Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Bunker short-right of the 12th green at Overlake.
I just got off the phone with the esteemed Scott Stambaugh, golf course superintendent at Overlake Golf and Country Club... which prompts this post.

We've developed a very exciting golf course improvement plan for Overlake. Located on the east bank of Lake Washington, in the Seattle suburb of Medina, Overlake was originally designed by Irish-Canadian golf architect Vernon Macan during the early 1950s. (Again, you can read more about Mr. Macan here.)

The original Overlake course, built during the late 1920s, was abandoned not long after it opened for play. The club then re-established during the early 1950s when Mr. Macan was brought down from Victoria, British Columbia (his home base) to design a new course over the same property.

While historic materials indicate Macan's Overlake was likely built on a shoe-string budget, his routing (intact) and the greens (not sure exactly how many are originals, by Macan) provide an excellent foundation upon which to improve the current course. There are few historic images of Overlake available, either; and, old aerials don't show much. So this can't be a genuine restoration of Mr. Macan's original design. However, there's a lot of value in the course's heritage.

While designing courses between 1913 and his death in 1964, Mr. Macan wrote prolifically. A plehtora of historic articles on golf and course architecture provide detailed insight into his thinking. And historic photos of other Macan-designed courses have been useful. Our plan for Overlake is definitely inspired by Mr. Macan's architectural styings and philosophies. In fact, a bunker remodeled last fall, short-right of the green at the par-three 12th hole (click on photo to enlarge), was inspired by a historic photo of a Macan-designed bunker at nearby Inglewood Golf Club.

With my colleague George Waters handling the shaping, and Stambaugh coordinating the project, the 12th was redone to provide Overlake members with a good look at, and feel for what's planned for the rest of the course. As I understand, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Club officials are now pondering the next move. However we end up tackling the rest of the project, I'm very excited about the potential at Overlake. So, stay tuned...

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