The Grand Blanc, Mich., property’s golf course is currently undergoing an extensive tree management program, and under the recently developed master plan, will reimagine bunkers, adjust fairway alignment, and add a variety of tees.
Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich., is planning to update the private club’s golf course through the development of a master plan.
“We don’t want to move dirt all over the place,” said John DeMarco, chairman of Warwick Hills’ Greens Committee. “But we recognize that nearly 50 years have passed since [Joe Lee] was here. Technology has changed in course maintenance, golf equipment and other factors. We thought it was time to look at the total picture, so we asked [Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA, of C.W. Golf Architecture] to give us a hole-by-hole analysis with recommendations for improvement.”
The club already had worked with Wilczynski on an extensive tree management program, which enters phase two this spring. “As the tree project progressed, I kept offering ideas about how to tweak various holes. The membership already knew the club was due for a master plan, but they needed to see examples of how the course could be improved.”
The club plans on preserving most aspects of the original design, leaving the greens untouched, and the proposed work on fairways will be minimal. Most of the work will involve reimagining bunkers, adjusting fairway alignment, and adding a variety of tees.
Lee’s redundant hazards, which create what DeMarco calls “double jeopardy” situations, were exacerbated as trees grew, completely blocking all but sideways and backwards escape routes from many of Warwick Hills’ bunkers. Under the master plan, those trees will disappear. The master plan also calls for significant changes to the bunkering throughout the course, including the relocation or removal of bunkers that have become “irrelevant” to better players or are too vexing for the majority of Warwick Hills members, who play the course from 5,800 to 6,300 yards. It entails rebuilding more than 50 mostly greenside bunkers; removing and/or relocating 20 fairway bunkers; and creating 25 new fairway bunkers.
The new bunker locations will be more visually appealing, will create more challenges for better players, and will prompt average players to think more about tee-to-green strategy. The new bunkering also will result in subtle changes in fairway angles and widths at many of the landing areas.
The master plan also calls for extensive work on tee boxes, adding forward and middle tees. Most of the new tee boxes will stand alone, as opposed to the current long strip tees that have multiple tee markers spaced along the length of the teeing ground.
Warwick Hills is in the process of deciding how to implement the master plan. “We don’t want to do it piecemeal,” said DeMarco.