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The Year in Review – Part Four - The Renovation Business



The revised 6th at Elm Ridge



My golf design career is split into two parts. Weir Golf Design, which designs new courses or rebuilds an existing course like Laval (Blue). The other side of my work is my renovation business which concentrates strictly on restorative-based work. This blog will deal exclusively with that side of the business.



2010 New Clients


This year saw the addition of four new clients:


1. Knollwood Country Club - designed by Seth Raynor - Westchester, New York.

2. Islington Golf Club - designed by Stanley Thompson - Toronto, Ontario.

3. The City of London who asked me to review entire public golf system

4. Maple Downs - designed by William Mitchell - Vaughn, Ontario.



Other Inquiries


I had six additional inquiries.


One was very compelling and a course I really would have liked, but I passed on the opportunity and choose to support a very good friend who had done excellent work in a trial role because I felt he deserved the opportunity to continue - which he has.


I was asked to interview for two other clubs that were fairly modern, but the work was not what I was looking for at the time so I suggested they would be better served by others on their list. I know that selecting the right projects is crucial to doing great work and I have become increasingly careful in what I choose to get involved with.


One inquiry was to renovate an existing course and adapt a residential component but that did not suit me my tastes and I recommended another local architect who was a better fit and they are now working together. The remaining two and I continue to dance. One is a very cool Walter Travis course in the US that lacks only the money to go forward. The other is a very compelling Stanley Thompson course where members have approached me to gauge my interest, but the path to change will be very complicated.



2010 Master Plans


I have “survived” the last three years largely by the amount of Master Planning I have done. Most of the plans have been done for a dozen new clients over that period, but a new trend that has emerged is the desire for older clients to update or revised their plans. Most often this is because the previous plan is complete and the club wants to explore any remaining opportunities to improve. In a few instances they have had a change in philosophy where a club or staff is more open up to controversial or complicated work such as tree removal or green recapturing.



2010 Construction


The spring brought one larger project at Galt Country Club. The scope was mostly sand replacement for the bunkers, but a number of new bunkers were added and a couple of key bunkers were made during the process. The only other spring work was some green expansion and short grass work at various clubs.


The summer brought our first project at Knollwood where we completely restored the16th green site back to its former character. It was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding projects I have ever been part of and I thought the results were amazing.




1926 - the dramatic green site



Spring 2010 - smaller green with no wrap around bunker




November 2010 - pushed back out to the edges and bunkers returned



The fall brought three projects. The largest one was the renovation and restoration of the green side bunkers at Elm Ridge (South Course).We added a bull nose detail for character, restored most original noses and even moved a couple of oddly placed bunkers to have greater impact. I was very pleased with the results and expect to continue on with the fairway bunkers next fall.


The second one was a trial project at Oakdale on the 9th green of the Thompson Nine where we renovated the bunker with a high degree of detailing and shifted the locations slightly to improve the character of the green site. I worked with Donnie to personally hand-edged the bunkers on a frosty morning leaving me with back pain for the week that followed.


The final project is the range and storage pond project at St. Thomas which continues even today. The scope is enormous with a major expansion of the pond’s capacity and the entire fill being used to rebuild the range with a chipping green, larger tee and more available length. The pond is done but the range work continues and I will be heading there on Tuesday to see the progress.



Work for 2011


People don’t believe me when I tell them I never know what I’m doing until the spring. I do have a Master Plan to do for Maple Downs this winter. I expect to build more bunkers with Elm Ridge and have quite a few potential projects, but nothing is set in stone. But then again, that’s the way every winter begins….



December 11th, 2010



Tommorow: My Thoughts on the ASGCA