Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Golf course Master Plan - Range

Two years ago the Grounds Committee enlisted the help of an Architect to construct a comprehensive golf course Master Plan.  The reasons for a Master Plan were/are: 
  • Give guidance on future changes to the course.
  • Create continuity of any changes over a period of time (even though Boards and Committees change, the plan does not).
  • Improve the course for today's golfer.
  • Provide a plan for the club to work towards. 
Basically, the Plan is a road map for the Grounds Committee, keeping us on the right path and guiding us even though personnel on the Committee may change.  To accomplish the entire plan in one shot would be very costly and there is no intention of doing that in the near future.  What we can do now is pick off smaller project that coincide with the plan and start making minor changes that can be afforded to keep our course relevant in today's game of golf.  You will notice that certain parts of the plan need to be accomplished before other areas can be changed, this is one reason we started on our current 10th hole.

When first meeting with the Architects (Hills and Forrest Golf Course Architects) we provided them with our goals, they were:

These goals laid the groundwork for the Architects, they then came back to us with a Master Plan for the course.  After some minor adjustments we came away with a first class plan that meets our goals.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will begin to highlight the plan and provide commentary and information.  I am doing this now for a few reasons: 
  • Many members know there is a plan but have not seen the details and are very curious on the potential changes.
  • We have begun to make changes to the course and Members should know what other changes may look like.
  • The recent changes to hole 10 laid the ground work for future completion of other projects.
  • The Long Range Planning Committee is studying the interest in future projects and now is the time to highlight our potential. 
The first pieces of the Plan that I want to highlight are the driving range and short game practice areas.  In my opinion, this is our weakest link on the property with our bunkers being a close second.  As our culture changes, we are seeing more and more usage on the practice areas as many members do not have time for a 4 hour round but can squeeze in a quick 1 hour practice session during lunch or after work.  An adequate and course-comparable practice facility is becoming a must for relevant private clubs.  As more and more members and golf teams use the practice areas, tee space becomes a issue; and as golfers continue to hit balls further, length and safety also becomes an concern. 
Below is the plan for an updated practice facility, there are some major changes here, they include:
  • Creating a fairway down the middle with target greens and bunkers to funnel shots down the center.
  • Bowl out the range to aid in keeping balls on the facility for more efficient ball pick up.
  • Provide tree screening.
  • Move the teeing ground back to provide more length.
  • Remove the current short game practice area and enlarge the teeing ground.
  • Move the short game practice area to the current 12th hole.
  • Move the east teeing ground to the corner for added safety.
  • Alter the cart paths around the range tee.
You can click on the picture to enlarge it, here you will see all the proposed changes.  The major change is making our current 12th hole a short game practice area, this takes 12 out of play and allows us to move the range tee further back.  A new par 3 10th hole would be built to replace 12, more on this later. 

Our current view of the range facility.

The proposed view of the range facility.
Over the next few weeks I will highlight a section of the course and provide details on the Master Plan.  Next up I will review the plan on the new par 3 10th hole that will replace our current 12th hole.