Ross, Crace and Quitno collaborate on Texas’ Starcke Park; bunker reno starts at Ayla, Jordan’s first all-grass golf course
Bandon Dunes is at it again.
Last week, the acclaimed Oregon coastal golf resort announced that it started construction on its seventh golf course, as yet unnamed. What is known is that the new layout will consist of 19 holes, all par-3s and will be designed by the firm of Whitman, Axland and Cutten. And if the existing courses are any indication, the new spread will be rife with exhilarating views and shotmaking opportunities.
The new course will be located between the first hole of Bandon Trails and the ocean to the west, amid rolling, natural dunes and scattered shore pines. Holes will range from 60 to 160 yards and feature stirring long views of the Pacific.
"Words don’t really do the site justice," said Mike Keiser, the visionary owner behind Bandon Dunes. "It has so much potential."
As originally reported by BeyondTheContour.com in December 2022, the new course fills a slot that was originally intended to be a Tom Doak creation, with plans that dated to 2015. That par-3 layout was intended to be longer and stronger than the current project.
Keiser is confident that Whitman, Axland and Cutten — who teamed up to create the The Nest, a 10-hole, par-3 course at Canada’s Cabot Cape Breton — will untap the land’s inspiring features with a unique routing unlike any of the other experiences on the Bandon property. Included will be two double greens, the first housing the sixth and the 18th greens and the second, home to the ninth and 13th greens. Keiser believes the site is even better than the one occupied by Bandon’s first formal par-3 course, The Preserve, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2012.
A new dedicated clubhouse will accompany the 19-hole course and, as with The Preserve, all proceeds will benefit the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance. No opening date has been announced, but it is expected that the course will open for preview play in the fall of 2023, with a grand opening sometime in 2024.
Humbled and excited to announce my partnership with @KyleFranzGolf and team on the construction of #Broomsedge Golf Club in Rembert, SC! Thankful to collaborate as project manager and look forward to what lies ahead. What a special piece of land!! LET'S GO!!! pic.twitter.com/1r3O2NrjAO
— The Mazzella Partnership LLC (@MazzellaGolf) November 12, 2022
RENOVATION TO REJUVENATE STARCKE PARK
Starcke Park is on the mend. Owned and operated by the City of Seguin, Texas — just east of San Antonio and south of Austin — Starcke Park is a 1939 design by John Bredemus, who also authored legendary Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. Laid out in a pecan orchard on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River, the handsome but tired muni will get a refresh from the team of architects Brian Ross, Nathan Crace and Todd Quitno.
"Todd and I have been looking for a project where we could collaborate for a few years now," said the Mississippi-based Crace. "When this RFP came across my desk, I immediately called Todd and said, ‘We need to see if Brian wants to collaborate on this.’ It felt like the perfect team for this project."
"I live in Austin," Ross said. "So I’m very familiar with the course and it’s a short drive from my office. Todd is great with the technical aspects of a renovation of this scope and how to make it work within a budget, and Nathan has over two decades of experience working with municipalities and public agencies. More importantly, we all share the same philosophy on design for a public course that sees the amount of play they see at Stracke Park and we understand how to blend creativity in the design without increasing long-term maintenance costs."
The three have known each other for years through their affiliation with the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
"It’s a great site," said the Chicago-based Quinto, speaking of Starcke Park, "with holes along the river and the heritage trees that frame many of the holes. It’s really a tranquil setting for a course that sits in the middle of a city."
Additional planning is slated throughout 2023, but Ross was clear that they want to preserve as much of the Bredemus legacy as possible.
"I wouldn’t call it a total redesign," he tweeted. "We will redesign the greens but will do our best to honor the 9 original Bredemus greens. No rerouting planned."
The trio hopes to begin construction in early 2025 with the course anticipated to reopen later in the year.
NEW BUNKERING FOR JORDAN COURSE
Ayla Golf Club, the first all-grass course in the Middle East country of Jordan, has begun a bunker renovation, installing Capillary Bunkers' liner technology.
The project will take place over three years, with greenside bunkers on the championship course being reconstructed this year, fairway bunkers in 2024 and those on the nine-hole par-3 course in 2025.
Located in Aqaba and designed by Greg Norman, Alya opened in 2016 and originally had the bases of its bunkers lined with a fabric-based liner. According to course manager Atilla Demisroy, the liner began to fail soon thereafter.
"Our bunkers are quite deep and steep," Demisroy said. "They’re typical Norman style, and also large — we have 150,000 square feet of bunker surface — but the edges are exposed to the sun all the time, and the brutal heat beats on them. Eventually, the faces start to crumble, which started to happen in 2018. The geotextile started to degrade and pop up, and we often caught it when we raked the bunkers. We repaired it, but soon got to the point where it was popping out everywhere."
Given its desert location, Ayla rarely gets heavy rain and does not experience the kind of freeze/thaw heave that forces courses in other environments to line its bunkers. However, Demisroy said that keeping the white silica bunker sand and the orange/brown desert sand separate is essential if bunker performance is to be maintained, and this requires a quality liner.
"We need separation to keep the integrity of our bunkers," he said.
The first phase of the project, the greenside bunkers on the championship course, is well under way, and was expected to finish in mid-March.
"I have five guys working on a bunker at one time, and another three hauling the concrete from the truck to where it is needed," Demisroy said. "I’m really pleased with how the project is going."