Darren Clarke carves The Angus in Scotland; Mark McCumber tweaks Suntree; John LaFoy puts a classic spin on Bent Brook
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
> Central Wisconsin’s Sand Valley will begin construction on Sedge Valley later this spring. The third 18-hole design to be built on the resort property, after the award-winning Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes courses, Sedge Valley will feature the architecture of Tom Doak and Renaissance Golf Design. Inspired by the early 20th century collection of London-area heathland classics such as Swinley Forest, West Sussex, Woking and The Addington, Sedge Valley will feature a throwback layout with intimate connections on terrain replete with sandy soil, native ground cover and prominent rock outcroppings.
In true Old World fashion, Doak identified the best green sites he could find and created golf holes from there. "When you don’t have to think about stretching a course to 7,300 yards, you can start thinking about finding cool green sites without worrying about how close together they are," Doak said. "I don’t have to worry as much about a severe slope at the edge of the green being ‘unfair’ if you’re hitting a relatively short approach into it. My idea for Sedge Valley is to bring back a more intimate scale and build classically styled holes that everyone can enjoy, but which may require some compromises from the long and wild hitters.”
Sedge Valley is scheduled to open in 2024.
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> Ten years in the making, the green light is finally flashing for The Angus, one of the most ambitious Scottish hospitality projects in decades. Set on 300 acres on the Shank of Omachie, above the Forbes of Kingennie country resort near Broughty Ferry, The Angus is approximately 10 miles southwest of Carnoustie, eight-time host to the British Open. The 175-room, five-star hotel will feature a luxury spa and the first signature golf course from former Open winner Darren Clarke, who will associate with Team Niblick, led by Graeme Webster, on the design. Work on the golf course will begin this summer, with an opening projected for 2024.
> Suntree Country Club in Melbourne, Florida, has retained Mark McCumber and Associates to create a new short game area that will include putting and chipping greens, a teaching tee and a practice bunker. In addition, McCumber will add new tees and alter the bunkering on the par-3 12th hole of the club’s Classic course to improve its appearance and playability. Home to Senior PGA Tour events from 1980 through 1990, where winners included major champions Don January, Peter Thomson and Bob Charles, the club is now embracing its future with the state-of-the-art short game area. August 2022 is the expected opening date.
> John LaFoy has completed a classically styled, three-hole redesign on the Windmill nine at Bent Brook Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala. Borrowing from the C.B. Macdonald playbook, LaFoy infused template designs at the par-4 sixth hole, which now sports a Redan-style green and at the par-3 seventh, which features a Biarritz green, highlighted by a four-foot-deep swale sandwiched by the two green sections. Both sections offer player-friendly slopes to elevate the fun factor.