Design Notes

Rees Jones resurrects New York’s Monster

Tom Doak’s Pinehurst No. 10 set to open April 3, 2024; Florida’s Hunters Run races ahead with a Kipp Schulties renovation

The Monster Golf Club
The Monster Golf Club at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, New York, originally opened in October 1964.

The Monster of the Catskills is back — somewhat. The Monster Golf Club at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, New York, reopened on August 28 after a complete makeover from Rees Jones and his associate Bryce Swanson. Once host to an LPGA major and long considered one of the toughest tracks in the country, the Monster is back, but in a materially altered form.

"Our vision for Resorts World Catskills always included the reinvigoration and restoration of this golf course, and we are proud to have delivered on this important commitment," said Robert DeSalvio, president of Genting Americas East, which operates the resort.

The aptly named Monster opened in October 1964 as the fiendish creation of architect Joe Finger. The course was the championship layout at The Concord, a prominent mountain resort located in the Catskills town of Kiamesha Lake. The course could be stretched to 7,780 yards, an almost absurd length in the day, and was strewn with hazards and design features that made it the toughest test in the region, if not the country. In 1968, the LPGA contested an event there, playing the layout at 6,900 yards, par 77. Only the winner broke par. One year later, Betsy Rawls won the LPGA Championship at the Monster, playing a revised par-73 course that measured 6,300 yards. Her 1-over-par 293 won her the trophy.

Over the years, the resort and its golf courses fell on hard times, but at long last, a rescue operation has salvaged the Monster. To be fair, most of the original Monster is gone, including the bulk of the front nine. Jones and Swanson utilized land mostly from the old Monster back nine to create holes one through three and 10 through 18. Their design of holes four through nine unfolded atop land that was once the resort’s International course, which closed in 2009.

Nevertheless, some similarities to the old Monster are evident. Jones and Swanson employed several previously existing corridors and green sites for the new holes. They also have emulated the old Monster in the size and configuration of the greens and bunkers and via the use of multiple ponds and Kiamesha Creek. At 7,650 yards, par 72, it’s a slightly more mellow monster than it was in the 1960s, but it’s sufficiently testing to live up to its name.    


Tom Doak’s highly anticipated Pinehurst No. 10 has announced an opening date of April 3, 2024. The first original golf course Pinehurst Resort has unveiled in nearly 30 years, No. 10 has been under construction since January, and its opening will come just a few months before Pinehurst serves as the site of the U.S. Open for the fourth time.

"Pinehurst Resort has been fortunate to be hailed as the Cradle of American Golf, and we’re grateful for all of the major championships and historic moments that have come before," says Pinehurst Resort CEO Bob Dedman Jr. "We’re delighted to have a date to begin presenting this incredible design by Tom Doak to our guests. April 3 will not only be another great day in Pinehurst’s history, but for our future as well."

Pinehurst No. 10 will be unlike any course at the resort, and though it will be Pinehurst’s first new course in nearly three decades, it’s been centuries in the making. The landscape underlying Doak’s newest design features all that is natural to golf in the North Carolina Sandhills, including native wiregrass, extensive sandscape, towering longleaf pines and rolling hills. Midway through the course, Doak takes advantage of rugged dunes carved out by mining operations around the turn of the 20th century. The result is a spectacular course with more than 75 feet of elevation change that winds its way on a path toward delivering a golf experience like no other.

“No. 10 starts out fairly gentle, then it starts going into an old quarry works where it gets downright crazy for a little bit, then the course gets up on the hill and there’s a beautiful, sweeping view,” Doak said. “All of the holes coming in are challenging, even when you move down into the gentler terrain. It’s a dramatic golf course; more than I originally thought.”

Doak’s new layout is draped atop ground that once housed a Dan Maples-designed course called The Pit that existed from 1985-2010. Lead design associate on the project has been Angela Moser, whose international credits include work at Los Angeles Country Club (North), Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Links, New Zealand’s Te Arai Links and Georgia’s Ohoopee Match Club. Expectations for the work the Doak team has achieved are understandably high.

“We’re excited to show off Tom Doak’s masterful interpretation of Pinehurst golf,” said Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort. “From the initial routing of Pinehurst No. 10 to the shaping and design process, Doak and his associates excelled in all regards. Our very high expectations were exceeded, and we can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Hunters Run Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida, has enlisted architect Kipp Schulties to lead a $9.58 million renovation of its East course. The East course, one of three championships spreads at the private club, is a 1979 design from Robert von Hagge and Bruce Devlin. It was last renovated in 2008, according to club president Michael Rappaport.

"Take the toll of time and year-round play and combine it with the dramatic rise in golf rounds since the pandemic, and our East golf course has served our members well,” said Rappaport. “We’re excited about renovating the course and giving our members a refreshed playing experience.”

Handling the renovation is Schulties, a veteran architect who has designed or contributed to nearly 50 projects, the majority of them in Florida. Schulties was the architect that led the most recent East course updates 15 years ago. In the current project, infrastructure needs will be addressed and Schulties will also enhance playability aspects and aesthetics. Construction is set to begin in March 2024.