Griffin Gate Golf Club in Lexington, Kentucky was a new design from ASGCA Past President Rees Jones and Rees Jones, Inc. Golf Course Design in 1981. This summer, Jones completed a renovation project, including extensive bunker updates with Better Billy Bunker, an ASGCA Merit Partner.

“It has been a rewarding experience upgrading Griffin Gate,” Jones said. “The Rees Jones team, led by Bryce Swanson, ASGCA, and Marriott golf, has brought the golf course into the 21st century. The refreshed, more diversified layout enhances every level of players’ golf experience by providing new challenges each round.”

Jones utilized the highly successful Better Billy Bunker Method throughout the golf course at the Kentucky resort. This innovative bunker system is also featured at a collection of the game’s premier golf courses, including Valhalla in Louisville, Bethpage Black in New York and Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, site of the 2016 Ryder Cup. 

As part of the project at Griffin Gate, approximately 80 bunkers were replaced, reduced or reshaped, while overall the course now has reduced bunker coverage from 133,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet.

“This bunker renovation allows us to create more consistent playing conditions for our members and guests,” said Donald Hobbs, director of golf at Griffin Gate Golf Club. “As a result, we will greatly enhance a golf course already known for its competitive play, beauty and environmentally friendly appeal.”

In addition to the bunkers and greens complex initiatives, the renovation included refining the areas around the greens, the re-defining of fairway lines and creating chipping areas to give the course more varied challenges. The combined refinements are expected to further heighten the popularity that Griffin Gate has enjoyed for the last three decades.

“Rees Jones has helped to define all that is great about this golf course, as his design vision appeals to golfers of all playing levels,” said Theona Simbrat, general manager of Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa. “Griffin Gate finished 2014 ranked No. 2 in the Marriott Golf portfolio based on overall golf course conditions, and that’s pretty strong company. On the heels of this renovation, we’re now in a position to take the next step in becoming the premier resort golf course destination in this region for years to come.”