Design Notes

Augusta National’s Par 3 Course rocks a redesign

What to know about the Tiger Woods-Mike Trout collaboration; Jack Nicklaus progresses work on Kilada in Greece

The Masters
A masters pin flag at the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.

Augusta National Golf Club’s fabled Par 3 Course debuts this week with a redesigned layout, amid the most significant changes in its 65-year history.

After the conclusion of the 2022 Masters, the club reworked the first five holes of the popular Par 3 Course to accommodate new cabin construction. The net result brings the water of DeSoto Springs Lake more into play, affecting holes Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5. Expect more drama early on in the round.

While holes six through nine remain unchanged, the first five holes have shifted orientation.

Following a tree clearing, the 115-yard first hole (previously 130 yards), which formerly played to the north, now is played to the northeast, near the site of the old fourth tee. The old 70-yard second hole has been eliminated. The new second, at 100 yards, heads to the north, completely different from its previous west-to-east orientation. The new 105-yard third veers slightly more to the southeast than its 90-yard predecessor, which played due south. At 130 yards, the old fourth played directly over the water. The new version measures just 70 yards, with water edging the right side of the hole. The fifth hole had been 130 yards, but now measures 155 yards with its green perched slightly closer to the water.

Total yardage is 1,055, 5 yards shorter than the course’s previous incarnation.

Mike Trout has enlisted Tiger Woods and his TGR Design team to belt a home run with a new course design in his home state. The Los Angeles Angels star, three times the American League Most Valuable Player, has teamed with golf’s MVP to create Trout National-The Reserve, an 18-hole championship golf course in Vineland, New Jersey, the southern New Jersey town where Trout was born and not far from Millville, New Jersey, where Trout grew up and currently resides.

“It’s pretty incredible having a chance to own your own golf course,” Trout told Sports Illustrated. “Getting Tiger to design it is crazy. If you had told me before that this would happen one day, I would have said you were crazy. It’s more than I ever thought possible.”

Woods, a huge sports fan, is thrilled with the opportunity, both for teaming with Trout and with the site for the new course. “I’ve always watched Mike on the diamond so when an opportunity arose to work with him on Trout National-The Reserve, I couldn’t pass it up,” Woods said in a statement. “It’s a great site for golf.”

Trout, who carries a sub-10 handicap, traces his passion for the game to his high school days, when he would frequent the practice range with his father, Jeff. He first explored owning a golf course with his wife Jessica, also a golfer, right before COVID-19 hit in 2020. Eventually, his desire led to local developer John Ruga and Ruga’s wife, Lorie. Trout was already a fan of Woods the architect, with TGR Design’s Bluejack National near Houston, Texas, being a personal favorite. Trout had his brother Tyler reach out to Woods’ design firm and after a site visit from the TGR Design team, the deal was inked.

According to the TGR Design website, the golf course will be set among gentle rolling hills and will seamlessly weave between two distinct settings that include a former quarry and rambling farmland. The sandy site was once home to a silica sand mine which will be evident throughout the routing, giving a distinct character.

Trout National-The Reserve will be highly strategic in nature as sprawling fairways will offer multiple routes from tee to green. Undulating green complexes with low-cut surrounds will further emphasize the challenging, yet fun-focused design where risk-reward opportunities will be presented throughout the round to create an ideal match play environment. The unique nature of the course will promote creative shot-making and optionality, qualities that will be underscored with a striking par three match hole inspired by the club co-founder Trout, featuring multiple tee and green options.

Accompanying the 18-hole championship golf course, the offerings at Trout National-The Reserve will also include a flexible short course and expansive putting course along with world-class practice facilities and performance center. Other club highlights include a modern state-of-the-art clubhouse, five-star lodging, innovative amenities, a wedding chapel and more. Although the championship course design isn’t finished, expect there to be an island green signature hole with multiple tee boxes, called “Mike’s Choice.”   

Trout National-The Reserve is set to open in 2025.

Construction is well underway at Kilada Country Golf & Residences, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design in the Peloponnese region in southern Greece. Dirk Bouts, a senior design associate at Nicklaus Design, is overseeing the work, which began in 2020. Tees and fairways feature Pure Dynasty, while greens are carpeted in Platinum TE paspalum.

“Various obstacles were overcome in order to achieve this goal, which makes it even more satisfying to see the first greened-up holes, Bouts told “With the first five holes complete, it becomes even more apparent how the course integrates flawlessly within the existing terrain, landscape and numerous features throughout the property.

“Greens have been kept gentle and will be fun to play on. Bunkers are on the small end; however, we are making sure they are strategically well placed. There’s a great variation in golf holes, and all through the course there are amazing vistas, not only over the golf course, but towards the sea and the surrounding mountains.”

Situated among olive groves and overlooking a traditional fishing village and the Aegean Sea near Porto Heli and the Greek Riviera, Kilada is scheduled to open later in 2023.