Saturday, October 29, 2011

They all can't be Cypress Point...

The par-four 17th hole at Cypress Point.
... but, improving any - and all - golf courses is important.

I've been very lucky the past three years, flying coast to coast, working simultaneously at building Cabot Links (Atlantic) and restoring Victoria Golf Club (Pacific). Along with my mentor, Rod Whitman, I've also been fortunate to be involved with creation of Blackhawk Golf Club (ranked 25th on SCOREGolf magazine's list of the top-100 courses in Canada) and Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club (ranked 18th). These are four top-notch Canadian golf courses.

I also have plans for significant golf course improvement in the works at excellent clubs like Overlake Golf and Country Club (Seattle), The Derrick Club (Edmonton), The Oakville Golf Club and York Downs Golf and Country Club (Toronto). This past summer, I laid-out what could become another of Canada's great courses, at a stunning location in Saskatchewan, if it's ever built (fingers crossed). And, there's another promising site in the Maritimes where a new MGCD course could, possibly, be built soon. Then there's other work:

I'm currently consulting on improvement to a very, very challenged golf course in Ontario - fundamental routing, playability, and drainage problems abound. There's basically no architecture here to speak of, at all. This particular course - which shall remain nameless for the time being - was picked up out of bankruptcy earlier this year by a family with good intentions. But so much needs to be done to make something of this property, I'm not sure we'll ever get there. In the short term, we're working at simply making the 1st and 2nd holes more playable. A number of trees and a few extraneous bunkers have been removed to give golfers more room to play; and, relatively significant cuts and fills in these fairway areas are underway to improve drainage. (Both greens at these holes were recently reshaped as well, without my involvement.)

Frankly, when I was initially offered this project, I questioned whether or not to take it. An integrity thing kicks in for those of us trying to build a top-notch reputation, with aim to consistently create courses which compare to the world's best. But, again, doesn't every golf course owner and/or club deserve some good, honest advice realtive to improving their courses, even if the work is carried out piecemeal with no definite end in sight? I'm thinking so.

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