The Northern California property has the only golf course in the world featuring holes originally designed by Jack Neville, who also designed the original Pebble Beach Golf Links, and William Watson, who also designed The Olympic Club and Harding Park courses. The renovation involved a comprehensive update of every course feature, including resurfacing greens and surrounds to bentgrass and restoring greens to original dimensions. All other turf was converted to drought-tolerant bermudagrass, and maintained turf acreage was reduced by more than 35 acres.
A $12 million golf course restoration and renovation project at Diablo (Calif.) Country Club, an iconic Northern California golf course located in San Francisco’s East Bay region area, at the foot of historic Mt. Diablo, was recently completed.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the dramatic improvements that have evolved in this massive renovation and restoration project,” said golf course architect Todd Eckenrode, ASGCA, of Origins Golf Design, which worked with the club on the project.
Diablo CC’s course routing is a testament to legendary figure who designed the uniquely historic course. In 1915, 23-year-old two-time California Amateur Champion Jack Neville designed his first golf course, creating the original nine holes at Diablo. Building on this success, Neville’s second design was none other than the original Pebble Beach Golf Links.
In 1920, course designer William Watson, one of California’s most successful and prolific golf course architects in the Golden Age of golf course design, created the second nine at Diablo, crafting most of Neville’s original holes into a new 18-hole course. Watson’s next assignments were designing The Olympic Club and Harding Park, both in nearby San Francisco.
By the end of the forthcoming 2020 season, 12 major championships will have been played on courses originally designed by the two legendary architects, including the upcoming PGA Championship. And Diablo CC has the only golf course in the world that showcases the designs of both Neville and Watson.
The renovation project at Diablo brought about a comprehensive update of every feature of the course, including fully renovated new greens and green surrounds, both resurfaced to the latest improved bentgrass. The greens were restored toward their original dimensions, with the surrounds now having a seamless connectivity with options for the short game.
All other turf was converted to drought-tolerant bermudagrass. Overall, maintained turf acreage has been reduced by more than 35 acres, with those areas restored to drought-tolerant fescue and native grasses, along with the California Oak understory that has been returned to its natural state.
Through the project, all bunkers were also recreated, with many restored to their original locations. And all tees have been built to a more natural shape and contour, as originally designed.
The backbone for all of these improvements is a new state-of-the-art irrigation system that will yield significant efficiencies in water use.
Even with all of these changes, the original masterful routing of the Diablo course has remained as it has always been, so today’s members can experience playing the historic gem in the same way it was intended over a century ago.
“The club’s leadership has been outstanding, providing us and the construction team with great freedom in the process, which will lead ultimately to the utmost possible design and finished golf course for the members to enjoy for decades to come,” Eckenrode said. “I can’t say enough about course superintendent Ryan Nicholson and his team’s efforts and talent as well, as they have contributed tirelessly in the construction and grow-in periods with fantastic results.”
Nicholson and his consulting agronomy team also made the decision to build the greens to the variable-depth method of USGA construction, it was noted.
“This project has given us a wonderful opportunity to provide Diablo Country Club with the infrastructure and agronomic conditions that will position the golf course well into the future,” Nicholson said. “Converting to hybrid Bermuda grasses in the fairways and roughs, reducing the overall irrigated acreage with oak mulch beds and native grass plantings, as well as upgrading to a state-of-the-art irrigation system, will allow us to significantly reduce water consumption while providing more consistent playing surfaces.”
General contractor Landscapes Unlimited and irrigation contractor Foremost Construction also were part of the renovation team.
Diablo CC also recently announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Frank Cordeiro as the club’s Chief Executive Officer, in recognition of his leadership in directing the golf course renovation, the largest project in the club’s history, to on-budget completion, among many other accomplishments in his five years at the club.
In 2017, the club’s membership voted to change the governance model to provide greater governance continuity, support management in running operations more effectively, and to free up members to concentrate on enhancing the Member experience. The governance changes included a smaller Board of Directors, with each Director serving a longer term, coupled with committees being chaired by the membership at large, rather than directors.
As transition to the new model, now in its third year, nears completion, “the next natural step in quality governance is to support our professional manager,” the club said in its announcement of Cordeiro’s appointment a CEO.
“Since Frank joined the Diablo team in 2015, his accomplishments have been significant,” the announcement said. “Prior to Frank’s arrival, our club had an operating loss for seven consecutive years. Frank has delivered an operating profit each year since he has been at the helm. [He] has also attracted strong talent, such as Golf Course Superintendent Ryan Nicholson.
“Regular Memberships sell for $50,000 today, up from a low of $29,000 a few years prior, and current data suggests the price is likely to increase again as we approach the grand opening of the golf course,” the announcement continued. “Frank has designed an industry-leading Transformation Agenda [that also includes plans] to dramatically improve our clubhouse and fitness facilities.”
All told, the club reported, membership has approved a $31 million investment in its future, also including a stand-alone Golf Teaching Center and Simulator Building.
EDIT: Now supposed to open in June, not January.
You should do more research. The project was not completed on time – it was supposed to open on Jan 15th and now is going to open hopefully in January. As for Frank’s promotion to CEO, you should also have researched more, as many members are baffled by this decision, and the overall governance model. Way too early for this type of promotion of the golf course – jury is out as to whether or not this project ends up being worth the money spent. I would recommend you speak with some members before writing this type of article.