Design Notes

Robert Trent Jones II to rediscover Cotton Bay Club in The Bahamas

Todd Quitno breaks ground in Chicago on Cantigny’s renovation; Pangaea Golf Architecture tabbed to rework Scotland’s Darley and Belleisle courses

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The original Cotton Bay Golf Club opened in 1959, but the club and and course were closed following a hurricane in 2005.

Robert Trent Jones II has been awarded the commission to design a new golf course for Cotton Bay Club on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas.

The original Cotton Bay Golf Club was part of Pan Am Airlines founder Juan Trippe’s ambitious Cotton Bay Club. In 1959, Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Trippe created a new golf destination on a remote stretch of pristine sand and sea on the island’s southern shore. Very quickly, the club was a hit, becoming a favorite for golf in the islands and hosting "Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf." The course and resort closed following a hurricane in 2005, but the same adventurous spirit has been rekindled by the Cotton Bay Holdings Group, which has assembled a global team, including RTJ II, to create a brand-new world-class golf destination.

RTJ II is currently in the detailed design stage of the course, with construction to start in November 2024.

"We are collaborating closely with Cotton Bay Holdings and their partners, to craft an exciting, adaptable golf course experience, echoing the original inspiration of my grandfather and Juan Trippe," said Trent Jones Jr., chief operating officer of Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects.

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The sand-base core golf course will also feature unique amenities that all guests will enjoy, including a large Himalayas-style "social green" that seamlessly connects to the golf clubhouse, a flexible family course and comprehensive golf practice facilities. Along with the golf course, the project will include a world-class hotel, residences, spa and restaurants.

"One of our goals is to craft a fun and flexible golf course reminiscent of iconic sand-belt courses utilizing the onsite sand as our canvas," said Mike Gorman, senior project architect for RTJ II. "The course will offer seamless fairways providing many different playing-loop options, which are ideal for match-play golf. The routing will give golfers the flexibility to choose their own adventure during matches. This is the first-of-its-kind design in the Caribbean — a match-play golf course that promises both excitement and fun."

"It’s a thrilling opportunity to help bring the Jones spirit of adventure back to Cotton Bay," said Robert Trent Jones Jr., chairman and master architect of Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects. "The next generation of Jones architects is dedicated to continuing the tradition of providing outstanding golf experiences, and I’m proud to see them keeping elements of my father’s genius and combining them with a more modern, sustainable outlook. And so, the legacy moves forward."


Architect Todd Quitno broke ground this past week on a three-year renovation project of Cantigny Golf, in the western Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. He was joined by representatives of the project’s benefactor and management team, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and KemperSports, respectively. The project will rejuvenate all three of Cantigny’s nine-hole courses, beginning with the Hillside nine in 2024.

"This is an incredibly proud day for all of us at Cantigny Golf," McCormick Foundation CEO Tim Knight said. "This renovation will ensure the long-term playability of our classic public golf course while highlighting the beautiful natural setting of Cantigny Park."

Quitno will proceed with the renovation of the Woodside nine in 2025 and will finish with the Lakeside nine in 2026, thus ensuring that there will be at least 18 holes open at any given time.

Originally designed by Roger Packard, Cantigny Golf opened in 1989 and was named Best New Public Course in America by Golf Digest. While the facility was updated in 2003, the upcoming renovations mark the first significant upgrade to the property and its infrastructure since opening and will consist of:

> Rebuilding and re-grassing all green complexes and tee boxes
> Redesigning and renovating bunkers and certain fairways to improve playability
> Replacing irrigation systems for increased sustainability and water conservation
> Developing an expanded putting green that will double as a practice area for players of all ages and levels
> Adding a new halfway house for expanded event capabilities

"Cantigny Golf has always been committed to delivering an exceptional golf experience while also growing the game of golf," KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner said. "This renovation reiterates that commitment to maintaining Cantigny as one of the best courses in the Chicago area and the country."

Pangaea Golf Architecture, comprised of architects Stuart Rennie and Jeffrey Danner, has been enlisted by the South Ayrshire Council in Scotland to remodel two of the authority’s eight courses, Darley and Belleisle. Rennie and Danner, who formed Pangaea in November 2023, will team with former Open champion Paul Lawrie to perform the work on the two projects.

Rennie and Danner, seasoned experts in the field with over 20 years of experience and a reputation for innovative, environmentally conscious design, have already begun their site reconnaissance. Detailed site analysis, including topographical and ecological surveys, has already commenced, essential for understanding each course’s unique characteristics. The initial design concepts are expected to be unveiled this summer.

"Having grown up playing these historic courses as Darley and Belleisle is an exciting opportunity to bring our passion and expertise in design to get it right," Rennie said. "Our goal is to enhance the playability and natural beauty of these courses, ensuring they meet the highest standards for golfers of all levels."

"Working on two very different courses presents a unique dynamic to the design process," Danner said. "On the one hand, we are looking to leverage and elevate the firm and fast attributes of a sandy site with endless potential in the Darley. On the other hand, at Belleisle, we have an opportunity to immerse ourselves in James Braid’s legacy and figure out how to pay tribute while meeting the needs of modern golfers."

Lawrie, winner of the 1999 British Open and a Ryder Cup player, will provide input into the redesigns from a player’s perspective. His insights will ensure that the new designs align with the needs and expectations of the golfing community.

As part of a commitment to community engagement, once the initial design concepts are developed, they will be shared with the public. This will allow golfers and community members to offer their valuable feedback on the future of the courses, ensuring that the enhancements reflect the community’s needs and desires.