful on the back, Sand Hollow has it all.  This is a bit of a cheat as the back nine would require a cart to get around multiple times in one day, but I am making an exception.  It’s that good, especially with the fast and firm conditions presented by Superintendent Wade Field’s team.

DUNES CLUB – New Buffalo, MI

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The Keiser family’s club is the perfect place to loop around endlessly.  A variety of holes, solid greens, and multiple teeing options make these 9 holes play like 36+.  Mr. Keiser has recently embraced tree removal across the property opening up views, and allowing Superintendent Scott Goniwiecha’s team to expand corridors of firm turf.  No need for a scorecard, just go play.

OLD MACDONALD – Bandon, OR

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Photo by Jon Cavalier

Old Mac is not my favorite course at Bandon Dunes, but it is the only one that makes the 108 in 48 cut for me.  The width and scale create the possibility of holes playing dramatically differently from one round to the next.  The execution of the homage to CBM by Tom Doak, Jim Urbina, et al is spot on and glorious to explore for golf geeks.  Superintendent Fred Yates’s team provides ideal conditions for lovers of bounce and roll.


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Pitching In – An Interview with Shaper Justin Carlton

ArcadiaBluffsSouthIt wasn’t the most pleasant evening I have ever experienced in Northern Michigan, but I didn’t care.  After months of Facebook messaging, I was finally getting a walking tour of the South Course at Arcadia Bluffs with Justin Carlton.  Justin is an experienced Shaper, having worked on courses from Michigan to Bock Cay, and beyond.  He had been brought on by Dana Fry to pitch in on the South Course – one of the most intriguing course construction projects in years.

We walked and talked and geeked out hard on golf and architecture.  Justin’s interests range from building traditional golf courses all the way to applying proven design principles to disc golf courses.  Our conversation eventually turned to pitch & putts, and it was evident that we had touched on something near and dear to Justin’s heart.  His enthusiasm was palpable, and I wanted to know more.  

Justin graciously agreed to do an interview so that we could learn more about him, and what he considers to be a missing piece in the game for championship golf obsessed Americans.  Enjoy!

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THE INTERVIEW

(click on images to enlarge)

How did you get introduced to the game of golf?

Jason, first thanks for all you do for the game of golf and allowing me to be a part of it!  I was introduced to the game by my Grandfather, Ralph Carlton.  He was a great guy, but also a Marine Corps lifer so he could be a little stern at times.  I played with him and my Aunt, Kathy Carpenter the most growing up.  We always played our local courses, Arcadia Country Club and Sunnybreeze, both of which are located in my hometown (I would love to get my hands on them to fix them up).  It was a real treat to play with them and we had a lot of fun – memories I will never forget.  My Grandfather had this signature move, the Carlton shuffle.  It never failed, at some point when the game had him beat and frustrated he would hit a horrible shot and proceed to stomp the ball repeatedly into the ground to where you couldn’t even see it.  I’d give anything to witness that one more time!

When did you know that the game had a hold on you?

I started to take lessons, began to understand the game better and had developed a nice swing.  My grandfather invited me on a trip.  It was mostly to visit some areas where he was stationed while in the Marine Corps and included a visit to Sea Palms on St. Simons Island to play golf.  Up to this point I had only seen good courses on TV and walked away from this experience in awe, realizing there was a lot more to the game than what I had experienced so far.

How did you get into the business?

I had some interesting things happen growing up and felt I had to find work a little early to help the family.  My first job was actually working the drive thru window at McDonalds.  My uncle was into excavation work and he gave me a shot, running a shovel cleaning up curbing on a road for a grader operator that I learned to despise.  Every day I said, if I am ever the boss, I will not give this much trouble to the laborers.  I recently bought a home off that road that I learned to hate and visit those memories frequently when driving on it.  I moved on from working for my Uncle and took a job down in the Naples area that led to moving dirt around golf courses.

Art grabbed my attention at a young age, Salvador Dali was and still is the man in my opinion.  I had gotten very good on a dozer and realized the shapers were making a lot more money than myself and figured that my love of art, dirt and golf would be a great combination.  My brother Jody actually moved into shaping before me while we were moving dirt on Tiburon in Naples, and he led me to make the jump.  Tom Fazio was starting a new project, Corral Creek Club in the Gasparilla area near my home.  At that point I honestly had no clue who Tom Fazio was, didn’t really know there was a role called “golf architect” – I only knew this was my shot.  Quality Grassing was the construction company and I found myself begging the hardnose Larry Woody for a job.  Somehow it worked out and here I am today.

Who have been your biggest influences, in and out of golf?

As far as golf shaping goes, Mark White took me under his wing and taught me the ropes and I am forever thankful for everything he taught me.  He really influenced me to become the “free spirit” shaper I am today for many reasons.  Mark was a Mike Strantz boy and had performed several jobs for the legend.  I would eat up his stories and then go home to do further research to catch up.  I’ll never forget working at Corral Creek.  Mark had ripped all the stakes out of the fairway and told me I had to learn to “feel it”. My mind was spinning when Tom Fazio’s site rep showed up and said, “Somebody sure has taken some liberty with this one.”  But he liked it, and so I thought to myself, game on!

Maurice Campbell played a critical role in developing me as a shaper.  We battled each other daily in friendly competition in who could shape best.  I never thought I would get close to him but loved every second when we would walk holes early in the morning before anyone else showed up to talk and challenge each other to do something better.  I’ll never forget the day Maurice asked, “What do you think about me doing this?”  I knew I was getting closer at that point.  Maurice also was a Strantz boy and eventually led me down a deeper rabbit hole into golf architecture.  Mike Strantz and Dana Fry who were both Fazio guys that came from the same dozer seat and helped me realize I could dream bigger.

My Parents and grandparents have played a massive role in who I am as an individual.  They taught me to be humble.  Work hard and success will follow somewhere and someday.  Although it doesn’t show up as much as it should in my daily life, I have a deep personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without that, I’d be a complete wreck.  I owe all my talents to Him!

Who is your favorite Golden Age architect, and why?

I am not sure it was intentional but Tom Marzolf from Fazio design referenced Tillie the Terror a few times while I was working with him on projects, and it was my first introduction to the Golden Age guys.  Although Tillinghast was my first real introduction to the Golden Age I would have to say it is a three way tie between Tillinghast, Mackenzie and Colt.  Sorry I can’t nail this question, and it is the toughest question you could ask me.  Although Mackenzie has the name, I think Tillinghast has had the biggest contribution to today’s game.  The guy was a genius in what he designed.  I find myself a little different than some of the guys I have shaped with in that I love studying golf architecture deep into the night every night.

Which part of a course do you like working on the most?

I think each individual aspect can be just as important as the other.  Originally I loved the finish work and still do.  I love the grand scale of creativity allowed in rough shaping.  I think the initial clearing or set up can really lead to a great start and create a great impression to work from.  I haven’t been responsible for the initial routing of a course yet, but have been given a lot of freedom on my current job to change the routing.  There is a real art to reading the land and I have learned to love the routing process.  I love bunkering – you can flip any course on it’s head with bunkering.  I feel that courses struggling in today’s atmosphere could bring back much interest to themselves by starting with a good bunker renovation.  If done right, it can be accomplished relatively inexpensively compared to the other components of course design.

How did you first become interested in pitch & putts?

I was not even aware of pitch & putts until a few years ago when I was hired to shape Adare Manor in Ireland for Tom Fazio.  Until going to Ireland I was fixed on short courses, par three courses or executive courses being the way forward.  Thankfully, when I got to Ireland my housing was just outside of the small town of Adare.  Instead of driving to work I would walk to The Manor each morning and would pass an old yellow and black sign that read Adare pitch and putt.  The next weekend, I walked to the pitch and putt and thought, what in the world is this?  It looked a little silly but, I found myself playing it every weekend.  It didn’t take long to realize that it addressed every issue we seem to be facing at home: time of play, land for development, and cost.  It seemed to have a great following amongst all age groups.  Eventually, I mapped out all the pitch and putt courses near me and started to journey out to other areas to see various designs.  I developed some favorites and Sandfield House next to Lahinch became my inspiration.  No disrespect to the other courses I played, but whoever designed this one really tried to take a step in the right direction.  I would love the chance to raise the bar higher by designing and building a pitch and putt here.

What are the elements of greatness for a pitch & putt?

I think the greatness comes from it’s ability to just get people interested in golf.  It isn’t golf as we know it, but a good pitch and putt can really spark an interest, and that is what we need here at home. It is a challenge with the short distances you are dealing with, but I think a great pitch and put needs to incorporate every shot conceivable in an approach by air or ground, including multiple angles to get to the green depending on pin location.  Most courses I have played have only one teeing ground and just including some different angles and length would greatly contribute to many facilities.

Why don’t we have more pitch & putts in the U.S.?

First off, I don’t think we have ever really been introduced to Pitch and Putt, and that has left the game relatively unknown in the States.  I am not sure if it is glamorous enough or revenue friendly for modern architects to pursue pure pitch and putt locations but I am ready to give it a spin, and am looking for the shot to put my vision on the ground and see it come to life.  If I ever get the chance to build the images in my mind I see no way a Pitch and Putt could fail.

Which course(s) do you most want to see next?

I really want to get up to Sand Valley.  I am really digging the look of Mammoth Dunes. The other course hot in my head is The Black Course at Streamsong.  Being based out of Florida I intend to set out to play all the courses listed on the Florida Historic Golf Trail.  One of the biggest reasons for trying out the Trail is that in Florida, most courses today are being built on flat pieces of land with no character.  The old guys had to be more strategic with bunker placement and I feel there are some great opportunities to learn from yesterday.  Let me add one more – whatever Mike DeVries does next I really enjoy his designs.

Any exciting projects in the works, beyond pitch & putts?

Recently finished helping out on The South Course at Arcadia Bluffs.  It was a lot of fun to contribute to that project, and I think it will be a great addition to the already fabulous Michigan golf scene.  I have been bouncing back and forth working on a private 365 acre island in the Exuma Cays for around two years.  It is one of the best sites I have ever seen.  I’m not sure when it will ever be finished, but it has tremendous potential.  There have been several interesting calls, one of which I am really excited about.  Hoping I may be heading back up North again soon – I will keep you updated!!

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Ripping rock on Bock Cay

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4th fairway cleared

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9th and 18th green sites

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10th green site

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13th hole clearing

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Hole corridors cleared

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Disc golf on Bock Cay

What do you love most about practicing your craft?

Freedom.  I am about as free spirit as it comes, and shaping is the ultimate outlet for a guy like myself.  I love pushing boundaries and getting out of the box.  We could be in the next great era of golf design and to think you have been a small part of that is really interesting and keeps the drive going.

When you aren’t working or playing golf, how do you spend your time?

As great as the shaping job is, it has its negatives and the biggest downside for me is family time.  When I am home I try to spend as much time as I can with my amazing family that supports me.  I enjoy fishing more than anything and could get lost on the water, catch no fish, and be very happy.  I’m constantly reading golf design related material, researching design and golf architecture, because the job never really leaves my mind.  I could discuss it all day and could not imagine doing anything else in life!

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The Carlton Pitch & Putt – Coming soon to a town near you…


Additional Geeked On Golf Interviews:

 

 

Copyright 2018 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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LinksGems 2017 Year in Review

One of the many reasons that my 2017 was great was that I had the pleasure of teeing it up again again with Jon Cavalier.  Of the many reasons why Jon’s 2017 was so great are the courses below, and the photos he captured.  Jon recently referred to this season as “solid”.  I’ll add one more superlative to his that follow – Understatement of the Year.

Many thanks to Jon for continuing to put forth the effort to capture these photos, and freely share them on social media with us.  Twitter and Instagram are much more beautiful places as a result of his talents and generosity.


PLEASANT SURPRISES

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Sand Valley Golf Resort was one of my favorite stops in 2017, and its flagship course by Coore & Crenshaw is worthy of the praise and ranking. But Mammoth Dunes was one of my most pleasant surprises on the year, and it stands to make a big splash when it opens fully next summer.

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White Bear Yacht Club was perhaps my most pleasant surprise in 2017, and one of my most enjoyable “new” courses. The rolling fairways and greens here have to be seen to be believed, and watching your golf ball carom and roll from one to the other is a blast. Terrific.

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One of my favorite surprises of 2017, Watchung Valley is a classic gem designed and routed by Seth Raynor and built by Marty O’Loughlin. Thanks to David Cronheim and George Waters, WVGC is now a true charmer, and a must visit for Raynor fans.

 

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The Swinging Bridge and the par-3 10th at Bel-Air Country Club, another of my 2017 surprises. This brilliant George Thomas design, routed through canyons connected by a series of tunnels, an elevator and the aforementioned bridge, is being restored by Tom Doak.

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Another of my most pleasant surprises of 2017 was the Meadow Club, Alister MacKenzie’s first U.S. design and the beneficiary of a loving restoration by Mike DeVries. The history alone makes MC a compelling visit, but the golf course itself is exceptional.


TOP NEW PLAYS

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Here are my top 10 “new to me” courses that I played for the first time in 2017. At No. 10, narrowly edging out the Dunes course, is Monterey Peninsula CC’s Shore Course, designed by the late, great Mike Strantz.

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At No. 9 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Mid Ocean Club. MOC was the last of the great C.B. Macdonald courses on my list, and suffice it to say, it did not disappoint. Utterly gorgeous, and wildly fun to play. Holes 1, 17 & 18 are pictured.

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No. 8 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club. One of the most photogenic courses I played last year, and my favorite of the 30 or so Tom Fazio designs I’ve seen, Gozzer exceeded all expectations.

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No. 7 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Milwaukee Country Club. A true throwback in every respect, MCC merges an absolutely perfect piece of land with the architectural brilliance of Charles Alison. The result is a true classic gem.

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No. 6 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Rock Creek Cattle Company. Tom Doak’s Big Sky masterpiece, RCCC is the rare mountain golf course that remains both walkable and highly playable. And it’s beautiful to boot. A modern gem.

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No. 5 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club. Though Ballyneal follows the Sand Hills model, Tom Doak takes the concept even further here, with a rugged minimalism combined with bolder features and wilder greens. Terrific.

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No. 4 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Camargo Club. As a huge Seth Raynor fan, I’d waited a long time to see this course, and was beyond pleased that it more than lived up to high expectations. One of Raynor’s very best designs.

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No. 3 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Sand Hills Golf Club. The most important golf course built in 80 years and already a classic, dozens of modern gems trace their roots to SHGC. Everyone should make the pilgrimage here at least once.

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No. 2 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Pine Valley Golf Club. What more can I say about the consensus best golf course on the planet that hasn’t already been said? The par-3 10th is just as pretty and scary-looking from above as from the tee.

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No. 1 on my list of courses I saw for the first time in 2017: Cypress Point Club. MacKenzie’s masterpiece, CPC is the most beautiful course I’ve ever seen and one of the best I’ve played. A day here is a magical experience and a seminal moment in a golfer’s life.


FAVORITE PHOTOS

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Catching a wave at the perfect moment makes this shot of the par-3 10th at Monterey Peninsula’s Dunes Course one my favorite shots of 2017, as it seems to capture well the atmosphere of this lovely place.

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A 2017 favorite: the par-3 16th at Sleepy Hollow Country Club, a “Short” template with its in-green thumbprint/horseshoe restored by Gil Hanse. Sleepy has always been a favorite course, but the improvements made here recently are astounding.

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Another favorite from 2017: this aerial of the famed 11th and 12th at Merion Golf Club shows a bit of the brilliance in the routing here, covering just 126 acres, and which led Jack Nicklaus to say that “acre for acre, it may be the best test of golf in the world.”

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Another of my 2017 favorites: this shot of the iconic 10th and the Devil’s Asshole at Pine Valley Golf Club was taken on a truly perfect day. The big, fluffy white clouds and crystal blue sky are beautifully contrasted by the greens and browns of the golf course.

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On a less-than-ideal day for aerial photography, the fog broke for about 3 minutes, which was long enough to snag one of my favorite shots of 2017: Latimer, the par-4 7th at Fishers Island Club, as the fog rolls back in and down the fairway.

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This was one of my most popular shots of 2017: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on an autumn dawn, as the cold morning fog gathers in the nooks and crannies of the course’s rolling terrain. The 2018 U.S. Open promises to be a great one.

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Another 2017 favorite: the Home hole and clubhouse at National Golf Links of America, on a picture-perfect summer evening. While it’s impossible to capture the essence of a place like National in a photograph, this photo may be as close as I’ve ever come.

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One of my favorite shots of 2017: the par-3 short-template 10th at Chicago Golf Club, with the par-4 9th left, the par-4 15th right and the iconic clubhouse beyond. A living piece of golf history, on display to the world as host of the inaugural Senior Women’s U.S. Open in 2018.


CYPRESS POINT – THE GOOD DOCTOR’S GIFT

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you, and thanks for making this a wonderful year. As my small gift to you, here are my top 7 favorite photos from my favorite “new to me” course in 2017: Cypress Point Club. No. 7: All-18 Aerial.

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No. 6 of my favorite shots from Cypress Point Club: the blowhole erupts on the par-3 15th hole. One of the many things that makes Cypress unique is how dynamic a place it is – quite a contrast to most courses.

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No. 5 of my favorite Cypress Point shots: the par-4 17th, viewed from over the ocean under a pink dawn sky after a storm. Grabbing this photo first thing in the morning really set a great tone for the round to come.

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No. 4 of my favorite shots of Cypress Point Club: the par-4 9th, playing into the dunes, while dressed in ethereal morning fog and light. One of the best holes at Cypress, and easily one of the world’s best short two-shotters.

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No. 3 of my favorite Cypress Point photos, and my favorite aerial, is this sunset shot of the beautiful closing stretch: the 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th holes. Though always gorgeous, these holes are otherworldly at the golden hour under the Pacific sun.

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No. 2 on my list of favorite Cypress Point shots (and the cover of the 2018 LinksGems calendar): the 16th, seen here under a perfect sky as a breaker rolls into the cove, is perhaps the most famous par-3 in golf, and undoubtedly the most beautiful.

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No. 1 – my favorite shot of Cypress Point, and perhaps my favorite amongst the many thousands of golf photos I’ve taken, is this look down on the 16th hole from a copse of Cypresses. Everything that makes CPC special to me is captured in this frame.


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In case you missed it, check out the year-end recap with Jon, Zac Blair, and host Andy Johnson on the Fried Egg Podcast. They geek out on golf courses, more golf courses, and even more golf courses. Listen here. (also available on iTunes)


MORE LINKSGEMS TOURS

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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GCA Video Archive – The Commentators

This section of the archive is dedicated to commentary on golf courses and golf course architecture.  It contains link compilations to Golf Channel’s special weeks, as well as videos from individual commentators that are typically not course specific.  This is also the section where I have placed miscellanea that did not fit in any other category.

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DECEMBER 2013 – GOLF CHANNEL ARCHITECTS WEEK

FEBRUARY 2015 – GOLF CHANNEL ARCHITECTS WEEK II

DECEMBER 2015 – GOLF CHANNEL ARCHITECTURE WEEK III

NOVEMBER 2015 –  GOLF CHANNEL WATER WEEK

DECEMBER 2017 – GOLF CHANNEL DESIGN WEEK


MATT GINELLA

Other Golf Channel appearances:

GEOFF SHACKELFORD

Other Golf Channel appearances:

RON WHITTEN

BRADLEY KLEIN

ROBERT S. MACDONALD

KYLE TRUAX – GOLF TRUAXIOMS

 

WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME

PHILADELPHIA GOLFCLUBATLAS GATHERINGS

Videos courtesy of Joe Bausch and Matt Frey

COB CARLSON – DONALD ROSS, DISCOVERING THE LEGEND

MISCELLANEOUS 

SCOREGOLF

100 YEARS OF THE MET OPEN

IVIEW 2D GOLF COURSE TOURS


MORE GCA VIDEO ARCHIVES:

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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GCA Video Archive – The Architects

This section of the archive is dedicated to the men and women doing the work of designing and building the courses we love – the Architects.  It contains videos and link compilations of interviews, presentations and more, in order alphabetically by last name.  Architects that have multiple videos have dedicated playlists that are updated regularly.

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The OCCM Team in the field


BILL AMICK

IAN ANDREW

 

COORE & CRENSHAW: BILL COORE / BEN CRENSHAW

Other Coore & Crenshaw videos:

JONATHAN DAVISON / CREATE GOLF

MIKE DEVRIES

Other Mike DeVries videos:

TOM DOAK / RENAISSANCE DESIGN

Other Tom Doak videos:

PETE DYE

Other Pete Dye videos:

TOM FAZIO

Other Tom Fazio videos:

RON FORSE

KYLE FRANZ

DANA FRY 

GIL HANSE

Other Gil Hanse videos:

MICHAEL HURDZAN

Other Michael Hurdzan videos:

REES JONES

Other Rees Jones videos:

ROBERT TRENT JONES JR.

Other Robert Trent Jones Jr. videos:

ROBERT TRENT JONES SR.

DAVID MCLAY KIDD

Other David McLay-Kidd videos:

TOM LEHMAN

TIM LIDDY

Other Tim Liddy videos:

GREG MARTIN

W. BRUCE MATTHEWS

JEFF MINGAY

Other Jeff Mingay videos:

KELLY BLAKE MORAN

JACK NICKLAUS

Other Jack Nicklaus videos:

GREG NORMAN

Other Greg Norman videos:

OCCM: GEOFF OGILVY / MIKE CLAYTON / MIKE COCKING / ASHLEY MEAD

Other OCCM videos:

KYLE PHILLIPS 

 

NICK PRICE

DAVID J. RUSSELL / IAN WOOSNAM

STEVE SMYERS

Other Steve Smyers videos:

ANDY STAPLES

 

JASON STRAKA

MIKE STRANTZ

 

JIM URBINA

ROSS WATSON

BOBBY WEED

BEAU WELLING

 

TIGER WOODS

Other Tiger Woods videos:


MORE GCA VIDEO ARCHIVES:

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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GCA Video Archive – The Courses of Australia & Asia

This section is dedicated to the golf courses of Australia and Asia.  Videos include course tours, aerials, feature stories and more.  The courses are organized alphabetically by country and course name.  This section is constantly evolving and being updated.  I hope that you find it to be a good way to do research, and relive happy memories.


AUSTRALIA

Barnbougle Dunes

9/19/10 – Wandering Golfer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK6wamAiFrs

4/30/13 – The Golf Show – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWOVQGMHTXE

3/31/15 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/t5W7A9_ybS8

Barnbougle Lost Farm

9/21/11 – History and construction – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B15oDTbULGE

4/7/12 – Construction photo tour from Keith Rhebb – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axvoDCAjUyU

11/11/15 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/uVczxxNyCTY

Bonnie Doon Golf Club

11/7/11 – GCA Forum Pt.1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkH0myFUP0E

11/7/11 – GCA Forum Pt.2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MjZvWL7NWw

2/27/14 – Stage 2 Overview – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrBS1V0mpuw

4/5/12 – Bunker Shaping – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1lmkcA4ez0

8/14/13 – #9 Before and After – http://occmgolf.com/bonnie-doon-before-and-after-hole-9/

5/2/14 – Stage 2 Complete – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4FPwun6s5o

Cape Wickham Links – King Island

4/23/15 – PerryGolf & Travel: course profile – https://youtu.be/px_PMk4d1us

3/23/16 – Official Course Video – https://youtu.be/A6-zD3Nz6WQ

1/10/17 – Fox Sports Australia hosts play the course 7:47 mark – https://youtu.be/paoNITYrPzY

Commonwealth Golf Club

5/10/15 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/A3UZzYbaz1I

2/5/15 – Mike Cocking re: renovations – http://vimeo.com/118803221

Kingston Heath Golf Club

10/13/13 – Golf Getaway – https://youtu.be/T3Iy0lx0f7Q

September/November 2016 – World Cup of Golf hole profiles by Richard Macafee:

2nd          3rd          9th          11th          15th          16th

1/8/17 – Drone footage from AirSwing Media – https://vimeo.com/198310703

The Lakes GC

3/7/13 – GolfTVAustralia course tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdWr8lAxr3Y

Lake Karrinyup CC

2/13/17 – Pros discuss the course from The Golf Channel – http://bit.ly/2m8BmO8

Metropolitan Golf Club

9/15/14 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/u8xsHJCTX2s

The National GC

8/26/14 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/FjPxxeFjdh0

New South Wales GC

11/11/15 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/QM9TMTMdIeY

Ocean Dunes – King Island

1/10/17 – Fox Sports Australia hosts play the course – https://youtu.be/paoNITYrPzY

Peninsula Kingswood CGC

7/27/15 – OCCM re: South Course hole #10 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObHoJj5GObo

NEW – 2/2/17 – OCCM re: North Course renovation drone footage and commentary from Mike Cocking – https://youtu.be/04cCnC_N4QU

Royal Canberra GC

12/20/16 – Club redesign overhead video from OCCM – https://youtu.be/jLVHlrDPmKY

Royal Melbourne

11/14/11 – PGA Tour preview – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=281SjYO5WnI

11/30/11 – Presidents Cup hole previews:

11/21/13 – GolfGetaway: RM West Course – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvHnojHHG7A

11/17/13 – Golf Getaway: RM East Course – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVHC1CO7XiI

12/12/13 – Course tour from Scott Michaux – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN379cqmoM0

9/10/14 – Aerials from Eagle I – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIki7SZKQ0M

CHINA

Coming soon…

JAPAN

Coming soon…

NEW ZEALAND

Cape Kidnappers GC

11/28/13 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/8Aq447b9vO8

4/6/14 – Golf Getaway Part I – https://youtu.be/x-rG6Ka3jsk

4/13-14 – Golf Getaway Part II – https://youtu.be/yiqKDOWfsSc

Kinloch Club

3/23/14 – GolfGetaway – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PcfGFDa5hI

Kuari Cliffs GC

11/28/13 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/XxUHen3-qXA

3/2/14 – Golf Getaway Part I – https://youtu.be/1jetiDBe0OQ

3/9/14 – Golf Getaway Part II – https://youtu.be/GYOfdatHFIY

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

4/22/14 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/biGlHmFRR0o

Tara Iti Golf Club

9/3/15 – Photo compilation from JGrundfos – https://youtu.be/dupsz6Yh7OY

3/4/16 – Par 4 4th from the Traveling Golfer – https://youtu.be/RhtqpGhWFOU

3/4/16 – Par 4 14th from the Traveling Golfer – https://youtu.be/MSeaeldPMHY

3/4/16 – Par 3 17th from The Traveling Golfer – https://youtu.be/-JIfeyjjQic

3/4/16 – Par 5 18th from the Traveling Golfer – https://youtu.be/l4SrzFAJWIw

Titirangi Golf Club

5/17/15 – Holden Golf World – https://youtu.be/4ktdRem9Xes

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Trump International Golf Club Dubai

2/10/14 – Gil Hanse interview profiles the course – https://youtu.be/HAzax1Teub0


MORE GCA VIDEO ARCHIVES:

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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GCA Video Archive – The Courses of the Americas

This section is dedicated to the golf courses of the Americas.  Videos include course tours, aerials, feature stories and more.  U.S. Open venues are presented first, and then the rest are organized alphabetically by country and course name.  This section is constantly evolving and being updated.  I hope that you find it to be a good way to do research, and relive happy memories.


U.S. OPEN VENUES

ErinHillsUSOpen.pngERIN HILLS

(Host: 2017)

OakmontLogo.jpgOAKMONT CC

(Host: 2016, 2007, 1994, 1983, 1973, 1962, 1953, 1935, 1927)

HOLE 1 – Par 4                     HOLE 8 – Par 3

HOLE 2 – Par 4                    HOLE 9 – Par 4

HOLE 3 – Par 4                    HOLE 10 – Par 4

HOLE 4 – Par 5                    HOLE 16 – Par 3

HOLE 6 – Par 3                    HOLE 17 – Par 4

HOLE 7 – Par 4                    HOLE 18 – Par 4

Church Pews

ChambersBayUSOpenLogo.jpgCHAMBERS BAY

(Host: 2015)

HOLE 1 – Par 5                    HOLE 10 – Par 4

HOLE 2 – Par 4                   HOLE 11 – Par 4

HOLE 3 – Par 3                   HOLE 12 – Par 4

HOLE 4 – Par 5                   HOLE 13 – Par 4

HOLE 5 – Par 4                   HOLE 14 – Par 4

HOLE 6 – Par 4                   HOLE 15 – Par 3

HOLE 7 – Par 4                   HOLE 16 – Par 4

HOLE 8 – Par 5                   HOLE 17 – Par 3

HOLE 9 – Par 3                   HOLE 18 – Par 5

PinehurstNo2Logo.pngPINEHURST NO. 2

(Host: 2014, 2005, 1999)

MerionUSOpenLogo.jpgMERION GC

(Host: 2013, 1981, 1971, 1950, 1934)

HOLE 1 – Par 4                    HOLE 10 – Par 4

HOLE 2 – Par 4                   HOLE 11 – Par 4

HOLE 3 – Par 5                   HOLE 12 – Par 4

HOLE 4 – Par 3                   HOLE 13 – Par 4

HOLE 5 – Par 4                   HOLE 14 – Par 4

HOLE 6 – Par 3                   HOLE 15 – Par 3

HOLE 7 – Par 4                   HOLE 16 – Par 5

HOLE 8 – Par 4                   HOLE 17 – Par 3

HOLE 9 – Par 4                   HOLE 18 – Par 4

OlympicClubLogo.gifTHE OLYMPIC CLUB

(Host: 2012, 1998, 1987, 1966, 1955)

CongressionalUSOpenLogo.jpgCONGRESSIONAL CC

(Host: 2011, 1997, 1964)

PebbleBeachLogo.jpgPEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS

(Host: 2019, 2010, 2000, 1992, 1982, 1972)

BethpageLogo.jpgBETHPAGE BLACK

(Host: 2009, 2002)

TorreyPinesUSOpenLogoTORREY PINES

(Host: 2008)

WingedFootLogo.gifWINGED FOOT

(Host: 2006, 1984, 1974, 1959, 1929)

OlympiaFieldsLogo.jpgOLYMPIA FIELDS CC

(Host: 2003, 1928)

OaklandHillsLogo.pngOAKLAND HILLS CC

(Host: 1996, 1985, 1961, 1951, 1937, 1924)

baltusrol logo.jpgBALTUSROL GC

(Host: 1993, 1980, 1967, 1954, 1936, 1915, 1903)

Hole 1  – Par 5                    Hole 10 – Par 4

Hole 2 – Par 4                    Hole 11 – Par 4

Hole 3 – Par 4                    Hole 12 – Par 3

Hole 4 – Par 3                    Hole 13 – Par 4

Hole 5 – Par 4                    Hole 14 – Par 4

Hole 6 – Par 4                    Hole 15 – Par 4

Hole 7 – Par 5                    Hole 16 – Par 3

Hole 8 – Par 4                    Hole 17 – Par 5

Hole 9 – Par 3                    Hole 18 – Par 5

Hazeltine logo.jpgHAZELTINE NATIONAL GC

(Host: 1991, 1970)

Oak-Hill logo.jpgOAK HILL CC

(Host: 1989, 1968, 1956)

Hole 1  – Par 4                    Hole 10 – Par 4

Hole 2 – Par 4                    Hole 11 – Par 3

Hole 3 – Par 3                    Hole 12 – Par 4

Hole 4 – Par 5                    Hole 13 – Par 5

Hole 5 – Par 4                    Hole 14 – Par 4

Hole 6 – Par 3                    Hole 15 – Par 3

Hole 7 – Par 4                    Hole 16 – Par 4

Hole 8 – Par 4                    Hole 17 – Par 4

Hole 9 – Par 4                    Hole 18 – Par 4

Riviera logo.pngRIVIERA CC

(Host: 1948)

PhillyCricketLogo.jpgPHILADELPHIA CRICKET CLUB

(Host: 1910, 1907)


UNITED STATES

Arcadia Bluffs

Architects Golf Club

Aronimink GC

Atlantic City CC

Austin CC Logo.pngAUSTIN CC

Ballyneal GC

Baltimore CC

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Bandon Dunes:

Bandon Preserve:

Bandon Trails:

Old MacDonald:

Pacific Dunes:

The Punchbowl:

BayHillLogo.jpgBAY HILL

The Bear’s Club

Big Fish Golf Club

Blackforest GC

Bluejack National

Bryn Mawr CC

The Bull at Pinehurst Farms

Calendonia Golf & Fish Club and True Blue Golf Plantation

California GC of San Francisco

Chechessee Creek Golf Club

CalusaPinesLogo.jpgCALUSA PINES

Clearview Golf Club

  • 2/17/15 – USGA Museum’s exhibit: “More than a Game” – click here

Cog Hill Golf & Country Club

  • 9/14/11 – Redesign discussion on Golf Channel – click here
  • 7/15/15 – #4 Dubsdread Flyover Videos

Concession Golf & CC

CC of Fairfield

Crooked Stick Golf Club

East Lake GC

Cypress Point GC

Dormie Club

Greenbrier – The Old White TPC

Essex County CC

6/23/16 – MGAGolf: course profile and preview of the MGA Ike Championship

Forest Dunes

Forest Dunes GC – The Loop

Fort Myers CC

Four Season Golf Resort Lanai

French Lick Golf Resort

Dye Course:

Ross Course:

Friar’s Head

1/10/17 – Golf Digest’s 4 Hottest Designs – http://bit.ly/2jTveva

Gamble Sands

GCofHoustonLogo.jpgGOLF CLUB OF HOUSTON

Golf Club of Tennessee

Harbour-Town-logo.jpgHARBOUR TOWN GOLF LINKS

Holston Hills CC

Innisbrook Resort

Kapalua-Logo.png

KAPALUA PLANTATION COURSE

Other Kapalua videos:

Keney Park GC

Kingsley Club

Lancaster CC

Lions Municipal GC

Lookout Mountain GC

  • 10/17/14 – Hole Flyovers –

Los Angeles CC

North Course:

South Course:

  • 1/15 – 3/15 – Construction videos from Thomas Naccarato –

Part I     Part II     Part III     Part IV     Part V

Marquette Golf Club – Greywalls GC

Mid Pines GC

Minot CC

Monterey Peninsula CC

Mossy Oak GC

Mt. Prospect Golf Club

Muirfield Village GC

Palmetto GC

Pasatiempo GC

PGA National GC

PGAWest-Logo.jpegPGA WEST

Other PGA West Videos:

Pinehurst Resort

No. 4

PineValley.jpeg

PINE VALLEY GC

Poppy Hills GC

The Prairie Club

Pronghorn Golf Resort

Nicklaus Signature Course:

QuailHollow.png

QUAIL HOLLOW CLUB

Sage Run GC

Sand Hills GC

Sand Hollow Golf Resort

sandvalley_logoSAND VALLEY GOLF RESORT

Scottsdale National

Sedgefield CC

Seminole GC

Sentry World GC

Shoreacres

St. Charles CC

St. Louis CC

Streamsong Golf Resort

Sweetens Cove

Sweetgrass GC

Talking Stick Golf Club

Tetherow GC

TPC Deere Run

TPC Harding Park

TPC River Highlands

  • 8/2/16 – Renovation update from The Golf Channel – click here
  • 8/2/16 – Milan Moore of PGA Tour Design talks changes from The Golf Channel – http://bit.ly/2b1vNON

TPC Sawgrass

TPC_Scottsdale_rgb

TPC SCOTTSDALE

Other TPC Scottsdale Videos:

Treetops Golf Resort

Trinity Forest

Troon North Golf Club

Troy Burne GC

True North Golf Club

Trump National Doral

Valhalla GC

wailaelae-logo.png

WAIALEA CC

Other Waialea videos:

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

Westhampton CC

Whistling Straits

Whispering Pines

Wickenberg Ranch

Wild Horse Golf Club

Winter Park CC

Wolf Creek GC


CANADA

Bear Mountain

5/29/15 – Tour from SCOREGolf – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZyg-ocorKA

Cabot Cliffs

12/4/13 – Coore, Crenshaw, and Keiser on Morning Drive – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/golden-ticket-ginella-nova-scotia-coore-crenshaw-keiser/

8/21/14 – Matt Ginella on – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-new-canadian-course/

6/17/15 – PGA of Canada drone footage of the 16th and 17th holes – https://vimeo.com/130875163

7/1/15 – Mike Keiser on Morning Drive – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/mike-keiser-bandon-dunes-and-cabot-links/

8/13/15 – SCOREGolf grand opening tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWpmQKlL_OM&sns=em

10/1/15 – Evan Schiller flyover of the 16th hole – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlNLw9YDK1o

11/18/15 – Course tour with Golf.com – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlNLw9YDK1o

6/15/16 – Drone footage – https://youtu.be/mG1Zwyqw0sY

9/11/16 – Gorgeous Designs You’ve Gotta See: Golf Digest – https://youtu.be/vOPMQcwRpHM

Cabot Links

4/12/12 – SCOREGolf – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm_9QxT_SUs

6/27/12 – Rod Whitman & Ben Cowan-Dewar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HVlTbb1mxo

8/20/12 – Course feature at the 5:33 mark from SCOREGolf – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR-0IHZxigM

8/13/15 – SCOREGolf – https://youtu.be/292Bdt4cBq8

10/24/15 – Evan Schiller flyover of the 15th and 16th holes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaPS1zUfSxE

9/11/16 – Gorgeous Designs You’ve Gotta See: Golf Digest – https://youtu.be/vOPMQcwRpHM

12/28/16 – “A Journey Like No Other” – https://youtu.be/THVlPhl_G-I

Elmhurst Golf & CC

7/16/12 – Superintendent Daniel Ciekiewicz details course conditions and greens from Tee2Green – https://youtu.be/UEnLAhHK5hA

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

5/8/14 – Course profile from SCOREGolf – https://youtu.be/ga3jzNMApck

Glen Abbey GC

7/27/12 – Interview with Allen Hibers, director of golf, (4:57 mark) from Michigan Golfer – https://youtu.be/jq6WWEdcSjc

3/21/13 – Jack Nicklaus reflects back on his first solo design from ClubLink – https://youtu.be/M3tp0y1d0yo

8/9/13 – Course tour from Global News – https://youtu.be/CYNazZIUkbU

7/12/16 – ScoreGolf feature on the future of Glen Abbey and The Canadian Open – https://youtu.be/Ro5QrvUVDBI

Glen Arbour GC

2/19/14 – Golfing World – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kbbdugDLUI

Granite Golf Club

5/8/15 – SCOREGolf course tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NynNRLOoxCQ

Hamilton G & CC

7/27/12 – Course preview for 2012 Canadian Open from Michigan Golfer – https://youtu.be/jq6WWEdcSjc

6/9/15 – Drone footage of the West Course, front nine for the RBC Canadian Open from DroneHub Media – https://youtu.be/D5lX6_3KavY

6/11/15 – Drone footage of the South Course, back nine for the RBC Canadian Open from DroneHub Media – https://youtu.be/iLn04oFNTDo

6/18/15 – Drone footage of the East Course – https://youtu.be/UJ_Ty8BSh7w

Highland Links

8/20/12 – Course feature at the 11:39 mark from SCOREGolf – https://youtu.be/nR-0IHZxigM

9/14/11 – Ian Andrew re: restoration – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7VL_30QT5s

Laval-sur-le-Lac Blue Course

7/28/16 – Insight on renovations w/ architect Ian Andrew from ScoreGolf – https://youtu.be/posM_8t7oQc

Mickelson National

11/27/15 -Windmill Golf Group: behind the scenes in development process –  https://youtu.be/aBWBJdhkze8

St. George’s Golf & Country Club

7/27/16 – Behind the scenes of maintenance from ScoreGolf – https://youtu.be/kTBP7GqRdrs

Victoria Golf Club Links

12/12/12 – Club promo video from NorthOlbo – https://youtu.be/n_1d9seDT3E

6/12/15 – Drone footage from NorthOlbo – https://youtu.be/7zJVpTyUPIM


MEXICO, CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA

(Listed alphabetically by country and course)

ARGENTINA

Olivos Golf Club

1/31/14 – Golfing World – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA0NLlW6WM4

BERMUDA

Mid Ocean Club

6/4/14 – Course profile from BermudaMedia TV – https://youtu.be/D1HoYs71GuQhttps://youtu.be/D1HoYs71GuQ

9/23/16 – Teeing it up in Bermuda from Golf.com (5:00 mark) – https://youtu.be/OWXt4hr0UDk

BRAZIL

The Olympic Course

1/28/14 – Andy Reistetter course tour with Gil Hanse –

2/23/14 – Gil Hanse on Morning Drive – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/morning-drive-gil-hanse-olympic-golf-course-update/

2/23/14 – Gil Hanse on In Play – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/play-feature-gil-hanse-and-2016-olympic-golf-course/

2/21/15 – Amy Alcott on Morning Drive – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/amy-alcott-discusses-rio-olympics-course-design

8/28/15 – Gil Hanse on Morning Drive re: grow-in progress – http://www.golfchannel.com/media/hanse-olympic-course-100-percent-grown

Tee to Green w/ Frank Nobilo on The Golf Channel –

Par 4 2nd          Par 4 3rd          Par 3 4th           Par 4 7th           Par 4 9th

Par 5 10th         Par 4 11th        Par 4 12th         Par 4 13th          Par 3 14th

Par 4 16th        Par 3 17th         Par 5 18th

5/19/16 – Preview from SCOREGolf – course insight at 1:50 mark – https://youtu.be/8ru2j5Boz0A

Course tour and commentary with Gil Hanse on The Golf Channel – 

Front Nine                  Back Nine

7/25/16 – Hole descriptions with Gil Hanse from Golf Digest – 

8/2/16 – Olympic preview from Golf Digest – https://youtu.be/khD1KwqEKY8

8/6/16 – Gil Hanse talks about the closing holes with Geoff Shackelford – https://youtu.be/0tyzimydT8k

8/6/16 – Gil Hanse talks bunkering with Geoff Shackelford – https://youtu.be/OrbroSy3zdI

11/28/16 – Current state of the course from The Golf Channel – http://bit.ly/2fKZbdv

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Casa de Campo: Teeth of the Dog

1/16/13 – Course detail from The A Position – https://youtu.be/HVsiShqqByQ

11/12/13 – Aerial footage from Tony Weeg – https://youtu.be/V8_ECivjnXw

3/1/14 – Golfing World – https://youtu.be/5o87x5KH-GI

MEXICO 

Punta Espada GC

10/15/13 – Aerial tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZLRVpPLqFc


MORE GCA VIDEO ARCHIVES:

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf


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Down the Rabbit Hole of Golf Architecture

LidoDesign.PNG

How was this created?  The more great golf holes and courses I saw, the more frequently that question popped into my head.  So began my journey down the rabbit hole of golf course architecture.  Routing, contours, grass lines, hazards, greens.  The history, the architects, the clubs.  The deeper I go, the more fascinated I become.

My novice perspective includes a healthy respect and admiration for the talents and dedication necessary to design, build and maintain a golf course.  It is mind boggling in many regards.  That is why you won’t see much criticism in my writing.  The world already has enough armchair architecture critics.  I am here to learn and celebrate.

MyLidoTattoo.jpg

This is an art and science – a craft – the study of which can never be exhausted.  Come on down the rabbit hole with me…


MOST RECENT ARCHITECTURE POST

CGC5-AerialBackLeft.jpeg

MY FAVORITE TEMPLATE

When it comes to golf course architecture, it doesn’t get much geekier than MacRaynor templates.  It should come s no surprise that I love the templates, and the one I love most of all is the Leven.  In an age when length is dominating the consciousness of the game, the Leven stands as a testament to strategic principles.  I have not yet met one that isn’t one of my favorite holes, and I wanted to learn more.  Read more…


MORE GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURE

WHAT MY KIDS TAUGHT ME ABOUT ARCHITECTURE

My son Jack is 15 years old and my son Henry is 7 years old.  This season, I officially became one of those lucky golf geek dads whose kids are golf-crazed.  We play most of our golf together at Canal Shores, but we also had outings over the summer at Kingsley Club, Champion Hill, and Arcadia Bluffs.  Read more…

AMERICA’S GREAT 18s

After seeing an article in a golf magazine about the perfect 18 holes, I got to thinking about what my favorite 18 holes would be.  After all, I love a good list.  With no offense to the publication in question, I find the typical lists to be a bit too easy to create.  Read more…

RIGHT ON THE SWEET SPOT

This time around it was different.  They changed the name, and they changed their game.  The third installment of Architecture Week on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive took a different approach, and for me, it hit the sweet spot.  Read more…

A DOAKY SEASON

My season started with Streamsong Blue and will hopefully include a fall stop at Lost Dunes.  Those courses have received considerable attention, for good reason.  This season, through happenstance, I have been lucky enough to play 4 of Tom’s perhaps lesser-known courses – Black Forest, The Rawls Course, CommonGround, and Apache Stronghold.  I thought it might be interesting to highlight, compare and contrast those courses here.  Read more…

COORE & CRENSHAW’S GREAT 18

Playing C&C’s courses never fails to be a joy for me.  Their courses just look right to my eye, and they are a challenging blast to play.  The broad strokes of routing, green siting, and undulation are masterful, and the attention to the little details is always off the charts.  Read more…

AN HOMAGE TO THE SHORT PAR 3

“In this era of obscene power, the likes of which the game has never witnessed, why not strive to induce a little fun into the mix and at the same time present a true test of delicacy and accuracy?” – Ben Crenshaw.  This quote from an essay in Geoff Shackelford’s book Masters of the Links resonates with me.  Read more…

AN EVENING WITH JIM URBINA

As a member of GolfClubAtlas.com, I was fortunate to be able to attend a dinner with my fellow GCA geeks this week at which Jim Urbina gave an insightful talk that he themed, The Evolution of a Golf Course.  From his original collaborations with Tom Doak on courses such as Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald and Sebonack, to his restorations of classics such as Pasatiempo and Valley Club of Montecito, Jim continues to make his mark and connect us to the soul of the game.  Read more…

ARCHITECTS WEEK II IS IN THE BOOKS

Once again, the folks at Golf Channel have put together a nice Architects week feature.  Matt Ginella continues to evolve as a voice for the good of the game, giving us a break from Tour & Tip coverage, to help us connect to the soul of the game – golf courses and the people who create them.  Read more…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DONALD ROSS

Today is the birthday of my favorite golf course architect – Donald Ross.  Having grown up caddying and playing on a Ross course, I admit to my bias.  Ross was a creative genius, and is arguably the most prolific architect in history with involvement in 400+ courses across the U.S. (not to mention that he was also a fine player and pro).  Read more…

THE ART OF COURSE

There is much hand-wringing and serious conversation these days about the state of the game.  Rounds are down, and so are the total number of players playing.  The talk revolves around how to get the game growing again through future-forward change and progress.  Read more…

TAKE THE RISK, GET THE REWARD

Whenever I can, I sneak away on my frequent business trips to Arizona to play one of my favorites – the Coore & Crenshaw gem, Talking Stick.  On my most recent outing to Talking Stick, one of my all-time favorite holes, the short par-4 12th (more on that hole later), got me to thinking about risk-reward holes par 4s, and why they are so great.  Read more…

 

 

Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf