Design Notes

Tom Fazio, Beau Welling to renovate Augusta Municipal

Trevor Dormer retained to reimagine Nebraska’s Old Dane; Craig & Coyne refurbish South Carolina’s The Fort Club

On the eve of the 2024 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley shared some big news about design updates — not to Augusta National, but to Augusta Municipal Golf Course.

Nicknamed the "Cabbage Patch" — or "The Patch" — for short, Augusta’s muni dates to 1928, sits adjacent to Daniel Field Airport and is situated 15 minutes (five miles) from Augusta National.

Augusta Municipal Golf Course — known as "The Patch" — in Augusta, Georgia.

"The collaboration announced last year with the City of Augusta, Augusta Technical College and the First Tee of Augusta aims to create affordable pathways to discover the game of golf as well as to develop tomorrow’s leaders within the business and workforce of the game," Ridley said.

Augusta National is leasing the facility from the City of Augusta, and representatives have already held community input sessions with frequent stakeholders of The Patch.

"In that regard, we have retained two of golf’s most respected designers, Tom Fazio and Beau Welling, to lead the renovation of this historic municipal course," Ridley said. "Along with our partners, we are excited to get started next January with the goal of an April 2026 opening."

> RELATED: How an early Pete Dye moment shapes Beau Welling

Both Fazio and Welling, a former longtime associate of Fazio Design, have worked with Augusta National in the past, so the collaboration expects to be smooth, even if design details are scant at this point. Augusta National is indelibly linked to the city’s muni because many of the club’s caddies grew up playing The Patch.

"The planning is still in the process," Ridley said. "I think it has almost unlimited potential. It has a lot of history. We’re going to honor that history. For example, we’re not going to build a new clubhouse. There’s been a lot of history in that clubhouse, and we’re going to hopefully make it nicer and freshen it up. The main thing we’re going to try to do is to really provide a great golf course and practice area and possibly a short course.

"We hired Tom and Beau to help us with that. It’s really going to be a hub for junior and high school golf. Also, one aspect that I’m really excited about is the Golf Management Program that Augusta Tech has.

"It’s really a confluence of a lot of different elements of the game that can really be a great thing for Augusta. So, while planning is still in process, we’ll have more details next year. I think it’s going to be fantastic."


Canadian golf architect Trevor Dormer, a longtime Coore & Crenshaw associate, is to embark on his first solo course design project, a total rebuild of the nine-hole Old Dane Golf Club in Dakota City, Nebraska. He will collaborate with course owner Will Andersen.

Dormer has largely worked with Coore & Crenshaw for the last decade, including spending more than two years on the construction of the new Cabot St. Lucia course, Point Hardy. He is currently working for the firm on the new Torch Cay project in the Bahamas. He came to know the Andersen family when working on the build of the nearby Landmand course for King Collins Golf a few years ago.

"I had Trevor for two weeks, and I have been a fan ever since," Will Andersen said. "Even in that short time it was obvious what a talent he was, both as a shaper and as a human being. He was the real visionary behind Landmand’s fourth hole — he created a great green that really made the hole. When I thought about rebuilding Old Dane, I had a chat with Rob Collins, and he confirmed my thought that Trevor would be the right candidate to do the job."

The Andersen family bought the course that became Old Dane — then 18 holes — in 2007 and rebuilt it as nine at the time. But Andersen has been aware ever since that the job was not really complete.

"This project is about finishing what we didn’t completely do when we built the course originally," he said. "We bought the course because my dad wanted a place to go and hang out with his friends, and we achieved that, but we didn’t do that much with the golf course. The irrigation system is 23 years old, and it’s falling apart."

Dormer’s plan for Old Dane calls for the 93-acre property to be completely rerouted, yielding a 12-hole course with six-, nine- and 12-hole loops. The course’s driving range will be eliminated, giving space to build the extra three holes. The almost entirely flat site — there is a total of five feet of elevation change on the entire property — will be reshaped using fill from the excavation of a two-acre lake.

"When Will asked me to look at the property, I did so and said to him, ‘I’m not sure there is anything out here that is really worth saving,'" Dormer said. "To his credit, he told me just to propose what I thought was the best solution, and that’s what I have done. There will be quirk out there — the 11th green is going to be elevated by about 15 to 20 feet — and the fairways are going to be significantly wider than what is out there now. I don’t want 80-yard fairways, but I do want people to have enough room that they’re not always worried about losing balls.

"The third and eighth will play on a shared fairway. The third green is going to be like a loaf of bread — it will roll off on all sides. There will be different ways to play the course — I just wanted to get as much golf on the property as I could. It’s a dead flat site, so I’m trying to do some different, quirky things — a tee shot over the previous green, for example. I think it will be significantly more fun and more interesting, and I hope it raises some questions among those who play it. I want people to get out there, families and kids, and experience the game. Removing the range is a brave thing for an operator to do, but Will gave me carte blanche, and I thought, ‘The more room there is to play actual golf, the better.’”

The golf course will be completely rerouted.

"There will not be a single square yard of ground on the property that is untouched by the plow," Dormer said.

The new-look Old Dane will be a walking-only course. “I’m turning it into what I want a golf course to be,” said Andersen. “It’s flat, it’s easy to walk and that’s how golf is meant to be.”

Old Dane will close its 2024 season on October 1. "We will hit the ground running hard,” Dormer said. “This October-November, we’re going to dig the lake and establish concepts for the greens. This fall I can probably get eight or nine greens roughed in, and we will finish construction next year."

The course is expected to reopen late in the 2026 season. Andersen said he expects Old Dane’s green fees — which are currently $15 for nine holes and $25 for 18 — to remain substantially the same.

Dormer is understandably excited by the opportunity.

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “Will is a dream client, and this will technically be my first golf course. I’m not going to put in a safe, vanilla design. I want to do something interesting.”

The Fort Club in Ninety Six, South Carolina, has reopened following renovation of its second nine by Craig & Coyne.

The semi-private club in the northwest part of the state, between Greenville and Columbia, was formerly known as The Golf Club at Star Fort, originally a late 1960s design by George Cobb. The club was purchased by Greenville residents Shane Birckbichler and Jeremy Revis in 2022.

"We were attracted to this opportunity because of our belief that the golf course was a hidden gem,” said Birckbichler. “This initial capital project turned an already good course into a great course, with more improvements to come.”

Phase one of the project concluded late in 2023, involving the creation of two new holes and two new greens.

According to a statement by the club, “Our primary goal with these changes is to optimize the layout of the course and to reduce the occurrence of slow play. In addition to these modifications, we’ve also undertaken a significant tree removal initiative. This action has been taken to create a more open and expansive feel across the course, allowing you to enjoy panoramic views of multiple holes and greens throughout our property.”

Craig & Coyne, comprised of Colton Craig and Tom Coyne, worked with Landscapes Unlimited, which built the renovated course and with superintendent John Franklin who spearheaded the agronomic efforts.

“This redesign enhances the playing experience, transforming The Fort Club into a destination that beckons golfers from outside the local market,” Revis said.