Lester George and Landscapes Unlimited share the joy at North Carolina’s Contentment; Mackenzie & Ebert add a new hole at the Struie Course at Scotland’s Royal Dornoch
Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, New Jersey, has commenced a course renovation project — led by restoration specialist Ian Andrew — of its historic William Flynn design.
Crews recently began work on the course’s bunkers and the surrounding areas, with work continuing on the course’s irrigation system throughout the fall. Work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The project marks Springdale’s most ambitious golf course renovation project to date and is expected to deliver a more fun and challenging course, while embracing Flynn's original design philosophy.
The 6,380-yard, par-71 course dates back to 1895 and is located adjacent to the Princeton University campus. Flynn is best known for his Golden Age creations such as New York’s Shinnecock Hills, Colorado’s Cherry Hills and for his extensive design and redesign work at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He revised Springdale’s layout in 1926.
Wayne S. Morrison, co-author of The Nature Faker—William S. Flynn, Golf Course Architect, the most comprehensive study of Flynn and his work in golf, recently remarked, “the collection of 17 superb and original Flynn putting greens makes Springdale a unique, significant destination for the study of classic golf course architecture. It’s great to see that Springdale Golf Club is taking the necessary steps to ensure the preservation of this walkable and enjoyably challenging masterpiece for future generations.”
Springdale commissioned the course renovation during a historic boom in golf participation. According to the National Golf Foundation, rounds played in 2021 were up 19 percent over pre-pandemic levels, with growth continuing through 2022 and 2023. The club and its leadership see this surge in new players as an opportunity to grow the game of golf and welcome new members with a best-in-area course and club experience.
We are close to wrapping up the back nine bunker renovation at the CC of Jackson in Jackson, Michigan. The fall colors are popping as well as the beautiful work by TDI/XGD and superintendent Ian Daniels. A great project that is transforming this classic golf course! pic.twitter.com/lNKZchabU1
— Chris Wilczynski (@chriswilczynski) October 26, 2023
FINDING CONTENTMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA
Landscapes Unlimited participated in the groundbreaking of the private, destination Contentment Golf Club in Traphill, North Carolina on October 25.
Over the past 18 months, Landscapes Unlimited’s Project Development Group has overseen all aspects of site planning, design and engineering, permitting, contractor selection, project administration and budget planning. The company is set to build an 18-hole, championship golf course and direct clubhouse and amenity development. Counterpart Landscapes Golf Management is undertaking membership strategies, business and operational planning, on the ground pre-opening activities and will assist with the course grow-in and grand opening.
Lester George’s original golf course design will pay tribute to 1900s legendary architects C.B. Macdonald’s and Seth Raynor’s famous templates: Alps (illusionary approach shots), Redan (narrow, bunker-guarded and sloped greens) and Biarritz (massive greens bisected by a deep middle swale and flanked by narrow bunkers). Contentment members will repeatedly relish a blend of excitement and fair challenges on each hole.
Spanning more than 800 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Contentment is coveted for its location an hour from Winston-Salem, 90 minutes from Charlotte and Greensboro, and a little more than two hours from Asheville and Raleigh-Durham. Plans include cottages and lodging for members and their families and small-group overnights; however, the property will be void of homes to preserve its pure, low-impact, rural character. A comprehensive golf practice facility, outdoor gathering spaces, lake, hiking trails and reflection sanctuaries are in the works.
The literal meaning of contentment is “serenity” that defines the breathtaking land on which Contentment resides. It is where Contentment and third-generation property owner, and Davidson, North Carolina resident Curt Sidden would retreat to find refuge with his late grandfather. Sidden’s father, Dr. Curtis Sidden, 92, grew up there and is heavily involved in the planning of Contentment. Now, Sidden’s vision is to provide the same, happy-place getaway for city and suburban dwellers alike.
Contentment’s grand opening is scheduled for September 25, 2025, 100 years to the day Sidden’s grandparents were married.
“Contentment is a tribute to my grandparents with whom I spent time here as a boy,” says Curt Sidden. “My family showed me the benefits of a quiet, uncomplaining and satisfied mind, and we hope Contentment is a true, tranquil haven for the body, mind and soul.”
“The property on which Contentment sits is one of the most relaxing, rejuvenating and overall special topographies in our company’s history,” says Jack Morgan, Senior Vice President of Landscapes Unlimited’s Project Development Group. “No wonder those looking to dodge the hustle-and-bustle are joining Contentment before the first shovel hits the ground.”
ROYAL DORNOCH'S STRUIE TO GET SOME LOVE
Royal Dornoch Golf Club in the northeast Scottish Highlands is embarking on an ambitious plan to enhance its Struie course, companion to the club’s world-renowned Championship course.
A late October statement from the club asserted that work on the new $16.9 million clubhouse is set to begin shortly, while currently, the greenkeeping staff is operating in tandem with leading golf course architects to press forward with groundworks to create a new par 3 hole on the Struie course. The course, which marked its centenary this year, will also benefit from a $1.8 million investment in a new irrigation system being installed next year.
“Proposals for a new par-3 hole on the Struie have been approved by members, along with plans to replace the dated irrigation system on the course,” said general manager Neil Hampton. Eoin Riddell and his greenkeeping team are liasing with leading golf course architects Mackenzie and Ebert, who have previously carried out well received work on the Championship course. The project should be completed by Christmas and ready for play next season.
“This is a first step towards more ambitious aspirations for a golf course which regularly rates among Scotland’s top 50 but which has been overshadowed by our world-famous Championship course. Once finished, this will be our new ninth hole, with lovely views to Dornoch Point and across to Portmahomack.”
The course will function with 19 holes in the short term, which is expected to help during the construction phase of the new clubhouse.
“The ground source heat pump planned for the clubhouse requires 21 vertical bore holes so at some point this will inevitably mean an element of disruption on the first of the Struie,” said Hampton. “In the longer term, the tentative plan is to start at the third hole and finish at the 17th, building new holes on land near the 10th green overlooking the Dornoch Firth, which we are keen to secure.
“The irrigation system has been showing its age. This project will future proof the course with scope to accommodate any new holes which may be created further down the line once the membership has been consulted on any potential configuration.”
Course manager Eoin admits his team has had to contend with unusually heavy rainfall. Over one recent weekend, 1.6 inches of rain was recorded. “Drier weather would have been more welcome because the area is grassland and low lying,” said Eoin. “But we have been able to get started. While most of the material being used is on-site, the shaping is taking account of the low-lying topography. The tees, infinity green and fairway all have to be raised up.
“We are again working closely with architect and club member Tom Mackenzie, who handled the realignment of holes 7 and 8 on the Championship course. In keeping with our other par-3 holes at Royal Dornoch, this one will be relatively short but challenging off tees ranging from 137 to 154 and 174 yards. I’m sure it will be warmly welcomed by members and visitors alike.”