Tom Doak stokes the fires at Spain’s Majarambuz, a.k.a. Valderrama II; Nick Campanelli cooks up a makeover at Florida’s Heritage Harbour
In late March 2023, the sports world crackled with the news that Major League Baseball star Mike Trout would be building a golf course in his home state of New Jersey with partners John and Lorie Ruga and that the course architect would be Tiger Woods’ design firm, TGR Design. Beyond that, details about Trout National-The Reserve were scarce.
Now there is much more about the routing and concept. Think length, width, sand and options.
The 7,455-yard, par-72 layout will unfold atop land that once housed a silica sand quarry, along with sections of the property composed of gently rolling farmland. Vast natural sand features between holes will highlight each nine.
"Mike and John found a site with a lot of character to make some outstanding golf holes," Woods said. "The sandy and diverse terrain has so many great natural features that have given us a lot of options on how to create a world-class golf course."
Indeed, The Reserve will be highly strategic in nature as sprawling fairways will offer multiple routes from tee to green, most emphatically at the par-5 second, par-4 10th and par-5 18th. Undulating green complexes with low-cut surrounds will further emphasize the challenging, yet fun-focused design where risk-reward opportunities will be presented throughout the round. According to the recently released routing, water will come into play on five holes, including at the full-carry, 186-yard par-3 eighth and at the option-laden, 585-yard, par-5 18th.
"Some of my favorite golf experiences have been ones that have challenged my game while still having fun and that’s what we wanted to create at Trout National-The Reserve," Trout said. "Tiger, John and I walked hole by hole and this course will do just that. Our vision and his design are creating something special here in my hometown."
Accompanying the 18-hole championship course, the golf offerings at Trout National-The Reserve will also include a flexible short course, an expansive putting course, world-class practice facilities and a performance center. At one time Trout contemplated an island green signature hole with multiple tee boxes, called "Mike’s Choice." The current routing did not choose to go that route.
“The land that is home to Trout National-The Reserve has great history here in the city of Vineland," Ruga said. "Tiger and his team were able to incorporate the history and let the land shine through in this championship golf course. It will truly be a memorable experience on the course.”
Construction is slated for completion in 2025.
TOM DOAK HAS DESIGNS FOR SPAIN'S MAJARAMBUZ CLUB
A golf course site in southeastern Spain that was once intended to be Valderrama II will soon feature the design work of Tom Doak. Developer La Zagaleta has already secured permits for the coastal project, which is currently being called the Majarambuz Club.
The project was first proposed as Valderrama II in 2007; however, the worldwide recession shelved those plans for nearly a decade. La Zagaleta arrived in 2015, purchasing the original Valderrama Club and making plans for a second golf course, plus resort and residential components. In 2017, La Zagaleta sold Valderrama back to the members, but forged ahead with its new development prospects.
In naming Doak to helm the course design — and possibly a second course as well — the developers have in mind a challenging, extremely exclusive layout that will cater to a small group of low-handicap members. The course and club will be located in the Castellar/Sotogrande area, one of the most desirable regions on the southern coast of Spain. Doak is in the process of routing the layout of a course that could open as early as late 2024.
REMEMBER THE NAME NICK CAMPANELLI
Florida golfers wondering where Stoneybrook Golf Club at Heritage Harbour went to can rest assured: The Bradenton property hasn’t disappeared, but it has assumed a new identity — along with a significant redesign. Originally designed by Arthur Hills in 2001, the course underwent a substantial renovation in 2022 and reopened in 2023 as Heritage Harbour Golf Resort. The architect of record, Nick Campanelli of Michael D’Angelo Landscape Architecture, isn’t a household name, but in time, he could well be.
“The renovation of the golf course was a central focus of the club’s rebranding as a resort property,” Campanelli told GolfCourseArchitecture.net. "With that in mind, the course was redesigned to be fun and playable for high handicappers, yet challenging for scratch golfers."
Heritage Harbour was Campanelli’s first 18-hole renovation project, but he first attracted attention for his design skills back in 2010. In that year, Campanelli captured Golf Digest’s Armchair Architect contest, the unanimous winner of 212 entries, as judged by Gil Hanse, Jeff Mingay, Tripp Davis and Todd Eckenrode. His prize was a trip to meet and play golf with Pete and Alice Dye, an experience that influences him to this day.
Several holes on the old Stoneybrook layout were reconfigured, including the elimination of the first two holes, to accommodate new resort development. The old 11th hole was subdivided into the new third and fourth holes and the old eighth now heads in the opposite direction as holes 11 and 12. The fourth and sixth holes feature redesigned greens and the third, 11th and 12th sport entirely new greens. Completely refreshed bunkering was another massive change and fairway bunkers on half the holes now function as crushed shell waste areas, helping to boost playability and reduce the labor associated with maintaining formal sand bunkers. Green complexes now utilize fewer and smaller bunkers and more short-cut collection areas.
“From a design standpoint, initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive to this point,” Campanelli said. “Players love the options provided by the new collection areas that surround almost every green complex. I’m optimistic the experience will only get better as the course matures and the resort component breaks ground.”
TifEagle grass graces the greens and TifGrand was used for collars, enhancing putting surface performance. Also new is a putting and chipping green complex as well as a members-only short-game area. Now that Campanelli’s had a taste of the real thing, he’s hoping for more.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity that ownership provided and personally love the responsibility that comes with the role of the lead architect,” he said. “While I’ve collaborated with other architects on smaller projects, it’s especially rewarding to see your ideas become reality at this scale. We are actively looking for our next Heritage Harbour and look forward to moving dirt on a future project soon.”