May 24, 2006
Heritage Creek golf course construction is underway.
Clearing has commenced, the dreaded storm water basins are
being excavated. This year we will probably get 6 holes
completely built with a temporary seed on top for protection
going into winter. The Williard Group, Inc, Golf Course
Builders will do the work.
the greens and surrounds will be related to the Lederach
greens, however as I work out some of the Heritage Creek
green concepts it feels like something is a little
different. Certainly the open fronts and surrounding ground
movement will be similar. The uncertainty and surprise that
results from broken ground around the greens at Lederach has
heightened my awareness of how much this contrasts to the
old way of thinking where bunkering dominated the green
surrounds. It seems much more interesting to watch a ball
as it makes its way to the green and either finds a glorious
path or a tortured path before it comes to rest, as opposed
to watching your shot simply disappear into a bunker. The
reasons for bunkering a green can be worthy, but Heritage
Creek may provide the opportunity to discover how broken
ground can replace the typical bunkering schemes.
June 6, 2006
progressing mainly on the sediment basins around the
southern portion of the site. Significant progress has
been made on the tree clearing required to make holes 6
through 11. Below are some pictures from my visit.
These shots give you some sense of the type of land the
course will occupy, and a benchmark by which to judge the
shot for hole 9 plays through a wooded area out to
The site for the 9th
green is depicted above. To the left is a preliminary sketch for the initial green design.
The key to the design is the large fairway area in
front of the green. Along the best angle of
approach the fairway is relatively flat and
predictable as to how the ball will bounce toward
the green. From a right approach there is a
large land form that is fairway, but much more
unpredictable as to how the bouncing ball will react
because of the character of the broken ground.
A narrow, serpentine bunker is formed in front of
the land form further complicating the more
difficult angle of approach. The uncertainty
that comes from having fairway in front of the
green, a portion of which is undulating, is a very
exciting design feature that provides many more
interesting scenarios as compared to simply spotting
bunkers around a green. It can be very
accommodating to the average player, while
challenging the skills of an expert player, most of
whom are not familiar with this type of strategic
October 18, 2006
when construction is underway. Since my last post here
seven holes have been shaped, drainage and mix has been
installed in the tees and greens, topsoil has been spread,
and irrigation is being installed. The pictures shown above
were of the initial site dirt work, such as sediment basins,
being done by the site contractor. On August 1st
the site contractor was out of the area of the course having
completed the basins, and The Williard Group, Inc., Golf
Course Builders moved in and began shaping. Within the
month we had shaped seven holes. My own design approach has
been evolving toward working closely with the existing
terrain. That evolution has reached a level whereby I am
able to produce some exceptional holes without disrupting
too much of the ground with which we are given for the
course. This approach is largely responsible for the speedy
construction schedule, and I feel will probably produce the
best strategic holes. Also, there is a greater depth in the
aesthetic quality of a golf course that has not been
overshaped, something most architects are guilty of at
times. That is not to say that the bunkering is close to
the existing terrain. The bunkers have been carved into the
ground, and make for some dramatic and challenging features.
The picture to the right
is a close up of the same bunker. The sand
will be in the flat part of the depression, and the
banks will be grassed in fescue. A large bump
is within the bunker, which has been carved out
a par 3, is depicted to the left. The
depression in the foreground is a temporary sediment
basin that will be removed. The depression in
the middle ground is a bunker that fronts the green.
The sandy terrain beyond it is the mix on the green.
Fairway does slide around the left side of the
bunker and into the front, left of the green.
Another deep bunker is just beyond the fairway.
May 16, 2007
finish work on holes 5 through 11 is progressing well. All
sod has been laid around the bunkers, and The Williard Group
is commencing preparations for seeding. In the period
between now and my last posting the owner’s hired a fine
green’s superintendent, Ryan Woodard, who was formerly the
assistant superintendent at Lederach Golf Club.
are some pictures taken within the last week of a few of the
Hole 6, above, is a straightaway
par 4 in the woods near the Little Neshaminey
Creek. In the picture from the tee you can see the
sod that marks the fairway bunker on the left.
The fairway, below, is alongside
the bunker and then wraps around to the left beyond
the bunker. A player would want to play a
right to left shot into this area if the pin is on
the left side of the green to give a good angle from
which to approach the pin. In the front of the
green is a hump that makes the approach into any pin
area most difficult if coming in from the wrong side
of the fairway.
Above is a picture
looking back to the tee from the left side of the
Below is the view of the green from the left fairway,
just beyond the bunker. The hump is hard to
distinguish but you can see the sandy soil which is
the green and see how accessible the left side of
the green is from this angle. However, if the pin
were on the right side of the green this would be a
real challenge from here because of the hump.
Above is the par 3, 7th
hole from the tee. The ribbon of green is bunker
bank in front of the green. Because the course has
been built close to the existing ground the features
like bunkers only reveal themselves as you get
closer to them. So, there is always an element of
doubt as to distances and challenges that await the
the bunker reveals itself a little more as the
player approaches the green.
full challenge of the bunker is evident in the
picture to the left. The
bunker is large, but has some very narrow and
difficult areas which can make recovery shots a real
In the picture above, in the same way as hole
7, the approach shot to the par 4, 8th
hole, seems straightforward, not fraught with any
danger. However, the small ribbon of green seen
here will reveal more as we get closer.
picture now shows the bunkers that are set well in
front of the green in the approach area.
that we are approaching the green, in the picture to
the left, the three deep,
and difficult bunkers are revealed, and now make the
golfer aware that they must be very decisive and
precise when planning their strategy for playing the
approach shot to the green.
is the par 3, 11th hole pictured above. The bunker
across a portion of the green is sprawling and
requires the player to either shape a shot into the
green from left to right, or to play over the bunker
to successfully reach many pin areas on the green.
11th green, pictured below, was built onto the existing ground; however
there was much slope in the land. In order to have pinnable area the surface was cut to tame the slopes
creating a benched area across the midsection of the
small coffin bunker, shown to the left, waits off the left side of the
green, and there is a slightly larger bunker in the
back of the green.
July 16, 2007
course has been growing in now for just under two
months. Ryan Woodard and his crew are doing an
outstanding job. The following pictures were
taken July 16. It would be helpful to have a
routing to follow but for now I will try to take you
through each hole and hopefully you will get some
sense of how the holes lay out.
The picture left is the
tee shot on the par 4, 6th hole. There is a
large bunker to the left that is pictured below.
the large bunker along the left side of the fairway.
Note the fairway beyond the bunker.
Pictured left is the large bunker with fairway
beyond the bunker as mentioned above. This
angle is from the fairway looking back to the tee.
Pictured right is the view of the green from the
same spot where the picture was taken from above.
This is a particularly good spot to be when the pin
is located along the left side of the green. A
large hump in the green makes it very difficult to
approach the left side of the green from the right
side of the fairway.
Pictured left is the angle into the green from the
right side of the fairway. This is a safe spot
to avoid the left fairway bunker. Pin
positions along the right side of the green are more
accessible from this angle. Notice the
beginnings of the rough growing in between the spot
from where the picture is taken and the green.
Pictured right is the green taken from the left
side. The hump in the front of the green is
HOLE 7, PAR 3
Pictured left is the view of the 7th green from the
tee. Some indication of the challenge from a
fronting bunker is evident by the steep edge in
front of the green.
Pictured to the right is
the fronting bunker. Notice the mowed area in
the back of the bunker, which shows up in the
picture above, in the center. Especially
appealing to me is the narrowness of the bunker
between the land left intact once the bunker was
carved out and the green side bank.
little further up from where the above picture was
taken is pictured to the left an opening along the
left side of the green. A narrow and deep
bunker was made just beyond this fairway and it
abuts the back left part of the green. The green you
see is pitching toward you at about 3%, a decent
slope on a bentgrass green. One way to attack
this pin area would be to hit a fade so the ball can
bite into the slope and hold a position close to the
pin. Even the fairway provides some relief if
the shot is less than perfect, however you will
notice the back part of the fairway descends to the
bunker so the margin for safety is exacting.
go straight across the green from where you are in
the above picture you will find this long, slender
bunker pictured to the right. Notice the gap
in the woods behind the green, this is where you
will cross over Creek Road to get to holes 8
HOLE 8, PAR 4
Skipping ahead, pictured to the left is a large
fairway bunker that is between holes 8 and 10.
This picture is taken from hole 8 fairway looking to
its left toward hole 10 fairway.
to your right back toward the green at hole 8 is
this view of the green pictured to the right.
You have some indication of bunkers stretching
across the front of the green, and notice an
unbroken width of land to the right that leads into
walk toward the green you see pictured to the left a
portion of rough that comes out across your direct
line to the green and the bunkers to the left now
appear to be in the fairway well short of the green.
approach the green, if we walk to the left fairway,
we see better the bunkers in the approach area to
the green as seen in the picture to the right.
to our right and through the open fairway area that
leads into the green we see in the picture to the
left a bunker that awaits the careless approach shot
into this area. If you look more closely at
the previous pictures taken from the fairway you do
get some clue as to the presence of this bunker
which is on the right side of the green.
Pictured to the right we are standing on the green
looking back to the fairway, you see the distance
between the green and the approach bunkers. It
is not evident here but there is a significant swale
in the fairway between the bunkers and the green.
Just barely clearing the bunkers could make for some
interesting and surprising results.
HOLE 9, PAR 4
Pictured to the left is the view looking at the
green of hole 9 from the right fairway. The
green starts from the left side of the picture and
ends approximately where the home in the background
begins, and then fairway goes from there up to the
8th tee which is to the right edge of the picture.
picture to the right shows a better angle from which
to approach the green. There is a fairway
bunker which is in the foreground of the photo.
If you noticed in the picture above there is some
sort of depression in front of the green that
stretches across the front, right portion of the
green. Looking at the green in the right photo
we now see that this is a bunker.
the right side of the hole the picture to the left
depicts the deep bunker at the green. Fairway
is alongside the right edge of the green and slopes
down to the bunker edge. It is hard to see the
ripples in the right portion of the green.
These ripples eventually soften and disappear
leaving the back, right portion of the green for
some exciting pin positions.
HOLE 10, PAR 4
right is a picture of the tee shot on hole 10.
It is a straight away hole, the green is in the
middle of the picture. You see some evidence
of the bunker on the right where the grass changes
to a darker hue.
picture to the left we have now moved down the
fairway and looking to the right you see the bunker
that is in between this fairway and the fairway on
to our left and looking back down the fairway toward
the green the picture to the right shows the view of
the approach shot. The green is open in front
and a large slope to the left can be used to take
the ball into the back right portion of the green.
There is plenty of fairway in front of the green and
to the right. However, a bunker sits at the
end of this fairway and a pitch shot from here to
the green can be challenging because of the slopes
closer examination you can see the fairway area and
approach bunker in the picture to the left.
the pin areas in the front of the green are
accessible but a bump and run shot must deal with
the slope that descends from right to left across
the line of play. This is evident in the
picture to the right.
HOLE 11, PAR 3
left is a close up view of the green at hole 11.
The right bunker is just in view, and there is a
bunker left of the green and one behind the green.
The green became a two tier green when we tamed the
existing slope in front which was too steep.
picture to the right gives a good view of the bunker
that abuts the right side of the green. This
is the approximate line of the tee shot.
Pictured to the left is a small bunker which is
alongside the left side of the green, opposite the
Pictured to the right is the bunker in back of the
the same position where the picture from above was
taken if we turn to the left we look over the green,
the large bunker to the right of the green is in the
middle ground and the teeing area is in the distance
above the break in the reeds.
I have been remiss in
updating the most current work at Heritage Creek. This past
fall we completed work on holes 3, 4, and 5. I will post
this work soon.