ASGCA announces 2017 Design Excellence Recognition Program honorees

ASGCA announces 2017 Design Excellence Recognition Program honorees

Projects from 11 courses lauded for addressing design challenges.

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November 7, 2017
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The sixth annual American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Recognition Program honorees have been named. Projects from 11 courses have been cited for their work with ASGCA members in addressing unique design challenges.

Since its creation, the Design Excellence Recognition Program has highlighted the innovation and problem-solving skills required of today’s golf course designs, from new 18-hole layouts to practice facilities and renovations of various sizes. 

(Pictured: Compass Pointe Golf Club in Leland, N.C.)

The 2017 nominations were reviewed by a panel of golf industry leaders, including representatives of the Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Builders Association of America and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
The recognized courses are:
--Colleton River, Bluffton, South Carolina/Tim Liddy, ASGCA 
--Compass Pointe Golf Club, Leland, North Carolina/Rick Robbins, ASGCA, and Brian Lussier, ASGCA
--Golf de Club de Panama, Panama City, Panama/Ray Hearn, ASGCA
--Hunt Valley Country Club, Phoenix, Maryland/Jason Straka, ASGCA, and Dana Fry, ASGCA
--Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Southern Pines, North Carolina/Bill Bergin, ASGCA
--Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Michigan/Andy Staples, ASGCA
--Mountain Top Course, Hollister, Missouri/Jeff Lawrence, ASGCA
--Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Ottawa, Canada/Neil Haworth, ASGCA
--Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham, Alabama/Lester George, ASGCA
--Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, Massachusetts/Mark Mungeam, ASGCA
--Westfield Group Country Club, Westfield Center, Ohio/Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA Fellow

“These wonderful golf facilities, and the architects who worked so closely with them, have my congratulations and great respect,” ASGCA President John Sanford said. “The projects recognized here continue the tradition of the Design Excellence Recognition Program; well-designed facilities that make a positive impact on the game to benefit golfers and their communities.”
 
Colleton River, Bluffton, South Carolina/Tim Liddy, ASGCA
This 18-year old facility had lost much of its character with many of its golf course features losing their shape and definition. Tim Liddy, ASGCA, referred to the restoration as, “like an archaeological project” as they uncovered original artistic aspects of the Pete Dye, ASGCA Fellow, design.
The work was performed by first carefully hand digging around the bunkers and greens, discovering the original sand lines. Turf was removed as well as layers of organic material that had built up over many years. Bunker contours were restored, matching the original design and build.

Compass Pointe Golf Club, Leland, North Carolina/Rick Robbins, ASGCA, and Brian Lussier, ASGCA
Development of the new, 2,300-acre Compass Pointe Community in Leland, North Carolina, had begun before the 2008 financial crisis crippled the golf and housing industries. Working within the constraints of environmental requirements and financial limitations while still creating a golf course that would be an asset to real estate sales was the challenge.
The solution involved many approaches, including: new golf routing to fit within existing wetlands; designing/maintaining the course to meet Audubon International standards; adding Family Tees so each hole may be played as a par 3; and using existing features of vegetation, wetlands, sandy soils to create a natural style course to reduce construction costs.

Golf de Club de Panama, Panama City, Panama/Ray Hearn, ASGCA
The golf course was unplayable during the rainy season due to heavy clay soils, and limited surface and subsurface drainage. Also, the course was not appealing to new golfers, with poor driving range and sub-standard par 3 course, and no beginner tees.
A master plan detailed design for sand capping fairways and rough, including new drainage that networks back to club’s pond and irrigation reservoir to re-use rain water. Additional plans included driving range remodel for all golfers, revitalized nine-hole par-3 course and new junior teeing system.

Hunt Valley Country Club, Phoenix, Maryland / Jason Straka, ASGCA, and Dana Fry, ASGCA
This private club experienced chronic member dissatisfaction, primarily due to deteriorating sand bunkers, poor drainage and inferior practice facilities. Bunkers continually washed and didn't drain, and prime playing areas were perpetually wet, leading to numerous problems including significant disease pressure and compaction. All needed addressing, while staying within a pre-determined budget. For the cost of a typical bunker renovation, course drainage was improved by directing large amounts of surface water away from prime playing areas when designing new bunkers. Also, the main practice area was completely redesigned, lengthening the tee range complex by 100 percent.

Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Southern Pines, North Carolina/Bill Bergin, ASGCA
The club was a course with a shrinking membership in need of numerous infrastructure improvements. Practice facilities were small, spread out and in poor condition (as were greens and bunkers). As host to the US Kids World Championship, the course lacked appropriate tees for the event.
Course routing was adjusted and US Kids Golf Academy was born, featuring a 10,000 square-foot putting green, two 5,000 square-foot chipping greens and a practice range tee that tripled in size. Longleaf Tee System was introduced, matching tee position with golfer’s ability based on how far they carry a driver. Putting greens were resurfaced and bunkers updated.

Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Michigan/Andy Staples, ASGCA
A lack of site drainage, years of tree growth, improper turf varieties and increased golfer expectations rendered the course deficient by members’ standards.
Long-term management was addressed in a number of ways: through a modified-depth USGA greens construction method; installation of over 15 miles of drain pipe; a new, flat, sand-bottom bunker design embracing the century-old original design of Willie Park, Jr.; integration of 25 acres of no-mow fescue; and planting new turf varieties to reduce water use by 60 percent. Additionally, six new sets of tees provide options for players of all skill levels.

Mountain Top Course, Hollister, Missouri/Jeff Lawrence, ASGCA
Built atop the rocky Ozark mountains, this unique and innovative course from Gary Player Design utilized the natural features and on-site materials to produce a fun and playable 13-hole, par 3 course.
A rock dome that was creatively manipulated to expose ancient rock formations was incorporated within the design. Utilization of excess rock allowed for creating retaining walls and large fills to improve widths of fairways, implement large land forms and gain distance on some of the shorter holes. No cart paths, close green-to-tee connections and a creative routing allows for a variety of playing options (3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-hole loop options).

The Royal Ottawa Golf Club, Ottawa, Canada/Neil Haworth, ASGCA
A master renovation plan was developed to address three issues: bring the course to modern standards while respecting the club’s tradition; address playability issues on two holes due to widening of the adjacent road; and design a driving range and short game area.
Based on 1927 aerial photos, all bunker complexes are to be reshaped and putting surfaces “squared off” to match original geometric design. New tees will provide variety and reduce forced carries. One hole was moved to combat safety issue, and a fairway shift and additional tees addressed the playability concerns. A new range has been designed, with previous range being converted into a family-orientated short game area, par-3 course.

Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham, Alabama/Lester George, ASGCA
Vestavia Country Club was falling behind in market standing, sustainability, design strategy, playability and turf quality. All of this impacted the club’s ability to recruit/retain members. 
A five-year process of focus groups, design study, due diligence, bidding and design execution of a total golf course reconstruction resulted in the following: re-routing reconstruction of all 18 holes, tees, greens, bunkers, streams and drainage paths; new turf varieties; new practice facility; updated putting green and cart storage facility; and more. The design was predicated on increasing the strategy, playability, fun, conditions and sustainability of the golf course to retain, gain and attract new members. 

Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, Massachusetts/Mark Mungeam, ASGCA
Looking to develop a par-3 course/short game practice area on a mostly vacant, 8-acre parcel between two existing holes, difficulties included elevation change and proximity to adjacent wetlands in protected watershed.
A putting green and 6-hole par-3 course with holes 65 to 150 yards were developed. Design makes use of rolling terrain, and varied green complex designs teach players different shots required on championship course. A Phosphorous Control Plan was prepared to alleviate watershed impact concerns. All disturbances were kept at least 100 feet from wetlands. 

Westfield Group Country Club, Westfield Center, Ohio/Dr. Michael Hurdzan, ASGCA Fellow
Westfield Insurance Company maintains a 36-hole golf complex in Ohio, for inclusive entertainment. For example, not all guests play golf, but everyone can putt. Two concepts were borrowed from St. Andrews, one being a 25,000-square foot “Himalayas Putting Course” adjacent to the Westfield clubhouse and outing pavilion, and the other a 5,000-square foot spectator area integrated with the green to mimic the spectator area on Old Course No. 18 green. Toro Twilight Lighting System was added for evening events. The net result is a unique entertainment experience for all Westfield Group CC users.