PGA National Resort & Spa announced it has broken ground on a plan to renovate The Squire Course, with a new design by Scottsdale-based golf course architect Andy Staples, ASGCA, owner of Staples Golf Design.
Designed by the duo of Tom and George Fazio, The Squire is one of five distinct 18-hole courses at PGA National and has not had any significant updates since opening in 1983. The reimagination plan envisioned by Staples looks to upgrade the facility, while exploring ways to expand its appeal to the avid golfers, casual players looking to improve their games, beginners and even non-golfers.
“I intend to take The Squire to another level in terms of strategy, playability, and most importantly, the fun factor,” Staples said. “I’m focusing on the three most innovative trends in the industry: 1) reducing the time it takes to play; 2) increasing player enjoyment, and 3) instilling classic design principles that spur interest in the game of golf.”
The project is broken into two scopes of work. First, the existing parallel holes Nos. 1 and 18 will be converted to a 9-hole par-3 practice course and the remaining 16 holes will be renovated to create 18 heroic holes inspired by some of the greatest strategic concepts in golf from across the globe.
The design philosophy of the new course revolves around creating holes that foster the match-play style of golf design while harnessing a player’s emotion of attempting heroic shots on each.
The hazards will be kept to a minimum, focusing on the expansion of short grass fairways, chipping swales and grassy hollows. Teeing grounds will be modified to accommodate all skill levels of players and located based on appropriate swing speeds to allow for a more friendly entry to the game.
It’s also anticipated the course will undertake a rebranding, including a name change, to ensure the most dramatic impact once the facility reopens to the golf community.
The plan focuses on expanding the current user group of the course while providing long-term sustainability for the future. Greens will be generous in size, rebuilt to increase drainage and planted with TifEagle Bermudagrass. Fairways and tees will be modified to improve drainage and planted with Celebration Bermudagrass. Approaches to the greens will be planted with TifGrand Bermudagrass.
Various areas of existing turf will be converted to a coquina-styled material to provide a contrast of textures and definition, reducing overall maintenance. Additionally, cart paths will be converted to a coquina-style surface to blend into the new course surrounding. A pallet of native plants and grasses will increase the aesthetics surrounding the course, providing the necessary buffers to the nearby home sites.
The reimagination of the Squire Course will be overseen by Nick Mazzella of Mazzella Partnership, a Charlotte based golf course renovation management firm. Other partners include irrigation designer Sean Hyduk of Aqua Turf International, local landscape architects Insite Studio, Pennsylvania-based Total Turf Golf Services as general contractor and Nutt Irrigation for irrigation installation.
Jeremiah Lockhart, the resort’s director of agronomy, will oversee the maintenance planning and grow-in.
“We’re excited to finally get started on this reimagination of the Squire Course at PGA National,” Mazzella said. “These have been particularly challenging times, but this entire team is committed to making something great. Andy’s unique vision coupled with the industry leaders in construction and irrigation we’ve assembled is second to none and we expect great results.”
The project is expected to be completed in early 2021 and debut when both courses are fully grown in and ready for play.