While Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. has opened for play and Bar Run Golf Course in Roseburg, Ore. is offering preview play of its initial 10 holes, other courses—including The Oaks course at TPC San Antonio; Atkins Golf Club in Urbana, Ill.; Druids Glen Golf Club in Covington, Wash.; Brantford Golf and Country Club in Ontario, Canada, and Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest, Ill.—are in various stages of renovation work.
Duininck Golf has again joined forces with the TPC Network to touch up The Oaks course at TPC San Antonio, host of the Valero Texas Open. The 53 bunkers on the Greg Norman design were beginning to show signs of wear and in need of updating to keep the course competitively relevant.
“The new bunkers will be an enhancement both in playability and aesthetics,” said Matt Flory, TPC San Antonio’s General Manager. “Not only will they provide a sharper contrast between bunker and surrounding turf, but the sand will better match the slope of greens and assist with the playability from those bunkers.”
Chris Kleinsmith, Duininck’s Project Manager, explained the rehabilitative scope a bit more specifically.
“We are adding Better Billy Bunker flooring to 53 bunkers (133,000 sq. ft.) to help keep the new sand in them,” Kleinsmith said. “We remove old sand, check existing drainage, install gravel, polymer and add new sand.”
Duininck’s Operations Manager, Ahren Habicht added, “New bunker lining technology has helped the in-play maintenance of bunkers from all sides, reducing washouts during storm events and enhancing playability—a win-win for the golf course superintendent and players.”
Pine Lakes Country Club, Myrtle Beach, S.C.’s first golf course, reopened to public play on July 13 following a greens and bunker restoration project. Founders Group International, Pine Lakes’ parent company, partnered with Craig Schreiner to lead the effort at the course. The main renovation was the installation of new Sunday bermudagrass greens.
The new grass is replacing the paspalum that was installed during a 2008-09 renovation.
The greens were also restored to their original size, adding more than 21,000 sq. ft. of putting surface at the course, an increase of 20 percent.
“Sunday bermudagrass is ideal for Myrtle Beach’s climate and golfers are going to love the new greens, which will provide a smoother, faster putting surface,” said Pine Lakes General Manager Jimmy Biggs. “Golfers playing Pine Lakes this fall will return to a course that is in spectacular condition and our staff couldn’t be more excited.”
Every greenside bunker on the course was also renovated, an effort that included the installation of a new state-of-the-art drainage system, and 25 of Pine Lakes’ 26 bunkers were reduced in size. The new bunker faces feature traditional, native grasses that roll into the sand.
Pine Lakes was designed by Robert White, the first President of the PGA of America, and its clubhouse was designed in Classical Revival style by Raymond Hood, who also designed New York City skyscrapers, The Sun News reported. It is considered the birthplace of Sports Illustrated, and the course and clubhouse are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Renovations at Atkins Golf Club in Urbana, Ill. will revamp the new home course for the University of Illinois golf. The project was launched in early May with a comprehensive, hole-by-hole approach.
The changes to the course will be rather comprehensive, all in an effort to elevate the level of play to suit the Illini men’s and women’s golf programs while maintaining an enjoyable experience for golfers in the Champaign-Urbana community on the still-public course.
“That’s what we’ve talked about since day one,” Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small said. “We’re going to get this playing firmer, faster and more the way it was designed to be played when it was designed over 20 years ago. … We’re designing the golf course to play in a way that will be beneficial to my players, challenge them in a correct manner and also be a fun experience for the public. That’s the intent of the renovation.”
Atkins Golf Club (neé Stone Creek) was gifted to the University of Illinois at the end of June last year by the Atkins family. An anonymous donation of $5 million followed in September to fund the renovation process. C+RB reported on both.
Atkins Golf Club will play at nearly 7,500 yards when it fully reopens next spring after playing at just more than 7,100 yards originally. Tightening landing zones—shifting fairways, sight lines and approach angles—was also a priority. A fully reworked system of bunkers in addition to other contour changes on a hole-by-hole basis were also important.
Several changes that won’t be as visible will be just as important. That includes multiple tweaks to the course infrastructure including drainage, irrigation, root zone materials and turf types. For example, 90 new sprinkler heads will be installed around greens that will allow for greater control and more efficient watering.
While not every hole will be dramatically altered by new or improved bunkers, changes to fairway positioning or the addition of a series of hummocks to the rough, all 18 greens will get a facelift. They’ve already had both the sod and several inches of sand removed. The contouring of the greens will remain the same, but they’ll be re-seeded with a modern 007 Creeping Bentgrass in groups of six starting this coming week.
“Renovating the greens and then truly reconstructing all the bunkers are going to be the most notable features or changes throughout the property,” said Golf Course Superintendent Nate Jordan.
Druids Glen Golf Club in Covington, Wash., has appointed newly formed firm Richardson | Danner Golf Course Architects to lead a renovation project. The architects will focus on renovating bunkers, reducing turf, updating irrigation and adding forward tees.
“Our work is aimed at creating a more aesthetic and thought-provoking golf experience,” said Jeff Danner. “Adding new forward tees will help make the course more enjoyable for those just learning the game as well as those keen on hitting approaches into greens that are more in line with the design intent of the holes.”
The Keith Foster-designed course first opened in 2004 and is set among nearly 300 acres of forest with Covington Creek running through the layout.
“The property is a collection of meadows and forests that just happen to have a golf course meandering through it,” said Forrest Richardson.
Arizona-based Parks Legacy Project acquired Druids Glen in 2019 and, like at many clubs, rounds increased following the pandemic. Parks Legacy Project wants to renovate the course to capitalize on this rise in the number of golfers.
Bunker work will involve some repositioning and some size reduction, and the installation of a hard liner system. These changes are designed to ease maintenance, while also preserving the strategy and challenge of bunkering.
Richardson and Danner aim to reduce the existing turf footprint of 113 acres to around 80.
“There is an opportunity to reduce the water usage by as much as 15 per cent,” said Richardson. “Too much turf is being mowed and watered. Our approach is to transform many areas currently out of play to a natural landscape of heather and fescues.”
The turf reduction process has already started, while bunker work and forward tees is expected to begin in 2022.
A multi-million-dollar renovation of the historic Brantford Golf and Country Club in Ontario, Canada will take the course—the fourth oldest golf club in North America—back to an earlier time, The Brantford Expositor reported. The architectural firm of Whitman, Axland & Cutten will remake the bunkers based how they looked in decades past when the firm of Thompson-Cumming-Thompson were the designers.
The number of bunkers will also be reduced from 73 to 68, The Expositor reported. Stephen Hicks, golf course superintendent at BGCC, said the new bunkers will be “a bit less flashy” in shape and design.
“Some look very artistic and have deteriorated since 2005, when the last set of bunkers were rebuilt. They are difficult to maintain.”
Also included in the course facelift is a rebuilding of the cart paths, a widening of some of the fairways, and installation of a new irrigation system to replace the current one, which dates back to 1991, The Expositor reported.
There will be a regrading of many of the greens and two greens will be replaced, The Expositor reported. The most significant change will be to the 17th hole where the pond will be moved and rebuilt, and the green replaced.
“It will play very different,” said Hicks. “The older green didn’t drain very well.”
While there will be some disruption in play during construction, a new par-three hole has been built on the current practice range with the hope that just one hole at a time will be closed, The Expositor reported.
The golf club currently has about 960 members, 582 of them golf members, The Expositor reported. Not all support the renovation project, with about 72 per cent voting in favor. However, Hicks said management and many members are ecstatic about the changes, which will begin in September and be substantially complete by November 2022.
“This was a two- to three-year process of meetings and discussions,” said Hicks. “By reinvesting in the property, we’re supporting our current membership and hope to attract new members. We’re trying to make the course more playable for newer, less advanced golfers, with it still being a challenge for the better player.”
Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest, Ill., in partnership with the Friends of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation, and KemperSports, is breaking ground on The Lawn, a community asset with a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere dedicated to serving golfers from all areas, including the residents of Lake Forest. This free-to-use greenspace will cover more than 30,000 sq. ft., consisting of a world-class bentgrass putting and chipping experience providing practice options for both novice and avid players alike.
The Lawn, and its designer Todd Quinto, were inspired by the public-access Ladies’ Putting Course in St. Andrews, Scotland and renowned putting courses such as The Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, The Gauntlet at Streamsong Resort, and Thistle Due at Pinehurst Resort.
The Lawn’s footprint will offer an 18-hole putting course and three-hole chipping course, and is surrounded by a 15 foot chipping fairway surface and synthetic practice tee stations.
“With the demand for golf continuing to grow, Lake Forest is proud to offer its residents a premier practice facility to encourage players of all skill levels to either start or continue enjoying the game,” said Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry at The City of Lake Forest, Sally Swarthout. “Combined with the ongoing drainage and facility upgrades, Deerpath Golf Course is proud to be enhancing the first-class golf experience residents have enjoyed for more than 90 years.”
Deerpath Golf Course will be one of the only municipally owned facilities to feature such an amenity. Slated to open in the spring of 2022, The Lawn is designed to cater to all ages and abilities, offering a fun environment for families to gather as well as adult social groups and youth community programs. While the main goal of this space is to bring the community together, The Lawn will also be available to rent for private events.
“The Lawn will be a wonderful addition to Deerpath. Our hope for The Lawn is that it can inspire the local community to either refine their existing skills, or better yet, give them the courage to pick up a club for the first time,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “Spaces like The Lawn quickly become a gathering place for people of all skill levels and ages to engage with the game of golf. We could not be more proud to bring this asset to the City of Lake Forest, and we are thrilled to see the positive impact it will have.”
Bar Run Golf Course in Roseburg, Ore., which is set to fully open in the summer of 2022, has 10 holes available to play right now, KEZI reported. With construction still ongoing, Bar Run decided they’d be different and try something somewhat unique to golf courses: essentially a soft launch. Golfers and recreation enthusiasts can reserve a limited space to play the first 10 holes and be treated to some food and drink for an afternoon as a means of previewing what Bar Run will offer.
And the preview play is an all-day pass, so golfers can play as much as they want. Beyond that, ownership is only allowing a maximum of 36 players each day—keeping the crowds at a minimum.
“Holes kind of moved on paper back and forth trying to fit them in there,” said course designer Dan Hixson, who has designed courses like Wine Valley and Bandon Crossings. “There’s a golf course in here but I didn’t think it would be so beautiful.”
The drive up may not scream Augusta National just yet, but golfers realize the vision when they actually step up to the first tee box, KEZI reported. And the reviews have matched their hope for the course.
“We’re delighted, the owners are very excited about that and even it’s been a surprise,” Hixson said. “You kinda wait for someone to say some bad stuff and it hasn’t happened.”
Built on a sand and gravel mine near the South Umpqua River, the golf course is part of a land reclamation project that will now become a public resource, KEZI reported.
“It’s really fun to work with the owners and the other people working on the course to sort of have the confidence in ourself that we can figure it out,” said Hixson. “That’s always rewarding and the best part of what we do.”
The full course is expected to be open in the summer of 2022, KEZI reported.