Lobb + Partners to redesign Canada’s Chilliwack; Todd Quitno fine-tunes Wisconsin’s Westmoor
Quivira Golf Club, the stunning Jack Nicklaus Signature Design perched on the end of the Baja California Peninsula — literally at Kilometer 0 — has made some changes to the golf course routing. To accommodate ongoing projects around the site, and in anticipation of a second golf course, the holes have been rerouted.
The recent debut of the Beach Club, an exclusive new amenity for Quivira Los Cabos residents and their guests, necessitated the elimination of the beachfront cart path that led from the staging area to the former first tee.
The par-4 18th hole, a classic links-style hole flanked to the left by an arroyo and to the right by dunes and mesquite trees, now functions as the first hole. The broad contoured fairway leads to an infinity-edge green that appears to float on the ocean. Facing toward the prevailing breeze, Quivira’s new first hole provides a firm, but fair, test and solid start to the round.
To facilitate access to this hole, director of golf Antonio Reynante explained that a new thoroughfare had to be created. Players now exit the north end of the driving range and follow a well-marked golf cart path and a formal crossing of the main road to reach the first tee.
The holes thereafter follow suit: the original first hole, a subtle left-to-right dogleg with a sandy arroyo crossing the fairway 100 yards short of the undulating green, is now No. 2.
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One advantage of the reordering of Quivira’s holes is the fact that the par-4 ninth hole (previously the eighth), which plays uphill to a bi-level green tucked in a cleft of the dunes, leads directly to the Oasis, the club’s main comfort station. It’s now a true halfway house that marks the midpoint of the round.
Other advantages: Reynante believes the course is now more "connected," with a more balanced par-35 front nine and par-37 back nine.
A round at Quivira now concludes at the previous 17th hole, a new creation that debuted in June that was built to replace a hole requisitioned by the Alvar development. The new 18th hole, a tactician’s delight, is a relatively short par 4 that doglegs to the right around a vast sandy waste area.
According to Jim Lipe, a long-time Jack Nicklaus Design consultant, the hole presents a unique risk-reward scenario. “Flirting with the waste area on the right will give players the best angle into the green,” he said.
The three-level putting surface, skewed to the line of play, is 100 feet long and barely 30 feet wide. It may appear fairly benign, and good players will be gunning for birdie, but par is a good score for most golfers at new No. 18. When the final putts are holed, players can look up from the exalted perch of the putting surface to savor a panoramic view of the sea.
"It almost feels like a new course," Reynante said. "Our members and residents love the new sequencing of holes. We’ve also eliminated the long drive from the previous 17th green to the former 18th tee," which he said often resulted in backups on the finishing hole. Instead, there’s now a relaxing downhill drive from the 18th green to the clubhouse.
Gil Hanse and his team are onsite for the restoration of our famed Lake Course! The equipment may be a bit different, shown here under construction in 1922 vs today, but the work will be just as loved by all who tee off on our "graveyard of champions" ⛳ #OlympicClub #OCgolf #TBT pic.twitter.com/HhOXPpuEUF
— The Olympic Club (@TheOlympicClub) December 15, 2022
CHILLIWACK HITS THE RESET BUTTON
Members of Chilliwack Golf Club in British Columbia, Canada have approved a redesign plan from the architecture firm of Lobb + Partners. Located 55 miles east of Vancouver, Chilliwack was designed by local golf legend Ernest Brown in 1958. After nearly 65 years, the club realized it was time to hit the refresh button.
"As a club, we recognize the need to be proactive in our approach to long-term planning to ensure sustainable business and golf operations," said general manager Bryan Ewart. "The work from Lobb + Partners is a really important part of this process."
The focus of the redesign is to create golf holes that appeal to a wider range of players and to improve operational efficiencies. Proposed changes will result in a more sustainable irrigation system, which will be redesigned and updated. The maintained golf areas will be slashed by 30 percent, from 93 acres to 63 acres. Adding forward tees will promote natural grasses requiring less maintenance to make up the difference in space, allowing for texture to pop through in the historically dry Fraser Valley. A bump up in short-grass areas will enhance playability.
Another element of the plan includes a bunker reduction from 57 to 46. However, the bunkers that remain will take on greater relevance through new locations, shapes and a new style, intended to boost the layout’s aesthetic appeal. Five new greens are planned, with others undergoing minor alterations. The routing will remain unchanged.
Established in 2016, Lobb + Partners is the vision of Tim Lobb, an Australian architect who later relocated to London to work with European Golf Design and then as partner with Aussie legend Peter Thomson in Thomson Perrett and Lobb. In 2018, Alex Hay established the British Columbia office of Lobb + Partners, along with Oliver Tubb.
"At the forefront of this plan is a desire to present accessible and appealing golf for as many golfers and potential golfers as possible," Tubb said. "We aim to do this through expanded short-grass areas, with increased widths, and by ensuring the golfers experience more naturalized areas as they move around the course. Collectively, we are really excited for where this project is headed."
Located in Brookfield, Westmoor enjoys a strong architectural pedigree, with links to midwestern great William Langford and an equally strong tournament history, with Andy North and Steve Stricker both winning Wisconsin State Open Championships there.
In 2008, Quitno, then Lohmann Golf Designs’ senior architect, undertook a major renovation that integrated modern features into the style that Langford employed in his 1957 reworking of the fourth through eighth holes. Now on his own, Quitno returned several years ago to make further inroads toward establishing a more seamless Langford look.
He built new bunkers that featured a deep, flat-bottomed style with placements along strategic diagonals at distances that reflect today’s equipment advancements. Each green was equipped with new drainage and was re-grassed. Several greens were re-contoured or rebuilt to increase usable hole locations. In addition to providing improved playability and maintainability, the new grasses require considerably less water and chemicals.
In 2022, Quitno Golf Designs is continuing work with Westmoor to further update the bunkering, based on a 2021 master plan. Introducing modern materials and a new style that will reduce maintenance inputs was the goal. In November, the club showed off its progress at the first hole, with Quitno noting on Twitter, "Bunkers simplified, new entry to green on right, left half of the green recontoured and expanded. Nice detail work by @golfcreations and WCC crew!"
The new look 1st at Westmoor CC. Bunkers simplified, new entry to green on right, left half of green recontoured and expanded. Nice detail work by @golfcreations and WCC crew! pic.twitter.com/PWG6BxscuC
— Quitno Golf Designs (@QuitnoGolf) November 2, 2022