Design Notes

Beau Welling to rejuvenate Vermont’s Stowe Country Club

Kyle Franz and Mike Koprowski begin grassing South Carolina’s Broomsedge; Sergio Garcia stamps a new design for Portugal’s Terras da Comporta

Stowe Country Club in Stowe, Vermont.

Beau Welling Design began work in early spring on a comprehensive renovation of Stowe Country Club in Stowe, Vermont. Welling and senior design associate Chase Webb are directing the activity, which will focus on the club’s 18-hole course as well as on the practice facilities.

“As a design team, we are collaborators at heart, and we are excited to be working alongside Stowe Country Club to breathe new life into one of the best golf courses in the region,” Welling said. “This project will make the golf course more approachable for the average player while retaining the precise challenge that members and guests have enjoyed for 70 years. We’re honored to play a role in refreshing this historic club to be enjoyed by the current membership and generations to come.”

The improvements will include:

Renovating all greens to accommodate modern speeds and enhancement of approaches and surrounds to promote creativity and fun;
Shaping and regrading of fairways;
Replacing and modernizing all fairway and greenside bunkers;
Regrassing tees, fairways and greens with bentgrass and instituting a Kentucky bluegrass/fescue blend for roughs;
Adding length and width, to enhance the value of approach angles; 
Completing a long-term tree plan to ensure consistent turf conditions throughout the property and further highlight long-range vistas and the movement of the terrain;
Expanding fescue stands throughout the property;
Improving drainage on every hole, focusing on known problem areas;
Securing the water future and sustainability of the golf course through replacement of the irrigation system, new pump station and the addition of a supplemental river pump.

The renovation will take place in two phases to permit ongoing play. Construction on the front nine will occur in 2024 and on the back nine in 2025. Welling and his team are concurrently assisting Stowe with campus planning, including a new golf facilities area, practice area, expanded amenities and a future residential community.    

“It’s an exciting time for our membership,” said Michael Harger, general manager of Stowe Country Club and its nearby sibling, The Club at Spruce Peak. “So many of us have a vested interest in this historic course, and it’s been a thrilling process to lay the groundwork for the next generation of golf enthusiasts in the Stowe community.”

Broomsedge Golf Club, a co-design from Kyle Franz and Mike Koprowski in Rembert, South Carolina, began grassing the golf course in May, in anticipation of a soft opening this fall.

The Broomsedge design and build team has selected Tifway 419 Bermudagrass for the fairways and tees. The greens will be sprigged with another strain of Bermuda, TifEagle. The course will not have any maintained rough, as fairways will bleed into native areas containing the club’s namesake broomsedge grass and other flora. Sodding and sprigging of all 18 holes is expected to be completed by August, with the course ready for preview play in October.

"We’re excited to kick off the grow-in phase and begin bringing in even more life to the site," said Koprowski, co-architect and co-owner of Broomsedge. "This is an important time for the project and we’re fortunate to have club superintendent Shawn Fettig managing the process. He’s the perfect person to ensure we remain on track for our anticipated soft opening this fall, thanks to his extensive professional experience with Bermudagrass at well-known courses across the South, including Old Town Club in Winston-Salem."

Broomsedge is located in the Sandhills region of the Palmetto State, 30 minutes east of Columbia. Amid a setting reminiscent of North Carolina’s famed Pinehurst Resort and the aforementioned Old Town Club, Franz and Koprowski have set out to capture the tenets of classic golf course design practiced and perfected by masters such as Donald Ross, George Crump and George Thomas. Inspired by these three legends of Golden Age architecture, Broomsedge features a flexible design capable of testing the country’s most elite amateurs while remaining enjoyable for players of all abilities. But no matter a player’s index, strategy will always be of paramount importance.

Blessed with an exceptional soil profile, the club’s 235-acre site possesses unusually dramatic elevation changes for the Carolina Sandhills. It is made even more unique by an assortment of valleys, ridgelines, spines and chasms. These attributes allowed Franz and Koprowski to move a minimal amount of dirt when fashioning playing corridors and green sites across the course’s intimate 156-acre footprint.

Koprowski, who discovered the land in 2021, was so confident in its immense potential for great golf that he bought it himself before having any fellow investors. He and Franz are focused on leveraging its enviable natural characteristics with a routing that is a throwback to bygone days of course design.

“As new builds have been increasingly focused on maximizing size and scale, ours is a departure from this trend,” Koprowski said. “For example, from the first tee players will be able to see no fewer than 15 different green sites. We’re creating something a bit more scaled down than what’s currently popular in golf design, and reflective of how courses were conceived and routed 100 years ago.”

The Torre course at Portugal’s Terras da Comporta, a new Sergio Garcia design under construction, is expected to open for play in June 2025. The resort’s first course, the Dunas (“Dunes”), designed by David McLay Kidd, opened in 2023.

The 7,200-yard track will unfold atop a sandy base, amid pine forests, rice paddies and sea views, along with vistas overlooking Serra da Arrabida Natural Park. “When it comes to full-on design, this is my first project and we are very, very excited about the course,” Garcia told “It’s something I can really put my stamp on. The site is located in striking scenery, just a couple of kilometers from the beautiful beaches of Comporta, and the land has all the ingredients for a spectacular golf course. It’s a beautiful spot for a golf course and we are building it using the best sustainable methods.”

Option-laden opportunities, slender fairways and small greens will greet golfers, with Spain’s Valderrama providing a significant influence on Garcia’s design philosophy.

“We have tried to fit the course as naturally as possible into the landscape in order to give the guests the feeling that the holes were shaped together with the surroundings by the hands of time,” said Garcia. “Players will find large, sandy waste bunkers along the not too overly wide fairways.

“The Torre course, in general, will favor precision and shotmaking over length and power. It will be a challenge, but also very playable as we want people who play the course to come back, and to keep coming back. With six teeing positions on each hole, the course will cater to all levels of golf from beginners to professionals and young to old.”

Seeding of tees, fairways and greens was completed in April and the course will continue to grow in for the next 12 months. “It’s being created on another amazing piece of land [like the Dunes course],” said Rodrigo Ulrich, director of golf at Terras da Comporta. “But while the terrain is similar, the essence of the Torre course will be a little bit different. Sergio has done an incredible job with the design, and we couldn’t be happier with how the course is progressing. Next summer can’t come quickly enough.”