Bill Bergin readies Georgia’s Valdosta Country Club for its reopening; Singapore Island’s historic Island course gets a Nelson & Haworth renovation
The Peninsula Club, a golf and country club located on the shores of Lake Norman in Cornelius, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte, broke ground on an extensive golf course renovation project on Oct. 2.
Led by Beau Welling Design, the project is set to be completed by October 2024 and will feature significant renovations to both the 18-hole course as well as other facilities.
"After a couple of years of planning and preparation, we are excited to break ground on a project that will create a brand new feeling and playing experience for the golf course as well as other facilities for the club’s membership,” says Beau Welling, founder and CEO of Beau Welling Design. "We are proud to add to the tradition of excellence that The Peninsula Club has curated for decades, and we believe this project will enhance the guest and membership experience both on and off the course."
While the routing and footprint of the golf course will largely remain the same, many golf features are being adjusted to deliver a strategic, memorable and playable test for the club membership. The renovation, which is being led by Welling and Beau Welling Design senior design associate Chase Webb, includes major adjustments to the course strategy that encourage shotmaking and creativity from tee to green.
Some additional major updates to the course include:
> Regrassing the entire course utilizing TifEagle Bermudagrass on the greens and Tahoma31 Bermudagrass on the rest of the course including green surrounds, fairways, rough and tees
> Infrastructure overhaul and updates, including a new state-of-the-art irrigation system, upgraded drainage and new cart paths
> Strategic tree clearing for expanded sightlines across the golf course as well as to open stunning views of Lake Norman
> Addition of a native fescue mix to out-of-play areas that will provide a new feel to the golf course with more striking visuals while also decreasing water reliance
> Net reduction of bunker square footage as part of a larger recalibration of bunker strategy
Beyond the golf course renovation, Beau Welling Design assisted the club with campus planning that will lead to considerable golf practice area and amenity improvements. The club’s golf practice areas will be expanded and a state-of-the-art performance center with two teaching bays will be added to the amenities. A new golf pro shop will be constructed and attached to the performance center. The current pro shop will be converted to an adult food and beverage offering for membership. Additionally, four tennis courts and six pickleball courts will be added to the tennis complex. The project will also include improvements to the parking area and the golf course maintenance facility.
“Continuing our legacy and enhancing the member experience is a primary focus for us at The Peninsula Club,” says Mike Hoertt, The Peninsula Club president. "Three years ago, the club envisioned a new and improved member experience, and now, our vision is becoming a reality. This historic project will elevate the club to new heights and pave the way for future generations of members and guests to create lasting memories for decades to come."
New 17th hole at Dallas Athletic Club in progress (135 yard par 3). pic.twitter.com/GkQi8oSioo
— Chet Williams Design (@ChetWil73039063) September 22, 2023
ANTICIPATION GROWS FOR VALDOSTA CC REOPENING
On November 18, 2023, Valdosta Country Club will reopen following a year-long renovation from architect Bill Bergin and construction firm Duininck Golf. The venerable club dates to 1917; its most recent golf offerings included 18 holes designed by Joe Lee and Rocky Roquemore in 1977 and nine holes from Bobby Weed in 1988. Bergin and the club came up with the space-saving idea of reducing 27 championship holes to 18.
“The additional land allows us to create a first-class practice facility, almost doubling its size, and add a family-friendly six-hole short course,” said Bergin late in 2022. “Our work will restore Valdosta Country Club to a Golden Age-style venue, fitting its origins and position as a founding course in the Georgia State Golf Association.”
Bergin and Duininck worked side-by-side to rebuild fairways, greens, bunkers and cart paths, in addition to modernizing the irrigation system.
“Bill Bergin had been on our radar for a while,” said Cary Brown, VCC general manager and director of golf. “Personally, I enjoy his style of architecture and, seeing some of his other projects similar to ours, and how his bunkering and design work always seem natural and not fabricated, we were hoping he would be available and willing to work with us.
“Of course, it helped that Bill was extremely confident and comfortable working with Duininck Golf as well, given their long history of shared projects. Ultimately, we just want what is best for our members and their guests. Duininck Golf has been an excellent partner in what will be a great finished product for our members and club.”
Bergin is especially proud of the transformation. “Valdosta Country Club will be one of our best transformations ever,” he said. “We’ve teamed with Duininck Golf to create a golf course that fits Valdosta Country Club’s historic roots while being mechanically prepared to handle the next 30 years of play—or even more.”
NELSON & HAWORTH TO OVERSEE SINGAPORE ISLAND RENO
Singapore Island Country Club has begun a renovation on its Island course, helmed by the design firm of Nelson & Haworth. The project began on Sept. 17.
The Island course, one of three championship layouts at the prestigious club, was designed in 1932 by Peter Robinson, a professional from Braid Hills Golf Club in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1998, Aussie legend Peter Thomson modified the course, including adding bunkers. The Island was a prominent host to the Singapore Open between 1961 and 2000.
Nelson & Haworth will extend the course from 6,502 yards to 7,106 yards. They will achieve this by creating new back tees and by relocating several greens. A set of ‘Junior’ tees will be installed as well.
Long renowned for their work in Hawaii and Asia, the Nelson & Haworth firm is perhaps best known for its design of Shanghai’s Sheshan International Golf Course, venue for the HSBC Champions and a past selection as the top-ranked course in China.
“With a number of golf courses closing down in Singapore, it is important to maintain the heritage and tradition of the Island course,” said Neil Haworth. “The Island course redesign will keep the traditional style of golf courses built in the 1920s and 1930s.”
Further highlights of the project will be the replacement of turfgrass and irrigation in order to better accommodate cart traffic and to make for an improved walking experience.
“Of late, the membership value has been creeping up slightly and might even go north in the months ahead,” said Vincent Wee, SICC President. “The lease extension for the Island location until 2040 is now secured, and we should embark on the redevelopment of the Island course to optimize golf course usage during inclement weather.”
The club also features the Bukit course and the New course, the latter redesigned in 2021 by Graham Marsh that combined 36 holes into 27. “Just like what we have done for the New course, this presents an opportunity for the team and various consultants to plan and adopt the best practices with the latest technology on construction, irrigation, water harvesting and improved turfgrass varieties to ensure course sustainability and efficiency,” said Ivan Chua, SICC Captain and Chairman of the Island Golf Redevelopment Projects Committee. “Most importantly, we will have an improved playing experience for golfers.”
The Island course renovation is expected to take 18 months to complete (weather permitting) with staggered closure of the holes in the earlier phase to minimize the duration of the total course closure.