Design Notes

Robert Trent Jones II charts a course for Grenada’s Mulan

Pete Dye’s Keswick Hall in Virginia gets a Scot Sherman renovation; Philadelphia Country Club tabs Jim Nagle for its Flynn restoration


Initial golf construction is underway for the new Mulan Golf Club, located on the island of Grenada, West Indies, in the Caribbean Sea — the first 18-hole layout in the country. The course is part of the extensive Grenada National Resort project, which will include a five-star hotel and other resort amenities. Feature shaping is expected to start later this year, while the hotel will break ground next year.

The rugged, natural setting is dotted with beautiful, extinct volcanoes rising out of both land and water. The routing starts high above the sea and plays through three types of landforms — jungle ridgelines, valley bowls and seaside bluffs — with 180-degree Caribbean Sea views on nearly every hole. The final three holes play along the beach.

"We are working with an unparalleled natural canvas that will serve as a setting for a course that will blend into the beautiful terrain," said Mike Gorman, senior project architect for Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects (RTJ II). "Mulan Golf Club will be another must-play golf course in the Caribbean. Grenada has long been considered a great sailing destination and now golf will become part of this storied island. Guests will appreciate that this is a 'golf first' core layout that works to preserve and emphasize the natural terrain."

The Grenada National Resort project is being developed by San Francisco Bay Area-based Hengsheng Group, with approval and support of the Grenada government.

"We’re thrilled to be building the first 18-holer on the beautiful island of Grenada," said Robert Trent Jones Jr., founder and CEO of RTJ II. "We’re committed to helping bring more guests to enjoy the natural beauty, with spectacular views from most of the golf holes and strategic options to match. We’re all very excited to see the project come to fruition and start a new chapter in Grenada’s golf history."


Pete Dye’s Full Cry course at Keswick Hall near Charlottesville, Virginia, has benefited from a renovation by Scot Sherman, lead architect at Davis Love III’s Love Golf Design. Dye’s original 2014 creation was an extreme makeover of a 1992 Arnold Palmer design, which itself was a re-do of a 1948 Fred Friendly layout. Sherman’s aim was to instill more variety and challenge into the shot values, while preserving the classic Dye strategies and aesthetics.

"After working with the Dyes over the years, studying almost all of their courses, and renovating several during my career, I do have a good feel for their work of the past," Sherman said. "My observation is that Pete’s best courses are often his most eclectic in style, such as The Golf Club, Harbour Town and Crooked Stick. We started with modifications to four holes on Full Cry with additional railroad ties to enhance the theme already influenced by the nearby working rail line. We have also presented more choices on these holes to increase the interest."

Sherman added pot bunkers to the center of the third hole, which also embraced additional use of railroad ties. He tweaked the massive Sahara bunker at the seventh hole, and introduced a closely-mown approach and a greenside pot bunker. "Playing a forgiving 85 yards from the front tee and a daunting 193 yards from the back, the seventh hole is a splendid example of Dye’s genius for visual intimidation," Sherman said. "The redesign has made a classic hole even better."

Increased options, bunkers and railroad ties on holes 13 and 14 have elevated the Dye presence even further. "Pete Dye always liked to tinker and improve his golf course creations, so it’s an honor we’re carrying on his incredible legacy here at Full Cry just as he would have done," said Robert Hardie, the property’s owner. "We are blessed to have one of Pete’s great golf course designs here at Keswick Hall for our members and guests to enjoy for decades to come."

In the coming months and years, Sherman anticipates addressing turf and irrigation concerns should they arise, as well as assessing other holes that could benefit from enhancements in playability, maintainability and appearance.

In early October, architect Jim Nagle was appointed by historic Philadelphia Country Club in suburban Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, to plan for infrastructure improvements and a restoration of its 1927 William Flynn-design.

Nagle, a partner in Forse Golf Design with Ron Forse, is one of the industry’s foremost experts at Flynn restorations. The members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Forse Design plan, which includes a new irrigation system, rebuilding of all bunkers, greens and tees and a re-grassing of the fairways.

In awarding the project to Nagle, the club considered Nagel’s successful renovation of its Centennial nine-hole course, the club’s long and effective working relationship with Nagle and Forse Design and the company’s extensive knowledge and expertise with Flynn’s portfolio.

Nagle’s successful design and build of an extensive PCC practice facility bolstered this decision. The club, which played host to the 1939 U.S. Open, won by Byron Nelson over Sam Snead, asserts that this will be the most comprehensive project for the golf course since Flynn completed construction in 1927.