Tripp Davis and Associates has been retained by Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in Nichols Hills, Okla., to direct the extensive renovation and restoration of the Perry Maxwell and Alister MacKenzie designed course that opened in 1929.
The TDA plan will renovate drainage, cart paths, the structure of tees, greens and bunkers, and re-grass most of the course, to include using Latitude 36 Bermuda for tees and fairways, and 007 bentgrass for the greens. Work will include restoring the original rounded/irregular shape of the tees, returning strategic widths in fairways and removing many introduced trees, plus restoring the strategic intent and style of the bunkers and the size of the original greens.
The work to the greens also will include preserving the existing contours, mostly original, while making minor changes to enhance them for modern play. All greens had the existing contours scanned and each layer of the rebuilding of the greens will be carefully monitored with GPS equipment to make sure the important contours are artfully preserved. TDA is also working with EC Design of West Des Moines, Iowa, to plan a completely new irrigation and pumping system.
“Being given the responsibility to renovate and restore the Maxwell/MacKenzie course at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club is uniquely exciting for me given my history there and the many friends I have there,” said Tripp Davis, lead golf course architect. “I first played the course in 1985 as a freshman on the University of Oklahoma golf team, and it has since been one of my favorite courses in the world. Being able to bring the golf course back to more what it was intended to be by Mr. Maxwell and Mr. MacKenzie will be one the greatest thrills of my professional career.”
The Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club was one of only a few courses that Maxwell and MacKenzie collaborated on, with Crystal Downs in Michigan, and the Ohio State University Scarlet Course being two of the more high-profile courses they did together. Davis has limited his workload so he can be on site, 30 minutes from his home, on an almost constant basis.
TDA Shaper Jason Gold, who has been a TDA staff member for over 10 years, will be on site to shape the course, while Davis will personally oversee the shaping of the surfaces of the greens to preserve the existing character.
“Jason and I will be working to make sure every detail is right and that every strategic element is pure to how Mr. Maxwell and Mr. MacKenzie wanted the course to play,” Davis said. “They were extraordinary at making everything they did look like a natural part of the land, and using that to create beautiful strategic variety and interest, highlighted by the angles they created and the importance of precision when playing into the greens.”
Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club will close its golf course for construction this winter and there are plans for a limited reopening in December 2019, with full play in Spring 2020.