John LaFoy progressing on Nebraska’s Quarry Oaks renovation; Florida’s Glynlea will be Jim Furyk’s first solo design
In 2019, Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club in Menlo Park, California selected Todd Eckenrode and his Origins Golf Design team to create a master plan for the golf course from which a significant renovation would emerge.
Eckenrode collaborated with the private club's committees to develop a comprehensive plan, the blueprint for a successful $20 million renovation. The San Francisco Bay Area club commenced construction on a detailed renovation in April 2023 and progress is ongoing.
According to Eckenrode, the renovation is multi-dimensional, ensuring enhanced playability and heightened interest in the golf play, improved aesthetics throughout, extensive improvements in the golf grounds from tee to green, and with a commitment to sustainability supporting the club's Green Initiative.
Among the key elements of the project are:
Reforestation and Tree Management: Removal of select trees that had been planted without alignment to natural settings over the years, returning the course to one more in keeping with the original design. Adding more native tree species—California oaks and sycamores—will help ensure a reduction in water usage. The reforestation efforts will also help showcase existing mature native oak trees throughout, which are a signature of the course.
Water-Wise Sustainability: Coupled with the use of recycled water, a new irrigation system will replace an outdated 30-year-old system, reducing water consumption and adding greater efficiencies overall. Also, there will be expanded recycled water storage capacity by renovating, deepening, and lining the irrigation storage lake.
Renovated Tees, Cart Paths, Greens and Bunkers: All tees are slated to be rebuilt, increasing overall size, and creating a more natural shape and style, and with select new tee locations added. Significant reduction of non-permeable cart paths to only tee and green areas will improve playability and aesthetics. Fairways will be expanded for added playability and strategic interest while greens will be re-designed to offer an increase in hole locations and enhanced variety. All bunkers will be renovated, including new bunker locations to improve strategy, interest in play, and aesthetics.
Improved Turf and Drainage: All tees, greens, chipping areas, and fairways will be seeded to modern, improved bent grass varieties for highest quality, firm and fast playing surfaces. All turf areas will be sand-capped, with sub-surface drainage added throughout to enhance growth and facilitate better drainage.
We’ve been fortunate to sign a plethora of new clients recently and one of them is the very special Brookside CC (Canton). This 1922 Ross masterpiece lays beautifully over tumultuous terrain and hosts likely the boldest and wildest set of greens in his massive design portfolio. pic.twitter.com/Hy0dsiqvFC
— Tyler Rae (@TylerRaeDesign) October 17, 2023
QUARRY OAKS FOLLOWING MASTER PLAN
As part of a multi-phase improvement project, Quarry Oaks Golf Club, located in Ashland, Nebraska, is undergoing extensive renovations to the golf course and clubhouse, pursuant to the 2023-24 Master Plan.
The goal of these projects is to modernize the course and clubhouse while maintaining the club’s timeless feel.
“With Quarry Oaks entering its 27th year in operation, we felt the timing was perfect to create a master plan that will enhance the experience both on the golf course and in the clubhouse,” said Joe Sutter, the club’s general manager. “Quarry Oaks is already considered one of the top-ranked golf courses in Nebraska, and our intent with these renovations is for it to become one of the finest public golfing facilities in the United States.”
Leading the golf course renovation is architect John LaFoy, who originally designed Quarry Oaks in 1994. The project incorporates all-new bent grass on the tees, greens and fairways. All tee boxes are being rebuilt, and laser-leveled, and multiple holes will see new tee box locations added to create both shorter and longer holes. Quarry Oaks retained Lincoln, Nebraska-based Landscapes Unlimited Inc. for the course construction, the company that built the original course.
All existing bunkers are being renovated to include a drainage and liner system featuring Pervious Concrete — a technologically advanced porous concrete that retains sand on steep slopes during rain events, reduces maintenance, and improves overall playability. Additional bunkering is being added throughout the course to modernize the layout and create stunning visual approaches into the greens.
The multi-phase project began in November 2022, with selective clearing of underbrush and volunteer cedar, cottonwood, and ash trees that parallel most fairways on the course. This helps to create better views of the oak trees that give the course its name and allow for increased airflow to the turf, resulting in healthier course conditions.
“Golf courses evolve over time, and they require renovations to help modernize and enhance them. The Abel family’s commitment to renovate Quarry Oaks is a testament to their long-term thinking, and their vision for the all-new Quarry Oaks is spectacular,” said LaFoy last spring. “From all new bent grass surfaces, combined with multiple new tee box locations and dragon tooth edging on the bunkers and better views of the majestic oak trees, this project will significantly enhance the golfing experience while further highlighting what makes this course and property so special. Being able to see the 100-year-old Burr and White oak trees will create stunning visuals throughout the property.”
One specific change is the rebuilding of the par-4 ninth, with a fairway that will be lower, wider and reconfigured to yield improved views of the green. Another change centers on the par-5 12th, where a new tee box makes this a straightaway hole. LaFoy yanked out cottonwoods behind the green to afford views of the Platte River. The double-fairway at the par-4 14th has been eliminated. Most talked about should be the new back tee at the par-3 15th, built atop the old quarry’s dynamite shack that was used in the 1940s. The shack had been sculpted into a hill and was visible during the course’s early years but had been obscured since then due to encroaching trees.
Anticipated re-opening for Quarry Oaks will be sometime in spring 2024, depending on winter weather.
JIM FURYK STEPS INTO DESIGNER ROLE
Florida’s Treasure Coast will welcome a new golf and country club community, Glynlea Country Club at Wylder, featuring an 18-hole signature golf course designed by 17-time PGA Tour champion Jim Furyk.
Glynlea Country Club is being developed by GreenPointe Developers LLC with move-in ready homes to be completed by late 2024.
The new community in Port St. Lucie was announced on October 26 with a groundbreaking ceremony and presentations by Austin Burr, Regional President of South Florida for GreenPointe Developers; Ed Burr, President and CEO of GreenPointe Developers, Furyk and MG Orender, President of Hampton Golf.
The golf course is Furyk’s first foray into signature design. “Having consulted on courses in the past, it’s an honor to make Glynlea my first signature course,” said Furyk. “People may see a tour player as the designer and immediately think it’s going to be hard, but we’re designing a golf course that’s fun and very playable at all skill levels.”
Furyk brings a fresh perspective to the design process. “I’ve played all over the world and have seen a variety of golf course styles,” he said. “I’ve played a lot of golf with my mom and dad and in Pro-Ams on the PGA Tour, so I understand how the amateur plays and gets around a golf course. “Beginners, average players and pros alike will enjoy the great challenges of this course.”
Furyk elaborated on the design collaboration. “When we started designing the golf course and putting it on paper, GreenPointe’s goal was to create a place where all levels of golfers could compete, play, and enjoy the game of golf. This is what golfers can expect when they come to Glynlea.