There is a good deal being written about the renovation work of ASGCA Past Presidents Robert T. Jones, Jr., and Bruce Charlton at Poppy Hills. The Northern California Golf Association has perhaps the most detailed account of the “new Poppy Hills” in their latest magazine.
The article highlights not only the adjustments to the course (including a change in par from 72 to 71) but also notes players now have even more opportunity to enjoy the natural landscape and, “spetacular panoramic views of Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.”
Writer Kevin Merfeld notes, “Every fairway and green at Poppy Hills was essentially flattened, plowed under and bulldozed. Jones, Charlton and their team then looked at the tree line framing each side of the hole and connected the two naturally, wiping out artifical mounding in the process.
“‘We tried to make it a long, flowing slope,’ Charlton said. ‘Let the slope condition be the star of each hole.’
Merfeld also wrote, “The old Poppy Hills was bold and brash, with heaving mounds and wild greens lurking around sharp doglegs. You were tested at every turn, whether you were playing from a hanging lie in the middle of the fairway, or attempting to recover from the bottom of a deep bunker.
“The new Poppy Hills is coy and understated. Every hole has been reimagined, thanks to some intense introspection.
“The new greens are draped in glassy bentgrass, a welcome upgrade over poa annua. The greens are also much subtler, primarily in favoring the pitch of the surrounding land.
“‘We wanted to have at least 10 pin positions on every hole,’ Charlton said. ‘When you do that, you create greens that don’t have those huge slopes, or else you lose a lot of green for hole locations.'”
The complete article from the Northern California Golf Association can be found here.