Upping Raynor in the Upper Midwest
Courtesy of Duininck Golf

Upping Raynor in the Upper Midwest

Duininck Golf and Bill Bergin combining on a project at Minnesota course designed by renowned Golden Age architect.

Seth Raynor’s Midwest design work was minimal, but Duininck Golf and architect Bill Bergin are working in the preservation of one of those courses: the 1925 classic at Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington, Minnesota. Duininck Golf and Bergin are focusing on structural and mechanical enhancements to the course.

In 2017, Bergin Design started Phase 1 of the master plan, which gave the membership an opportunity to see what was to come.

“We knew the project was going to be a hit with the membership from day one,” Duininck Golf general manager Judd Duininck said. “At times it can be hard for a club to shut down their entire golf course to complete everything that they want to get completed. Over the next few years, the club saw and got to experience what we knew going in was going to be spectacular all along.”

“We were able to collaborate together with Minnesota Valley Country Club and Bergin Golf Designs to create another successful renovation focused on highlighting the work of Mr. Raynor,” Duininck Golf project manager Paul Deis said. “Working closely with Bill Bergin, we are executing Phase 2 of that master plan; completely rebuilding holes three and four, installing new irrigation, linking the fairways on holes 16 and 17 while also adding new bunkers with liners and adding new bunkers and tee complexes on a handful of other holes.”

Even with those adjustments, today’s layout remains the same as it was on opening day of 1925, the integrity respected and preserved, the roots of his work. A quick tour of the 147 acres shows an incredible attention to detail, especially the bunker work.

“Bill knows exactly what he wants the final product to look like,” Deis said. “And he does a great job of laying out every feature for us and then working closely step by step to complete that vision.”

The most dramatic changes to the course are presented on holes three, four, 17 and 18. The green location on three has been moved substantially to the right with added distance and punchbowl shaping to encourage more creative play, while the fourth green has more bunker protection and a steep drop off right of the green. Most of the change to the holes on the back are visual, with better viewing of fairways on holes 17 and 18 and more accenting of the landscapes.

“Bill puts a lot of thought into the strategy of the game by every level of golfer focusing on creating fair and fun challenges,” Deis said. “Here you can see the shots he wants you to hit, and the genius in Seth’s original design. But you still must hit those shots.”

Duininck Golf has worked closely with Bergin Design across the country, a fact that both parties state as intentional and appreciated.

“Their personnel are so great to work with,” project superintendent Patrick Doyle said. “Such great attitudes and willingness to help each other and our staff. Mutual respect is critical in this business and having that makes these projects so much more enjoyable and efficient.”