Tripp Davis plants the seeds for Texas’ Kelly Ranch; Todd Quitno to revitalize Illinois’ Cantigny
Midway through 2022, McLemore, the resort and residential community in Rising Fawn, Georgia, announced plans to create a second golf course, named The Outpost. The course was to be designed by Bill Bergin and Rees Jones. While the project remains on track, the new golf course will now be known as The Keep.
As with McLemore's first course, the Highlands Course — also designed by Bergin and Jones — The Keep features stunning vistas and dramatic holes along the eastern side of Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia. Grassing will begin soon and The Keep is expected to open in summer 2024.
Inspired by Europe’s imposing castles, the mountaintop course and cliffside views invoke the identity of those fortresses. The result is a name that honors that idea and establishes The Keep as a powerful, but reserved, entry into the golf landscape.
The Keep logo also draws inspiration from ancient history. The back-to-back lower-case 'k' is reminiscent of the Chi-Rho, one of the earliest symbols of Christendom formed by the first two letters of the Greek word, 'Christos.'
Already renowned for the striking cliffside finishing hole at the Highlands Course, McLemore’s newest layout is situated 1,000 feet above the valley floor of McLemore Cove. One of the unique aspects of The Keep, apart from the cliff edge and the relative flatness of the grounds, is the wind. It shifts from a gentle breeze to westerly winds reminiscent of a coastal shoreline. The result is a mountain course with the feel of a headlands course. Bergin suggests as much when he refers to The Keep as "my ocean course."
"We've been looking forward to announcing our plans for The Keep for a while now, and we are excited to invite members to take part in what will be an unparalleled golf experience," says Duane Horton, president of Scenic Land Company, the developer of McLemore.
TRIPP DAVIS BEHIND NEW TEXAS DESIGN
Escalante Golf, a boutique owner and operator of golf clubs and resorts nationwide, is behind Texas’ newest private golf club being developed in the Aledo area off of Highway 377, one of the hottest new-build luxury markets in North Texas. The Fort Worth-based company is staying in its own backyard to create Kelly Ranch Golf Club, designed by Tripp Davis and scheduled for completion in early spring 2025.
"After walking the land at Kelly Ranch, I was struck by how interesting the topography is and how unique it is to this part of Texas, being reminiscent of the Hill Country," Davis said. "It presents an extraordinary palette to create a golf course that’s beautiful, strategically interesting and a lot of fun to play.
"Almost every great golf course starts with a great piece of land in design, but it also presents creative opportunities to make the golf course a great visual and playing experience that offers intriguing shot options for players to choose their own way around the course."
In addition to the private 18-hole golf course, Kelly Ranch Golf Club’s planned amenities include a golf clubhouse, separate sports club, state-of-the-art driving range and short game area.
Fun day on the new short course at Manistee National. pic.twitter.com/AUHzg9IqIC
— W. Bruce Matthews A.S.G.C.A. (@wbm_III) September 30, 2023
CANTIGNY BUILDS ON ITS LEGACY
Cantigny Golf Club, located in Wheaton, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, announced in early September major renovation plans for its 27-hole golf complex, building upon a 34-year legacy.
Construction is set to begin in June 2024 on the Hillside nine, followed by the Woodside and Lakeside nines in succeeding years. All renovations are projected to finish by summer 2027. For the duration of the process, Cantigny Golf will maintain 18 holes open for play. In addition, Youth Links, the nine-hole golf course for junior players, will remain open throughout construction.
Originally designed by Roger Packard, Cantigny Golf opened in 1989 and was named Best New Public Course in America by Golf Digest. While the facility was updated in 2003, the upcoming renovations mark the first significant upgrade to the property and its infrastructure since opening and will consist of:
— Rebuilding and regrassing all green complexes and tee boxes
— Redesigning and renovating bunkers and certain fairways to improve playability
— Replacing irrigation systems for increased sustainability and water conservation
— Developing an expanded putting green that will double as a practice area for players of all ages and levels
— Adding a new halfway house for expanded event capabilities
Architect Todd Quitno of Quitno Golf Designs is leading the renovation. With more than two decades of experience, Quitno has been involved in more than 150 renovation projects ranging from small upgrades on a single hole to full 27-hole overhauls. KemperSports, which has managed Cantigny Golf since 2014, will oversee the redevelopment project.
The golf course renovation will be funded through a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which funds the continued operation of the club.
"I’m honored to be trusted with a course as respected as Cantigny,” Quitno said. "Cantigny represents some of the finest public access golf in the country, and our team can’t wait to deliver improvements that will elevate this status even more. Our number one challenge is to balance fresh ideas with the distinct character that identifies each nine to invigorate the property and provide some excitement for both returning and new Cantigny players.”