Hills & Forrest – Arthur Hills, ASGCA Fellow and ASGCA Past President Steve Forrest – have completed a renovation of Oakland Hills (Michigan) Country Club’s North Course. The facility will play host to the 2016 U.S. Amatuer championship.
The course was designed by ASGCA founding member Donald Ross, and renovated 50-60 years ago by Robert Trent Jones.
As reported by GolfBusinessNews.com, “Playing to a par of 70, the North had always been appreciated by members for its playability and beauty. And while the Ross routings remained largely intact, the courses were characterized more by the Jones style with dynamic, sand-flashed bunkers and undulating greens.”
As for the Hills & Forrest work, “Thirty bunkers (roughly half of the North’s total) were rebuilt and, in some instances, relocated in order both to fit them more comfortably into the natural landforms and to provide a challenge to the longer hitters. The North’s bunkers retain the eclectic style introduced by Trent Jones, with flashed faces and shallow bottoms.
“Holes 14 through16 on the North were originally built across a valley covered with a twenty foot layer of peat. Absorbing water when it rained, these peaty soils were springy and unstable, with the grass above very difficult to mow without machines getting stuck. Addressing this drainage problem was a key to the success of the Hills & Forrest master plan.
“Hills & Forrest crafted a new pond and sand-capped all the low areas to address the chronic drainage problem in the areas underlain with peat. Multiple drain inlets were added to direct excess water to the pond, whose banks were stabilized by installing a seawall to a depth of 20’ around the perimeter. Part-circle irrigation heads were installed along the perimeter of the fairways to provide more control of the irrigation, allowing the maintenance staff to water the fairways and roughs independently. The fairway on hole #15 received an additional foot of greens-mix (90 % sand and10% organic material) above the sand cap to promote dry conditions.
“The modifications recommended by Hills and Forrest created firm and fast playing conditions, echoing the characteristics of the holes built on Oakland Hills’ native sandy soils. The beauty, strategy and playability of hole #15 especially were dramatically improved, and the chronically inferior agronomic conditions in the heavy peat soils were ameliorated. The members instantly appreciated the improvements, giving the work ‘rave reviews.'”
The entire GolfBusinesNews.com article can be found here.