Sunday, July 6, 2008

Golf Course Routing Plan #6

My conceptual design work stays in one file. I create many simple schematics of hole centerlines before I commit to any type of strategy or detail, like fairways. I keep all my iterations on separate layers and can easily track the order and see other versions at any time. Between looking at older versions and working on new concepts - plan 6 from above was sketched - not too long after plan 5. To a casual observer it may appear as if the changes were only minor - but with the knowledge of how the holes turned out - this was a huge jump.

One item I haven't discussed much is how much earth was moved during the creation of Wolf Point Club. Hurricane Rita hit Texas between routing versions 2 and 5 and it was requested to raise the main clubhouse in case "the" big one ever made a direct hit. At one point the Rita's path was tracking directly towards the ranch. I wouldn't have suggested it from a golf perspective, and it was impossible to suggest an alternative given the location and all the freedom I'd been given to that point. The lake keeps getting bigger to get the clubhouse higher.

The most obvious change from 5 was the orientation of holes 12 and 13. The intent was to have 11 & 12 use a single land form as a feature and then 13 flipped over. A small point but you'll see a small rectange - pump house location - on the lake edge inside the holes.

I started to condense the routing and got the 4th and 1st fairways to touch - which caused the 2nd and 3rd to shift tighter as well - while not a big deal in this version - this compression trend has lead to one very unique setting.

I think the condensing came about because of how I modified the 5th hole. What ever came first, the 5th hole became world class because of the change. At this stage the green site is based on a great location from walking the property. The inspiration for the hole may be recognizable based on the bunkering. Can you guess?

I continued with the compressing of the course to shorten the walks from every green to the next tee. As a result I shifted the 7th hole and progressively shifted the 8th green towards the 9th tee. One day I took a big gulp and decided to try combining the 8th and 18th greens. I say gulp because I've seen so many poor versions of a double green where they may be artificially connected by a sliver of green grass. These were going to form one large oval and be separated by a swale. Pictures of the green are almost ready to show - it is very impressive.

For the next several posts I'll be detailing the evolution of the routing plan at Wolf Point Club as recently published in
Paul Daley's new Golf Architecture - A Worldwide Perspective.
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