Let's Talk Golf Architecture, OK?
+ A peek inside LIV Golf with COO Atul Khosla.
ON THE TEE
🏌️ Greg Norman, winner of two claret jugs, was not invited to the two gatherings of former champions at St. Andrews because the R&A claimed his presence would be disruptive. Petty or proper?
🏌️ Phil Mickelson said the R&A suggested he not attend the champions festivities but said he could if he wanted to. Mickelson chose to stay away. Petty or proper?
🏌️ The R&A didn’t invite any of the LIV Golf players into the interview area at the British Open, gave them undesirable starting times and TV hardly showed them. Petty or proper?
🏌️ Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, stopped short of banning LIV players but intimated it would likely be more difficult for them to qualify for the Open. Petty or proper?
🏌️ Outspoken LIV player Ian Poulter was booed by a section of fans at the first tee Thursday morning at the Old Course. Petty or proper?
🏌️ Tiger Woods made double bogey at the first hole on his way to 78 in the first round at the Old Course, then went on to miss the cut. Is it officially time to be discouraged?
🏌️ The town of St. Andrews made Jack Nicklaus an honorary citizen. After watching his teary, emotional acceptance speech, did you, too, detect a little moisture in your eyes?
🏌️ Norman said he’s developing a LIV-like league for women. What are the chances the LPGA will join instead of fight?
🏌️ If your course ran as firm, fast – and brown – as the Old Course, would you praise your superintendent or fire him?
:: Mike Purkey
TFC Virtual Roundtable: Course architecture
The First Call's roundtable video series debuts with golf course architects Brian Curley, Brandon Johnson and Beau Welling discussing a range of topics, including the British Open's venue
:: The First Call | Watch
Q&A: Atul Khosla | LIV Golf COO
Khosla, who came to LIV Golf from an NFL franchise, discusses the startup's sponsorship vision, helping to fight players' legal battles, format changes and applying for world ranking points
:: Alex Miceli | Read
Good reads that are mainly about golf, but not always …
📖 The weird, analog delights of Foley Sound Effects
:: Anna Wiener | The New Yorker | 06.27.2022
📖 The beach rats: How a roguish crew of California lifeguards became World War II heroes
:: Andrew Dubbins | Alta | 07.01.2022
📖 Hello, world! How the Open Championship became golf’s ultimate international event
:: Michael Corcoran | Golf.com | 07.10.2022
📖 Keeping Eastward Ho! in synch was a calling Brendan Pickett answered
:: Jim McCabe | Power Fades | 07.13.2022
Walt Disney’s Magnolia makeover
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
⛳️ Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is halfway through an extensive redesign of its flagship golf course, the Magnolia. To create a more magical experience for resort guests and the public, it retained Ken Baker, the head golf course designer at One Club Limited to reconfigure most of the closing holes and to perform enhancements elsewhere on the property.
During Disney’s 42 years of hosting the PGA Tour, Magnolia played host to the final tournament round, and witnessed winners including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Payne Stewart and Raymond Floyd. The longest among Disney’s collection of courses since its debut in 1971, Magnolia was lengthened by 300 yards in 2005, stretching it to its current length of 7,516 yards. The work being done now will transform holes 14 through 17.
The par-5 14th will become a par 4 with a new green location; the par-3 15th will morph into a long, dogleg-right par 5; the par-4 16th will retain its par but will now feature a dogleg to the left; and the par-4 17th will become a dramatic, watery par 3. In addition to the altered holes, a new cart bridge through the forest will connect holes 16 and 17, creating picturesque views in nature late in the round. New tees, refurbished bunkers and the renovation of all 18 greens are further enhancements on tap.
"We’ve assembled an incredible team that is devoted to creating the best possible experience for our guests from around the globe who travel here for a championship-caliber golf vacation," said Bruce Gerlander, general manager of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, which operates the Disney courses. "For more than four decades, Disney’s Magnolia golf course has served as a favorite stop on the PGA Tour and we have been methodically planning for this massive project for years."
Best known perhaps for its greenside bunker at the par-3 sixth that resembles Mickey Mouse, Magnolia is expected to reopen later in 2022, to coincide with Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
RELATED: Design Notes archive
⛳️ Celebrating its centennial in 2022, storied Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado, has completed its William Flynn restoration that began in 2008. Home to Arnold Palmer’s legendary 1960 U.S. Open win and to Phil Mickelson’s 1990 U.S. Amateur triumph, Cherry Hills retained Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf staff to restore many Flynn design features, while also modernizing the course to accommodate today’s top players.
“When we were asked to restore Cherry Hills, we recognized that some trees had grown in areas that impacted play and took away from the original strategic design,” said Eric Iverson, project leader for Renaissance Golf. “We have now opened up sightlines and the ability to see the course as it was originally intended. When we first started work here, the course was covered with planted trees, bunkers had been moved or removed, mowing lines had shrunk dramatically — basically a textbook case of what happened to so many Golden Age courses. Fortunately, only a couple of greens had been altered.
“The 18th hole is a perfect example of Flynn’s planting of trees in strategic areas,” said Iverson. “This famous closing hole tempts the player to take the bold line over the lake to achieve a shorter shot to the elevated green. Approach shots that are missed to the right are stymied by the strategically placed group of trees to the right of the fairway.”
Early on in the process, Renaissance re-installed the cross bunkers on the par-5 17th, performed bunker work on holes 1 through 5, 7, 9, 14 and 16 and restored the greens at the third and 13th.
“The recent phase that we just completed focused on restoring Little Dry Creek, which winds through the inward nine, undoing the engineered ‘channeling’ of the creek favored by flood control districts of that era,” said Iverson. “Today, a more natural presentation is preferred, providing greater capacity, less erosion and greatly improved wildlife habitat. It just so happens that the golf is vastly improved as well.”
With the creek now oriented to its original location, closer to the greens at 7, 14, 15 and in 16 fairway, Flynn’s original strategic shot values have been restored as well. The most recent work also included changes at the 248-yard, par-3 15th. “Flynn drew this hole up at 115 yards, which is where the current forward tee is,” said Iverson. “It was likely crowded out by a massive Cottonwood tree as time went on, with resulting tees being built well to the right. That tree was lost, but that allowed for the lower tee to be restored. During the creek project, the green was expanded back to its original footprint in the front-left, making for some dicey hole locations. It looks great from both angles and provides great flexibility for course setup.”
The restoration of Cherry Hills is now complete, ahead of the club hosting the 2023 U.S. Amateur.
⛳️ The Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale recently broke ground on an extensive bunker renovation project and golf course refinement project. The multi-focus project includes the renovation of all bunkers on the Boulders North and South courses. It also includes a greens renovation on the South course. Jay Morrish designed both the North and South courses, which are considered among the most scenic and challenging desert courses in golf, with holes that are framed by ancient giant rocks and mature Sagauro cacti.
“We are committed to investing in our stellar golf resort,” said General Manager John Maskovich. “Our investment in capital — from the bunkers on both courses, the greens, to the pump station, to new agronomic equipment — combined with the best golf team, are prime examples of our commitment.”
During the four-month project, all bunkers will be excavated and rebuilt incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system featuring Capillary Concrete. This new generation lining method increases the speed at which water flows through the bunker, minimizing washouts, reducing maintenance and producing superior playability. Original bunker shapes and strategy will be maintained during renovations. New bunkers will be refilled with premium 50:50 bunker sand (50 percent white and 50 percent tan blended together).
Additionally, the Boulders will be updating green complexes on the South course to their original shape and size, and resurfacing greens with TifEagle turf. TifEagle is an ultra-dwarf hybrid green that will offer improved speed, consistency and playability as well as smooth transitions during seasonal weather changes.
⛳️ Portstewart Golf Club, located on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, has retained European Golf Design to produce a master plan for its 18 holes and practice facilities. Preliminary focus will center on holes 16 through 18 of the Strand course, which features 11 holes designed by Willie Park in 1920 and seven stunning holes in the dunes, created by Des Griffin in 1986. Jon Rahm captured the 2017 Irish Open on Portstewart’s Strand course and commented, “This golf course is amazing. It’s probably one of the most beautiful golf courses I’ve ever seen, if not the most.”
European Golf Design is best known for such original designs as PGA Catalunya in Spain and for redesigning Ryder Cup venues Le Golf National in France, Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course in Wales and the 2023 host, Marco Simone in Italy.
Jeremy Slessor, European Golf Design’s managing director, relishes the opportunity to raise the profile of Portstewart.
“We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with Portstewart to look at its three distinctive golf courses and practice facilities,” he said. “To have the chance to elevate the Strand course’s reputation to even greater heights is a genuine privilege. There’s enormous potential to add value to the Riverside course, too, by giving it even more of its own identity and character and we hope that the Old course, with its dramatic, sea-edge location in town, can also benefit from a fresh, modern eye.”
RELATED: Design Notes archive
About: Palmetto Bluff is a residential and recreational community situated between Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. One of the largest remaining contiguous entitled waterfront properties on the East Coast, this 20,000-acre property offers one of the most preserved and protected places to call home in the United States. Defined by three rivers — the May, Cooper and New — conserving the land has been integral to Palmetto Bluff’s modern-day development, and its 32 miles of riverfront and extensive nature trails are enriched by wilderness and wildlife, unspoiled maritime forests, tidal estuaries, winding waterways, and the sounds and smells of nature. This custom home enjoys long, unimpeded sunrise views across the tidal marshlands and tributaries of Cauley’s Creek. Sited on nearly an acre of land teeming with native pines, palmettos and oaks, this home features traditional Lowcountry architectural details such as handsome Old Savannah brick, oyster tabby stucco, abundant windows, and a standing seam metal roof.Gracious outdoor living is well suited for year-round enjoyment with a pair of screened porches located just off the primary living space. Palmetto Bluff's May River Golf Course is a Jack Nicklaus signature 18-hole golf course carefully woven into the fabric of this Lowcountry community. Designed to challenge golfers of all skill levels, the course meanders through the May River Forest and features wide, inviting fairways with strategic bunkers and natural waste areas. The course stretches over 7,100 yards with several holes on the banks of May River.
NAMES | NEWS | NUMBERS
▪️True Spec Chicago: Indoor facility in Geneva, Illinois, will open on Aug. 2 and be the club fitter’s second location in the Chicagoland area. … PGA Buying and Education Summit: Annual Las Vegas event, July 11-12, was a preview of the latest innovations and trends from a curated group of apparel, accessories and golf lifestyle companies, and offered PGA of America national-level education sessions. … Lyle & Scott: To become the exclusive apparel and headwear provider to Rick Shiels, a leading golf content creator. … True Spec Oahu: To open first True Spec facility in Hawaii on Aug. 3.
COMPETITION / COURSES
▪️Quivira Golf Club: Los Cabos resort course voted to Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses list. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course also ranks No. 3 on the publication's Best Golf Courses In Every Country list for Mexico. … Royal and Ancient: Announces that the prize purse for this year’s British Open will be $14 million, a 22% increase over 2021. The winner will receive $2.5 million.
▪️Tour Edge: Launches its Wingman 700 Series putters that feature three new modern mini-mallet designs and six total hosel options. … Sqairz: Launches limited edition British golf shoes, designed to honor and celebrate three Sqairz partners who have won the British Open — Nick Faldo (1987, 1990, 1992), John Daly (1995) and Mark Calcavecchia (1989). … Tour Edge: Notches three top-5 and seven top-25 finishes at Senior Players Championship, including staff players Alex Cejka and Ken Duke tying for fifth.
▪️Royal and Ancient Golf Club: Announces that Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie have been named honorary members of the St. Andrews, Scotland, club. Woods won the British Open three times (2000, 2005 and 2006), while McIlroy and Lawrie won in 2014 and 1999, respectively. … PGA Tour: Billy Andrade, who has enjoyed a 35-year career on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company. The award is presented annually to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. … First Tee: PGA Tour player Austin Smotherman, a Loomis, California, native, is named an ambassador for the nonprofit organization. … Nicklaus Companies: Jack Nicklaus becomes honorary citizen of St. Andrews, joining Bobby Jones and Benjamin Franklin as the only Americans to receive that distinction.
▪️First Tee Leadership Summit: Forty teenagers have been selected to attend the second annual event hosted at PGA Tour Superstore owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank’s West Creek Ranch in Montana. … On Course Foundation: Expands roster of military recovery centers to offer referral locations in Balboa and Coronado, California; Augusta, Columbus and Daleville, Georgia; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Petersburg, Virginia. … Landscapes Golf Management, Sticks for Kids: Members and guests at Landscapes Golf Management-operated country clubs and golf courses can trade in golf clubs they no longer use in the form of a tax-deductible donation to Sticks for Kids. … Youth on Course, TaylorMade Golf: Nonprofit and equipment manufacturer to expand on its Drive Club collaboration by expanding to Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio and Phoenix in 2022.
THE STYLE LINKS
Fittingly on this British Open weekend, Lie + Loft has named this illustration of the St. Andrews Old Course Swilcan Bridge, “Homeward bound,” representing a connection between golf’s past and present.
There are four sizes available, with or without framing, starting at $29.99.
:: Janice Ferguson | IG: @janiceferguson_thestylelinks