|Working on a greenside bunker at #2, earlier this week.|
Our bunker renovation project at The Oakville Golf Club began on Tuesday. By week's end, rough shaping of green surrounds at the par-three 2nd hole - which involved eliminating three bunkers; creating a swale along the back and right side of the green to improve drainage; and, (re-)shaping a single greenside bunker at front-right of the putting surface - was complete. Bunker work had started at the 1st hole, too.
Oakville's a neat project; it's a 9-hole private club course, originally designed by Canadian Golf Hall of Famer, George Cumming (1879-1950) - some 40 kms west of downtown Toronto. Mr. Cumming was head professional at The Toronto Golf Club for half a century, and a pioneer golf architect in Canada. For a time during the early 1920s (when he designed Oakville), Mr. Cumming was in partnership with a young Stanley Thompson and his eldest brother, Nicol, (head professional at Hamilton Golf and Country Club), designing and building golf courses throughout the province of Ontario.
The 'bones' of Mr. Cumming's layout at Oakville - a nice routing over a relatively subtle property bi-sected by a meandering stream - remain in place. But many changes have been made to the course over the years. As a result, there's currently a glaring lack of design continuity. Along with improving function, the jist of this project is to restore design continuity at Oakville by implementing a classic bunker style (and creating some other features) consistent with the course's heritage/early 1920s golf architecture. In the process of revising bunker schemes at all holes - with intent to add some 'teeth' to the course - the total number of sand hazards will be reduced from 40 to 29, without compromising challenge, playing interest or the course's overall aesthetic.
I was also at York Downs Golf and Country Club this week, where we're working on completing a Long-Range Golf Course Improvement Plan. Established in 1922 - with an 18-hole course designed by legendary British golf architect C.H. Alison (NLE) - York Downs is one of Canada's most historic golf clubs. It's current course (27-holes, in Unionville, north of downtown Toronto) was designed by Geoffrey Cornish, and his then partner, Bill Robinson. A very, very interesting concept for improvement of the course was agreed upon this week; in turn, I'm very, very excited about moving forward at York Downs as well.
*More details on both of these projects will follow as things continue to progress... so, stay tuned.