Design Notes

Fry/Straka to design Ireland’s Curracloe Links

Forrest Richardson draws up The Score in Arizona; Chris Wilczynski progresses at Michigan’s Forest Lake

If Curracloe Beach, which will sit next to the new Curracloe Links being constructed, looks familiar, then it's because it was used for the filming of "Saving Private Ryan."

Curracloe Links in southeast Ireland’s County Wexford will break ground in this month. Designed by Dana Fry and Jason Straka of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, the new links layout sits adjacent to the white sands of Curracloe Beach, which served as the setting for the Allied landing in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.”

That particular stretch of sand was named the "best beach in Ireland" by readers of the Irish Independent. The Neville Hotel Group is developing the course in conjunction with its new hotel, Ravenport Resort, a 50-room inn and spa, which will open in spring 2024.

"The ancient linksland of Curracloe Links, with its rolling hills, long sea views and rugged natural bunkers, will offer a quintessential Irish links experience and lure people from all over the world to its fairways," Straka said. "I look at it as an honor, quite honestly. The pressure is frankly getting the job. It’s going to be the experience of a lifetime. Stylistically, we want to do something maybe a little different in links golf, something that hasn’t been seen in Ireland."

Curracloe Links, roughly a two-hour drive south of Dublin Airport is the second golf property in the Neville Group portfolio, the first being Druids Glen Hotel and Golf Resort, venue for the Irish Open in the late 1990s, which Neville acquired in 2019.

“Tourism Ireland welcomes the news of the exciting new developments at Curracloe Links and the Ravenport Resort," said Alison Metcalfe, executive vice president, Tourism Ireland North America. "The U.S. golf market remains a priority for Tourism Ireland, and we continue to promote the island of Ireland as a leading golf destination. We are working hard to drive home the message that a golfing vacation to Ireland is about much more than a round of 18 holes—the combination of world-class links and our unique brand of hospitality, plays a key role in attracting U.S. golfers to visit.”

Curracloe Links is expected to open in 2026.


Few golf course properties anywhere have been as star-crossed as the former Southern Ridge Golf Club south of Phoenix, Arizona. Forrest Richardson aims to even the score.

The property in question had been slated for 36 holes in 1992 designed by Ken Kavanaugh, but before they were built, new owners enlisted PGA Tour player Dan Pohl to do the design work. The 36 holes opened in 1993 as Pohlcat Mountain View, but shut down via bankruptcy in 1997, with the developers blaming the designer for the issues.

The course reemerged as Mountain View, then Cottonfields. In November 2001, it was renamed Bougainvillea, its 36 holes cut to 18, taking holes from each layout. Houses soon filled the abandoned holes. By 2013, the 6,751-yard course in Laveen had transformed into Southern Ridge Golf Club, but didn’t fare much better, closing for good in 2018.

Developer Laveen 140 purchased the property in 2022 and has worked since then with the Cottonwoods neighborhood to restore golf to the site and to add several hundred more homes. Enter Richardson.

"It’s sad to see a community golf course closed, let alone to see it overgrown with weeds and dying trees," Richardson told "During the past few years, the new owners have cleaned up the property and done all they can to get the hole corridors looking as good as possible—even though there is no golf being played. Finally, we’re closing in on getting golf back in the mix."

To provide attractive, enticing golf for residents and visitors of all skill levels, Richardson presented a plan for two loops of 10 par-3 holes, a 20-hole golf course, which would fill multiple needs in the marketplace, according to the National Golf Foundation. 

"Some will say that 20 holes is too many," Richardson said. But we also had the goal to provide enough golf frontage so all the homes that were built on the old course would have golf under the new plan. We also built in the flexibility to combine a few holes to create an 18-hole executive format with two par-4s."

Richardson conceived the facility’s name, The Score Golf Club with the notion of incorporating a musical theme. Different musical compositions would play on each hole, with certain songs pairing with the characteristics of certain holes. Laveen 140 is hoping to begin construction this spring — with happy tunes and a 20-hole golf course to follow.

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Chris Wilczynski returned to Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in the summer of 2023 and renovated the front entrance of the golf course, an area known as the Top of the Hill.

Wilczynski, the club’s consulting architect since 2012, extended the driving range by 50 yards, relocated the green on the uphill par-4 sixth to a spot behind the 18th green, created a new tee complex for the first hole and fashioned a 7,500-square-foot putting green. Wilcyznski also performed a bunker renovation project on holes 9 through 18, which included adding, subtracting, rebuilding and repositioning of bunkers on those holes.

"I was contacted by the club in 2021 to develop an updated plan for the Top of the Hill, which is essentially the first impression of the club and the entrance to the golf course," Wilcyznski said. "The opportunity to make this footprint more functional by expanding the practice areas, improving the circulation, and enhancing the aesthetics and ‘sense of place’ gives the club a more inviting and elevated feel from the moment you arrive."

Wilcyznski worked with MacCurrach Golf Construction, superintendent Ryan Moore and irrigation specialist Michael Kuhn & Associates on the construction process, which included the bunker alterations. “The bunker work at holes nine through 18 considerably improved the playing experience," Wilcyznski said. "We had envisioned these enhancements for some time — since the master plan of 2012. It was exciting to bring this to fruition."