Monday, December 29, 2008

It looks suspiciously like Shinneock meets St. Andrews . . .

Wow, I love the rolls and folds when the fairway segues perfectly into the putting surfaces. It looks suspiciously like Shinneock meets St. Andrews . . . 

This was a comment I received from a friend after he saw the latest pictures from Wolf Point Club.  Above is the 4th green looking towards the tee.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"What makes you think you can design a golf course?"

When I first started my journey from working as an aerospace engineer to golf course architect there were quite a few naysayers, bad advice givers and mostly those that didn't respond to calls or e-mails - all understandably so.  And eventually there were many who were more than helpful - thank you.

On Friday a young man from Texas A&M met with me in my office about his potential future in the golf design business. I think some would say "Don't even consider it!" and would probably be accurate - it will be a tough road for anyone for the next few years. But I do think there is certainly room for an excellent project for me, just like I think there would be some opportunities for this young man to find an start. He didn't know what questions to ask yet, but I'm sure glad I was able to offer some suggestions with potential.

Pictured above is proof that even a small bunker can create a big penalty.  It is me trying to hit the 2nd green.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Greens have roots!

Not highly techinical, but one day I asked Don to show me some roots.  This picture was taken in September.  They are long, and the grass is doing great.  Don's practices will ensure that in dry years the grass will be strong and lean - not a whimpy and over watered couch potato that can't handle the heat.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Infierno Got Drainage

This fall the bunkers were completed. Infierno was the last one - Don saved the best for last. It is big - 11,750 square feet the last time I measured. It is about 20% of the bunker square footage on the course.  We have a total of 56,000 sft spread across 61 bunkers, and the average size if far less than those numbers would indicate.  

The bunker on #7 is also large, leaving an average size of 600 sft for the remainder of the bunkers.  Don and I both prefer a smaller bunker.  We have one that is 150 sft that is all the penalty one would need around the 2nd green.

The picture above is of the crew installing drainage pipe throughout the bunker.  The pipe is designed to collect the water and get it away from the sand.  Bunker drainage is a big issue today, in that there are many different ways to manage the water and maintenance, with nothing that works ideally or practically.

The best way to keep water out of bunkers is by shaping the land to divert the water, and that keeps the balls out too.  That method would make an ugly bunker that didnt' come into play.  We have none of those!

Holiday Cheer

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Playing safe on #5 can cause trouble

Lou (pictured in the distance) played away from the bunkers on the 5th tee shot - playing safe.  From the far left side of the fairway he was forced to try a long low approach to hit the green - a very heroic shot with a high probability of failure.  He did not have that shot in his bag at the moment and wound up short and left of the green with an equally difficult last shot to the green. Those swales are bigger than they look from the tee.

*Yes those are carts - I often talk about how much I enjoy walking Wolf Point - sometimes if we only have 2 1/2 hours to play we need to ride.  That isn't a rushing 2 1/2 hours either.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Double Green

I don't think much of double greens outside of St. Andrews. These double greens, 8 & 18, just evolved. I kept shifting the 8th green during the routing process to minimize the walk to 9 tee.  You can play to either one from either hole, and with the flag near the swale it is a trick shot.  Hitting an approach on 18 can run long to the swale, and a slight pull on the long par 3 8th will also find the swale.

From the other direction:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deflation at the golf course

Deflation has spread to Texas. The above chart is the evolution of the golf course construction budget for Wolf Point Club - from initial budget to actual $'s - no numbers attached for now - the decrease is 40%. I hope someday building a course practically can be appreciated.

*Golf Course Construction is generally quoted to include just the golf course:
Erosion control
Grassing & grow-in
Feature construction - greens, bunkers, tees
Lakes & water features

The following is not included:
Access roads & infrastructure
Maintenance facility and equipment
Utilities - water & electric
Engineering & design fees

When I worked for Lockheed I always beat my weight and schedule budgets.... more important as they had a bigger effect on costs than actual costs.
When Don ran his own golf course - he did too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


We had a great time at the course this week.
The first words Lou uttered (also immediately after the above picture was taken):

"Look at that ball bounce!"

He was very impressed and highly congratulatory of me and Don.

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