Design Notes

Alabama’s Wicker Point opens Coore & Crenshaw design

Nathan Crace renovates Pete Dye’s Hampton Hall in South Carolina; Renaissance Golf master plans iconic St. George’s Hill in England

Wicker Point

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s first course design in Alabama, Wicker Point Golf Club, has opened for member play. Located on Lake Martin in Alexander City, 70 miles southeast of Birmingham, Wicker Point is the centerpiece of a 1,500-acre development called The Heritage and created by Russell Lands.

Coore and Crenshaw’s routing zigzags partially through heavily wooded terrain, primarily hardwoods and pines, and along the fingers and coves of Lake Martin. Portions of nine holes will edge the water. The front nine features pronounced elevation changes, while the back nine mostly revolves around the shoreline.

"The lake has so many inlets that it creates hundreds and hundreds of miles of shoreline," said Coore during construction. "I have heard that there is as much water frontage on Lake Martin as there is in the whole of California. But it’s all ins and out, and it is very, very beautiful. The shoreline is very broken, with coves, and inlets and peninsulas."

Built on red clay, the course features Zeon Zoysia grass for approaches, tees, fairways and roughs and TifEagle Bermudagrass on the greens.


Hampton Hall recently reopened its Pete Dye-designed layout following a Nathan Crace-led renovation. Located in Bluffton, South Carolina, a few miles before the bridge leading to Hilton Head Island, Hampton Hall is a residential course that Dye designed in 2004. Long affected by soil and drainage issues, the 7,503-yard, par-72 layout suffered further after the COVID-influenced increase in play and cart traffic. The club retained Crace to renovate, restore and rebuild.

“After my first visit we realized that as well as the fairway drainage issues, the bunkers needed to be rebuilt and the greens needed to be regrassed with a newer strand of Bermuda,” Crace told “We put together an improvement plan with a 100-day construction window, and Landscapes Unlimited began work in April 2023.”

Crace and Landscapes Unlimited restored the greens to their original sizes, softened some slopes to accommodate modern green speeds and replaced the old Tifdwarf with TifEagle. They also added new forward tees and bunkers.

“All bunkers are now visible and have the classic Pete style to them,” said Crace. “When the course was originally built, Pete was going through cancer treatment so he was unable to make as many site visits as he normally would during construction. Once the course opened, Pete commented to the superintendent [Matt Sapochak], who still works at Hampton Hall, that he wished he had added a fairway bunker on the left side of the par-5 third. To honor his wishes, we’ve added in that bunker.

“I also made a minor change on the 18th to eliminate a mound that was blocking the view of a waste area Pete had added down the right side of the closing hole. This is now visible from the tee.”

The $2.9 million project concluded on October 1.

One of London’s greatest Golden Age heathland layouts, the H.S. Colt-designed St. George’s Hill, has retained a multinational team to master plan the course’s future. A crew from Michigan-based Renaissance Golf Design, led by Brian Schneider, with shapers Clyde Johnson and Angela Moser are collaborating with Chris Haspell, who will serve as agronomist and construction consultant and historian Jasper Miners of Evalu18 Ltd. who will manage the project. The team collectively has experience on 32 of the world’s top 100 courses.

Located in Berkshire, Surrey, England, southwest of London, St. George’s Hill is considered the first-ever example of a golf-residential development. Carved from dense forest in 1912, the planned 36 holes emerged as a 27-hole layout in 1913. Tom Doak once considered it the finest of all heathland courses, including Sunningdale, Wentworth and Swinley Forest and even today, critics rate the front nine of the championship layout (Red and Blue nines) as among the best in golf.

“We completed a strategic review in summer/autumn 2021 and derived six pillars,” general manager Philip Worthington told “We set ourselves several goals in relation to Colt—and five points we wanted to consider. Fundamentally, though, the central question was Colt’s own test of a golf course: will it live?

“We want a 27-hole masterplan, looking at the entire estate as one big picture, including practice grounds and greenkeeping facilities. We want to preserve Colt’s design principles, as we are all custodians of a landmark golf course.

“We are not looking for a new golf course architect. We have one—his name is Harry Colt. We are looking for a team of architects that can review, revisit and restore his works to a modern-day standard deemed appropriate by the club and its membership. What prompted this decision wasn’t one specific event. It was a culmination of factors including the pandemic, a review of course usage and playing habits, and a full review of our assets and our responsibility to maintain and improve them. It is a natural evolution, and we are hoping to have options and considerations to take to members later this year.”