Raymond Hearn plans three par-3 courses for Boyne Resorts; Minnesota’s Grand View Lodge to embark on a bunker renovation; TPC San Antonio’s Canyons course is restoring its Pete Dye bunkers
The latest news and notes in golf course architecture.
> The new Landmand Golf Course in Homer, Nebraska, will open for public play on September 3. It is the first 18-hole course from King-Collins Golf Course Design, a firm that came to attention as the creator of the nine-hole Sweetens Cove, which has been ranked by Golfweek as the best public course in Tennessee.
Located in the farthest northeast corner of the Cornhusker state, roughly 10 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa, Landmand was developed by the Andersen family, which has farmed the surrounding land for four generations. Landmand (the closing "d" is silent) is named after the word for farmer in Danish, reflecting the family’s Scandinavian origins.
The Andersens already own the nearby nine-hole Old Dane course, which it built in 2012. The initial contact with Rob Collins and Tad King came about with thoughts to renovate Old Dane, but the project became more ambitious after King and Collins visited Nebraska and viewed several parcels of land. They were captivated by a site in the Loess Hill, above the surrounding farmland, cleared of trees in the 1970s but essentially left fallow for more than 20 years. Now this 580-acre parcel has become the Landmand course. For visiting golfers, the most striking thing about Landmand will be the course’s sheer scale. The 580-acre site it occupies is almost four time larger than the average course.
The 7,200-yard course has almost 84 acres of maintained turf through the green, with close to four acres of bunkers and nearly 277,000 square feet (6.35 acres) of green surface. Four of the greens are over 25,000 square feet, including the 17th, a tribute to Alister McKenzie’s legendary “Sitwell Park” green, which measures a whopping 30,340 square feet. For comparison the enormous double green for the fifth and 13th holes on the Old Course at St. Andrews measures 37,000 square feet.
“It’s taking our crew about three hours to mow the greens with three triplex mowers,” family spokesman Will Andersen said.
“Tad and I knew immediately when we saw the site and met Will that Landmand was the big opportunity for us,” Collins said. “But it came with a catch. The site was and is extraordinarily beautiful, but it was clear straight away that delivering a course worthy of the property would take a mountain of work.”
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King-Collins is a design and build practice — Collins is the firm’s principal golf architect and Tad King takes control of managing construction. This is the model that has delivered most of the great courses in the last 20 years, but the vast majority of these were built on sandy sites that required little in the way of heavy-duty construction work. Landmand, by contrast, on loess soil — a mixture of clay, sand and silt, formed by the wind — was a much bigger construction project.
“We believe that the total amount of earthmoving to build the course was in the region of two million cubic yards,” Collins said. “That is an enormous volume, but it was necessary to create a walkable, playable course on terrain of this severity, traversing as it does the towering Loess Hills of eastern Nebraska. Thanks to a team filled with outrageously talented golf construction professionals, we are immensely proud of the final product. I believe it will be something that golfers have never seen the like of before.”
> Boyne Resorts has retained architect Raymond Hearn to create three new 9-hole par-3 courses — one for each individual property in Michigan, Maine and Montana. At Northern Michigan’s Highlands at Harbor Springs, Hearn’s short course will join four championship courses on property — and will be lit for nighttime play. The second layout will grace Boyne's Sugarloaf property in the mountains of western Maine. Sugarloaf currently has an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. course. The final par-3 spread will appear at southwestern Montana’s Big Sky Resort, another Boyne ski/golf destination that is home to an 18-hole Arnold Palmer design.
"It hits the mark for the entire range of current golfers as well as an unintimidating approach for that newer golfer, and that’s really the biggest growth opportunity," said Ken Griffin, director of sales and marketing for Boyne Golf, which oversees the company’s 10 courses at three Michigan resorts.
All three courses will feature large greens with three options for approaches. A more open entryway will cater to the less-skilled golfer, while more demanding forced carries will challenge better players. Expected opening for all three Boyne par-3 courses will be sometime in 2024.
> Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minnesota, has enlisted Bobby Jones Links for a bunker renovation on its 27-hole course known as The Pines. Comprised of three nines — the Lake, Marsh and Woods — The Pines is ranked fourth among Minnesota public courses by Golfweek. Work will begin in late September on the Lakes nine. Woods will get the bunker treatment in spring 2023 and the project will conclude with renovations on the Marsh.
The project involves adding, removing and renovating bunkers on each nine, with the goal of improving playability, aesthetics and drainage. All bunkers will feature new Ohio white sand.
> TPC San Antonio’s Canyons course, designed by Pete Dye with Bruce Lietzke consulting, and a five-time tournament home to the PGA Tour Champions, is currently undergoing a bunker renovation project. Duininck Golf is handling the work, which involves reshaping bunker faces and floors to match Dye’s original design. Duininck plans to improve maintenance and playing conditions, making the layout more visually appealing with defined sand features.
“Restoring the bunkers on the Canyons course will restore strategy, playability and maintainability and elevate the course even more, as we look to provide optimal playing conditions for Tour players, our club members, and resort guests,” said Matt Flory, general manager at TPC San Antonio.