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Monday, September 27, 2010

This summer we renovated hole 8 at the Field Club. Fortunately for this work we experienced drought conditions so the project progressed quickly and the hole is growing in at a good pace. Below is a series of pictures starting with the original hole and progressing through construction. 

Grow-in Phase Hole 8


The green lay close to the ground and was sandwiched by two bunkers on the left and a bunker on the right. Between the tee and green was a ditch whose banks had been shored up with timbers. 

The original green had bunkers on both sides, but a large bunker was in front of the green.
Pictured to the left is an image of hole 8 in our original master plan. The concept remained the same in the final design except with the restoration of sand across the front of the green as depicted in the old aerial above.
Our intention was to bring back the front bunker, raise the green height to improve air circulation over the putting surface, and put into sand bunker as much of the area as possible since turf is difficult to maintain in the shady environment. Unfortunately, all of the trees producing shade on the green are not on our property. The picture to the left depicts the fill pad in place but the construction ramp in front has not been removed.
Pictured to the left is a more refined stage of construction. The green slopes have been steepened and finished, and the construction ramp removed from the front.
The sod has been laid around the bunker and the green slopes, sand installed in the bunkers, and the putting surface is growing in nicely.


A close up of the left side of the green is depicted in the picture to the left. The green is high in the back, right corner. About one-third of the surface pitches to the right, and the other two-thirds pitches to the left. The entire putting surfaces descends from back to front in varying degrees of slope. The putting surface varies in slope from about 1% to 3% in the pinnable areas. The shot into the green ranges from about 150 yards to 100 yards. It will make for an exacting shot from any distance because sand basically surrounds the green.

The past two years we have been renovating holes 1 and 9. Actually, on hole 9 we added a spur off of the existing hole, built a new green and named it hole 18. Below is a recap of that work which will explain better the wonderful improvements at this fine club.

Here is a plan to the left that illustrates the changes that have been made to the course. Pictured at the top of the plan is hole 8 which you can read about above. The far, left hole is hole 1. The hole in the middle is hole 9. Changes will be coming to that hole in 2011. The spur to the right is hole 18. You will see pictures of that hole below, as well as hole 1, which is where we will start.
The plan to the left depicts hole 1. Throughout the renovation process we have sought to manipulate straight holes by adding bunkers in line between the tee and the green to create some movement in the fairways and to introduce more strategy in the play of the holes. Here, the plan shows two bunkers along the left side of the hole that come into the straight line between the tee and the green. The player may work the ball around the bunkers, but the long hitter must be careful of another fairway bunker down the right side closer to the green.

The green has been expanded outward to capture some magnificent perimeter pin placements. You can see the line for the original green which is more like a small oval. The front part of the green descends sharply from the green to the fairway so the front pin positions are especially challenging. There were three small bunkers around the green. We combined them into one large bunker that wraps around the entire green except for the front. The bunker to the left of hole 1 green is shared with hole 7 green which is to the left of the bunker.

Pictured to the left is the tee shot. There are some mighty trees to the right of the fairway which must be considered in shaping the shot. The fairway bunkers are built into the ground so they are not easily spotted from the tee.
Here is the left fairway bunker which we made one bunker instead of the two depicted in the plan. The bunker comes into the fairway at an angle. Just beyond the bunker the fairway moves back to the left so that a player could also play a left to right shot to avoid the large tree to the right and still find fairway beyond the bunker.

All of the pictures in this series were taken during the grow-in phase shortly after the construction was completed.

Pictured to the left is the second fairway bunker closer to the green and on the right side. The mighty hitter who wants to get close to the green for their approach shot must account for this strategically placed bunker.
This picture is taken from just short of the green. There is a sharp rise from the fairway to the green; except for that the green is close to the level of the fairway. You get a glimpse to the right of the bunker that surrounds the green. The green for hole 7 can be seen to the left. It is separated from hole 1 green by the wrap around bunker.
Pictured to the left is the beginning of the bunker along the right side of the green. All around the perimeter of the green the edge of the putting surface slopes toward the bunker. Notice in the back, right corner of the green how sharply the ground descends toward the bunker. This is an especially challenging pin position there.
The picture here to the left just slightly misses that challenging pin position mentioned above. The bunker wraps around the back side and challenges the player to be precise with their pitch shot to pin positions toward the back of the green.
Here is a picture from the back, left part of the green looking toward the fairway. Just to the right of the bunker is the green for hole 7. Again, notice how the edge of the green falls toward the bunker.
Now we are standing to the right of hole 7 green looking toward hole 1 green. The gentleman in the red shirt in the picture above is in about the same position in this picture. He is the person to the left of the three people standing in the bunker.
The plan to the left depicts the new addition to Moorestown that will be the green for hole 18. The area was formerly a small practice area. The new hole will play from the teeing area of the present hole 9 and will be a slight dogleg to the left. The landing area for the tee shot will be a part of the renovation work in 2011. Most of what is depicted here has been installed with the addition of another fairway bunker to the left of the fairway. This bunker along with the two approach bunkers to the right challenge the player who must lay up on their approach shot. In addition the player coming into the green from the right side to a pin position in the front, right portion of the green must be careful of the one approach bunker that was moved in a little closer to the green because of a pronounced slope in the fairway that descends from the green to the bunker. We decided to leave out the right greenside bunker and instead use the steep slope clothed in short grass as a worthy challenge.
Pictured to the left is a view from the new fairway leading up to hole 18 green. To the left of the fairway is the fairway bunker that was installed after the plan was done above. There is a glimspe of the two bunkers to the right of the fairway, and the green in the middle distance.
The fairway bunker to the right is in a direct line between the landing area and the green. It is a challenge to the player who must lay up short of the green particularly if the pin is in the back, left part of the green as a shot close to this bunker makes for the best angle from which to approach the pin.
Here is a close up shot from that angle that is best taken into the pin positions in the left portion of the green.
A greenside bunker along the left side sits well below the green. A careful shot must be played into pin positions in the left part of the green because of the tight turf that descends sharply from the green to the bunker.
Depicted to the left is the plan for the renovation of hole 9. The green will be expanded to recapture lost pin areas. Three fairway bunkers will be installed. The left bunker is in a direct line between the tee and the green making the hole play more like a doglegged left hole. This project, which will happen in 2011, will complete the renovations of the nine hole course. Each year the changes have been met with surprise, excitement and some concern. As the membership have become accustomed to the changes they have been very pleased with their "new" course. The course still has the same feel as the old course, but the playing strategies have been dramatically improved making for a much more enjoyable adventure. Another benefit is that the long term implementation plan has allowed the Club to make the improvements without incurring any debt. There was some debate in the beginning about closing the course and making the renovations in one season. In the long run this approach would have cost much less, but now that we are nearing the end of renovations the important thoughts to consider are that the Club was very fortunate to have solid leadership through the whole process, and the future is bright because of their commitment to invest in their most important asset: the golf course.








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