Design Notes

New York’s Glen Oak greenlights Chris Wilczynski’s master plan

Texas’ T-36 at Baytown teams with Troon on a unique design; Rees Jones tweaks Florida’s Addison Reserve

CW — GlenOak GC
The proposed 18th hole for Glen Oak Golf Club in East Amherst, New York.

Glen Oak Golf Club has adopted a new master plan for its 18-hole East Amherst, New York, championship course, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1969.

The new plan, developed by Chris Wilczynski, of C.W. Golf Architecture, was approved in December 2022 by club owner Tim Fries, former golf professional at Transit Valley Country Club. Fries has been owner and operator of Glen Oak, located in suburban Buffalo, since 2018.

"Over the years, the course has lost many of its RTJ traits and Chris’ plan strikes an excellent balance between the need for enhancing and updating the course aesthetics and infrastructure while keeping the original design intact," Fries said. "It’s been a fun experience working with Chris to develop this plan, and I’m hopeful we can bring it to life in the near future."

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The plan’s first priority will focus on tree clearing to restore the playing corridors and strategic elements of the original design. The establishment of several acres of wetlands and native grass areas are proposed to diversify the environmental habitat and enhance the natural beauty of the property.

Additional emphasis on the project is to improve the drainage infrastructure throughout the property so that the course can withstand the wet periods and remain open for play during the spring and fall shoulder golf seasons.

“The property is relatively flat and when it was first constructed the course relied on drainage ditches and swales to move the water," Wilczynski said. "We have proposed adding drainage pipe and catch basins to move the water more efficiently."

Also high on the to-do list is an overhaul of the bunkers, which have not been rebuilt since they were originally constructed. Many of the fairway bunkers will be repositioned to create more challenge. Many of the green complexes will be enhanced as well. Apart from rebuilding the greens on holes 7, 12, 15 and 17, the plan calls for expanding the remaining greens back to their original shapes and sizes.

“The RTJ greens feature interesting wings that create challenging pin locations,” Wilczynski said. “We want to maintain those qualities as they are part of the original design.”

A new tee system featuring seven sets of tees will provide flexibility for golfers of all abilities by scaling the golf course from less than 3,500 yards to more than 7,200 yards.

"We used the Longleaf Tee System as the model for the new tee system and even proposed the addition of a short tee that would give players an option to play every hole as a par 3," Wilczynski said. "The short tee would be accessible from the cart path so that the course can be played outside of the traditional golf season in Buffalo."

Other enhancements will include improvements to the practice range, a new 25,000-square-foot putting green adjacent to the clubhouse and a state-of-the-art short game complex that will feature three greens set at different angles and elevations and accentuated by bunkers. The short game complex will be located on an unused section of the property near the club facility.


Troon has been selected to manage T-36 at Baytown, an innovative double-loop 18-hole golf course and restaurant currently under development in Baytown, Texas, 25 miles east of Houston.

Located on the former Evergreen Point Golf Course, T-36 at Baytown is the idea of developers Rio Valeriano and David Hinkle of Build Baytown I, and golf course architect Ric Buckton. Landscapes Unlimited is currently constructing the golf course, which is scheduled to open this fall, while The Birch restaurant is set to open in August.

The unique golf course design is being built on less than 65 acres of land, about 33 percent less acreage than a typical 18-hole golf course and will require about 30 percent less water.

The patent-pending Double Loop Course is Buckton’s unique creation and consists of a traditional 18-hole golf course with double tee boxes and two green complexes utilizing one common fairway. Every green complex will be separate and will have its own set of sand traps and/or hazards. The T-36 Double Loop Course can be played as a traditional blend of par 5s, 4s and 3s, as a par 3 short course, or as an executive course with a mix of par 3s and 4s. A little over 30 groups (approximately 120 individuals) consisting of golfers of all skill levels can play the nine, 18 or 36-hole experiences on any given day.

"T-36 at Baytown is an exciting new concept and will be a catalyst to major development on the southeast side of Baytown," said Mitch Harrell, senior vice president of operations, Troon. "We’re thrilled to be working with Rio and David in bringing the T-36 experience to life, both on the golf course and through tremendous food and beverage."

Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida, broke ground in May on a $20 million golf course renovation project for its three nine-hole championship golf courses. Rees Jones and design associate and company vice president Steve Weisser have designed and will oversee the implementation of improvements and enhancements to the three courses.

Phase one of the improvements focuses on the first nine-hole course, Trepidation, as well as on the putting and chipping areas, and driving range. The changes planned for the third hole are illustrative of what’s in store.

The current third is a par 3 of 182 yards. Jones and Weisser identified that the green is only 45 feet wide and the entire perimeter falls away from the surface, limiting approach and recovery options. Jones’ team will add a wood bulkhead along the pond to expand the playable area. A left greenside bunker will be added and the green around behind the bunker will be extended. In addition, the green will be expanded at the front and to the right to add hole locations. They will further tie the right side slope into the ridge on the right to create a sweep of the approach in to the green. Also, tee surfaces will be expanded and elevated for improved visibility, flexibility and maintainability. 

Phase one is scheduled to be completed and available for play in December 2023. The two additional courses, Redemption and Salvation, will be renovated in 2024.

The membership voted and overwhelmingly approved this renovation that will include total upgrades to every aspect of the golf courses. In addition, there will be new practice facilities featuring training and fitting bays and a lit driving range.

"This new project is one that will enhance our membership offerings for existing and incoming members and their families for years to come," said Kevin Baldizar, director of golf. “We are eager to present dedicated space for demos, fittings and lessons. The improvements to the courses and the new facilities will allow us to expand our programming."