After 12 years of the roller coaster, David McLay Kidd can finally see the finish line of his first design in mainland Europe – Comporta Dunes in Portugal, more officially known as Dunas Course in Terras da Comporta.
Kidd has partnered with Vanguard Properties, Portugal’s largest property developer, to bring the long-awaited creation to fruition. The opening is scheduled for July 2023.
“I’m super excited about the course and it’s pretty much over,” he said. “We are about seven months away from a soft opening and in the next few months we will be trimming the bunkers and setting up the course to be ready for the players. And as part of that I can play to see what it feels like after several years of working on the project.”
The par-71, links-style course is located on the coast, an hour south of Lisbon, in a secluded setting on the edge of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve. First released in 2010, Comporta Dunes languished after the struggles of the original developer. It lay fallow for several years, until Vanguard bought it in 2019. The course is set in natural, sandy terrain and Kidd promises the course – and the area – will be a compelling draw.
Even in 2021, Kidd was anticipating the future.
Came home from #ComportaDunes Portugal Grass cover almost finished just in time for summer @conorWalsh11 @bichocoelho did a great job, thank you. See you this fall. I can’t wait until Golfer gets a load of this one! pic.twitter.com/zwWWYT7yWr
— David McLay-Kidd (@DavidMcLayKidd) May 20, 2021
“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s by no means easy,” he said. “It’s quite difficult but it’s forgiving if you get in trouble. You have a chance to get back into the game, and how could you ever complain about the amazing weather in Portugal with the beaches, cafes, food and the people. “
The Dunes course will be completed by a new pavilion and a golf academy. Also, a second golf course, Torre, is in the works and it will be a collaboration between Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia.
> Rees Jones has completed renovations to one of America’s most prestigious playgrounds, the Tuxedo Club.
Located just northwest of Manhattan in New York’s Orange County, the Tuxedo Club was founded in 1886 and hosted the country’s first interclub games in 1894. Shinnecock Hills then the St. Andrews Golf Club and the Country Club (Brookline) participated .
In 1886, the fledgling club also introduced the concept of the tuxedo – the jacket without a tail in formal evening wear – courtesy of member James Brown Potter, who had dined with the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in England, observed the Prince’s outfit and adapted the look at home.
In 1955, the club’s golf course was decimated by the creation of the New York Thruway, so the then Royal Golf Architect, Robert Trent Jones, was summoned. Jones created a new nearby layout for the club, with nine holes opened in 1956 and the back nine the following year. Now son Rees Jones has restored parts of his father’s layout and modernized other aspects.
“It was a very exciting project for my dad because it was such an established upscale club and he was able to select this beautiful, pristine property in this natural space, where you really feel away from the works of life in the city, while being so close to a large population base,” Jones said.
Needing an update, not an overhaul, the club turned to Rees Jones to freshen up his father’s work, particularly with regard to bunker shapes and locations, especially on par 5s. .
“From my dad’s time to my time, par 5s really became par 4s, so it had to be adapted a bit more to today’s game,” he said. “In particular, we wanted to make the second hit more challenging and put more demands on the ride, so it’s not just an automatic bomb.”
Jones and associate Bryce Swanson teamed up with the club’s Director of Agronomy, Casey Klossner, to revamp the Tuxedo bunkers into a style that was more playable and member-friendly, but also one that was better for the community. interview and which was more faithful to the original Jones Sr.. The sand is thrown lower and the edges of the bunkers are more irregular with less downward slopes on the floors of the bunkers. The fairway lines have also been adjusted.
The only design change came on the ninth hole, where Jones and Swanson designed a new tee and green complex to accommodate a new short game area on land occupied by the old ninth green.
> Fresh off the design of Nebraska’s Landmand Golf Club, King-Collins Golf Course Design will create a new reversible nine-hole course for Palmetto Bluff, the famous private residential and resort community near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
King-Collins – comprised of construction manager Tad King and lead designer Rob Collins – first rose to prominence with its nine-hole design of Sweetens Cove in Tennessee, which quickly garnered a cult following. This new nine-hole, par 36, 3,100-yard effort, set on flat ground bordering an inland waterway, will provide the bonus of reversible play.
“We had a blank slate on about 50 acres,” Collins said. “We are doing something different with this space. We have room for nine holes, so we thought, why not make nine reversible holes? This will allow us to deliver something oversized on a small site.”
Even with the limitations of the site, King was encouraged by what they could accomplish.
“The site is completely flat, but we can build some cool dune formations and really get the ground moving,” he said. “Normally in the Lowcountry you can only cut two or three feet before you hit groundwater, but this site is a bit higher so we can cut fifteen feet if we need to.”
Planned over 20 years ago, Palmetto Bluff had ambitious plans for several golf courses, but these were abandoned for various reasons. The only completed course to date is May River, a Jack Nicklaus creation which debuted in 2005. New owners, South Street Partners, have begun to realize those early ambitions.
Not only is the currently unnamed King-Collins course set to be integrated – with a grand opening scheduled for January 2023 – but Coore-Crenshaw has been retained to create a new 18-hole layout, which is currently being planned.
> The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks recently benefited from a bunker renovation by David Whelchel.
Located in Silverthorne, Colorado, 30 miles east of Vail and 67 miles west of Denver, the Raven at Three Peaks sits 9,035 feet above sea level. The course was a 2000 design collaboration between Tom Lehman and the Hurdzan/Fry company, and they draped an all-new layout over the remnants of an old one, Eagle’s Nest. Intrawest sold the course to Escalante Golf in 2009. Whelchel, a former associate of Hurdzan/Fry, has been assisting the club since 2012.
More recently, Whelchel oversaw a bunker renovation that removed some bunkers, built new ones that were easier to maintain, and reduced the overall sand footprint from 160,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet.
Play never ceased over the summer and Golf Sculptors International completed work in August.
“As Hurdzan/Fry was involved in the project originally, it was a real pleasure for me to be able to work on The Raven again with Escalante to give the course a facelift and bring it back to what we envisioned in 1999,” Whelchel said. “The golf course is really fun to play with great views of the mountains and lots of wildlife including eagles, moose, elk and even a few bears. And at 5,200 yards from the front tees to just over 7,400 yards from the back tee, it’s challenging and fun for all golfers.