Wednesday night I learned that the new course I had been pursuing had been awarded to a golf contractor as a design/build contract.
I had been in talks with a development group about a new course to be built next spring near Grand Bend, Ontario, as part of a housing development. Most of the site was as flat and wide open and this would have taken some effort to make interesting. I had decided to use an approach based around Mike Strantz’s Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula, California. The idea was to use expansive bunkers and large lateral movement to fill the wide open space. I was going to lift the fairways, tees and greens to make them standout and avoid the use of containment mounds.
The developers had approached me for a proposal on the project, in spite of the fact that they had acquired a design from a golf contractor they had been working with. The contractor has surprisingly suggested that my involvement was unethical since he had used a golf designer to do the routing. I find this a curious allegation, since nothing on the plans shows his name. If they did - I would not have agreed to become involved.
The Renovation Business
The strength of my business will always be with my renovation and restoration work. This year was a banner year from the start through to the finish. It began with five new Master Plans, moved onto working drawings in the summer and final three major renovations in the fall. August brought the start of a Stanley Thompson renovation to the Cutten Club using the old aerial as a guide – it was fun to work with the flashes and high faces. September brought a restorative-based project of re-establishing the grass face bunkers that A.W. Tillinghast had created at Scarboro. It was fun to work with Gil Hanse on this project and interesting to work with full grass faces. October brought the start of a Walter Travis renovation where once again I was building grass faced bunkers but this time with really small shape mounding complexes around the fairway bunkering. Having to continuously change between styles proved to be exhilarating.
This spring will see me a quick finish to Scarboro’s bunkers. The Travis work will continue through the spring and re-start with some greens this fall. The fall will bring at least one Thompson renovation with the possibilities of a second Thompson course or a new Travis bunker renovation. I’m not too worried about next year – I’m quite certain that I will have enough to do – if not I will enjoy some golf.
Nine New Holes at Saskatoon
The coming year will be an important year for me and Saskatoon Golf & Country Club. I am quite certain that this project will be the key to showing people that I am more than capable on my own – and will eventually lead to that new 18 holes.
The work has quietly started this fall with some clearing and drainage being done while the weather co-operates. I’m certain about the plan and the design for the holes and now its time to build them. While the work will be done in the style of Bill Kinnear (at Saskatoon) I will still be building holes that fit comfortably within my own preferences in design. I have managed to avoid almost everything on my expanded list of 20 things that I don’t like and there is not a single containment mound or target bunker to be found!
In The Works
This fall featured three of the most interesting calls that I have received so far. I will say that a significant Thompson course has approached me about a major restoration in a few years time. I’ve also talked to clubs about courses ranging from Ross to Alison to Travis. I was even recommended for a Raynor project by a peer that I admire.