Ray Hearn plots a Short Course for Michigan’s Boyne Golf; Jorge Santana da Silva finally set to open Portugal’s Herdade do Pinheirinho
One of the world’s top 50 courses, Casa de Campo Resort’s Teeth of the Dog, is on tap for what the property calls a "facelift" in 2025. All previous updates were performed by original architect Pete Dye, who passed away in 2020. Dye considered the 1971 creation to be his very favorite of all the courses he designed. Jerry Pate, along with his senior designer Steve Dana, will handle the work.
With seven holes set on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, Teeth of the Dog is not only ranked as the best course in the Dominican Republic, but it’s judged to be among the most spectacular in the world. Pate, who has dozens of course design or co-design credits to his name, has enjoyed a long association with Casa de Campo, including a role as consultant for design changes to all of the resort’s courses. He first became acquainted with Teeth of the Dog when the course played host to the 1974 World Amateur Team Championship for the Eisenhower Trophy. The United States won the competition and Pate led the four-man team as low scorer, earning co-medalist honors overall.
Tees, fairways and greens will be regrassed with Pure Dynasty paspalum, a turf product that features exceptional saltwater tolerance, and the entire course will be sand-capped to ensure enhanced drainage and soil depth. Bunkers will see drainage improvements as well. Tees will be leveled and cart paths repaired. Actual design tweaks will be minimal, other than lengthening a handful of holes.
Other developments in progress at Casa de Campo include adding nine holes (from neighboring La Romana Country Club) to the 27-hole Dye Fore layout; planning the creation of a par-3 layout near its Dye-designed Links course; and the addition of a Himalayas-style putting green adjacent to the Teeth of the Dog.
Excitement is building for the reborn 9-hole Golden Gate Park #Golf Course. Closed for renovation in March 2023, it's on track for a Fall reopening. #SanFrancisco will soon have one of the premier 9 hole, par 3 municipal courses in the country - right here in the best urban park… pic.twitter.com/WWU7rT0FNo
— San Francisco Public Golf Alliance (@SFPublicGolf) July 27, 2023
MICHIGAN'S BOYNE GOLF TO EXPAND AGAIN
Boyne Golf in Northern Michigan, one of America’s largest golf and resort destinations, announced in late July that construction is underway on a Ray Hearn-designed nine-hole short course and an adjacent Himalayan-style putting course near its main lodge at The Highlands resort property in Harbor Springs.
The 11th course at the resort represents a piece of Boyne Golf’s long-term vision to meet the resort’s growth needs by developing several short courses at its various locations nationwide.
"Short courses have been gaining in popularity since they increase the opportunities to enjoy the game for everyone. Non-golfers and families can enjoy it as an activity while avid golfers can play a few more holes without playing another 18, since fun is paramount to the experience," said Josh Richter, senior vice president of golf operations for Boyne Resorts. "The new short course at The Highlands will add an entirely new dimension to our portfolio. We have plans to build short courses at our other facilities in upcoming years, as well."
Hearn, a renowned Michigan golf course architect, was a natural fit to work with Boyne Golf teams on the design for this new golf experience. Over the past several years, he has worked closely with Boyne Golf and developed a trust modernizing its classic course designs while respecting the original architect’s philosophy and making them more enjoyable golf experiences.
"My favorite part of the project are the famous approximate green complexes I was able to create," Hearn said. "I drew inspiration from some of my favorite greens in Scotland, Ireland, and America (Eden, Punch Bowl, Short, Redan, Reverse Redan, Partial Volcano, Steep Slope, Postage Stamp and Biarritz) that I have played and studied over the years. I was able to create fun, ‘kinda-sorta’ scaled down versions of the originals and route them along the ski slope with uphill, downhill, and sidehill holes creating some thrilling golf shots."
This new yet-to-be-named short course will be lit for nighttime rounds and is located on the site of the former Cuff Links nine-hole par-3 course. It’s designed to first and foremost be fun and allow golfers of all levels to enjoy the experience. Each golfer can determine the level of challenge that suits them for that round. The course will feature downhill, flat, uphill and sidehill fairway lies, generally moving horizontally back and forth across the slope.
Two to three fairway options are available for each hole. Shorter-length options offer fewer hazards in the line of play and longer options offer more hazards and strategic risks. Additionally, there will be only two heights of grass (green and fairway) surrounded by a sparse fescue secondary rough grass. The greens will feature a slight flavor of some of Hearn’s favorite greens from the British Isles. All skill levels will enjoy playing this course.
Likewise, the new Himalayan-style, nine-hole putting course is being designed to be fun for golf-o-holics and non-golfers alike. The undulations will challenge and entertain all ages in a relaxed setting. The correct “aiming point” will often not be the straightest.
Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2023. The planned course opening will be in the spring of 2024.
HERDADE DO PINHEIRINHO GETS NEW LIFE
Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva is resurrecting his long dormant layout at Herdade do Pinheirinho on Portugal’s Costa Azul.
In 2012, 18 holes of a planned 27 opened briefly to limited play, with the other nine nearing completion. However, as with several Portuguese projects during that period, further progress stopped, due to the economic downturn and substantial problems with Banco Espirito Santo, the bank that had been financing the project. In 2020-2021, new owners VIC Properties took over and hired Santana da Silva to bring the golf course back to life. Earlier in 2023, Santana da Silva completed the Ombria Resort’s 18-hole course in Portugal’s Algarve region.
Located on Portugal’s Blue Coast, in between David McLay Kidd’s Terras da Comporta and Fazio Design’s CostaTerra, Discovery Land Company’s first foray into Continental Europe, the course at Herdade do Pinheirinho is located in an environmentally protected area very close to the coastline.
"The soil all over the site is sandy," Santana da Silva told GolfCourseArchitecture.net. “This allowed us to design large bunkers and waste areas without excessive costs. They are integrated into the strategy and beauty of the course, as well as with the natural landscape. We preserved as much natural vegetation as we could, and even in areas where we had to shape, we capped it with existing topsoil full of native seeds."
When Santana da Silva was brought back to the site in 2022, he found it had changed and matured in unexpected ways, including dune vegetation that had surrounded the tee complexes. "The course, in general, is the same as I initially designed it," he said. However, he did make small alterations based on how the land and vegetation had evolved. The restored and revised 18-hole layout is expected to open in 2024. In time, Santana da Silva anticipates reviving the third nine as well.