Kevin Norby, ASGCA, and Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects, has completed a renovation to the 90-year-old Stillwater Country Club near St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Club was originally established in 1924 with a nine-hole course laid out by Tom Vardon, who was the brother of Harry Vardon and head golf professional at the nearby White Bear Yacht Club. Stillwater Country Club suffered hard times during the 1930s and 40s, so it wasn’t until 1957 that the Club hired Paul Coates to design another nine holes on land it had purchased a few years earlier. Since that time, the course has remained largely unchanged.
In 2014, Norby was retained to conduct a renovation directed primarily towards reconstructing bunkers. Working closely with Minnesota-based Hartman Golf, a certified renovation contractor and member of the Golf Course Builder’s Association of America, Norby removed some existing trees, constructed new tees and executed a complete bunker renovation. According to Norby, “Our primary goal was to enhance the course’s classic character while providing a more strategic and more visually appealing golf course.”
One of the more significant improvements occurred on the par three 13th hole which was redesigned to play as a Redan. “The slope of the green set up perfectly for a traditional right to left Redan but the bunkering and tees were all wrong. We searched through old photographs but couldn’t find any evidence to suggest that it was ever envisioned to play as a Redan,” said Norby. “We recontoured the approach, repositioned the bunkers and added a new forward tee,” added Norby.
Other changes included the repositioning of a centering bunker on the uphill par 3 seventh and the addition of new fairway bunkering on the fourth, fifth and twelfth holes. Norby said, “Overall we reduced the amount of sand by almost a third, we improved drainage and we created something that will differentiate Stillwater Country Club from other private clubs in the area.”