Audubon Country Club in Louisville, Ky., is working with focus groups within the club to help gain different opinions on the course and property’s direction. The municipal Bobby Jones Golf Course complex in Sarasota, Fla., is also working on a master plan over the next 12 weeks, which will include short-, mid- and long-term projects and goals for the course.
Audubon Country Club in Louisville, Ky., is creating a long-term master plan, Golf Course Architecture reported.
Originally designed by Tom Bendelow in 1908, the course at Audubon has hosted a number of tournaments over the years, including the Kentucky Open, Kentucky State Amateur and Kentucky Senior Amateur championships, Architecture reported.
“This master planning process is what Audubon needs to continue to position itself as a premier country club in the city of Louisville,” said club president Bob Frank. “The creation of this long-range plan will help sustain our current membership and prepare for bringing in future members. This masterplan is going to help our club match the growth and improvements happening all around us. We’re excited to be working with Lester George and his team.”
George will be meeting with a number of focus groups representing various sections of the club to help gain different opinions on the course and direction of the club, Architecture reported.
“Lester has a unique and inclusive approach,” said Eric Gilliland, director of golf at Audubon CC. “He suggested we allow the membership to give their input on what they want Audubon to become before we share our ideas with them so we can compare their ideas of what the club needs with our own. This process is unfolding organically with the right person at the right time.”
In Sarasota, Fla., the municipal Bobby Jones Golf Course complex is also developing a master plan this spring, the Sarasota-based Herald Tribune reported.
The project is more than two years in the making as the city, parks leaders and avid golfers have worked to draw up new plans for the course that has struggled through declining popularity and aging infrastructure, the Herald Tribune reported.
Now architect Richard Mandell will spend the next 12 weeks developing a series of recommendations, wish lists and competing agendas for the historic 90-year-old complex. The City Commission unanimously approved his hiring Tuesday afternoon for $115,000, the Herald Tribune reported.
“There are a lot of ideas already to work off of, and we’ll do our first course walk-through tomorrow morning,” Mandell said. “Everyone’s trying to work toward making the course the best it can be, so it’s all going to come together.”
The plan will include short, mid- and long-term projects and goals for the course and will incorporate recommendations from the citizens’ ad hoc committee that suggested the master plan be created in the first place. That ad hoc committee was formed in late 2014 to study the complex’s current and future needs. It recommended last year a spate of improvements estimated to cost $14.5 million, including the renovation of the British and American courses, construction of a new clubhouse and a new master plan for the complex, the Herald Tribune reported.
The city paid to re-grass the greens on the American course last year and reviewed requests for proposals for the master plan throughout the fall, the Herald Tribune reported.
Some parks leaders have objected to the plan, though. Shawn Glen Pierson is the founder of the Friends of the Bobby Jones Golf Club and has repeatedly asked the commission to reconsider its master plan process since early last summer. He instead wants the course restored using the original plans drafted by legendary course designer Donald Ross in the 1920s, arguing that playing historic course designs would attract more avid golfers who appreciate the history of Ross courses, the Herald Tribune reported.
Pierson also serves as the Bobby Jones representative on the city’s Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection board, known as PREP. The group voted unanimously in July to ask the city, to no avail, to withdraw its request for proposals for the master planner amid questions about how it was drafted and whether city administrators were trying to interfere with what plans would ultimately be made. City leaders denied that suggestion, the Herald Tribune reported.
Mandell has discussed the master plan process with Pierson and will consider those ideas for the final report, which will set out what kind of improvements could be made in certain price ranges. They and other stakeholders will walk the course and discuss potential recommendations throughout the process, the Herald Tribune reported.
Mandell will present his final report later this spring. The City Commission will then consider how to move forward and at what potential cost, the Herald Tribune reported.