Design Notes

Coore & Crenshaw reimagines The International’s Pines course

Jack Nicklaus transforms Florida’s Banyan Cay into Dutchman’s Pipe; Lobb + Partners’ Alex Hay creates a new par 3 for Canada’s University Golf Club

The International, Pines Course.

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are approaching the finish line of the firm’s makeover of The International’s Pines course in Bolton, Massachusetts. 

Located 40 miles west of Boston, The International’s reimagined Pines will be the first new 18-hole course to open in Massachusetts in more than a decade.

Over the past two years, Coore & Crenshaw have created a new course that takes greater advantage of the land’s varied topography, unique landforms and mature vegetation. Not a single hole corridor or green site remains from the prior version of the Pines, which was best known for decades as America’s longest golf course. This emphasis on length has been replaced by Coore & Crenshaw’s signature preference for golf courses that look natural, are strategic and can be enjoyed by all levels of play.

“Bill, Ben, shapers Ryan Farrow and Zach Varty, and the rest of the Coore & Crenshaw team have worked their magic, taking an exceptional site and crafting what we strongly believe will be considered one of the country’s best new golf courses,” said Paul Celano, director of golf at The International. “Their deep admiration for courses built during the early 20th century, the so-called ‘Golden Age of Architecture,’ is an ideal match for our vision of a golf-first experience at The International that preserves and honors the club’s 120-year history.”

The Pines is only the second course Coore & Crenshaw have designed and built in New England. The first is the consensus Top 100 Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which opened in 2005.

Further evidencing the club’s appreciation for golf’s golden era, the Pines will be one of the region’s few courses to feature fescue grass on tees, fairways and in the rough. Fescue grass courses are typically found in Scotland and Ireland, places where the game was first played. These turf conditions, when combined with Coore & Crenshaw’s elevated course architecture, will allow for greater shot diversity and foster an ever-evolving, engaging golf experience on holes framed by sandy waste areas, wispy fescue and stately pitch pines.

Sodding and grow-in of the fescue playing surfaces will continue in the coming months. Other final project tasks include installing new bunker sand, edging perimeters of bunkers, trimming and clearing trees, establishing fairway/rough lines, seeding the practice putting green, and initial mowing of tees, fairways and bentgrass greens.

Built originally in 1899 as Runaway Brook, a nine-hole public course, that layout was abandoned in 1955, when Geoffrey Cornish fashioned an entirely new track, with the help of top New England players Francis Ouimet and Paul Harney. The new spread instantly became the longest course in the U.S. — 8,040 yards — and featured steeply pitched greens and deep bunkers. International Telephone and Telegraph purchased the property in 1961 for use as a private club and corporate retreat. It changed the club’s name to The International Golf Club in 1967.

In 1972, Robert Trent Jones was summoned to soften the greens and bunkers, but he also added more length, stretching the course to 8,325 yards and a par of 73. This calling card began to lose its luster this century, however, as golfers became less focused on course difficulty as a measuring stick for quality. Instead, they have signaled a preference for courses that are strategic, walkable and enjoyable to play for all skill levels.

“The Pines will check all of these important boxes,” Celano said. “With our recently renovated Oaks course, we now combine 36 holes of exceptional golf with a welcoming club environment and culture rooted in a deep respect for the game and its treasured traditions.”

The International’s Pines course is expected to open for member preview play in the fall of 2024.

Witkoff Group, Access Industries and PPG Development announced an addition to their golf portfolio with the forthcoming Dutchman’s Pipe in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Marking a multimillion-dollar renovation and complete overhaul of a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course called Banyan Cay, the newly rebranded Dutchman’s Pipe will open for play in fall 2024. The course will be accompanied by nationally ranked instructors and elevated practice facilities, including a driving range exceeding 300 yards and two acres of dedicated short game area.

Originally created as The President Country Club in 1969, with two early 1970s layouts, the North and the South, designed by William Mitchell, the property morphed into Banyan Cay Resort & Golf, which spawned a new Jack Nicklaus Signature Design in 2017. However, the hotel and amenities were left uncompleted, and the demographics of the region have changed dramatically since 2017, amid huge demand for upscale golf facilities.

Led by the golf course architects at Nicklaus Design, the golf course renovations to the former Banyan Cay will enhance playability, aesthetics and sustainability for golfers of all levels. Dutchman’s Pipe is situated east of I-95 in West Palm Beach, minutes away from Palm Beach Island, downtown West Palm Beach, Palm Beach International Airport, and Singer Island.

"Dutchman’s Pipe will be the first new private golf club to open in West Palm Beach in 25 years," said Alex Witkoff, co-CEO of Witkoff Group. “Land in this area is extremely scarce, rendering new golf clubs within five miles of Palm Beach Island exceedingly rare. The opportunity to control 220 acres in the heart of West Palm Beach is generational and will allow us to deliver a transformative golf club experience.”

Measuring 7,300 yards, Dutchman’s Pipe promises to challenge even the world’s best golfers while ensuring playability for all levels. The comprehensive overhaul encompasses every facet of the course, from its layout and design to infrastructure and amenities. The course will undergo significant restructuring, incorporating all-new fairways, revamped bunkers, and strategic green complexes to optimize the routing’s flow and bring visual allure to every shot.

Strategic landscaping efforts, including the introduction of native vegetation such as Dutchman’s Pipe flower, will not only enhance the course’s beauty, but also bolster erosion control and biodiversity, creating a serene enclave for members. Existing water features will be integrated into the redesign, with measures taken to preserve the integrity of the property’s lake banks, adding both aesthetic charm and strategic intrigue to the course.

Vancouver, Canada’s University Golf Club has enlisted Alex Hay of Lobb + Partners to create a new par-3 hole for the venerable layout. The new hole hopes to address a safety problem that exists on the present layout, with tee shots at the current sixth hole exiting the property and landing on an adjacent residential road.

The University Golf Club was designed by Golden Age great Vernon Macan, who had been hired by Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club to find a new site in 1924. Macan viewed a number of properties, but the club eventually decided to remain in its original location. Three years later, however, the government of British Columbia decided to use the property to develop a new public course, and Macan was hired to design it. The course eventually opened, as Westward Ho Golf Links, in 1929.

Almost a century later, the renamed University course (renamed in 1985 because of its proximity to the University of British Columbia), and owned by the Musqueam First Nation, is regarded as one of the top public golf venues in Vancouver, with its motto being, “Non-members only.” Nonetheless, the course had a significant safety problem on the par-4 sixth hole, which runs alongside College Highroad, and too many balls leave the property. To avert this problem, the club has been playing the hole from a very forward tee, making it an extremely short par 4.

Recently, University hired architect Alex Hay, who runs the Canadian office of London-based design firm Lobb + Partners, to effect a more permanent solution. Hay’s response is to turn the sixth into a par 3, and then to change the seventh hole, now a one-shotter, into a par 4. The project is being phased, with construction of the new sixth hole being carried out first, and ground has just been broken. Construction of the new seventh is expected to follow in 2025.

Hay believes the new par 3 will be an extremely strong hole. “The new green sits perfectly on the natural terrain, moving from left to right,” he says. “Ordinarily, with a green of that orientation we would probably bunker the right side of the green, but to guide golfers away from the road we’ve placed a large visual bunker on the left side and opted for a short grass runoff to the right.”

Hay’s project will also see the introduction of significant out-of-play areas of native grasses to reduce the irrigation requirement. The build, being handled by Alberta-based contractor Goodwin Golf, is estimated to take six weeks. A temporary sixth hole has been created so the course will have 18 holes in play throughout.