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The Drawing Board: Adare Manor, Northwood Club and more

GCM’s quarterly roundup of noteworthy golf course development and construction projects visits Ireland, an NBA Hall of Famer’s forthcoming course in Florida, and more.


Adare Manor Golf
The 18-hole course at Adare Manor hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008, and the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am in 2005 and 2010. The pro-am will return to Adare Manor for its 30th anniversary in 2020. Photo courtesy of Adare Manor

Adare Manor
County Limerick, Ireland

Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s original course at Adare Manor was already regarded as one of the country’s leading inland courses, even before it was bought by famed Irish racehorse owner, gambler and currency trader J.P. McManus in 2015.

McManus, though, had bigger ideas, and hired Tom Fazio’s firm to completely rebuild the course to a lavish standard. Fazio senior associate Tom Marzolf relocated to Ireland for more than a year to oversee the project, and an all-star team of consultants was assembled, including contractor Atlantic Golf — which, at times, had more than 150 people working on-site — hydromulch supplier Profile Products, agronomists Turfgrass Ireland, bunker liner supplier Capillary Concrete, irrigation manufacturer and contractor Toro and MJ Abbott, respectively, and the SubAir aeration system.

Marzolf says that, from the start, the team knew it was working on a course that the owner intends to host professional events of the highest caliber — McManus is widely rumored to be seeking to bring the Ryder Cup to Adare — and thus took spectator flow into account in the design of all the holes. He adds that the course features essentially no rough, so that players can complete a round of golf without losing a ball.

The site was capped with more than 220,000 pounds of sand, and 50 miles of drainage pipe were installed — a pipe every 5 meters (or about one every 16 feet) — even in out-of-play areas. The road network around the site is extensive, and optic fiber is buried around every hole, to make television coverage of future events easy to arrange. The new-look Adare will open this spring.

Northwood Club

Northwood Club, founded in 1946, hosted the U.S. Open in 1952, won by Julius Boros. Ever since then, Northwood has been a leading golf venue in the Texas city, even though it may have fallen out of the national consciousness.

Created by golf architect Bill Diddel, Northwood was renovated in 1990 by the team of Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, but essentially the course remained true to its original design. With Dallas’ golf scene fast-moving — with the creation of new courses like the Coore & Crenshaw-designed Trinity Forest and the Maridoe Golf Club by Steve Smyers, both of which have aspirations to hold major events — Northwood hired architect Tripp Davis in 2015 to improve the course as much as possible.

Work began in late 2016. Davis has left Diddel’s original routing largely untouched, though the par-3 16th was relocated to make use of a small creek about 150 feet left of the old hole, and the fourth hole was moved to make room for an expanded practice facility. The new Northbridge bermudagrass has been planted across the course, though the greens remain bentgrass.

Davis has added a four-hole short course, ranging from 50 to 120 yards, to make the club more appealing to junior golfers. As an homage to the 1952 U.S. Open, Davis has placed a marker on each hole to show where those players played from.

Hobe Sound, Fla.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan has finally confirmed details of his much-anticipated golf development in Florida. The Grove XXIII course, of which M.J. is a majority partner, will be designed by golf architect Bobby Weed and his firm.

Located on a former citrus grove, the course has been routed to take note of the trade winds that affect southern Florida. The layout includes a crossover at holes five and 14, which will allow members and their guests to swap from one nine to the other while still completing a nine-hole loop.

Weed says that, in order to influence the layout of holes and the positioning of hazards, the design team is taking into account performance data supplied by Darren May of Every Ball Counts, who will become the club’s golf coach. “To see this information integrated in the course design, and be part of the process, is extremely exciting,” says May.

Dormie Club
West End, N.C.

The Coore and Crenshaw-designed Dormie Club in the Pinehurst area is about to break ground on a significant renovation led by the original architects. Dormie, which was built as a private destination club but was forced to go public because of economic traumas around the time of its launch, was recently acquired by Nebraska investment firm Hainoa, which plans to transition the course back to private status.

Hainoa has announced its intention to create a string of private clubs called Dormie Network. Members of the network will get access to all four courses: Dormie Club, ArborLinks in Nebraska, Briggs Ranch in San Antonio, and the Lester George-designed Ballyhack in Roanoke, Va. Dormie is now under the management of Landscapes Unlimited.

“Dormie was destined to be a great private course from its beginning. With these investments, we’re returning the club to its original concept: an exceptional offering of amenities at a renowned Coore and Crenshaw course in an intimate atmosphere — an exclusive, pure golf experience,” says Zach Peed of Hainoa.

Southern Hills Country Club
Tulsa, Okla.

Architect Gil Hanse will launch a significant renovation project at Perry Maxwell’s famed Southern Hills course this summer. The project will get underway in August, and will include a completely new green for the seventh hole, new tees that will add 300 yards to the length of the course, and rebuilt tee boxes, bunkers and greens.

Hanse says his goal is to return an authentic Maxwell feel to the golf course. His team will work alongside the club’s maintenance team, headed by superintendent Russ Myers, who returned to Southern Hills from Los Angeles Country Club to oversee the project.

The course will get a new irrigation system, and will become one of only a few golf venues to use hydronic tubing to help regulate temperature. A new short game area and the club’s first indoor golf performance center are also being constructed. Southern Hills has been promised its fifth PGA Championship before 2030, but general manager Nick Sidorakis says the project is aimed mainly at “keeping us relevant as a premier country club for our members.” The course is expected to reopen in June 2019.

Adam Lawrence is the editor of Golf Course Architecture magazine as well as By Design, the quarterly publication of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.