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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Traveling to Torreon in north, central Mexico brings with it new experiences not found where I live presently, and it brings back similar sensations of where I grew up in west Texas.   The flat, dusty, and arid conditions of my old home make Torreon comforting to experience today. The friendly, laid back demeanor of the locals makes it just like being back in west Texas. All of this is why it is such a delight to work there. Some time back I completed a Master Plan for Club Campestre Torreon and very quickly we embarked upon implementing portions of the plan. The present renovation work at Club Campestre Torreon involves the greens and tees on holes 1 through 9 and the practice putting green.

First, I want to acknowledge the outstanding work being performed by the Golf Course Contractor, RocaGolf, from Cancun, Mexico. Toby and Eddy Rodriguez have built golf courses throughout the western hemisphere for some of the best architects so we are very fortunate to have them involved in the project. Also, Club Campestre Torreón were committed to doing everything they could to make this project work well, so in addition to hiring RocaGolf they also hired an expert golf course shaper with whom I have worked with for several years, James Beke.

There are some principles that guided the thinking that went into the renovation design, some of which came out of the master planning and some that came out through the construction process. Here’s a list of some of those principles:

·         The number of bunkers around the new greens should approximate the number of bunkers around the existing greens. Reduce the dependence on sand bunkers for dictating strategy or punishing bad shots. Keep the general presentation of the course the same so as not to impose an alien look; rather, respect the local landscape.

·         Pin areas should be relatively flat. The surrounding area- green surrounds and putting surfaces- should be boldly shaped to protect the pin areas. Introduce more movement into the terrain surrounding the greens.

·         Shape the green surrounds so that the terrain is a factor in approaching pin areas, that the terrain can either help the rolling ball onto the green or deflect it away from the green, and that the terrain work in conjunction with bunkering so as to broaden the impact a bunker can have on a fairway position or on a particular pin area on the green. 

·         Expand the amount of fairway area around the greens to enhance the aforementioned principles above.

·         Experiment with subtle ways to deceive the golfer. For instance introduce elements that make it difficult to judge the proper method and distance required by a particular shot.

·         While maintaining suitable pin areas, introduce bold features within the greens that in effect become hazards if the approach shot, or the recovery shot are not played properly.

·         Make the putting surface slope in many different directions and at varying degrees of slope.

·         Make angles matter when playing from a position in the fairway to a particular pin position on the green.

·         Design bunkers that accommodate flashed up sand face. Growing turf on a steep slope will be difficult in a desert environment.

·         The original tees are too high. Many could be lower. There may be situations where an elevated tee will enhance a downhill shot if the existing fairway is lower. Definitely lower tee if existing fairway is higher than terrain surrounding existing tee.

·         Improve the connections between greens and tees by minimizing distances, and by removing interruptions such as paths and trees.

Click on the hole numbers below to see the master plan for each hole and to view up to date photos of the current renovation work:
Hole 1  
Hole 2  
Hole 3  
Hole 4  
Hole 5  
Hole 6  
Hole 7  
Hole 8  
Hole 9  
   
 

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