A Golden Eighteen - A Showcase of Legendary Clubs designed by Jack Nicklaus

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Roger Schiffman


Jim Mandeville

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Roger Schiffman PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Jim Mandeville


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ISBN NO: 978-0-9904651-0-2








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A Golden Eighteen

Table of Contents Foreword 14

11. Muirfield Village Golf Club 224

by Jack Nicklaus


Jack’s Vision for Columbus Celebrates an Unparalleled Career

The Bear’s Club 16

The Other Half of Team Nicklaus


Playing the Game in Jack’s Image

12. Red Ledges 250

So You Want to be a Master Chef? 35

2. 3.

The Club at Carlton Woods 38

Spectacular Golf Among the Wasatch Mountains

Magnificent Golf in a Parkland Setting

So You Want to be a Cowboy Poet? 257

Castle Pines Golf Club 58

13. Country Club of the Rockies 270

First-Class Golf Within View of the Rockies

Skiing in the Morning and Golf in the Afternoon

Pike’s Peak: A View Like No Other 68


CC of the Rockies’ Legendary Member 283

The Concession Golf Club 80 A Great Golf Club Built on a Magic Moment

14. Sebonack Golf Club 290

Concession Benefits More Than Just Golfers 89


An Unusual Golf Design Right on Peconic Bay Acquiring the Property for Sebonack 303

Creighton Farms 100 History and Superb Golf Nestled in Horse Country


15. Sherwood Country Club 312 Golf and the Good Life Among the Entertainment Set

Desert Mountain 120

Sherwood’s Early Years and Its Evolution 321

Six Distinctive Courses and Amenities Galore The Jim Flick Performance Center 130


16. Shoal Creek 334 World-Class Golf in an Old World Setting

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain 140 Breathtaking Desert Golf with Ritz-Carlton Luxury

17. Toscana Country Club 352 Idyllic Golf and Living in Lavish Tuscan Style

Miles of Hiking Trails – and More 149


18. Valhalla Golf Club 374

Harbor Shores 162

The PGA’s Magnificent Venue for Historic Championships

An Environmental Masterpiece Transforms a Community


Nicklaus Courses Open for Play 392

Four Seasons Resorts–Lana’i Golf 182 Cliffhanger Golf with a Four Seasons Flair The Legend of Pu’u Pehe 196

Club Flags & Addresses 398

10. Mayacama Golf Club 202 The Game at its Finest in Sublime Wine Country

Acknowledgements 400

An Old School Golf Professional 210


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A Golden Eighteen



’M NOT SURE of the exact date, but I believe the conversation took place in the early 1980s. I was late in my playing career—and late in my prime, you might say—but was still fairly green in my second career of designing the greens, tees and fairways of golf courses around the world. But I was long past hooked. I loved every aspect of the design process. The opportunity to create golf from blank canvasses quickly was taking its spot in my priorities behind family and golf. That’s when business associate Chuck Perry pulled me aside and said, “Jack, don’t you think it is time to turn your avocation into a vocation?” So at that point, golf course design went from being a fascination and fast-emerging hobby to being a business and an aspect of my career—my life—that hopefully will one day be as much a part of my legacy as playing the game itself. I have always said that nothing can replace the lasting feeling you get from walking up the 18th hole of a major championship with a chance at victory. But taking a raw piece of land, challenging the boundaries of your creativity and imagination, and creating a golf course—and in some ways, your own piece of art—for generations of golfers to enjoy, well, that is a very close second.

ers from The Legendary Publishing Group decided they wanted to be the tellers of those stories. So they looked across the United States and our body of work—more than 200 courses nationwide—and selected 18 clubs or communities that have achieved remarkable success due to myriad reasons, not the least of which was the impact of their centerpiece amenity—a golf course I was given the opportunity to design. In many ways, the collection of 18-hole layouts I have been blessed to design mean as much to me as the 18 majors I have accumulated. So the publishers settled on A Golden 18. This is a book intended to be a literary and photo celebration of the unique life and lifestyle that surrounds our Nicklaus courses, as well as the success many have enjoyed on the membership, residential and/or tournament side. I have long said that what matters most in my life is

For someone who was never been much of a true artist, I have thoroughly enjoyed every opportunity to take pencil to paper—sometimes even a napkin—and sketch what I thought might be a good or great golf hole. I thrive on the moments when I lean over the dash of a site vehicle, stare out over a flat piece of grass-covered land or the side of a mountain, and envision golf and the pieces that will bring it to reality. It has become my total expression. Yet as much as I have enjoyed the artistic process of designing golf courses for more than 45 years, I know my job far transcends that. After all, golf is most often an amenity, a piece or centerpiece to a greater puzzle. My job is to service the wants and needs of a client. For some, it is to create a golf course that serves as the “mousetrap” to a massive residential project. For others, it is the catalyst to create a community and destination. For others, it is to bring a world-class event to their little corner of the world. For most, it is to create a cherished social hub to recreate and congregate. Whatever the motivation, when you have been doing this for decades, you are fortunate to be a part of wonderful stories of success nationwide and worldwide. The publish-

won’t do it. In a perfect world, we would celebrate the success stories associated with all our golf courses. Instead, I would ask the owners and developers I have worked with over the years to allow A Golden 18 to represent all the Nicklaus Design golf courses nationwide and worldwide. There is a common thread, in that you have entrusted me and my team to bring to life your vision—our vision. Because of that vision and trust, we thank you. You are an important pillar of a legacy. Hopefully, your golden 18 and the courses that make up A Golden 18 will be around far longer than any records I have set. Most important, it is my hope that these creations continue to introduce the game, grow it, build lasting memories, and provide enjoyment to thousands, if not millions, of golfers for generations to come. That is more than a hobby; that would be a nice way to be remembered.

family, and I say with heartfelt sincerity that I look at our Nicklaus Design courses as extensions of my family—like children, you bring them into the world, you watch them develop, and then you sit back like a proud parent as they make their own mark. So to pick a favorite is like someone asking you to pick your favorite child. You can’t do it. You

Good golfing, JACK NICKLAUS


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THE BEAR’S CLUB Jupiter, Florida

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A Golden Eighteen

Playing the Game in Jack’s Image


F YOU EVER HAVE THE PRIVILEGE of passing through the gates of The Bear’s Club, in Jupiter, Florida, the word “quality”

is likely to come to mind immediately. The guard’s uniform at the security gate is perfectly pressed, and he greets you respectfully: “How are you today, sir?” The road to the clubhouse seems smoother than the norm, the streetlights sturdier, the directional signs more subtle. You drive along the club’s winding roads, shaded by huge magnolias, mature oaks, and native palms. A few minutes later, when you circle up the hill and approach the Tuscan-style, old-world clubhouse where the valet greets you by name—whether you’re a founding member or a first-time guest—then walk through the Europeanstyle gardens, into the locker room and pro shop, and onto the club’s perfectly manicured practice facility, it suddenly dawns on you: There might not be a more ideal place on earth to tee up a golf ball, strike an iron from the turf, or stroke a putt. On your left, your personal caddie in white bib overalls

game. And Jack Nicklaus, more than any other golfer in his-

is making sure your clubs are clean and accounted for. On

tory, knows that. You are here to relax and enjoy yourself.

your right, you see the putting green, the front

This hallowed ground represents everything

of which is the championship first tee. Like the


the Nicklaus name and the Golden Bear nick-

south side of the immaculate practice ground

The par-5 18th and the Tuscan-style clubhouse.

name stand for. They epitomize the highest val-

and adjacent Par-3 Course, all the other tees at The Bear’s Club are covered in a bed of saltwater-tolerant paspalum grass that more closely resembles an emerald carpet than turf. Farther right is the 18th green, protected by water on

ues of not only the game of golf, but also many


Wildlife abounds on the 13th hole.

of the other finer things in life: outdoor recre-


drink, fair play, and keen competition, all in a

The demanding par-3 second hole.

three sides and set at the base of the club-

ation, social interaction, excellent food and natural, secluded environment. When it comes to sportsmanship, honor, style, and humility,

house’s veranda and restaurant, already injecting the fear of

“The Bear” name says it all. So it’s no wonder that when Jack

a misplayed shot into your golfing soul. But wait. This is a

decided in the late 1990s to build his Southern home course


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in Jupiter, Florida, near the area where he and his wife,

building the golf course up because it


Barbara, had decided to raise their family, he settled on the

was a low piece of property, I decided to

Courtyard in the clubhouse.

name “The Bear’s Club.”

put in a sump-pump system so the nat-

“I really wanted a place in South Florida where I could

ural vegetation would blend into the

hang my hat,” says Nicklaus, who started work on the

fairways properly. So the course looks

masterpiece in 1997 and unofficially opened the course on

like it is all natural. I didn’t want much

New Year’s Eve 1999 with a round of golf with his sons—


Sinking the decisive putt on Hole 16 to win the 1975 Masters.

rough; I didn’t think the golf course needed it. So I

one that included a ceremonial tee shot from

put in very little. There were enough natural

Barbara. “I had Muirfield Village Golf Club in

plantings to take care of that. There are a lot

Ohio, and I wanted something similar in a

of fringe areas around the greens and a lot of

warmer climate. Like Muirfield, I wanted to

fairway. That gives the golfer a number of

design a course that had its own personality.”

options. You can putt the ball up onto the

It’s safe to say, he achieved his goal.

green, or run it up, or chip it, or pitch it. The course looks like North Carolina rather than

A course with only native vegetation

South Florida. Most South Florida golf

NICKLAUS RECOUNTS how when he began

courses look artificial because they have a lot

planning The Bear’s Club, the town of Jupiter

of exotic plants. There are no exotics on The

dictated that at least 60 percent of the property be na-

Bear’s Club course. It’s all native vegetation.”

tive vegetation. In other words, only 40 percent of the

The rule of using only native vegetation doesn’t extend

trees and other plantings could be imported from other

to the clubhouse grounds, however. One of the little-known

locations. “Rather than doing 60 percent, I said let’s just

facts about Nicklaus is that he is somewhat of a horticultur-

do it 100 percent,” Nicklaus remembers. “And rather than

ist, especially when it comes to palm trees. For the past thirty


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The Bear’s Club

years he has planted more than one-hundred varieties of

with water up the right side that requires you to think on

palms in his own yard in North Palm Beach, as well as vir-

each shot,” Stein says. “Then the course doesn’t let up from

tually every fruiting and flowering tree you can think of. He

there, ending with one of the greatest par-5 18th holes in

extended this expertise to The Bear’s Club grounds. “What

golf—rivaling the 18th at Pebble Beach.”

we decided to do around the villas,” Nicklaus says, “is plant

The true challenge of the 18th is on the second or

exotic palms and other trees and give those villas the names

third shots, as once you navigate several strategically

of those trees. And we started to use a lot of the exotic trees

placed trees in the fairway and enter the second half of

in the arboretum areas of the club.”

the hole, water stretches down the left

One of the requirements for the

side, all the way to the green. It’s rep-

real estate around the golf course was

resentative of the grandeur of the

that on each lot there would be at least

course. The golfer plays from cleanly

twenty feet of natural vegetation. “So

edged tees (four to five separate tee-

as a result,” Nicklaus says, “the houses

ing grounds on each hole) that pro-

don’t jump into your face because

vide a total of 7,164 yards from the

they have the native vegetation.” Nick-

Championship tee markers down to

laus notes that Ernie Els’ house, which

5,000 yards from the Four-Bear tee

is the closest to the course (near the

markers. The cast-iron markers are

12th tee), is virtually impossible to see.

not actually bears, but outlined im-

Says Phillip Morse, who is a member

ages of Nicklaus sinking his memo-

at several Nicklaus clubs, including

rable 40-foot putt on the 16th green

Sebonack in Southampton, New York,

at Augusta National—his left arm

and The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter:

and putter reaching for the sky—on

“There are some extraordinary homes

his way to winning the 1975 Masters.

built suitably distant from the actual

The fairways, for the most part, are

course. The Bear’s Club is extra special

generous and forgiving, because

to me because as one of the founders,

Nicklaus likes to let the golfer have a

I watched its transformation from

go at the tee shot. Once your ball is

raw land into a wonderful golfing

safely down the fairway, a new chal-


lenge begins. Now the steeply faced

Says another founding member,

bunkers—inspired by those designed

Avy Stein, who also serves on the

by Dr. Alister MacKenzie at Royal

club’s Board of Directors: “It’s a golf

Melbourne in Australia, where Jack

course that surprises you every day

captained the U.S. Presidents Cup

you play it. The first hole is a great ex-

team in 1998—start coming into play.

ample. I absolutely never tire of it.

As you get closer to the green on each

There are so many places you can hit

hole, the shots become more de-

your drive, but depending on where you are in the fairway,

manding. Second shots on par 5s require clear thinking

your second shot requires a different kind of approach. You

and accurate placement in order to have a good chance of

can shoot at a back-left pin, but you can also bail out to the

hitting your third shot close. And approaches on par 4s

right to make sure you don’t take a big number. Jack gives

generally require not only good direction, but also excel-

you so many options throughout the golf course.” Stein says

lent distance control. You can never go to sleep at The

the first through sixth holes are very demanding, and then

Bear’s Club or you will suffer a high number. If, however,

seven through 10 are friendlier. “Eleven is a brilliant par 4

you play from the correct tees, keep your wits about you,


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A Golden Eighteen

and take direction from your able caddie—especially on

so we’re the gold standard. We need to be not only the best

the greens—you can shoot a good score.

club in the area, but in the country. Our staff here is sec-

The par-4 sixth hole is a case in point. Not requiring a

ond to none, and we coach them daily to keep it that way.”

long shot off the tee, you must place your drive onto the

Wesselman has been at The Bear’s Club for ten years,

left side of the fairway to have an easier angle to the pin.

after developing and spending fourteen years at the New

This is in keeping with Jack’s overall design philosophy

Albany Country Club in Ohio for its founder, Victoria’s Se-

that dictates a more aggressive tee shot gives you an easier shot into the green; a more con-

cret CEO Les Wexner. “Obviously, it’s an honor PREVIOUS PAGES:

to be at The Bear’s Club. Our membership is

shot to the right side of the fairway, you are

(Clockwise from upper left) The dining room; the library; the men’s grille; entering the Tuscan-style clubhouse.

faced with a longer approach over more of the


ence for them.’ We always reassess at the end of

marsh to a bulkheaded green. Any approach

Founder, Jack Nicklaus.

every season and set the game plan for the next

servative tee shot results in a harder shot into the green. So if you bail out and play your tee

made up of terrific people who are leaders in their respective industries. Every day you show up you say, ‘We have to produce another perfect experi-

that comes up a little short or to

season.” Wesselman notes that the

the right will find the marsh, re-

board is made up of ten of the

sulting in a likely double-bogey

thirty-three founding members.

or worse. But if you successfully

“We have three board meetings a

take the more aggressive line off

year, and Jack chairs them. There

the tee to the left, you will be re-

are a lot of strong personalities—

warded with an easier straight-

some very successful people who

on, short-iron approach and

know how to get things done. As a

likely a par or even a birdie.

group, they keep the club on track.”

The aforementioned 18th is

Wesselman says the club’s

another example. It requires a

management success basically

quality drive, which needs to be

comes down to the people he hires.

augmented by a well-placed sec-

“You need to hire A players,” he

ond shot, skirting the two trees

says. “You go out and find the best

in the middle of the fairway and

people, train them, then let them

water along the left side. The

do their jobs.” Wesselman talks to

third shot must be true in both

Director of Golf Eric Veilleux and

direction and distance in order

Head Superintendent John Katter-

to finish on the correct tier of the three-tiered green. A

heinrich two or three times a day. They all see to it that the

birdie can be made, however. According to one of the cad-

members and their guests are treated as if they are visiting

dies who was on Jack’s bag that day, Nicklaus did just this

the Nicklauses’ home. When you first arrive on the property,

when he shot his age for the first time a few years ago and

the policy is that someone is with you until you get to the

declared it one of the best days of his life.

first tee, unless you’d rather be on your own. A valet, who is either a PGA assistant professional or a PGA apprentice,

Management style at The Bear’s Club

greets you when you get out of your car (which is parked

GIVING MEMBERS the best days of their lives is the ulti-

for you), takes your golf bag, and then accompanies you to

mate goal of the staff at The Bear’s Club. And that starts

your locker. From there a staff member takes you to the

with the philosophy of the General Manager Bob Wessel-

starting area, then to the range, then to the first tee. Every

man. “Our basic tenet is that we don’t say ‘No’ to anyone,”

member touch point has an employee. “Someone’s always

Wesselman says. “This is the Nicklaus family’s home club,

with you, just to make sure you have what you need and


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know where to go,” Wesselman says. This might sound like

more likely to play in the Friday group,”


too much pampering, but a number of members and their

he says. “But Jack’s all about family val-

guests appreciate the personal attention. Of course, if you’re

ues, which is one reason I became a

Approach to the par-4 ninth hole.

an established or long-time member, or one of the twenty

founding member.” Stein recounts a spe-

Tour-player members—from Keegan Bradley to Dustin

cial day in 2003 when his son, Jordan,

Johnson to Michelle Wie to Luke Donald—you simply go

was eleven-years-old. They were about

your own way. In fact, the Tour players love it at The Bear’s

to tee off on the first hole when Nicklaus

Club because of the privacy they receive.

suddenly appeared and asked if he could

The Bear’s Club prides itself on the number of Tour

join them. After nine holes, Jack asked

players who constantly use the practice facility to

if he could play the back


Playing to a tight pin on the par-3 seventh. LEFT TO RIGHT:

A back tee marker; typical flora; the classic logo; Old South feel of Spanish moss and oak.

bomb three-hundred-yard drives or the par-3

nine as well. This time, he offered to help the

course to hone their iron and short games. It’s

young Jordan with his game. He had him hit-

common to see the likes of Ernie Els, Robert

ting extra shots through 15, checking his grip

Allenby, and Rory McIlroy hitting balls or play-

and ball position, and giving some pointers.

ing the course. “We’ll do some special things to

On the last three holes, Jack said he’d play Jor-

the course—quicken the green speeds and

dan for a dollar a hole. Jordan won the 16th

grow the rough up in the practice areas—be-

hole and Jack won the 17th and 18th. Jack

fore major championships to help the players

signed the dollar. “My son never forgot that,”

out,” says Veilleux. In fact, every Saturday at noon

Stein says. “It fired him up to play and really

there’s a “Champ Tee” game in which lower-handicap

work on his game.” Jordan now plays on the varsity

members play with some of the Tour players from the very

golf team at Claremont McKenna College in California.

back tees. “You better be driving the ball well to play with

Stein’s other son, Justin, twenty-three, also plays but not

this group,” says Veilleux, who helps put the game together,

competitively, as does Stein’s wife, Marcie, who enjoys the

along with other games such as the Regular Tees group at

club’s social activities.

noon on Friday. Stein is one member who plays in both groups. “I’m

A first-rate professional directs a stellar golf program VEILLEUX DEBUTED at The Bear’s Club in September

fifty-eight now, so I don’t hit the ball as far as I used to. I’m


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A Golden Eighteen

1999, before the club officially opened December 31, 1999.

Golden Bear Golf Club at Hammock Creek in Stuart,

He started the shop “from ground zero,” he says. He runs a

Florida, Veilleux got an up-close-and-personal view as

tight operation, managing a staff of fifteen that includes

Nicklaus won two of his four Traditions (one with a dou-

five assistant professionals, as well as the all-important cad-

ble-eagle in the final round) and one of his two Senior U.S.

die master, Eric Hogan, and the starter, Jason Bunge (who

Opens, and competed in numerous U.S. Opens and PGA

works in a similar position in the summer at Sebonack on

Championships. “I learned a ton from him,” Veilleux says.

Long Island). The thirty-five to forty caddies in season are

He put all that knowledge and experience to work at

not employed by a caddie com-

The Bear’s Club. “The atmos-

pany. They are trained by and

phere and desire for excellence

work for the club, which allows

is like no other place,” he says.

it to better control the caddie

“The staff buys into the culture

experience for the members and

here. We strive for a warm, wel-

guests. “Their dedication really

coming feeling, whether you’re

shows,” says Veilleux. “They

the President of the United

enjoy their jobs, and that gives

States or the UPS driver. It em-

the membership a much more

anates from Jack and filters

pleasurable experience. It’s really

down to the staff. It’s a very

a warm feeling for everyone.

classy place, but he doesn’t

When members come back to

want you to feel you can’t

the club, they feel like they’re

touch anything.”

coming home.”

In addition to the Friday and

Veilleux, a hockey convert

Saturday noon games, Veilleux

from Waterville, Maine, learned

and his staff conduct three main

about all aspects of the golf

tournaments during the season:

business, working every job

(1) The Member/Member (one

imaginable at the Waterville

for men, one for women) the

Country Club since age four-

first week of December, a two-

teen. He’s also had a unique perspective on


day, 36-hole better ball of partners Stableford

Nicklaus as a player. Veilleux met Larry Dor-

General Manager Bob Wesselman.

scoring event, which helps to eliminate the

nisch, then the head professional at Lost Tree Club (the North Palm Beach, Florida, community where Nicklaus lives) one summer in Maine. He started working as an assistant at Lost Tree in 1990. Then one day, Nicklaus posed a question that would floor any young golfer. “Jack asked me if I wanted to caddie for him as he played the PGA Tour, the Champions Tour, and a number of major championships.” (This did not include the Masters and some British Opens, for which Jack’s sons

tragedy of a really bad hole or two; (2) The


The “golden” polar bear was a gift to Jack from a loyal fan who was terminally ill. Five of Jack’s replica trophies, representing twenty major victories: four U.S. Open Championships, five PGA championships, two U.S. Amateurs, three British Opens, and six Masters Tournaments.

often toted his bag.) So for five years, while he

Bear’s Club Cup, in January, a Member/Guest that consists of five nine-hole matches; and (3) The Memorial Cup, a season-ending Member/Guest in the spring that also consists of five nine-hole matches. Each kicks off with a nine-hole Par-3 Tournament, just like at Augusta National. There is also the Men’s and Women’s Club Championships (Tom Sullivan is the current men’s champion and Bonnie Grizzard has won the women’s five times). Veilleux is also proud of the club’s Instruc-

held assistant professional positions at Castle Pines and

tional Program, whose main pillar is the Jack Nicklaus

Muirfield Village and became the head professional at the

“Academy of Golf, which offers indoor teaching bays for


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A Golden Eighteen

protection from the elements on the north end of the range.

room, which is adorned with fine art, some depicting Jack’s

Here, members can take advantage of a holistic approach to

greatest tournament moments, others from Italy, courtesy

their lessons. That means the teaching staff assesses them in

of Barbara Nicklaus. “Barbara is our interior designer,”

a number of areas: physical analysis, nutritional analysis,

Matthews says. “This is all her look and feel. She basically

equipment analysis/custom club-fitting, and course-man-

picked everything you see here.” What we see are large vases

agement skills. The full-swing and short-game teaching

from Tuscany, paintings of Venetian vineyards, and images

techniques are based on the Nicklaus instruction book, Golf

of Italian villas by some of Italy’s greatest artists. The style

My Way, written with Ken Bowden and using Jack’s time-

of furniture is seventeenth and eighteenth century and

tested theories presented in a modern style. “Everything we

heavy; the curtains are original Italian designs; the chande-

do, from the pressure plates that measure weight distribu-

liers are from Murano. If you closed your eyes for a moment,

tion to video analysis to stressing the fundamentals, supports Jack’s theories on how to play the game,” Veilleux says. There is also a strong emphasis on the junior game, which is called the Future Junior Elite program. On Mondays from 4-5:30 p.m., the program is open to any skill level. On Tuesdays, it caters to more advanced players. Wednesdays are reserved for the Triple-A players, which include

you might think you were actually in a Tuscan PREVIOUS PAGES:

(Clockwise from upper left) The par-5 eighth hole; understated club entrance; a bird-watcher’s paradise; always time for golf; life changes when you drive through the gate; caddie and caddie master Eric Hogan; the sand is always consistent.

such future stars as Jeg Coughlin III, who is the Ohio High School Boys Champion. Nicklaus utilizes S.N.A.G. (Starting New At Golf) in his Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, and all of the teachers at The Bear’s Club are well versed in that innovative program. The Bear’s Club golf shop is always stocked with the most up-to-date equipment and latest fashions. Besides designing the shop to be visually pleasing and welcoming

And of course, there are the bears. You see them everywhere. One bear sculpture is not so large, but it catches your eye as you walk through the main entrance of the clubhouse, sitting on a table to your right. It was a gift from Gary Player, who is also a member. You have the Bear Grill, the Cubhouse (the halfway house), and the unmistakable preserved


(Clockwise from upper left) Head Superintendent John Katterheinrich; Director of Golf Eric Veilleux; Dining Room Manager Sean Matthews; quietly playing with a caddie; Locker Room Attendant Oscar Tapias; bears are everywhere, this one was a gift from member Gary Player.

(having won numerous awards for golf shop

village or maybe in Venice or Florence.

golden bear (actually a polar bear) that greets you near the locker room. That was a gift from a cancer-stricken fan, Dr. Walter J. Murawski. Murawski’s daughter asked Nicklaus to call her father during the 1986 PGA Grand Slam at Kemper Lakes. “Dr. Murawski told me he had only a few months to live,” Nicklaus recalls. “He said he had taken a polar bear in Alaska, the fourth largest ever taken. He wanted me to have it after he passed away. When my dream

design), the staff personally shops for the members,

of The Bear’s Club became a reality, it seemed appropriate

including tailoring their clothing.

that the polar bear’s home should be here to honor and remember a special fan.”

An impressive clubhouse inside and out

We continue our tour of the clubhouse with Director

THIS ATTENTION to the members extends from the golf op-

of Operations and Membership Services Kathy Gibson. She

eration into the dining areas, where Dining Room Manager

begins in the library off the main entrance, where you can

Sean Matthews is always on top of his game. “We leave noth-

view various trophies and memorabilia that the Nicklauses

ing to chance,” he says. “Our staff training consists of mock

have collected over the years (and that most golf fans are

tables and setup dinners. We put the staff through rehearsal

unaware of). Over here is a plaque commemorating Jack’s

wine tastings so each has a working knowledge of wine and

eagle on 18 to win the 1990 Tradition. And over there is a

its terminology.” Matthews notes the club has its own pastry

Father of the Year Award given by the Minority Golf Asso-

chef, Heather Boogertman, who specializes in cakes, pies,

ciation of America in 1999. And over there is the 2000

and breads. Matthews takes us on a tour of the main dining

Florida Sports Award designating Jack as the Florida Pro


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A Golden Eighteen

Athlete of the Century. The accolades go on and on. In the

The Bear’s Club for lunch or dinner, and it is always a

lounge and bar, where members can have a quiet lunch, you’ll

pleasure. Jack and Barbara are as good of friends as we

find replicas of all of Jack’s major championship trophies,

have anywhere in the world. We are honored to be mem-

plus those for his senior majors. (Jack is the only player in

bers. The staff is always friendly and the food is excellent.”

history to have won all majors on both the regular and senior

Speaking of the food, Executive Chef Brian Sode, in his

Tours.) Next we venture down to the four guest suites in the

ninth season at The Bear’s Club, is world renowned as not

lower level of the main clubhouse, named after some of Jack’s

only a master chef (there are only sixty-six in the country),

favorite courses in the world: Pebble Beach, Augusta Na-

but also as a teacher and mentor to other chefs. Achieving

tional, St. Andrews, and Muirfield, where he won the 1966

his status required years of study and months of preparation

British Open to complete the career Grand Slam. How con-

(see opposite page). He’s proud of his Cajun cooking,

venient are these suites? In just a few steps, guests can walk

namely his seafood gumbo, which includes local blue crab,

out their door and into the locker room. They also have

shrimp, Tasso ham, and Andouille sausage. “This year Mr.

concierge service 24/7, as do guests in the cluster of five-

Nicklaus tried it,” Sode says. “And he asked if I could make

thousand-square-foot villas off of No. 10 and the five three-

it milder with fewer carbs. I knew that Boar’s Head has a re-

thousand-square-foot cottages, each named for a flower,

ally good sausage with fewer calories, so I played around

outside the clubhouse with a view of the 18th green. One

with it and kept making the recipe less spicy until Jack

of these units—the Begonia—is available for rent.

liked it. And we put it on the menu as Jack’s

They are all tastefully decorated in the Tuscan

Gumbo.” Barbara Nicklaus’ recipes are on the

style, thanks to Barbara. On the course are

menu as well, mostly in the way of healthy al-

sixty-five to seventy estate homes, which belong

ternatives. The Buckeyes are the exception. (A

to members and such celebrities as Michael Jor-

Buckeye is a peanut butter ball dipped in

dan and various Tour players. Though most of

chocolate.) In season, the dining room serves

the homes are well set back and do not intrude,

dinner Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

they are grand and impressive.

Breakfast and lunch and a bar menu are avail-

Back in the clubhouse, the upper level

able seven days a week. Sode’s philosophy of

contains the main dining room, which includes

cooking is simple: “This is a high-end club, and

outside dining with a full view of the 18th hole, a

we’re all about quality,” he says. “I procure the best pos-

mixed grill, and a lounge. The lower level contains a large

sible ingredients, such as fresh Dover sole from Spain or

meeting room with a men’s grill that flows into five sepa-

France, and I order produce daily. I deal with a lot of local

rate locker areas, each with their own showers and hot

farmers. Many of our foods are organic—no antibiotics in

tubs, in addition to massage rooms and steam showers.

our organic chicken, and we serve only grass-fed beef.”

The locker areas are named after the professional majors,

There are also several vegetarian options.

as well as the U.S. Amateur Championship, and at each

Says Scott DeSano, a founding member who retired

entry point is a plaque that provides detail on each of the

from Fidelity in 2008 and now owns DeSano Pizza Bak-

Golden Bear’s victories. The locker room is in good hands

eries in several cities across the country: “We have such a

under the direction of long-time attendant Oscar Tapias.

high-end membership with a lot of accomplished people

The women have excellent locker-room facilities as well,

who are used to very fine dining. And I think they would

and in fact have their own attendants, Miriam Fumero and

agree there is no better restaurant in the area. Everything’s

Imelda Anaya, who are on site full time. There is also a pri-

made fresh daily. No corners are cut. In my experience, no

vate dining room, which is often used for board meetings.

meal has ever been less than superb. Nothing beats having

Members can conduct a meeting, have a bite to eat, then

a great breakfast or lunch, then going out and playing such

go out and play golf. Says Gary Player: “The clubhouse is

a finely maintained golf course.”

as good as it gets. My wife, Vivienne, and I will often go to

Stein would agree: “The course is almost always in


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So You Want to be a Master Chef? WHAT DOES IT TAKE to become one of only sixty-six mas-

protein absorption, carbohydrate. and sugar content for

ter chefs in the country? It’s not dissimilar from the rigors

various foods. This is done using a computer program.

of becoming a top-ranked PGA Tour player. Countless

Day 2: Charcuterie and Buffet Catering. The chefs must

hours of practice and preparation are required, followed

demonstrate their knowledge of cold cooked meats and

by a grueling testing period that lasts

how to prepare them.

for more than a week. Brian Sode, ex-

Day 3: Classical Cooking. Based on the

ecutive chef at The Bear’s Club, can at-

principles and teachings of Augustus

test to that. He describes the eight-day,

Escoffier, who was the first chef to doc-

stress-induced examination at the

ument his recipes, the prospective

Culinary Institute of America in

master chefs demonstrate a command

Poughkeepsie, New York, covering

of the classics.

eight cooking disciplines, as a night-

Day 4: Global Cooking. On this day, the

mare. It’s part PGA Tour Qualifying

chefs focus on Asia and South America.

School, part Bar Exam, and part New

Day 5: Free Style. Here’s where the chefs

York City Marathon.

can show their creativity.

First, to even take the exam, you

Day 6: Pastries. Chefs must prepare

have to be a professional chef. In Sode’s

breads and ten plated desserts.

case, after an apprenticeship in his home

Day 7: Continental Cooking. The chefs

city of Chicago, he became a chef at age

prepare such classics as Wiener

twenty-two in Manhattan at the Atrium Club in the famous Galleria Building on 57th Street. Thirty years later, his career

Schnitzel, Hungarian Goulash, and ABOVE:

Executive Chef Brian Sode, one of only sixty-six Masters Chefs in the US.

has taken him all over the US, including


the Metropolitan Club in Chicago’s

Every meal is created to perfection, including Jack’s low-carb Gumbo.

Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower), and

Coq au Vin. Day 8: The Final. Everything must come together to create and execute a complete menu. The catch is, if you fail one day,

the Chiquita Dining Room in Cincinnati. He also spent

even if it’s day seven, you have to start over from day one

eight years at Club Corp., where he opened various clubs

at another time. That’s pressure. Fortunately for Brian

and restaurants for the company based in Dallas.

Sode, he passed each day and became a master chef. Now,

Before his examination for becoming a master chef, he prepared as if it were a physically grueling athletic event. He went into training, working out in the gym, and getting plenty of rest. He spent weeks concocting various recipes and putting them on display for his clientele. Then, for the actual testing period, he prepared himself mentally for the required eight consecutive days of intense cooking, always under a judge’s eye. Finally, he was ready for the real examination: Day One: Nutrition. The chef needs to demonstrate a first-hand knowledge of caloric intake, fat content,

he judges the examination and even helps create the curriculum for other prospective master chefs.

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perfect condition. Pristine is a better

vegetation (there is no rough to speak of). The tees, like the

Are we in Italy or Florida? The clubhouse is a series of walled courtyards and buildings.

word for it. The greens are true, and

near side of the practice range and Par-3 Course, are

they can get very fast. I can’t ever re-

paspalum because that provides an extremely uniform and

member being in a bad spot in the fair-

firm teeing ground, and it recovers quickly from divots

way.” This is due to the expertise of

and general wear. The far side of the range is Bermuda grass

John Katterheinrich, the head superintendent. He says his

so members have an option. Nicklaus wanted to test the

philosophy of maintaining the course is completely influ-

paspalum on the Par-3 Course and range first. It was a

enced by his exposure to Nicklaus, which started many years

successful test, and so he used it for the tees on the big

ago at Lost Tree Club, where Katterheinrich served on the

course as well. “It’s a very sturdy grass,” Katterheinrich

grounds staff. “Jack is very specific about what he wants

says. “You’ll notice that the tees have sharp edges. The

and doesn’t want,” Katterheinrich says. “Mainly,

paspalum holds up well when golfers walk on

we maintain the course to championship stan-

and off of the tees. And it gives almost a tacky

dards most all the time. Green speeds are ele-

traction to your footing as you swing.”

vated to at least PGA Tour standards. All the

Jack’s philosophy in the design was simply

playing surfaces are usually firm and fast.” One

to lay a course in the natural vegetation of this

of Katterheinrich’s biggest challenges is the per-

area. “There is so little natural elevation change

vasive grain on the Bermuda grass greens,

that water doesn’t drain, say, to a nearby lake

something Jack keeps a keen eye on. “We are

as on most golf courses,” Katterheinrich says.

often brushing or grooming or vertical mowing

“So we have seventeen electric sump stations

or using other techniques to eliminate or reduce

that help evacuate the water off the golf course. We

grain,” Katterheinrich says. “During the season we probably

had to do that because we didn’t have the natural fall to

cut our fairways a little tighter than other clubs in the area.

drain the fairways off.” The result is a tremendously quick-

Jack doesn’t like the striping technique you see on some

draining golf course. It’s playable minutes after a major

courses, so we cut them in different directions.”

thunderstorm. The dwarf variety of Bermuda grass on the

Katterheinrich says he enjoys maintaining such a nat-

greens is Mini Verde, the fairways are another variety of

ural environment. “Because there are no exotic plantings

Bermuda called Celebration, the sand in the bunkers, mostly

on the course and all the vegetation is native, it’s a more

imported from Ohio, is called Pro Angle (the same sand

rugged, sandy, somewhat unkempt look, which is on pur-

used at Muirfield Village). But starting in 2008, when the

pose,” he says. The playing areas—tees, fairways, greens—

entire course was re-grassed, the club began transitioning

are highly maintained, and they perch out of the native

to a local sand variety with similar specifications.


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The Bear’s Club

Says Gary Player, who has not only played courses all

feel like a Tour player here—just like on Tour, we have a

over the world, but also has designed them: “The golf

high-end workout room, and trainers are available to mem-

course is always in immaculate condition and is a very good

bers to improve their golf fitness and to help with injuries.

test. A good practice range is essential these days, and I can

And the teaching center, with so much high-tech equip-

easily say that there is none better than at The Bear’s Club.

ment, will really get your game in shape.” Says Phillip

It is not unusual to see several of today’s top professionals

Morse: “At least a dozen times a year I bring friends to have

practicing at the facility.” DeSano, an 8-handicapper who

lunch and play the Par 3. The nine tee shots, ranging from

plays in the Champ Tees noon game on

perhaps eighty yards to 170 yards, func-

Saturdays, can attest to that. “The greens

tion the same as your approach shots on

are insanely perfect,” he says. “Tour quality

any golf course, whether you have a 5-iron

almost all the time. In fact, sometimes

or a sand wedge in your hand.”

they’re a little too fast, but they’re as pure

There is a sense of the future here, as

to putt on as you’ll find anywhere.” De-

well as so much history, tradition, and

Sano speaks with credibility. He’s also a

nostalgia. This is reminiscent of Eric

member at Muirfield Village and Se-

Veilleux’ coincidental experience regard-

bonack, and often plays in the AT&T Peb-

ing his initial exposure to the Nicklaus

ble Beach National Pro-Am on three

name. The first golf clubs he ever

courses in Monterey, California, and the

owned—as a young boy—was a set of

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on

Jack Nicklaus Golden Bears he bought for

three courses in

$75. He used those woods and irons for


the St. Andrews/Carnoustie area.

years, and they helped formulate his love of the game.

Bronze bust of the club’s founder.

“The Bear’s Club Par-3 Course is as

Now, decades later, Veilleux is the director of golf at one

challenging as you’ll want to play,”

of the most prestigious venues in the world, where

he says. “It will really develop your

prominent individuals and those who want to remain

short game. You use all your

anonymous live, a place that Jack built and calls his home

wedges. One day I spent four hours

club in the South, the one that carries the unmistakable

there with Ernie Els. Sometimes you

name: The Bear’s Club.


Membership Director Kathy Gibson; office staff Lori Lee Life, Sharon Ellis, and Erin Montgomery.


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THE CLUB AT CARLTON WOODS T h e W o o d l a n d s , Te x a s

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A Golden Eighteen

Magnificent Golf in a Parkland Setting


HERE IS A PLAQUE on the outside wall near the awning as you enter the grand clubhouse at Carlton Woods. The

design of the plaque is eye catching, and the message is telling: “VISION: To be known as the finest private club and community in Texas and one of the top clubs in America as recognized by our members, their guests, our employees and our industry peers.” This plaque was created and displayed upon the club’s tenth anniversary, June 5, 2011. It’s safe to say that the vision can

be seen throughout every facet of the Carlton Woods operations, from the senior staff and board members down to the newest and youngest employees and even children of the members. Everybody—from Locker-Room Attendant Josue Fuentes, who’s been there six years, and Dining Room Supervisor Joseph Araujo (ten years), to the bag attendants who first greet the members and their guests when they arrive at the club—understand the mission. It’s ingrained from the top

down, and it starts with the commit-


“The membership seems to appreci-

Water stretches the length of this 455-yard, par-4 15th hole, Carlton Woods’ Signature Hole.

ate that,” he says. “They are relaxed,

ment to excellence that Jack Nicklaus has always demonstrated. “It’s all in the details, and no detail is too

approachable, and down to earth.


The “Vision” statement plaque is displayed at the entrance to the clubhouse.

They are very self-assured. Nobody boasts around here. They just don’t

small,” says COO/General Manager


need to impress each other.” Says

David Sizelove. “When our team

The entrance foyer of the clubhouse sets the stage for what lies inside.

Sizelove: “Having friendly, knowl-

members truly understand the vi-

edgeable staff is a key to our success.

sion, it makes taking care of the details second-nature.”

Our training philosophy is one in which you hire people

Cedric Jenkins, who has served the club as locker room

with the right attitude first, then you spend the time to train

manager since the opening of the clubhouse nine years ago,

them, and finally you need to be supportive of them. You

says that whenever a club member asks something of a

can train all you want, but if you do not show your staff that

staff member, the answer is always very simple: Certainly.

you truly care about them and have appreciation toward


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A Golden Eighteen

them, then you will have undoubtedly failed as a leader.”

however, to have an optimum angle into the green, keeping

This all makes for an incredibly pleasant experience

with Jack’s philosophy of course design that he learned

when you drive through the guard gate and into the ex-

from Alister MacKenzie’s work at Augusta National. “I’ve

clusive community and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf

always liked what Bobby Jones and MacKenzie did at

Course. A kinder and gentler Tom Fazio design was com-

Augusta, which you also see at St. Andrews. [Jack won a

pleted in 2006, giving the members an appealing option

total of eight majors at those two venues.] The tee shots

in case they’d like a change of pace for

on those courses are fun to play, and I ABOVE:

their golf. But the Nicklaus course was

The men’s locker room.

Carlton Woods’ original design, and it’s the one that is sought out by members when they want to impress their guests. Eighteen spectacular holes, not a weak one among them, are routed through a natural parkland setting

Indeed, the drive on the signature


(Clockwise from upper left) The community table in the men’s locker room grille brings members together for convivial meals after their rounds; shuffleboard in the men’s locker room; dining areas; Gruyère cheese-encrusted tenderloin, a dinner specialty; signature snack.

that includes lakes, streams, waterfalls,

strived for that at Carlton Woods.” 15th hole, a 419-yard par 4 that features a pond in front and a small waterfall guarding the right side of the green, is a case in point. If you hug the left side of the fairway with your tee shot—perilously close to the meandering creek

woods, and a reservoir. It’s a big golf course with lots of

that flanks the left side of the fairway—you’ll have an easier

trees and native vegetation, but not overly dramatic like so

approach into the green. You can hit a safer drive to the

many trumped-up modern designs today. Yet Nicklaus, the

right, but then you’ll face a more challenging approach.

architect, gives you, the golfer, room to drive the ball. Most

Nicklaus takes great pride in his work at Carlton

holes require an accurate placement of the tee shot,

Woods, having revisited the site in 2012 to recommend


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T h e C l u b a t C a r l t o n Wo o d s

some tweaks and adjustments. Says Director of Instruc-

(2) the grandeur and functionality of the clubhouse, (3)

tion Corey Lundberg: “On the first hole, for example, Jack

the quality of the membership, and (4) the profession-

thought the rough to the left side of the landing area was

alism of the staff.

a little too open. He recommended we plant a couple of trees there to help frame the hole for the opening tee

The Nicklaus Course: An environmental beauty

shot.” It didn’t take long for those two trees to suddenly

THE COURSE’S STANDARD of excellence begins with the

appear, and now the hole, with bunkers also down the

Director of Agronomy Eric Bauer, who was handpicked for

right side, better fits the golfer’s eye.

the job by Jack himself (Bauer actually worked on Nicklaus’

The golfer’s eye is supremely important at Carlton

home course at Lost Tree Village in North Palm Beach,

Woods. When you ask the members what first attracted

Florida). Bauer, in turn, says he’s simply carrying out the

them to the exclusive and exquisitely maintained club,

vision that The Woodlands developer George Mitchell al-

you generally get the following answers, not in any par-

ways had in mind, which means holding the course to a

ticular order: (1) the magnificence of the golf course,

higher standard than any other in the vicinity. “We try to


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A Golden Eighteen

keep everything at tournament conditions all the time,”

practice hitting pitches, then putting out, without getting

Bauer says. “For example, when the USGA tournament

in anyone’s way.”

committee toured the course in anticipation of holding the

The several tour players who are members at Carlton

U.S. Junior in 2014, they said the tournament could already be held without any adjustments.” Indeed, that’s high praise. Carlton



Woods would agree. You’re likely to see PREVIOUS PAGES:

The par-5 eighth hole features a large fairway and a large waste bunker dominating the right side.

women’s club champion Jessica Surber can attest to that. “When I played in the women’s Mid-Amateur at another club in

Jhonattan Vegas, Jeff Maggert, Bobby Gates, or Roland Thatcher hitting balls, perfecting chips and pitches, or honing sand shots any day of the week. Says Thatcher, a stalwart


Intimate dining in The Wine Cellar, where members may utilize private wine lockers.

on the Web.com Tour and long-time pupil of Carlton Woods’ Director of Golf Mark

Texas, I realized just how consistently good


Steinbauer: “The practice facility is wide

our greens and fairways are,” she says.

The wine cellar in The Tuscany Room; the entrance to The Wine Cellar.

and flat, with a few trees, greens, and

Surber knows what she’s talking about. She has played all over the country and in Scot-

bunkers scattered to provide definition, replicating golf holes. If you’re a tour player

land, and teamed with LPGA standout Grace Park on

and you live in Houston, you probably play out of here.

their dominant high school squad in Scottsdale, Arizona,

This course is tour quality year round. The layout, design,

then in college at the University of Arkansas and at Loyola

and conditioning are second to none, and there is not a

in Chicago. As a scratch player, Surber enjoys the high

bad hole on the property. If you can play well here, you

quality of the practice facility. “What’s really nice are the

can play well anywhere.” (On the day this writer was vis-

separate areas for the short game and other shots. I can

iting, PGA Champion Steve Elkington, a member at


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T h e C l u b a t C a r l t o n Wo o d s

nearby Champions, was seen tiptoeing

director of golf since day one: The

in his metal spikes through the locker

course is very demanding for the re-

room between nines.)

ally good player and requires hitting

Most of the tour players who are

all the shots, yet it is also playable for

members at Carlton Woods enjoy

the average golfer or higher handi-

playing early in the morning, getting

capper. That’s a real tribute to Jack

around in less than four hours, then

and his design skills.”

hanging out on the range and at the

How did Nicklaus achieve that

state-of-the art learning facility to do

goal? First, by creating four sets of tees,

serious work on their games. They are

each marked with the exact same type

treated like any other member—no

of CW iron markers (the members just

more, no less—which is what they

know where they should play from

seek. Thatcher says he’s always enjoyed

without being told or dictated to). Sec-

Nicklaus golf courses, but this one is

ond, by giving golfers an open route

special. “I like the way the greens are situated on every

onto a safe part of the green without requiring forced car-

hole,” he says. “Generally they are designed so the farther

ries. Third, by designing fairly wide landing areas for tee

right or left the pin is positioned, the longer your shot. It

shots on most holes. Finally, by insisting on a consistent and

requires you to really work the ball into the greens and be

high standard of maintenance, including closely cropped

very precise with your yardages.”

chipping areas from where one can use the putter or hybrid,

Notes Steinbauer, who has been Carlton Woods’

and bunker lips that are sharp but not overly steep.


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A Golden Eighteen

including two hurricanes. A common pastime for the members is to sit on the veranda behind the clubhouse overlooking the 18th green, probably with drink in hand, and watch the eagles soar overhead in search of prey. The clubhouse: A grand but practical design FROM THAT SAME back veranda, accessed directly from the

room called the “Bear’s Den,” members can also sit back and relax as they observe golfers finishing their rounds next to the formal gardens and small lake. Then it’s just a short walk into the main dining room or the outdoor grill, where they can avail themselves of the culinary team’s world-famous cuisine. The club serves breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week, either in the dining room, the outdoor veranda, or even in the men’s locker room. The breakfast menu includes such locally fresh items as an organic three-egg omelet (with the obligatory hash browns and whole-wheat toast). Or perhaps your game deserves something with even more staying power: the Tex-Mex migas, which consists of organic eggs, grilled chicken, tortillas, guacamole, queso fresco, pico de gallo, black beans, and cumin crema. Of course, it might be difLundberg points out that there are some champi-

ficult to get the club back to parallel after one of these

onship tees available, which stretch the total yardage to

hearty meals, so perhaps you should opt for the blueberry

more than 7,300 yards, but Jack asks that those tees rarely

protein smoothie (banana, orange, apple, and soy protein).

be used unless the course is serving as the site of a qualifying round for a national or state championship. “It’s part of the ‘Tee It Forward’ campaign that Jack so strongly endorses,” Lundberg says. Bauer’s conditioning philosophy, in

For lunch or dinner, the team is PREVIOUS PAGES:

(Counterclockwise from upper left) The 214-yard, par-3 seventh hole; Ladies’ day on the golf course; teeing off the par-5 eighth hole; Junior Camp for the aspiring young golfers; flags in front of the pro shop.

happy to produce either local seafood— a tuna tartar dish or seared tuna—or perhaps Gruyère cheese-encrusted tenderloin, one of their specialties. You might finish that off with one of the

addition to playability, also stresses envi-


signature desserts—an assortment of

ronmental best practices. The course is a

The fireplace in The Tuscany Room.

fresh berries, local Texas peaches, and

certified member of the Audubon Inter-


national program, and golfers are likely to encounter many species of wildlife during a round. On a recent tour of the back nine, sightings included deer, fox, turtles, woodpeckers, great blue herons,

jalapeño-heat ice cream.

(Clockwise from upper left) The 455-yard, par-4 ninth hole; a statue of a bear in The Bear’s Den bar and grill; a front gate sign; the entrance to Carlton Woods; a commemorative driver that Jack Nicklaus used on opening day in 2001.

and a pair of cardinals, male and female.

“The members here are well traveled and have high expectations, so we are always striving to keep them interested with something they might not get at other clubs,” says Sizelove. While we’re in the clubhouse, let’s

And the impressive and massive eagles’ nest can’t be

take a look in the men’s locker room, which is clearly the

missed high in a tree on the 18th fairway. The nest has

social and residential hub for the elite of The Woodlands.

been there for seven years, surviving numerous storms,

With an all-inclusive drink menu and five flatscreen TVs,


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A Golden Eighteen

the environment is like a massive sports bar but with class.

man). For instance, members and their guests can enjoy

Visit with Locker Room Manager Cedric Jenkins, who

such bio-therapeutic, non-invasive, skin-care technology

knows each member by name (as well he should; he has

treatments as Hydrodermabrasion, which promises to “di-

been on the job for the past nine years watching the mem-

minish fine lines and wrinkles, improve aging, thicken

bership grow from 112 to

skin, improve sun dam-

the current 592 golfing

age, refine pores, and re-

and 144 sports). He

duce scarring.” There are

points out the high ceil-

also massage treatments

ings with huge cedar

available seven days a

beams and oversized fix-

week, including Swedish,

tures. There are framed

Deep Tissue, and Hot

golf flags positioned high

Stone. In addition, there

on the walls commemo-

are five different types of

rating the twelve CW

Cosmedix peel treat-

Championships played

ments, including Blue-

here over the past twelve

berry Smoothie Peel,

years. Then gaze out the

Pomegranate Peel, and

plate-glass windows, across the manicured gardens and lake

the Purity Peel, which uses deep-penetrating alpha- and

that is home to great blue herons and other beautiful water

beta-hydroxy acids to detoxify and clarify oily, blemish-

birds, and catch some of the action on the ninth or 18th

prone skin. The spa also offers facial treatments and man-

greens. And look at what is really special, in the back of the

icures for men and special packages for teens.

locker room, hidden from view: A large hot tub that is a welPREVIOUS PAGES:

The 18th green and the clubhouse; The Club at Carlton Woods is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. ABOVE:

The Men’s Member Guest trophy. OPPOSITE:

(Clockwise from upper left) The Carlton Woods Invitational trophy; Lead Esthetician Karen Felix; Dining Room Supervisor Joseph Araujo; Head Bartender Steve Bixby; the front of the Nicklaus Clubhouse; Locker Room Manager Cedric Jenkins.

come respite after the grueling task

The quality of the membership, second to none

of hitting a little white golf ball


down a perfectly maintained fair-

Carlton Woods. A member of the club for six years and a

way for four hours among friends,

9 handicapper, McIntyre is an avid player but also a keen

colleagues, or business associates.

supporter of his daughter, Shawna. She is married to the

Next door is the wine area,

Head Professional at the Fazio course, Jason Alexander.

where members are allowed to

McIntyre’s first exposure to the Carlton Woods Nicklaus

store their own collections of up

course was as a caddie. That’s right, he was toting the bag

to twenty-five bottles in personal,

for a friend in the U.S. Amateur qualifier in 2007. “I fell

temperature- and humidity-con-

in love with the course,” he says. “You feel like you’re out

trolled units. Upstairs you’ll find

in the country. Nicklaus and his design team obviously

The Tuscany Room, which is sur-

put a lot of thought into it. This is a course I could play

rounded by even more massive

every day for the rest of my life. It’s that good.” McIntrye

wine racks. This is a perfect place

points out that you can ride at Carlton Woods, or take a

to host a private dinner party,

caddie (his preference), or walk in the evening for five or

complete with an Italian-themed

six holes (“I always keep a golf bag in the car,” he says).

décor. There is also a state-of-

But playing with a caddie is really the ultimate form

the-art spa and treatment facility,

of golf, and the caddie program is ingrained into the Carlton Woods golf experience. Since 2004, Caddie Master

housed in the women’s locker room. The Spa at Carlton Woods features every modern and

Robert Ladimir has run the program. “It’s part of the cul-

ancient body rejuvenation remedy known to woman (or

ture of the club,” Ladimir says. “In all the tournaments,


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Jack’s Golden Eighteen

you use a caddie. We do more caddie rounds than any

or her name on that board, which is color coded and at

club in Houston.” The caddies wear the traditional white

a glance shows which skills—from driving to iron play

jumpsuit in the fall and winter, and in the summer are al-

to pitching, chipping, putting, and bunker play—have

lowed to wear shorts. They also help to take care of the

been achieved, and which skills are about to be tested.

course—maintaining bunkers, filling divots. So they serve

“There is not a kid in the club who doesn’t study that

a dual purpose. “Because caddies spend so much time

board almost every week,” Lundberg says. “It’s based on

with members or their guests, we want to be sure they

proven improvement and coaching techniques, and it

portray an image of service,” Ladimir says. He notes that

keeps the kids motivated.” There is also a section for

the caddies undergo a strict and thorough training pro-

most-improved adults, based on a formula that takes into

gram that revolves around accountability. “We teach them

account that it’s more difficult to improve your handicap

three things: Respect for the club, respect for the caddie

as it gets lower.

program, and respect for yourself.”

Motivation seems to be a theme at Carlton Woods,

Candy Herrera is one of the many caddies who aptly

and one of the ways it’s exemplified is through its com-

demonstrates this code. She grew up in San Bernardino,

mitment to not only running and managing the club at

California, and played varsity golf for Oklahoma State

the highest level, but its commitment to the amateur

University. “I enjoy being with the members

game. Says General Manager David OPPOSITE:

here,” she says. “If I can make their day a little bit better, I feel I succeeded in my job.” Herrera majored in landscape architecture, and she gets hands-on training every time she does a loop at Carlton Woods. The relationship between caddie and member goes both ways. Once a year, for example, the Women’s Golf Association partners

Sizelove: “We decided early on that to be

(Clockwise from upper left) Ladies Club Champion Jessica Surber; Director of Grounds Eric Bauer; Director of Golf Mark Steinbauer; caddie crew; Director of Instruction Corey Lundberg; mowing the fairways. (Center) A tournament flag; a mid-morning round.

with the caddie program to produce the

true to the traditions we value, we should help foster amateur golf.” The club will be the site of the prestigious 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Sizelove notes that Carlton Woods is often the site of USGA and Texas Golf Association qualifying tournaments, and it annually hosts the AJGA Boys Championship on Presidents’ Day

Caddyshack Tournament, a two-person scramble format

weekend, with the top seventy-eight boys in the country

with dinner and awards afterward. “It makes the caddies

participating. Then there is the Carlton Woods Invita-

feel part of the club,” says Ladimir, “and the members re-

tional, a scratch medal-play competition over three days

ally get into it.” There is also a caddie match-play tour-

in which more than twenty-five states are represented.

nament. With twenty full-time and twenty-five to thirty

And finally there is the 36-hole Member-Guest, consid-

part-time caddies, the competition is fierce. Indeed, some

ered by the guests who come from all over the country to

of the caddies play on the local Woodlands High School

be one of the best Member-Guest events in the nation.

golf team, which is a powerhouse in the state. There are

The women’s events are handled exactly the same way,”

plus-2, plus-3, and even plus-4 handicappers on the

says Steinbauer. “They are not an afterthought like at

team. “It would be hard to think of Carlton Woods with-

other clubs.” He runs through a litany of programs and

out a caddie program,” Ladimir says.

events for women, including instructional boot camps conducted by Lundberg, trips to the Solheim Cup, Interclubs, and events for husbands and wives.

Professionalism of the staff: from the top down COMPETITION IS ALSO imbedded into the junior pro-

“When our members go elsewhere to play golf, we’re

gram, run by Lundberg. He proudly shows the “Big

often told, ‘It’s so good to be home,’ ” says Sizelove. “You

Board,” an improvement-tracking system he devised that

hear that a lot.” When you see everything that Carlton

is displayed on a wall in the golf shop. Just about every

Woods—and its Nicklaus Signature golf course—has to

junior golfer in the club up to the age of thirteen has his

offer, that’s not at all surprising.


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CASTLE PINES GOLF CLUB Castle Rock, Colorado

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A Golden Eighteen

First-Class Golf in View of the Rockies


HEN YOU STAND on the championship tee of Castle Pines’ first hole—a dramatic par 5 that plays downhill

to a smallish green 644 yards away—you think of two things: (1) It’s not a mirage, you really are looking at Long’s Peak to your right and Pike’s Peak to your left, snow-covered and one of the highest points in North America; and (2) if you can just put the clubface solidly on the ball, it will soar seemingly forever in the mile-high Colorado atmosphere, finally falling back to earth well down the fairway. Actually, you might have this euphoric feeling on a number of holes at Castle Pines, where the ball flies about 10 percent farther than at sea level, and the scenery is so spectacular you really don’t care where the ball goes anyway.

That is the continual, heart-stopping experience at

The story of Jack Vickers and his vision…

Castle Pines, an exclusive and beautiful golf club on the

TO KNOW WHERE Castle Pines is today and where it’s going

southwest outskirts of Denver. From 1986-2006 it was the

tomorrow, we have to reflect on where it was yesterday.

site of The INTERNATIONAL, a PGA Tour event famous

And that starts with Jack Vickers, a man who literally

for its Modified Stableford scoring system and go-for-

grew up on a golf course. His father, a successful grain

broke winners. A brisk walk through

operator and later an even more

the locker room, hosted by its long-

successful oil wildcatter, built a

time manager Tom Horal, allows the

nine-hole course to complement

visitor to see framed golf scrolls from

their two polo fields at their home

each of the twenty-one tournaments,

in Wichita, Kansas. Everything

signed by every player in that year’s

young Jack saw, touched, breathed,

field, with the winner’s scorecard at

and tasted came through golf. He

the bottom. It is an impressive ex-

and his four brothers (there were

hibit, with such names as Phil Mick-

also three sisters) all became very

elson (twice), Ernie Els, Greg

good players, learning the game at

Norman, Davis Love III (twice), and

the nearby Wichita Country Club

José María Olazábal hoisting the winner’s tro-


from the old Scottish pro, Mike Murra. They

phy. The Modified Stableford scoring system

The 18th hole at Castle Pines leads up to an impressive clubhouse.

had a combined handicap of less than 10 when

was unique on the PGA Tour and gave the

they were still in their teens. “We won seven or

event instant recognition and adulation from


eight state championships between us,” Vickers

the media, fans, and players. It was the brain-

The 13th green.

says today. His brother Jim, playing for the

child of the club’s founder, Jack Vickers, whose

University of Oklahoma, won the individual

vision in the early 1980s to have a golf club like no other

title at the 1952 NCAA Championship. Jim also qualified

in the Denver area became a reality when he sought out

for two U.S. Opens and fifteen U.S. Amateurs. His brother

the services of his long-time friend by the same first name:

Bobby won the Kansas State Amateur three times. And Jack,

Jack Nicklaus.

after playing on the golf team at Cascia Hall Preparatory


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A Golden Eighteen

School in Tulsa, once got to the fi-

He spent the next year and half

nals of the Trans-Miss Amateur in

rehabilitating in New York City.

Omaha. Obviously, this was a very

And while he was there, getting to

competitive golfing family, but Jack wanted

know New York well, he was invited to be-

to do more than just play golf. He wanted to build golf,

come a serviceman member of Westchester Country Club.

and so he decided to create a one-of-a-kind golf club. And

That membership and the contacts he made there afforded

he knew what that would take, having been a member of

him entrée to other clubs, such as Eldorado, Southern

seventeen golf clubs throughout the country, venues that

Hills, and, of course, Augusta. Clearly, Vickers made

were held in the highest esteem, such as Shinnecock Hills,

friends easily, and he was in his golfing element.

Butler National, and even Augusta National.

After the war, he attended the University of Oklahoma

One might ask how you become a member of seven-

and became a great friend of the amateur golf legend,

teen golf clubs—and highly regarded clubs at that? Shortly

Charlie Coe, from nearby Ardmore. (They were intro-

after Vickers enrolled at Regis College during World War

duced by their sisters, who were members of the same

II, he got drafted and was sent to the Coast Guard. After

sorority.) Coe won two U.S. Amateurs, plus a number of

boot camp in Maryland, he served on a ship that was es-

other first-rate tournaments and once finished second at

corting a fleet of seventy-five destroyers sailing for Africa.

the Masters. “He was as pure a ball striker as anyone I ever

But seasickness struck hard for the next three months, and

saw,” Vickers recalls, noting that they often traveled together

Vickers almost died, losing close to half his body weight.

playing golf and once drove to Augusta as a twosome.


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Castle Pines Golf Club

“I was kind of Charlie’s chauffeur, I guess you could say.”

marketing operations to Total Petroleum, and its gasoline

(One of the prominent annual tournaments at Castle

plants to Petro-Lewis. His timing turned out to be excellent.

Pines is the Charlie Coe Invitational, and a framed letter

Then in the early 1970s, Vickers, who had based himself in

of admiration from Jack Nicklaus to Coe hangs in the

Denver, started looking for land outside the city. Almost

clubhouse. Nicklaus got to know Coe well during the 1959

daily he scoured the countryside until one day he found

U.S. Amateur, in which Jack won the title by defeating Coe

what he was searching for: 1,200 acres off a sleepy farmland

in the final, 1 up.)

road called Happy Canyon, a few miles away from the

So golf was bred into Jack Vickers, but he also had a

distinctive hilltop called Castle Rock

business to run, the oil and gas company he inherited from

and the town of the same name. The

his father, who died when Jack was a boy. The distinctive

rock formation is a small mesa whose

bat-winged Vickers Petroleum filling stations were a staple

top resembles a squared-off stone

throughout the Midwest and Southwest. Jack worked

castle, hence its nomenclature. But

extremely hard and traveled the country making sure

more dramatically, you can see Pike’s

the business was profitable, but at the same time he was

Peak some fifty miles in the distance,

always playing golf and looking for an opportunity to

often capped with snow against a

make his mark in the game. So after a long and successful

crystal-blue sky. With deliberate fortitude, Vickers went

career managing the family business, Vickers, despite his

about buying the land, but it was not easy. The group

board’s consternation, decided to sell his company’s oil

who owned it, from Denver Country Club, wasn’t selling.

and gas reserves in the late ’60s to Mobil, its refining and

Then about five years later, they had a change of heart


Castle Pines Golf Club designer Jack Nicklaus and club founder Jack Vickers. BOTTOM:

Coe’s Creek runs along the front of the 11th green.

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A Golden Eighteen

and called Vickers. A meeting was set up within an hour,

starting to scale down his Tour schedule and rev up his

a deal was reached before everyone left the room that af-

course design work. “I always admired Jack’s tenacity,”

ternoon, and Vickers had his land. Next, Vickers per-

Vickers says. “It’s like looking at an automobile. I always

suaded twelve of his friends from the Denver area to help

liked Jack’s style. He doesn’t run around the mulberry

put the club together. Busts of those twelve founders,

bush. He gives you a straight answer.”

created by Vickers’ sister-in-law Rhonda Vickers, a tal-

The two Jacks got busy on one of Nicklaus’ most re-

ented artist and sculptor, are displayed along the putting green. Jack Clevenger has been a member since 1989 and is a past president. “When I was fortunate

markable designs, one that makes use of PREVIOUS PAGES:

The 12th green; some of the many picturesque views on the course.

the dramatic topographical elevation changes, gorgeous vistas of the distant Rockies, and countless streams and ram-

enough to get the letter to join,” Cle-


bling waterfalls, all interwoven to create

venger says, “it was such an honor that

Members Dick and Mary Pat McCormick; Charter Member Will Nicholson; Founder Fred Hamilton.

an exquisite golf experience. For example,

asked to join is really something that


3 fourth, which only rivals the par-5 14th.

means a lot.” A stockbroker for forty-two

The ninth fairway; General Manager and Director of Golf, Keith Schneider; Past Club President Jack Clevenger.

It’s no wonder the Tour players consis-

you don’t ask any questions, you just Federal Express the acceptance back. To be

years before retiring last year, Clevenger lives off the first fairway. “You knew that Jack Vickers understood golf,” he says.

if you think the first hole is as good as it gets, you haven’t played the downhill par-

tently gave tribute to Jack’s design every time they played The INTERNATIONAL. Nicklaus had to address one serious

“This is a golf club, not a country club. Jack wanted to have

obstacle in designing the course. “We were faced with an

a tough course, but one that was playable—not tricked up,

enormous hill and these ravines—erosion ditches—that

but challenging.”

ran down a hill covered with staggeringly tall pines,” he wrote in his book, Nicklaus by Design. “So we had to figure

Designing—and building—the golf course

out how to work down through that to the valleys and

ONE OF THOSE twelve founders was Vickers’ old friend, Jack

washes [lows], and then, of course, we had to work our

Nicklaus, whom he knew from their amateur days (the two

way back up the hill to the highs. We moved a lot of the

had first met in 1958 at Prairie Dunes when Nicklaus won

ponderosa pines you see on that golf course. I’m talking

the first of two straight Trans-Miss Amateurs, not far from

about huge trees, thirty-inch bases and more.” Nicklaus

Vickers’ home town of Wichita) and, of course, from Au-

particularly likes the par-4 third hole, which offers you an

gusta National. Nicklaus was still actively playing but was

optional tee shot to two different fairways, right or left.


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“It’s about a 240-yard carry from the tee to an arroyo that

don’t want to gamble with the hazard, you can play out

runs into the fairway and then straight down the fairway

to the left on your tee shot, but you’re still forced to play

to the left side of the green,” he says. “If the wind is at your

over the arroyo on your approach shot. It has clearly de-

back, you can go ahead and take it over the arroyo on the

lineated options and obvious risks/rewards.”

right, and you’ll have a good angle into the green. If you

One change took place at the last minute, but Jack says


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YOU MIGHT NOT be able to see Castle Pines from Pike’s Peak

speeds, defying gravity and summoning death—the current

(unless you know exactly where to look), but you sure can see

record is 09:46.164 and was set by Rhys Millen in 2012.) If you

Pike’s Peak from Castle Pines, some sixty miles away. The sum-

decide to drive, even at a more docile speed, there is a chance

mit is snow-covered for much of the year, and when you’re tee-

you might burn out your brakes on the way down, unless you

ing off on the first hole at Castle Pines, or sipping a drink on

keep your car in low gear.

the clubhouse veranda, you often will see snow on the upper portion of the mountain, even well into the late spring and early summer. Pike’s Peak is named after Zebulon Pike, a U.S. Army Lieutenant who “discovered” it when he headed two exploratory trips into the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800s (even though several Native American tribes

So the cog railway might be a better op-


tion. The Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway uses

A view like no other

ing. However, they were built not in Switzerland

had known about the massive peak for cen-

cog technology designed by the Swiss engineer, Roman Abt. Ironically, the first and highest cog railways in the world imparted this engineerbut in the U.S. The first was in New Hampshire at Mount Washington, and the highest is at Pike’s Peak, where the track ascends as much as

turies). Today there are two ways to get to the summit, and

twenty-five feet for every one hundred feet forward.

neither is for the faint of heart. The route by car features some

The Pike’s Peak railway dates back to the first ambitious

162 harrowing turns and switchbacks and takes more than two

plans in 1883, but that routing did not envision cog technology.

hours to reach the top at 14,115 feet. (Unless you’re competing

It was a normal “adhesion” railroad using numerous switchbacks

in the motor race called the International Hill Climb, in which

and covering more than twenty-seven miles. The New York

cars speed up the highway at cut-throat, breakneck

City bank that was to fund the project failed in


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1884, but one of the investors, Major John Hulbert, put together

twenty minutes. The cog system keeps the coaches tight to the

the Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway Company in 1888, mostly

rails for safety and reliability. The roundtrip ride to the summit

financed by Salmon Simmons, the same Simmons who’s best

takes about three hours and twenty minutes, and there are nu-

known for his mattress company. Using the Swiss cog technol-

merous stops for sight-seeing, picture-taking, and commentary

ogy, the routing covered only 8.9 miles, and was much cheaper

from the conductors. One such stop is where Katharine Lee Bates

to construct. The final track was laid, and the last spike driven,

wrote the classic song, “America the Beautiful.” An English

in late 1890.

teacher at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, she was lecturing

The railway, of course, used steam locomotives at that time.

in the summer of 1893 at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

It was a complicated process, relying on tons of coal to fire up

One day she and some colleagues traveled up to Pike’s Peak by

the boilers, which used thousands of gallons of water filled by

wagon. She was so inspired by the view that she penned the

gravity from sources higher up the mountain. The locomotives

poem, “America the Beautiful.” It was set to music several times,

were not coupled to the coaches, just in case a locomotive

but the version we know today is set to Samuel Ward’s melody,

started rolling downhill out of control. And each coach had a

“Materna.” Many in this country feel “America the Beautiful”

brakeman whose sole job was to administer to the brake to

should be the national anthem, but Congress declared “The Star-

prevent a harrowing ride if the locomotive started rolling too

Spangled Banner” the national anthem in 1931.

quickly downhill.

When you contemplate the lyrics “purple mountain’s

After many decades of slowly improving service, today’s

majesty” or “above the fruited plain” or “God shed His grace

bright-red coaches are Swiss built, have large windows for view-

on thee,” you wonder if Bates was referring to what she saw

ing, and feature bright-red diesel engines. As many as three trains

from her trek to Pike’s Peak or what you might view from atop

ascend the mountain at the same time, departing every hour and

Castle Pines.

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A Golden Eighteen

it came at the request of the PGA Tour: the downhill 10th

The INTERNATIONAL but during the summer and fall

hole became a par 4 instead of a par 5, and the uphill 17th

as well, complete with an abundance of wildflowers, rivals

became a par 5 instead of a par 4. “We added another tee

such highly maintained venues as Augusta National,

farther back,” Nicklaus says, “to make it a par 5 that big

Muirfield Village, and Carlton Woods. And that standard

hitters can go for in two.” This proved pivotal during The

of excellence is due to three things: Nicklaus’ attention to

INTERNATIONAL, when birdies and eagles prevailed at

detail at the outset, which sets the tone; Vickers’ determi-

the finish, counting for extra Modified Stableford points

nation to keep the level consistently perfect; and Head Su-

and making for added excitement and dramatic changes

perintendent Josh Rigsbee’s ability to execute it. As he

on the leaderboard.

takes you around the course, pointing out every design characteristic and change that has taken place over the

Maintenance: High standards in high country

years—especially over the last three or four—you soon re-

THE PRISTINE CONDITIONING, not just for the week of

alize that the staff is somewhat manic about how the


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Castle Pines Golf Club

course looks and plays. “Firm, fast, and


like an agronomical museum than a place

dry,” Rigsbee tells his listener. “We want

Pike’s Peak in the distance.

where sand and new mower blades are

the ball to roll here. There are speed slots


ordered. There is a clay model done by

all over the place.” The tee markers are

The first green; left and right pages: local wildflowers and wildlife.

Director of Grounds Armen Suny of one

pieces of local pine with images of one,


of the greens that the shaper used for ref-

two, three, or four pairs of hummingbirds

A bunker guards the 12th hole green.

erence when the course was built. And there is his watercolor sketch of that same

(the club’s logo) branded into them. Rigsbee, at the edge of the ninth fairway, jumps out of his cart

green with some notes in the margin from Nicklaus, di-

and with his bare hands picks up some grass clippings that

rections for the building crew to follow. Photographs of

inadvertently were left in a clump and sprinkles them into

the course during various construction stages adorn the

the rough. Nothing is left to chance at Castle Pines.

walls, and pictures of Nicklaus walking the land with

The state-of-the-art maintenance building looks more

Vickers and members of the Golden Bear design staff are


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A Golden Eighteen

displayed prominently. There is a proud sense of tradition

as he calls it. Jack Daniels on the rocks? Jameson 1812 neat

here, even though the course is barely thirty years old.

with a splash of water? Kettle One with a twist of lime? You

No changes to the course are ever made without first con-

name it, he’ll make it, and Tom will remember that very

sulting Nicklaus or his design

drink the next time you come by.

chief Jim Lipe.

Maybe that’s one reason he gets

Back on the course, it’s

hugs from the members upon

evident that, at Nicklaus’ sug-

their return in the spring after

gestion, the 18th hole was dra-

being away for a few months (the

matically changed two years

club is closed from late October

ago: The series of fairway

until May).

bunkers that framed the left

Or perhaps you prefer one

side of the fairway are gone,

of Castle Pines’ famous milk-

and the landing area is more

shakes, custom made by Terri

forgiving. Similarly, the ap-

Barnes. It’s not clear which is the

proach to the par-4 10th hole,

more popular institution at Cas-

with water guarding the front-

tle Pines: Terri or her milk-

right side of the green, is also

shakes. They come in a variety

gentler. The bunker to the back

of flavors, from vanilla and

left has disappeared, allowing

chocolate to mint chip and cof-

the golfer to “bail out” away

fee. And they are legendary, even

from the water. In other words,

to the point that some of the

the course still has drama

Tour players claimed they

aplenty, but it’s more playable


than before. The holes are very

just to consume those milk-

walkable—golfers are strongly

shakes. What’s her secret? Hint:

encouraged to take caddies, but often will ride carts be-

It starts with Häagen-Dazs ice cream and lots of it. Then

tween tees and greens.

she adds a special blend of syrup but very little milk. Many a great round, it is said, has been sabotaged at the turn by

A rugged but highly functional clubhouse

one of these heavenly concoctions. So beware. You might

TRUE, THE GOLF course design and conditioning in-season

want to wait until your round is over before you indulge.

are second to none, but the club is much

But we digress. Back to our tour of

more than a first-class golf course. The clubhouse is an intimate structure, designed by the noted architectural firm from San Antonio, Texas—Ford, Powell & Carson. Take a look through the spacious locker room, where Tom Horal is in charge. The mood here is rugged,

the locker room from our guide, Tom


A Jack Nicklaus statue on display in the men’s locker room. OPPOSITE:

Busts of each of the twelve Castle Pines Founders, designed by Jack Vickers’ sisterin-law, Rhonda Vickers, are displayed along the putting green.

matching the Colorado manifest-des-

Horal, who is a busy man. Tom introduces us to Director of Transportation Dale Parsons, who coordinates as many as twenty-five airport shuttle runs a day for the members, including handling their luggage and golf clubs. Horal points out that “Mr. Vickers” wanted an

tiny personality. Busts of a large elk and a moose with mas-

open feel to the locker room, and that’s why the massive

sive antlers peer at you from several walls, conveying a sense

beams are positioned some thirty to forty feet above the

of true grit. But at the same time this is where you can sam-

floor. And natural wood covers every wall and locker.

ple just about any drink you might crave from Horal’s perch,

(Tellingly, one locker in particular sums up the relation-


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Sam Bulter Jr.

Zach K. Brinkerhoff Jr.

Nicholas R. Perry

Frederic C. Hamilton

Frederick R. Mayer

L. C. Fulenwider Jr.

Bert Ladd

Jack A. Vickers Jr.

Jack W. Nicklaus

Courtlandt S. Dietler

Robert L. Manning

Raymond T. Duncan

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From upper left: Fine dining in the clubhouse; dinner at Castle Pines is elegant and refined; Executive Chef Dan Mattoon. OPPOSITE:

The men’s locker room.

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A Golden Eighteen

ship between Vickers and Nicklaus. The nameplates on

private club in the country, with volumes throughout the

the locker they share simply say “Jack Vickers and Jack

clubhouse covering all sorts of subjects, not just golf.

Nicklaus.”) You feel more like you’re in a mountain lodge

Let’s continue our art tour into the nearby cottages,

here rather than a golf club. In addition to numerous ar-

of which there are thirteen buildings housing one hun-

tifacts from the local land that can be found scattered

dred rooms. These cottages are rented out by members

throughout, the original artwork on nearly every available

and their guests and are positioned strategically to over-

wall is magnificent. One painting in particular is of Nick-

look the first and ninth fairways. They are outfitted with

laus in the ’70s with his bird dog. It’s debatable whose eyes

every amenity and luxury a golfer could want, from ceil-

are more piercing, Jack’s or his dog’s. Then

ing showers that nearly drown you to fully

there are the original paintings by a local artist


stocked bars to wood fireplaces and flat-screen

portraying various humorous golf scenes. One

Members and guests enjoy a post-round refreshment on the clubhouse patio.

TVs. Each cottage has a large common room

in particular shows a golfer from the 1800s facing a particularly tough lie in the rough while a cow stares him down. Another is based on a

replete with coffee-table books covering such subjects as the world’s greatest golf courses to Colorado’s native flora and fauna. But the art-

famous series of golf illustrations from the UK. Finally, if

work on the walls generally depict either golfing scenes

you’re in the mood to read a good book—say, Down the

from Scotland and Ireland or charming vignettes of Eng-

Fairway by Bobby Jones—you’ve come to the right place.

lish children discovering the wonders of frogs, lizards, and

Castle Pines is home to one of the largest libraries of any

various insects caught in a jar.


This is dummy copy and this is more dummy


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Castle Pines Golf Club


Director of Transportation Dale Parsons; Food and Beverage Manager Mike Gilmour; Chief Financial Officer Mike MacAdams.

The cottages are within easy walking distance of the

word that Jack wanted to talk to him. This could not be

clubhouse, the putting green, and practice range, which

good, Schneider thought to himself. What had he done

is the permanent home of Golf Professional Don Hurter,

wrong? But Nicklaus told him that a new course he had

who with his wife Sue (formerly Sanders, who competed

designed near Denver was about to open, and the grass

on the LPGA Tour for nine years), run an impeccable op-

had grown in earlier than anticipated. He needed someone

eration. Sue administers the golf shop and Hurter, who

he could count on to manage the golf operation. “When

won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 1978, is

do you need me to start?” Schneider asked nervously.

highly sought after as a teacher. Usually you can find him

Nicklaus looked at his watch and said, “Tomorrow.” So the

giving a lesson to one of the members, a Tour player, or a

next morning Schneider started driving cross-country,

promising youngster. Hurter has a flawless, repeating golf

and he has been on “permanent loan,” as he calls it, from

swing, and he served for several years as an equipment

Muirfield Village ever since. He’s never looked back, having

tester for Golf Digest’s prestigious “Hot List” because his

raised a family in Castle Rock, working closely with Jack

action is more consistent than Iron Byron’s. Hurter

Vickers through many an INTERNATIONAL tournament,

started at Castle Pines as the director of instruction, com-

and becoming part of the fabric of Castle Pines.

ing to the club from Desert Highlands. He moved into the

Schneider is quick to bring to your attention several

golf professional’s position when then Director of Golf

key employees. First is Castle Pines’ executive chef of

Keith Schneider was asked to become the club’s General

twenty-one years Dan Mattoon. Originally from Pittsfield,

Manager/Vice President ten years ago.

Massachusetts, Mattoon studied at the world-renowned Hyde Park Culinary Institute of America. He prides him-

Managing the club and its staff

self on serving almost exclusively local produce, including

NICKLAUS HANDPICKED Schneider when Castle Pines

vegetables and herbs grown on property in six organic

first opened in 1981. He was an assistant professional at

gardens. His salads feature twelve different varieties of

Muirfield Village and was quietly working his way up to a

tomatoes, and he makes all of his own sauces and stocks.

head professional position. One day, Schneider got the

“We have a very high-end, highly educated clientele here,”


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Castle Pines Golf Club

he notes. “So I have to be on my A-game all the time.” Items you might find on the dinner menu include the freshest trout from Colorado streams and lamb from nearby Greely, which he prepares with herbs de Provence and finishes with the club’s own honey. An aside: Director of Golf Don Hurter is also Official Beekeeper Don Hurter. It’s not uncommon to see Hurter in his protective bee suit, attending to the hives on property. “The honey flavors,” says Mattoon, “are fantastic because of all the pine and wild flowers on the golf course.” Mattoon also emphasizes that the club makes its own ice cream, bakes its own bread, produces its own pastries, and even designs its own chocolates. He’s highly sought after, having been invited to the Masters the past four years, including serving as the executive chef for the players and members the past two years. He was also the executive chef for NBC during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, serving 75,000 people. With that kind of experience, working at Castle Pines might seem easy. But it’s not. There is a high standard here, set by Mr. Vickers and executed by Keith Schneider and CFO/Vice PresiOPPOSITE:

dent Mike MacAdams. This stan-

(Clockwise from upper left) Castle Pines caddies; a view of the tower; the “Milkshake Maker” Terri Barnes; Locker Room Manager Tom Horal; Golf Professional Don Hurter and Golf Shop Manager Sue Sanders; Caddie Manager Seth Kaplan and Assistant Golf Professional Zach Anderson; Golf Course Superintendent Josh Rigsbee.

dard is communicated daily to all the employees, from Head Superintendent Josh Rigsbee and Food and Beverage Manager (and maître ’d and Level 2 sommelier) Mike Gilmour, who not only ad-

the need to impress anybody. For example, the “Rule of

ministers the club’s five-thousand-

75” is common at Castle Pines: If your age and handicap

bottle cache of wine, but knows

add up to seventy-five or more, you’re allowed to move

how each member likes to pair it

forward to the 3-Bird tees [which also reflects the current

with his or her meal). As Past Presi-

“Tee it Forward” initiative endorsed by Nicklaus].

dent Jack Clevenger says, “The com-

“Everyone feels equal here,” Clevenger continues. He

ment I hear more often than not is

reminds you that the club raises more than $150,000 per

members and guests are treated bet-

year for scholarships for employees. And that Jack Vickers,

ter than at their home clubs. What

at age eighty-eight with six kids and eight grandchildren,

separates our club from a lot of oth-

is highly committed to raising money for the local Boys

ers is there are not a lot of commit-

and Girls Club (more than six million dollars over the life

tees. All the members here are talented or special, and they

of Castle Pines). “It’s just what we do,” Clevenger says. That

don’t feel they have to change the board or be chairman

attitude, and sense of doing what’s right for not only the

of the greens committee. You never hear members talk

members and their guests, but also for the local commu-

about what they’ve done or what they do. Nobody feels

nity, puts Castle Pines in elite company indeed.


The scorecard and golf balls from the first round played at Castle Pines Golf Club by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Vickers.


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A Golden Eighteen

A Great Golf Club Built on a Magic Moment


OLF HISTORIANS AND ARDENT RYDER CUP FANS know the scenario well. The year was 1969, the venue was the bone-

dry and linksy Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England, and the teams were tied at 15 points apiece with two holes left in the final match. Jack Nicklaus, the big-hitting anchor for Sam Snead’s U.S. team, and Tony Jacklin, the young stalwart and backbone of Eric Brown’s Great Britain & Ireland team, arrived at the par-5 17th hole with Jacklin 1-down. The Englishman laced his fairway-wood second shot onto the green and miraculously made the fifty-foot eagle putt to square the match. This meant that the outcome of the entire 1969 Ryder Cup rode on their final hole, a tough par 4 punctuated with hills and swales and guarded by numerous bunkers. Both players drove strongly into the fairway. Nicklaus, playing first, hit his approach safely on the green, about eighteen feet from the hole. Jacklin’s second shot came to rest about twenty-five feet past the pin. ever faced. Then he calmly rolled it into the center of the cup, ensuring at least a halve with Jacklin. In a flow of clear thinking, he reached over and picked up Jacklin’s coin while draping his arm around the Englishman’s shoulder. “I don’t think you would have missed that, Tony,” Nicklaus said, “but I didn’t want to give you the chance.” Jacklin still remembers fondly that magic moment known as “The Concession,” even if some of the American players and captain Snead were not so happy about it at the time. “All the boys thought it was ridiculous to give him that putt,” Snead said later. “We went A few minutes later, Jacklin’s birdie putt was tracking

over there to win, not to be good ol’


on line, but it came up two feet short. It was perhaps

boys.” But as he did throughout his ca-

within “gimme” range, but it was still a putt Jacklin could

reer, Nicklaus rose above that kind of

The 12th hole green with the par-5 13th hole in the background.

miss given the extreme pressure he was under and Birk-

thinking. He knew that Jacklin, the cur-

dale’s inconsistent putting surfaces after three days of

rent British Open champion, was a hero

matches, including two sets of singles that day. Jacklin

in his own country, and that the rise of

marked his ball and stepped away, mentally preparing for

European golf rested on his shoulders.

his next stroke. Nicklaus studied his birdie putt that could

Forcing Jacklin to make that two-footer

win the Ryder Cup if it went in. After looking at the line

when the U.S. had already retained the

from every angle, he stroked the putt too aggressively, the

Cup with a tie seemed contrary to the greater good of the

ball finishing some five feet past the hole as the gallery

game. Nicklaus was thinking of sportsmanship, cama-

gasped. Both teams and thousands of fans looked on in

raderie, and the future of golf. He had a sense of the

nervous silence while Jack characteristically took his time

grander moment. Says Jacklin today: “God only knows

sizing up what he later called one of the scariest putts he

what Jack must have been thinking. All of a sudden, he’s



The courtyard in front of the main entrance to the golf club. OPPOSITE:

The par-3 sixth green.

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A Golden Eighteen

got a four-and-a-half-footer to make, and if he misses, his

design team created a masterful routing, and Jacklin

team loses the match. And then, in a split-second he holes

participated on every site visit and had substantial input.

the putt, and he’s picking his ball out of the cup, and he

“I don’t like bulkheading, for example,” he says, “and you

picks my marker up at the same time. So he’s run it all

won’t find any on this course. I hate it when the ball falls

through his mind, you see. But it was a spontaneous ges-

just short and bounces off the wood and into a hazard.”

ture, and I’ll always be grateful. Could I have made the

Nicklaus and Jacklin played a ceremonial opening round

putt? Of course. But under that kind of pressure? Let’s just

together to much fanfare, and even posed for a modern

say I was happy not to have to putt it.”

version of the classic black and white Concession photo-

Thirty-six years later, Tony Jacklin is lying in bed at

graph. (A large, colorful painting of the moment hangs

his home in Bradenton, Florida, near Sarasota. At 3 a.m.

in the Mixed Grille, framed by the men’s and women’s

he sits up suddenly with an idea. He and his good friend

club championship boards.)

Nicklaus should produce a golf course together, with a club built around the values of everything that grand gesture

A strong design through pristine terrain

embodied—good sportsmanship, camaraderie, tough but

THE COURSE OPENED without a clubhouse; there was

fair competition. And, of course, the name of the club

simply a trailer and a dusty parking lot. But it was a

should be The Concession.

striking routing that worked it’s

Jacklin knew that Kevin Daves

way through natural preserves,

of Core Development was

wetlands, and forests of two

planning to build a Jack Nick-

hundred-year-old oak trees,

laus-designed course in the

thousands of palmettos, and

area. Jacklin and Daves often

150-foot pines. “We trans-

frequented a local restaurant

planted more than sixty-five oak

and bar, considered to be the

trees and a dozen slash pines,

best in the area. Around 2004,

some in strategic spots, at a cost

they started talking about

of three-quarters of a million

Jacklin’s idea. Daves had com-

dollars,” Nicklaus says. “We had

pleted The Ritz-Carlton hotel

a great piece of property to start with. We had some oak ham-

in downtown Sarasota and


knew how to get things done.

mocks, some cypress heads, some open areas,

plan. Although at the time Jack said he didn’t

Concession designers Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus during their early competitive years.

do co-designs (he would later agree to collab-


par 3s go in different directions, the par 5s in

orate with Tom Doak at Sebonack on Long

The 18th hole and clubhouse.

opposite directions, and we created a balance

So they went to Nicklaus and laid out the

some slues. This gave us a great opportunity for a lot of variety. We worked on having the

of dogleg rights and dogleg lefts.” One dogleg

Island), he said he would design the course “in association with Tony Jacklin.” Jacklin said he wouldn’t get

right in particular is cited as a favorite hole by a number

in the way of Jack’s work, but Nicklaus embraced the plan

of members, and Jacklin had a hand in creating it: The

and insisted they do it together. “I’ll concede once again,”

eighth is fairly short—only 374 yards from the back tees—

he said, winking at Jacklin.

but beware of Tortoise Creek that starts with a streaming

Jacklin then went out and found 1,400 pristine acres

waterfall on the left and runs around the front of the green

fifteen minutes east of I-75 in an area that had never been

all the way to the right. After a well-placed tee shot, the

developed or even farmed. It had been used only for hunt-

golfer is faced with only a wedge approach. But anything

ing, and it was gorgeous land. The property was acquired,

short and right will ricochet off the bank and into the

and in 2006 the idea came to fruition. Nicklaus and his

water. Says Todd Pater, a national member with a 4.9


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The Concession Golf Club

Handicap Index who lives in Greenville, South Carolina:

is actually plenty of room to hit it off the tee,” Sally Ashley

“The approach shot is outstanding. The small waterfall to

says. “The holes get harder as you get closer to the green.

your left allows you to hear the water that you see sur-

If you can’t pitch, chip, and putt, you’re in for a long day.”

rounding more than half the green. It’s only a small creek;

That’s where the superb and perfectly manicured prac-

however, if you miss short or right you’ll find the water. If

tice facility comes into play, especially the short-game area

you go long left, there’s a tough bunker shot waiting for

that is so large you can perfect full wedge shots, bunker

you. It’s a great par 4.”

shots, chips, and pitches to a variety of pin positions in a

Herb Dunnington, seventy-seven, a local member

private, secluded environment. Here you’ll likely run into

since the club first opened and still a single-digit handicap,

three-time U.S. Junior champion and three-time U.S.

fell in love with the course the first time he played it. “I

Women’s Open champion Hollis Stacy teaching the short

loved every aspect of the design,” he says. “You feel like

game to one of her young pupils. Or you might find long-

you’re in a nature preserve. This is not your typical real es-

time Bradenton resident and Concession member (and

tate course. Having the houses away from the actual holes

2008 Ryder Cup Captain) Paul Azinger mentoring an aspir-

is brilliant. Unlike most Florida golf courses, this one is

ing mini-Tour player, divulging secrets of his sand or pitch-

very firm. Our superintendent [Terry Kennelly] does not

ing technique. The short-game area as well as the two-sided,

believe in water. And par on any hole here is a good score.”

full-swing facility, complete with target greens, large white

Dunnington notes that Nicklaus the architect understands

aiming posts, and numerous target bunkers, attracts other

how to challenge golfers, but in a fair way. “Most are in-

PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour players as well, including

timidated by the views from the tees,” says Dunnington,

Dicky Pride, Suzann Pettersen, Brittany Lincicome, Jodi

whose daughter, Sally Ashley, and her husband John Ash-

Ewart-Shadoff, Andy Bean, Scott Hoch, and Gary Koch. Or

ley, are also members of The Concession, as well as another

you might see PGA Hall of Fame Teaching Professional and

Nicklaus design, Creighton Farms in Virginia. “But there

member David Leadbetter working on his own game or


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A Golden Eighteen

catch a glimpse of 2009 U.S. Amateur champion Byeong

down the 10th hole or up the final fairway, each flanking a

Hun An, who is also a member. And of course, the Ryder

large lake in between.

Cup theme is ever-present. On the range, the bag stands are

Cassidy, who’s son Bruce Jr. is the club’s general man-

each branded with a summation of a famous Ryder Cup

ager, remembers nervously playing the course in 2010 with

contest, just to get your competi-

Jacklin and Nicklaus, who had

tive juices flowing as you’re hitting

stopped by for a site visit and

balls. You’re reminded for exam-

was gathering information on

ple, that in 1983 the US team, cap-

how the course played. “Jack

tained by Jack Nicklaus, edged the

didn’t take one note during the

European team, captained by

round,” Cassidy says. “That af-

Tony Jacklin, 14-1/2 to 13-1/2.

ternoon when we were done, he

That was the year Lanny Wadkins

went through hole by hole and

struck a full wedge shot to twelve

proposed a number of changes.

inches on PGA National’s par-5

He recommended clearing a lot

final hole that enabled the US

of palmettos to make the course

team to retain the Cup.

more playable, like he had done at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter.

A new owner takes control

Also, at his suggestion, we ex-


panded some of the fairways,

2006, it received rave reviews

like No. 9. We cleared a lot of

from the media and won Golf Di-

areas that had become over-

gest’s Best New Private Course

grown since the course opened,,

award for that year. The real estate

and we put a lot of pine straw

component of the development remained in a separate

down. Now the course is fairer and more fun.”

location, which gives the design a unique flavor

Cassidy started making his mark in business

for a course associated with a housing devel-

when he founded Excel Mining Systems, a

opment. To this day, there are no home sites

roof-support company for the underground

near the fairways, and from the playing areas

mining industry, in 1991. He was highly suc-

no houses are visible. But two years later, with

cessful and sold the company in 2006, then

the economy in deep recession, PREVIOUS PAGES:

The picturesque 10th hole; Concession captures the natural beauty of Florida’s wetlands and native trees. ABOVE:

Tony Jacklin in the main bar; Tony Jacklin’s locker tag lists the years he captained the European Ryder Cup team.

moved from his native Ohio to Bradenton, where he

there was still no clubhouse either,

became one of the club’s early members. When the club-

only architect’s plans. That’s when one

house was 85 percent finished, Cassidy became full owner,

of the original members, Bruce Cas-

and the developer focused his resources on the real-estate

sidy Sr., decided to put a plan together

component of the development. He is not involved in the

to get the clubhouse finished and put

adjoining real-estate development that shares The Con-

up financing as a silent partner. The el-

cession name, however. Cassidy is quick to point out that

egant, white building, a beautiful and

he intends for the atmosphere of The Concession to be un-

functional columned design with high

pretentious. It is a golf club first with very few rules, the

ceilings and large, pecky-cypress

most important being pace of play. In a not so subtle way,

beams, opened in October 2009. It

each cart is labeled with the Concession Code, which

rests prominently behind the 18th

states: “If there is no one in front of you and someone

green, so members can sit on the outside veranda, sip a

behind you, then you are the problem.”

drink or two, and chat, while watching the golfers play

The Concession is also all about the Ryder Cup.


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Concession Benefits More Than Just Golfers

At the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Concession Cup, the U.S. team—including mid-amateurs, senior amateurs and super seniors— surrounds Honorary Captains Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, as well as Honorary Chairman Paul Azinger.

IN ADDITION TO the Ryder Cup aura, there is also a strong

Azinger was the honorary chairman in 2014, and Jack

charity theme at The Concession Golf Club. Four major

Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin were on hand for the festivities.

charity events are conducted, raising significant amounts

Then there is the Captain’s Challenge, in which Jacklin

of money for good causes.

invites another former Ryder Cup captain to play one

First is the Archie Griffin Tournament, conducted

match with two amateurs, who put up $25,000 each.

every year to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs. In

Jacklin played with Nick Faldo in 2012. The money

addition to the attendance of NFL standout and

goes to local Concession charities.

college football’s only two-time Heisman Trophy



Finally, there is the Forty Carrots Firefly Gala,

winner, many other celebrities and sports figures

conducted every year with major entertainment

participate, thanks to the help of Concession mem-

such as Blondie and KC and the Sunshine Band.

ber Cedric Saunders, who is vice president of

The event, attended by more than 450 local

football operations for the Detroit Lions.

residents, raises hundreds of thousands of

Next is The Concession Cup, benefitting Nicklaus

dollars each year for local community outreach programs

Hospitals, The First Tee of Tampa Bay, The First Tee of

and counseling for low-income families. Forty Carrots

Sarasota/Manatee, as well as Lakeland-based Orphan’s

Family Center is a nonprofit organization located in

Heart (Paul Azinger is on the board of directors). The

Sarasota dedicated to strengthening families through

competition pits eighteen top amateurs over the age of

educational programs for parents, children, and profes-

twenty-five from the U.S. versus Great Britain and Ireland.

sionals in the field.


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You can’t help but notice this as soon as you set foot beyond

ing Jacklin’s hand right after “The Concession.” That one

the main entrance. Several remarkable paintings of past

photo says it all. It stands for all that is good in the game of

Ryder Cup players by Scottish artist Joe Austen greet you

golf. Says Bruce Cassidy Sr.: “We don’t have tennis, we don’t

in the main hallway of the clubhouse. There is Seve Balles-

have a pool, we don’t have paddle courts, or lawn bowling,

teros swinging through a crisp iron shot, his

but we do have some unique history. And we have

strong jaw pointing well behind the ball. There

unpretentious golf and great food. We’re a

is Lee Trevino, with his exaggerated lower-

golf club with fine dining.”

body action and right shoulder dipping well below his left, extending through impact. And

Fine dining and finer wine

there, on an opposite wall, are Nicklaus and Jack-

BEARING THAT OUT, Executive Chef Mac De-

lin, framed by the American and European flags. Seventeen

Carle has twenty years of experience and is world-class

of these Joe Austen portraits are

when it comes to preparing food. He has no formal

displayed prominently throughout

training but learned his trade on the job, spending much

the clubhouse, including one in

of his career in fine kitchens. When the clubhouse first

the men’s locker room portraying

opened, a consultant developed its dining facility and

Azinger with some memorabilia

hired DeCarle. It wasn’t long before DeCarle took over as

from that victorious match at Val-

executive chef. At The Concession, he redefined his style

halla Golf Club. Elsewhere in the

of cooking. “It’s all about variety and seasonality,” he says.

locker room are a series of classic

“I am constantly changing the menu because some

black-and-white photographs from

members eat here several times a week.” In 2010, DeCarle

the 1969 Ryder Cup, including both

was the first private club chef to be asked to present a

team photos as well as shots of

dinner for the James Beard Foundation in Manhattan, a

Trevino and Raymond Floyd in ac-

tremendous honor.


(Counterclockwise from left) Native Florida wildlife and wildflowers are found throughout The Concession Club’s 520 acres; the par-5 7th hole. ABOVE:

Scottish artist Joe Austen has created several paintings of past Ryder Cup captains that adorn the clubhouse walls, including those of Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, (above left and right) and Paul Azinger (opposite); Jack Nicklaus’ locker tag.

tion. There is also the famous photo

DeCarle always uses local produce. The shrimp are

of the grand gesture, Nicklaus shak-

wild and from the Gulf of Mexico, never farmed from


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Malaysia, for example. If salmon is on the menu, you can

invited to share experiences and knowledge of wine. For ex-

be sure it’s wild and likely from Scotland’s North Sea, never

ample, Marchesi Antinori, whose family has been in the

farmed from the Atlantic. Most of the produce is farm to

wine business since Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the

table, and he even has his own organic herb and vegetable

Florentine Guild of Vintners in 1385, was brought over from

earth-box garden on property. “One advantage of

Italy last year. Some of the select US vintages on

being located farther east,” he says, “is that

The Concession’s wine list include “Lola,” from

we’re closer to the farmers.” Some of De-

the Russian River Valley, and “Milbrandt,”

Carle’s specialties include the Cashew and

from Waluki Slope, Washington. Another of

Coconut Crusted Black Grouper, the Shrimp

Mendiola’s favorites is called “Taken,” a Napa

and Grits, and for dessert the Tres Leches Cake

Valley wine whose vintner came up with the

(made with three types of milk). There is also plenty of

name because “all the other names had been taken.”

comfort food on the menu, including fried chicken, short-

In addition to fine wines, the club boasts an extensive

rib pot roast and the house meatloaf. And always on the

selection of single-malt scotches, including Laphroaig

menu is the succulent blue tomato bisque (finished with

Triple Wood, Balvenie PortWood twenty-one-year-old,

Maytag blue cheese), which is very popular with the members. Responsible for pairing these foods with the club’s extensive wine list is Food and Beverage Director Zac Mendiola. Originally from California’s San Fernando Valley but a Braden-

and several from Glenmorangie, for which ABOVE:

Joe Austen’s painting of Paul Azinger at Valhalla Golf Club commemorating the U.S. Ryder Cup win in 2008; Paul Azinger’s locker tag.

ton resident for the past fourteen years, Men-

Jacklin is an ambassador. There are also a dozen obscure bourbons, such as Oola Waitsburg (only six batches were made). These can be found in the bar within the mixed grille as well as in the men’s locker room, where we meet Locker Room Manager Steve Roehl. A

diola has been at The Concession from day one. A first-level

retired police officer, Roehl is an all-around great guy

sommelier, he conducts half a dozen wine tastings a year for

whose top priority is taking care of the members. “The art

the members. These events are kept to just fourteen couples,

of a well-kept locker room is to make it look like it’s never

and usually a major vintner from Europe or California is

used,” he says. Roehl points out several unique features of


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A Golden Eighteen

the locker room, beginning with the massive pecky cypress

Dawson then throws the deck of cards up to the ceiling.

beams high into the ceiling, as well as the dark-wooden

When the cards fall back to the floor, the bill and one card

lockers themselves. We learn that every past Ryder Cup

remain attached to the ceiling with a thumbtack. The card

captain has been made an honorary member, and there-

bears the member’s signature. No one knows how Daw-

fore has his own locker. You see such names as Raymond

son does it.

Floyd, Nick Faldo, Hal Sutton, Seve Ballesteros, Dave Stockton, Bernard Gallacher (who captained three times),

Firm, fast and dry conditions

and of course Nicklaus (who captained twice), and Jacklin

THE MEMBERS also wonder how Head Superintendent

(four times). “Most of these lock-

Terry Kennelly does what he does

ers are rarely used by those cap-

so well. He maintains the course

tains,” Roehl says. “We reserve

at the highest of standards while

them for special guests when they

using as little water as possible.

visit.” Roehl also notes the lami-

The greens are pristine, always

nated inlaid wood artwork, cre-

rolling consistently at 11 or 12 on

ated by Jacklin, on two of the

the Stimpmeter, the fairways are

locker doors. Jacklin has become

usually fast, firm, and dry, the

quite a talented artist in his own

bunkers are uniformly smooth,

right and has created hundreds of

and the tees are nearly perfect.

wooden-laminated images of no-

“Color is not an issue for us,” he

table golfers as well as celebrities

says. “Because there are no

such as Marilyn Monroe. The im-

houses on the course, I don’t

ages on the lockers are of Old

have to worry about how it looks

Tom Morris and Allan Robert-

from someone’s back porch. I

son, who as partners “never lost a

only care how it plays and looks

fairly played match” and thus

to the golfer walking up the fair-

were labeled “The Invincibles.”

way. It’s all about playability for

The club’s Member-Member

me.” Kennelly, who came to The

Tournament is thus named “The

Concession when the course was

Invincibles,” and the winners’ lockers are adorned for that year with a plaque and artwork commemorating their victory. The men’s locker room spills into the men’s grille, where members can have breakfast and lunch or wander outside onto the veranda that overlooks the 18th green. But wait, what is that on the ceiling? It’s a playing

being built and therefore knows just about


Owner Bruce Cassidy, left, and General Manager Bruce Cassidy Jr.

every nook and cranny of the terrain, holds a degree in Turfgrass Management from Michigan State University. He comes from a


Caddie Master Brian Weimann (left) and Head Golf Professional Dan Terlescki (right) on the par-3 fourth hole.

strong golf pedigree. He spent eight years at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, then worked at Congressional for four years under the legendary Paul Latshaw, before finding his way to such renowned Florida courses as Naples

card and a dollar bill tacked into the rafters.

National and Quail West.

Upon closer look, there are several of these in various locations. A few times a year, Atlanta magician Kevin Daw-

Kennelly’s philosophy is to water “only what the plant

son makes a visit to entertain the members. His trick is to

needs,” he says. “I feel the course was meant to be played

have a member sign a playing card from a full deck of

firm and fast. I’m also trying to protect Jack’s design.” He

cards, then insert it back into the deck, fold a dollar bill

keeps the mowing heights of the Tifeagle greens at .10 to

around the deck and wrap it tightly with a rubber band.

.125, the Tifsport fairways and Tifgrande tees at .350 to .400,


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A Golden Eighteen

the Bermuda rough at 1-1/4 inches for ten to fifteen yards

Cassidy also is well aware that they have a tough but fair

out. Beyond that is a more natural-looking Bahia grass (“our

golf course with the highest possible Slope rating from

version of tall fescues you see up north”). The bunkers con-

the back tees—155. “My father knew what a great piece

tain Pro Angle sand from Ohio, which compacts so firmly

of property this was when he first joined. He felt so

that golfers rarely if ever get plugged lies.

strongly about the course that he bought it in 2009.” He

Kennelly is a naturalist at heart, minimizing chemical

also knows that for the club to thrive in the future, it has

usage and admiring the native plant and wildlife. “This is

to be responsive to the members’ needs and the private-

the ninth course I’ve worked

club market. One of the

at, and it’s by far the best,” he

changes that came with the

says. “You see everything

new ownership were new

from wild turkeys, boars,

categories of membership

bobcats, panthers, deer,

focused on the different

gators, and fox squirrels

needs for National and

[with long, bushy tails].”

Local Members.

Then there are the birds:

Bruce Cassidy Jr. man-

Bald eagles, hawks, cardi-

ages the club through a

nals, cormorants, and the

leadership team, as he calls



it, made up of such key fig-

cranes. At the suggestion of

ures as the superintendent,

Azinger, who enjoys being a

executive chef, the con-

fisherman as much as being

troller, the director of mar-


a golfer, the ponds have been stocked with bass, bluegills,

keting, and of course the head golf professional. Dan

and catfish. It’s not unusual to see members, rod and reel

Terlescki came to The Concession after gaining golf pro-

in hand, casting in the late evenings. “This is a great place

fessional experience at two of the most prestigious clubs

to be,” Kennelly says. “The course is sited on 532 acres, but

in the country: Merion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and The

I maintain only 120. We have more than two

Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. ABOVE:

hundred acres of wetlands.” Kennelly admires the Cassidys. “If there’s a better family to work for, I’m not sure who it would be,” he says. “There are no boards, no commit-


tees. They respect our opinions.” A stellar golf operation THAT SEEMS TO BE the consensus of the

staff—that there’s nobody better to work for. General Manager Bruce Cassidy Jr. earned his MBA at the University of Pittsburgh, and holds close to the ideals he and his father set forth: “We wanted to create

Most recently, he was based across the state,

Black and white photos from the 1969 Ryder Cup Matches adorn the walls of the men’s grill.

lescki manages a staff of four assistant professionals who stay busy teaching and keeping the shop well stocked with the latest

(Clockwise from upper left) Head Golf Professional Dan Terlescki; the entrance to the clubhouse; Golf Course Superintendent Terry Kennelly; members enjoy the firepit; Membership Director Alan Pope; bag stands at the driving range commemorate the history of the Ryder Cup Matches.

and maintain a golf club based on the

at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach. Ter-

in clubs, shoes, and apparel, for both men and women. Terlescki and his well-trained assistants run four main tournaments each year: The aforementioned Member-Member (The Invincibles), is played over two days and thirtysix holes, with format changes after each nine holes—first nine is a Shamble, second nine is Alternate Shot, third nine is Better Ball, and

Ryder Cup without being gimmicky,” he says. “Every day

the fourth nine both players count all the shots, which can

we strive to celebrate sportsmanship, excellence, tradition,

get nerve-wracking as the last four holes play around sig-

camaraderie, and it’s all summarized in the one moment.”

nificant water hazards; the Invitational (a member-guest,


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A Golden Eighteen

played over five nine-hole matches); the Club Champi-

He came to The Concession from Whistling Straits in his

onship (played at match play for both men and women);

native Wisconsin, where he managed more than two hun-

and the Clambake (one member invites one professional

dred caddies for CSI (Caddie Services International). At

from another club). There is also a three-day North/South

The Concession, he puts his staff of forty CSI caddies

Ryder Cup style event with other clubs at alternating venues.

through a rigorous five-point training program: 1. They

The Club Championship is divided into four divisions: Pro,

must pass the Wonderlic Test (the

Men’s Amateur, Women’s Amateur, and Junior Amateur.

same given to NFL quarterbacks to as-

One name is hard to ignore: Arlene McKitrick has won the

sess how quickly and logically they

Women’s Championship six times.

think); 2. They are screened with a


Food and Beverage Director Zac Mendiola is also a first-level sommelier; a large painting depicting “The Concession” hangs on the wall in the mixed grille.

The current Invincibles who get Jacklin’s artwork and

telephone interview; 3. They must

plaques on their lockers are Jared Haines and Kevin

pass a group interview; 4. They must

Abrams. The previous year, the title went to Lou Marinac-

endure a QSP (customer service-

cio and his partner, Brett Hutchens. Marinaccio, a member

based phone call); 5. They must past a

at three other area golf clubs, joined The Concession the

five-session, on-course training pro-

day it opened. “Day in, day out, I’d prefer to be here,” he

gram so they all use the same verbiage,

says. An independent owner of an insurance agency and a

lingo, and hand signals. “We want

national insurance broker, Marinaccio carries a 24 handi-

there to be a uniform caddie experience,” Weimann says.

cap. His wife, Ann Marie, also plays, as does their daughter,

Players must take a caddie or forecaddie Thursday, Friday,

Lori Ann. They all work together in the same office. “I play

and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. And if a group has two

twice a week,” he says. “It’s customer golf one day, then

or more guests, they also must take a caddie. “We like to

with my wife the next. I love it.” One day, Marinaccio’s son,

promote walking as much as we can,” Weimann says.


Executive Chef Mac DeCarle; fine dining at The Concession Bistro.

Lou Jr., who works in private equity in New York, came to

Head Professional Terleski is another case in point. He

visit and joined his dad for a game. “From the moment he

says he feels lucky to have his position at The Concession.

checked in he felt comfortable,” Marinaccio Sr. says. “The

“This is definitely a unique part of my career,” he says. “This

entire staff was inviting and helpful. Someone brought

club is unique for me because of how young it is in com-

him to the locker and stayed with him. They treat you as a

parison with the others where I have worked. I love that the

member even though you are a guest.”

backstory to the ‘The Concession,’ and the traditions that

The caddie master, Brian Wiemann, is a case in point.

we are based on help to give the club the feel of being an


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The Concession Golf Club

important part of the fabric of golf, despite our young age.” One brand-new event that is sure to create some history is The Concession Cup, contested for the first time at the end of April 2014. Adapting a Ryder Cup format—

ties. Jacklin and Lanny Wadkins played in the most recent

actually closer to a Walker Cup format—the event pits

Challenge. (See sidebar on The Concession Charities.)

amateur golfers from the U.S. versus Great Britain and Ire-

The club has become the site of some big-time colle-

land. But the catch is, eight players from each side are mid-

giate golf tournaments. It hosted the Big Ten Champi-

amateur age (ages twenty-five to fifty); eight are senior

onships in February 2014, and twelve schools participated.

amateur age (fifty to seventy-five); and two are super-

In the championship match, Michigan and Purdue were

seniors. Says Azinger, who served as the honorary chair-

tied at the end of regulation play. Michigan was ultimately

man of the inaugural Concession Cup: “It’s an opportunity

victorious, finally winning in a playoff on the tenth hole.

to showcase great golfers who never turned professional.

The Concession will also host the NCAA Championships

These guys are excellent players. They made the choice not

for both men and women, scheduled for the spring of 2015.

to turn pro, but they probably had the talent.” The event

But whether the competition is for a good cause, or

helps to raise money for several local charities, including

simply some healthy relaxation among friends and family

The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee, the First Tee of Tampa

on a fabulous golf course in the aura of one of the greatest

Bay, Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, and

Ryder Cup matches ever contested, the feeling is the same.

Azinger’s own Orphan’s Heart.

Marinaccio emphasizes the point: “I’ve been all over the

Another international competition, the Captain’s

country and have played in special events everywhere, and

Challenge, takes place each year at The Concession and

what is so nice here is how the staff engages itself in the

was started by Jacklin. He invites a former Ryder Cup cap-

experience. They really care about the quality of the club

tain to join him for a friendly head-to-head match, each

and making everyone happy in an unpretentious way.

with an amateur partner to raise $50,000 for local chari-

Nothing is better than that.”


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A Golden Eighteen

History and Superb Golf Nestled in Horse Country


F ALL THE UPSCALE GOLF COURSE properties across the country, perhaps none sits on more historic ground

than Creighton Farms, a breathtakingly beautiful and serene development in northern Virginia’s Loudoun County, about forty-five minutes from Washington, D.C. It was on the edge of this very site that James Monroe constructed a home he called Oak Hill, designed by his friend Thomas Jefferson. Monroe often rode his horse from the District of Columbia out to Oak Hill when he needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the country’s capital. Of course he, along with John Quincy Adams, was responsible for establishing the Monroe Doctrine. To put the timeline in golfing perspective, President Monroe announced its basic tenets during his 1823 State-of-the-Union Address, two years after Old Tom Morris was born on the other side of the Atlantic. The Monroe Doctrine, a copy of

home Monroe lived in, and where he

which hangs in Creighton Farms’ li-

wrote the Monroe Doctrine, is less than

brary, provided one of the backbones

a Keegan Bradley driver shot from the

of U.S. foreign policy for more than

Creighton Farms practice range and

140 years. It served to keep European

10th tee. The historical significance is

nations from colonizing or interfering

not lost on Creighton Farms’ owner

with states in North or South America

and developer David Southworth.

and likewise assured that the United

“In addition to the connection

States would not interfere in the political

with Monroe and the early 1800s, the

landscape among European countries.

Civil War went right through this prop-

George Washington surveyed some

erty, literally,” Southworth says. Indeed,

of the land in Loudoun County and

Civil War monuments can be found

later defended it on the battlefield. The

throughout the neighboring communi-


The setting sun’s rays shimmer above the 12th hole.

county donated a large percentage

ties, and old woolen mills and historic landmarks dot

of its grain to Washington’s Conti-

the landscape. “That’s one of the reasons Joe Deitch


[Southworth’s business partner and the company’s Chair-






Loudoun was called the “Breadbas-

The “Horse and Bogey” life-size sculpture was created by local artist Constance Pallela and was presented to Creighton Farms by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

ket of the Revolution.” And when

And there is a lot to love about Creighton Farms

the British invaded the nation’s cap-

today. It is set in the small community of Aldie, in rolling

ital during the War of 1812, the

horse country among distant hills and thousands of hard-

Constitution and Declaration of In-

wood trees that make spring and autumn especially beau-

dependence were safely stored in

tiful. The development includes not only a dramatic and

the vault of a family home in the

challenging Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course with

area. Today, the beautifully re-

eighteen compelling holes that test every club in your bag,


but it also features a recently completed 34,000-square-


Teeing off on the the second hole.


man] and I fell in love with it.”



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A Golden Eighteen

foot clubhouse, a state-of-the-art practice facility that

Southworth says. “Though we bought it at a great price,

replicates actual golf holes, a brand-new resort-style swim-

there was only a line of one at the time, and it seemed

ming pool, a tennis facility managed by the world-

lonely.” Southworth knows about ups, downs and transi-

renowned Peter Burwash, and 184 homesites optimally

tions. He grew up in Arizona, graduated from Cornell

positioned for gorgeous views.

with a degree in hotel administration, and then lived in San Francisco, Bermuda, and Boston. When he bought

The success story of Creighton Farms

Creighton Farms, he remembers the feeling of trepidation

BUT BEFORE WE EXAMINE these amenities in detail, we

but also of great promise. “There was no clubhouse, we

need to understand how far this celebrated development

had a freshly burned-down maintenance center, the lots

has come from what was very nearly a financial tragedy.

were distressed. There was a dream for sure, but nothing

Director of Business Devel-

behind it. However, we

opment and twenty-seven-

could see the beauty of the



land, the sunsets, the creek,

Michael Robichaud helps

the wetlands. It takes your

sort it out. He explains that

breath away. So we made a

originally the land—906

commitment to fulfilling

acres in four parcels—was

the property’s promise and

put together by the well-re-

here we are.”


spected builder Jim Brown

Since purchasing the

and his company Creighton

property in 2009, South-

Enterprises in the late

worth Development has

1990s. “Brown envisioned

rebuilt the maintenance fa-

creating the finest custom-

cility, completed a beautiful

home development in the

free-flowing pool, and most

area,” Robichaud says. “Then he sold the property to Ira

importantly, constructed a tasteful and functional club-

Fenton of Juno Properties, who hired Nicklaus to design

house that would be the envy of any top-level golf or coun-

the golf course in 2006 and Ritz-Carlton to manage the

try club. Designed in concert with well-known interior

property.” Ritz-Carlton took a chance on the development,

stylist Estelle Mitsopoulos, the three-story building is right

intending it to be a lavish golf course community with concierge service, a full-


at home in the Virginia Piedmont. It gives members and their guests a setting of re-

service spa, and hotel-style catering but

A creek meanders through the seventh hole.

without a hotel. Because of its proximity


floor you’ll find Jack’s Pub, which contrary

to Tyson’s Corner and Dulles Airport only

Southworth Development’s David Southworth (left) and Joe Deitch.

to what you might think has nothing to do

twenty minutes away, the outlook was bright for selling the real estate and at-

with Nicklaus the golfer. You won’t see


The Creighton Farms clubhouse.

tracting members. But it didn’t happen.

fined yet relaxed elegance. On the main

copies of his famous scorecards or replicas of his clubs or trophies. Rather, the cozy

By 2008, only thirty of the 184 homesites had been sold,

pub celebrates Nicklaus the statesman and philanthropist.

and virtually no one had started building. Fidelity Invest-

Its décor highlights Nicklaus’ interactions with members

ments took over the property.

of the U.S. military and features photos of some of the hon-

Enter Southworth and Deitch, who started by man-

ors he’s received for his off-the-course good works. Next to

aging the property for Fidelity, then saw a great opportu-

the pub is a cozy billiards room. There is also a grille room

nity to purchase it outright. “Because we were working on

and dining room that can seat up to 175 guests and a well-

behalf of Fidelity, we knew the property and its potential,”

appointed golf shop. Venture into the library, which is often


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used for small gatherings, and you’ll find in addition to the

full of golf balls for sale. There is a plaque on a wall near

copy of the Monroe Doctrine a rather large portrait of the

the locker room that commemorates one of the club’s tour-

fifth president himself. The clubhouse’s lower level houses

naments called “The Old Wooden Bucket.” It’s a special

the men’s and women’s locker rooms, each with separate

event that pairs a member and an employee who play four-

lounges and steam rooms, plus a complete fitness center.

somes. To make the pairings, names are drawn from the

What’s really special, however, are the nine tastefully ap-

wooden bucket. On the same wall are plaques recognizing

pointed club suites on the third level, where members and

the Men’s Club Champions (currently Ray Williams) and

their guests can stay overnight, only steps from everything

the Ladies Club Champions (Vicky Lenz has won it twice).

they might need. One suite has a name, by the way—the

PGA Golf Professional Scott Y. McArthur runs a tight op-

Jack Nicklaus Room.

eration, along with Assistant Golf Professional Robert

On the way to their suites, at the top of the stairs,

Blumer. The shop is well organized and features the latest

guests are greeted by a life-size sculpture of a painted horse

fashions, as well as woods, irons, wedges, and putters. The

with golf scenes depicted all over its body. Named “Horse

next thing you notice is the striking black-and-white pho-

and Bogey,” it was created by local artist Constance Pallela

tograph on the wall behind the counter. It’s an image of

and was presented to the club by the Loudoun County

Washington Redskins football teams from 1937 and 1939

Chamber of Commerce. That’s just one of many pieces of

that was given to David Southworth by his father. South-

art that members and guests are treated to every day. David

worth later makes the point that so many of the photo-

Southworth loves fine art, and so decided to invite the

graphs and paintings throughout the clubhouse have

accomplished painter, Tom Neel, to be the club’s artist

nothing to do with golf, and that is on purpose. He wants

in residence. A number of his paintings hang on the

the club to be much more than about the game. He strives

walls, most notably one that depicts the 11th green and

for a more diverse, eclectic, and broader experience.

features a price tag of $5,900. General Manager Casey Counseller leads the way

Leather and wood in horse country

through the rest of the clubhouse. Let’s venture down the

WHAT YOU DO notice, however, is there is a lot of leather

hall with him and into the golf shop, where one of the first

and natural wood throughout the clubhouse and even on

things you notice is an old wooden bucket on the counter

the grounds. That’s because you’re in horse country, hence


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A Golden Eighteen

the numerous horse paintings upstairs. All the cabinetry in

anticipate what the members need even before we are

the pro shop and other buildings are made from trees har-

asked,” he says. “One of the members told me the reason

vested from the property. The lockers have leather han-

he bought a membership was because of the locker room.”

dles and leather nametags imprinted with a branding

That’s not surprising. The locker rooms for both men and

iron; the oak nametags on the golf bags

women are spacious and tastefully deco-

outside are done the same way; the bag

rated, the men’s in dark wood, the

stands on the range have individualized

women’s in a lighter tone. This is the one

wooden tags with members’ names

place where you will find golf memora-

lasered on them; the clock on No. 10

bilia on the walls. In fact, in the men’s

tee, the pins in the putting green, the

locker room are replicas of all four of

rakes in the bunkers, the tee markers on

Nicklaus’ signed scorecards from the

the course—all are milled in a work-

1986 Masters, his last major champi-

shop on the premises. It all reflects a

onship victory. Instead of a card-playing

sense of consistency and order, and

room, there is a special

members and staff alike take notice. Says

“quiet room” where

Locker Room Manager Gary Schroeder:

members can sit down

“The members here are extremely polite.

with a cup of coffee and

They never fail to say, ‘Thank you, Gary. Nice job.’ In my

check their emails or financial holdings

training I was taught that this is a high-end facility and the

on their laptop, maybe even have a small

members should be demanding.”

business meeting. In the afternoon they

Schroeder has been on the job since the club opened


The ninth hole is a slightly uphill 194-yard, par 3 that plays into the prevailing wind. OPPOSITE:

The well-guarded seventh hole green.

can go out to the back porch, look over

in April of 2008, and his approach to service reflects the

the first tee and down the valley, smoke a cigar, and sip a

standards of the Southworth company. “We’re expected to

scotch. Schroeder takes his job as seriously as any


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A Golden Eighteen

locker-room attendant in the country. He often refers to a

Head Superintendent Matt Zarnstorff, who happens

little guidebook produced by Todd R. Dufek, who is the

to be an excellent player, describes the routing with obvious

president of the LRMA (Locker Room Managers Associa-

affinity: “The course is full of hills and valleys but ultimately

tion). This is no joke. “It tells you A-to-Z how to set up a

surrounds a massive wetlands area. A creek called Howser’s

locker room,” Schroeder says. “I wear a maroon vest, light-

Branch goes through the course. It’s a masterful design. I

blue Oxford shirt, and a tie every day. The goal is to make the locker room look like no one uses it. We call that the ‘Illusion of Exclusivity.’ ” Elsewhere throughout the club there are no illusions. Counseller takes you outside to the well-positioned halfway house, which used to be The Ritz-Carlton clubhouse. The patio

learn something every time I play it.” Zarnstorff ABOVE:

Snapping turtles can be found in the ponds on the Audubon-certified property; potted plants at the clubhouse; wildflowers abound at Creighton Farms. OPPOSITE:

around it is heated and covered so golfers and range enthusiasts can eat breakfast, have lunch between nines, or get a quick snack. Next, Counseller shows off the tennis pavilion, where there are two hard courts and two Har-

which translates to an 11 on the Stimpmeter. In other words, don’t let your ball get above the hole if you can possibly help it. He keeps the Princeville South Shore bentgrass fairways at .475 inches. He mows the tees, which are the same grass strain as the fairways, at .275 inches.

The picturesque 162yard, par-3 sixth hole is the shortest on the course and features a large green guarded by a creek on the right.

tru. “Peter Burwash manages them,” he says.

cuts the A1A4 bentgrass greens at .105 inches,

Finally, the bluegrass intermediate rough is 21/2 inches, surrounded by tall fescues. The course blends beautifully into the natural landscape. In fact, you see no trash cans— they are buried into the ground—and the

“You won’t find a tennis director with more experience.”

surrounds are full of golden rod, elderberry, and species

Counseller is not exaggerating. Burwash publishes his

of wildflowers too numerous to count. Zarnstorff, who

own magazine and has written numerous books on ten-

follows his own strict environmental controls, loves to

nis instruction, coaching, and management. Through

sight native hawks, bald eagles, red foxes, and even some

Peter Burwash International he conducts major tennis

one hundred-year-old snapping turtles on the property.

programs at forty-six locations around the world. Counseller has invaluable experience as well. A former golf

A new and energetic membership

professional from Arizona, he worked at Gainey Ranch

IN CONTRAST TO the dismal state of membership when

and then spent ten years managing Silver Creek Country

Southworth took over, today there are less than fifty slots

Club in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. With more than thirty

available. There are four types of membership: full golf; na-

years in the golf industry, he also holds a degree in agron-

tional (if you live more than forty miles from the property);

omy and five course records, so when the head superin-

social; and sports (pool, fitness, tennis). Director of Sales

tendent needs to talk about conditioning the golf course,

Sue Martinez says the purchase of a homesite includes

Counseller truly understands.

the opportunity to have a club membership. “Inside the


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Cr e i g h t o n Fa r m s

Creighton Farms gates there are a number of options to

love the idea of golf.” That’s good enough for her husband.

choose from,” she notes. The Legacy lots are from three

An engineer and self-made businessman, Denson owns a

to seven acres, some with golf course adjacency. She

company that makes high-tech communications equip-

points out that the prices for a lot and house combined

ment for first responders and the department of defense.

can run up to ten million dollars or more. These are

The Densons purchased a lot that faces the spectacular 13th

spectacular homes with wonderful details throughout

hole and plan to build their dream home. “This is an amaz-

from the area’s most sought-after (and award-winning)

ing place, and we have an amazing staff,” Bob Denson says.

custom-home builders. Also available are the Nicklaus

“The people here sort of read your mind and already

Village villas, which start at about one-and-a-half mil-

know what you need before you even request it.” Denson,

lion dollars. These are set on one-acre lots and are a con-

a 12-handicapper who started playing golf seriously only

venient walk to the pool and clubhouse. “We’re the only

fifteen years ago, has high praise for the course design.

planned community with upscale custom homes in the

“Mr. Nicklaus plays with the golfer’s mind on some of

area,” Martinez says. Other selling points are the proxim-

these holes, especially on the back nine,” he says. “For ex-

ity to local wineries, farms, and the convenience to such

ample, the par-3 15th hole, when you play it from the

historic towns as Middleburg and Leesburg. “People do

back tees, has every element: water, deep bunker, undu-

retire here,” Martinez says. “They wouldn’t imagine mov-

lating green, a bailout area. It’s a classic risk/reward hole.”

ing south. The view out the window is the most perfect

Says Nicklaus: “We were provided a site with rolling

selling feature. Because we have so few houses on so many

terrain and some very appealing water features. On more

acres, we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife.”

than one hole, players will contend with a small creek that

One of the club’s full-time members is Bob Denson,

meanders through the property. If that gives them fits,

who with his wife, Laurie, joined in May of 2013. Laurie

then I’ve done my job. But I try to give players a safe way

doesn’t play golf but says she enjoys the pool and adds, “I

to play each hole. They just need to be smart about it.”


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The 585-yard par-5 seventh hole is a case in point. (It’s 526 yards from the member tees and 442 from the forward markers.) After a demanding tee shot skirting bunkers on the left, the golfer is required to place an exacting second shot with a medium iron or fairway wood, staying to the right of a beckoning bunker and a large natural wetlands area that borders the entire left side of the


originality.” Their house features lots of

The first hole at Creighton Farms is a medium-length par 4 with an imposing bunker complex guarding the left side of the fairway and green.

glass and outdoor living spaces, including a


The second hole, a short par 4, is a terrific risk/reward golf hole that is a favorite of many members.

fairway. From there they will have a clear

freeform pool. “A gated community was really important to us, because we wanted absolute privacy and a home on the golf course. We were able to achieve that.” The Jaegers are not your average couple. They were high school sweethearts, got married at nineteen and now have four grandchildren. Diana retired from a job with the federal

shot to a well-guarded and undulating green. Members

government as a grants policy officer with the National In-

Diana and John Jaeger purchased a three-acre lot in May

stitute of Health, and now has devoted herself to golf. She

2011 that overlooks that seventh hole, and they recently

has lowered her Handicap Index to 12.6, and her personal

finished construction on their spectacular home. The sev-

course record is 77. Because Creighton Farms is still such

enth is John’s favorite hole. “We picked a lot that sits on

a new club, she has helped to start women’s golf days on

the largest pond on the course,” he says. “We can see

Thursday and Saturday mornings (there are no tee-time

eleven holes, plus the view of the valley below and hills

restrictions at Creighton Farms). She also serves on the

above and beyond.” The Jaegers point out that residents are

club’s board of governors. “We like the five-star treatment

able to choose their own architect and can use one of

but in a more comfortable setting,” she says. “You can

four builders. They decided on builder Patrick Latessa of

wear jeans here.”

the Galileo Group “because he had the most vision and

Meanwhile, John Jaeger, who is semi-retired, is doing


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Cr e i g h t o n Fa r m s

his part to foster play among male members. With an 8.9

charity fundraising golf tournament, the Creighton Farms

Handicap Index, he is the self-proclaimed “unofficial gov-

Invitational Hosted by Jack Nicklaus. In 2012 and 2013

ernor” of Creighton Farms. That means he organizes a

Nicklaus returned to help raise almost one million dollars

men’s golf group on Saturday mornings and a mixed

for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, Inova

group on Sunday afternoons. “We play eighteen, then

Hospital, and Children’s National Medical Center. In 2013,

come in and have drinks and dinner,” he says. “I feel obli-

some fifteen disabled veterans also got to participate in the

gated to help the club. I want to see it flourish.” He also organizes Trivia Nights and other social events for as many as thirteen or fourteen couples so new members can fit right in. But what only is revealed after much prodding is the fact that John and Diana are able to make

event and meet Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, FOLLOWING PAGES:

The 17th hole is a downhill par 3 with a classic punchbowl green fronted by a deep bunker and framed by a couple of pot bunkers on either side.

courtesy of member Bob Denson. It wasn’t clear who was more honored, the Nicklauses or the veterans. One thing is certain: The food, fun, and camaraderie at the tournament made it a memorable day for all.

their own entertainment. They are members of a musical group, the “Elastic Waist Band,” which has

Fine dining and creative management

been playing locally for years. Diana plays keyboards and

THE JAEGERS, like a number of members, eat dinner at the

John plays bass. They are both talented vocalists. The

club as many as five times a week, a great compliment to the

group also has two guitar players and a drummer. “We

Executive Chef Reid Badger. A graduate of the Culinary In-

mostly perform for fun and charity functions,” John says.

stitute of America in New York, Badger takes pride in his

One function they have not performed for takes place

specialties. These include the Crab Cakes with lump crab-

right at Creighton Farms. Each year the club hosts a major

meat (from Virginia, not Maryland, which means there is

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A Golden Eighteen

not a lot of breading). He serves it with aged-cheddar white

development, enjoy the four seasons of Northern Vir-

grits, hot-and-sour pickled corn relish, and grilled local

ginia. “The reason we decided to move to the northern

spicy onions. Members also rave about Badger’s Chilean sea

Virginia area initially was to be closer to family (partic-

bass over fingerling dark and light potatoes with papaya

ularly our new grandson),” Howard Golub says. “Our

salsa and grilled asparagus. Badger showcases local culture:

older daughter lives ten minutes away, our son lives in

He makes his bacon in-house and bakes his own flatbread;

Rockville, Maryland, and our younger daughter is going

he even makes his own catsup. He worked for Club Corp

to Virginia Tech. In addition, the Virginia weather is ob-

for twelve years, most recently at the City Club of Washing-

viously more temperate than we had in the Boston area,

ton, in D.C. Members and guests can eat either in the main

and as we are approaching retirement age this was a big

(formal) dining room—indoors or outdoors on the patio—

plus as well. These were important criteria for my wife,

or informally in Jack’s Pub. For

and it also didn’t hurt that I

dessert, the flourless chocolate

would be able to play golf all

cake with vanilla ice cream,

year round.” Golub says that no

warmed just right, is highly rec-

golf development in the region

ommended. Before playing golf,

can compete with Creighton

members can also order a full

Farms. “We started looking

breakfast in the clubhouse, or by

around this area about a year

the 10th tee at the range.

and a half ago, and in my opin-

Badger works closely with

ion, there is no golf-centered

grille room Manager Christian

country club that compares to

Reimer, who has been in the

Creighton Farms within a fifty-

food and beverage business for

mile radius. The course has the

twenty years. He played middle

flexibility to be appropriate for

linebacker for Arizona State Uni-

golfers of all skill levels. I’m just

versity (“It paid for school for

an average-skilled golfer [index

the first two years,” he says), then

of 13.5], and the member tees

spent three years in San Diego where he learned to “become a

work great for me. I’m capable ABOVE:

The Creighton Farms Gate House

wine snob, not a sommelier.” Some of the wines he will pair with your dinner are from three primary wineries: Tarrara Vineyard, Fabiolini, and Grey Ghost. He also will recommend special microbrews, such as from the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick,

lation, but the course is end-


(Clockwise from upper left) Grille Room Manager Christian Reimer; The 2013 Great American Living Award; Head Superintendent Matt Zarnstorff; Director of Business Development Michael Robichaud; a framed James Monroe stamp; Creighton Farms entrance; General Manager Casey Counseller; Creighton Farms Golf Championshp Award; Head Golf Professional Scott McArthur and First Assistant Golf Professional Robert Blumer.

Maryland. “We have quite a few

of reaching every hole in regulessly



interesting. I’ve played with scratch golfers who play from the next tees back, and they find that an appropriate challenge for them. I’m also continually impressed by the professionalism of the staff.”

beer connoisseurs here,” he says.

That goes back to the management philosophy put in

Another member who particularly enjoys dining at

place by Southworth and Deitch, who also own such prop-

the club, especially on the patio in the natural sur-

erties as Willowbend (on Cape Cod), Renaissance in Haver-

roundings with his wife and family, is Dr. Howard

hill (north of Boston), Meredith Bay on Lake

Golub. Golub and his wife, Claudia, who recently pur-

Winnipesaukee (in New Hampshire), and Machrihanish

chased a lot and built a home in the Creighton Farms

Dunes (in Scotland). “We want to encourage a relaxed


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Cr e i g h t o n Fa r m s

atmosphere,” he says. “But we don’t accept mediocrity. Our

sees to it that the members and their guests at Creighton

employees carry a card in their pocket that contains four-

Farms are always in good shape as well.

teen service principles. We email every employee every day

Southworth once again emphasizes his love of art. He

about those principles. We encour-

points to a large sword that is hanging in the clubhouse


age empathy, care, and professional-

library that was part of a collection from the Loudoun

Clubhouse foyer and library.

ism.” At the same time, Southworth

County Raiders in the Confederate Army. Then he gazes


recognizes that employees are also

at a Civil War battlefield map also hanging on the wall.

family and deserve to be treated with

“Joe Deitch and I recognize what a historic place this is,

dignity. “We are huge on dignity at

and we see ourselves more as caretakers than owners.

work,” he says. “We want our em-

We’re just pleased to have had the chance to play a role in

ployees to go home every day in

seeing Creighton Farms realize its longstanding promise.”

good shape.” Undoubtedly, the staff

It’s fair to say, the members are pleased as well.

Executive Chef Reid Badger; Smoke roasted salmon with dill cream and heirloom tomatoes; apple empanada with dulce de leche ice cream and fresh fruit; Jack’s Pub.


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A Golden Eighteen


Six Distinctive Courses and Amenities Galore

N THE MID-1980s, a writer for a leading golf magazine was invited to attend the grand opening of a Jack Nicklaus golf

course in Scottsdale, Arizona. It looked like no other course ever designed, and it was scheduled to be the site of the inaugural Skins Game, a made-for-TV exhibition that pitted four of golf ’s top players and personalities contesting for unprecedented sums of money in a format better known to weekend amateur foursomes than to Tour professionals. Desert Highlands, with its crisp, green fairway edges jutting neatly against an arid and boulder-strewn desert punctuated with cacti and dried river beds in the shadow of the distinctive Pinnacle Peak, looked more like painted golf holes on a lunar landscape than a traditional golf course. Creek, the writer casually asked Anderson exactly how much acreage he had acquired for his new development. “See that mountain over there,” Anderson said gesturing toward a peak far off in the distance. “I own everything from here to the top of that mountain.” It was clear right then that if Anderson’s vision held true, one day this land of saguaro, cholla, roadrunner, and lizard would become the greatest single golf development in the world. The writer then inquired how many courses Anderson planned to build and who would be the architects. The answer was unwavering: “Three, all by Jack Nicklaus.” It was beyond the writer’s imagination, trying to contemplate what Anderson was saying. And even Anderson couldn’t anticipate how lucrative this land would become, underestimating by half the number of courses there would be. But now, more than twenty-five years later, no imagination is needed. Desert


The fourth hole on the Renegade Course, the first of Desert Mountain’s six courses to open. LEFT:

A bronze sculpture of the Apache warrior Geronimo on the Geronimo Course. OPPOSITE:

Geronimo’s 10th hole is a 424-yard, par 4 offering scenic plateaus.

Mountain is certainly the most impresThe next day, the developer of Desert Highlands, Lyle

sive golf and housing development in the U.S.—and possi-

Anderson, asked the writer and the writer’s wife to join

bly the world. Where else can you find six first-class golf

him for a ride north of Scottsdale to see where his next

courses—each designed by history’s greatest golfer—that

golfing ventures would unfold. As they were bouncing north

are distinctly different from one another and indeed from

of Pinnacle Peak on an unpaved, dusty road in Anderson’s

all the other courses on the planet? The first to be de-

4x4 vehicle toward the sleepy towns of Carefree and Cave

signed was the innovative Renegade, with its four sets


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A Golden Eighteen

of tees and two flags on each green, giving the golfer eight

my favorite courses [Nicklaus won the 1970 and 1978

variations and tremendous variety in how the course can

British Opens there], and I’ve always admired the way it

be played. “It’s the easiest course I’ve ever designed and

has double greens for most of its holes, so I drew upon

the hardest,” Nicklaus says, pointing out that on opening

that. It was really fun to meet Lyle’s challenge. And I must

day, playing from the championship tees to the back pins,

say, for years he was the one who kept Desert Mountain

he failed to break 80. “And I was playing pretty well back

together and made sure it was truly successful.”

then, just a year after I had won the 1986 Masters.”

Renegade set the stage for the next course, Cochise,

The concept of Renegade was not Nicklaus’ idea. He

which opened in 1988 and for thirteen years was the

was just carrying out Anderson’s

highly playable yet challenging

grand vision to produce a golf

site of The Tradition, a major

course like no other, one that

championship on the Champi-

went against every American

ons Tour. It also periodically

golfing norm. Says Anderson,

hosts the Charles Schwab Cup.

who got the idea when attending

The expansion continued at a

the 1984 British Open: “That was

fast and furious pace: In 1989

my first glimpse of St. Andrews,

came Geronimo, a meaner and

and when I first saw the course

leaner version of Cochise with

with its double greens I was con-


fused for a second, but it opened

canyons and stunning vistas.

up my mind and I said, ‘Wow, we

Cochise and Geronimo share

can have two flags.’ I went back to

the same clubhouse, designed

my hotel room, got out some

by Bob Bacon. Next came

drawing paper and started

Apache in 1996, a highly

sketching ideas of a two-flag golf

playable course whose large




course.” That night, Anderson told Nicklaus he had a

greens appear as extensions of fairways, giving golfers a

crazy idea and presented the concept. Jack said, “That is

number of options for approaches, pitches, and chips.

crazy.” But a few months later, Nicklaus was staying at

Then in 1999, Chiricahua was built, traversing up, down,

Anderson’s house during the early routing of Renegade. Here’s Anderson again: “I remember at breakfast, out of the clear-blue sky, Jack said, ‘You still want to do that crazy idea of yours from St. Andrews?’ I said, ‘Jack, if you’re willing to put your name on that golf

and through some of the property’s most ABOVE:

Boulder outcroppings and other natural landmarks have been integrated into the design of the golf courses and clubhouses on the property.

course, I’d be willing to do it. I really believe in it. Jack said if people liked it, then it would be his idea; if they didn’t, then it would be my idea. He was kidding, of course.”

views. Finally, in 2003, Outlaw opened, a links-style, walker-friendly course on 176 acres bordering Tonto National Forest. There will never be any home sites on Outlaw. The Sonoran clubhouse, opened in 1993 and up-


The fourth hole of Outlaw, the sixth and final course at Desert Mountain, offers a generous landing area.

“Lyle asked me to produce something

dramatic elevation changes and spectacular

dated in ’97, was expanded in 2002. It includes not only a state-of-the-art swimming and tennis facility (with four grass courts, Wimbledon style), but also a fitness center.

truly distinctive,” Nicklaus recalls, “and we had enough

The Apache clubhouse, designed by Bing Hu, opened in

land to create these huge green structures—some more

2000, and the Chiricahua clubhouse, designed by Barry

than 250 feet wide—so we, in effect, designed two greens

Berkus (who also did Bear’s Club and Mayacama),

for each hole [indeed, a couple of holes actually do have

opened in 2002. Finally, the Outlaw clubhouse, also de-

two distinct greens]. St. Andrews in Scotland is one of

signed by Bing Hu, opened in 2003.


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Desert Mountain in a new millennium

bold steps of offering high-end, independent restau-

FAST FORWARD TO today. Lyle Anderson no longer has

rant-style food within a private setting.”

ownership control, but his vision lives on. Chief Operating

Jones comes from a long family tradition in the hotel,

Officer and General Manager Bob Jones, who shares one

restaurant, and resort-management business. His father

of the greatest names in golf, came to Desert Mountain

was the manager of Denver Country Club, and his grand-

in the late ’90s and is continually setting the stage for the

father ran a restaurant in New York City. Jones came to

club’s future. “There were some major challenges that I

Desert Mountain from the elite Dallas Athletic Club,

faced,” Jones said in 1998. “The first was to match the

where he was the general manager. (It’s also where he first

service levels of the club to the extraordinary vision of

met Jack Nicklaus, who was redesigning both courses at

the community. The service levels did not match the excel-

the time.) Because Desert Mountain is so large (there are

lence of what Lyle Anderson called, ‘the sticks and bricks.’

2,132 members, twenty-two different recreational clubs

We took Lyle’s philosophy and put together a team that

within the community, and forty individual men’s and

could keep us ahead of our competition. We invested seven

women’s golf groups), his role is more like the mayor of

to eight million dollars in infrastructure. We had to create

a small city. There are also 625 full-time employees. He

entirely new restaurant concepts, upgrade our service levels

breaks Desert Mountain down into six individual enti-

to five-star resort quality, and add personality.” Jones em-

ties and fosters internal competition. There are also

barked upon an ambitious research project, examining

seven division heads who report to him: director of golf,

more than twenty-eight award-winning restaurants

director of agronomy, director of facilities and mainte-

around the country in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles,

nance, chief financial officer, director of club operations,

Las Vegas, and Carmel, California. “We studied their

executive director of human resources, and director of fit-

menu concepts, service levels, and uniform standards.

ness, tennis and recreational activities.

This is how we came up with the concepts for Apache

Jones graduated from Florida International Univer-

Steakhouse [at the Apache clubhouse] and Constantino’s

sity, where he was influenced by a number of visiting pro-

[at Chiricahua]. Few private clubs are willing to take such

fessors from Cornell University. He wanted to instill in


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A Golden Eighteen

Desert Mountain the same kind of service-driven person-

skills, and improving our service based on quarterly sur-

ality that can only be found at ultra-exclusive clubs and

veys,” Jones says. “The members give us feedback

resorts. He enlisted the help of Desert Mountain board

throughout the year, and we listen. Our membership

member Bob Borsch, who is chairman of the membership

travels the world. They could be having dinner in Venice

committee and was experienced in executing high-end re-

yesterday and then eating at Constantino’s today. So we

search during his career at Price Waterhouse Coopers.

have to be on our ‘A’ game all the time. We have to win the

“We conducted a best-practices tour,” Borsch says. “We

Super Bowl every year.”

asked lots of questions at each club and shared our find-

Perhaps Jones’ biggest challenge was met in 2011

ings with them.” Says Jones: “We examined such places as

when the members, as stated in the original bylaws, were

Boca West, Isleworth, and Fisher’s Island in Florida. We

scheduled to take over the club. Desert Mountain’s own-

also reviewed Steve Wynn’s project at Bellagio for influence on future club and restaurant design. We wanted an eclectic, non-club feeling, more of a five-star, European flavor. We’ve made a great effort to make Desert Mountain something different, both a club with personality and a high-end resort.” Finally, Jones prides himself on developing the talents of his staff and leadership from within. He calls on the influence of business icons and friends such as Wynn, Ross Perot, and Jack Welch, as well as Stephen Covey, who has advised US presidents and has written twenty-five books, including 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, 4 Disciplines of Execution, and The Speed of Trust. “We wanted to give our people the opportunity to advance and to show them that their hard work, pride, and loyalty

ership history is complicated, going from


The dramatic opening hole of the Cochise course, once home to The Tradition, the first major event on the Senior PGA Tour from 1988-2001, and more recently the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. OPPOSITE:

(Clockwise from upper left) Desert Mountain Board of Directors member Bob Borsch, who played an instrumental role in the design of the Desert Mountain Trails System; Desert Mountain Director of Golf Mike Scully; Desert Mountain Director of Agronomy Shawn Emerson; President of the Desert Mountain Club Board of Directors Paul Wutz; Head Golf Professional at the Outlaw Course Lisa Abernethy; Desert Mountain Chief Operating Officer/General Manager Bob Jones; a Golden Bear tee marker.

would outweigh outside experience. It’s

Anderson to Mobil to Crescent Real Estate Holdings to Morgan Stanley Real Estate to Barclays, who turned it back to Crescent. Paul Wutz, president of the board, was able to negotiate an excellent deal on behalf of the members, including some three thousand undeveloped acres farther north of the property. The membership was concerned that if Crescent retained control of that acreage, it could have been sold or developed into any number of residential or commercial properties. As a result of the negotiations, in late 2010 Crescent sold the entire property, including the six golf courses and clubhouses, to the members for $73.5 million, or about one-third of the original asking price. Wutz was able to get a group of eighteen members to come up with seventy million dollars, then assessed each member a one-time charge of $16,500.

paid off for us.” In developing leadership, Jones expects

Though the club lost some members at the time, the

his staff to manage from integrity and treat the facilities

transaction was viewed as highly successful, and most

as if they were an extension of the members’ homes. “This

members breathed a sigh of relief that Crescent would

took an attitudinal shift, but it worked,” he says. An out-

not be able to develop or sell the undeveloped three-

growth of that is what he calls Desert Mountain Univer-

thousand acres, which Desert Mountain turned into

sity, a two-week, staff-development program conducted

breathtakingly beautiful hiking trails. Says Borsch, who

by the Covey Group at the end of the summer that con-

was instrumental in designing the Desert Mountain

centrates on “the four disciplines of execution” and

Trails System: “I really care about these trails. You can see

brings together various departments within Desert

one-hundred miles to the Mogollon Rim. You can walk

Mountain, such as human resources, accounting, golf op-

your dogs there, or use the trails for hiking, biking, or

erations, and food and beverage services. “This is all about

horses.” The trails won the Best New Trail Award from

developing member loyalty, staff loyalty, communication

American Trails Association in 2012. They are four feet


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The Jim Flick Performance Center AS OF 2013, The Jim Flick Golf Performance Center aug-

was battling cancer] and how much he meant to my game

ments the six great golf courses at Desert Mountain. Ded-

and career and hoping he was watching on TV. On the

icated to Desert Mountain’s longtime director of

drive on the par-5 18, I said to my caddie, ‘This is probably

instruction who passed away in late 2012, it was a $1.6

the last shot Jim will ever see me hit,’ and I was fortunate

million investment. Here, under the di-

to nail it down the middle. Then I said

rection of Head Golf Professional Rich

the same thing before my second shot,

Prange, you can hit shots from covered,

and I hit a 7-iron right over the flag that

heated bays and have your swing ana-

stopped twenty feet behind the pin.”

lyzed scientifically with computerized

Lehman just missed his

video analysis from multiple angles.

eagle putt but it didn’t

You can get a detailed club-fitting, and

matter. He had won for

the staff will recommend a sophisti-

Jim. Sadly, Flick passed

cated program to develop your full

away a few days later.


Five bays with large doors opening out to the Renegade Course practice range are available for private instruction or can be reserved for individual or group practice; The Jim Flick Golf Performance Center.

swing, pitching, chipping, and putting

In a private cere-

so you can reach your potential, no

mony for the members

matter if you carry a plus-3 Handicap

and Flick’s wife, Geri,

Index or a 40. It’s all based on a scien-

Lehman helped dedi-

tific yet feel-oriented and individual-

cate the Performance


Center in Jim’s honor.

Eldon Epperly is the Club Fitting Specialist at the Jim Flick Golf Performance Center.

ized approach to teaching. Flick’s most famous student, of course, was Nicklaus

Here you’ll find various memorabilia from

himself. But he also helped countless amateurs, such jun-

Flick, including a set of his clubs and some

iors as Beau Hossler (now at the University of Texas), and

of his books, videos and articles from Golf

many Tour players, including Tom Lehman, who dedicated

Digest. It’s a moving sight indeed, and a worthy tribute to

his 2012 Charles Schwab Cup Championship victory on

the legendary teacher who with Bob Toski was a pioneer

the Cochise Course to Jim. Says Lehman: “In that final

in the golf school business and gave lessons for more than

round of the Charles Schwab, I kept thinking of Jim [who

fifty years, right up until his final days.


DESERT_MOUNTAINS3.qxp_Layout 1 6/10/14 1:47 PM Page 132

A Golden Eighteen

wide and traverse through towering saguaro and across

and excursions to Phoenix to see Broadway shows.” The

deep ravines. Another keen proponent of the trail system

couple, whose kids from previous marriages are grown,

is member Troy Gillenwater, who notes that a recent

own an investment-management company based in

study at the University of Colorado claims that commu-

Columbus, Ohio (where they’re also members of Muirfield

nities within and adjacent to conservation land, where

Village and are longtime friends of the Nicklauses). One

wildlife and open space abound, command a 39 percent

day back in 2004, Bob decided to buy a Desert Mountain

property price premium over traditional suburban com-

lot sight-unseen. They ended up selling that lot later and

munities. There are plans to expand the current trail sys-

buying a house in the Eagle Feather neighborhood, near

tem to include specialty trails for fitness and kids

Renegade. “I always loved the beach,” Susan says, “but Bob

education, sunset hiking followed by wine

convinced me to visit the desert, and I fell in ABOVE:

and cheese picnics, cowboy barbeques and sing-along,s and horseback rides into Tonto National Forest, which it borders for five miles. “The lifestyle here is so diverse,” says

love with the saguaros, which were blossom-

The Chiricahua clubhouse is a faithful recreation of an Old-World Italian olive vineyard and farmhouse.

Wutz. He and his wife, Margaret, have two

ing at the time.” Bob, who won the Desert Mountain Match Play Championship in 2012, plays with a regular group called the Stix, which puts together foursomes every

grown kids and five grandkids. “There is a very friendly

Saturday. “It’s very simple to get a game this way. You just

feeling among the members and staff. The advantage

have to email back by a certain day and you’re in,” he says.

here is we have the space. Other clubs are land-locked.

The group rotates around the six different courses, but

There is a sense of infinite possibility here.”

Bob’s favorites are Geronimo, Chiricahua and Outlaw.

Members Bob and Susan Meeder agree with that assessment. Bob is an avid golfer carrying a 4 handicap and

The golf courses, one by one

Susan doesn’t play at all. “But I never get bored here,” she

WHEN YOU THINK of Desert Mountain, you really think

says. “I run, bike, do the workout classes, and hike the trails

of six distinctly different golf courses, each with its own

a lot. They have excellent wine dinners, cooking classes,

personality. Cochise might well be the most famous of the


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Desert Mountain Golf Club

six courses, due to its television exposure during The Tra-

but then you’re faced with a harder second shot.” With

dition, which Nicklaus won four times there. It also was

rolling fairways surrounded by water and dramatic desert

the site of the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup and will be the

rock outcroppings, this picturesque course tests every club

host again in 2014 and ’16. Says Direc-

in the bag. Approach shots require

tor of Golf Mike Scully, who looks like he’d be more at home in the fitness fa-

precision, and the contoured, light-


The crown jewel of Desert Mountain’s Nicklaus Signature Courses, Chiricahua (10th hole pictured) is a 7,197-yard desert target course with sweeping views of the valley below.

ning-fast greens require the touch of a

posely wanted to make all the courses


holes sits on an island, approached

different, and Cochise, being the sec-

The Cochise/Geronimo clubhouse, on the 18th hole of the Geronimo Course, is an unusual architectural amalgam of Native American, desert, and contemporary styles that blend into the natural landscape; an agave plant is just one of the desert plants used in landscaping Desert Mountain’s amenities and homes; Desert Mountain pays homage to the Apaches, who once inhabited the area, with this bronze detail on a memorial wall; Desert Mountain’s eightthousand acres are bisected by wildlife trails that support more than sixty kinds of large and small animals.

cility (indeed, he played center for the University of Illinois and competed in the Rose Bowl): “Lyle and Jack pur-

ond course, needed to be distinct from Renegade.” Cochise is not overly long by today’s standards at 7,019 yards from the back tees down to 4,937 from the very forward tees, but it’s challenging and fun at the same time. Its signature holes are four risk-reward par 5s that reflect Nicklaus’ overall design philosophy. “I’ve always felt that a great

diamond cutter. The hallmarks of Cochise are the par-3 seventh and par5 15th. The double green for these two from two different directions. Apache was designed as a challenging, yet playable, links-style course for golfers of all skill levels. It features rolling fairways, large greens that appear as extensions of the fairways, with subtle undulations and catch areas that give the golfer several options for chipping, pitching, or rolling the ball on. The result is a relaxed round of golf. Scully says

hole gives you the option of hitting an

it’s important to master uphill or down-

aggressive drive, which if successful on

hill shots. The eighteenth hole features

a par 5 gives you an opportunity to go for the green,”

two separate greens, with the more difficult putting surface

Nicklaus says. “Or you can hit a more conservative drive

set into a hillside bordered by an unforgiving wash known


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A Golden Eighteen

to consume golf balls. That’s why Apache is


A similar statue—of Chief Renegade—stands

best known for its “disappearing green,” Scully

Outlaw features rolling fairways, ample greens with subtle, grassy catch areas, and deceptively sloping putting surfaces, as seen here on the fifth hole.

stoically behind the 18th green of the Rene-

says. Nicklaus designed it as if it might be in Scotland, hence most of the putting surface is not visible. Geronimo is the most visually intimidating of the six courses. At 7,420 yards from the back tees and 5,394 from the forward markers, it winds its way through dramatic boulders, deep washes, ravines, and lush desert. There are distinct elevation changes balanced by stunning plateaus. The drama of Geronimo is evident right from the first tee shot. You start with a stunning 570-yard par 5 down to a wide fairway. The second shot needs to be accurate if you want to attack the shallow, well-bunkered green. While some of the holes on the first nine might give you the impression that Geronimo is a docile course, the back nine is no pushover. The last hole, a 160-yard par 3, requires a pinpoint shot over a deep chasm to a two-tiered green. But Nicklaus does have a heart. For every carry over a

When Chiricahua opened in 1999, Golf Digest named it one of the “Best New Private Courses” in the country. Chiricahua, at 7,197 yards from the back tees and 5,034 from the


(Clockwise from upper left) Chef de Cuisine at Constantino’s at the Chiricahua Clubhouse Sarah Turgel; a dining room at Constantino’s; Desert Mountain Executive Chef Michael Hoobler; Constantino’s uses locally produced, seasonal ingredients in its Mediterranean-Italian dishes; the focal point at Constantino’s is a three-thousand-bottle wine tower; fresh and beautifully prepared meals are the hallmarks of Desert Mountain’s nine on-property restaurants and grills.

deep ravine, he provides a safe route as well.

gade course.

front markers, combines the architecture of its four predecessors. Built at the highest altitude of the six courses at 3,300 feet above sea level, it features three-hundred-foot elevation changes. Playing the long par-4 10th hole (No. 1 handicap) and the mediumlength par-4 11th, you are treated to spectacular views down the valley toward metro Phoenix—indeed you can see the shiny roof of the US Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns, some twenty-five miles away. Head Golf Professional Tom VanHaaren, who throughout his Desert Mountain career has been a professional at each of the six courses, points out that this one features eight holes that play downhill, nine that play uphill and one that plays sideways for an ex-

When you walk off the 18th green, you are greeted by a

hilarating combination.

life-like statue of Chief Geronimo, a reminder of the noble

The final course to be built, in 2003, Outlaw is what

people who lived on these grounds for centuries before.

its name implies. It is distinctly different from the other


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A Golden Eighteen

courses, says Outlaw’s recently appointed Head Golf Pro-

six acres of turf on Renegade’s greens alone,” he says. His

fessional Lisa Abernethy, an Illinois native who played col-

maintenance schedule is run like the Swiss National

lege golf at the University of Nebraska. Former Head Golf

Railway. “We have a total of twenty-eight acres of greens,

Professional Eldon Epperly fit right in at Outlaw, but his

and because of double-cutting, they get mowed 422 times

talents were needed at Desert Mountain’s new state-of-the-

per year,” he says. That’s why he employs 180 people on the

art Jim Flick Golf Performance Center (see sidebar), so he

maintenance staff. And perhaps this is why Jay Haas, after

is based there now. From Oklahoma, he resembles a

the 2012 Charles Schwab Cup, said Cochise was the best-

rugged cowboy, right down to his wide-brim hat and

conditioned course he’d ever played.

deadpan sense of humor. He says this is the course to play

Emerson says he treats all six courses as one, though

if you really like “golf on the ground.” In other words, it’s

Desert Mountain uses a four-two rotation plan for over-

a links-style design complete with sod-faced bunkers and

seeding. In other words, each winter, four courses are over-

firm and fast fairways. This course requires a lot of imag-

seeded, and two are not, the grass turning dormant. Over

ination because you often

time, this encourages stronger,

must land the ball short of the

more disease-resistant turf

green and allow it to run

and reduces the need for irri-

down through swales and up

gation. Most of the fairways

over mounds to the hole. Built

are thirty to forty yards wide

on the other side of Cave

with an intermediate rough

Creek Road from the rest of

mowed at 3/4 inch to an inch,

the Desert Mountain prop-

keeping the courses very

erty, there are spectacular

playable. On the greens, he

views of Pinnacle Peak, the

uses a blend of 007 Bentgrass

McDowell Mountains, and

and Providence, which was

Four Peaks. This is pure golf at its finest, and


developed at Rutgers University. All the sand

golfers are encouraged to walk. Says Nicklaus:

Driving off into the sunset.

is local from Arizona. “We want to be indige-

“I simply took what the Good Lord gave us


nous to the Sonoran Desert,” Emerson says.

and tried not to mess it up. I love the way the land rolls through the native washes and cactus. I simply tried to follow the existing contours when I designed the golf holes.” Outlaw, at 7,107 yards from the back tees down to 5,219 from the forward tees, offers generous landing areas and was carefully designed to

Rolling desert and dramatic mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop to enjoy at the end of the day; a bronze of an Apache warrior is a silent testament to the legacy of the Native Americans who inhabited northeast Scottsdale more than a century ago.

eliminate forced carries.

“We incorporate the natural beauty of the desert, such as the arroyos [waterways that run dry in the summer] and flowering cacti into the natural beauty of the golf course.” The natural beauty also extends beyond the flora to the fauna. On any given round you can expect to see wild javelinas, bobcats, bears, mule deer, mountain lions, roadrun-

Director of Agronomy Shawn Emerson, who literally

ners, herons, red-tailed hawks, cactus wrens, and quail.

grew up in the course superintendent business (his father, Bill Emerson, became superintendent at nearby Paradise

Dining at Desert Mountain

Valley in 1981), meticulously maintains all six courses,

NOT ONLY DOES Desert Mountain have six excellent golf

plus the practice and learning facilities. Shawn says he’s

courses, it also features nine casual- and fine-dining

honored to be caretaker of 108 holes designed by Jack

restaurants, based on the restaurant plan Bob Jones wrote

Nicklaus. “We don’t make any changes without his ap-

a few years ago. Under Food and Beverage Director

proval,” he says. “But then again, we hardly need to make

Christophe Hermine, who learned his craft at the best

any changes.” Emerson has a daunting job. “There are

restaurants and hotels in Europe and New York, and


DESERT_MOUNTAINS3.qxp_Layout 1 6/10/14 1:49 PM Page 139

Executive Chef Michael Hoobler, who grew up in Northern

“We’re always challenged with our menu development.

California and was trained in San Francisco and later

Each club has its own brand, its own personality. We have

Phoenix, the club serves more than 1,500 meals a day,

a very diverse membership, so we need to offer variety. We

plus catering. There’s no shortage of food and dining

try to give each chef the freedom to develop his or her

options. For example, at the Renegade clubhouse you can

own signature dishes.” Adds Hermine: “Each restaurant

have breakfast and lunch. Outlaw, Apache, and Chiricahua

manager is in charge of the wine cellar [or wine tower in

serve lunch and dinner. Cochise/Geronimo provide

the case of Constantino’s].” There you’ll find a wide range

lunch and host banquet events. And the

of cabernets, mostly from Napa but

Sonoran clubhouse offers spa-quality,

also from Spain and Argentina.

healthful lunches.

Certainly, the options for dining,

Each club has a themed restau-

golf, recreation—simply for living a

rant. For example, at Chiricahua, Con-

high-quality life—are endless at Desert

stantino’s Chef de Cuisine Sarah Turgel

Mountain. No one exemplifies these

and Restaurant Manager Bill Sychtysz

interests better than club president

give you an Italian dining experience

Paul Wutz. A pharmacist by training,

like no other. The outside-deck atmos-

Wutz worked for Blue Cross in Buffalo,

phere under the desert stars with views

New York, and then ran some smaller

of Phoenix in the distance—no ambi-

businesses before fully retiring five

ent light is allowed throughout the

years ago and devoting himself to the

Desert Mountain community—only

club. He notes that 35 percent of the

adds to the atmosphere. Turgel special-

members live at Desert Mountain year-

izes in farm-to-table fresh produce and

round. His friend and fellow member

strives to purchase as much organic fruits and vegetables

Bob Borsch is equally dedicated to this lifestyle. “My typ-

as possible. One of her concoctions she calls Juice Corps

ical day would be to walk the dogs through the trails with

(all-organic, hydraulic-cold-pressed fruits and vegetables

my wife, Anne, have some breakfast, then play one of the

so you retain all the natural nutrients). If you prefer a

six courses, then try to decide what to do for dinner,”

great steak or seafood, Chef de Cuisine Tim Loving at the

Borsch says. “There’s so much choice. We bring in local

Apache Steakhouse, is your man. Crave something with a

bands for concerts on the lawn; we have numerous card

southwestern flair? Chef de cuisine Alex Ochs at Outlaw’s

groups, even a fishing club. When you invite friends or

Arizona Grill will satisfy your taste buds. One of his in-

family here, there’s so much to do.”

ventions is the blue-corn lobster enchilada. Says Hoobler:

That is clearly an understatement.


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A Golden Eighteen

Breathtaking Desert Golf with Ritz-Carlton Luxury


HERE IS NO MORE STRIKING VIEW in golf than when you stand on the seventh tee of the Wild Burro Nine at

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, in the center of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain resort and residential development in the town of Marana, Arizona, twenty-five minutes north of downtown Tucson. The fairway of the 452-yard dogleg-right par 4 seems painted on the desert landscape, and the forest of centuries-old saguaro cacti beyond the green looks like it goes on forever until it reaches the mountains, silhouetted against the sky some thirty miles away. This is just one of a myriad such landscapes that await you on the three nines—the other two are the Tortolita and the Saguaro, which are in the shadow of the elegant RitzCarlton, Dove Mountain resort, second to none when it comes to world-class accommodations and a state-of-the-art spa.

Site of the WGC Accenture

I think it’s a really good golf

World Match Play Championship

course. And of course, The Ritz-

since 2009, the Tortolita and

Carlton is pretty nice.”

Saguaro Nines masterfully chal-

That would be an understate-

lenge not only the sixty-four best

ment. The 253-room resort hotel,

players in the world, but are

which is nestled against the

playable for average golfers as

mountains just a short shuttle ride

well. That is a tribute to the de-

from the clubhouse, is not your

sign skill of Jack Nicklaus, who

ordinary Ritz-Carlton. It happens

knew going in that the course

to be the largest and most com-

would be the site of a major

prehensive Ritz-Carlton project in

match-play event, even before he

the continental United States. The

sketched the first drawings on a

impeccable service makes for an

napkin or moved the first yard of

effortless stay, whether you’re vis-

dirt. “Because it’s a match-play

iting overnight in one of the spa-

tournament, I tried to design the course


cious king rooms or moving into one of

with a lot of gambling shots,” Nicklaus

Bunkers surround the narrow landing area of Tortolita’s second hole.

the family-oriented, multi-bedroom ca-

says. “There are a number of instances

sitas for a week. The activities here are so


where you can take a chance or lay up, de-

A majestic saguaro cactus.

numerous and varied that you could do


something different every day and never

pending on where you stand in the match or what your opponent has done. Also, the main defense a golf course has with

The varying elevations of the Sonoran desert are on display at the fifth hole of the Tortolita Course.

Tour players is tough greens. So we made

get bored. One of the staff members who serves at the poolside dining facility, Jarrod Wixon, gives an inquiring guest some

them tough. They were probably a little too difficult at

insight into his training: “We learn all about guest recog-

first; we went back in and softened them a bit. Tee to green

nition,” he says as he pours filtered water from his pitcher


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Jack’s Golden Eighteen

into your lemon- and lime-filled glass. “By the time a

year-old saguaro cacti around which the hotel was built.

guest has been on site half a day, we are expected to call

Nature is obviously held in high esteem here.

them by name and anticipate their needs. Those of us who

Then there are all the other amenities The Ritz-Carl-

don’t grasp that basic concept are weeded out at orienta-

ton has to offer: A state-of-the-art, seventeen-thousand-

tion. They don’t hesitate to send you home if you’re not

square-foot spa, which provides every kind of treatment

working out.” When asked, Wixon explains the Splash

known to woman or man and was inspired by the spiri-

Dining experience in which guests can opt to enjoy an in-

tual traditions of the Hohokam with eco-holistic thera-

timate candlelight dinner while they sit at tables placed in

pies. (Indeed, easily visible from the spa itself are stones

the shallow end of the main hotel pool or the pool in the

along the hillside marked by petroglyphs of the Hohokam

spa. Also when asked, Wixon examines your map of in-

tribe, inscribed between 300 BC and 1500 AD). You might

tricate hiking trails that surround the property, a routing

partake of a mud bath, or a green-tea-leaf facial, or a

that already had been outlined by Ranger Rick (Gray) in

deep-tissue massage. The spa is world renowned, directed

the hotel lobby. Dressed like an authentic park ranger,

by Samantha Malone-Telesford, who sees to it that hotel

Gray is the resident naturalist, hosting outings for

guests and members of the Club at Dove Mountain are

guests—especially kids and families—and explaining de-

well looked after. There is a quiet, adult-only pool in the

tails about the flora and fauna of the surrounding desert.

spa. And there are fourteen treatment rooms, two esthetic

Gray will tell you about the eighty-year-old desert tor-

rooms, a hydrotherapy room, a Vichy shower, and two

toise, Rocky, who lives on the property in a replicated rock

oversized suites designed for couples. Massages, facials,

and desert-plant enclosure for guests to enjoy. Gray will

and body treatments are available, as are skin prescrip-

also give you details about the massive two-hundred-fifty-

tions, touch therapy, body remedies, and water cures. On


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Dove Mountain Golf Club

staff is a master aromatherapist, who is trained to blend

two-hundred and thirty-five-foot water slide that will have

special oils or customize treatments using ingredients in-

the kids and grandkids enthralled for hours. (A separate

digenous to the Sonoran Desert. At night, two built-in fire

members-only swim and fitness center at the clubhouse is

pits illuminate an outdoor terrace, ideal for looking at the

on the drawing boards.) At the tennis center, you’ll find

Milky Way in the clear desert sky or for experiencing Dove

four Plexipave tennis courts. Lessons and racquets for rent

Mountain’s signature Desert Moon Mas-

are readily available.

sage. In the spring, when the Sonoran


Desert wildflowers start blooming across

How it all began

the landscape, the spa offers treatments

THE CLUB AT Dove Mountain is the brainchild of David

derived from local honey makers and

Mehl, a Tucson developer who also created the La Paloma

farmers. Members and guests often enjoy

resort on the other side of the city. Mehl, who grew up in

a Desert Honey Massage or Body Polish,

Cincinnati, first came to the Tucson area to play tennis for


or a Spring Renewal Facial, or even the

the University of Arizona. He had followed his older

A pond stretches along the par-4 fourth hole of the Saguaro Course.

Desert Honey Leg and Foot Ritual. Each

brother, George, who lettered in tennis for four years at

of these treatments takes fifty minutes

Arizona. David is an unassuming, gentle man. In addition,

and is well worth the time.

he is a true golf enthusiast and an avid hiker who truly

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain pool. ABOVE:

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain locker room lounge.

Next to the spa is the fitness center, which provides

appreciates the beauty of the Sonoran desert. Real estate

Pilates and yoga classes, in addition to cardiovascular train-

seems to have been bred into his family: David’s son Car-

ing and Precor weight-training equipment. There are also

son builds the homes at The Residences at The Ritz-Carl-

three separate water areas at the outdoor pool, including a

ton, Dove Mountain, and George, who tragically died in a


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A Golden Eighteen

small-plane crash with his family in 1991, had founded

McDonald says. “It’s not about trying to promote our

Cottonwood Properties with David in 1975. Cottonwood,

brand—it’s about promoting our properties. We’ve been

a Tucson company with all of its interests exclusively in

doing this since 1991, and we’ve had a lot of success stay-

the Tucson area, has developed residential communities,

ing off the grid, flying under the radar. We’ve found that’s

resorts, retail centers, office complexes, and apartment

the best way to set and maintain high standards.”

communities in excess of $800 million dollars. “We

One of the people charged with continually attaining

acquired this land years ago and carefully planned every

those standards at Dove Mountain is Michael Rushing,

aspect of the community,” says

general manager of the golf club

Mehl. “The Ritz-Carlton, Dove

and director of golf (he’s also a

Mountain is one of the most

Class A PGA professional). He

highly regarded in the brand’s

supervises a staff of five PGA

family of hotels and resorts, and

professionals who all teach,

our residential program is one

headed by Director of Instruc-

of the most successful in the en-

tion Glen Griffith. Griffith

tire region.”

knows a thing or two about the

In 2012, the Golf Club at

golf swing—he owned and op-

Dove Mountain was sold to

erated Tucson Golf Schools for

Escalante Golf, based in Dal-

eleven years. Says Rushing: “Our

las/Fort Worth. “As owner and

commitment to the highest

operator, Escalante is commit-

level of service starts with our

ted to the long-term success of

training program. We follow

Dove Mountain,” Mehl said

The Ritz-Carlton model: Every

when announcing the sale. “It

staff member is required to fit a

will be the perfect partner for

personality profile that begins

both the resort and The Ritz-

with the interview, then testing,

Carlton Residences.” Added

then training. They all partici-

Escalante President David Mc-

pate in The Ritz-Carlton train-

Donald: “We are honored to be

ing process, which consists of a

a part of the exceptional Dove Mountain


community and to be stewards of this world-

One of many towering saguaros that surround the Dove Mountain property.

class club. We will continue to provide our members and guests the same high level of personalized service and attention to detail

classroom setting and on-the-job training.” Rushing, originally from Forth Worth, Texas, comes from a solid and diverse golfmanagement background. He opened English Turn in New Orleans and worked at the TPC

that is the standard at Dove Mountain.”

at Sawgrass before joining the Marriott Group, which

So it’s a match made in heaven—almost literally. Dove

owns The Ritz-Carlton. He also spent eleven years at

Mountain is one of those places that when you get there you

Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. “My time at Colo-

don’t want to leave. McDonald reflects today on his man-

nial made me fall in love with golf and with the business,”

agement style: “We spend a lot of time finding high-quality

he says. “Whether it’s the conditioning of the course, or

people and then letting them succeed,” he says. His com-

the assistance you get from the hotel staff, or the quality

pany also acquired and manages such high-end properties

of the food at the clubhouse, at the end of the day, our

as Black Diamond Ranch in Ocala, Florida, and Country

role here is to provide that kind of unsurpassed service

Club of the North, in Beaver Creek, Ohio. “We spent

and set the highest standard.”

about a year meeting with David Mehl and his team,”

That standard started some twenty-five years ago.


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Miles of Hiking Trails—and More THE VAST NETWORK of trails around

yourself either down by the golf club-

Dove Mountain were skillfully designed

house, where you can reward yourself

for every level of hiker. You can experi-

with a mug of cold beer—or even

ence an easy thirty-minute stroll across

lunch at the Members’ Grill or Cayton’s

the desert floor, or climb high into the

Restaurant—or you might have cir-

surrounding hills and spend a day

cled back through a steep canyon and

traversing more than ten miles while

sandy washout on the other side of the

staring at the endless views across

hotel complex, where it’s time for a dip

rocky peaks and plunging valleys. Or you

in the large, heated pool with a cool,

might prefer to marvel at the blooming

tall drink served to you as you

cactus flowers and local wildlife. It’s not

recline in one of the unique chaise

unusual to see wild javelinas, jackrabbits,

lounges partially submerged in the

roadrunners, coyotes, and even the oc-

shallow end. For the more daring, you




can hike the Wild Mustang

across your path. But also

Trail for 5.7 miles and 870

watch out for rattlesnakes

feet of elevation changes,

and the painful cholla cac-

which connects with the

tus (called the “Jumping

Wild Burro Trail that

Cactus” because it will ex-

brings you back another

tend its prickly thorns into

5.1 miles to the hotel. Or

your skin if you merely

you can venture onto the

brush against it, and then

Alamo Spring Trail, which

its arm breaks off so it

climbs up to 1,250 feet, of-

clings to you, continuing to

fering even more breath-

inflict pain as you try to escape its grip). The cholla, if you keep your distance, also is perhaps the most beautiful of the desert

taking views.


There are over sixty miles of hiking trails that meander through Dove Mountain and the surrounding areas with elevations reaching as high as 4,300 feet; petroglyphs left by ancient Hohokom Indians in the rocks.

plants in the early morning or

Dove Mountain members Mark Mathias and Gina Lombardi love to use the hiking trails and usually take their dog along.

late-day sunlight, giving off a translucent glow.

“We’ve pretty much done all of the trails, and the Upper

A classic hike sends the adventurous traveler around

Javelina is one of our favorites,” Mark says. “Walking

one side of the hotel, then up 650 feet along a steep and

along those trails, we’ll see mule deer, bob cats, and coy-

winding path until you have a magnificent view of the

otes.” Says Gina: “These trails make a huge difference for

golf course and valley below. Two hours later, you’ll find

us. It gives the area a completely different dimension.”


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A Golden Eighteen

Between 1984 and 1987 David Mehl began acquiring

was right. Liam Doyle, who had just finished renovating

parcels of land on the Phoenix side of Tucson, anticipating

and re-launching the world-renowned Shelbourne Hotel

that the city would expand in that direction and also keep-

in Dublin when he came to Dove Mountain as its general

ing in mind the proximity to the Phoenix Airport, only

manager in the spring of 2011, describes the relationship

eighty minutes away. He accumulated some 6,200 acres,

between the club and the hotel: “We are an eight hundred-

enough to some day build the Dove Mountain commu-

acre resort in the Sonoran Desert that has a Jack Nicklaus

nity, which today offers a wide range of lifestyle and home-

Signature golf course as part of the masterpiece. The hotel

ownership opportunities, along

brings a level of service to the en-

with three golf clubs and eighty-

tire operation that is unsurpassed.”

one holes of golf. He convinced

Doyle explains how The Ritz-Carl-

the PGA Tour to hold its match-

ton staff is selected: “We know that

play event on a course that wasn’t

there is a level of expectation from

even designed yet. That was not so

the guests, so the ladies and gentle-

difficult after he retained the serv-

men we find have to have a clear

ices of the Nicklaus design team. It

desire to serve. They constantly ask

was through tennis, not golf, that

themselves, ‘What are the small

Mehl got to know Nicklaus more

things we can do to make the ex-

personally—they played several

periences of the guests positive?’

times during the design and build-

They need to have a professional

ing of the La Paloma Country

style but in a manner that helps

Club in the early 1980s. This was

guests to feel relaxed. ”

the Mehls’ first golf course devel-

A relaxing but elegant atmos-

opment and is the only other Jack

phere is noticeable throughout the

Nicklaus Signature course in the

hotel, including the dining op-

Tucson metro area. “One day I called Jack


tions. Of course, fine dining is synony-

and told him about my idea for Dove

The patio at Cayton’s Burger Bistro.

mous with The Ritz-Carlton brand. The

Mountain,” Mehl says. “I wanted it to be


hotel features a formal dining room, plus

a celebration of the lush Sonoran Desert. Jack loved the idea, and he really delivered three first-class nines.” Mehl points out that La Paloma means “The Dove” in Spanish (Inca doves are found throughout the area) and that Tortolita means “Little Turtle Dove.” So when he created his new resort, tucked into the Tortolita Mountains, he played off those transla-

(Clockwise from upper left) Developer and Owner of Cottonwood Properties David Mehl; Teaching Professional at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain Glen Griffith; General Manager of The Golf Club at Dove Mountain Michael Rushing; Superintendent at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain Noah Gessler; a Ritz-Carlton ranger holds a native snake; a tee marker; General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Liam Doyle; The Ritz-Carlton entry monument.

the CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar (which offers sushi on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings by one of the top Japanese sushi chefs in the country), and the Ignite Lounge and Bar. “We have a very sophisticated clientele,” Doyle says, “so we make sure to cater to the most discerning and international tastes.” Doyle knows what he’s talking about. His first position in the business was at the Kilkea Castle in

tions and named it Dove Mountain.

County Kildare, Ireland. He later was awarded a culinary The benefits of a Ritz-Carlton

scholarship to the U.S., and then won his green card in a

NEXT CAME THE IDEA for adding a world-class resort hotel

lottery. He joined The Ritz-Carlton company twelve years

to the property. Mehl anticipated that a Ritz-Carlton would

ago. He enjoys living in Arizona, where he and his wife are

provide unsurpassed service to the club’s members while

raising their two children. “Tucson is similar to Ireland in

attracting guests who could also play the courses. And he

that the people are so genuine and warm,” he says. “It’s


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A Golden Eighteen

certainly a unique place to live, but also a lot of fun.”

David Mehl bought most of the land. In 2010, Mehl

In addition to the hotel itself, the master plan calls

brought in another partner, Ray Sidney, one of the original

for building 250 to 300 homes—The Residences at The

employees of Google, Inc., and whose equity investment in

Ritz-Carlton—as part of Phase One of the real-estate de-

The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton and golf course allow

velopment. Says Amanda Smith, a member of the sales team for The Residences: “Tucson is a big draw in and of itself. Here we have the best of both worlds. You have homesites on seven-hundred acres surrounded by sixthousand acres.” Smith notes that the homes

it to boast a debt-free balance sheet. Sidney is ABOVE:

The private member’s dining room at Cayton’s Burger Bistro, named for Cush Cayton, who owned most of the land upon which Dove Mountain was built.

range from 1,658 to 5,800 square feet, with prices from the high $600,000s to more than $2 million. “There is clearly something for everyone here,” she says. “The owners of these homes are treated as if they are guests

vard graduate, holds a PhD in mathematics from MIT and is widely considered to be a math genius. He left Google in 2003 and has since been involved in a variety of philanthropic enterprises focused on environmental


The unique indoor/outdoor Kiva Room at Cayton’s Burger Bistro; the Sushi chef at Ignite at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

of The Ritz-Carlton. They can avail them-

not necessarily a keen golfer, but he’s a Har-

and educational issues. He provided the economic underpinning necessary to put Dove Mountain in a strong position for the next generation. “Ray’s foresight and financial support is exactly what the property needed,”

selves of such optional amenities as housekeeping and

Mehl says. “He got us through a tough economic period.

valet services, gourmet-dining room service, and even a

Our members and home owners can take comfort in

full-time residents’ concierge.”

knowing that the value of their investments are on solid

There is a private members’ dining room at the club-

footing. They also know that Dove Mountain inspires a

house, plus Cayton’s Restaurant, named after Cush Cayton,

true sense of community with the utmost respect for the

a self-made cattle rancher and cowboy poet from whom

natural habitat and its inhabitants.”


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Dove Mountain Golf Club

Indeed, the development has been

successful, garnering top ratings each

masterfully planned with an emphasis

winter as the most elite international

on low-density. Nearly one-third of Dove

field in the game gathers for a week of

Mountain’s nine square miles is dedi-

single-elimination, mano-a-mano com-

cated to open space. With elevations

petition. Some of the tournament’s win-

ranging from 2,700 to 4,300 feet, the in-

ners include such top names in golf as

credibly spectacular views seem to go on

Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan, Luke Don-

forever in every direction. Mehl has gone

ald, Matt Kuchar, and Tiger Woods.

to great lengths to ensure that the in-

Clearly, the tournament has provided

tegrity of Dove Mountain’s boundaries

Dove Mountain with instant recogni-

are protected from encroachment by es-

tion. Television coverage, early in the

tablishing preserves all the way to the

week on Golf Channel and weekends on

mountains owned by the Arizona State Trust. Says Ray

NBC, has given the go-for-broke holes, as well as The

Sydney: “David has an amazing track record as a successful

Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain resort hotel, tremendous

luxury community home developer. The Residences offers

exposure. This, of course, puts a lot of pressure on Course

a great opportunity for us to create responsible and sus-

Superintendent Noah Gessler, who experienced his third

tainable luxury living, something I’m passionate about.”

Accenture World Golf Championship in 2014, his first as the head superintendent. “Yes, there is a lot of pressure—

A unique tournament revered by the members

sometimes you start to feel it in your gut as the event

IF SPECTATOR ATTENDANCE is any indication, passionate

begins because you want to be sure the players react

golf fans seem to love the WGC Accenture World Match

favorably—but it’s exciting as well,” he says. “It’s a privi-

Play Championship. The tournament has been hugely

lege to be part of it.”


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A Golden Eighteen

Gessler, who holds a degree from the University of Arizona in plant science with an emphasis in turf management, came to Dove Mountain after spending 3-1/2 years at nearby Ventana Canyon. He says the tournament is a high-profile affair to be sure, but he also must maintain the course at peak levels for the other fifty-one weeks of the year.


variety of rich-green Ryegrass named Pri-

(Clockwise from left) A deep pot bunker fifty yards short of the level, narrow green awaits a wayward shot on Tortolita’s sixth hole; an abundance of wildlife, including, from top, desert tortoise, cactus wren, and king snakes can be found throughout the nine square miles; star-gazing is a common pastime given the clear desert sky; a red-tailed hawk; a jackrabbit.

mary. The greens are a blend of L-93 and

“Leading up to the tournament, it’s all in the details, and a lot of that is set by the PGA Tour,” he says. For example, the Tour dictates fairly wide fairways and sevenfoot-wide intermediate roughs cut at oneinch height, the regular rough at three inches. It also determines high levels of

LS-44 bentgrass. Gessler emphasizes that all twentyseven holes have been established as an Audubon Sanctuary. In addition to the abundance of wildlife that can be found on the course, including javelinas, snakes, jackrabbits, coyotes, and deer, there are many varieties of native plants, most no-


The seventh hole of the Saguaro Course.

tably cholla and saguaro cacti. “We use


water], and we irrigate only on an as-

The green on Tortolita’s third hole; members Mark Mathias and Gina Lombardi enjoy the many hiking trails at Dove Mountain.

only reclaimed water [recycled waste needed basis,” he says. “For the tournament, we work with the PGA Tour agronomist to monitor such things as

consistency for bunker sand and calls for green speeds of

moisture levels in the greens to make sure the course looks

11-1/2 on the Stimpmeter. “We keep the greens at a more

and plays its best that week.”

forgiving 10 for regular play,” Gessler says. He notes that

The televised event is not only good for the golf oper-

the rolling and undulating fairways—always finely

ation, but also for the members and the real estate they have

maintained for near-perfect lies—are overseeded with a

invested in. Says Mark Mathias, who with his wife Gina


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Dove Mountain Golf Club

Lombardi, joined the club in 2011: “It’s really fun to watch

What she is referring to is the unique layout that fea-

the players during the tournament and see where they hit

tures, in effect, two separate clubhouses (one private and

the ball, then compare when we go out and play the same

one public) that back up to the kitchen. The ingenuity of

holes.” Gina was an executive senior vice president of

the design was conceived by Mehl and his development

Qualcomm and previously worked in

partners, Tim and Casey Bolinger, and

the aerospace industry. The couple built

executed by Douglas Fredrickson Archi-

a lovely, three-thousand-square-foot

tects. “They did not spare any expense on

home just off the seventh green of the

the clubhouse,” Gina says. A quick tour

Wild Burro course, which they say is

of the building reveals an indoor/out-

Nicklaus’ favorite nine. “There are a cou-

door social patio called the Kiva Room.

ple of elephants buried in those greens,”

It features fireplaces and is partially cov-

Mark says. “The Saguaro Nine might let

ered with a dome-shaped, cathedral ceil-

you go to sleep, but suddenly you realize

ing. On the walls are large, striking desert

you got ‘Jacked.’ ” In other words, if you

scenes painted in a colorful, acrylic, Van-

let up a little, you’ll pay the price for an

Gogh-esque style by Arizona artist Acacia

errant drive or a mis-hit approach.

Alder. “My landscape paintings speak of

“Dove Mountain is not like a typical

my intimate connection to the natural

country club where you have only mem-

world,” she writes. “I am especially inter-

bers,” says Gina Lombardi. “The clubhouse is a brilliant de-

ested in the expressive nature of branching structures. I love

sign and works really well. Escalante might rent out the

colors, which I summon as beings, bearers of light that

public area for an event, which gives it a nice atmosphere.”

weave the visual world together in a vivid, lyrical dance.”


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A Golden Eighteen

There is more art inside, in other forms. In a corridor

catered to their home, all they have to do is pick up the

you’ll notice the vintage quail and cactus designs on

phone. “It’s like having room service whenever we want

medium-weight cotton by the WPA artist of the 1930s,

it,” Gina says.

Harwood Steiger. For functions, the members enjoy a

Mark and Gina are avid golfers. There are a number

large, private room adorned with modern, gigantic

of great holes among the twenty-seven, but Mark says his

chandeliers made of hundreds of pieces of cut glass. Native “driftwood” from the desert rests atop the members’ wooden lockers

favorite is the drivable par-4 sixth of the Tortolita Nine (played as the 15th in the Ac-


The third hole of the Saguaro Course includes the only water hazard on the nine, situated to the right and partially fronting the green, which is surrounded by bunkers.

centure World Match Play Championship).

can sit either inside in a more formal area,


wind can be a major factor on holes 15 and

casually near the bar, or outside with views

Hitting out of the deep bunker on Saguaro’s eighth hole.

16. “It comes from above the canyon and ac-


tually pushes the ball down,” he says. “It

along with cut-glass artwork on the walls. An array of local cacti and a distinctive, colorful glass sculpture greet lunch and dinner guests as they enter the restaurant, and they

of the course and practice green. Mark Mathias and Gina Lombardi contend that living within The Residences

A classic Sonoran sunset; an unlucky ball with a prickly lie.

at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain has

“A lot of matches end here,” he says. “You can hit a perfect tee shot and make an eagle putt, or you can miss the green and quickly make a double.” He also points out that the

takes some getting used to.” Gina says she enjoys playing on Thursday (Ladies Day). “We play all kinds of little games,” she says.

distinct advantages. “It’s like being a home-owner

“We take our inspiration from the Tour stars and play a

within The Ritz,” Mark says. “Once a week we go to the

lot of match play as well.”

hotel for dinner. We take advantage of the private pool

Members Bob and Dorothy Bachler, originally from

at the spa. And then there is the concierge service from

the San Francisco Bay area, recently set out a new plan at

The Ritz-Carlton.” This means, if they would like a meal

Dove Mountain. They built a house on the second hole


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Dove Mountain Golf Club

of the Wild Burro Nine and have had no regrets. “Living

Dorothy contends that being a member at Dove Moun-

here is the best experience we’ve ever had,” Bob says.

tain has made her a better player. “There are some forced

“We’re over the moon,” Dorothy says. “We can look east

carries over the desert off the tee—No. 2 on Tortolita is a

to the Catalina Mountains, west to the Tortolitas (and the

case in point—so I’ve become a better driver of the ball,”

most amazing sunsets), and north to Dove Mountain. The

she says. The Bachlers also like the accessibility of the

Ritz-Carlton treats us like kings and queens. It’s like stay-

Dove Mountain practice tee. “We really take advantage of

ing perpetually at The Ritz—we could do a lot worse.”

that,” Bob says.

Bob says once they get on property, they really never have

So, if you decide to try the elegant lifestyle that per-

to leave. “It’s like our little kingdom,”

vades the 6,200 unblemished acres

he says. “The golf club is amazing.

of Dove Mountain, you’ll not only

We just love the whole feel of it.”

experience some of the world’s most

The Bachlers have also been

majestic sunsets, you’ll also hear a

members of San Francisco Golf Club

haunting sound in the distance.

for forty years. They built a home in

What is it? Well, it might be emanat-

1989 at Desert Highlands in Scotts-

ing from the Native American flutist

dale, and therefore knew Nicklaus’

who stands in the hills above the re-

work and how he designed golf

sort and entertains hotel guests each

courses. “Scottsdale is becoming so

evening, his refrain echoing through

crowded,” Bob says. “But here we can

the canyons. Or it might be the un-

get in the car and drive into Tucson to a restaurant in

mistakable cooing of the Inca doves, native to the area for

twenty minutes.” Their favorites are Jax Kitchen and Vi-

centuries and sharing the name of this incredible piece of

vace. “We had made a lot of good friends at Desert High-

property. They both make The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Moun-

lands, but we saw this course and fell in love,” Bob says.

tain an unforgettable place to be.


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GOLF CLUB AT HARBOR SHORES Benton Harbor, Michigan

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A Golden Eighteen

An Environmental Masterpiece Transforms a Community


EN YEARS AGO the city of Benton Harbor, adjacent to the coastline of Lake Michigan ninety miles east of Chicago,

was a mess. The heavy manufacturing practices that had been prevalent for their time had wreaked havoc on the environment. Throughout much of the twentieth century, the area had been home to thriving businesses and served as the economic hub of the region. With its bustling waterway and railway access, these hard-working companies had taken in much of the country’s raw materials and produced sleek, highly engineered products for the automotive industry and America’s homes. Then suddenly in the mid-1980s, during a severe economic downturn that devastated high-wage manufacturing in the upper Midwest, more than six-thousand jobs were lost over an eighteen-month period. For the next two decades and as far as the eye could see, the land became littered with dilapidated and abandoned buildings, trash heaps that were dumping grounds for oil sludge and other waste, polluted rivers and streams, and contaminated soil. There was also a no-longerneeded highway interchange that was crumbling from neglect. managed to turn itself into a popular Midwest tourist destination, giving it a financial base for a more vibrant economy. So you had a tale of two cities, each with huge environmental challenges, but one consisting of a population with high unemployment and lack of opportunity (and the accompanying prevalence of crime, drug use and feelings of desperation); the other offering safer neighborhoods, a promising


The Paw Paw River runs along the right side of the 18th hole, while wetlands border the left. LEFT:

employment base, potential for a better life, and a chance to get ahead. The cul-

Canoeing along the Paw Paw River.

tural and socio-economic differences


between the two cities couldn’t have

A view of the 10th fairway from elevated tees.

been more striking. Clearly, somebody was being left behind, and something had to be done about it if the entire area were to transform itself and thrive in the twenty-first century. In the 1990s, various development strategies were proposed to revitalize the Benton Harbor community, Golf was regarded only as a game for the elite, played

and on more than one occasion building a golf course was

somewhere else. It was not part of the lifestyle here.

suggested, first by former Whirlpool Chairman Jack

Meanwhile, just across the Paw Paw River, the city

Sparks and later by an independent consultant. The rea-

of St. Joseph, which had been similarly affected, had

soning: A golf course could transform the unique soft


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A Golden Eighteen

soils and contaminated acreage and attract new invest-

To look beyond this success, community leadership

ment while providing recreation and employment for

engaged outside consultants to meet with area residents,

area residents. It would serve as a catalyst to rejuvenate

from both sides of the river. The reports that came from

job creation, stimulate the local economy, and bring to-

hundreds of one-on-one interviews and focus groups

gether the cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. But

mapped out a bigger vision of how the 3.6 miles of nearly

each time the golf course idea stalled due to legal issues

forgotten waterfront along both sides of the Harbor and

and the exorbitant costs associated with buying bank-

Paw Paw River could bring about economic transforma-

rupted facilities, removing old buildings, environmental

tion. The community had its say, which set the stage for

cleanups, and creating necessary

the Harbor Shores grand plan.

infrastructure. Most other ef-

At the same time, a number

forts to revitalize Benton Har-

of smaller successes were start-

bor during this time were

ing to take place: Whirlpool

well-intentioned but lacked the

Corporation donated sixty acres

scale needed to bring about sus-

in Benton Harbor and Benton

tainable change.

Township for job development

However, there was one

in the local Elisha Gray Enter-

shining example of an effort

prise Park. A far-reaching group

that would serve as a precursor

of individuals through Corner-

of what was possible: the Edge-

stone Alliance, with matching

water Redevelopment Project.

funds from the Whirlpool Foun-

In 1996 Benton Harbor and St.

dation, donated more than $2

Joseph government leaders,

dollars to redevelop a section of

amid much skepticism, got to-

Benton Harbor called “Five Cor-

gether with local business and

ners.” The Benton Harbor Arts

community leaders to pursue

District was formed, including

one goal: They sought to trans-

the establishment of a satellite

form three-hundred acres that




included one of the most-contaminated sites in Michigan

sculptor Richard Hunt. The local airport, with $27 million

into something exceedingly better. The St. Joseph Im-

dollars in federal and state grants, embarked on a long-

provement Association, Cornerstone Alliance, the State of

range expansion plan. Benton Harbor was awarded the

Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality, Trans-

highly competitive federal HOPE VI (including $25 mil-

portation and Economic Development, Whirlpool Cor-

lion dollars in state affordable tax credits and local private

poration, and hundreds of other business contributors

contributions); twenty-two homes were built in a week as

joined forces to produce what is now green spaces, a com-

part of the Jimmy Carter Habitat Work Project that

mercial center, a mixed-use development of homes, plus

launched more than four-hundred new affordable houses

retail, service, and light industry. More than $73 million

in the area.

dollars in private investments coupled with $48 million

A movement of people willing to work together by

dollars in local, state, and federal grants helped to replace

pounding nails, mentoring local youth, or volunteering

crumbling bridges and outdated water and sewer lines

to help others in need began to grow. By intentionally

and demolish more than two-million square feet of

ignoring any artificial boundaries of organizational

vacant buildings. This initiative showed the community

structure or local government affiliation, the rise of col-

that something positive could be done with the right lead-

laboration and those who participated became known

ership, fortitude, and sense of inclusion.

simply as “Champions for Change.”


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Golf Club at Harbor Shores

Without a doubt, the atmosphere was right for recon-

through the execution of a far-reaching plan by the collec-

sidering a project of the scale and magnitude to serve as

tive community,” says Jeff Noel, President of the Whirlpool

the enabler for ongoing sustainable jobs and growth of the

Foundation as well as Harbor Shores.

tax base. Once again, the only vehicle to re-sculpt the land

There were four government districts involved

and attract development was the construction of a golf

(Benton Township and Berrien County added structural

course. This time, however, there was strong

support), and the project brought two di-

determination from then-Whirlpool CEO Dave Whitwam and his successor and current CEO Jeff Fettig. They had seen the success of Eastlake in Atlanta and thought that was a good blueprint. They saw an opportunity for a large-scale physical redevelopment project. It would be the umbrella

verse communities together. Harbor


President of both the Whirlpool Foundation and Harbor Shores Jeff Noel. ABOVE:

The steep slope of the 10th green, which measures nearly 10,500 square feet.

effort showcasing all that was underway to

Shores Director of Sales and Communications Brianne Schmidke notes that the development is a not-for-profit entity: While none of the green fees are used to pay for the construction of the facility, Harbor Shores provides the funding and staff to maintain the public areas in Jean Klock

bring about positive change in the community where

Park and its twelve miles of hiking paths.

Whirlpool was founded in 1911.

Fettig and Whitwam knew that to attract new tourists

Upon his retirement, Whitwam immersed himself in

and fresh enterprise, the golf course couldn’t be an average,

community volunteer efforts, and Fettig embarked upon

ho-hum routing with standard amenities. That would not

an aggressive growth strategy for Whirlpool that included

lure visitors from up to three hours away, nor would it have

a commitment to bolster the company’s investments in the

the desired effect of enticing interest and investment in

United States. “The success of Harbor Shores is really a tes-

job-creating ventures. No, it had to be a one-of-a-kind,

tament to the efforts and vision of Jeff Fettig and Dave

world-class design that would lend itself to increasing real

Whitwam in combining social and economic development

estate values and drawing a major championship. (Harbor


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A Golden Eighteen

Shores successfully hosted the 2012 and 2014 PGA Senior

Hawaii. “Where do you expect me to build this golf

Championship presented by KitchenAid and will do so

course?” Nicklaus asked. He and his team were trudging

again in 2016, and ’18.) Therefore, the selection of a

through desolate terrain laden with burned-out build-

designer in their eyes was a no-brainer: Jack Nicklaus.

ings, two abandoned dumpsites, and so much overgrown brush that they couldn’t get access to parts of the polluted

A golf course mitigates an environmental catastrophe

Paw Paw River, which mired its way through the prop-

BEFORE A GOLF course design could even be considered,

erty. But after a lengthy and careful assessment, Jack felt

five-hundred and thirty acres had to be assembled into

he was up to the challenge. He had experience with de-

common ownership. This laborious process was already

signing other courses as part of environmental cleanups:

underway and took several years to complete, requiring

One is the Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda, Montana,

the purchase of one-hundred and eighty-six parcels of

which is positioned on top of an old copper smelting fa-

land. Most of this was achieved through various commu-

cility. Similar to the potential for Harbor Shores, Old

nity groups and non-profits, including Cornerstone Al-

Works helped revitalize the local community by expand-

liance, the Consortium for Community Development,

ing tourism. Another is the TPC of Michigan, near De-

and staff from local governments, the same team instru-

troit, which helped transform a former Ford Motor

mental in the Edgewater Development.

Company dumpsite into a pristine setting.

Finally, it was time to bring in the Nicklaus Design

But not a single hole could be constructed until a mas-

Group. When Jack first arrived at Harbor Shores, in 2007,

sive environmental transformation of the five-hundred and

he looked at Bob McFeeter, the managing director of

thirty acres was completed. Even after the Edgewater proj-

Harbor Shores who had led such projects as Walsh Bay

ect demolished old buildings, many of the parcels were clas-

in Sydney, Australia, and the Princeville development in

sified by regulatory agencies as Brownfield sites and,


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Golf Club at Harbor Shores

therefore, required environmental cleanup. One section of

and Michigan native] did a fantastic job. We had to get

land north of the Paw Paw River was designated a Super-

from one area to another, using the golf course to con-

fund site by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Most

nect various sections, from Jean Klock Park to the river.

of the waste materials and contaminated soil was taken to

On every other golf course I’ve ever done, my designers

landfills off site. Any reusable waste, such as concrete, was

give me a preliminary routing and I always make some

crushed on the premises and used during construction. In all, more than 140,000 tons (about one hundred thousand cubic yards) of solid waste, trash, and contaminated soil was removed, enough to fill a football field sixty feet high. Because eleven holes were expected


The most challenging par 4 on the golf course, the tee shot on the seventh hole should go center or left to avoid bunkers and the lake on the right. OPPOSITE:

to run alongside the Paw Paw River, the EPA had to monitor wetlands mitigation. Some 3.82 acres of regulated wetlands were affected, and the course builders were required to create working with the Army Corps of Engineers


dunes area [holes seven, eight, and nine]. They really came out nice, and with the elevation there you get some great views of Lake Michigan and the golf course.” Nicklaus’ point. “I like to divide the course into four components, each with its own personality,” he says. “It can’t be stereotyped into one kind of course. Bernhard Langer said it’s one

The clubhouse at dusk.

and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

And I love the way it turned out, especially the

Director of Golf Ross Smith elaborates on

The approach to the two-tiered green of the eighth hole, which is surrounded by five bunkers.

7.84 new acres of wetlands. This involved

changes. But this time I didn’t change a thing.

of the top-twenty layouts he’s ever played, and

I think the course’s diversity is one reason he likes it so

“I’m very proud of the work we did on this project,

much.” Indeed, the first six holes are a solid warm-up, only

a total reclamation of a toxic waste dump through a

mildly difficult, and not overly dramatic. They meander

city,” Nicklaus says. “Chris Rule [Nicklaus’ chief designer

through relatively flat and open land, where abandoned


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A Golden Eighteen

manufacturing plants used to be, with water coming into

surplus store (part of the massive Superfund cleanup) and

play to the left of the third hole and to the right of the fifth,

that holes 15 and 16 replaced a city dump.

giving the golfer plenty of room for a bailout; then seven,

Course Superintendent Brad Fry understands the

eight, and nine are more challenging, reminding you of

transformation better than anyone. A Purdue graduate

Spyglass Hill or Cypress Point, with tees, fairways, and

with a degree in turfgrass science, he’s been taking care of

greens nestled between massive dunes of white sand. From

the property from day one, since 2008. “Everything had

the towering seventh green, you have a perfect view of Lake

to be capped with a minimum of eight inches of sand be-

Michigan and the massive beach

fore the fairways could be

along the restored Jean Klock Park

planted,” he says. “That’s actu-

below. “The park used to be

ally an advantage, because the

downtrodden,” Smith says. After

soil drains superbly well and is

$3.7 million in non-golf renova-

uniform. It’s more expensive

tion by the Harbor Shores team,

initially, but saves in mainte-

it’s now a safe area with a world-

nance costs in the long run.” Fry

class beach.” Today, park fees help

and Bob McFeeter have worked

bring in more than $150,000 an-

hard to get the course certified

nually for Benton Harbor parks

with the Michigan Environmen-

and recreation activities.

tal Stewardship Program. It also

The eighth hole requires a

won Golf Digest’s “Environmen-

pinpoint drive staying left of the

tal Leaders in Golf Award.” “We

dunes, followed by an uphill ap-

try to be good stewards of the

proach to a two-tiered green. The

environment,” Fry says. “On all

drive on the par-5 ninth hole,

holes, for instance, there are a

from a tee elevated some sixty feet

lot of catch basins.” All the

above the fairway, affords the

drains go into flush areas so no

golfer an unparalleled vista of Lake Michigan behind and

fertilizers or pesticides can seep into the river. The condi-

the dogleg-left fairway framed by two bunkers ahead. Then

tioning of the fairways and greens is near perfect, as Nick-

holes 10 through 13 meander through stands of huge, ma-

laus wants them. Fry uses A1A4 bent grass on the greens,

ture hardwood trees, wetlands, and a natural

which Stimp at 10 on most days. The fair-

pond. Between the 13th and 14th holes,


ways and tees are of Dominant Plus bent,

golfers can stop for a quick snack at the

Whirlpool Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fettig.

and the rough is a blend of fine fescue with

North Shore Diner, or come back after their round for lunch. Owners Tom and Nancy Howe do a brisk business every day of the week, and the place was really hopping during the 2012 PGA Senior Championship presented by KitchenAid, as recorded by the huge mural on the wall inside. Nos. 14 through 18 make their way around and over

Kentucky bluegrass. The look is classic:


(Clockwise from upper left) Director of Golf Ross Smith; Golf Professional Ryan Straight; Course Superintendent Brad Fry with his dog Jim; early morning maintenance of the seventh fairway; teeing off at the 420-yard, par-4 18th hole; the entrance to Harbor Shores.

the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek, and some wet-

closely mown green playing areas contrasted with natural-looking, tall, brown, rough grasses that bend back and forth in the prevailing winds coming off the lake. Fry, who came to Harbor Shores from Olympia Fields 125 miles away, abides by the Harbor Shores mantra of helping the community. He purposefully hires at least 40

lands, with the par-4 18th providing a gorgeous and dra-

percent of his staff from the four-square-mile socially and

matic finale (tip: don’t hit it right). You’d never know today

economically distressed census tracts of the greater region.

that hole 14 was once the site of an abandoned airplane

“I’ve taken an untrained workforce and put them on a Jack


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A Golden Eighteen

Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. It’s a great experience for

says. Morris, who also is mindful to hire local residents,

them. We start from scratch with these employees, and we

seeks only organic fruits and vegetables in season, and buys

have a lot of success stories.” Some of his workers come

her produce only from local farmers. “We’re right in the

from the local Boys and Girls Club and The First Tee Pro-

fruit belt here, so I take advantage of that,” she says. For din-

gram, where they learn life’s lessons through golf. Some of The First Tee students also work as forecaddies, giving them additional exposure to the game and some of its most successful practitioners. The First Tee program is headquartered in the clubhouse.

ner, she offers fresh fish flown in each day from PREVIOUS PAGES:

The 423-yard, par-4 first hole has a large landing area off the tee; wildlife on the wetlands; family fun at Jean Klock Park; sunset over Lake Michigan; entry to Jean Klock Park.

A public clubhouse with a private feel SPEAKING OF THE clubhouse, when you first

enter the 8,500-square-foot J.C. Chi design, you think you’re setting foot in an ultra-exclusive place. The amenities here are first class, from the overall operation managed by Kemper Sports and the golf shop headed by

toppings. The clientele also enjoy top-quality steaks and house-made pizzas. But in case you’re feeling like you’ve overdone the healthy eating, you can indulge in a local favorite— chocolate fudge lava cake with premium vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with caramel.


Members of The First Tee of Benton Harbor, which is headquartered at Harbor Shores, with Executive Director Ebon Sanders, far right.

On the opposite end of the clubhouse, you’ll find The First Tee of Benton Harbor Academy headquarters. The program, headed by Executive Director Ebon Sanders, teaches the kids of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph “The


Surf and turf for dinner.

Smith and his Golf Professional Ryan

Hawaii, with locally produced fresh fruits and

Nine Core Values Through Golf: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence,

Straight to the practical but stylishly appointed locker

Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, Judgment, plus In-

rooms to the elegant restaurant, bar, and grille that also fea-

clusion.” They also learn about The First Tee’s “Nine

tures patio dining adjacent to the putting green and first

Healthy Habits” as a way of curbing childhood obesity and

tee. Food and beverage leader Lisa Morris does a mix of ca-

diabetes: Energy, Play, Safety, Vision, Mind, Family,

sual and upscale foods, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Friends, School, Community. On any given afternoon,

One of her lunchtime favorites is a mesquite-grilled,

you’ll find First Tee attendees hitting balls on the swing

chicken-wrap sandwich. “I put a little of everything in it,

simulator, doing homework with one of the counselors, or

including sugar-cured bacon and barbeque seasoning,” she

learning about the golf business. In 2012, The First Tee of


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Golf Club at Harbor Shores

huge slope to the back pin was impossible to get close. He contemplated pitching the ball up to the hole. So Nicklaus, who later said he was merely trying to protect the green from a divot, decided to show Miller how to play the shot— with his putter. Jack then proceeded to roll the improbable 102-footer up the steep tier across three different breaks and into the hole. The shot was videotaped and has more than one-hundred thousand views on You Tube. There is also a plaque behind the 10th green commemorating the feat. Behind The First Tee building you’ll find a state-ofthe-art learning and teaching center with all the latest video technology to turn your 18-handicap swing into a single Benton Harbor’s Trianna Sutton became the first Benton

digit, or your 8-handicap into a plus-2. This academy fea-

Harbor varsity golfer to qualify for the Michigan High

tures TracMan and V-1 video technology, so you can record

School Athletic Association State Finals since the 1950s.

your swing and email it to your teacher. Also nearby is the

Nothing warms Jack’s heart more than to take part,

first-class Renaissance Athletic Club with all the latest fit-

first-hand, in raising money for this chapter. As an element

ness and weight-training equipment. As you walk in, you’ll

of the grand opening ceremony in 2010, he and Tom Wat-

notice a small and chic lunch counter, which advertises

son conducted a clinic to benefit The First Tee and to raise

all-organic produce. In fact, it’s called the Organic Café.

awareness about the local facility. Then they were joined by

Thanks to the support of Whirlpool Corporation and

Johnny Miller and Arnold Palmer for an 18-hole, two-man

the annual outings the company hosts at Harbor Shores and

scramble to open the golf course. It was a dramatic eighteen

nearby Point O’ Woods golf courses, more than $8 million

holes, full of exciting shots and entertaining byplay, the likes

dollars has been raised to build new state-of-the-art Boys

of which few residents of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph had

and Girls Club facilities and a teen center for disadvantaged

ever seen. On the green of the par-5 10th hole, Miller was

youth. Funding has also gone toward establishing the Ben-

complaining that a putt from the front of the green, up a

ton Harbor Promise Zone, whereby every child in the dis-


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A Golden Eighteen

tressed census tracts is guaranteed mentoring and funding

cludes a 105-slip marina (if you’re adventurous and want

for any two-year community college in Michigan.

to sail over from Chicago), a ninety-two-room luxury wa-

There are no members at Harbor Shores; it’s a com-

terfront hotel, three twenty-two-unit hotel/condominium

pletely public facility. But it’s not unusual to see foursomes

buildings, two six-story and one seven-story luxury con-

on the veranda after a round of golf, relaxing over lunch

dominium buildings with eighty-eight units, and sixty

and a beer reviewing their scores, similar to a private club.

cottages. When this project is complete, Harbor Shores

One such group, sighted recently, included Curtis Blanken-

will have added another dimension as a world-class des-

ship, Carlos Barajas, Joshua Copeland, and Bob Dilley, two

tination. Considering the struggles that Harbor Shores

of whom work for Whirlpool. They noted that Whirlpool

had endured, it’s already an incredible accomplishment,

employees play Harbor Shores frequently and take advan-

and the imprint of Nicklaus only reinforces that.

tage of the great facility, including the outdoor bar and

And speaking of Jack’s imprint, no matter where

patio fireplace. They also emphasize that more than 1,500

you venture at Harbor Shores, you can’t help but notice

volunteers signed up in less than a month to help run the

the distinctive glass sculptures that dot the grounds

Senior PGA Championship Presented by KitchenAid.

around the clubhouse and greet golfers at the beginning of each hole. The idea came from Ross Smith, who

Real estate at Harbor Shores

sketched a sample on a napkin five years ago and com-

BY DESIGN, THE course is mostly devoid of

missioned two local sculptors—Jerry Cata-

homes on the property, but there is some


nia and Josh Andres—to create the

real estate available. Kerry Wright, Real Es-

A series of traps will snag the short approach shot on the second hole.

fascinating designs. Each sculpture, built

tate Director, notes that since 2010, home sites that sold at Harbor Shores account for 50 percent of all home-site sales from New Buffalo to Benton Harbor for lots priced above $50,000 There are three types of residences at Harbor Shores: The Hideaway Cottages, located along the Paw Paw River; the Trailside Cottages, just south of the sixth hole; and the Fairways Signature Golf

youth, commemorates one of Nicklaus’


Glass sculptures representing each of Jack Nicklaus’ eighteen professional majors are at each of the eighteen tees on the golf course. Opposite page, left center: Sculpture marking Nicklaus’ one hundred-foot putt on the 10th hole during a First Tee clinic in 2010.

Homes, surrounded by the course and bor-

as part of a teaching exercise with area eighteen

professional major champi-

onships and frames a metal plaque describing how Jack won that tournament. The designs can withstand rain, wind, snow, and ice, and greet the golfer at each of the eighteen tees. (Sculptures of Jack’s two U.S. Amateurs adorn the practice facility.) The plaque on the 18th hole, de-

dering the Paw Paw. The fifty-eight Hideaway Cottages

scribing Jack’s incredible come-from-behind win at the

range from 1,200 to 2,800 square feet and are touted

1986 Masters (his final major victory), gives the golfer

as maintenance free. Starting in the $400,000s, they are

who studies it chills before the day’s final tee shot.

located in a wooded area only a ten-minute walk to Jean

It reads: “Jack Nicklaus will tell you today that his most

Klock Park and Lake Michigan, and they include a private

memorable major championship victory also happens to

clubhouse, hot tub, kayak storage, and fire pit. There are

be his last. Told his clubs and his game were too rusty to

nineteen Trailside Cottages, slightly smaller, less expen-

compete, a forty-six-year-old Nicklaus put together a stir-

sive, and considered “maintenance friendly.” Fairways

ring final round of 65 to win the 1986 Masters and his sixth

Signature Golf Homes, twenty-nine in total, range from

green jacket. Historians and fans still contend that his vic-

two-thousand to four-thousand square feet and are priced

tory, just like the man, is the greatest in the game’s history.”

from $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Those words also epitomize the perseverance and re-

In 2012, Harbor Shores broke ground on the Harbor

juvenation that, without a doubt, describe the underlying

Village hotel/marina development, an ambitious project

success of the far-reaching and remarkable facility that is

scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014. It in-

Harbor Shores.


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A Golden Eighteen


Cliffhanger Golf with a Four Seasons Flair

OCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION—the time-tested adage about real estate—certainly applies to two of the country’s

most dramatic golf courses, Lana’i Golf—Manele and Koele (formerly The Challenge at Manele and The Experience at Koele), on Hawaii’s island of Lana’i. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic setting to hit a golf ball down a fairway or onto a green. The same maxim about location also applies to their two adjoining properties—The Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i. Getting to Lana’i is half the experience—or challenge, depending on your point of view—and once you are there, you might never want to leave. First you fly to Maui, either directly from the mainland, or on a short flight from Honolulu. Then you take the forty-five-minute ferry, past spiraling dolphins and the occasional breaching whale, around the eighty-foot-high, triangular-shaped boulder—named Pu’u Pehe or Sweetheart Rock after the heartbreaking legend (see sidebar)—that rises straight out of the ocean on your right. Finally you coast into the picturesque harbor that services Manele Bay and the entire, 140-square-mile island. The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay directly on the beach and Four Seasons Resort Lana’i The Lodge at Koele a few miles into the hills are accessed easily from here by shuttle, as is the small town of Lana’i City. By the way, the ferry ride can

can see so well as you fly in.

get a little rough if you choose to

Similar vistas can be seen from

travel midday, so reservations on an

just about every hole of the spectac-

early-morning or late-afternoon

ular Jack Nicklaus-designed (and

vessel might be preferable. There

soon-to-be Nicklaus-redesigned)

are five commercial flights a day on

Signature Manele Golf Course.

Island Air from Honolulu directly

Reminiscent of one of Jack’s all-

to Lana’i with incredible views, as

time favorite shots in golf, the sec-

one can imagine. This is the type of

ond to the eighth green at Pebble

transportation that Larry Ellison,

Beach, one shot at Manele in par-

who purchased 98 percent of the is-

ticular requires the golfer to hit the

land from David Murdoch in 2012,

ball two-hundred yards over a huge

might prefer: Ellison is known for

cliff that plunges hundreds of feet

piloting his decommissioned MiG-29 and


into the crashing surf below. It was here—on

SIAI-Marchetti S.211 fighter jets as a stom-

Breathtaking views challenge a golfer’s concentration.

the 12th tee—that Microsoft founder Bill

ach-wrenching, daredevil hobby when he’s not directing his super high-tech racing yachts and staff as they train to defend the


The 12th tee, Manele’s signature hole.

next America’s Cup race. Ellison, sixty-nine,

Gates got married while members of his wedding party struggled to maintain their collective equilibria. Although the vantage points are nose-bleed high and the postcard

has made billions as the founder and CEO of Oracle and is

views of water and rocks in the distance are continually

listed as the fifth-richest person in the world by Forbes Mag-

distracting, the course is eminently playable. All the fair-

azine. He has ambitious plans for improving all aspects of

ways, tees, and greens are an easy-to-hit-from carpet of

the island, including the golf courses and hotels, which you

saltwater-tolerant paspalum grass, and the landing areas


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A Golden Eighteen

are wide enough that the prevailing winds blow only the

Larry Ellison feels the same. He doesn’t want more houses

most errant of shots into the lava bedrock out of play. On

on the golf course.” Ellison has stated publicly that he in-

hole after hole, the golfer comes away challenged yet satis-

tends to invest heavily to improve Lana’i’s infrastructure

fied, knowing the good shots have been rewarded and the

while honoring and maintaining the island’s deep-rooted,

bad shots are still tolerable. (After all, it was Jack who once

centuries-old and sometimes mysterious culture.

said, “Golf is a game of misses.”) Says Nicklaus today about his Manele design: “The

The island’s eclectic past

cliffs are really dramatic. Some drop three-hundred to

LANA’I WAS ALWAYS a place of the supernatural unknown,

four-hundred feet, and I mean straight down. I tried to

even to the native Hawaiians, and it has a relatively short

make good use of them wherever possible, though only

but rich history. It was uninhabited until the 1500s. Local

one hole requires a long, forced carry—the tee shot on

legend describes a challenge between kahuna (priests)

the par-3 12th.” There is also a long carry to reach the fair-

who transformed the earth at Keahiakawelo (Garden of

way on the par-4 17th, but technically that shot is not over

the Gods). These myths were an effort to explain some of

water. Nicklaus continues: “I built this course for David

the dramatic terrain of the island, from its sharp cliffs to

Murdock [the self-made billionaire whose Castle & Cooke

deep coves to rugged mountains.

company bought Dole Foods in the 1980s as well as most

Lana’i was sovereign until 1810, when King Kame-

of the island before selling to Ellison]. Like at Pebble

hameha I united all the Hawaiian islands into one monar-

Beach, David allowed me to put the golf holes, rather than

chy. Remnants of the king’s summer fishing paradise are

the real estate, close to the cliffs so the course would be

still visible in the southern part of the island. Called

very dramatic. I told him, with the two hotels, you don’t

Kaunolu, this fishing village is considered a sacred spot

want to be putting a lot of real estate on that ground. And

and is now a registered National Historic Landmark. You


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Lana’i Golf


can still make out ancient petroglyphs

it’s not good enough!) as well as rework the other course

The porch at Four Seasons Resort Lana’i The Lodge at Koele.

carved into the stones here. In the late

near the Lodge—Koele Golf Course. That routing was

1800s, Walter M. Gibson purchased and

originally a Ted Robinson design, with an assist from Greg

converted Lana’i into a cattle ranch, which

Norman. It meanders beautifully through rainforest, hills,

is where Four Seasons Resort Lana’i The

and valleys, and features a couple of heart-stopping tee

Lodge at Koele is located. This was the cen-

shots—bring your camera for when you reach the eighth

ter of the ranching activity, as marked by a former ranch

tee. When the entire redesign work is completed for both

manager, George Munro, who planted the first of what are

layouts, you won’t be able to find a more dramatic pair of

now the island’s thousands of Cook pine trees. Today, the

courses anywhere in the world.


The library at The Lodge at Koele.

Munro Trail leads to Lana’ihale, which is the highest point on the island and affords phenomenal views. In 1922,

A couple of Four Seasons gems

James Dole, whose cousin was Hawaii Governor Sanford

YOU ALSO WON’T be able to find a more luxurious pair

Dole, purchased Lana’i and established it as the world’s

of hotels. The Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay

leader in growing and exporting pineapples. Indeed, Lana’i

(near the beach) is just a short shuttle ride from Manele

was called the “Pineapple Isle” during much of the twentieth

Golf Course. Its sister resort, The Lodge at Koele, is fifteen

century, even while Murdock’s company owned Dole

minutes farther up into the island and is three minutes

Foods. Eventually, pineapple production moved to cheaper

from Koele Golf Course. The Manele hotel offers every

locations, but James Dole’s legacy is still evident at Dole Park

amenity you can imagine, including three fine-dining

in Lana’i City.

restaurants (all with ocean views and one directly on the

Enter Larry Ellison. Nicklaus has been contracted by

beach); an oversized pool with waterfalls, open bar, and

Ellison to redesign some of the Manele Golf Course (as if

several hot tubs; a full-service spa with every treatment


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A Golden Eighteen


ever invented but specializing in na-

Originally from London, where his father worked for

The signature 12th hole requires a long, forced carry to reach the cliff-side green.

tive Hawaiian facials, massages, and

British Airways, Fisher initially was based at the city’s Four

herbal wraps; such beach activities

Seasons Park Lane. He later worked at the world-


as snorkeling, wind-surfing, body

renowned Pierre Hotel in New York, the Four Seasons

The fourth green.

surfing, standup paddle-boarding,

Nevis, the Singapore Regent Hotel, and most recently the


and surfboarding; deep-sea fishing

Four Seasons Chiang Mai Hotel in Thailand. He arrived

and kayaking; and simply relaxing.

in Lana’i in January of 2011 and immediately started

There are two-hundred and thirteen

making a difference, including hiring Kevin Erving, the

rooms to choose from, all renovated

executive chef for all the restaurants. Erving sees to it that

to the tune of a multi-million dollar figure in the past

every item served on the menus is prepared to perfection,

year, thanks to Ellison. Walking to your room is like ex-

and that every guest is treated to the best meal possible.

The 12th green; one of Hawaii’s fragrant blossoms, the Ginger flower.

ploring a jungle garden. You can easily get lost in the maze

For example, a key and recent addition to the dining

of exotic plants, waterfalls, and running streams full of

fare is the Nobu Restaurant. Nobu is very important to

koi, water lilies, and chirping frogs.

Ellison, who has a financial interest in the company and

Charles Fisher, the resort manager of the Manele

introduced it to the resort. “Mr. Ellison contends that

hotel, is in charge of everything a guest sees and touches.

Nobu, when added to the mix, allows the hotel guests to

“We strive to be the best of the best,” he says. “Ultimately,

enjoy a different dining experience each night,” Fisher

we want to make this the premier place on earth for our

says. Nobu Executive Chef Sean Mell agrees. “Mr. Ellison

guests to sit back, relax, and enjoy the finer things in life.

really understands about quality,” he says, emphasizing

Jack Nicklaus as a player exhibited the highest level of ex-

that the restaurant sources much of its produce from the

pertise the game has ever seen. Here at Four Seasons at

local Bennie’s Farm right on the island. “This is as local

Manele Bay, that’s the kind of service we seek to provide.”

as you can get,” he adds. “It is truly farm-to-table, plus we


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Lana’i Golf

feature almost entirely local seafood.”

Mell says he is inspired by Nobu creator

Mell, who came to Four Seasons

Nobu Matsuhisa. “I love that when [he]

from Nobu in New York City, has a sim-

visits your location, he always comes to

ple philosophy of food preparation:

the kitchen to teach everyone something

“Chefs are in this world to not only cre-

new. This really makes people have a

ate food but to create memories and

huge respect for him.” Mell says he tries

special moments in people’s lives,” he

to custom-make each dining experience.

says. “The two most important things

“We want to understand the guests and

to me when it comes to food are pas-

then exceed their expectations. That’s

sion and pride. You need to take pride

why we have four sous chefs and five

in everything you do. I never send any-

chefs in the kitchen.” One of Nobu’s spe-

thing out that I wouldn’t serve to my mother. Passion

cialties is its Sake wine, which is

needs to come from the heart. When you cook from the

specially brewed to complement

heart, people can feel and taste it in your food.”

the food. It comes from the

Mell, who studied at the Culinary Education Center

Hokusetsu Brewery in Japan.

in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and also has a degree from the

The “mix” of restaurants in-

Art Institute of New York City, shares that passion with his

cludes “ONE FORTY,” which is an

wife, who is also a chef. “I find my inspiration from just

upscale steakhouse that also of-

about anything,” he says. “Sometimes from the things I see

fers Hawaiian seafood, and

at the market, or when I’m going out to dinner to try new

Kailani, an Italian restaurant so

dishes. I like flipping through cookbooks, and a lot of

close to the water you can see

times my wife and I challenge each other for inspiration.”

and hear the waves crashing as



The par-4 17th hole also requires a long carry to reach the fairway; from left: Manele Bay Harbor; an aerial view of Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay; wild turkeys roam in cooler climes across Lana’i; horseback riding with Lanai Grand Adventures; Lana’i Pine sporting clays; yellow hibiscus, Hawaii’s state flower.

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A Golden Eighteen

you dine. All the recipes at Kailani come from Executive

which uses an ancient technique of hot and cold stones

Sous Chef Dario Montelvere.

to massage the face, décolleté, hands, and feet (the warmth from the hot stones helps absorb the product into the

A myriad of things to do

skin.) There are also six types of body massages to choose

BUT THE RESORT offers a lot more than fine dining. There

from, including the Ke Koa Deep Massage, which is a

are so many activities available, you could stay for two

combination of sports, Swedish, compression, trigger-

weeks and never get bored. For example, on a typical day,

point, and stretching. “Ke Koa” means “warrior,” and that’s

the resort’s activity sheet includes two different hikes (the

what you’ll feel like after experiencing one of these treat-

Kapiha’a trail and the Koloiki Ridge), Lauhala weaving,

ments. You might consider the Ali’i Hawaiian, which is a

and the Int/Adv Drill workout for the tennis- and fitness-

fifty-minute hot-stone massage, followed by a rejuvenat-

inclined. (The tennis center is run by the world-famous

ing fifty-minute cooling aloe vera wrap, and concluding

Peter Burwash International, and

with a face and scalp massage. You

PBI’s tennis professional here, Ryan

can also get an Oceanside Massage,

Winters, can teach anyone a top-

a Ki Pola Cooling Ti Leaf Body En-

spin forehand.)

velopment, or a Pineapple Citrus

Then there is easy access to the

Polish, if you want something truly

fabulous ocean, with its gentle, lap-

exotic. The Spa at Manele is second

ping waves, just steps from your

to none, where you can have treat-

room. On the beach, you are in

ments either in the Spa Suite or in

great hands with Trilogy Ocean

your room. This is at the Lodge at

Sports, which has been in business

Koele, of course.

for forty years and is the only full-

Once at the Lodge, you feel you

service dive center on the island.

have been transported into another

They will outfit you with compli-

place in time, an era deep into

mentary snorkeling gear and tell

Hawaiian history before the horse

you where to swim to see the best

farms and cattle ranches gave way to

and most diverse fish and coral—

the pineapple plantations. In fact,

right in front of the hotel—or pro-

this building is site of a former

vide you with scuba diving equipment and instruction,

ranching family estate before the Dole Corporation took

or book you on a whale watch on Trilogy’s thirty-two-foot

over the island in 1922. Step inside the Lodge, and you’re

jet drive Zodiac named Manele Kai or a sunset cruise. Or

treated to one-hundred-foot-high ceil-

if you are the more-adventurous type, you can take a

ings with large, dark beams, massive

guided 4X4 safari and learn how to surf at nearby Lopa

sculptures, and paintings, all finely

Beach (everything’s nearby on Lana’i). And if you are re-

decorated with flower arrangements by

ally adventurous, you can book a helicopter tour, which

native interior designers. The old-

affords breathtaking views of Molokai and West Maui. In-

country design consists of four differ-

terested in history? Then there are tours to Kaiolohia, also

ent great rooms, each with a fireplace,

called Shipwreck Beach, located on the northeastern coast

that anchor the building: (1) the din-

of the island and haunted by an eerie, wrecked vessel, still

ing room, which offers fine dining with

visible off shore.

farm-to-table ingredients such as

If relaxation is the order of the day, consider the Spa

ranch beef and Molokai venison; (2)

at Manele. Here you’ll find six different types of facials

the library, which faces the rear of the

(one is for men), including the Royal Hawaiian Facial,

property, with hundreds of books on



King Kamehameha I formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. OPPOSITE:

(Clockwise from upper left) Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele; take a dip in the pool or snorkel in Hulopo’e Bay; beautiful landscaping in a tropical setting; dine on steak and seafood at ONE FORTY; a statue of Spinner dolphins, which swim in the protected marine preserve in front of the hotel.

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The Legend of Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) THE IMPRESSIVE OUTCROPPING that juts eighty feet above

the ocean, One-hundred and fifty feet from the shoreline near the entry point of the small port of Manele Bay and Hulop’oe Bay, has a long and storied history. Ancient mariners told tales and sang songs of the rock as they passed it on their journeys centuries ago. But the native people of Lana’i tell a sobering tale, a kind of Hawaiian version of Romeo and Juliet, that has been handed down from generation to generation. The legend depicts a young warrior whose name was Makakehau. He lived with his beautiful, young lover, Pu’u Pehe, in a cave near the rock. He was so taken with her beauty that whenever he laid eyes upon her they would mist up in tears. Hence his name: Maka (eyes) Kehau (mist). One day, tragedy struck. Makakehau was out looking for spring water when a massive storm came up. When he returned to the cave, Pu’u Pehe had drowned in the surge from the storm. After the skies cleared, Makakehau climbed the rock with the help of the gods and buried Pu’u Pehe at the top. (That seventy-foot-wide surface is called the Pu’u Pehe tomb.) Then, so distraught over her demise, Makakehau leapt off the rock, plunging to his own death. Archaelogists have studied the tomb and have found no human remains, but they speculate the tomb might actually be a bird heiau or ancient temple, built centuries ago. There are numerous bones from sea birds located on the rock. You can see the top of Sweetheart Rock, and view the tomb from an overlook on a trail that runs from Hulop’oe Beach. Walking the trail is well worth the effort. Along the way are several tide pools, a sea arch, Shark’s Bay, and Shark’s Cove, not to mention spectacular views of the crashing surf around the island.

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A Golden Eighteen

the shelves, and is used sometimes for dinners or lounging

18-hole executive putting green, which is great fun for

or games of chess; (3) the trophy or game room, which is

families; and a croquet lawn and a lawn-bowling area,

extremely comfortable and provides a quiet place to sit,

where you can bring a bottle of wine, a picnic (provided

relax, and rejuvenate the spirit or rekindle the soul; and (4)

by the Lodge), and hang out for a relaxing afternoon. Near

the living room, attached to the bar and where a local band,

the Lodge, you can also go horseback riding or try your

the Alapadrive, plays on the first Friday of each month.

hand at clay pigeon shooting or archery.

There is also more traditional, live

Although the Lodge has a re-

music every evening, where you’ll

laxing, sanctuary feel, back at

hear Grammy award-winning

beachside Manele Bay, Resort

Hawaiian artists playing ukuleles,

Manager Fisher says the number-

native drums, and steel guitars.

one priority of his staff is also al-

Says Alice Bouman, resort

lowing guests to unwind. “The

manager of The Lodge at Koele:

design of the Manele hotel en-

“The lodge is an upcountry re-

courages total relaxation,” he says.

treat. We actually have a cooler

“Stress doesn’t exist here. It’s a re-

climate by ten to fifteen degrees.

laxed escape. That’s what I like

You almost forget you’re in

about this property.” That also

Hawaii.” That might be why there

goes for the rooms themselves,

is a large heated pool with two

which have all been redone since

heated whirlpools. “We want our

Ellison’s purchase of the island.

guests to be able to have a seam-

The detailed woodwork, careful

less experience between the two

selection of furniture, large ceiling

hotels and get the best of both

fans, oversize sliding windows that

worlds,” Bouman says. “We run

open to expansive balconies with

the operations hand-in-hand. You

views of the ocean, extra-large

can check in for both hotels, and

king-size beds, lavish and thirsty

when it’s time to move from one to an-


towels and bathrobes, and spacious bath-

other, your luggage gets moved for you.

General Manager, Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i Tom Roelens.

rooms with extra-strong water pressure

Our guests don’t have to lift a finger.” Bouman, originally from The Netherlands, has acquired invaluable Four Seasons experience throughout the world, which she puts into practice at The Lodge at Koele. She worked in London, Santa Barbara, California, Houston, Texas, and Beijing before arriving on Lana’i in late 2011. “Our rooms are very eclectic,” she says. “The feeling is of an old English or

are the order of the day. Yet all are energy


(Clockwise from upper left) The Great Hall, The Lodge at Koele; shade and games in a cabana equipped with TVs and other great amenities; Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i Joe LaBreche; oceanside relaxation; Executive Chef, Four Seasons Resorts Lana’i Kevin Erving; fresh flavors from the sea and land; Resort Manager, The Lodge at Koele Alice Bouman.

efficient with a commitment to environmental sustainability. This is the new norm, thanks to Ellison’s vision. That environmental consciousness extends to the ocean below the hotel. “This is a marine preserve,” Fisher says. “There are no commercial activities. We try to let nature just be.” You won’t see fast powerboats or jet skis here. Instead, you’ll see fishing poles

European bed and breakfast. The rooms are charming and

and stand-up paddle boarding—and the occasional dol-

warm, yet spacious. Some in the main building have fire-

phin. The resort management wants to help wild dolphins

places. And it’s a short walk to the golf course.”

stay wild, and it means it. Every guest is given a written ver-

Indeed, there are several green-grass recreational op-

sion of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-

tions to choose from at Koele: the main golf course; an

tration’s code of conduct regarding the Spinner dolphins,


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A Golden Eighteen

which reads in part: “Remain at least 150 feet away from

Resort’s main oceanfront restaurant. “I realized how in-

dolphins; limit your time observing an animal to one-half

credibly lucky I was.” Stephenson was instrumental in de-

hour; do not encircle or trap dolphins between boats or the

veloping the resorts and golf courses, and now is

shore; never attempt to swim with a dolphin.”

consumed with upgrading their infrastructure under Ellison. He is one busy man.

A spectacular, yet playable, golf course

Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, and a

ONE OF THE island’s biggest proponents of keeping the

graduate of Memphis State, Stephenson held the director

island natural is the resorts’ Director of Operations Doug

of golf position for several years, so he knows what it

Stephenson. “Not only is this a marine preserve, it’s valuable

takes to run a first-class golf operation. That duty now

as a research and education facility,” he says. “The whole

belongs to Director of Golf, Lana’i Golf Scott Ashworth,

idea of the Manele hotel and golf course is to keep the view

who joined Four Seasons in 2014 from Kauai Lagoons,

planes and vistas open. We want to maintain the benefit

where he served as PGA director of golf and grounds.

of being able to see the ocean and take full advantage of

Ashworth has more than twenty-five years of experience

that.” A PGA member who came to Lana’i in 1991 when

in the golf industry and has received many accolades

the Koele Lodge and golf course first opened, Stephenson

while a member and president of the PGA Aloha Section.

fell in love with the island, fell in love with a local

He was golf professional of the year for Hawaii and has

woman, and never left. “Every day was a different learning

won the Bill Strausbaugh Award twice, the Horton Smith

experience,” he says over a full buffet breakfast of pancakes,

Award, and most recently, Merchandiser of the Year. “The

lobster benedict, omelets made to order, juicy local

Manele Golf Course is not only one of the most beautiful

pineapple, and three cups of Kona coffee at the Manele

designs in Hawaii, but it is truly one of the most scenic


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Lana’i Golf

in the world,” Ashworth says. “It’s rare to have a golf

holes (the 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, and 17th) that come to-

course with big, ocean panoramic views on every hole,

gether on the edges of the cliffs. Ashworth notes that be-

along with two of the most dramatic oceanside holes

cause the entire course is paspalum grass, you rarely get

anywhere. Hole Nos. 12 and 17 will take your breath away

a bad lie. In fact, the ball sits up nicely, which makes it

as you stand on the edge of tall cliffs hitting your tee shot

playable for the average golfer and beautiful to look at.

over the ocean. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind golf course that

After a full 18 holes at the Manele Golf Course, there

Jack Nicklaus designed here at Manele.” These golfers can

is nothing better than sipping a cool drink and eating a

enjoy a round of golf like no other. The overall routing

sumptuous lunch on the panoramic deck of the golf club-

of the Manele Golf Course goes inland and higher for the first nine holes, providing

house, high up on the cliffs overlooking the


The 17th hole.

18th green, the ocean, the Manele hotel, and

panoramic views of the entire Manele hotel


Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) in the distance.

and beach complex below, the sparkling azure

Outrigger paddling on Hulop’oe Bay.

The white foam of endless waves crashing

water always in the distance. The course starts

against its base is mesmerizing. This could be

easily enough with a simple par 4, then gets progressively

the best view on the island. And on a clear day when you

stronger, with wide fairways giving way to narrower and

can see whales breaching not far off shore, you are in for

more demanding green structures. The golfer must be-

a special treat. One thing is for certain: Views like these

ware of subtle breaks and stay out of the deceptively deep

are enough to keep anyone—whether a golfing member

bunkers. The back nine starts again from the clubhouse

or a non-golfing resort guest—from thinking of ever leav-

and then ventures toward the ocean, climaxing with five

ing the island.

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MAYACAMA GOLF CLUB Santa Rosa, California

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A Golden Eighteen

The Game at its Finest in Sublime Wine Country


O BE A MEMBER at Mayacama Golf Club, it would be a good idea to know the difference between a Bacigalupi Vineyard

pinot noir and a Mendocino Ridge pinot noir. As Mayacama’s founder and principal owner, David Wilhelm, says, “We’re a wine club with a golf problem.” And if you don’t know your wines, you soon will after spending a little time here at this beautiful and tranquil club nestled in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains in Santa Rosa, California, sixty minutes north of San Francisco. This is the only club in existence that has five-hundred wine lockers, yet only three-hundred golf lockers. Venture down two flights of stairs under the Tuscan-style, Barry Berkus-designed clubhouse that resembles a monastery or European estate, and you’ll find a temperature-controlled wine cellar (constantly 55 degrees) that contains a personal cache of up to four cases for each member. The cellar is perfect for wine and cheese parties, wine tastings, special events, and even weddings. One side of the cellar is framed by the members’ wine lockers and classical paintings of vineyards, grapes, and casks. The other side opens up to a mag-

venture into commercial real estate in

ical view of the 18th hole of the Jack

St. Louis (a very successful move), and

Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The

who also created Cordillera and Roar-

dogleg-right par 5 winds around a

ing Fork in Colorado, is a true vision-

beautiful lake and a massive, valley oak

ary. “I was tired of seeing communities

tree, which is lighted at night to high-

that had a bunch of houses on both

light its drama.

sides of golf holes, which were con-

Mayacama, in the heart of the

nected by a network of golf-cart paths

wine country of Sonoma County, is

and were virtually unwalkable,” he says.

high on drama. Because it features a

“I wanted to build a Roaring Fork in

number of on-site cottages where na-


Napa Valley.” So that’s what he set out

tional members can stay and entertain

to do. But he eventually learned that the

guests, it is sometimes called a western

The fifth hole showcases the dramatic hills of the Mayacama Mountains that surround the golf course.

version of Augusta National. Whether


you’re experiencing one of the three par 5s on the front nine or the three par 3s on the back nine, or the rugged hiking trail around the hilly perimeter of the 675-acre property, or one of the indoor/outdoor showers with Niagara Falls pressure in one of the casitas or

permitting process in Napa was going to be lengthy and probably cost-prohib-

Mayacama’s club logo depicts a grape leaf and the moon, with the grape leaves representing the vineyards that surround the golf club and the moon symbolizing the Valley of the Moon, as Sonoma County is known.

itive. He discovered, however, that there


partner Marv Soiland. The acreage was

Mayacama Golf Club’s 17th hole is surrounded by Douglas firs.

larger villas, you know you are in a

was a 675-acre parcel of land in nearby Sonoma County that might be available. It was owned by Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schulz and his business in a beautiful valley adjacent to the exclusive Shiloh housing development.

special place.

They had been trying to develop the land for fifteen years,

Developer David Wilhelm, who grew up in Boston and

but had been unsuccessful because of the number of homes

once worked for IBM for $750 a month but quit his job to

planned in an area without a water-treatment facility. In


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A Golden Eighteen

1999, Wilhelm extended an option to buy the parcel and

one-hundred-fifty miles away; two-hundred charter mem-

was able to close the deal. He got through the permitting

bers, who live either in the area or around San Francisco;

process due to his tenacity, and because he severely limited

sixty social members, who mostly enjoy the wine tasting

the number of home sites (there are only thirty-one on the

and dining; the thirty founding members; and a unique

property and just six on the golf course), as well as the

category of thirty-two vintner members.

square footage (a maximum of 3,600 to 4,200 square feet

The vintner members include such major names in

on 1- to 2-1/2-acre lots, each with significant buffering).

California wine-making as Matt and Kathleen Gallo of

This created a much less aggressive footprint and a

Gallo Family Vineyards, Tor and Susan Kenward of

development that was driven by the golf course, not the

TOR Kenward Family Wines, Hi-Sang Lee and Young

real estate. “I thought there might be a market for people

Hwa Chung of Dana Estates, and Dennis and Sara Cake-

who wanted guest houses in a golf

bread of Cakebread Cellars. In an

community in wine country. And if

arrangement unique to Mayacama,

they didn’t want to commit to buy-

the vintner members provide up to

ing a house, they could rent cottages

twenty-five cases of their own wine at

on the property and get a similar ex-

cost to the club in exchange for a spe-

perience,” he says. Wilhelm, whose

cial membership rate. The club then

son Jonathan has been Mayacama’s

offers the wine to the members in the

managing partner since 2006, capi-

bar and dining room at attractive

talized on his vision. At the inception

prices. It’s not uncommon to see a

in 1999, he convinced thirty found-

glass of premium-quality wine on the

ing members that his idea was

menu for half the normal price.

sound, and mostly through word of

Members are also able to get on a list

mouth he had secured nearly three-

and have wines shipped directly to

hundred members on opening day

their lockers. As Allan Ross, a mem-

in 2001. Says Jonathan: “It was a

ber since 2007, says, “We’re so spoiled,

wonderful way to start a club. Many

it’s ridiculous. I come here for my

of the members already knew each

three vices: golf, food, wine.” Ross,

other through social gatherings.”

who makes his permanent home in

Today, through the Mayacama

Calgary, Canada, is not a vintner, but

Residences Program run by Resi-


he and his wife, Denise, keep a wellstocked wine locker that contains such selec-

casitas and three-bedroom villas. Member-

The par-3 11th hole is a “reverse” Redan hole that measures 205 yards from the back tees.

ships are offered in 1/5th and 1/10th fractions


chardonnay, and Vineyard 7 and 8 cabernets

dences Director Katie Ciocca, residential members have use of the club’s one-bedroom

and come with membership in the Timbers Collection, which includes twelve other high-end resorts such as Kapalua Bay in Maui and






Mayacama also provides first-rate facilities for

An entryway to clubhouse. OPPOSITE:

The green of the 12th hole in the foreground and the 18th green and magnificent clubhouse in the distance.

tions as Kosta Browne pinot noir, Armida pinot and zinfandel, Marcassin pinot and and chardonnays. There are numerous winetasting events throughout the year that serve not only as social gatherings, but also as educational opportunities for members to learn about the various varieties of wines in the area.

tennis, swimming, and even bocce, has a state-of-the art spa, and a strong junior activity program. There are four-

A compelling golf course in wine country

hundred-fifty members in five categories: About one-hun-

LIFE AT MAYACAMA, however, is not all wine all the time.

dred-twenty-five national members, who live more than

Let’s examine the golf course, a fairly short routing by


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An Old-School Golf Professional ALTHOUGH MANY OF Mayacama’s employees are from

manager) conduct two separate club championships for

the surrounding area, one who is not is the Golf Profes-

men and women, one at stroke play and one at match play,

sional, Ted Antonopoulos, though he has certainly made

as well as the annual three-day Member-Guest and various

himself fit right in. Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia,

other events large and small. One of the most special tour-

Antonopoulos spent ten years some three-thousand

naments, and one unique to Mayacama, is The Vintner

miles from Santa Rosa, at the Fisher Island Club in

Cup. The club’s vintner members are treated as Tour pro-

Miami. He came to Mayacama in 2001, six months before

fessionals and are selected at a draw party to join with a

it opened. Antonopoulos, at fifty-eight, with his gray hair

threesome. Tee prizes are magnums of the area’s best wines.

flowing stylishly over his ears, is more than your tradi-

“No matter the size of the tournament, we make the

tional golf professional. He also is a certified Rules expert

participants feel like it’s the U.S. Open,” Antonopoulos

with both the PGA of America and

says. “We use the same kind of formal

the USGA. And he comes from a

entry form, the starter wears a coat

golfing family; his brother, Buddy, is

and tie, he calls out each competitor’s

the professional at Medalist Golf

name and home town, and says ‘Play

Club in Hobe Sound, Florida.

away please.’ We mark the course as if

One of the many responsibilities

we’re hosting a PGA Tour event. At

he most enjoys is hosting members on

the end of the round, players have to



sign their scorecards in the scorer’s

throughout the year. The Traveling

tent, and we always have an official

Cup, one of their annual journeys,

awards ceremony on the 18th green,

gives members an opportunity to play

where the winner is expected to say a

golf in the UK, rotating each year from

few words.”



Scotland to Ireland to England. He

Member Ned Zachar, a money

usually brings a group of twelve. “I try

manager based in New York, knows

to educate the members about the roots of the game, es-

the feeling well. He has won the men’s Club Championship

pecially since we’re a walking-only golf course,” he says.

six times. “Ted makes the event incredibly special,” he says.

“We will organize games at such clubs as Dornoch and

“Whoever wins is announced as ‘The Champion Golfer of

Machrihanish, or try to play as many Old Tom Morris

the Year,’ exactly like at the British Open. You feel as if

courses as possible. Everything I do is with the overall pur-

you’re competing in a world-class golf tournament.”

pose of promoting the game and its original values. When

Member Emily Pottruck, who has won the women’s

we visit these courses, I am sure to point out the plaques

Club Championship, concurs. She refers to her victory as

and photos on the walls that show the club’s great history.

an “out-of-body experience” and attributes her win to the

And then I want the same here at Mayacama.”

support of Antonopoulos and the advice of fellow member

That’s why Antonopoulos takes such pride in the way

and women’s Club Champion Doreen Justice. Pottruck has

he runs the numerous tournaments and championships at

used the same caddie the last five years. “The whole club

Mayacama. He and his staff of five (two PGA assistant pro-

has a sense of camaraderie, especially among the women,

fessionals, two apprentices, and the all-important caddie

that I haven’t experienced at other clubs,” she says.


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Mayacama Golf Club

today’s standards that, due to the creative design work of

caddie, or at least walking and carrying your own bag, then

Nicklaus and his team, feels much longer than its length

Mayacama might not be for you. (Cart exceptions are

of just under 7,000 yards from the tips. When you play

made only for those with medical conditions, over sixty-

from the 6,300-yard “plates,” as they call it, even low hand-

five, or in the late afternoon during the summer months.)

icappers will use the driver on most of the par 4s and 5s.

Walking is an integral part of the culture here. There are

You do need to hit the ball fairly straight off

no cart paths. It wasn’t David Wilhelm’s orig-

the tee, otherwise you might be asking for an extra glass of DuMOL pinot noir at dinner that evening. But most of the holes are more

Head Golf Professional Ted Antonopolous. ABOVE:

forgiving than they look at first glance, and they only get really testy as you get closer to the green. A number of the putting surfaces are well guarded by steep-faced, white-sand bunkers that have you asking your caddie for

inal intent, but early on in the course’s design


stage, one of the thirty founding members, Jim Costello asked Wilhelm to visit Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast. They played the

The second hole at Mayacama is a risk-reward par 5 with a green that is protected by a steep ravine and several deep bunkers (also following page).

original Bandon Dunes course for three days, walking with caddies. Wilhelm was convinced he wanted the same kind of experience at Mayacama, and he told Nicklaus to design the

the most lofted wedge in your bag. And the

course with walking in mind. The caddies are

greens, usually Stimping at 11 on normal days

revered here. They are well-compensated, in-

and at 12 during tournaments, are full of gentle and be-

dependent contractors who work for CSI (Caddie Services,

guiling undulations. Listening to and following the in-

Inc.), and they are treated like family. They are allowed to

structions of one of the sixty first-rate caddies is essential

play the course every Tuesday, and there are two major

to understanding where and how hard to hit your putts on

caddie competitions each year, The Bull Cup and the Cad-

the marble-like greens.

die-Member Championship. The Bull Cup, sponsored by

If you don’t enjoy playing your golf walking with a

members George and Sue Bull, who treat them to a cook-


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A Golden Eighteen

out at their house overlooking the ninth fairway, is a seri-

course. The trees are gorgeous—so many magnificent oaks.”

ous, cutthroat competition in which the caddies play a

Course superintendent Dale Engman also knows his

qualifying round that puts them into one of eight flights

trees. He holds a degree in ornamental horticulture from

with such names as the (Eddie) Lowry Flight, the (Francis)

California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo

Ouimet Flight, and even the (Carl) Spackler Flight. Usually

and grew up in Santa Rosa. He points out the many

a score of par or better is the low qualifier. Then, for the

different varieties of trees on the course, including four

next four Tuesdays, the caddies play one another in a

types of oak that Nicklaus was referring to (live, blue,

knockout, match-play format. The Caddie-Member event

white, and black). Two of the most distinctive trees on the

pairs one member with one caddie, and the members go

property are the manzanita (which has a reddish, peeling

out of their way to make sure every caddie who wants a

bark), and the madrone (similar but grows up to forty feet

partner has one.

tall). “This is a great location to be a superintendent,” says

If you’re bothered by the sounds of gasoline carts gun-

Engman, who started at the course at its inception after

ning up hills, or the irritating beeping of

working at the Meadow Club in Fairfax,

an electric cart in reverse, the tranquility at Mayacama is a welcome respite. A round of golf here is a peaceful experience, one that allows you to enjoy not only your golf shots, the camaraderie of your fellow competitors and some keen competition, but also the abundance of natural wildlife. Especially in the evenings, black-tailed deer quietly venture onto almost every fairway, often a doe and fawn in tandem minding their own busi-

in California’s Marin County. He follows


(Clockwise from upper left) Golf Course Superintendent Dale Engman; the Mayacama Golf Club logo; Managing Partner Jonathan Wilhelm; Guest Services Dan Gates; Director of Lodging Katie Ciocca; the clubhouse’s vine-wrapped dining room rotunda as seen from outside the building; General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Gregory Brown.

ness next to a tee or a green. A procession

Nicklaus’ lead on maintenance, striving for tournament conditions every day, despite a cooler, rainy season in the winter, and a hotter, drier season from late spring through early fall. He keeps the course running fast and doesn’t mind the occasional brown area in some of the fairways. “It’s really first and foremost about the greens,” he says. “I want them firm and fast and true.” They are consistently smooth, G-4 bentgrass surfaces that re-

of wild turkeys and their young chicks, camouflaged in the

quire a jeweler’s touch with the putter. Especially during

tall fescues, is another common site, as are adult and baby

tournaments, you need to keep the ball below the hole on

quail. (Warning: You also need to be wary of rattlesnakes,

your approaches. The fairways, at 1/3 of an inch, are peren-

especially in the warmer, dryer summer months, so even

nial ryegrass, and Engman keeps them as firm as possible

the caddies hesitate to look for wayward shots that might

by intentionally under-irrigating then hand-watering

have found the more severe rough.) It’s also not unusual

when necessary. This practice is labor-intensive, but effec-

to see red-tailed hawks and golden eagles, in addition to

tive. The ryegrass rough at 1-3/4 inches can be lethal, es-

the occasional fox, bobcat, or coyote.

pecially if your ball trickles into the second cut of 2-1/2

Says Jack Nicklaus: “You’re not going to find a more

inches. Away from the playing areas of tees, fairways,

picturesque setting for a golf course. My goal in designing

fringes, and greens, Engman allows the natural fescues to

the course was not to disrupt such a beautiful canyon, a pris-

flourish and turn brown, creating a beautiful contrast.

tine valley.” Nicklaus moved a minimal amount of dirt in fulfilling his goal. “You start with a great piece of property,

A season of strong golf competitions

one that allowed us the opportunity to set a course in there

HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL Ted Antonopoulos and his

naturally, to create a wonderful golf experience,” he says.

staff take great pride in running the many tournaments—

“The whole place is secluded. The club’s location and its sur-

he calls them championships because that feels more im-

rounds combine to make it very private and unique. If you

portant, he says—throughout the season, including the

weren’t from there, you’d never know there was a golf

Men’s and Women’s Club Championships. Mayacama’s


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A Golden Eighteen

championship season begins in March with the St. Patrick’s

hit harder than this.” He then walked up to the green and

Day Four-ball, where the golf is followed by a traditional

calmly sank his eagle putt. The caddies nicknamed the

Irish dinner, including corned beef and cabbage. That is

hole, “Plunkett’s Plunge.”

followed, over Memorial Day Weekend, with the annual

The club also conducts a kinder and gentler North vs.

Mayacama Cup, a three-day match-play championship that

South Ryder-Cup style event with the Golden Gate Bridge

many members look forward to with great anticipation.

as the geographical dividing line that determines the

In late spring, the annual Schulz

teams. It essentially pits local versus na-

Celebrity Golf Classic has raised more than

tional members for three days, including a

$3 million dollars for Sonoma County

foursomes (alternate-shot) round. A bag-

Children’s Charities and is a virtual Who’s

piper and other touches provide a feel of

Who of well-known athletes, musicians,

Scotland or Ireland. Then there is the three-

and other stars. This is where you can rub

day Member Guest and the highly touted

shoulders with the likes of Kurt Russell and

Vintner Cup, in which the vintner members

Goldie Hawn, Gary McCord, Greg Itzin

are treated as pros at a draw party and

(who can forget his brilliant portrayal of a

paired with threesomes of other members,

tormented U.S. president in the series 24?),

like at a pro-am. Says vintner member Tor

Cheech Marin, and host John O’Hurley

Kenward, who has yet to win the event but

(Seinfeld’s Jay Peterman). The caddies fondly recall when

has come close on more than one occasion: “It all depends

two-time Super Bowl champion Jim Plunkett knocked his

on the team I draw and what my game is like that day. But

second shot over the deep chasm onto the green at the

even when I lose, I can lick my wounds at the end with

treacherous par-5 15th hole, then a few minutes later was

very good wine and share a great meal with friends.”

hanging on for dear life as his cart spun out of control,

Antonopoulos (see sidebar) was also instrumental

finally coming to rest in the chasm. Plunkett climbed out

in getting some important national tournaments to

of the bushes, his head bleeding, and said, “Heck, I’ve been

Mayacama, including the USGA Men’s State Team


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Mayacama Golf Club

Championship, in which three non-collegiate amateurs

place where we can talk with fellow members about busi-

from all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the District of

ness, wine, golf, and travel.” Indeed, members quickly

Columbia compete. That’s a total of 156 players, and a

become friends with the Bar Manager Robert Negoesco.

number of the members adopted teams. “The adoptive

One of the favorite cocktails is the Chiurco Rita. “It’s a

members were like the welcome committee,” he says. “They treated the teams to dinners and took care of them during tournament week.”

Cadillac margarita, Bentley-style, like the car,”


The entrance to the clubhouse; Owner and Founder David Wilhelm.

MEMBER ALLAN ROSS says that while he thor-

oughly enjoys the tournaments and the keen competition at Mayacama, the club means much more to him than tournament golf— and he holds a 1-handicap, has won the Men’s Senior Club Championship, and has won the Club Championship at two other clubs near his home in Calgary. The Rosses spend from twenty to thirty days a year at Mayacama, and

The 17th hole is a par 3 measuring 196 yards from the back tees. FOLLOWING PAGES:

(Clockwise from left) A pond separates the first and final holes (left and right respectively); local wildlife and wildflowers can be spotted throughout the 675 acres of Mayacama Golf Club; Sonoma Valley and its vineyards.

sometimes their teenage daughter and son,

juice, and we make our own syrup.” The club’s staff makes it easy to get a game and to meet people at Mayacama. A case in


A new meaning to nine, dine and wine

Negoesco says. “I use no mix—all fresh lime

point happened in early 2012. Ross, who owns an asset-management company, just showed up at the golf shop, as he often does, and the staff suggested he play with another member, Joel Perry, from Chicago. So they met on the practice tee, played a round together, became good friends—and now are business partners. “That is not out of the norm here,” Ross says. He notes that the Wednesday afternoon Skins Game is also a lot of fun. “At most other clubs, after the round, the members sit around and

who is in college, join them. They make good use of the ca-

have a beer or two. But at Mayacama there will be a dozen

sitas and villas, as well as the club’s amenities such as the

different bottles of wine on hand. The members bring them

pool and spa. “The Bar & Grille are always buzzing, with a

up from their wine lockers for everyone to share. It

very friendly atmosphere,” Denise Ross says. “It’s a great

becomes a wine-tasting event.”


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A Golden Eighteen

Culinary Federation. He took advantage of an opportunity to work for four months in Ireland at the Michelin-rated Sheen Falls Lodge, a Relais and Châteaux Hotel in County Kerry. It was in Ireland that he learned about timeless European cooking techniques and classic preparations. After that experience, he lived in Vail, Colorado, where he opened his own restaurant, then went to Napa Valley’s Auberge de Soleil, then the Calistoga Ranch, and finally rounded out his experience as the chef de cuisine for the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, in Bluffton, South Carolina. Because of Mayacama’s location in Sonoma County, he is now takAnd this will sometimes morph into a social dining

ing advantage of the region’s native ingredients and local

event. Members can eat in the formal dining room, sur-

wines and combining them with the sauces and presenta-

rounded by paintings of great vineyards,

tions he acquired in Ireland to provide a ABOVE:

or in the Bar & Grille, or outside on the patio overlooking the first and 18th holes, heat lamps and gas fires making for a cozy environment in the cooler evenings. (There is also a separate “smoking patio” on the other side of the clubhouse that overlooks the 10th hole.) Executive Chef

lighter touch to his culinary creations.

Following a Wednesday-afternoon Skins Game, members relax in the bar; members Laura Allen, Max Ulrich, and Tom Patzau. OPPOSITE:

Executive Chef Scott Pikey; the private rotunda in the Dining Room; heirloom tomato salad; veal medallions.

Scott Pikey plays an integral role in May-

Pikey prefers not to list a “signature dish,” but he is eager to note that he produces 99 percent of the ingredients “inhouse,” including the breads, pastries, and even pizza doughs. All his sauces are natural reductions, with no fillers. He supervises two sous chefs and eleven cooks,

acama’s appeal. His résumé is stellar, and it started with a

and maintains a healthy approach, even to the point of

fortuitous apprenticeship at Old Warson Country Club in

juicing (kale, cucumber, ginger) for his staff five days a

his native St. Louis, while he was attending the American

week. “I’m completely hands-on,” he says. “My name is not


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A Golden Eighteen

on my jacket. I’m a teacher. The membership knows what

in which members are able to purchase selected wines

they want and what they will get here. Consistency is

from fellow members at reduced prices.

everything. High-fructose corn syrup does not exist in my

You might think McCarthy would be intimidated

kitchen. I use rice oils and non-GMO products. The same

when suggesting to one of the vintner members a certain

is true for the food at the snack bar and at the pool facility

wine with a certain meal, but that’s not the case. “I’m

because the kids should have the same qual-

used to being around celebrities and star ABOVE:

athletes growing up in San Francisco and

Evening in the Tuscaninspired clubhouse courtyard.

LA,” he says. “The vintners here are great to

ity food as the adults. I try to let the ingredients do all the work.” Pikey says sometimes he prepares food around the wine selections, but in general he thinks the wine should complement the food. That brings us to perhaps the most important—and stressful—job in the club, that

be around. We have a lot of fun.” McCarthy


The library and trophy room; the red wine cellar; pinot by the glass; a cluster of cabernet grapes; Wine Director Jeff McCarthy.

of Wine Director Jeff McCarthy. “I’ve never

is excited about a new invention, the Coravin, which Mayacama will be making extensive use of. It allows a taster to sample a bottle of wine by inserting a needle into the cork, then replacing the sampled wine

worked with a chef who is so dialed-in with pairing food

with argon gas inside the bottle and instantly sealing the

with wine as Scott is,” McCarthy says. “It’s actually easy to

cork so the wine stays fresh for years. “This means we can

pair wine with food, but the problem is with the side

serve all our great wines by the glass,” McCarthy says. For

dishes. That’s why I like working with Scott, because he

Mayacama—he calls it a wine club with a golf course—

pays so much attention to the details.” Along with Assis-

there is no better invention.

tant Wine Director Mike Gargus, McCarthy is responsible

“Wine is one of the cornerstones here—wine, food,

for maintaining a five-thousand-bottle inventory of fine

lodging, and golf,” McCarthy says. It’s safe to say the mem-

wines from not just California but all over the world. He

bers would agree. No matter your priority, Mayacama is

is also in charge of the Vintner Member Wine Program,

a special place.


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A Golden Eighteen

Jack’s Vision for Columbus Celebrates an Unparalleled Career


FTER A STELLAR ROUND at Augusta National Golf Club during the 1966 Masters Tournament, Jack Nicklaus was re-

laxing with one of his high school friends from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. As they discussed the magnificence of Augusta’s rolling, emerald-green fairways, the vast number of patrons milling over the course, and the sprawling oak trees and various cabins on the grounds, Jack turned to his buddy Ivor Young and said, “I wish we could have something like this for Columbus someday. It would be a great thing for the community.” Right then and there the idea for Muirfield Village Golf Club was launched. Nicklaus went on to win that Masters, becoming the first player to don back-to-back green jackets. A few weeks later, he, Young, and two of Jack’s other friends from Columbus, Pandel Savic and Bob Hoag, got together. The four founders vowed to pursue Jack’s dream for however long it would take to become a reality. Young found eleven potential sites, but Jack only needed to see a few before he selected a tract of land where he used to hunt as a kid. Six years later construction started and the club was formed. “I personally put together all

had no money left for a clubhouse.

the land, and I remember that Mark

“When the course opened in 1974,

McCormack [Jack’s agent at the

we used a temporary clubhouse, out

time from International Manage-

of the George Trachewski house off

ment Group] thought I was out of

the sixth tee. Once we finally had

my mind,” Nicklaus says today. “I

members, we built the clubhouse a

said, ‘Mark, that’s what I want to do.’

year or so later, before the first Me-

So I bought all the land personally

morial Tournament in 1976.” Jack

or tied it all up. It came in at 1,560

and Tom Weiskopf played in the

acres. I liked the way it flowed

grand opening on May 27, 1974,

through the valleys, and I knew I

Memorial Day, with Nicklaus shoot-

wanted to create a gallery golf

ing 66, a score that stood as the

course, and I liked the way the val-

course record and was not broken

leys were wide enough to be able to


do that.” Nicklaus needed somebody

The grand 18th hole leading up to the clubhouse.

to help him take it to the next level,


and that’s when “Put” (Putnam)

The Memorial Tournament Waterford crystal winner’s trophy, designed by Barbara Nicklaus.

Pierman came in. “He became a partner with me,” Nicklaus says. “He went out to the Ohio Company, and

until half a decade later. Today, almost forty years later, when you drive through the stoneladen entrance to Muirfield Village and wind around the deep bend


Members enjoying the elevated green of the par-3 eighth hole.

alongside the massive practice area to your left with the newly renovated

they did a $9 million public offering—$2.4 million for the

clubhouse complex directly ahead, you know you are about

course and the rest for the development.” Nicklaus remem-

to step onto hallowed ground. The privilege of being invited

bers they spent about $2.45 million on the golf course and

to join the prestigious club is something the members don’t


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A Golden Eighteen

take lightly. And for their guests, the anticipation of actually

rial Tournament. The course also played host to the 1986

playing the same majestic holes they see on television every

U.S. Junior Amateur (won by Brian Montgomery), 1987

year in late May and early June during the Memorial Tour-

Ryder Cup, 1992 U.S. Amateur (won by Justin Leonard),

nament is sometimes too much to handle. The course

the Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge, the 1998 Solheim Cup,

preparation—almost always at Tournament conditions—

and the 2013 Presidents Cup. Indeed, Muirfield Village and

and Muirfield’s place in history as site of the Memorial

The Greenbrier are the only courses in the world to have

Tournament—evoke a feeling of awe and excitement. Where

hosted both the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup. And Muir-

else can you walk through a Memorial Park—just below and

field Village is the only venue to have hosted those two

to the right side of the clubhouse—and read about more

events and The Presidents Cup. But the members know a

than thirty-six of golf’s legendary champions, a new Hon-

different course, one void of grandstands, television tow-

oree celebrated each year precisely at 3 p.m. on the Wednes-

ers, media centers, and corporate hospitality tents. They

day of the Tournament in a formal dedication ceremony.

know a course that is simply a magnificent and solid

The list spans the world of golf, from

examination of golf, a course built to

Old and Young Tom Morris to Francis

stand the test of time, a course that

Ouimet and Glenna Collett Vare to

requires the use of every club in the

Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen to Sam

bag every time you play it.

Snead, Byron Nelson, and Ben Hogan to

Says Ric Baird, Muirfield Village’s

Seve Ballesteros and Lee Trevino to Tom

eight-time club champion who play-

Watson and Nancy Lopez to Arnold

ed golf at Furman University and is

Palmer and, yes, Jack Nicklaus. The park

currently in charge of player relations

was designed by Jack’s wife, Barbara, and

for the Memorial Tournament: “When

won the 1999 Merit Award from the

you get guests who have not played the

Ohio Chapter of the American Society

course before, it can be intimidating

of Landscape Architects.

for them. They’ve seen it so much on

And where else can you see all of

TV that they’re familiar with most of

the Golden Bear’s major championship

the holes. But when they actually reach

trophies? The unequaled array of hard-

those holes, they are blown away by

ware is on display in the Nicklaus Hall

how tough they look.” Hole 15, a par 5

as you walk into the clubhouse, commemorating his eight-

that the Tour players can reach in two, is a prime example.

een professional major championship victories plus two

The driving area up the hill from the tee looks no wider

U.S. Amateurs. The Nicklaus Hall also displays small

than a two-lane highway, and the second shot back down

plaques of the thirty-six Memorial Honorees. (In addition,

the hill seems like a one-lane country road, with a creek

the Tournament honors a top golf journalist every year.)

running along the left side and the fairway canted in that

And where else can you see photographs of twenty more

direction. The par-4 14th is another case in point. No mat-

of the game’s all-time great figures who have been honored

ter how many times you hear TV announcers say the green

as Captains of the Memorial Tournament? Inspiring

is deceptively narrow, you don’t know how truly slender it

names such as Peggy Kirk Bell, Tony Jacklin, Sean Connery,

is until you miss it with what you thought was a fairly ac-

Judy Rankin, Peter Thomson, Sir Michael Bonallack, and

curate wedge shot. The recently redesigned par-3 16th,

Judy Bell have received that honor. If you don’t have a

where Tiger Woods famously holed a daring flop shot

sense of the game’s history when you first visit Muirfield

from rough behind the green to win his fifth Memorial in

Village, you certainly will when you leave.

2012, gives you little room to maneuver around the large

Most golfers throughout the world have seen the

lake in front of the green. If you don’t hit the putting sur-

course on television from its exposure during the Memo-

face, you’re either in the water or in one of two bunkers to


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Muirfield Village Golf Club

the right, or in an impossible place beyond the green,

member, Dr. Ken Westerheide, an orthopedic surgeon, is

which is where Tiger was. “Look at the position he was in,”

a former Muirfield Village caddie. He worked his way

Nicklaus said after that Tournament. “If he’s short, the

through high school and college toting bags at Muirfield

Tournament’s over. If he’s long, the Tournament’s over. He

Village and joined the club six years ago. The house to the

puts it in the hole. What a shot. I don’t think under the cir-

left of the seventh tee he most admired as a caddie he now

cumstances I’ve ever seen a better shot.” Precision is all-important at Muirfield Village. This is one reason Muirfield’s nation-

owns and lives in with his wife, Kristine, and OPPOSITE:

Jack Nicklaus statue at the front entrance.

ally renowned caddie program is so crucial to the golf experience here. Says another longtime member, Tom Welker: “I’ve often had some guests playing with me, and the caddies relaxed them by the end of the first hole. We have a great caddie program.” Make no mistake, Muirfield’s caddie program, inspired by

when I was in college and in med school at Ohio State, and I could see that this was a


(Left) Pandel Savic, co-founder and general chairman emeritus of the Memorial Tournament; (Right) the late John G. Hines, General Manager of Muirfield Village Golf Club for nearly 30 years.

the Tournament’s first honoree, lifetime am-

three kids—two boys and a girl. “I caddied

great place to raise a family,” he says. “Now I’m doing just that. The members are down-toearth and first-class people.” Whether you’re playing with a caddie, as about 95 percent of the members do (all guests are required to take one), or in a cart, it’s generally easy to get a game. “That’s one

ateur Bobby Jones, is second to none. There are some sev-

of the biggest keys here,” says Baird, a government-rela-

enty-five full-time caddies during peak season in the

tions lobbyist and scratch player. “You can have the greatest

summer. The caddies are independent contractors, some

course in the world, but if you can’t get a game it’s no fun.”

full-time professionals, others from nearby Ohio State

You can always get a game at Muirfield Village. The shop

University, or younger kids from local high schools. One

staff puts together “Pot” groups every Saturday and Sunday


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A Golden Eighteen

morning so members can play with new members and

the profits going to the Jack Grout Scholarship Fund,

don’t have to worry about making a lot of last-minute

which helps send the club’s employees to college. There is

phone calls. There are tee times, however. “People want to

also an event to raise money for the Jeff Kraker Caddie

be able to plan their day,” says Head Golf Professional

Scholarship program in which the members caddie for the

Larry Dornisch, a seventeen-year veteran of Muirfield Village. Dornisch notes there is not

caddies. (Kraker, who died of cancer in 2009, PREVIOUS PAGES:

The demanding par-5 11th hole.

a lot of organized golf at the club. “We have only two main tournaments and a couple of

was the club’s dedicated caddie master for twenty years.) Finally, there is a season-long


The par-5 fifth hole circumvents a winding stream.

Member-Member knockout tournament

Member-Guest event two weeks after the


MVGC Cup (a Ryder Cup-style event for the

Memorial Tournament. Two-man teams play

The entrance to the Muirfield Village community.

members), and the Founders Tournament

others,” he says. The Bearfoot Classic is a

five nine-hole matches over the course of two

(fifty-two teams competed in 2013), the

(in honor of Jack and the club’s founders).

days. Then there is the Grout Invitational (named after

Welker, who retired from a sales career in the steel

Nicklaus’ original teacher Jack Grout). This is a thirty-six-

business, carries a 14 handicap and knows his golf clubs

hole event, one day a scramble format, the other day a bet-

(he’s also a member at Oakmont and Oakland Hills). He’s

ter ball. There is a lively auction the first evening with all

also a vice chairman of the Memorial Tournament, as is


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Muirfield Village Golf Club


Baird, whose sister, Dayna Baird Payne, is in charge of hospitality. “The membership is very involved in the Tournament,” Welker says. “We all pull together to make it happen. Having a successful event each year is a tremendous source of pride for us.” Welker notes the Memorial only enhances the club experience for the members and their guests. “I’m a social golfer now, but I joined basically for business,” he says. “You find that if you invite a customer to play Muirfield, you never get a cancellation. Muirfield does it better than anyone else in the way they treat you. The valets are the best ever. I think it’s because Jack knows what people like, and he made sure we have a staff that fulfills that. My guests would usually come in and play for two days, have dinner in the villas, then give me a blank purchase order if they got invited back.” Guests are usually picked up at the airport, and then


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The Other Half of Team Nicklaus

IT’S OFTEN BEEN SAID that the best thing about Jack

Nicklaus is Barbara Nicklaus. Not only has she been Jack’s wife for more than fifty years (they have four sons and one daughter and twenty-two grandchildren), throughout his career she was his etiquette coach (making sure all the thank-you notes were written tastefully and punctually), his confidante (during good times and the inevitable sad times), and even sport psychologist (before they were fashionable for Tour players). ABOVE:

Jack met Barbara Bash the first week of

Barbara Nicklaus at home.

classes at Ohio State University when they


were seventeen. They started dating and

Memorial Park, which Barbara designed.

never looked back. On their honeymoon, they drove east from Columbus, stopping at

Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania so Jack could play the course, then on to Mamaroneck, New York, and Winged Foot, where he had been asked to play. In a driving rain, Jack and his host were the only ones on Winged Foot’s West Course, except for Barbara, who faithfully walked every hole. Jack asked where she wanted to go next, and she said she’d love to see the Boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey. “But, of course, that meant we would be driving right


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past Pine Valley,” she says. “We stopped there, and they wel-

notably the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

comed Jack readily, but because it’s a men’s club, I was po-

“And she serves on a thousand charity boards,” says Sports

litely ushered off the grounds.” She says it’s true that she

Illustrated Senior Writer Michael Bamberger, who knows

watched Jack play from the club’s perimeter.

the family well.

So it’s no surprise that Barbara’s unwavering support

This knack for always doing the right thing is evident

of her husband can be seen throughout the clubhouse, vil-

in the interior design of the new clubhouse, as well as the

las, and grounds of Muirfield Village. Her Midwestern roots

six brand-new suites that look over the 18th green, and

and values—she grew up near Columbus, in Clintonville,

the existing villas, all of which were completed just days

her father a high school math teacher, her mother a home-

before the Memorial Tournament in May 2013. Jack is

maker—offer a touch and insight

adamant about Barbara’s influ-

that make it a unique and special

ence: “Every decision about the in-

place. “My parents taught me basic

terior design was really hers; I

values: integrity, honesty, love, and

always yield to her expertise,” he

respect. But those are just words. I

says. “For example, it was her idea

also learned by their actions.”

to put the pool tables on the sec-

One of her most visible

ond floor of the villas.” But Bar-

achievements is the Memorial

bara contends that, while she did

Park, just to the right of the main

order all the furniture and made

clubhouse veranda. She designed

major decisions with Jack about

the entire area, which is like taking

much of the design and flow of the

a tour through the history of the

clubhouse and villas, not one piece

game. Drawing upon her college

of art was purchased. “I’m a pack

degree in education, she turned an

rat,” she says, “and all of the art-

uninteresting section of the club

work you see on the walls, I had

property with an unkempt frog

been storing at home for years.

pond in one corner into such an

For example, the Presidents Cup

architectural gem that it won an award from the Ohio

painting [that hangs in a prominent position in the

Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

clubhouse] was something I had saved.” Barbara enjoys

Now members and visitors can stroll leisurely through the

collecting images of Jack and statues of bears in all

garden, stopping to look at the beautifully sculpted stone

forms, shapes, and sizes. They now adorn nearly every

plaques and read about the game’s great players, past and

room on the property, and

present. It’s a serenely stunning place. “There have been a

some are even outside.

few weddings there,” Barbara says. “In fact, my own niece

But Barbara is especially

was married in that garden.”

fond of the way the new dining


Memorial Park features more than thirty plaques honoring the greats of the game.

She is eager to give credit to others: “Some of the

room turned out. “The club al-

plaques are by local sculptors, some are nationally known.

ways offered the best food in

Dan Sullivan [Memorial Tournament executive director]

Columbus, but we basically had a mid-1970s-style dining

really helped to make it happen, as well as noted writer

room that wasn’t being used optimally,” she says. “So we

Ken Bowden and the staff in Jack’s office, who made sure

changed the entire dining approach to make it more casual,

the words were written accurately and well.”

with plenty of room for fine dining with views out and over

“Barbara is so humble and rarely gets the credit she de-

the 18th green, but also with an informal bar area that faces

serves for all the great things she does,” says one of her good

an open kitchen. There’s also a lot more room for outside

friends, Cindy Rasmussen, whose husband, Steve, is the

dining on the large veranda, because so many people today

CEO of Nationwide Insurance, the presenting sponsor of

prefer to eat outdoors in nice weather.”

the Memorial Tournament. “I know for a fact that many of

Judging from the use by the members and their

the players’ wives really look up to her.” Rasmussen points

guests, Barbara’s tasteful eye and forward thinking seems

out that Barbara has spearheaded numerous charities, most

to be right on the mark.


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A Golden Eighteen

stay on the club property in one of three lodging options,

members and have known the Nicklaus family for years

all run by Director of Villa Operations Mike McKee. There

(they are also members at Desert Mountain). “Muirfield

are six villas (named after Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen,

Village is such a fun golf course,” says Bob, a 4-handicap-

Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Gene Sarazen, and Nicklaus),

per. “I often bring clients here. It’s just a great track. Every-

a twelve-bedroom lodge, and six club suites that were built

thing’s about quality. You have to be able to hit every club

as part of the clubhouse renovation and overlook the 18th green. Each villa is fivethousand square feet, has four bedrooms

in the bag.” Says Susan, who doesn’t play golf: ABOVE:

The trophy case in Nicklaus Hall.

with king-size beds, features a pool table and


a business center upstairs, and overlooks the

A comfortable place to relax in Nicklaus Hall.

first hole and the Memorial Park. All the accommodations were appointed by Barbara and make you feel like you’re staying at a fivestar resort with such amenities as large, flat-

plore the dining options. And we’re all involved in the Tournament. The members, as


The par-4 ninth hole requires a pinpoint tee shot and precise approach.

screen TVs, ample shower space and water

“I like to use the new fitness facility and ex-

well as the staff here, are very dedicated.” Dornisch says he’s humbled every time he comes to work, seven days a week from April to mid-October. He’s in charge of the entire golf operation, which includes the state-of-the-art practice facility, the cart and

pressure, and a full bar.

caddie program, all merchandising, and guest relations.

About half of the members live in Ohio and half live

“It all starts with the example Jack sets, and he’s here quite

around the country and, indeed, the world (the address

often,” he says. Dornisch’s day always begins with a 6:30

roster includes Canada, China, Japan, Germany, England,

a.m. phone call to the course superintendent, Paul B. Lat-

Scotland, The Bahamas, and Australia). Bob and Susan

shaw. They check signals on the course conditions and the

Meeder, who run an investment firm together, are local

status of maintenance and construction projects. Then he


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Muirfield Village Golf Club

does a walk-through of the property between 7 and 8 a.m.

measured by the penetrometer,” he says. That’s as precise

During the course of the day he will speak to all the guests

as course conditioning gets. The Kentucky bluegrass first

staying on the property.

cut of rough, eighty-four inches wide, is maintained at 2-

Latshaw, meanwhile, has been up since 5 a.m. He

1/4 to 2-1/2 inches during normal play and 3-1/2 inches

might have the most stressful job of all: Keeping the golf

for the Memorial. The greens are A1A4GC bentgrass, and

course in tip-top shape throughout the season, especially

the fairways are a mixture of bent and poa annua.

during the high-profile final week of May and first week of June, when the course is seen on high-definition tele-

Planning for the next generation

vision screens around the world. He supervises a staff of

A RECENT PROJECT Latshaw directed was building a new

fifty-two, which includes college students from Ohio

Tournament tee on 18, which stretched the distance on the

State’s internship program. Latshaw is probably the most

par 4 to 484 yards. It was unveiled just before the Presi-

recognized name in golf-course agronomy—his father,

dents Cup in October 2013. Says Nicklaus: “I was tired of

Paul R. Latshaw, has conditioned top courses for the past

the [Tour] players flying the bunkers off the tee and hitting

fifty years, from Augusta National to Oakmont. Paul B.

it fifty yards from the green. Paul came to me and said he

Latshaw spent five years at Oak Hill and seven at Merion

had found a way to add a new tee. I think it’s fairer now.

before answering Jack’s call to come to Muirfield Village.

The guys will be landing their tee shots even with the

He has two basic tenants: Keep conditions firm and fast,

bunkers, which is the way the hole was designed.”

and work with whatever the weather gives you. Latshaw

In addition to course changes, the club is looking at

maintains the course meticulously, even down to the con-

ways to provide for its next generation of members. Dor-

sistency of the bunker sand. “We use Pro Angle manufac-

nisch describes one of his four assistant professionals, Joe

tured sand with a CU [coefficient of uniformity] of 2.6 as

Wisler, as the “heart and soul” of the club’s junior program.


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A Golden Eighteen

Under Wisler, three teenage girls from the club have recently

‘Nothing’s wrong. This is why I built the club, to let young-

gone on to play Division I college golf. Wisler is responsible

sters have access to the game.” Nicklaus is an endorser of

for the welcoming atmosphere for the club’s younger mem-

SNAG, which is used in the Jack Nicklaus Learning

bers and helps to promote family golf.

Leagues. You’ll find the pros and assistants using SNAG on

Baird, whose son, Brick, and daughter, Balen, take part in the game, says he and

the range and employing the U.S. Kids tee


his wife, Amanda, enjoy the family atmos-

A tough pitch to the sixth green.

phere of the club. “We come out and putt


sometimes, then go have a milkshake,” Baird says. “The junior program is phenomenal. They’ve been using SNAG [Starting New at Golf] for the past twelve years. One day a few years ago I had Brick with me, and we were waiting for some groups in the Saturday game to tee off. We were hanging around a bunker near the practice

club-fitting program. In addition, the club’s Legacy Program

(Clockwise from upper left) Eight-time club champion Ric Baird; the classic clock tower; member Dr. Ken Westerheide; Chief Operating Officer Nicholas LaRocca; member Tom Welker. FOLLOWING PAGES:

The par-3 12th hole; a statue commissioned by the city of Dublin, Ohio, to recognize Jack’s dedication to junior golf.

area. Brick had gotten bored with the golf,

marker system on the course as well as its

allows a son or daughter of a member to join outright at a reduced rate after they turn twenty-three. “We’re building for the future,” says General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Nicholas LaRocca, who comes from a long tradition of club management, having grown up at Oakmont in Pennsylvania, where his father, Pasquale (Pat) LaRocca, was the general manager for

so he started using the bunker as a sand box. Wouldn’t you

seventeen years before being recruited by Nicklaus to run

know that the next person to drive by in a golf cart was

Muirfield Village in 1997. (When he left for Muirfield Vil-

Jack Nicklaus? I was trying to apologize to Jack, but he said,

lage, the Oakmont members granted Pat an honorary


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A Golden Eighteen

membership; only one other person at that time had been

the Muirfield Village clubhouse. He had eleven months to

so honored: Arnold Palmer.) Nicholas started as an intern

complete the project and got it done just before the 2013

that same year, and later served as assistant manager for five

Memorial Tournament. “We had a deadline we couldn’t

years before becoming general manager in 2010. He has

change,” he says modestly. At the presentation ceremony

more stamina than the Energizer Bunny. He just keeps on

after Matt Kuchar holed a birdie putt on 18 to win by two,

going and going. In 2012-’13, he oversaw the renovation of

Nicklaus sang LaRocca’s praises for getting the clubhouse


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finished. And speaking at a press conference to kick off the

phers depicting many of Nicklaus’ magical moments in

Tournament, Nicklaus noted the idea for the renovation

championship golf. And sculptures and replicas of various

project came from one of his best friends, Columbus de-

types of bears adorn several of the rooms. The pictures,

veloper Jack Lucks. “He told me, ‘You’ve got a great golf

paintings, lighting fixtures, furniture, and other decorations

course but, you’ve also got a 1970s, California ranch-style clubhouse that doesn’t fit now or in the future,’ ” Nicklaus said. “We decided on a more timeless architectural style for the building overlooking Muirfield’s 18th hole.” The result was a fifteen-thousand-squarefoot expansion and overhaul of the club-

(Clockwise from upper left) Head Golf Professional Larry Dornisch, PGA; Director of Grounds Operations Paul B. Latshaw, CGCS, MSM; playing the course with caddies; Assistant Golf Professional Joe Wisler.

house, including twenty-four-thousand square feet of suites that connects it to the club’s Pavilion and a six-thousand-squarefoot fitness center. Barbara Nicklaus oversaw

are at once tasteful yet bold and are consis-


tently representative of Jack’s legacy and his dedication to the highest standards, from the way he played to the way he prepared his game for competition. Says LaRocca: “Two years ago, the entire practice facility was renovated. We added seven target greens that can convert to a par-


Matt Kuchar birdies the final hole in winning the 2013 Memorial Tournament.

3 course. They’re so good you can actually putt on them. We added nine miles of drainage. We created a new short-game area

all of the interior design work, just as she did at The Bear’s

with all chipping and pitching options.” Indeed, the driving

Club in Jupiter, Florida. Throughout the spacious club-

area is a 180-degree semi-circle so you can hit shots into the

house, there are images from great artists and photogra-

wind or away from the sun at any time of day. The range


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Muirfield Village Golf Club

balls are premium Nicklaus Golf Balls, and the mowing

cook and love to make people smile,” says Demeter. He

heights are consistent with the golf course. “It’s the little

strives to work with local producers and farmers, always

things the club does that make a difference,” LaRocca says,

looking for in-season fruits and vegetables. “I make rela-

“and we wanted to match that status with the new club-

tionships with local vendors, so I get great products and

house.” No attention to detail was left to chance. LaRocca

great service,” he says. Demeter’s signature dishes are in-

recounts that when the original clubhouse was built, they

fluenced by Nicklaus: Rib-eye steaks and New York strips

put Nicklaus in a cherry picker

are the best in the state, and

and raised him up to the perfect

you’ll always find liver and

elevation so he would be able to

onions (one of Jack’s favorites)

see golfers walking off the 18th

on the menu. The Cracker-

green. Then they made the main

crusted Lake Erie Walleye is also

dining room floor that height.

a popular entrée. Demeter

During the renovation, they

makes a number of dessert

maintained that height. “It was

items from scratch, including

all about seeing the golfers come

tapioca pudding and crème

off the 18th,” LaRocca says.

brûlée. “We even make our own

With his boundless energy,

strawberry jam,” he says. A sta-

LaRocca is eager to take his

ple at Muirfield Village, which

guest on a tour of the club-

has been copied at other top-

house. It starts in the Captains’

end clubs, is the premium milk-

Grill, where there are photo-

shake. But you can’t get the

graphs along one wall of the

Buckeye flavor (a combination

twenty honorary captains of the

of peanut butter and chocolate)

club, including some of the

anywhere else. There are eleven

biggest names in golf. Here’s where you can get a full

other flavors (including Snickers, M&Ms, and Twix) avail-

breakfast or lunch, either buffet style or made-to-order

able, which have become legendary among the Tour play-

from off the menu. The view, through large plate-glass

ers. You can also find these, as well as a complete sandwich

windows, overlooks the 18th green, practice green, and the

and drink menu, at the halfway house, located in a build-

Memorial Park. Next you venture through the new mixed

ing on a small island just off the ninth green and below

grill, previously the formal dining room. This main dining

the 10th tee.

room was redesigned to include an informal bar area where you can have a drink or a casual meal in front of an open kitchen in keeping with today’s more modern and trendy restaurants. From there it’s a short walk to

Pavilion is available for banquets and the Wine Room for small, intimate dining for

ing the Memorial Tournament—Jack’s


Clockwise from top left: The wine room adjacent to the mixed grill; the lobby in the fitness center; Executive Chef Stephen Demeter.

the Founders Room, which is reserved for private dining and small functions. The

Whether the club is catering to the Tour players dur-

man—or simply making sure the members are well taken care of, you can be sure that Jack’s leadership is being fol-


At the porte-cochère of the clubhouse, the Stars and Stripes are flanked by flags representing Ohio and Muirfield Village Golf Club.

up to ten people.

son Jackie is the Tournament chair-

lowed. Says Ric Baird, whose father Rick has been a long-time member: “We are one of several generations of families at Muirfield Village. It’s a tremendous priv-

Nick Smithson, director of dining operations, and

ilege to be able to enjoy this club and all it has to offer. It

Executive Chef Stephen Demeter work closely together to

doesn’t get any better than this.”

give the membership great dining experiences. “I like to

Without a doubt, the other members would agree.


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RED LEDGES Heber City, Utah

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A Golden Eighteen

Spectacular Golf Among the Wasatch Mountains


HE STORY OF RED LEDGES, a beautiful golf club development within view of Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch

Range, is the story of a self-made businessman who ultimately followed his dreams. M. Anthony (Tony) Burns could just as easily have spent his entire life washing big rigs and filling them with diesel fuel in the middle of Nevada. Unless you work in the nearby casinos, that’s what a lot of young men do when they grow up in the truck-stop town of Mesquite, among the tumbleweeds and dusty highways of the desert an hour northeast of Las Vegas. But not Tony Burns. Fortunately, he had a coach in high school who said, “Son, you need to go to college,” and Burns listened. He attended Dixie College (now Dixie State University) in St. George, Utah, on a $100 baseball scholarship, and then moved on to get his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in 1964. From there he went to the University of California Berkeley, where he earned his MBA. Over the next four decades he became one of the most successful—and influential—business leaders in the country, first as the controller of North America for Mobil Oil, then as the president and CEO (and later chairman of the board) of Ryder Systems, bringing the company from five-hundred million dollars in revenue to more than five billion dollars when he retired in 2002. And although Burns retired

and near Heber City. For thirty-

from Ryder Systems, he did not

three years he accumulated

retire from leading the most

property there—twenty-seven

productive life possible. In addi-


tion to serving on numerous

ended up with two thousand

boards, such as for J.P. Morgan

contiguous acres. But before

Chase, and heading various

taking the plunge into launch-

philanthropic efforts, such as

ing the Red Ledges develop-

the United Way, he decided to

ment, he felt he needed a

fulfill a lifelong quest and build

business partner. He turned to

his own golf course. That’s when

an old Dixie College friend,


he returned to his roots, back to the West,


Nolan Archibald. While Burns played base-

and to the mountains of Utah. While at

The dramatic view of Mount Timpanogos from the ninth tee.

ball at Dixie, Archibald starred on the

Dixie, Burns had met his wife of fifty-one years, Joyce Jordan, who was a rodeo queen in 1956 in the small town of Heber City, near Salt Lake City. Her family owned hundreds of acres in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. And over the years, whenever he had


Sunrise glints upon the 11,752-foot-high peaks of Mount Timpanogos. OPPOSITE:

Member Bill O’Brien plays the par-3 ninth hole.

the opportunity, instead of investing in com-

school’s basketball team, later became an academic All-American at Weber State University playing for Dick Motta, tried out with the Chicago Bulls, and eventually received offers to play professionally. But Archibald opted for a career in business, earning an MBA from Harvard, and he went on to become

panies or mutual funds or gold, he bought land—near Las

president and CEO of Black & Decker. (He’s now executive

Vegas, Mesquite, Miami (where he lives and has an office),

chairman of the Board of Stanley Black & Decker.) Burns


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A Golden Eighteen

and Archibald became business partners and are co-owners

create a reservoir. So it dammed part of the Provo River, and

of Red Ledges. “We couldn’t have picked a more challenging

named the body of water it created the Jordanelle Reservoir.

time to launch in 2007, right before the real-estate crash,”

The dam was controversial at the time, but the resulting

Archibald says. “But we survived it. We’re the only major de-

recreational benefit is undeniable, including marinas for

velopment in the area that has not defaulted on anything.”

boating and a state park that attracts visitors from around

One look at the setting for Red Ledges, in the commu-

the state. It also enhances the Heber City region, something

nity of Heber City, and you understand the attraction of

not lost on Nolan Archibald and Tony Burns.

this part of the country. The terrain is vast and open, the

Mitchel Burns describes how a few years later his fa-

tops of the mountains often snow-covered through the

ther recruited Jack Nicklaus to design the Red Ledges golf

summer, and the valleys are green

course. “My dad had met Jack

and verdant with hardwood trees and

through the Doral-Ryder Open

running streams. Plus, it’s less than

[which Ryder sponsored for almost

forty minutes, all on excellent roads,

two decades in Miami].” And then

from the major international airport

smiling he adds, “At the drawing for

that serves not only Salt Lake City, but

the pro-am pairings, my father

such thriving towns as Ogden, Provo,

pulled Jack’s name sixteen years in a

and Orem. It’s an ideal location for a

row.” What a coincidence. Clearly,

high-end, all-inclusive, golf and real-

Burns and Nicklaus got to know

estate development. Burns clearly

each other well. “We interviewed and

loves this land, and therefore has fo-

scrutinized two or three other top

cused not just on a golf course or a

designers for Red Ledges,” Tony says,

housing development, but also on a

“but we liked Jack because, first, we

total outdoor lifestyle. The $150 mil-

trusted him, and second, his plan

lion investment he and Archibald made includes four hun-

called for moving less dirt than the other routings, and

dred acres of open space for hiking and horseback

his layout worked more with the existing terrain. It turned

riding—a conservation area that will never be developed.

out just great.” Tony Burns stresses that Nicklaus came to

Says Burns’ son, Mitchel, who is the chief operating of-

the site many times before and during construction. “He

ficer of Red Ledges: “We’ll take our time with this develop-

gave me great insight on a professional and personal level.

ment, because we want to do it right. We want to make sure

Jack’s the best. He never forgot us.”

it’s sustainable. We’re not the type of developer that builds

For example, the night before the opening round for

a place and then moves on. We have a vested, family interest

Red Ledges, Nicklaus spoke to invited dinner guests about

in this property. My father bought about half the land from

the vision for the development and why it is so special.

my aunt, my mother’s sister, Phyllis Christensen.” Adds Tony

One reason: It was the two-hundredth Nicklaus-designed

Burns: “Not only did we put aside four-hundred acres in the

course to open in the United States. The next day, July 4,

preserve that will never be touched, we also have allowed for

2009, as he and Tony Burns teed off on the course’s inau-

four-hundred to five-hundred acres between the home sites,

gural round, they were joined by such notables as Johnny

each of which averages about three-quarters of an acre.” The

Miller, Billy Casper, Jim McLean, and Cliff Drysdale, all of

Jordan name is familiar to local residents. Joyce Jordan’s fa-

whom are personal friends of Tony’s. “Relationships are

ther owned a major livestock ranch in the area, the Jor-

everything,” Burns says. “I had gotten to know Johnny, who

danelle, the name derived from the combination of the

is now a member and lives only five minutes away, from

family name and the “lazy L” brand. In 1992 the Bureau of

the last three years of the Doral-Ryder Open that were tel-

Reclamation decided to take over the land the ranch occu-

evised by NBC. I had become close friends with Jim from

pied, in addition to the towns of Keetley and Hailstone, and

his McLean Golf Schools at Doral. Ryder sponsored Billy


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Red Ledges Country Club

on the senior Tour for years. And Cliff has been based in

Often you’ll see teams of horses, riders accompanying

the Miami area for more than three decades. Of course, he

them, grazing on top of those ledges—highlighted by a

and Jack are long-time tennis buddies.”

reddish iron-ore hue—which is the focal point from just about anywhere on the course.

The golf course, the first of three pillars

That was the intent of Nicklaus the designer. “Red

ADDS MITCHEL BURNS: “We like to say we offer the Big 3

Ledges is a beautiful piece of property centered around

to our members: The Jim McLean Golf School, the Cliff

those ledges,” he says. “I wanted the golfer to play back to

Drysdale Tennis program, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature

that central area, so to do that I routed the golf course

Golf Course.” Indeed, the golf course is an incredible ex-

through the juniper-lined canyons.” Six years after con-

perience, starting right from the highly elevated first tee,

struction was started, Jack likes the way the course turned

which beckons you to look down about three-hundred feet

out, as do the major golf publications. Golf Magazine

into the fairway, the green off to the far right,

ranked it the country’s “Best New Private” OPPOSITE:

the valley and Wasatch Mountains in the distance. You feel you could drive the ball forever from that tee, maybe even drive the par-4 green. But it’s just an illusion. Much of the golf course is like that. Most holes, in keeping with Jack’s general philosophy of playing

course in 2009. And Golfweek has ranked it the

Jim McLean’s top-ranked golf school is housed at Red Ledges.

“It’s a strong golf course, and certainly it wasn’t easy working through the native prop-


The par-4 eighth hole plays uphill toward the sandstone Red Ledges.

downhill, go from a high teeing ground to a

best course in Utah for three straight surveys.

erty,” Nicklaus says. “We made the fairways as wide as we could, given the terrain. It’s a good and fun test of golf, and the owners, Tony

fairway or green that sits in a valley. There are very few

Burns and Nolan Archibald, have done a great job with it.”

blind shots on the course. It’s just the golfer, the ball, the

To Nicklaus, fun means playable, and the Golden

fairway, the green, the hazards, and possibly the backdrop

Bear gives every level of golfer a chance to score well and

of the Wasatch Mountains or the red ledges themselves.

have a good time, as long as they play the correct set of


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A Golden Eighteen

tees, he stresses. There are very few forced carries, and

of the green. So if you carry a shot over that bunker you’ll

most greens allow you to run the ball on. The course

get a very predictable result, and if you hit it left of the

measures 7,653 yards from the championship markers

bunker you’ll get a little bit of a run-in to the green, which

down to less than 5,000 from the forward tees.

creates a lot of variety.”

Nicklaus is proud of the second hole in particular, a long dogleg-left par 4 that requires you to use your head. “You have a tee shot over two bunkers out there that give you a classic risk-reward decision,” Jack says. “You can try to carry those bunkers for an easier approach, or you might want to play this as a three-shot hole, hitting a more conservative drive and

Working back into the mountains, the


A ravine across the par-5 16th hole offers two options to get to the green. OPPOSITE:

Horseback riders trace the ridgelines of Red Ledges, pausing to take in the view of Mount Timpanogos.

leaving your second shot out to the right of the green. Then

second nine offers even more gorgeous views and strong holes, particularly the par-5 16th. “A ravine crosses the hole, giving you an option,” Nicklaus says. “You can take it up the right side, requiring you to hit two strong shots to set up an aggressive approach. Or you can take it across the left and work your

way in more safely.”

you have some problems around the green that you’ll have to deal with. I really like the setting of the second hole.”

The other two pillars . . .

Nicklaus says the boulder work you see around some

THE SECOND PILLAR of Red Ledges is the Jim McLean

of the tees is not cosmetic. “We did that to stabilize the

Golf School, one of only ten across the country. One of

tees,” Jack says. The highly elevated first tee is a case in

McLean’s top school instructors, Jon Paupore, was re-

point. So is the tee shot on the par-3 ninth hole, which sits

cently named Red Ledges Head golf professional, and Golf

atop some huge rocks that give you a great view of the red

Digest has ranked him the number one teacher in Utah.

ledges themselves. “I didn’t have the heart to take out the

Paupore points out that while the club is private and the

large tree in front of the right side of the green on nine, so

community is gated, the Jim McLean Golf School is open

there is some mystery to that tee shot,” he says. “I put a

to the public. The McLean school in the summer features

little bunker by that tree and then set up a slot to the left

a full driving range, short-game area, and putting green.


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So You Want to be a Cowboy Poet? ONE OF THE MOST ENTERTAINING non-golf activities

who like Cowboys, and Cowboys who like Utah.” The

available to members of the Red Ledges development

subject matter these poets write about usually covers

is not the skiing, not the hiking, not the mountain bik-

horses, cows, bulls, rodeos, little dogies, campfires, bro-

ing, and not the fly-fishing. It’s something completely

ken hearts, saddle sores, six-shooters, spurs, chaps, al-

different, yet indigenous to the area: Cowboy Poetry.

ways a favorite dog, and never golf.

Every year Heber City hosts one of the largest Cowboy

Baxter Black, also a large-animal veterinarian

Poetry events in the country, attracting interested

(which comes in handy in this part of the country), is

onlookers from all around the Salt Lake City area. And

the consummate Cowboy Poet and has sold more than

it lasts for four days.

one million copies of his books and videos. You can also

The Heber Valley Cowboy Gathering and Bucka-

find him on YouTube reciting his short stories, poems,

roo Fair, as it’s called, features such celebrity Cowboy

and one-liners. Here’s a short excerpt from a Baxter

Poets as Baxter Black (from NPR fame), Waddie

Black poem called “Cowboy Is His Name” (try to put his

Mitchell, Sons of the San Joaquin, and the Bar J Wran-

Western twang in your head as you read):

glers. From late October to early November, guests are treated to a nonstop menu of poetry and entertain-

All the miles spent sleep drivin’

ment, including Western music, arts and crafts, a

All the money down the drain,

Mountain Man camp, cowboy church and, of course,

All the “if I’s” and “nearly’s”

some genuine Cowboy Poetry guaranteed to make you

All the bandages and pain.

laugh and make you cry. Here is an example of the type of humor you’ll find

All the female tears left dryin’

in Cowboy Poetry: The Utah Cowboy Poets organiza-

All the fever and the fight,

tion says it caters to: “Utah Cowboy Poets, Cowboy

Are just a small down payment

Poets who like Utah, Cowboys who like poets, Utahans

On the ride he makes tonight . . .

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A Golden Eighteen

When the snow hits in the winter, the indoor Jim McLean

from a selection of indoor and outdoor lighted courts of

Learning Center at the Club is equipped with a state-of-

two surfaces—hard and clay—and enjoy private lessons,

the-art course simulator, a TrackMan Launch Monitor

group clinics, community tournaments and international

measurement system, and the latest JC Video Golf Swing

exhibitions, in a picturesque setting.

Analysis Software. Students can work on their games in the off-season, and even play eighteen holes of simulated

Don’t forget the horses and skiing . . .

golf while two video cameras record each swing for analy-

AND THEN THERE is horseback riding. The equestrian

sis by an instructor.

center is one of the most impressive this side of Ireland.

Paupore runs a complete golf program, attended to

Run by Brenda Metzger, who is a Red Ledges member (she

by five assistants. It starts with a beautifully stocked pro

and her husband own a home site and plan to build their

shop. There are only two

dream home), the stables

courses in all of Utah that have

house up to twenty horses.

full caddie programs. Caddies

Some are owned and boarded

here need to be reserved ahead

by members; others are leased.

of time, but they’re always

And the stables are open to the

available and knowledgeable.

public. Metzger, full of bound-

They are usually ski instruc-

less energy, has been a “horse

tors or members of the ski pa-

person” since age fourteen.

trol by winter, caddies by

She started a high-tech soft-

summer. You’ll never get lost

ware company in Silicon Val-

with one of these able-bodied

ley, but grew tired of the office

souls, and if you were to get

environment and decided to

injured on the far side of the

move to Utah eight years ago.

course, you would be in good

“We take every rider to see our

hands. The golf staff is also

360-degree view from the top

committed to a strong junior

of the red ledges,” she says.

program as well as running a

“We do all kinds of rides, from

full range of tournaments

half day, to full day to

throughout the season.

overnight. We even do chuck-

The third pillar is the Cliff Drysdale Tennis program, run by the legendary



The Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains rises over the par-4 18th hole.



points out that a number of kids and grandkids hang out


player, commentator


Chief Operating Officer Mitchel Burns.

at the stables for the summer.


“They learn Horsemanship

teacher who is recognized for his work at ABC Sports, ESPN, and TENNIS Magazine. He won thirty-five singles and twenty-four doubles titles in a stellar career. The

(Clockwise from upper left) Member Chris Maddox and family on the 14th hole; grouse are a common sight at Red Ledges; in addition to golf, Red Ledges offers an exceptional equestrian program; member Jim Maltman walking the course at Red Ledges; Who’s spotting whom? Mule deer coexist with golfers at Red Ledges.

101: responsibility, discipline, compassion, self-respect, trust, sportsmanship, and how to get along with others,” she says. “You learn to be an honest person with your horse.”

Drysdale Academy has fifteen sites around the country. Drysdale brings a world-class

One of the members who joined mainly because of the

reputation to Red Ledges and establishes the community

equestrian center is Adrienne Gingras, who with her hus-

as a destination for avid tennis players. Members choose

band, Eric, moved from the Washington, D.C., area and


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A Golden Eighteen

built their retirement home ten years before they planned

he says. “The Uinta National Forest is so vast, you don’t

to retire. Eric worked in marketing and sales for Rubber-

see other people. We just love it here. We feel like we’re in

maid, and then started his own business. Adrienne spent

paradise. The skiing’s great, and we love to take the back

twenty-five years in healthcare information technology and

pass to see the Aspens.”

now works for Intermountain Healthcare. “Eric is a serious

The Fierys also participate regularly in some of the

skier, but I grew up riding horses,” Adrienne says. She qual-

outdoor excursions organized by Activities Coordinator

ified for the National Futurity at age sixteen. “In 2009 we

Stephanie Potempa, who seems to have a personal relation-

came out to Utah on a ski trip. One afternoon, Eric was ski-

ship with every member of the club. One day she leads a

ing and I took a drive down I-80. I hit Route 40 and every-

group on a mountain bike trek into the Wasatch Range, the

thing was snow-covered. I came around the Jordanelle

next day she’s organizing an outdoor photography class,

Bend and found this unbelievable valley. Red Ledges was

and the following day she’s promoting Cowboy Poetry. This

just starting; there was only a sign.”

is a huge event, attracting thousands of people from all over

The next summer they returned to the Park City area.

the area (see sidebar). Potempa, originally from North Car-

“We were looking for a sanctuary, but something close to

olina’s Outer Banks, came to Utah to get away from the cor-

a major airport because we need to be able to travel easily,” Eric says. “We did some searching with Karen Curtis, our realtor,” Adrienne continues, “and we told her we were not buying today. Three hours later we were writing a check.” The Gingrases sold their home in Virginia and now own a beautiful home at Red Ledges, designed by the architect Kevin Price and built by Jay Shotwell. (Residents are allowed to select homes from several ap-

porate world (she held a public relations job


Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage Daniel Thompson; mountain living at Red Ledges; Chef Daniel’s famed Steak and Waffles from Juniper Grill: a caramelized onion and chive waffle, roasted acorn squash, and filet of beef in a port wine reduction; The Davis Cottage at Red Ledges.

proved builders or custom-build themselves.)

in Charleston, South Carolina). “I packed up the U-Haul and drove out here, arriving January 3rd, 2000,” she says. “I wasn’t even a skier then.” She met her future husband on the slopes, and never looked back. Her list of member activities is seemingly endless: Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, poker night, cooking classes (with Executive Chef Daniel Thompson), paddle board yoga, painting classes with local artists,

The Fierys, Dr. Mike and Ann, tell a similar story. Mike,

horseback riding, pumpkin carving, and trips to the

an ophthalmologist, sold his business in Huntington, West

rodeo and the demolition derby. She organizes the club’s

Virginia, and retired in late 2012. Ann’s brother lives in Park

Fourth of July celebration, which attracts more than four-

City, which drew them to the area. “We knew we wanted to

hundred-fifty people and features a carnival atmosphere

move out West, but weren’t sure where,” Ann says. “We were

complete with magicians and performers on stilts. Twice a

out here on vacation and stayed in the Red Ledges cottage.

week in the winter she organizes ski trips, taking advantage

Within twenty-four hours, we bought a home site.” That

of the club’s relationship with two on-mountain private

seems to be a trend here. When people visit, the sunsets

clubs at Deer Valley, only fifteen minutes away.

and vistas, coupled with the beauty of the golf course, is hard to ignore. But it’s not always about the golf. (The

A practical clubhouse for tomorrow’s generation

Fierys don’t even play.) “There are so many activities,

JOHN JOHNSON, Red Ledges’ general manager who is also

which is great for meeting people,” Mike Fiery says. “We

a PGA professional, details the future state of the golf

didn’t retire for golf. We walk the property with our Ger-

course as well as the membership and the clubhouse, sched-

man short-haired pointers, and the Uinta National Forest

uled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2014. “While

is only fifteen minutes up the road.” That’s important to

this is one of the country’s last super-expensive courses to

Mike, who enjoys bird hunting, hiking, and skiing. They

build, north of $20 million, we are planning a somewhat

often undertake day trips, including hiking in St. George,

smaller-scale clubhouse than what you might find ten or

less than four hours away. “This is big country out here,”

fifteen years ago,” he says. “We’ve designed something that


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A Golden Eighteen

places function over form, and practicality over grandeur.

Nicklaus’ overall and unsurpassed standard of excellence.”

But it will be very impressive, with a full pool and fitness

Johnson notes that Nicklaus has been back a few times

area, as well as fine dining overlooking the course.” Near

to make tweaks to some of the holes. “For example, he re-

the clubhouse there will be several 1,800- to 2,800-square-

worked the greens on 10, 12, and 15 and added shorter tees

foot, single-floor club cabins, stay-and-play units for mem-

to Nos. 2, 11, and 12,” he says. “These changes are designed

bers and their families or guests. Johnson says about

to make the course even more playable.” Jack also likes to

one-third of the members are primary residents, one-third

keep the fairways tight and firm, under the management of

are weekend home owners from Salt Lake, Provo, and

Head Superintendent Pat Christoffer. It’s his responsibility

Ogden, and one-third are vacation visitors. Says Tony

to keep the course in pristine condition throughout the

Burns: “People want more intimate clubhouses in this day

spring, summer, and fall. Originally from north of Seattle

and age. But ours will be a tremendous asset to our com-

and with a bachelor of science and a masters degree in

munity and will be built in harmony with the natural

agronomy and turfgrass from Washington State University,

beauty, rich history, and multitude of recreation opportu-

Christoffer handles his immense responsibility with a dry

nities within and surrounding Red Ledges.” On the recom-

sense of humor. “I have a horrible dog and a great wife,” he

mendation of Nicklaus, the clubhouse is being designed by

says when asked about the long hours he keeps. (He’s on the

Z Design Group, a world-renowned architecture firm based

job at 5 a.m. every day; his wife, Sarah, runs the HOA land-

in Boulder, Colorado. Z Design has created luxury club-

scaping for the club). Christoffer keeps the A-1 Creeping

houses throughout the world, including the Four Seasons

Bentgrass greens smooth by cutting them at 1/8 of an inch

Resort Hotel in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic; the

and rolling them often, while refusing to cite Stimpmeter

Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, UAE; and the Royal Palms

measurements. “We have lots of undulations, so I maintain

Golf Club, Mumbai, India. “This clubhouse will mirror Red

them at a fair pace for everybody,” he says. The greens have

Ledges’ vision based on quality materials, craftsmanship,

never been aerated, to the delight of the members. “We use

and design excellence,” Johnson says, “in keeping with

sand to manage thatch,” he says. The fairways and tees are


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Red Ledges Country Club


Seaside II Creeping Bent mowed at 2/5

of my seafood is wild.” Almost everything Thompson con-

Members, from left: Mitchel and Annica Burns, Andy and Amy Madsen, and Cathy and John Boruch.

of an inch. The Kentucky Bluegrass

cocts is made from scratch, including his salad dressings,

rough is mowed at two inches (there is

aiolis, pickles, all the sauces. “Nothing comes from a jar,”

no intermediate rough). The bunkers

he says. One of his choice dishes is Steak and Waffles with


contain white sand from Emmett,

roasted acorn squash in a port wine reduction. It features

The sun casts long shadows across the par-3 15th hole.

Idaho. “It’s a free-flowing, more natural

caramelized onion-and-chive waffles combined with a

sand,” he says. “We are Audubon Inter-

succulent tenderloin.

national members, but we do even more than that. If we can

Thompson is also in charge of the bar and drink

reduce our inputs, it’s safer for the environment and the

menu. A club specialty is the mint and cucumber gin and

people applying them. It’s a win-win.”

tonic (made with Hendricks gin). One of the most popular

A similar philosophy is shared by Executive Chef

beers is from the Petaluma, California, Lagunitas Brewery.

Daniel Thompson, who is also director of food and bev-

Called “A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale,” it is a wheat beer

erage. He was born and raised in Panama City, Florida,

that has been dry-hopped. “It has a fantastic, popular,

where at age fifteen he started learning the business in a

unique taste,” Thompson says.

small Italian restaurant. He worked his way up through

Members John and Laurie Sheehan are big fans of

the ranks in the northwest Florida communities of Sandes-

Chef Thompson’s menus. They lived all over the world

tin and Panama City Beach before going west, still as a

and know a thing or two about fine dining, as well as Navy

young man, landing in Utah. “My cooking philosophy is

food. They met on a Navy aircraft carrier: John was a

golf-driven and natural,” he says. “I have no real theme,

flight officer, Laurie a pilot. Later, John became a naval at-

just wholesome, delicious food. I’ve built the menu with a

taché (military advisor), based for six years in Mexico City

local bakery. I use hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. Most

then in Canberra, Australia. Laurie flew for seventeen


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A Golden Eighteen

years, including in the first Gulf War, and was the first

tennis team at Loyola Marymount University in California.

woman to land a plane on an aircraft carrier at night.

“The Cliff Drysdale tennis program drew us here, including

“Now I’m flying the desk,” she smiles. Both are keen

the Har-Tru courts,” Chris says. “It’s the first time we’ve

golfers (John carries a 7.3 Handicap Index; Laurie, a 38,

lived in a gated community, and we had some trepidation

is working on her game with Jon Paupore

about that,” Laurie says. “But we love all the

and is improving fast). They bought a home


activities. I’m an active person, and there are

site in November 2009 and plan to start

The juniper-lined canyons surrounding the par-4 third hole.

so many things to do here. The hiking is un-

building soon. “Now that I’m in retirement,”


believable. You don’t need trails. We have

John says, “we’re spending a lot of time with

A view of the par-4 12th hole.

such great wildlife. Even bald eagles.” The Von

our kids. Golf is a big part of our life—we


der Ahes just downsized within Red Ledges.

can even play as a family of five. They let us

(from left) Head Golf Professional Jon Paupore; Golf Course Superintendent Pat Christoffer with his faithful companion, Bessie; Mount Timpanogos awaits a new blanket of snow.

“From our previous house [4,800 square feet]

do that here, which is nice.” Each of their children—Elaine, Christine, and Jack—has gone through the McLean program. “We came to visit for the skiing, but we ended up staying for the summer,” Laurie says. “We’re

we had views of Cascade Peak, the back of the Wasatch, and the back of Deer Valley. Our new house [3,500 square feet] is right on the fourth hole, a par 3,” Chris says. “Our typical day in the summer is like this: Start with a

really glad we did.”

tennis clinic, then have lunch, complete a workout, do laps

Members Chris and Laurie Von der Ahe share the sen-

in the pool, take a shower, sneak in a few holes, maybe do

timent. They bought a home site in 2011 and finished their

some mountain biking on Park City’s world-class trails.

home a year later. Chris’ grandfather, Wilfred Von der Ahe,

Then we go into Heber City, a real town, for dinner. It does-

started the famous Vons grocery store chain in Southern

n’t get much better than that.” It’s safe to say, the other

California and Las Vegas. Their son, Nick, is captain of the

members at Red Ledges would agree.


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A Golden Eighteen

Skiing in the Morning and Golf in the Afternoon


HERE ARE NOT MANY PLACES in the world where you can ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon, but

the Country Club of the Rockies, near Vail, Colorado, is one of them. With skis in tow and boots at the ready, you can leave your car in the clubhouse parking lot, or walk over from your house or condo if you live within the adjoining Arrowhead Community, and in minutes be whisked up the high-speed chairlift to the world-famous and luxurious Beaver Creek ski slopes. Then after a morning cutting trails in fresh powder or wearing yourself out on the mogul runs or sticking to the well-groomed, more moderate slopes, you can return to the clubhouse, have a bite of lunch on the deck of the club’s Vista Restaurant, then tee it up for an afternoon 18. Sound too good to be true? Well, that lifestyle is a re-

it gets.” Sterett’s opinions are credible. A scratch golfer, he

ality, at least at certain times of the year and under ideal

played on the varsity team for the University of San Diego

weather, but only if your legs can hold up.

in La Jolla—their home course was Torrey Pines—before

Long-time member Dr. Bill Sterett, a specialist in

graduating from medical school at the University of Cali-

complex knee and shoulder surgery at VailSummit Orthopaedics, has enjoyed this routine a number of times. He joined the Country Club of the Rockies in 1996 and built a home in the Arrowhead development, where he raised two boys, now twenty-one and seventeen. “You’re at the base of one of the best ski slopes in the world,” Sterett says.

fornia-Davis. Over the years, some of Sterett’s PREVIOUS PAGES:

The par-4 ninth green; the Eagle River runs alongside the picturesque 12th green. ABOVE: The entry sign to Country Club of the Rockies. OPPOSITE:

Putting on the 12th green.

“And to be able to combine that with one of

more prominent patients have included Kobe Bryant, Greg Norman, and Vail resident and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn. “One of the things I like best about the golf course is that it’s relatively flat,” Sterett says. “It’s not built on the side of a hill, like so many mountain courses. It’s probably the best piece of golf course property in all of Col-

the best golf courses in the country [he neglected to say a

orado. Nicklaus gives you room to drive the ball—it’s fun

Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course] is about as good as

off the tee. But the closer you get to the green, the harder


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A Golden Eighteen

the course gets.” Nicklaus, by the way, agrees with this gen-

professional who played varsity golf for Penn State, first

eral assessment. “The course is really built in a valley, with

came to the Vail Valley in the early 1970s as an assistant pro-

beautiful mountain backdrops,” Jack says. “It’s pretty much

fessional at the public Vail Golf Club. He is an institution in

a flat site with the Eagle River providing

Vail golfing circles. He fell in love with

a lot of interest to the holes. I tried to

the area when he first arrived and never

let the river just meander through the

left. He’s so in tune with the game in the

design, especially in the early part of

Rockies that he even wrote his Masters

the back nine.”

thesis on high-altitude golf. He knows exactly how different elevations increase

First, a little Vail Valley history

the yardage of each shot depending on

BEFORE WE CAN truly understand what

your club and swing speed. Hint: the

the golf experience is like at the Country

slower your speed, the less affected your

Club of the Rockies and what it’s like to

shots will be. Apple and Tofferi have

be a member here, we need to learn how

seen golf grow exponentially in the area.

golf first came to the area and what it

“When I first came, there was only

means to the Vail Valley. For this, we

one 18-hole golf course between Vail

turn to two highly knowledgeable peo-

and Las Vegas,” Apple says. “Think of

ple: the club’s long-time Director of Golf

that. There were a few nine-hole courses

Tom Apple and Pentti Tofferi, a PGA professional who is the

dispersed in the mountains, but that was it. Then Eagle Vail

club’s general manager and COO and has been an expert

opened up [Apple became the head professional there],

ski instructor in the area for forty years. Apple, a PGA master

then Sonnenalp, Beaver Creek, then three full 18s and a


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Country Club of the Rockies

nine-holer at Cordillera, then Eagle


Springs, and Eagle Ranch.” Adds Tofferi:

The approach to the par-5 penultimate hole; members Sherry Smith and Cindy Parker.

“We evolved from one course to seventeen total in less than twenty years. So this whole valley really took to golf. People started coming to these public and resort courses to play golf and experience all the valley has to offer, but they said we would love a private club experience.” The original developer, Jen Wright, wanted to offer that. The site he settled on in the early ’80s

Also involved in the early days was tain Division, which trained during World War II at nearby Camp Hale in


(Clockwise from upper left) Elk herds have been known to appear as the snow melts and also can be found in the form of napkin rings in the dining room; tee markers bear the club’s insignia; the outdoor patio of the Fitzhugh Scott-designed clubhouse overlooks the ninth hole; “Scotch on the Rockies” uniform.

was originally a lettuce ranch. “He said,

Pete Seibert, a member of the 10th Moun-

Leadville. Says Tofferi: “He always wanted to start a ski resort in the area, and he knew the snow was great. He and another member of the 10th Mountain Division, Earl Eaton, basically founded Vail. When Seibert saw the back bowls around here, he knew this was it.” Wright and his group later sold the

‘we’re going to build the best course you can build,’ and

CC of the Rockies/Arrowhead project to the Houston-

then he contacted Nicklaus,” Apple says.

based Wedge Group, owned by Issam Fares, who later be-


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A Golden Eighteen

came the deputy prime minister of Lebanon from 2000-

private dining area and a special room for members only.

’05. There were half a dozen individuals involved, includ-

The restaurant features nightly piano music by local icon

ing skiing great Pepi Gramshammer, now eighty-one and

Micky Poage. He played at the Lodge in Vail for thirty-five

still a member, and his wife Sheika. They

years, and when they had a change of

own the Hotel-Gasthof Gramshammer in

management and Poage was told his serv-

the middle of the village. “He’s a legend

ices were no longer needed, CC of the

in Austria; people bow down to him over

Rockies grabbed him. “It was a huge coup

there when they hear his name,” Apple

for us,” Tofferi says. Nothing beats sitting

says. Seibert was also an avid golfer and a

out on the massive deck and gazing at the

good player and became the general man-

spectacular views while enjoying a drink

ager of CC of the Rockies. He and his son

or meal prepared by Vista Executive Chef

designed most of the runs at Arrowhead,

and Owner Mike Glennon, and listening

which eventually became connected to

to Poage’s soft piano, seven nights a week.

Beaver Creek. The club was sold to Vail

Glennon, in keeping with the Colorado

Resorts in the late ’80s, which owned it

Rockies theme, says he likes to keep his

until it was turned over to the members completely debt-

preparations local and basic. “That’s my cooking philoso-

free in 1992. It’s been member-owned ever since, and 100

phy,” he says. “All of the meats and fish are seasoned with

percent of the memberships are equity.

Kosher salt and black pepper. We use fresh fish and produce that is in season, and, if possible, locally grown.”

The CC of the Rockies experience

Glennon notes that many of his dishes are prepared with

FROM THE BEGINNING, the plan called for the restaurant

only five to eight ingredients to keep things simple. The

to be open to the public to greatly reduce the club’s food

Yellowfin Tuna is just one of his many signature dishes. He

and beverage costs, but The Vista Restaurant reserves a

starts with seared rare yellowfin tuna and adorns it with


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Country Club of the Rockies

Napa cabbage slaw, edamame, and pan-seared gnocchi,

“It had an unbelievable run,” Apple says. “It was the Who’s

then tops it off with a soy-ginger butter sauce. It’s very tasty

Who of Entertainment—top celebrities, politicians, and

as well as healthy.

fifty-five of the best Tour players. It was scheduled the

The grand but rustic clubhouse has a distinct Alpine

Monday after The INTERNATIONAL, so they would

feel, with high, rough-wood beams and a massive, boul-

come over from Castle Pines and play,

dered fireplace that includes an indoor waterfall to greet

raising well into the millions of dol-

arriving members and guests. Designed by Fitzhugh Scott,

lars for the Vail Valley Charities.”

an original architect in Vail, the clubhouse and its moun-

Apple notes that when people

tain feel is unforgettable. On several walls hang breathtak-

come to Vail they seek outdoor activ-

ing photographs of local wildlife, taken by Tofferi himself.

ities, whether it’s skiing, mountain

One in particular is of a native fox playfully jumping. Oth-

biking, hiking, kayaking, tennis, fly-

ers show mule deer and elk seemingly at peace on the

fishing, or horse-back riding. The CC

course and ignoring the golfers.

of the Rockies seeks to appeal to that


Arrowhead ski runs dissect the mountains overlooking the ninth and 18th holes. OPPOSITE:

The Eagle River rushes past the 12th green. ABOVE:

The 14th green was completely redesigned in the late 1990s.

President Gerald R. Ford was one of the club’s first

appetite. For example, there is a gold-

and most avid members, and the course played host to his

medal stream that the golf course

Jerry Ford Invitational Golf Tournament until 1996. He

plays over in four places, and the ponds are stocked with

was seen at the club nearly every day when he visited his

thousands of trout. “We have an area where members and

“summer White House” at Beaver Creek. Ford was always

their kids and grandkids can get introduced to skiing,”

extremely supportive of Bob Hope, Andy Williams, and

Apple says, “and another area where they can throw in

Dean Martin and the tournaments they hosted on the

some flies and learn fly-fishing. We have a lot more families

PGA Tour. So when he started his own event in 1977 (the

now—our junior golf program has really, really increased.

first one was won by Jack Nicklaus at the Eagle Vail and

“For the record, there are three-hundred-fifty members,

Vail Golf Clubs), the tournament was an instant success.

fully subscribed. Most will play between 8:30 and 10 a.m.


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A Golden Eighteen

There are tee times, but that is intended to give the staff—and members—flexibility. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Apple says. “You can be assured of getting out, but the first tee is never crowded.” The club doesn’t require members to take a caddie, but they are available on a reservation basis. Many members play in carts, but there are no walking restrictions—you can take a caddie or walk and

PREVIOUS PAGES: Putting on the eighth green; seasonal blooms and local wildlife are spotted on the golf course.

years Nicklaus had a house off of the 13th

ABOVE: Fly-fishing on the Eagle River is one of the many recreational activities at Country Club of the Rockies; walking up the fairway of the third hole.

hosted by a club that did not have thirty-six

hole, and his family spent holidays here.” In 1987, the club entertained the Jack Nicklaus Cup Matches, the last year it was holes. The teams loved it so much they wanted to come back. So the Vail International Pro-Am (VIPA) began in 1988. Now in its twenty-seventh year, it’s played in early September when the leaves are changing

carry your own bag, or push a cart. It’s a very walkable, playable course. “Jack didn’t have to circumvent

and the weather is perfect. The format: One member in-

huge changes in elevation,” Apple says. “For more than ten

vites a pro and two other members of another club that


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CC of the Rockies’ Legendary Member HIS NAME IS SANFORD TREAT, and he’s indeed a treat to

I love,” he says, “skiing came first because I started at age

be around. At age ninety, after walking a quick nine, Sandy

four in Lake Placid.”

Treat (as he’s known to everyone on the mountain) will

He became fluent in Spanish and French and spent

regale you with tales of his tour of duty during World War

thirty-five years working all over the world, including in

II, where he fought in the Italian Alps as part of the 10th

South America and Europe, getting an MBA in Geneva.

Mountain Division. He came to Vail in 1942 to train with

His first wife died of cancer and never saw Vail. He met

the division until he was deployed. The 10th was the only

his second wife, Barbara, in Canada, and virtually every-

Mountain Division to be activated during the war.

one in Vail knew her. (When she passed away, 575 people

“Fighting in the mountains is so different from

came to the services.) Sandy had two children and eight

learning to fight in the


flatlands,” Treat says. “Our

What does CC of

supporting troops in Italy

the Rockies mean to

once told us, ‘You fellas

Treat? First, the memory

moved so fast, we couldn’t

of Barbara, he says. She

keep up with you.’ So, un-


fortunately, they weren’t

work all morning, then

able to take advantage of

come to the club at

what we were doing. We

noon. She started taking

attributed that to the

lessons and became a

fabulous training we had

keen golfer, winning the

here in Vail.” Army plan-

handicap division of the

ners favored recruiting ex-

club championship five

perienced skiers for the

times and making a



unit instead of trying to train standing troops in moun-

hole-in-one twice, both times on No. 14, which requires a

tain warfare, so the soldiers were recruited from schools,

long carry over water. “I would play a lot with her, then I

universities, and ski clubs for the unit. Treat had starred

started playing with some of the older men members. We’d

on Dartmouth’s ski team, hence his arrival in the Rockies.

have a lot of fun, despite the fact some of them would take

“We were asked to do things that other organizations

it a little too seriously,” he says, chuckling. As an early pres-

couldn’t do because they weren’t trained like we were,” he

ident of the club, he oversaw the club’s renovation of most

says today, his mind crystal clear. The 10th Mountain Di-

of the greens in the 1990s. “We removed most of the

vision was fighting on extremely steep terrain and facing

thatch, and ever since they’ve been marvelous.”

a very experienced German army. “But we helped stop

Recently, Treat was awarded a medal for his continu-

Rommel’s troops that had come up from Africa, and these

ous work on improving Mexican-American relations. “I’m

fellas were tough cookies,” he says.

prouder of that medal than the hundreds I won skiing,” he

When the war was over, Treat returned to this side

says. He also was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of

of the Atlantic and held a number of jobs, the most sig-

Fame and raced until he was eighty-five. The altitude ad-

nificant of which was president of Alcan Canadian Prod-

versely affects most people his age, and they have to relocate

ucts, a subsidiary of Alcan Aluminum. Treat’s résumé

to lower elevations. But because of his training with the

goes way beyond that, however. He graduated from Dart-

10th Mountain Division and the fact that he continues to

mouth, majoring in history and languages, and he skied

walk when he plays golf and to accompany his dog through

as much as possible. “With all due respect to golf, which

the area’s hiking trails every day, he’s still going strong.


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A Golden Eighteen

he belongs to. There is one net and one gross competi-

A links-style course in a mountain environment

tion over three days, played at CC of the Rockies and two

IN PUTTING THE COURSE together and creating a playable

other courses in the Vail Valley. Some of the other clubs

routing, Nicklaus was mindful of creating tees for everyone,

represented each year include Mayacama, Jupiter Hills,

designated by wooden markers branded with the club’s in-

and Preston Trail. You get the idea. This is lofty com-

signia made of three arrows overlaid to look like a

pany. The club doesn’t do outings, like some have re-

snowflake. He was also aware of two factors: the prevailing

sorted to for revenue. But there

wind, and the altitude, which is

are Interclub events with two

about seven-thousand feet. The

other Nicklaus clubs in the

wind, he says, can whip through

area: Aspen Glen and Roaring

the valley, usually from one direc-

Fork Club, both in Aspen.

tion in the morning. “The plan

Women members feel right

was to route the longer holes to

at home here as well, and there

play with the prevailing wind

are several competitions and

[going from west to east] and the

events for them to choose from.

shorter holes into the wind,” he

The Vail Valley Interclub con-

says. “At least for the majority of

ducts five or six events through-

the time. But sometimes the wind

out the season, for example.

changes direction in the after-

Speaking of women at CC of the

noon, so you can’t always plan for

Rockies, a very important one is

it. But it’s basically a links-style

Tom Apple’s wife, Annie, who is

course in a mountain environ-

the buyer for the golf shop,

ment. Regarding the elevation, I

which is also open to the public.

always figure the ball traveling

Annie Apple takes great pride in

about 10 percent farther at five-

stocking lines of apparel that the women members would

thousand feet. Then I factor in another 2 percent for every

have difficulty finding elsewhere. An avid skier from Ever-

thousand feet.” Allowing for the altitude, the course plays

green, outside of Denver, she was a rep for a Canadian

up to 7,402 yards from the Tournament (green) tees. An-

company that was trying to get into the golf business when

other important design considera-

she met Tom. “The women members have changed a lot,”

tion that was incorporated several

she says. “They’ve gotten younger minded and sportier,

years after the course was opened

and the clothes have reflected that—they’ve gotten more

involved building a long berm to

fun, too.” For example, Apple has exclusives with two

hide Highway 6 that borders the

unique companies in particular: Daily of Sweden, which

lower end of the property. Mound-

is part of Cutler Sports, and LIJA, a Canadian line based

ing as high as twenty-five feet was

in Vancouver, which she points out features the kind of

created, mimicking some of the

clothes you can play golf in and then go right to lunch or

mountains and helping to shield

to another event. There is an active ladies program. On any

the road from view, whether you’re

given day, thirty to forty women participate. And there are

on the course or on the clubhouse

no restrictions by gender on tee times. Kelly Deimund, one

veranda or even in one of the

of five Class-A professionals at CC of the Rockies, teaches

homes looking down over the 140

many of the women. For the most part, they find the club

acres. The Berm Project, as it has

very playable, despite some challenging forced carries over

come to be called, was overseen by Head Superintendent

the Eagle River.

Kevin Ross, who has been on site since 1995. A graduate of



The “Birds of Prey” trophy commemorates the annual Men’s Member Guest tournament. OPPOSITE:

(Clockwise from upper left) The entryway into Vista Restaurant; Director of Golf Tom Apple; President Gerald Ford was an early member of Country Club of the Rockies. The club hosted his Jerry Ford Invitational Golf Tournament until 1996; Course Superintendent Kevin Ross; Cubby and a set of Nicklaus golf clubs; General Manager Pentti Tofferi; the Vail International Pro-Am trophy.

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A Golden Eighteen

Penn State Agronomy School and known for his turfgrass

and location of watering. Although maintaining a course

seminars throughout the country, Ross has executed a num-

in the Rocky Mountain climate has its challenges, there are

ber of design changes at the club, as well as small tweaks and

also advantages. Ross notes that cold soil temperatures

adjustments over the years. “It’s not my golf course,” Ross

allow thatch to develop quickly. So in 1996-’97, when the

says. “I just like to do what the members want.” That includes not just maintaining the course at championship standards— the greens are kept at a 12 on the Stimpmeter during the season with a single cut and a roll each morning—but directing major projects as well. For example, in the spring of 2012 the club started a total cart path and irri-

greens resembled giant sponges, the presABOVE:

The lakes around the golf course, like this one on No. 5, are stocked with thousands of trout. OPPOSITE:

(Clockwise from upper left) The clubhouse clock tower; “The Boys;” Head Golf Professional Chad Hansen; Assistant Golf Professional Ed Marzec; Golf Shop Merchandise Manager Annie Apple.

gation project, at a cost of $6 million dol-

ident of the club at the time, Sandy Treat, suggested that they should be tested and renovated in consultation with the Nicklaus design staff. “There was a general feeling, amongst the older members at least, that the greens were too severe,” Treat says today. (See CC of the Rockies Legendary Member.) “This was true, especially as we were starting to increase the

lars. All of the black asphalt paths were dug up and

green speeds,” Ross says. “So we took care of that at the

replaced with a surface that better blends in with the ter-

same time.” (The 14th and 18th were rebuilt entirely and

rain and environment. The new irrigation system uses

there was a slight contour change on No. 9.) “But basically,

HDPE (high density polyethylene) engineering, which al-

we got rid of a severe Poa annua infestation.”

lows the superintendent to be specific with the amount

It happened by serendipity. “We had taken the sod up


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Country Club of the Rockies

from one of the greens that was being re-contoured and

humidity, mean a lack of insects and turfgrass diseases to

put it over to the side,” Ross remembers. “But I suggested

deal with. Even so, Ross faces potential problems that su-

that instead of putting the same sod back, we re-sod with a

perintendents in other geographic areas don’t have to

different grass [Penn A-4]. The difference was night and

think about. “With such a low relative humidity—7 to 12

day.” Treat asked Ross what it would cost to do the same to

percent—when you take that relative humidity and, say,

all eighteen greens. In consultation with the Nicklaus

an 85-degree day, with solar radiation at our elevation,

group, the club changed the grass on every green, switching

and a little wind coming out of the west, it’s fire trucks by

from Pentcross to Penn A-4. All

4 o’clock,” Ross says. “But even

the new putting surfaces were

so, my philosophy is, if we’re

re-sodded, not planted. Says

not stressing a little bit by the

Treat: “There was a lot of talk

end of the day, then we put too

about the types of grasses at

much water on the golf

this altitude, because we are at


eight-thousand feet, after all.

through the day here, then you

We learned what the Nicklaus

watered too much. I like firm,

organization could do at that

fast, and dry, as long as it stays

moment, which was amazing.”

relatively green.” Ross prides

Adds Ross: “The members were

himself on doing more with

great. They stuck it out with us.

less (less fertilizer, fewer pesti-

It’s been sixteen years now, and

cides, and fungicides), which

we’re doing fine.” Says Tofferi:

is one reason the course is

“They are some of the finest

considered one of the most

putting surfaces you’ll ever see.

environmentally friendly in

There’s no question about it.”

the nation. “We do so many




“I think that set the CC of

things to promote harmony

the Rockies on a course to-

between the golf course and

ward a great future,” Ross says.

the surrounding vegetation,”

“The combination of the A-4,

Ross says, “which of course in-

the new contours and one other thing…”


cludes the Eagle River.” The water flowing

During the green renovation, Ross gath-

through the course along the river is

Jack stared at him with those famous steely

(Clockwise from upper left) Pan-seared Alaskan halibut is a signature dish at Vista Restaurant; lunch on the deck at Vista Restaurant; the entrance of the clubhouse; a signature dessert; the bar at Vista; Vista Chef and Owner Michael Glennon.

blues, and said, “Kevin, I think that’s an


maintain good bentgrass fairways, you

ered himself and got up the nerve to suggest to Nicklaus that they also seed the fairways with bent grass, something Ross had some experience with back east.

incredible idea. It’ll grow where it wants to,

Member Bill Sterett.

the other grass will stay where it is.”

pristine—you can catch trout there in season—and we aim to keep it that way.” Ross wants the course playable for all levels of golfers. He maintains the rough at 1-3/4 inches. And he notes that to have to cut them low; he mows them at

3/8 of an inch. But they’re not too tight because there is

“So we started seeding bent grass right away, and it’s

a bit of thatch underneath for a little cushion, just the

been a great playing surface,” Ross says. “Especially at the

way Nicklaus wants it. In fact, pretty much everything at

cooler temperatures we experience. It was a good move.”

the Country Club of the Rockies is the way Nicklaus

While the cooler soil temperatures can cause prob-

wants it. The entire staff—and membership—plan to

lems, those 50-degree evenings, along with the low relative

keep it that way.


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SEBONACK GOLF CLUB S o u t h a m p t o n , N e w Yo r k

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A Golden Eighteen

A Special Golf Design Right on Peconic Bay


N LESS THAN EIGHT YEARS since its grand opening, Sebonack Golf Club, on the shores of Peconic Bay in Southampton, New

York, has quickly risen to national prominence. It was the site of the U.S. Women’s Open in July 2013 (the first on Long Island), and it already has broken into the top-fifty course rankings of the major golf publications. Thirteen holes are on the water. A grand clubhouse overlooks three of those holes and then Peconic Bay beyond. Nine elegant yet comfortable cottages can be reserved for the exclusive use of the club’s members and their guests. Spacious outdoor patio and deck dining with sunset views can seat up to 130 people. And most importantly, the distinctive, championship golf course stands as a testament to the unique collaboration of two of the game’s greatest architects: Jack Nicklaus, considered by many to be the best and the brightest, and Tom Doak, a classic minimalist who some day might be recognized as the most creative ever. That’s what you’ll find among these 311 stunning acres nestled between the National Golf Links of America and Shinnecock Hills on Long Island’s South Fork.

The story of Sebonack goes back to before the turn of the century, but let’s begin with its founder and owner, Michael Pascucci, and his


learned to caddie at Long Island’s Engineers

A view of the clubhouse from the tie-breaker19th hole, across the first fairway.

Club. Michael majored in finance at Bucknell

wife of fifty-six years, Jocelyn. They have three sons (Michael Jr., Christopher, and Ralph), one daughter (Dawn) and eleven grandchildren. Mike and Jo Pascucci provide the vision for the

then got his MBA in marketing from New York University. He is a self-made, highly successful


The stately staircase inside the Michael Cunningham-designed clubhouse.

Long Island businessman, who started a carleasing business and sold it for $660 million, and also founded the television station WLNY, Channel 55, which he subsequently sold to

club and make sure the staff, members and their guests meet that vision. Pascucci’s father, a hard-work-

CBS. “I built that station from scratch in 1979 after I looked

ing construction engineer with a third-grade education,

around and realized there were three-million people living


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on Long Island without their own TV station,” he says in his

the game from around the world. The clubhouse would

personable, down-to-earth candor. The same kind of vision

come two years later. Jim Nantz emceed the festivities and

and fortitude made Sebonack what it is today.

remembers the day well: “I love Monterey [California] and

More than fifteen years ago, Pascucci began thinking of

even live in that area now, but this course is one special

his grand plan to purchase land along the water somewhere

place with those views of Peconic Bay. It was an honor to

on the island and then create eighteen of the best golf holes

be part of that opening day with Jack, Tom, and Mike.”

he could possibly devise. His idea originally came from The Floridian, Wayne Huizenga’s exclusive

A unique design collaboration

golf club in Palm City, Florida. Initially,

SAYS PASCUCCI, who hit the opening

Pascucci wanted to use Sebonack as a

tee shot on that unforgettable day: “It

way to promote his businesses, but it

was not easy to play that first drive, but

took so long to acquire the land, ma-

it was much harder bringing two archi-

neuver through the zoning process and

tects of such stature together and have

build the course that he ultimately just

them agree to work with each other.”

wanted to create the best eighteen

Pascucci, seventy-six, recounts how in

holes and club possible.

the early 2000s he went to Nicklaus first

His dream came to fruition in

and asked him to build the course. Then

2006, when both Nicklaus and Doak

he met with Doak on a trip to Bandon

joined him for the first official round

Dunes in Oregon. “I saw Pacific Dunes

of golf, surrounded by nearly fifty

first-hand and fell in love with it,” he

members of the media, golf celebrities,

says. “I saw what Tom Doak could do. I

ten founding members and officials of

loved his creativity and genius for


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Sebonack Golf Club

design.” So Pascucci threw Nicklaus a curve ball. “We had

site visit fun and exciting. “He was a real statesman, a real

been neighbors at Lost Tree [in North Palm Beach, Florida]

professional,” Pascucci says. “And I think they created

for years and had become good friends,” says Pascucci, who

eighteen phenomenal holes, plus a 19th hole [a striking

was one of the founding members at The Bears Club, in

par 3 with a green set against Peconic Bay] to settle ties.”

Jupiter. “So I called Jack and said I wanted to meet with him

Both architects submitted routings, and they eventually

in his office. I was not looking forward to that meeting.

decided to use Doak’s. Nicklaus created most of the strategy

In his office, I told him I wanted Tom Doak, who was the

tee to green, while Doak did most of the greens and ap-

architect du jour and who I admired greatly, to also design

proaches. “Tom had his shapers on the project, so he con-

the course.” Nicklaus stared at

trolled the greens,” Nicklaus

Pascucci with those famous

says. Was that difficult? “Well,

steely blues. He said, “I don’t

usually the strategy from the

have a problem with that. Tom

fairways affects the design of the

can be listed as a design consult-

greens. But Tom’s a smart guy.

ant.” Pascucci swallowed hard.

He understood what I was

“Actually, I want the two of you

doing with the strategy. I think

to be listed as co-designers,” he

we worked pretty well together.”

said. Pascucci quickly points out

During the building of the

that Jack was gracious, as always.

course, two of Pascucci’s sons,

“But he said if I were anyone

Ralph and Christopher, were in-

else he would throw me out of

strumental in every phase of the

his office.” After they discussed

construction. Christopher’s for-

it for an hour and a half, Jack

mer Harvard roommate, Mark

said he would consider it.

Hissey, who is originally from

Next, Pascucci arranged for

Cardiff, Wales, and who was, in

a meeting with Nicklaus and

effect, adopted by the Pascuccis,

Doak at The Bears Club. In the

was also heavily involved. In

grillroom, again Pascucci ex-

fact, he initially brought Doak

plained what he wanted to do,

to Pascucci’s attention. “My hat’s

and neither architect was keen

off to two unsung heroes,”

on the idea of a collaboration. So Pascucci ordered some

Hissey says. “Doak’s chief de-


Sebonack’s founder and owner Michael Pascucci.

signer at the time, Jim Urbina,

lunch for the three of them, and


and Nicklaus’ designer on the

then said he needed to make a

The picturesque and difficult second hole; the historic, silver shovel.

project, Chris Rule, were put in

phone call. He came back

twenty minutes later, and the two architects were talking

a tough spot. But they really

worked well as a team and did a great job.”

amiably to each other and going over some of the plans.

The only time Nicklaus and Doak had a significant dif-

“We think we can make this work,” they told him. “But

ference of opinion with Pascucci was concerning the 18th

what happens if we disagree on a serious issue?” Pascucci

hole, hugging Peconic Bay on the left. Both Nicklaus and

thought for a minute and then said he would be the

Doak wanted it to be a par 4. Pascucci insisted it be a par 5.

tiebreaker. “Then let’s make sure not to disagree,” Jack said,

“Tom told me later: ‘You were right about the 18th, it’s bet-

winking at Doak. And that’s how the relationship began.

ter as a par 5,’ ” Pascucci says. And it is a magnificent hole.

Over the next year and a half, in the design stage, and

With a high tee and a view of not only the bay on your left,

during construction, Pascucci says Nicklaus made every

but the first and second holes on your right and the club-


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house on an elevated piece of ground in the distance, you are reminded of other great finishing holes: the par-5 18th at Pebble Beach (where Nicklaus won a U.S. Open and a U.S. Amateur), the par-5 18th at Baltusrol (where he won two U.S. Opens), and the par-5 18th at PGA National (where he won a PGA Championship). Sebonack’s 18th employs Nicklaus’ classic design strategy. If you take a more aggressive line on the tee shot, closer to the water on the left, you’ll have an easier angle for your second shot and maybe have a go at the green. But if on your tee shot you bail out to the right, where there is plenty of open

however, your ball will roll down a hill, leaving you a much

fairway, you’ll have to negotiate a large oak tree on your ap-

shorter—and easier—approach into the green.

proach and probably can’t shoot at the green.

Perhaps the most dramatic—and beautiful—hole on

This strategy is typical of many holes. The par-4 10th is

the course, though, is the dogleg-left par-4 11th. After you

another example. There is plenty of room on the left side of

walk up the fairway following a well-placed tee shot, you

the fairway, safely away from a beckoning fairway bunker,

find yourself at the crest of a hill with a dramatic vista. That

but you’ll have a longer, more demanding approach to the

vantage point is possibly the very same that is depicted in

green. If you attempt to fly that bunker and are successful,

the famous 1894 painting “Idle Hours” by impressionist


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Sebonack Golf Club

William Merritt Chase. A copy of the painting hangs in the

A classic but functional clubhouse

clubhouse. “When you look down to the green, you’re hit

ALTHOUGH it’s practically brand new, Sebonack seems

with one of golf’s most amazing views,” says Pascucci, who

like it’s been there for at least a century, catering to some

recounts: “Jack told Tom, ‘Don’t do anything to this fairway;

two-hundred members during a relatively short season in

just grass it. It’s already perfect.’ And Tom agreed. You see

the spring, summer, and fall. Its most popular and active

the water and the sweeping, crescent beach all along the

time, however, is from July 4th through Labor Day, when

right side and the little village behind the green. Looking

the glitterati of the Hamptons seems perpetually ensconced

down the fairway at the target reminds you of something

in a festive, upbeat atmosphere. As much thought was given

you’d see in Ireland or Scotland.”

into designing and siting the clubhouse as into the golf

Ireland or Scotland comes to mind on many of the

course. The stately three-story tan building with white trim

holes at Sebonack, because of the natural contouring in

was designed by Michael Cunningham of the New York

the fairways and the run-up shots to the greens. The com-

City-based Hart Howerton Planners and Architects. It sits

bination of Jack’s expert strategy and Doak’s minimalism

magnificently on a prominent hill overlooking the first

results in a course that needs to be played as much on the

green, the second tee, the 18th hole and the tiebreaker hole.

ground as in the air. “I told them I wanted three principles for the course,” Pascucci says. “Wide fairways, no forced carries, and the ability to run the ball onto the greens. We got that. It takes an architect of Jack’s skill to design a

Pascucci says he and his staff studied the sunsets The dramatic 18th hole, which the club’s founder insisted be designed as a par 5, not a par 4. OPPOSITE:

course that is playable for the higher handicapper yet challenging for the really good player.” Even though the fairways are extremely forgiving, the course record from the back tees at 7,400 yards (par 71) for a long time was only two under, shot by Ernie Els; it now is three under, shot by Luke Donald. The bunkering can be somewhat cruel and difficult, however, and like in Scotland, balls seem to roll a long way and then collect in those bunkers. Because the greens are kept firm and fast, holding greenside sand shots near the pin takes quite a bit of skill and experience.

for more than a year to be sure the 28,000-


so evening diners could gaze out over their drinks and appetizers while basking in the golden glow of the fading sun.

The 11th fairway and green likely sit near the same location as the famous 1894 William Merritt Chase painting “Idle Hours.” FOLLOWING PAGES:

(Above) Late afternoon on the 15th green. (From left) Teeing off on the 11th toward Peconic Bay; some of the Sebonack caddie team; a resident of the golf course; tee shots on the 11th; member Bob Green with his guest Billy Rosenthal.

Also, as in Scotland and Ireland, walking

square-foot structure was positioned just right,

A stroll through the clubhouse’s main floor reveals two large paintings: One is by local artist Bob Pejman of the third hole looking back to the clubhouse; the other is unsigned and pictures Sebonack’s distinctive opening gates. The massive domed ceiling above the entrance reflects the understated symmetrical elegance of a wide, circular staircase that leads to the second floor, where the bar and a private library for small functions and more dining can be found. Natural light filters in from all angles in traditional Hamptons style. Keep walking and you’ll come to a beautiful outside veranda that

with a caddie is the standard mode of play. The caddies,

offers magnificent views of Peconic Bay, the first and 18th

many of whom work at The Bears Club in the winter, are

holes below and to the left, and the National Golf Links

first-rate and are necessary if you want to get your ball

clubhouse to the right.

rolling along the right lines. One caddie who knows the

Pascucci also spent a year studying lockers before de-

greens better than even Doak and who often caddies for

ciding on their size, shape, and material. “When you think

Pascucci is Anderson Craigg. A former police officer in

about it,” he says, “the locker room really should dictate

Barbados, Craigg has published a caddie manual that

the rest of the clubhouse. Most clubs don’t get that right.

caddies across the country would benefit from reading

We made sure the members had plenty of space in their

and following. A large and gentle man, he is a fixture at

lockers and in the locker rooms.” Indeed, guests can easily

Sebonack in the summer season.

get lost in the maze of lockers until they know their way


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A Golden Eighteen

around. One way to figure out where you are is by looking

Swiss are very strict, but I made friends there and that got

at the hole diagrams Nicklaus sketched on rough pieces

me into cooking,” he says. He also retained the Swiss knack

of paper, which are labeled, signed, framed, and displayed

for efficiency. “We do 160 lunches a day on the patio,” he

on the walls. The one of No. 13 is especially eye-catching:

says. “It’s about quality and speed. We serve each meal

It is a rare combination sketch by Nicklaus and Doak on

within twelve minutes. So members can get a quick lunch

the same page. Another image

but a quality lunch. I am very

—one that brings chills—is the

quality driven.” Giacoponello is

first sketch by Nicklaus, on a

committed to using local pro-

sandwich wrapper and dated

duce, especially tomatoes and

Sept. 19, 2001, which was the

lettuce from Long Island, and

day the post-flying ban was

most of his fish is from the area.

lifted after 9/11.

The fish tacos are to die for. But

There are also numerous

his signature dish is the Arctic

photographs of the opening day,

Chard, which he serves pan-

as well as one of the symbolic sil-

seared and sautéed. He crisps the

ver shovels used in the original

skin (“that’s where the Omega-

groundbreaking ceremony. On

3s are,” he says) and serves it over

one wall hangs a Vote of Grati-

sautéed spinach with a grapefruit

tude memento from the USGA,

reduction and celery salt. “It’s

adopted on June 30, 2013, to

very colorful,” he says. His Pasta

thank the club for hosting the

Bolognese sounds simple, but it

U.S. Women’s Open. Each locker

takes three days to make. His six-

has the double-crescent “S”

teen-ounce steak is dry-aged for

carved all the way through the door, and yes, they are spacious inside. The men’s lockers are a deep mahogany; the women’s are pickled oak, in keeping with the more feminine theme of the

twenty-one days. When mem-


Mark Hissey helped oversee construction, as did Pascucci's sons Ralph and Christopher. PREVIOUS PAGES:

Thirteen holes feature tranquil views of Peconic Bay; camaraderie and golf with caddies is the norm, as are wild turkeys and deer aplenty.

ladies locker room, which is also

bers and their guests sit down at one of the perfectly laid out tables, they are immediately greeted with “the mother of all bread baskets,” as Giacoponello calls it. Most of the desserts, such

spacious and comfortable. Both locker rooms have ample

as the pies and cheesecake, are made home-style, and few

space for playing cards, watching the large flat-screen tele-

can pass up the tiramisu.

visions, getting ready for a round of golf, or for an evening

One of the founding members, Phillip Morse, de-

of socializing and dining.

scribes not only the eating experience, but also the club in general. “We generally start with a wonderful breakfast,

Enjoying the food, indoors and out

then eighteen holes of golf, a bit of relaxation following


golf, and then a fabulous dinner on the deck, watching the

utive Chef Anthony Giacoponello is a master of his craft.

sun go down,” he says. “On a beautiful night, it’s perfect.”

He studied for a year under Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo

Morse, who contends there is no item on the menu that

and at Hotel De Paris. And he graduated from the Culinary

Pascucci hasn’t approved, is a fellow founding member at

Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. But he cred-

The Bears Club. He’s also a partner and vice chairman of

its his high school internship at the Hotel Victoria Jungfrau

the world-champion Boston Red Sox, but his easygoing

in Interlaken, Switzerland, for his love of the kitchen. “The

personality is typical of the membership. “The members


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Acquiring the Property for Sebonack along Peconic Bay, next to Cold

In 1949, the International Brotherhood of Electrical

Spring Pond on Long Island’s South Fork, was first known

Workers bought the estate from Pauline Sabin Davis for

as Bayberry Land, and it was purchased in the early 1900s

$131,000. The IBEW used it for various purposes, most

by Charles H. Sabin and his wife, Pauline. Sabin was chair-

notably as a convalescent home, school, and children’s

man of the board of the Guaranty Trust of

summer camp for its members. In 2000, Sotheby’s


New York. Pauline was formerly Pauline

auctioned off the property to the high

Morton Smith, an heiress to the Morton

bidder, who wanted to buy it subject to

Salt estate and also the daughter of Presi-

zoning approval. But that bidder later de-

dent Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of

cided to pull out of the deal, so it became

the Navy. They built a twenty-eight-room

available again. That’s when Michael Pas-

house on the property, along with eight

cucci stepped in. “I met with the union,

other structures for their guests and

and there really wasn’t much negotia-

workers, plus a hunting lodge.

tion,” he says. “They said, ‘Here’s the

They commissioned fabulous gardens,

number, $46 million dollars. Give us a

designed by one of the first female land-

million and do the due diligence, which

scape architects of the day, Marian Cruger

is what I did.” Pascucci eventually paid

Coffin. She produced four separate gar-

$45 million dollars, plus 2 percent to the

dens, plus a great lawn. The complex be-

town of Southampton.

came known as the Sabin Estate. (The

To get through the zoning process,

double-crescent “S” carved into its shutters

which he was told would take at least ten

was adopted by Sebonack as its logo,

years, Pascucci had to assemble a

and one of those original shutters sits


team of lawyers, consultants, ac-

in the grand foyer of the clubhouse.)

Shutters from the original Sabin estate with the distinctive Sebonack logo.

countants, financial planners, envi-

The estate’s opulence, however, was short-lived. Sabin died in 1933 and his widow, Pauline, continued to live


Sunset view from the clubhouse over Peconic Bay. The view is spectacular almost every evening.

there, even after marrying Dwight F.

ronmentalists, and land managers. “The works,” he says. “We had 350 meetings. I met every potential adversary. I told them, ‘I’ll give you

Davis (who donated tennis’ Davis Cup). During World War

what you want, but give me my eighteen golf holes.’ ” Three

II, Davis relocated to Washington to serve President

years later, he had permits to build his eighteen golf holes,

Franklin Roosevelt as an advisor, and Pauline Sabin turned

a clubhouse, a large practice range, a 19th hole, and up to

the property over to the Red Cross for supply storage.

fifteen cottages; there are nine completed so far.


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A Golden Eighteen

are warm and friendly, and it’s just very relaxing being

which to view late-afternoon golfers on the course, early-

there,” he says. A 5-handicapper at age seventy-two, Morse

evening native deer grazing in the rough, those memorable

enjoys walking the course, though he says the days of doing

sunsets, or the spacious practice facility. “The driving

thirty-six are a thing of the past. “It’s just so beautiful look-

range, practice chipping area, sand bunkers, and putting

ing out on the bay,” he says. “Each green has varying de-

green are always in great condition, and I take advantage

grees of difficulty, and I think that’s what gives

of them whenever I can,” Danzi says.

Sebonack its sense of personality.” The sense of friendship between Morse and Pascucci goes way back. “One day after

A golf program designed for members and guests

playing The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter, where I live dur-

ONE STAFF MEMBER who spends much of his time on

ing the winter, we sat down for lunch. I told Mike he

that range is the Director of Golf Jason McCarty. If he’s not

should try the grilled chicken. The next thing

taking care of the members in the shop, or

I know, he’s in the kitchen talking to our chef.


greeting them on the first tee, or handling

Today it’s on the lunch menu at Sebonack.

(Counterclockwise from upper left) Inside the men’s and women’s locker rooms; the clubhouse’s grand entrance; the library; walking the natural terrain; enjoying lunch on the outside veranda; the natural bunkering of the par-4 second hole, which plays up to the Hamptons-style clubhouse.

emails and returning phone calls, or managing

Got to love him!” Gene Bernstein, a 7-handicap member who is primarily in the petroleum business, emphasizes Morse’s point: “The culture of the place that Mike has created is simply amazing. He and Jo are like innkeepers, seemingly always there to say ‘Hi’ and stay on top of things. Because he can pick and choose who he wants as members, there is a great cross section of people in terms of geography, age,

his staff of twelve (including the all-important Caddiemaster Jason Bunge), then he’s probably teaching. McCarty, born and raised in New Zealand and a former Tour player in Australia and Asia, is a genuine student of the swing. If there is an instruction book that has been written, it’s likely he has read it. And if there is a teaching aide that works, it’s likely he uses it. It’s not uncommon for McCarty to be seen studying Trackman to monitor a student’s ball flight,


religion, profession, and golfing ability.” Adds John Danzi, a 14-handicapper who says he enjoys dining outside and watching the sunsets with his family: “I’m in the hotel business, and the experience compares to staying in a very upscale hotel. Also, the cottages have great amenities.” Indeed, each of the nine cottages, designed in the same style as the clubhouse, features a common area and

(Clockwise from upper left) Director of Golf Jason McCarty; the logo on a locker; Jack’s first sketch of a hole at Sebonack; Head Superintendent Garret Bodington and friend; the massive front gate; perfectly situated cottages; championship trophies.

or administering a K-Vest to teach the correct positions throughout the swing. McCarty also insists all of his assistants use the SNAG (Starting New At Golf) program, which is endorsed by the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues. McCarty, who started at the club before ground was broken on the clubhouse, feels a strong allegiance to Pascucci and Sebonack. “Mr. Pascucci has an effective management style,” he says in his soft, New Zealand accent.

four master bedrooms, so members and their guests can enjoy a restful evening before embarking on the

“He lets you earn your position here. He wants to see what

next day’s golf. Some are single story; some have two levels.

your work ethic is.” McCarty was hired as director of in-

Each cottage is perfectly situated—no more than a three-

struction from nearby Meadow Brook, but he took it

minute walk from the clubhouse, practice tee, putting

upon himself to start setting up the golf shop. “I was able

green, and first tee—to take advantage of golf course and

to help put the club policies and procedures together. It’s

bay views from most windows. Each comes fully stocked

an incredible opportunity for any PGA member to be part

with complimentary beer, wine, bottled water, soft drinks,

of a start-up operation,” he says.

and snacks. Large showers that cascade from high ceilings

McCarty’s early influence in golf came from the leg-

will rejuvenate you after a long day on the course. And full

endary New Zealand head professional, businessman

walkout balconies provide a private vantage point from

and great player, John Croskery. “He was my mentor; I


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A Golden Eighteen

learned so much from him that I use here at Sebonack,”

the turf firm, fast, and dry. This helps to prevent disease

he says. One of those traits is McCarty’s energy: During

and allows the ball to roll as Nicklaus and Doak intended.

the summer he’s on the property from 7 a.m. to at least

The fairways are a combination of two different Colonial

7 p.m. “I’ve always had a passion for instruction,” he

Bentgrasses and Chewing Fescues. The greens are A4 Bent-

says. “Even when I was playing, I was always teaching

grass and the rough is a mixture of a variety of fescues. One

the other players.” McCarty points out that the club will

of his favorite sightings from August to mid-September is

soon complete an indoor/outdoor hitting bay and new

the thousands of cave swallows that perch in the hundreds

short-game area. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the

of planted bayberry bushes as they stop along their migra-

club and giving the members what they want,” he says,

tion route to South America. The course is like a nature

noting that one of his teachers, Wendy Posillico, spe-

preserve, abounding with lots of other wildlife, from deer

cializes in teaching women and juniors.

to fox to wild turkeys.

McCarty gained much of his experience at Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand, where he met

We never say ‘No’

his American wife, Diana, who was involved in running

OBVIOUSLY, there is a lot of teamwork that goes into

that operation. When McCarty is not helping Diana raise

keeping such a large operation running smoothly, and

their two daughters, he is helping his staff. Although there

Pascucci knows all about teamwork. He was the blocking

are no tee times, they oversee twelve-thou-

tackle at Manhassett High School for the leg-

sand rounds during a relatively short, sixmonth season. They also conduct several tournaments. Kicking off the schedule in July are Member-Guest events for both men and women, then there is the Sebonack Classic, a Men’s Member-Guest with four 9-hole matches over two days. The club championship, for both men and women, is conducted at match play in August, followed by a second men’s Member-Guest, the Sebonack

endary Jim Brown. (The team went unde-


(Clockwise from upper left) Executive Chef Anthony Giacoponello; General Manager Troy Albert; one of Giacoponello’s masterful creations, the Arctic Chard over sautéed spinach; Tiramisu Martini; the ever-cheerful staff; drinks on the upper deck.

feated in 1952.) Teamwork is just one reason he hired Sebonack’s General Manager, Troy Albert, who has a knack for keeping his staff on the top of their game seven days a week in season. A graduate of what is considered the Harvard of Hospitality—the University of Wisconsin-Stout—Albert comes from a long tradition of great service. Before starting at Sebonack in January 2008, he managed such renowned Long Island clubs as Seawane,

Invitational, in September. Every morning McCarty meets with Head Superin-

Fresh Meadow, and Muttontown. He relies heavily on the

tendent Garret Bodington to go over course conditions and

Workaway Program, from which he hires fifteen young

pin placements. Bodington, a native of Providence, Rhode

and talented people from South Africa and Ireland as part

Island, and a graduate of the University of Rhode Island

of a total staff of forty-five to fifty.

with a degree in horticulture and a minor in turfgrass

“We have a Golden Rule here,” Albert says. “Don’t say

management, is a stickler for details. He’s also an environ-

‘No.’ You can’t lose with that. As long as it doesn’t interfere

mentalist. “The course was built organically,” he says, em-

with another member’s rights, our staff never turns down a

phasizing that he was on site during early construction,

request. I can’t tell you how many times we run to the store.

documenting the progress with his camera. “We went to

One time, we had someone drive thirty miles to get organic

tremendous lengths to have as little impact as possible.

peanut butter for one of the members. We’re all about serv-

The groundwater is tested quarterly, and all the greens were

ice. On a scale of one to ten, we try to be one-hundred.” Albert says this attitude and philosophy comes di-

designed with catch basins so there is no leaching at all.” Bodington, whose pedigree includes experience at such

rectly from Pascucci and his wife, in addition to their sons

top clubs as Piping Rock, Meadow Brook, and Bethpage

Chris and Ralph, who were instrumental in developing

Black on Long Island, as well as Augusta National, keeps

the club. “Michael is the most generous person you’ll ever


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A Golden Eighteen

other transportation. We have some of the


biggest captains of industry/finance and

The second green is at one with nature.

some guys like myself who are successful


on a smaller field. But most all are very friendly. For example, I went over on a Saturday a few years ago looking for a game and ended up joining the Chairman and CEO of Related Companies [Stephen Ross], along with Dan Doctoroff, who runs [former] Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s company. They were as nice as could be.” Phillip Morse describes the atmos-

Pascucci is always listening and learning from members and staff. OPPOSITE:

The U.S. Women’s Open, won by Inbee Park of South Korea, was played for the first time on Long Island at Sebonack in 2013.

meet,” Albert says. “He can be very tough when necessary,

phere succinctly: “Simply put, Sebonack is

but I’ve overheard it said on a number of occasions, ‘Oh

a reflection of Mike and Jo Pascucci’s char-

my gosh, I can’t believe I’m a member here.’ That’s what

acter and passion for excellence. It was a long journey for

it’s all about for us.”

them, but they have created a masterpiece for the ages with

Says Gene Bernstein: “The staff is incredibly friendly and

the incredible talent and vision of Jack Nicklaus and Tom

helpful, not only for things at the club, but also for reserva-

Doak.” It’s safe to say the other members at Sebonack would

tions at restaurants in town or rental-car arrangements or

wholeheartedly agree.


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SHERWOOD COUNTRY CLUB Thousand Oaks, California

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A Golden Eighteen

Golf and the Good Life Among the Entertainment Set


N ANY GIVEN DAY at the luxurious Sherwood Country Club, in the tranquil suburb of Thousand Oaks, California, twenty

minutes northwest of Los Angeles, members and their guests might run into one of several A-list celebrities. We’re talking about such luminaries as Wayne Gretzky and Sylvester Stallone, just to drop a couple of household names. But these megastars don’t mind being seen or even approached, because at Sherwood they can be regular people. In other words, nobody bothers them. There are no autograph seekers jabbing pens into their clothes, no paparazzi shoving cameras at their faces, no tabloid reporters thrusting microphones down their throats. These stars of the silver screen, idols of the professional sports world, and icons of the recording industry know that they can indeed be anonymous in this gorgeous, 1,700-acre sanctuary that includes a challenging yet very playable Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a fitness center and spa that rivals any in the world, a tennis center with three different court surfaces to choose from, one stately clubhouse that can accommodate three weddings at a time, and another that features intimate, fine dining or casual fare in a pub atmosphere. The general membership under-

and perfectly maintained, English-

stands this relationship. They are so

style Tudor estates, all with majestic

used to seeing Craig T. Nelson or

views of the Santa Monica Moun-

Will Smith taking a few putts on the

tains and the Hidden Valley below,

practice green or warming up on the

you realize you might never want to

range that they think nothing of it.

leave. Soon after, you come to the

They are not in awe of celebrity. For

impressive and stately red-brick,

them, Sherwood is simply a top-

Georgian-style clubhouse, with six

notch, first-class club where they can

large white columns in front flanked

play golf on one of the best courses

by two perfectly shaped Italian cy-

in the country, take in a set or two of

press trees that climb higher than the

tennis and then hang out for lunch, keep themselves in optimal physical condition, or enjoy a convivial din-


A view of the clubhouse from the tee of the 424-yard, par-4 ninth hole.

pace of life starts to slow down. When you turn past Lake Sherwood

of rosebushes that lead past a circular drive with the initials SCC carved

Sherwood’s archer logo set in stained glass above the grille room bar.

into the topiary boxwoods, it’s clear

and-bustle eight-lane Ventura Freeway onto Westlake Boulevard, the

front entrance shaped by hundreds


ner with family and friends. As soon as you exit the hustle-

roofline. With a long pathway to its

that this building is one to admire.


The tee shot on the eighth hole is from an elevated tee to the smallest green on the golf course.

It was at this very location that the movie Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, Jill Clayburgh,

on your left, then go through the large, cast-iron gates of

and Jon Hamm, was filmed. Numerous episodes for tele-

Sherwood Country Club, you get a sense that you’re about

vision shows have been shot here as well, including CSI,

to enter a special place. As you make your way up the hilly,

The Mentalist, and Revenge. It’s also the setting for a num-

winding road past elegant, French-style country homes

ber of TV commercials, including the Kia segment with


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A Golden Eighteen

Michelle Wie and the Avis spot with Steve Stricker. But

club’s boardroom.) “There was a general appeal for a first-

these are more recent video productions. They can’t com-

class private club in this area,” Fisher says. “Murdock de-

pare with the classics that were filmed on this exact prop-

livered a fabulous facility when you consider the golf, the

erty before the club was built and before videotape was

tennis, the clubhouse, and all its amenities. The product is

invented. The mountains you see behind several of

second to none.”

today’s fairways are the same peaks you see in

Adds Sherwood’s President Matt Sta-

the famous opening helicopter scene from

pleton: “Now we’ve had an influx of

the series M*A*S*H. And those fairways

young, successful people, and they’ve

were once the rugged landscape for many a

brought their friends in. We’ve grown to

backdrop in the Dukes of Hazard. But two of the

385 members. They’ve given a shot of life to the

most famous Hollywood epics shot on the

club, and we’re building for the future.” Sta-

premises were the 1923 version of Robin

pleton’s wife, Ashley, is the daughter of

Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and

Lane Weitzman, a charter member (see

Enid Bennett, and the 1938 version, The Ad-

sidebar). They have two daughters, Jourdan,

ventures of Robin Hood, starring Errol Flynn

eight, and Quinn, two. Matt Stapleton puts

and Olivia de Havilland. In fact, on the

his 8-handicap game on display twice a

Sherwood property you’ll still find the

week when he’s not spending time with

Robin Hood Cabin, a home built for the

them. He says he feels lucky because he can

1923 movie and where Fairbanks supposedly

hit balls before going to work—they live within

lived during the filming. (It is a registered

the Sherwood development, and the office

Ventura County Historical Landmark.)

where he directs his venture capital firm,

Hence the name “Sherwood Country

Falcon One Enterprises, is in nearby

Club.” A poster from the 1938 movie hangs

Camarillo. “When I joined, in 2005, I was

prominently in the clubhouse, and many of the

pleasantly surprised by how nice the member-

club’s emblems and motifs are derived from

ship is,” Stapleton says. “There is a casual

the legendary character who stole from the

feel, but it’s not chaotic. Sherwood has very

rich and gave to the poor in England’s

little of the cliquishness you might find in

Sherwood Forest. For example, the tee mark-

other clubs. People here are not trying to im-

ers are miniature archers; the club’s logo is a

press each other. All the members know what

similar archer image but in forest green;

a special place this is, and they appreciate

two of the club’s main tournaments are

how good the golf course is.”

named the Robin Hood (the three-day Member Guest) and the Bow and Arrow (the

A dramatic routing through the valley SAYS NICKLAUS ABOUT his design: “One of

three-day Member-Member). The founder of the club and the

the greatest achievements was moving

adjacent real-estate development, David

1,200 live oak trees during construction. Many of the trees were transplanted into the

Murdock, hired Jack Nicklaus to design the

lots of private homes along the course, and many

course, which was a massive undertaking and was completed in 1989. Sherwood’s General Manager Leonard

were used to frame the fairways. To my knowledge, only

Fisher says Murdock retained ownership of the club,

one tree didn’t survive.” Nicklaus contends the strategy to

watching it grow to two-hundred members, until he sold

transplant so many large trees saved hundreds of thou-

it to the membership in 2007. (Though he was never a

sands of dollars. He says that while it cost about ten-thou-

golfer, he’s still a member, and his portrait hangs in the

sand dollars to box and move one tree, it added perhaps


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two-hundred-thousand dollars to the value of a homesite.

take an unplayable lie. Nicklaus loves to design holes with

“Economically, it was a really smart move,” he says. “Some

split fairways that give you options and make you think.

of these trees are more than five-hundred years old, so the

A long hitter must decide whether to drive to the right

cost was absolutely well worth the final value.”

side of the fairway or the left. For the short hitter, the

Nicklaus admires the splendor of the area. “It’s a

boulder serves only as a distraction on a beautiful hole or

beautiful valley, and this golf course pretty much routed

a target to aim at off the tee. The second shot is uphill to

itself through that terrain,” he says. “I think David [Murdock] did a great job with this development. The clubhouse is fantastic. You know, he owned a brick company, so the Georgian style made a lot of sense for him. There are obstacles to overcome on every course we do, and we did have to move some dirt in a

a blind green protected in front with several OPPOSITE:

Locker plates of a few of Sherwood’s many notable golfers, past and present. ABOVE:

The driveway leading up to the clubhouse.

couple of cases, but it worked out really well.”

bunkers and more boulders on the left, artistically matching the one in the fairway. Local lore says that the boulder in the fairway fell out of a truck during construction, but if true, that would have been one massive truck! If most golf fans across the country don’t remember the Showdown at Sherwood, they

Speaking of obstacles, a huge boulder factors into one

nevertheless have seen the course on television because

of the most interesting holes on the course. A rock out-

of the Chevron World Challenge (now the Northwest-

cropping lies squarely in the middle of the 16th fairway,

ern Mutual World Challenge) every year during the first

307 yards from the back tee. The “Rock Hole,” as it’s

week of December. A limited-field, special-invitation

called, is a long par 4, 446 yards from the championship

event, the World Challenge benefits the Tiger Woods

markers; 418 from the blues and golds. It prevented David

Foundation. Its winners over the past twelve years look

Duval from staging a dramatic come-from-behind charge

like a modern-day Who’s Who of Golf, including Luke

against Tiger Woods in the first-ever, prime-time televised

Donald, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III (twice),

live golf event, The Showdown at Sherwood in 2000. Duval

Graeme McDowell (twice), and Tiger Woods (five

drove the ball squarely behind the rock and was forced to

times). Other holes on the course are equally as dramatic


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A Golden Eighteen

as the 16th—from a television perspective and in person.

Tuesday. That’s quite unusual.” The fund-raising festivities

Take the par-3 sixth, for example (played as the 15th dur-

really get revved up Wednesday night with a star-studded

ing the tournament because the nines are reversed). It re-

cast of entertainers, including such singer-songwriters as

quires a long-iron approach over a forced carry of rocks

Christopher Cross (“Sailing”) and Jason Mraz (“The Rem-

and water to reach the green. But then the battle is only

edy”), who brought the house down in 2012. In 2013 Brian

half over. Negotiating the green’s undulations requires the

McNight enthralled the audience with his mix of jazz and

skill of a surveyor. It’s safe to say that the first-time golfer

R&B music. Fisher is no stranger to big-time entertainment.

here lands at least one ball well short of the green, never

Before coming to Sherwood seven years ago when the club

to be seen again, and then probably takes at least three

transitioned to member ownership, he was the general man-

putts with the next ball. Then there is the dramatic and challenging par-4 18th hole, which is also the 18th for the tournament. This is possible because the 18th hole parallels the ninth hole and therefore is accessible from the actual eighth green, which is played as the 17th in the tourna-


The 457-yard, par-3 sixth hole is Sherwood’s signature hole. BELOW:

The course offers a challenging test of golf for both ladies and gentlemen.

ager at L.A.’s Hillcrest Country Club, where he often rubbed shoulders with top entertainers and captains of industry. Fisher’s résumé is stellar: internship at the Waldorf Astoria; recruited to the Beverly Hills Hilton at age twenty-eight as food and beverage director, where he oversaw events for the Academy Awards and the 1984

ment—remember, the nines are reversed.


Olympics; recruited as director of the Premiere

After a Sunday-best tee shot to a narrow land-

The 202-yard, par-3 12th hole straddles the lake.

5-star Universal Complex when Pope John Paul

ing area, the golfer is faced with a long, down-

II was honored there in 1987; served as manag-

hill approach, again over water, to another well-undulated

ing director of the Claremont Resort in San Francisco’s East

green with that incredible Georgian clubhouse—and hun-

Bay for five years. Fisher grew up on Long Island and grad-

dreds of interested onlookers spilling over its veranda—

uated from the Culinary Institute of America, but in his own

looming in the background. Many fine rounds have been

words he “got out of the kitchen.” He knows how to hire and

lost here, but many presses have been won.

retain first-class chefs, however.

Says Sherwood’s General Manager Leonard Fisher: “Tiger’s event is very stimulating every year. We get 65,000

Food that is second to none

people here during the week of the tournament.” In addition

SIX YEARS AGO Fisher lured Kevin Aidukas away from

to Fisher’s general manager duties, he oversees the logistics

Trump National in Los Angeles. Executive Chef Aidukas

with the Tiger Woods Foundation, working closely with its

will be the first to tell you that he did not go to culinary

President and CEO Greg McLaughlin. “We have a pro-am

school. Instead, he learned about cooking at the school of

on Wednesday,” McLaughlin says, “and a celebrity-am on

hard knocks. Born and raised in Palm Springs, he spent


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Sherwood’s Early Years and its Evolution CENTURIES BEFORE THE Robin Hood films were shot on

timates Murdock’s fortune at approximately $2.4 billion.

the acreage that Sherwood Country Club occupies today,

“David owned a 1,200-acre piece of property across the

the property was the site of earlier bows and arrows. The

street called Ventura Farms,” Weitzman says. “This was con-

Chumash Indians lived here as hunters and gatherers and

sidered out in the middle of nowhere in 1976.” Lake Sher-

thrived along the area’s hills,

wood, originally Potrero Lake, is

canyons, and streams. Within the

the oldest artificial lake in Califor-

expanse of what is now Lake Sher-

nia, and its size is significant—165

wood, artifacts from two of seven-

acres. Created in 1904 when the Al-

teen Chumash sites have been

turas Dam was built, its name was

uncovered and are on display in the

changed to Lake Sherwood when

golf clubhouse. Starting in the

the surrounding areas used for the



1923 Robin Hood movie became

claimed the land, and over the next

known as “Sherwood Forest” and

three centuries the Chumash popu-

“Maid Marian Park.”


lation was decimated. By the late

“I had known David since

1800s and early 1900s, the local val-

the late ’70s,” Weitzman contin-

leys had been transformed into a

ues. “He wanted to start a real-

combination of dairy farms, chicken

estate development with a golf

ranches, and apricot orchards. Then

club, and he convinced nineteen

the motion-picture industry discov-

of us in the late ’80s to become

ered the area’s beauty. In addition to

charter members.” Lake Sher-

the Robin Hood movies, scenes

wood had been drained by the

from Tarzan and Birth of a Nation were filmed here.

Dayton Development Corporation, and Murdock advo-

Next we turn to Sherwood member Lane Weitzman,

cated that the lake be reinstated, which would enhance

a 10-handicap golfer who grew up in the valley and joined

the property. “David came to the local residents of the

the club twenty-five years ago. In 1948, Weitzman’s father

Old Sherwood and Hidden Valley neighborhoods to ask

started Oak Manufacturing, which made the Acorn-brand

if we would support him if he bought the property—

gumball machines in downtown LA. (The company was

1,800 acres—from Dayton and inspect the dam, build a

sold in 1982 but is still in business today.) Weitzman re-

golf course, and develop a very upscale community,”

counts how the well-known and self-made businessman,

Weitzman says. “We supported him and he did it.” Weitz-

David Murdock, now ninety, started the club and devel-

man is happy with the outcome. “It was a mud hole, and

opment. Murdock dropped out of school in the ninth

he turned it into the magnificent community it is today.

grade, enlisted in the army during World War II, was

If left to Dayton Realty, there would have been thou-

homeless and destitute after the war, but managed to turn

sands of homes and no golf course in our pristine val-

his life around. He moved from Detroit to Arizona and

ley.” Weitzman says that 90 percent of his close friends

finally came to California in the 1960s with an eye on de-

he met through the club. “My wife and I have dinner

veloping commercial real estate. And develop he did. He

here two or three nights a week,” he says. “The food is

also bought a nearly bankrupt Castle & Cooke firm that

that good and the other members are that nice. I’ve

owned the Dole Food Company and transformed C&C

played a lot of excellent golf courses, but my favorite is

into a highly profitable entity. Today, Forbes Magazine es-

Sherwood. I never get tired of it.”


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A Golden Eighteen

three summers learning about truly fresh seafood in

Half Dozen New Zealand Coromandel Oysters on the

Alaska. He ended up in Seattle, at Washington’s Harbor-

Half Shell. These are likely to be brought to you by the

side Restaurant, where he learned to “let the food speak

highly experienced server, Fernando Arzadon, whose her-

for itself,” he says. “My goal is not to mess it up.” He also lets his culinary team of nineteen cooks experiment with new dishes. They produce breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday through Sunday in the men’s grill, lunch six days a week in the Vista Grille, and dinner à la carte Wednesday through Sunday in the tennis clubhouse. There, members and guests can enjoy fine dining by candlelight or partake of the bar menu in

itage is seventeenth century Spanish PREVIOUS PAGES:

From left: a woodpecker perched atop a sycamore tree; native flowers bloom throughout the year; a tranquil waterfall at the tennis clubhouse; roses in bloom fill the grounds; the tennis clubhouse offers grass, clay, and hard court surfaces; the swimming pool complex with views of Hidden Valley; golfers teeing off on the back nine. BELOW:

Members Dustin Johnson, and Tristan and Wayne Gretzky.

the more casual pub.

and Filipino. Arzadon leaves nothing to chance. Your place setting is always impeccable, your napkin always folded when not in use, and your sparkling water continuously flavored with fresh lemon and lime. The tennis clubhouse is across the street from the main clubhouse, and it’s equally as impressive. Here you’ll find access to a full-service spa and fitness center, a heated pool, three cro-

This is where you’ll find Executive Sous Chef Garrett

quet courts, and finally, a world-class tennis complex,

Yokoyama, who also worked at Trump National after

including a stadium court where tournament matches

graduating from the fifteen-month Cordon Bleu College

can be played. Look toward the mountain above, and

in Pasadena. One of his specialties is the Jidori Chicken,

you’ll also see the towering home of Pete Sampras, who

made in the natural, Japanese method. It’s not unusual to

has his own hard court and swimming pool. He uses the

find exotic appetizers on the dinner menu, such as the

club’s tennis facilities, however, when he wants to hone


Sherwood4.qxp_Layout 1 6/10/14 2:52 PM Page 327

Sherwood Country Club


his game on one of two other surfaces: In

photos of all the past presidents of the club. But there are

A peek inside the stately men’s golf locker room.

addition to eight hard courts, the club of-

also some curious artifacts hanging on the walls: one is a

fers three grass courts and three clay. In

hickory-shafted, walking-stick golf club, donated by

the fitness center, members can partici-

David Murdock; the other is a one-piece sculptured

pate in fourteen fitness classes per week or work out with

replica of Nicklaus’ four professional major trophies. In

a personal trainer on the Cybex and Precor equipment.

the men’s locker room are flags from each of the World

You can also make appointments for various spa services,

Challenge tournaments played at Sherwood, paired with

such as facials and massages.

photographs of each year’s winners. There is also an array

Now let’s stroll over to the main clubhouse. To do

of stretching equipment on hand, advocated by Fisher,

this, you must traverse through no fewer than ten-thou-

who promotes longevity for the members through

sand rose bushes that punctuate much of the grounds and

strength and flexibility.

then walk past those beautiful white columns and through

Back upstairs on the veranda, breakfast and lunch are

the main door. Once in the clubhouse, you’ll see several

available overlooking the 18th green. A server is always on

rooms that are reminiscent of something you might find

hand to assist you, here or even on the golf course. A

in Versailles. High, beamed ceilings are the order here, and

unique feature at Sherwood is the delivery of food to

heavy curtains and large formal paintings grace the walls.

members and guests where and when they want it. Says

An extremely large ballroom upstairs can seat up to 750

Aidukas: “We’ll deliver any kind of sandwich to any hole

guests. It opens to a spectacular veranda with a breath-

during the round. Members simply ask the caddie in the

taking, crescent view of the golf course and surrounding

group to radio the clubhouse, and within minutes food

mountains. This is where most of the wedding photo-

and drink appear. This is especially important when your

graphs are shot. Downstairs, toward the well-appointed,

concentration is waning late in the round or if you’re

traditional locker rooms for men and women, and past

having trouble negotiating the highly challenging rough

the women’s card room, you might notice fairly standard

or figuring out the super-fast greens.


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A Golden Eighteen

Top conditioning from holes 1 to 18

to deal with the stress of the World Challenge is Director

THE AFOREMENTIONED ROUGH on the course is a com-

of Golf Chris Mitchell. “The first tournament for me was

bination of Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass.

definitely stressful,” Mitchell admits, “but Greg [McLaugh-

Few courses in the world have mowing heights that are as

lin] and his foundation and the Tour are so experienced

precise as Sherwood’s. Director of Agronomy Sean Dyer

that I’m more relaxed now. They are great people to work

cuts the intermediate rough (five feet wide) at 2-1/2

with. We don’t even shut the course down until the Sunday

inches throughout the year, for regular play and during

before the event, which is unheard of at other Tour sites.”

the World Challenge. He maintains the mowing height of

In addition to the big tournament each year, Mitchell

the Penncross/Poa greens at .125 inches, which translates

conducts numerous events for the members, including the

to a Stimpmeter speed of 11 for normal member play, 12

Club Championship and Senior Club Championship for

for member tournaments, and 13 for the World Challenge

men and women, as well as the three-day Member-Member

(the green speeds vary by how much he rolls them and

(the Bow & Arrow) and the three-day Member-Guest (the

the time of year).

Robin Hood). These are both conducted as five nine-hole

Dyer is a graduate of Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture with a BS degree in turfgrass science and a minor in plant pathology. In other words, he knows his agronomy. Also, he’s been at Sherwood since 2004, long enough to experience the stress that comes with preparing the course for the rigors of a televised PGA Tour event. “I try to maintain the course at a high level

matches with sixty teams competing. OPPOSITE:

The entry foyer inside the tennis clubhouse; Executive Chef Kevin Aidukas; caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh burrata cheese; seared ahi tuna; The Conservatory Room in the golf clubhouse. FOLLOWING PAGES:

Approaching the green of the 446-yard, par-4 18th hole.

all the time,” he says. “But the national ex-

Mitchell is perhaps most proud of the fact that Sherwood won a significant event two years ago—the Metro Team Championship. In a Ryder Cup format, a group of members representing Sherwood were victorious against other major clubs in the Los Angeles area, including The Los Angeles Country Club, Bel Air, Brentwood, Hillcrest, and Riviera. A large photograph of the winning

posure brings everything to a new level.” The tees and fair-

team hangs in Mitchell’s office. “It’s a great event, because

ways are a four-way blend of L-93 Creeping Bentgrass,

our members get to play and meet members at the other

Seaside2 (which is salt resistant), Princeville (drought re-

prominent clubs in the area. And it’s great competition.”

sistant), and Grand Prix (disease tolerant). He mows the

Mitchell understands competition. A native of

tees at .300 inches and fairways at .400. Approaches and

Spokane, Washington, he served as the head professional

collars are kept at .350. Bunker sand is just as precise. Called

at the Portland Golf Club (host of the 1947 Ryder Cup)

G-20, it’s a sub-angular silica, mined out of a quarry in the

for thirteen years. He has played in fifteen National Club

Simi Valley.

Professional Championships, and three Senior National

Dyer is environmentally conscious as well. “My over-

Club Professional Championships. But what’s really im-

all philosophy of conditioning is to keep the course on the

pressive is his college golf pedigree: He played for the leg-

dry side,” he says. “Heat plus water can result in a lot of

endary Coach Dave Williams at the University of Houston

disease. So it’s a fine line, but I favor drier conditions. That

alongside, at one time or another, Fred Couples (and Jim

allows us to drastically reduce the amount of chemicals

Nantz), Blaire McCallister, Nick Faldo, and Sandy Lyle.

we use.” Dyer contends that the soils on the course are so

Mitchell oversees the entire golf operation, includ-

tight they don’t leach. “We know this from the soil- and

ing the caddie program run by Rick Alexander. Most

water-quality tests we do,” he says. Dyer’s commitment to

members play their golf at Sherwood either walking

quality goes beyond the golf course, however. He and his

with a caddie or if necessary riding in a cart and using

wife are taking care of two foster children, whom they

a forecaddie. Mitchell says he feels blessed to be at Sher-

hope to adopt one day, and he volunteers as a Big Brother.

wood. “As golf professionals, we all set goals,” he says.

Another key member of the golf staff who has learned

“But for me, it’s as good as it gets here. The setting is


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Sherwood Country Club

amazing. Working with the membership that we have is awesome. Yes, we have a lot of celebrities and some very important people. But they are low key. It’s a joy to come to work, and I just love coming through those large gates every day.” You won’t see Mitchell spending much time behind his desk or even behind the counter. He’s usually checking that members are able to get the lessons they want: He teaches about ten hours a week. You’ll often find Mitchell on the first tee, making sure the members and their guests are starting their rounds smoothly. “It’s important that the director of golf is visible,” he says. “The members really like that.” One member in particular who likes that is Paul Porteous, a multiple club champion. Porteous has a short game to die for, and a personal golf cart to live for. He keeps every kind of physical remedy for whatever ails a golf game at the ready: Band-Aids, Advil, sunscreen, bug repellent (not needed), herbal teas, an assortment of golf tees, club-adjustment wrenches (as a joke he’s


(Clockwise from upper left) General Manager Lenny Fisher; Sherwood President Matthew Stapleton; Director of Golf Chris Mitchell; an archer statuette sits aside every tee; the club’s logo in relief on the entry gates to the clubhouse; Director of Golf Course Maintenance Sean Dyer, with Rose and Pete; a commemorative plaque leading into the men’s locker room.

known to adjust other player’s

TV show and who currently stars in the hit series Par-

clubs when they’re not looking),

enthood. A 6-handicapper who can play to it, he tries to

various drinks on ice, three

get on the course six times a week when his schedule al-

kinds of energy bars, extra

lows. He exhibits a keen interest in the Sherwood course.

gloves and towels, dog biscuits

“I love the way Jack designed this layout,” he says. “Gen-

for any canines who live near the

erally speaking, the greens don’t slope from front to back

property… well you get the pic-

or back to front. They are so well-engineered and bal-

ture. Paul keeps his cart in a

anced. There is a lot of risk/reward in this design. Pretty

beautiful home he shares with

much on every hole. And you need to be able to work

his wife, Linda. It overlooks the

the ball both ways.”

severely undulating and well-

Nelson, who is also a member at Bellaire and at

bunkered green of the second

Gozzer Ranch in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, near his home-

hole (No. 11 in the World Chal-

town of Spokane, Washington, is a huge admirer of Nick-

lenge), which might be one rea-

laus the player and designer. “I saw Jack give a clinic once,

son he has such a great short

and what he said always stuck with me. It was so clear

game. Semi-retired from the dental products business—

and logical,” he says. “Jack gives you options, but there’s

he invented a bonding cement for caps on teeth—he di-

always an ideal shot that’s called for. To me, the genius of

vides his time between Sherwood and La Quinta,

this golf course, from a pro to a 20-handicapper, is every-

California, where he plays at The Quarry Golf Club. In

one can have a good time. Anyone can play it. That’s very

short, he’s a lot of fun to play golf with, and he’s avid

unusual. But he also gives you an opportunity to make a

about the game.

fool of yourself.”


Long-time member Craig T. Nelson with Nugget.

Another member who is equally devoted to golf is

Nelson is speaking figuratively, of course. There are

Craig T. Nelson, who we all know as “Coach” from the

no fools at Sherwood Country Club.


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SHOAL CREEK Shoal Creek, Alabama

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A Golden Eighteen

World-Class Golf in an Old-World Setting


HEN YOU FIRST drive through the gates and into the massive, rolling property of Shoal Creek, having made your way some

fifteen miles southeast from the thriving city of Birmingham, Alabama, two things come to mind: The trees lining the drive from the entrance to the clubhouse are enormous, putting even Augusta National’s Magnolia Lane to shame; and you feel as if you have gone back in time, not just to the antebellum Deep South—although the huge oaks draped with Spanish moss evoke those images—but all the way to the 1700s, because all of the buildings on the property replicate the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg, right down to the red-brick facades laid in a Flemish Bond pattern, the simple white-wooden archways over the heavy dark doors, the coat-of-arms relief above the clubhouse entrance and the understated red-brick walkways. son passed away at age eighty-seven in 2010, but what a wonderful setting he left behind. Whether you’re planning to play eighteen holes with your buddies, or you are about to enjoy a few days in one of the twenty-eight rooms in five cottages on the premises entertaining a group of friends, or planning to spend an hour on the far end of the practice facility in blissful solitude, or walking around the nine-hole par-3 course at your leisure, you know you’ll soon be in another world, thanks to Thompson’s extraordinary vision. Such is the life of a Shoal Creek member. As Dr. Martin Bailey, a Birmingham cardiologist who joined the club some twenty years ago, points out, PREVIOUS PAGES:

“The sense of community here is so powerful. People join for the golf first, though the social aspect is very inviting.” Bailey has just retreated to the club’s “Old Pro Indeed, when you enter the valley that millions of

Shop,” where the members usually

The first hole “Starter,” a short, challenging par 4. LEFT:

Weathervane, the majestic eagle, atop the clubhouse cupola. OPPOSITE:

The eighth hole, “Wee Pond,” a daunting, short par 3.

years ago was formed by the rushing waters of what is

congregate over a beverage or a

now Shoal Creek itself, between Oak Mountain and Dou-

light meal after completing a chal-

ble Oak Mountain, everything changes. This is the setting

lenging but relaxing round of golf.

for the golf club that was the dream of Hall Thompson, a

“Every day out here is fun,” he says. “The quietness of the

self-made businessman who became extremely successful

cottages is wonderful. You can grab your putter and walk

as the founder and owner of Thompson Tractor (a Cater-

out onto the greens. You feel like you’re the only person

pillar distributor) in Nashville, Tennessee. Sadly, Thomp-

on the course with the privacy of it all.”


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A Golden Eighteen

Adds fellow member Bob Wise: “You can see every-

buildable land for a golf course,” Nicklaus says. “I told Hall,

thing from most of the tees—hazards, bunkers, landing

‘Man, you’ve got a lot of par 3s here. I don’t know whether

areas. There are no blind shots here. You feel like you’re

you can get a golf course in here.’ So Jay Morrish, Bob

always playing downhill.”

Cupp and I all went back and did our own routings, which

But the course didn’t flow so seamlessly in the origi-

we then consolidated. As it turned out, there was enough

nal design, and most of the holes weren’t initially intended

good property to build two eighteen-hole courses. So I

to play from high to low as they do now. After the initial

called Hall back and told him that. He said he didn’t think

routing was done, Thompson accompanied Nicklaus on

he wanted thirty-six holes, but he wanted a superior golf

a site visit. That’s when the greatest golfer who ever lived

course. I said, ‘OK, you’ll have zero problem getting a first-

famously told one of America’s most successful business-

class, eighteen-hole course in here.’ ”

men that the front nine had been routed backward—too many holes were playing uphill, the natural topography

A superior golf course designed for playability

had not been optimized, and

AND A FIRST-CLASS course it is.

everything needed to be re-

It instantly received such rave re-

worked. “I told Hall to follow

views from the golf establish-

me, and I started walking the

ment that the PGA of America

property of the front nine,”

decided to hold its premier

Nicklaus recalls. “The more we

championship there in 1984,

walked, the more convinced I

won by Lee Trevino. Since then,

was that we needed to go the

it has played host to the U.S.

other direction.” Thompson

Amateur (1986), the PGA again

swallowed hard. You just don’t

(1990), the U.S. Junior Amateur

rework a routing after the cen-


terlines have already been com-

Southern Amateur (2010), the

pleted. But Nicklaus felt strongly,

Jerry Pate Intercollegiate many

and Thompson knew he was

times, and the Regions Tradition

right. Most of the front nine was

for the past several years. The

reconfigured so the holes played

Tour players have consistently

mostly downhill, and the golfer

sung Shoal Creek’s praises, and

could see hole after hole in its

Tom Lehman in particular en-



entirety from the tee. The original ninth hole became the

joys the course’s shot values, having won the Tradition

first, and the original second became the ninth. “I have al-

here two of the past four years. “The course just fits my

ways thought that golf is a more pleasant game when

eye,” Lehman says. “I especially like the par 5s, which are

played downhill,” Nicklaus says.

great risk-reward holes.”

Even though this was to be Jack’s first solo design in

Thompson took a chance on Nicklaus the designer in

the U.S., (he had already completed Glen Abbey in

the mid ’70s, based on a recommendation from Augusta

Canada), his many years of experience playing golf all over

National chairman Clifford Roberts. This was a much dif-

the world, not to mention his apprenticeship with Pete

ferent Nicklaus from the one who has now designed more

Dye (Harbour Town) and partnership with Desmond

than three-hundred courses around the world. Jack was still

Muirhead (Muirfield Village), paid off during his initial

actively playing then and had not yet won his eighteenth

site visits. “When I first went through the property and

professional major. “I would call it a Jack Nicklaus/Hall

walked it out, there were all these lumbering roads

Thompson design,” Dr. Bailey says. “Hall was very involved

throughout the hills, and I wasn’t sure there was enough

in every aspect of the design and construction.”


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Shoal Creek

Director of Golf Eric Williamson concurs. “Mr.

Reggie Moore, the caddie master for the past seven

Thompson wanted a course that was very walkable, so he

years, taking over when Joe Robinson retired after twenty-

directed Nicklaus to build just that. You’ll notice that not

five years, runs a first-class program. He was a caddie

only do most holes play downhill, there are no backtracks. You never retrace your footsteps when you go from a green to the next tee.” In keeping with the walking theme, Williamson notes there are usually fifty full-time caddies during the main season (April 1 to December 1; the clubhouse closes for three weeks in the winter) and only twenty motorized golf carts. There are no cart paths. “We really cherish these guys,” he says. “Walking with a caddie is

himself at Shoal Creek before he “moved


Shoal Creek’s House Chairman George Turnley, wearing a member jacket. ABOVE:

Hole 13, “Little Jewel,” a beautiful, short par 3, all carry. FOLLOWING PAGES:

Hole 15, “Bonus,” a par 4 requiring great collaboration between Hall Thompson and Jack Nicklaus.

into management,” as he calls it. He says that all the caddies are either A or B level (there are no Cs), and their fees range from $60 to $75, including tip, which is refreshingly modest in this day of exorbitantly high-priced golf. As Williamson provides a tour of the premises, you quickly realize that the pace is a little different here. It’s a welcome respite from the stresses of the big cities in the

simply the ultimate way to play golf. The caddie program

Northeast, Midwest, and Texas, where many of the one-

is a staple of who we are. It’s integral to the culture here.”

hundred national Shoal Creek members are from. There


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A Golden Eighteen

are six-hundred members in total, with 30 percent full golf-

shot 75. The Green Suites, which houses the pro shop and

ing members, and of those, 25 percent play to single-digit

bag storage, is named after him. And Jerry Pate, who

handicaps. You are likely to encounter some of these mem-

played golf for the University of Alabama and is a long-

bers on the practice range, which has both a north and

time member of Shoal Creek, shot a 68. Later, Pate urged

south end so they are always ensured of privacy and can

the PGA’s Frank Cardi and Joe Black to consider Shoal

hit the brand-new Titleist NXT range balls directly into the

Creek for its ultimate championship. “Shoal Creek has

wind if they desire. In 2008, the club built a state-of-the-

been like a second home to me,” Pate has said. “Since the

art, short-game facility, encircled by a nine-hole par-3

day I met Hall and Lucy Thompson, they have treated me

course called the Little Links. So there is no excuse for not

like family. The consistency of golf course maintenance

owning a first-class putting, pitching, and bunker game.

at the club led other new courses to putting in top-notch

Williamson, who came to Shoal Creek from another

surfaces as well.”

prestigious club, Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, says that Thompson was often a fixture on the range.

Conditioning at the highest standard

“His vision was for friends to come out and enjoy a round

SOME OF THE course’s maintenance practices also con-

of golf, enjoy each other’s

tribute to its design balance.

company and get some fresh

The way the holes are main-

air,” Williamson says. “He was

tained allows for shots to roll

a scratch golfer in his own

onto the greens from both

right [Thompson won the

right and left. Director of

Country Club of Birming-

Agronomy Jim Simmons,

ham Club Championship in

who has been at Shoal Creek

1965 and competed in several

from the beginning, says one

Southern Amateurs], and he

of the major changes in phi-

understood what good play-

losophy regarding how the

ers wanted, but he also strived

course plays is in the massive

for holes that were playable

tree-thinning program con-

for everybody. You come here

ducted over the past several

to enjoy the walk between the

years. When there are fewer

two mountains and play

trees close to the tees, the

some real golf on a serious

golfer has more options for

course. I always thought the

shaping drives. “We still have

course favored a fade, but

thousands of trees on prop-

Tom Lehman won twice here

erty,” Simmons says, “any-

with a predominant draw, so

thing from red oaks, white

now I believe the course is very balanced.” One hole in par-

oaks, hickories, Southern pines, dogwoods, and even mag-

ticular that favors Nicklaus’ own strategic, high-ball-flight

nolias. And there are multiple beds of azaleas. But having

game is undoubtedly the winding par-5 sixth, which crosses

fewer trees around the playing areas has allowed for better

Shoal Creek three times. Jack eagled it on opening day, No-

turf conditions due to greater airflow and more sunlight.”

vember 1, 1977, hitting driver, 3-wood to three feet on his

Simmons attends to the conditioning with religious

way to a 69. A plaque there commemorates the event, and

fervor, employing twenty-five grounds assistants and three

the hole is appropriately named “First Eagle.”

interns from such top agronomy schools as Michigan

Two other U.S. Open champions played with Jack

State, Penn State, and Abraham Baldwin in Tifton, Geor-

that day. Hubert Green, who grew up in Birmingham,

gia. He has mentored a young woman, Eva Sanchez, who


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Shoal Creek

came as an intern from Madrid, Spain, and is now one of

tapped sparingly. “We use the least amount of water pos-

his most valued employees. The staff keeps the greens

sible,” Simmons says. “We don’t irrigate anything until we

rolling at close to tournament conditions every day, some-

absolutely have to. Firm, fast and dry is our philosophy.”

thing that starts with Nicklaus’ influence. “We pretty consistently keep the green speeds around 10-1/2 to 11, and are exclusively G-2 bentgrass,” Simmons says. The fairways are 419 Bermuda and the tees are Diamond

The club has been on an aggressive top-dressOPPOSITE:

The old 19th hole, “The Wind Down Room,” a wonderful retreat for a quiet cocktail.

ing program, putting some 1,500 tons of sand on the fairways each year while taking organic matter out of the playable areas. In the bunkers you’ll find premium white sand from


zoysia. Simmons also grows Bluegrass fescues under trees in the rough, which he keeps as natural as possible. This provides natural habitat for all kinds of wildlife. In a given

The living room, with a spectacular view of the 18th hole and Double Oak Mountain.

Atlanta, which creates a beautiful contrast with the green turf. All buildings in the Williamsburg tradition

round, you are likely to see such birds as martins (there

THE CLUB’S FOUNDER had long been a keen admirer of

are martin houses throughout the course), blue heron, and

architecture—particularly Georgian architecture—much

Canada geese. You’ll also see fox, deer, turtles, and a variety

of his life. So when the time came to decide on the style

of snakes. (This is the South, after all.) There are five- to

of buildings for the clubhouse, cottages, and meeting

seven-pound bass in the irrigation ponds, which are

rooms, Thompson did two smart things: He hired the


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A Golden Eighteen

Birmingham architecture firm of Edward Bailey & Asso-

hydraulic system that has a self-lubricating rod so the

ciates; and he brought Ed Bailey to Colonial Williamsburg

gates don’t slam shut. There is a ventilation system in the

for ideas and inspiration. Although the bearded Bailey

locker room, designed by Thompson himself. There are

does not play golf, he has been a long-time member of

no gutters on the front of the clubhouse or golf shop, but

Shoal Creek and, at eighty, still

instead “gutters on the ground”

visits the club almost every day.

were designed to direct the ex-

To speak with Bailey is like talk-

cess flow of rainwater. And at

ing to a history professor. Every

Thompson’s direction, a sophis-

decision and every statement he

ticated air-conditioning system

makes is based on some kind of

without a large generator or

historical event. “We have to

multiple thermostats is con-

look at what Colonial Williams-

trolled by a complicated series

burg meant in terms of Ameri-

of sensors that are hidden

can philosophy,” he says. “It was

throughout the building.

the cradle of the American Rev-

In what is called the “Wind

olution. At Shoal Creek, the

Down Room,” which once was a

trees are enormous, but the

meeting spot for members after

buildings are small and inti-

their rounds but is now a small

mate. That’s on purpose. There’s

conference room sometimes

not a big parking lot in front of

used for private dining and

the clubhouse,” he says. “In fact,

small functions, there is a large,

there is no huge, ostentatious

stone fireplace. It’s made of

clubhouse. Instead, like at

limestone from a building in the

Williamsburg, the idea is to spread everything out. That’s why we established a large, circular drive, with various


The 11th hole “Dare You,” a reachable par 5 with high risk and high reward.

of Tennessee, that Thompson heard


rock together with mud and hog hair.

Founding Chairman of Shoal Creek Golf Club Hall W. Thompson.

When Thompson visited the site, he


asked the owner of the crumbling build-

buildings positioned in a semi-circle around it.” Indeed, every club structure is patterned after a building at Colonial Williamsburg. For example, the clubhouse is modeled after the Governor’s Palace (1722). The golf shop is patterned after Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, which was the favorite meeting place of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry. Other Shoal Creek buildings are similarly replicated. The

small town of Eaglesville, in the middle

(Clockwise from upper left) The Shoal Creek caddie program, a staple of the club since the beginning; Greens and Grounds Superintendent Jim Simmons (the first and only!); Ed Bailey, architect of the Shoal Creek clubhouse and surrounding structures, all reflecting Colonial Williamsburg; spectacular lighting of the clubhouse at dusk (reminiscent of the Governor’s mansion at Colonial Williamsburg); Director of Golf Eric Williamson.

guard house, the post office, the Town

about. In 1803, slaves had mortared the

ing, a local farmer, how much he’d sell it for. The farmer said he had been told it was worth about $700. Thompson said he’d like to pay him $1,000, and so he had his rock. The limestone, all nineteen truckloads, was transported to Shoal Creek. It also was used to build retaining walls on hole Nos. 1, 5, and 14, as well as a bridge on No. 2. The inside of the clubhouse is also

Hall (designed as a chapel), closely imitate buildings you’d

full of history, as well as recent milestones. You’ll find the

find in Colonial Williamsburg. A lot of technical innova-

Rast Garden Room, named after one of the original club

tion went into these buildings and on the property. For

governors, Tom Rast. In the library, you’ll notice several

instance, the front gate uses an innovative, underground

glass cabinets that contain important club memorabilia:


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A Golden Eighteen

Jerry Pate’s 1982 Tournament Players Championship

and the PGA Champions Tour unhesitatingly has wel-

trophy (which he celebrated by throwing Pete Dye

comed Shoal Creek as the site of one of its major champi-

and Deane Beman into the lake at TPC Sawgrass, then

onships, the Regions Tradition. Said Hall Thompson’s son,

following with a semi-swan dive); Ken Venturi’s 1-iron

Mike, when it was announced five years ago that the Tra-

from his 1964 epic U.S. Open victory at Congressional;

dition would move to Shoal Creek: “It was a long time

and various items related directly to Shoal

coming, but we think Birmingham has

Creek from Nicklaus, 1984 PGA winner Lee


moved on and so has the national media.

Trevino, 1986 U.S. Amateur champion

Beginning a promising round on the first hole, “Starter.”

That was not a fun chapter in our history, but

Buddy Alexander, and 1990 PGA victor Wayne Grady. The year 1990 also conjures up other memories—those not so pleasant—when comments Hall Thompson made about private clubs restricting African Americans


(Clockwise from upper left) Golfers after a fulfilling day; Clubhouse Manager Bobbie Deschamps; the Shoal Creek logo; the Colonial Williamsburg style clubhouse blends right in.

from membership in Birmingham started a

it was a chapter. We’re not looking over our shoulder, we’re looking at the future.” Today, Mike Thompson stresses the fan support in Birmingham. “We’re just so thrilled to be back in tournament golf,” he says. “When we got the word from the PGA Tour about the Tradition, you could have knocked me over

firestorm of controversy. Today all of that is in the past,

with a feather. We set an attendance record for the PGA

and Shoal Creek is closer to a model of inclusion. It counts

back in 1984, and there were 206,000 people here in 1990.

at least ten African American members, former United

I remember in ’84 that the first ticket order we received

States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice among them,

was from Coach Paul [Bear] Bryant. That tells you some-


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A Golden Eighteen

thing. The fans here really support golf.”

special place in his heart. “I remember the club’s dedica-

Today, Mike Thompson has taken over for his father

tion ceremony like it was yesterday,” he says. “November

in running the club’s operations while he also oversees

1, 1977. The mountain was changing colors. It was a crisp

Thompson Tractor. With an engaging personality that

blue sky. Right in front of Jack Nicklaus, Jerry Pate, Hu-

emanates a dry wit, look-you-in-the-eye management

bert Green, and all the members, Dad hit the first dedica-

style and pleasant Southern hospitality, he remains the

tion shot with a tie on. Nailed it 250 right down the

club’s strongest advocate. Shoal Creek has always held a

middle with an old persimmon driver.”


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Shoal Creek

Thompson has other fond memories of the club’s

Turnip Greens, and Burgundy Poached Amaretto Mas-

early days. “I remember one summer I ran a Cat 920, mix-

carpone. She smokes all her own meat and bakes three

ing tons of sand, peat moss, and dirt,” he told Birming-

kinds of bread on the premises every day. “We make

ham golf writer Ian Thompson for the club’s twentieth

everything from scratch,” she says, “even sandwich breads,

anniversary book. “I joined

all cakes, danishes, hors d’ oeu-

my father and Jack as they

vres.” Breakfast, along with

walked, talked, and co-de-

lunch, is served every day but

signed the course. [My father]

Monday. Upstairs is a private

never took the traditional ‘de-

dining area that complements

veloper’ role in expecting that

the main dining room, where

profit had to come from the

members and guests enjoy

project. In fact, I have seen

Patmaltee’s fine cuisine. It

countless times he did all he

seems like there’s always an

could to keep from making

event—a wedding, a tourna-

money.” Indeed, real estate was

ment, a celebration of some

never a driving force of the de-

sort—to cook for, so Connie is

velopment. You barely can see

one busy woman.

any houses—they are far and

Some of the meals are

few between, and they are set

catered to the cottages, which

far off the fairways, behind

also were designed in the

dense trees. “All my dad really

Williamsburg tradition. One of

wanted was a course good

them was named after Pate. It

enough to host the U.S. Ama-

contains four guest bedrooms.

teur,” Thompson says. “He had

Another bears the Nicklaus

qualified for the Amateur early in his golfing life, but his

name, which is smaller with two bedrooms. The Thomp-

father told him he needed to work instead of traveling

son Cottage was a gift to the club from Hall and his wife,

to the tournament and playing. So he didn’t compete.

Lucille. It has four upstairs and four downstairs bed-

He always said that was the only bad advice his dad ever

rooms. Many of the members rent the cottages for brief

gave him, his one regret. So being awarded

or extended stays. When you spend the

the ’86 Amateur at Shoal Creek meant he got his wish.” Fine Irish dining, Southern style ANOTHER DRIVING FORCE, members will

tell you, is the club’s Executive Chef Connie Patmaltee who trained for years under

night in one, you wake up appreciative of


(Clockwise from upper left) An intimate dining table with an exceptional view of the 18th hole; rack of lamb for dinner; the elegant dining room. ABOVE:

Executive Chef, Connie Patmaltee.

Kenneth McNeilly. She carries on his phi-

the fact that Hall Thompson, when he ran Thompson Tractor, once decided to consult an industrial psychologist to help him determine the aspirations of his employees. Finally, it was time for the psychologist to ask Thompson what one thing in his life he had never done but wanted to do.

losophy. “My staff will do anything for me and vice versa,”

“Build my own golf course,” was the answer.

she says. “When you know what the members want, it’s

Years later, Thompson mentioned the session to his

easy to keep them happy.”

wife, who said, “Why don’t you stop talking about it and

Connie keeps the members satisfied by providing

start doing something about it.” He built that course and

such entrees on the menu as Rack of Lamb Roasted with

named it Shoal Creek. The game of golf is better because

Minted Cumberland Sauce, Local Barbeque with Fresh

he acted on his dream.


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TOSCANA COUNTRY CLUB I n d i a n We l l s , C a l i f o r n i a

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A Golden Eighteen

Idyllic Golf and Living in Lavish Tuscan Style


NE OF THE GREAT ADVANTAGES of building an upscale golf course community in the Southern California desert is

that you can form just about everything to your liking. Perfect weather throughout the winter and a wisely used underground aquifer for irrigation makes it easy to grow grass, flowers, and different varieties of trees. With a relatively flat, sandy terrain in the Coachella Valley, all you need is a bulldozer and a vision to shape the earth however you want. You can create just about any kind of environment you can imagine, even produce an entire culture from another part of the world. In the case of the magnificent Toscana Country Club, at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in Indian Wells, the owner fashioned a complete Tuscan village so authentic that the residents could actually think they are living in Italy. That owner is William Bone, founder and CEO of the highly acclaimed Sunrise Company, and his goal was to “one day create something exceptional that would capture all the beauty and sophistication of living in Indian Wells.” But he might have meant living in Tuscany. Indeed, as you stroll around

direction of Bill Bone. If there is

the six-hundred-forty-acre, sun-

anyone in the country who un-

drenched property that includes

derstands what the luxury real

thirty-six signature golf holes

estate buyer wants today, it is

designed by Jack Nicklaus

Bone. Some of the other out-

(twenty-seven completed), a

standing properties he has cre-

spectacular spa and sports club,

ated include Indian Ridge

a world-class tennis facility, six-

Country Club along with eight

hundred-fifty-two beautifully

others in the Palm Springs/Palm

designed single-family homes—

Desert area, Royal Oaks Coun-

each with their own outdoor

try Club in Houston, Texas, and

living area—and a clubhouse complex


made up of five unique buildings that

The par-4, 385-yard first hole on the South Course.

looks like a sprawling, Italian country estate, you might think you forgot your

Red Rock Country Club in Las Vegas. Each community blends smoothly into the natural surroundings, yet has a


The Golden Bear tees.

unique established theme. In Toscana’s

English-Italian dictionary. The streets


case, that theme is Italian through and

have such names as Via Chianti, Via Orvi-

The soaring tower of the sports club overlooks the formal gardens.

through, right down to the perpetually

eto, and Via Uzzano. Some of the club’s

sunny weather. Says Bone’s son and Sun-

annual golf tournaments are referred to as La Traviata, La

rise COO Randall Bone about the Toscana culture in

Testarosa, and Il Palio. The pitch and putt course is named

Indian Wells: “We have come to learn that the weather

“Piccolo.” The members’ bike club is called “Ciclio di

and lifestyle drive a strong desire to entertain. That’s

Toscana. Well, you get the picture, or … afferrare l’idea.

why we offer open floor plans and indoor/outdoor con-

The Sunrise Company has been building high-end

nections so the main living areas flow seamlessly to the

lifestyle developments for forty-five years under the

outside. The sophistication of the people here has


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A Golden Eighteen

driven a high level of architectural finish and design.”

wooden beams. The central oak table is long, dark, and sub-

Randall Bone says that Toscana is the culmination of

stantial, at least six inches thick with carved round legs

the Sunrise Company’s desert real estate experience.

twelve inches in diameter. The surrounding chairs are com-

“My father and our senior management team have

fortable and upholstered with dark leather. On three of the

brought into this community a combination of what

walls are racks of wine—eighteen-hundred bottles under

we’ve learned for the past forty years. We feel Toscana

constant temperature control. A candled chandelier hangs

is as nice as anything we’ve built.”

from the ceiling. Back upstairs, everything is appointed in classic Tuscan style, with wide rooms, high ceilings, and old-

An elegant entrance

country stone walls adorned with large paintings depicting

AS YOU ENTER through the heavy gates, you soon under-

the Italian countryside. Numerous large clay planters line

stand what Randall Bone means. The seemingly endless

the indoor hallways and the outdoor walkways.

banks of roses lining both sides of the mile-long drive into

In a few steps, however, this old-world charm turns

the property are just one example. There are thirty-thou-

into a modern fitness and exercise center as Spa and Sports

sand of these roses on the golf

Director Jennifer Di Francesco

course and grounds. When you fi-

points the way to the ultra-modern

nally make your way to the Club

Sports Club, which rivals the best

Villa (or clubhouse), you realize

fitness centers anywhere in the

that it’s not one building, but

world. Fitness and wellness are

five, all intertwined by a network

crucial elements for Bill Bone. “I

of courtyards, covered walkways

feel it’s essential for our members

and canopied paths. A massive

to have the opportunity to pursue

baroque-looking fountain leads

a healthy lifestyle,” Bone says.

the way to the Club Villa and the

“That’s why we focus on offering

first building, where you find the

as many different fitness activities

golf shop and the cart storage

as possible.” Here members are

areas. In the separate men’s and

met by a sports concierge, who can

women’s locker rooms, Locker-

set them up with one of three per-

room Attendant Gabe Griswold

sonal trainers on staff. Valeria M.

will take care of your shoes, or

Batross, for example, is a certified

your dry cleaning, or your transportation to any of the airports, or call and order food for your house. A short

TPI (Titleist Performance InstiABOVE:

Arched passageways connect the buildings in the Club Villa.

walk leads you to some breathtaking out-

tute) trainer for golf-specific regimens and also is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified. Dr. Robert

door gardens that overlook the ninth and 18th holes of

Haberkorn directs Tai Chi groups and will work with in-

the South Course, each playing around a central lake to

dividuals upon request. There are fifteen exercise classes

their respective greens. The 13,000-square-foot restau-

to choose from, and yoga or Pilates is offered every morn-

rant, Il Forno Trattoria, includes indoor and terraced din-

ing. There are also numerous outdoor activities, such as

ing for up to one-hundred people, a beautifully appointed

cycling (twenty, thirty-two, fifty, sixty or one-hundred

bar and lounge, a snack bar for golfers making the turn,

miles), lawn volleyball, hiking in the Coachella Valley Pre-

and a wine cellar for private parties of up to twenty guests.

serve, and birding on the Toscana property.

The wine cellar is a special room indeed. Venture down

Di Francesco, who is a certified yoga instructor, seems

the stairs and you feel as if you are entering a monastery or

to have boundless energy. Before coming to Toscana in

a Swiss-Italian stübli made of rock, mortar, and heavy

2011, she opened the spa at the nearby Miramonte Resort,


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which won Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top 10 Spas in the U.S.

Treatments don’t get any more luxurious than this. Di

Award,” and she also opened La Quinta Resort Spa. Toscana

Francesco points out the Roman feel of the fountains. “You

is her first private club experience, which she prefers over

can basically stay all day in the grand suites,” she says. “You

hotel spas. “It’s nice to work with people you see over and

have absolutely everything you need here.” The spa also of-

over,” she says. “I can track their progress, which is really

fers a full-service salon that includes a hair station, a man-

rewarding.” She is eager to show off the club’s TRX machine, which can provide up to one-hundred different movements for a total body workout. And the four Pilates reformers and two Pilates cadillacs, under direct supervision, get a lot of action every day. Other classes include Boot Camp, Spin and Eclectic Cardio Groove. Next, it’s on to the Spa Bella Vita, where there are five luxury treatment suites and two grand treatment suites. These need some careful explanation to fully understand what they entail. Each luxury suite features an indoor shower

icure station, and two pedicure stations. ABOVE:

The Il Forno Trattoria and gardens overlook the lake and green on the 18th hole of the South Course. FOLLOWING PAGES:

The Spa Bella Vita Reflection Garden; a hummingbird enjoys a snack from the numerous wildflowers at Toscana; citrus trees found in the lush surroundings at Toscana; every architectural detail is well thought-out at Toscana, including this water spigot; the dramatic par-3 seventh hole on the South Course; the Il Forno Lounge; one of the favorite spots to dine at Toscana is the Covered Patio overlooking the golf courses framed by the Santa Rosa Mountains; the men’s grille in the gentlemen’s locker room; the lounge in the ladies’ locker room.

and a walled private garden terrace with

Toscana’s team of therapists and estheticians provides a variety of services, including




treatments, and hydrotherapy treatments. There is also a spa boutique that features the world-renowned Kerstin Florian Products. (Florian happens to be a member at Toscana.) Next door to the Spa Bella Vita is the outdoor tennis facility. To get to the four courts (three hard, one Har-Tru), you walk along paths enclosed by more rose bushes. The club runs an active teaching and playing program. The tennis center is named after recent Hall of

an outdoor shower or outdoor bathtub. Each grand suite

Fame inductee Charlie Pasarell, who is a club member, a

features a welcoming sitting room with fireplace, a treat-

long-time resident of the area, and the driving force be-

ment room with two massage tables, a bathroom with hy-

hind bringing the world-class PNB Paribas Tennis Tour-

drotherapy bathtub, indoor shower and powder room, and

nament to the Desert. Toscana conducts several

a walled private garden terrace with an outdoor shower.

tournaments for its 120 tennis members that provide them


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A Golden Eighteen

with a fun and active tennis program. One popular event

and all have golf course views,” he says.

is the Aces vs. Aces Tournament (a combination golf and

Toscana’s twenty-seven holes might look natural, but

tennis event). The staff converts the grass volleyball court

Nicklaus says that’s just an illusion. “The first eighteen [the

into a tennis court for the Grand Slam Week, a tournament

South Course] was done with big, bold bunkers, a totally

played on the club’s three different surfaces. Also of note,

manufactured course,” Nicklaus says. “On the second

the tennis courts have state-of-the-art lighting called Vi-

course [the North, of which the first nine is completed],

sionaire, which means the members can play in the cooler

there is perhaps $2 million dollars in artificial rock work.

evenings and at night under perfect visual conditions.

But it’s done so well, you’d never know it. It’s all faux stone. In fact, there is not a natural stone in a single house at

27 holes of championship golf

Toscana.” Nicklaus says his goal was to design two totally

ALTHOUGH MOST OF the members enjoy all of these

different-looking courses on the property. “I wanted one

amenities—in fact, such features are essential in today’s

course to have deeper bunkers and more undulations. The

upscale country club living environment—the majority of

other has more natural-looking bunkers with more grasses

them are here for the golf and the dining. Says Toscana’s

in them. Not high lips. The newest nine is flatter, just a dif-

CEO and General Manager Paul Levy, who also is the secretary of the PGA of America and is moving up the political ranks of that organization: “I’ve been

ferent look.” Nicklaus says he’s proud of PREVIOUS PAGES:

Water protects the right side of the par-4, 375-yard 13th hole on the South Course. OPPOSITE:

working with Bill Bone at Sunrise since 1999, and Toscana is as good as any country club development I’ve ever seen.” That’s saying a lot because Levy has been in the golf business a very long time, having played varsity golf for Louisiana State University, then first working at Houston’s Quail Valley in 1984, later serving as the head professional at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring, Texas, and finally becoming director of golf and general man-

because it had been fifteen years since he had designed a course in the California desert. “We were able to create two dis-

(Clockwise from left) Outside services staff members Justin Fairgrief, left, and Mike Kunz; Director of Golf Dave Craig; Locker Room and Beverage Manager Gabe Griswold; Sunrise Founder and Chief Executive Officer William Bone; Vice President of Golf Course Maintenance Rick Sall; Director of Instruction Bill Harmon, left, with a student; Sunrise President of Club Operations and Development, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Toscana Paul Levy.

ager at Royal Oaks in Houston, a new

the way the holes turned out, especially

tinctively challenging yet playable courses due to the fact that we started with pure land without any physical constraints,” he says. “I have personally walked the Toscana site for hours molding and finetuning the design. In the end, we have created something I think the members will enjoy for years to come.” One of those members is Norm McIntyre. He and his wife, Lana, live in Calgary and joined Toscana in 2006. They

Sunrise development that was his first position when

have two grown sons and four grandchildren. Norm re-

joining Sunrise in 1999. Today he is also president of club

tired from the Canadian oil industry in 2004 after serving

operations and development for all of its operations.

as president of Integrated International Oil Company. “We

Levy and his wife, Heidi, live within the Toscana develop-

knew Sunrise from another development, Indian Ridge [in

ment, so they can experience first-hand its upscale lifestyle

nearby Palm Desert], and we liked this property immedi-

and casual elegance. But that also means he is constantly

ately,” he says. McIntyre, an imposing man who looks you

looking for ways to improve the service and make sure

in the eye when he speaks, asserts that there are at least

the members are happy, especially when it comes to the

four reasons why he and his wife joined Toscana: “One, we

quality of the golf and the homes around the property.

really like the diverse and geographic mix of the member-

“Members buying a home here have a lot of options,”

ship,” he says. “Members come from all over the States, plus

Levy says. Prices range from just under $1 million dollars

Canada (like us) and other countries. This means we can

to more than $4 million dollars. “There are eighteen dif-

socialize with very interesting people. There is no pom-

ferent floor plans, ranging from 2,400 to 5,400 square feet,

posity here. Just a friendly group of people.” He pauses to


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catch his breath. “Two, the facilities are terrific. I like the

“We simply love all the members.” The feeling seems to

fact that we have a group of smaller buildings, which is a

be mutual. The Craigs specialize in organizing seven-day

nice feel. The spa is second-to-none. We have an outstand-

golf trips for the members each year and serve as the travel

ing practice facility, and the Bill Harmon Golf School is a

agent/tour operator. They handle all of the logistics, in-

great asset.” Another pause, for effect. “Three, the staff. They are dedicated to providing members with the best experience each day.

cluding flights, tee times, hotels, and meals. In ABOVE:

Members tee off on the third hole of the North Course.

That starts with Bill Bone himself. He holds a


town hall meeting periodically and invites all

The Firenze Grand Suite at Spa Bella Vita; Spa and Sports Club Director Jennifer Di Francesco.

the members to learn about the club and its future. Finally, my wife loves it here. She plays golf and goes to lunch with her friends. They

2014 they plan to visit the Gleneagles area in Scotland, timed with the Ryder Cup. Other trips have taken them to Bandon Dunes, Kiawah Island, and the American Club. Craig and his staff, which includes PGA Head Golf Professional Brad Graff and four assistant golf professionals, conduct a season-

play in the Divot Divas (a nine-hole group), and eighteen

long schedule of tournaments and events at Toscana, each

holes on Ladies Day. And David makes it easy for women

with Italian names. These include the Couples Invita-

to feel comfortable. He’s extremely hard working, very

tional (Ti Amo), the Men’s Invitational (Il Palio, named

professional, and he’s recruited a tremendous staff.”

after the Bareback Horse Race in Siena, Italy), the Ladies

The David that McIntyre refers to is David Craig, the

Invitational (Donne Classica, translation: Beautiful

director of golf. Originally from Lower Bucks County in

Women), the Men’s Member-Member (La Testarosa), the

Pennsylvania and a graduate of Boston College (he at-

Ladies Member-Member (La Traviata), and club champi-

tended while Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie played

onships for men, women, and couples, in addition to var-

there), he is now in his eighth season at Toscana. “My wife

ious one-day member-guests. “I call the golf season in the

and I found the desert about twenty years ago,” he says.

desert our version of the famous ‘100-Day War,’ ” Craig


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To s c a n a C o u n t r y C l u b

says. “It’s wonderfully busy from mid-

admires the third hole, a par 3 with

January until the end of April.”

water along the left side. “It’s a big, ex-

Fortunately, with the twenty-

pansive hole,” Craig says. “There is a

seven current holes and nine more to

good bailout area on the right, so

come, the courses never seem

Nicklaus gives you options to play safe

crowded, and tee times are not neces-

or aggressively.”

sary for everyday play. Craig describes a favorite hole on each nine: On the

A course always in top condition

front of the South 18, it’s the eighth

CRAIG ALSO PRAISES the design of

hole, a par 5. “This hole requires three

the practice range, which has hitting

really good shots to reach the green,”

areas on opposite ends. The north

he says. “It’s unique in that the faces of

end, where Director of Instruction Bill

the bunkers are almost concave, so

Harmon runs his golf schools, also

you need to stay out of them. There

contains a complete short-game com-

are at least a dozen bunkers up the right and left sides, pe-

plex. You’ll often see Champions Tour player Jay Haas and

nalizing stray tee shots as well as layup and approach

his son, PGA Tour standout Bill Haas, working on their

shots, and, of course, protecting the green. But when you

games, as well as LPGA star Nicole Castrale. Then there

look back down the fairway, because of their design fea-

is the Piccolo pitch and putt course. Rick Sall, the head

ture, you can’t see them at all. The hole that just tested

superintendent, took it upon himself to grass in and build

you, looks benign at best.” On the back of the South 18,

some short holes in a sandy area that wasn’t being used.

it’s the 18th hole. “This one is very scenic, playing right

He contends it costs less to irrigate turf than to water that

up to the clubhouse with a waterfall to the right of the

section of the property for dust control. Says Craig: “Rick’s

green. Just a great finishing hole.” On the North Nine, he

the best superintendent I’ve ever known or been around.”


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A Golden Eighteen

They make a point of meeting weekly in season so each is

The two contrasting looks go over well with the mem-

up to speed on the golf operation.

bers. John Eger, a founding member, says the variety of the

Sall was on site during construction of the three nines

two courses helps set Toscana apart from other develop-

and supervised the growing-in process. He is also in charge

ments in the area. “I was one of the first to move in,” he

of the thirty-thousand roses that are spread throughout the

says, “and Bill [Bone] just hit it right. I had belonged to

course and the landscaping around the streets and medians.

The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe [and was familiar

“At many clubs the superintendent has nothing to do with

with Nicklaus’ work from there], but I knew Bill had

the landscaping throughout the entire community, but I like

owned this property for a long time. As soon as he broke

being in charge of the entire operation because I can make

ground, I was sure I wanted to be here.” Eger, originally

sure there is a consistent look,” he says. “Every resident’s back

from Garden City on Long Island and still actively working

door is a picture frame, so I want to be sure the course is as

as an investment banker, has lived at Toscana with his wife,

esthetically pleasing as possible.” Sall is a naturalist at heart.

Sheila, for nearly ten seasons. “The great thing that Bill

In fact, he leads the members on the birding excursions on

Bone did was put together a fantastic group of members.

the course. “We have no real native desert here, and that’s

We have five large club social events each year for members

why the roses are so important. They add not only color, but

and prospective members; one is over Cinco de Mayo with

attract lots of birds and other wildlife. After they were established, Mr. Bone told me, ‘Good call on the roses.’ I appreciated that.”

week in season. His degrees from Ohio State are in natural resources administration and turf management. Originally he wanted to be

any of the clubs when you’re in the club-

The sixth hole on the South Course.

On the golf course, Sall has his hands full, which is why he’s on the job seven days a

a mariachi band. We have the best view of


house. It’s hard to resist joining after one of these events.” Sheila Eger is quick to note


Executive Chef Mark Rigano; the Founders’ Cup trophy; one of the fine-dining options for dinner; the Wine Cellar hosts private, intimate celebrations and winemaker dinners.

that perhaps the best chef in the California Desert is Toscana’s own Mark Rigano. The finest dining in the desert EXECUTIVE CHEF RIGANO opened the club’s

a park manager, but working his way through college during internships at Five Farms at Baltimore Coun-

restaurant in 2005, and nine years later he is still wowing the

try Club and Scioto Country Club changed his mind. He

members with his creations. “Simplicity is elegance,” he says.

also worked his way to Hueston Woods to Mission Hills to

“We strive for consistency, and our objective is the pursuit

Tamarisk Country Club (where he spent thirteen years and

of perfection.” After graduating from the University of Wis-

hosted five Bob Hope tournaments), to Indian Ridge before

consin-Stout, Rigano finished at the top of his class at CIA

settling at Toscana. Sall’s desert golf experience is vast. His

(Culinary Institute of America) in New York’s Hyde Park,

maintenance philosophy is to treat the Bermuda grass as an

and soon after became the chef at the five-star restaurant at

ally, not an enemy, despite the strain’s inherent grain. “I just

the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. His cooking phi-

try to mow it really low,” he says. All the fairways and roughs

losophy is refreshingly simple: “You don’t tell the food what

are Tifway II 419 (an improved hybrid Bermuda), and the

to do, you let the food tell you what to do.” He also doesn’t

greens are Tifdwarf. The tees are Tifgreen 328. Sall mows

have a signature dish “because I change it all the time,” he

the greens in season at .80 to .1 inches and rolls them three

says. But the members rave about his fresh-fish preparations

times a week. “That gets them to 11-11½ on the Stimpme-

such as the Scottish-raised farmed salmon, and he empha-

ter,” he says. He keeps the fairways at .425 to .5 inches, the

sizes that all his chicken is organic.

rough at 1.25 inches and the intermediate rough, seventy

Members Jim and Sherri Meeks say they eat dinner

inches wide, at .750. The sand is Augusta White crushed

at the club twice a week and have lunch there three or

marble on the South Course and Desert Tan on the North

four times a week, despite the fact that there is no food

Nine, in keeping with Jack’s intention of making the two

minimum. “We are very health conscious,” Sherri says,

courses look and play distinctly different.

and Mark is very accommodating with special needs and


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To s c a n a C o u n t r y C l u b

requests.” The Meeks seem to enjoy every aspect of the

and Jim retired six years ago. They have three daughters, all

club, however, not just the dining. “I use the spa a lot,”

of whom worked in the business (one still does), and six

Sherri says, “and we find ourselves going to the fitness

grandchildren. Along the way they started playing golf at

center four or five days a week.” In fact, Jim and other

Blackhawk in the East Bay outside of San Francisco and fell

members affectionately call Toscana “Camp Toscana.”

in love with the game. They also fell in love with Toscana.

“We looked at a lot of places, but Toscana is a hidden

“So we bought a lot and built a home here,” Jim says. He’s a

gem,” Jim says. “It doesn’t always show up on

16-handicapper and Sherri’s a 17. “We just feel

the GPS, which is a good thing.” Sherri recounts when their realtor was taking them to various developments in the area, they hadn’t heard about Toscana. “She said, ‘just give me ten minutes to show you something.’ We came through those gates, and I was at home. I said, ‘OK, this will do.’ ” The Meeks got married in 1967 when they were high school sweethearts at age seventeen and started their own automobile dismantling business in San Francisco. They worked hard and grew the business into the largest automobile salvage auction company in the U.S. When

so fortunate to have found this place,” Sherri


(Clockwise from upper left) The ninth hole on the South Course with the Club Villa in the background; fine architectural detail at Toscana; the ninth hole green on the North Course; the view from Il Forno of the ninth and 18th holes on the South Course.; putting on the green of the par-3, 167-yard seventh hole on the South Course. ABOVE:

The entrance to the locker room at night.

they had expanded to twelve locations they

says. “There’s no pettiness, no backstabbing, no cliquishness.” There is a game every day for the men called the Peppers, and there is always a net Skins Game, $35 per man. The women play Toss Up on Fridays. “We put names on balls— A and B players together—toss them up, see where they fall, and you’re partners for that day,” Sherri says. “We match cards against everybody. It’s really a lot of fun.” When you combine that with all the other activities available at Toscana, it’s clearly an enviable place to settle in for the winter and maybe settle down. Or, as they

took it public. Twelve years later, they had grown it to 123

might say in Italy, non c’è nessun posto come casa. (There’s

locations all over the world. Sherri retired thirteen years ago

no place like home.)


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VALHALLA GOLF CLUB Louisville, Kentucky

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A Golden Eighteen

The PGA’s Magnificent Venue for Historic Championships


F ALL THE SIGNATURE GOLF COURSES created by Jack Nicklaus, none is as well known for climactic major

championship finishes as the design at Valhalla Golf Club. Who can forget the riveting final round of the 2000 PGA Championship? The title role of David was played by little-known

Bob May, while Goliath was impersonated by Tiger Woods. For eighteen holes the two battled back and forth, Tiger at the top of his game, having just won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the British Open at St. Andrews. (He also would win the following year’s Masters.) May, meanwhile, was seeking divine inspiration and resorting to an uncanny will to survive, finding fairway after fairway from the tee and firing shot after shot straight at the flag. When May drained a downhill twenty-footer for birdie at 18, Tiger had no choice but to squeeze in a sliding left-to-right five-footer to force a three-hole playoff. Off the two went again, punching and counterpunching on Valhalla’s rolling, tree-lined fairways until Tiger finally won with an improbable up-and-down


for the past three contests. You might re-

par from the green-fronting bunker on 18,

member Boo Weekly keeping his teammates

while May almost holed another impossi-

Waterfalls running down the rocky creek bed at the 600-yard, par-5 seventh hole.

ble birdie putt that would have forced at


least one more extra hole. Then there was the 2008 Ryder Cup, Azinger, and the Europeans led by his rival on the course and in the television booth,

tending to ride his driver giddy-up style off

A Ryder Cup pillow commemorates the 37th playing of the event at Valhalla Golf Club.

with the U.S. team directed by a wily Paul

the first tee. And Anthony Kim, so much into winning holes against Sergio Garcia that he strode off the par-3 14th green to-


The 545-yard, par-5 18th hole and clubhouse.

Nick Faldo. For three days the two squads,

loose and the gallery entertained by pre-

ward the next tee unaware that he had just closed out the match. There was also compelling drama at

high on adrenalin and low on fear, went at it with a display

the 1996 PGA Championship, where Mark Brooks beat

of inspired shotmaking. The U.S. finally pulled ahead at the

Kentucky native Kenny Perry by birdieing the 18th hole

end to bring back the Cup that the Europeans had claimed

in regulation and again at the first hole of the PGA’s last


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A Golden Eighteen

sudden-death playoff. At the 2004 Senior PGA, a vintage Hale Irwin prevailed, birdieing the final hole to edge

linebacker at Indiana University. After


The green at the 13th hole was built twelve feet above the natural flood plain that exists on the property.

graduating, he went into the diaper business and was highly successful. In

Jay Haas by a single shot. And at the


1955 he bought a local kitchen-cabinet

2011 Senior PGA, Tom Watson birdied

The footbridge on the sixth hole crosses Floyds Fork; a replica of the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker trophy.

manufacturing company, KitchenKom-

the first hole of sudden death to fend off a hard-charging David Eger, who

pact, based in Jeffersonville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River. He grew the busi-

had fired a final-round 67 to force the playoff. In 2002,

ness into one with national distribution. At the same time,

Barry Evans, a forty-year-old club professional from

he fostered his love for the game of golf. The land where

Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston, West Virginia,

Valhalla sits today, due east of Louisville proper, is made

won the 35th PGA Professional National Championship

up of three separate parcels. The acreage’s initial use was

with an impressive score of 7-under 281.

to breed and raise quarterhorses, and it became the site of the Gahms’ Big 10 Farms. Gahm and his three sons,

A club to match its championships

Walt, Gordy, and Phil, are all accomplished athletes: Walt

SO VALHALLA HAS been the site of great tournament mo-

played guard and tackle at Purdue and was on the win-

ments, helping to establish it—and the city of

ning 1967 Rose Bowl team (14-13 over USC); Gordy

Louisville—permanently in golfing history. But the club

played basketball at the University of Dayton; Phil played

has an unusual history of its own. The original land—550

rugby at Purdue. And they all played golf. Dwight was a

acres—was purchased by Dwight Gahm in the late 1960s

scratch golfer in his prime, and his wife, Anna Lee, ninety-

as a possible real-estate investment. Gahm (pronounced

two, also was an accomplished player. They had envi-

“game”), now ninety-four, was an All-America center and

sioned a planned community development someday with


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houses, condominiums, commercial properties and a par-

They turned to Bob Griese, the legendary quarter-

63 golf course. But a local utility company had taken ad-

back for the Miami Dolphins who had been Walt’s college

ditional easements around the property, so the original

roommate at Purdue. On behalf of the Gahms, Griese

development concept was no longer viable.

spoke to Nicklaus at that year’s Doral tournament. Jack

Says Gahm’s oldest son, Walt: “One

called Walt, and that’s how the project

Saturday morning my father and I were

started. “Dad knows how to build

at work, and we asked each other, ‘What

kitchen cabinets—that’s his business—

are we going to do with that property?’

but we knew nothing about building a

Dad said, ‘Let’s make a world-class golf

golf course,” Walt says. “However, Dad’s

course.’ And we decided to do it right

concept was to develop a golf club with

then and there. The name ‘Valhalla’

a championship-quality course that you

came from a cab driver. He overheard us

could play anytime you wanted. He al-

talking about a name, and he said, ‘Val-

ways loved playing golf with a caddie,

halla is the resting place for warriors

and he loved to walk. It’s one of his pri-

after they die.’ The name stuck. The next

mary visions of golf: guys in caddie uni-

question was, who could we get to de-

forms, eight people walking down the

sign the course? We thought of Robert

fairway. That’s real golf to him, and

Trent Jones, George Fazio, and Jack

that’s what we wanted.”

Nicklaus. But there really was only one

Dr. Rick Sweet, a member at Val-

person in our mind: Jack. However, we didn’t know how

halla since 1986, agrees: “I personally use a caddie for al-

to make the initial contact.”

most all of my scheduled golf—emergency nines are the


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exception.” Sweet points out that the caddies come from a

should be played. And it’s the way we play golf at Valhalla.”

variety of backgrounds: Some are kids in their late teens

Valhalla is a golf club and nothing else. There is no

who are beginning to find their way in life; others are col-

swimming pool. No tennis complex. No paddle tennis

lege students using the caddie program as a summer job; some are adults who have night-shift jobs (employment at UPS is common) and a love for the game. For the most part, most players use a caddie individually while walking the course. “My

courts. No croquet lawn. No fitness center. PREVIOUS PAGES:

The instantly recognizable 13th hole with its island green supported by massive boulders is one of Valhalla’s mostphotographed holes.

No evening dining. No real-estate development. No other amenities. You come here to play golf, pure and simple. But it has lots of land and built-in infrastructure. Says Keith Reese, the club’s long-time director of


group often lets a forecaddie drive a fourbagger cart carrying our clubs while we all walk the course,” Sweet says. “The caddie finds any wayward shots, gives us yardages, manages our clubs, takes care of bunkers, gives us reads on the greens, and joins in the

The trophy case in the clubhouse holds replicas of the championships played at Valhalla, including the PGA Championship trophy, the Ryder Cup, the Professional National Championship trophy, and the Senior PGA Championship trophy.

experience of the camaraderie of the game. Whether there is one caddie or four in the

“Louisville already knows how to handle big crowds every first week of May with the Kentucky Derby. Plus, it’s within an hour and a half drive of Cincinnati, two and a half from Indianapolis, and three from Nashville. That’s one reason the PGA of


Interior of the clubhouse.

group, the essence of the experience is walk-

golf and now its general manager:

America was so taken with the venue.” In 1992 PGA President Jim Awtrey came into

ing the course. Beyond the obvious health benefits, we find

town for a visit. He and Dwight Gahm went for a walk on

that it’s a much-enhanced social experience to walk and

the course, and Awtrey made an offer Dwight couldn’t re-

play with one’s compatriots. It’s simply the way the game

fuse. The PGA bought 25 percent of the club from the


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Va l h a l l a G o l f C l u b

Gahm family. After the 1996 PGA Championship, it as-

Early memories of Jack’s first visits

sumed 50 percent ownership. After the 2000 PGA Cham-

LARRY WOODS, SIXTY-SIX, a five-time Valhalla club cham-

pionship, the PGA exercised an option to buy the club

pion (he’s won one in four different decades) and a mem-

outright, then announced it would be the site of the 2008

ber since 1983, remembers the day when Nicklaus arrived

Ryder Cup. It will also host the 2014 PGA Championship.

for one of his early site visits. “Jack’s plane was supposed

“The PGA of America is thrilled to bring the PGA

to land about noon, but he got delayed,” Woods says.

Championship back to Valhalla in 2014,” says PGA Chief

“There were about fifty people waiting to see him at the

Executive Officer Peter Bevaqua. “It really makes all the

course. Then he was supposed to come at two and the

sense in the world as it is a

number dwindled to about

PGA of America property

twenty-five. By the time he set

and a course designed by the

foot on the property at 5

greatest golfer who has ever

p.m., there were only a hand-

walked the earth and a very

ful of us diehards there. We all

good friend of our associa-

piled in the bed of a pickup

tion, Jack Nicklaus. Great golf

truck and spent three hours

courses tend to produce great

with Jack, who was dressed in

drama; one only has to look

a beat-up pair of shorts, some

back to Tiger’s victory in 2000

hiking boots, and an old golf

for proof of that. We’re look-

hat. Jack gave us his vision for

ing forward to another mem-

each hole—the course was

orable moment this August at

just roughed in at the time.

Valhalla on one of Jack’s

For example, he said the long

greatest designs.”

par-4 16th hole [where Tiger

Says Bevaqua’s predeces-

chased that dramatic birdie

sor, former PGA Chief Exec-

putt into the left edge of the

utive Officer Joe Steranka:

cup during the three-hole

“In 1992 Jim Awtrey at-

playoff in 2000] was intended

tended the Kentucky Derby and saw first-hand the im-

to be ‘a drive and a hit.’ Jack said if he could make two pars

portance Louisville places on big-time professional

and two bogeys during a championship there, he’d be

sports. Huge and enthusiastic crowds, significant corpo-

happy. [Today the hole has been lengthened to 510 yards

rate support, and global media coverage—the same

and is still a par 4.] Riding around with Jack was an expe-

components we were seeking to take the PGA Champi-

rience I’ll never forget,” Larry Woods says.

onship to the highest echelon in sports. That led to the

An attorney in Louisville, Woods “grew up with the

selection of Valhalla as the site of the 1996 PGA and the

Gahm boys” and learned to play golf at a nine-hole course

subsequent purchase of the club from the Gahm family.”

on the campus of Bellarmine College. He qualified for the

Steranka says Valhalla provided the perfect canvas for

U.S. Senior Open at Riviera at age fifty and still plays in na-

the PGA to build out key areas outside the ropes, such

tional senior amateur tournaments around the country. He

as a television compound, media center and corporate

and his wife, Suzanne, have developed a strong golfing fam-

villages. “The fact that Jack Nicklaus was the designer

ily at Valhalla. Suzanne took up the game when they got

had a lot to do with our decision,” Steranka says. “We

married, and their two daughters, Maggie and Caroline

could turn over any course alterations to him and the

(who has worked for the USGA and helps run such major

PGA’s Championship Chief Kerry Haigh.” It didn’t hurt

golf events as the Curtis Cup and the U.S. Amateur), are

that Nicklaus had won the PGA five times.

both good players. “We’ve had a great time playing with the


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A Golden Eighteen

kids at Valhalla,” Larry and Suzanne say almost in unison.

here and the staff immediately knows you by name,” Welch

“One of the neatest things about playing Valhalla as

says. “From Keith Reese to [Head Professional] Chris

a member,” Larry says, “is that you have so many memo-

Hamberger to [Locker Room Manager] Stormin’ Norman

ries of great things that have happened here.” Indeed, he

Callahan to the bag staff, everyone treats you like family,”

has a story for every hole on the course. For example, dur-

he says. “There are no pretensions here, yet being a mem-

ing Nicklaus’ opening round, Jack played with Valhalla’s

ber of Valhalla is prestigious around the world. You don’t

first Director of Golf Kim Worrell. When they got to the

realize how many people across the globe know Valhalla,

15th tee, Jack hit first, and placed

like in Ireland.” Welch is referring

a nice drive into the fairway. Then

to a series of home-and-home

Nicklaus remarked he could see a

matches with the K Club outside

snag in a tree about 150 yards

of Dublin, in which twelve Valhalla

away, on the right side of the fair-

members play against twelve K

way. He thought it was unsightly

Club members each year. There

and remarked that the next week

are parties and events throughout

he wanted to have the snag taken

the week. “We beat them here, but

out. Worrell then stepped up to

they beat us there,” he says. “We

the tee. He skyed his drive, and his

take them to Churchill Downs,

ball nailed the snag, which

and they show us the sites in

dropped straight to the ground.

Dublin. One of my best friends,

“How’s that, boss?” Worrell dead-

fellow member Gary Drake, I met

panned. The entire gallery, as well

on the trip.”

as Nicklaus, broke out laughing.

Welch enjoys taking his

“It was a one-in-a-million shot,”

young daughter on the course, not

Woods says.


to play golf but to look for butterflies. “With the tall fescues and no houses, it’s

water there in two separate rounds during

(Clockwise from upper left) A view of the par-5, 545-yard 18th hole looking back from the green; blue heron scan the waterways on the golf course; deer cross the second-hole fairway; red-tailed hawks are a frequent sight on the property; a Kentucky Horse fence lines the practice range.

the 1996 PGA. “It probably cost him the


“It’s a bucket-list place for a lot of peo-

Then there is the short but spectacular 13th—that’s the highly photographed hole with the island green raised on top of massive boulders. Phil Mickelson put his approach into the

tournament,” Woods says. “Before play started, Ken Venturi had told him to just

Woods loves the vantage point above and to the right of that green. “It’s pretty spectacular there during tournaments,” he says. “You can also see some of 18 and the

“I’m very lucky to be a member here. I wouldn’t join anywhere else.” He gets a kick out of watching his guests stare in awe at the memorabilia in the clubhouse.

Valhalla Golf Club founder Dwight Gahm, seated, and his oldest son Walt Gahm.

number one in Kentucky and it rests


solidly in “America’s 100 Greatest

hit the green and not try to get the ball close. But he didn’t listen and it cost him.”

like a nature preserve out there,” he says.

(Clockwise from upper left) General Manager Keith Reese; Superintendent Roger Meier and his golden retriever Baily; member Jimmy Welch; charter member Rick Sweet; a sign used for the 18th hole during the 2008 Ryder Cup; Valhalla tee marker.

par-3 14th. It has become a convivial

ple,” he says. Golf Digest ranks the course

Courses” lists. Indeed, the walls in the main entrance to the clubhouse, as well as the grillroom and locker room, are replete with framed images that are hard to forget. There is Nicklaus’ scorecard from his inaugural round, in which he shot 66,

hangout for spectators.”

framed in glass with one of his drivers. There is the replica

Another member, Louisville radiologist Jim Welch,

putter Tiger donated from the 2000 PGA. There are large

likes the welcoming atmosphere at Valhalla. “You can come

images galore from the major championships, as well as


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photographs of top PGA club professionals, including

post-match banter.” On Wednesday afternoons there is a

Suzy Whaley, who qualified once for the Greater Hartford

“hump day” men’s game with more than thirty-five play-

Open on the PGA Tour. There is the flag from the Ryder

ers on the list who indicate by email Sunday night if they

Cup, signed by all the U.S. players. Outside there is the

are in for the game that week. “We again play a foursome

large bronze statue of Nicklaus and Dwight Gahm look-

vs. foursome vs. foursome match,” Sweet says. “And after-

ing purposefully over the 18th green, down the 18th fair-

ward, many stay for a cocktail and some snacks.”

way and forever into the distance.

Local radio host Bob Domine agrees that Valhalla is

The members never take

a special place, full of cama-

the club’s aura for granted,

raderie. For thirty years a

but for them it’s still a regular

major personality on the

place to play golf. Rick Sweet

local NBC affiliate, WAVE-

points out the ease with

TV, Domine was an early

which members can meet

supporter of Valhalla and the

other members and get a

Gahm family’s efforts to

game. “For some, it’s simply

bring big-time golf to the

show up, play golf, then go

Louisville area. “It’s unbeliev-

home, but my experience is

able what Valhalla is today,”

different,” he says. “We have a

he says. “I remember when

Saturday-morning game with two foursomes playing one

the land was basically cornfields. When Jack first came to

against the other (we play two net best balls on the par 4s

look at the land, I heard he was coming, so I grabbed a

and 5s and three net best balls on the par 3s). There are

film crew. When Jack saw us, he said, ‘You guys want to

usually intra-foursome games going on as well. Afterward,

come along?’ So we jumped into the truck. He took forty

we get a table for eight and stay for lunch and the usual

minutes deciding on a single tree. ‘It’s easy to cut down a


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Va l h a l l a G o l f C l u b

tree, but it’s much harder to create one,’ Jack said. I always

the front markers, is a case in point. The water rushing

remember that.”

down the rocky creek bed along the left side is not only beautiful, but it’s also distracting. You need to play your

A challenging topography

tee shot well right of that creek to be able to position your

SAYS NICKLAUS TODAY: “I had to work with

second shot safely for a smart third-shot ap-

two distinctly different properties, and I had to figure out how to design across two distinct types of terrain. One was a flood plain, the other was through a valley and trees, more like Muirfield Village. So the challenge was designing two types of courses: We handled the flood plain on the front nine by creating landing areas and tees and greens above it and let the water flow between them; the back nine has some flood plains too, as you can see

proach to the green.


Valhalla’s 18th hole has been the sight of many championship playoffs; a plaque on the 18th hole tee commemorates the final hole played on the Friday of the 2000 PGA Championship when Jack Nicklaus was paired with Tiger Woods during Jack’s final year of playing all four majors.

The two different types of terrain present unusual challenges for the maintenance department as well. The PGA brought in Head Superintendent Roger Meier in 2010 just in time for the Senior PGA. “This is an incredible piece of property,” Meier says. “The front nine is very linksy, and the back is more of a parkland setting. There are lots of micro climates to deal with.” Meier plays a huge role

by how high the 13th green is. That was to get


at Valhalla, one that looms ever larger as the

it out of the flood plain. I had to raise it twelve

A deep bunker guards the left side of the par-4, 495-yard sixth hole.

2014 PGA gets nearer. In 2011 a major reno-

to fourteen feet. It’s way up there.”

vation project was initiated, which required

The flow of water Nicklaus refers to is in

closing the course for a year. It reopened Sep-

the form of beautiful—and intimidating—

tember 1, 2012. The Nicklaus design team,

running creeks with small waterfalls that give the holes

under lead designer Chris Cochran and David Savic (who

on the front nine a unique character. The par-5 seventh,

was on site for six months) rebuilt all the greens (the sixth,

600 yards from the championship tees down to 480 from

eighth, 11th and 16th had already been softened for the


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2008 Ryder Cup at the suggestion of U.S. Captain Paul

be extremely beneficial during major championships if the

Azinger). They also rebuilt and redesigned the fairway

weather is uncooperative (too much rain or too much

bunkers on No. 9, as well as some greenside bunkers. In

heat). Meier says he likes to keep the green speeds about

addition, they focused on new irrigation lines and

10-1/2 to 11 on the Stimpmeter. He keeps the primary

drainage. “We’re so much more sophisticated now regard-

rough at 2-1/2 to 3 inches and maintains a first cut of rough

ing specific watering,” Meier says. “We increased the num-

five to six feet wide at 1-1/4 inches. Fairways, a blend of

ber of sprinkler heads from 860 to 2,300.” They even

Penncross and Penneagle bent grass, are 3/8 of an inch.

renovated the roughs, eliminating all of the

One project Meier is most proud of is

old grasses and replanting with 80 percent


the new and expanded practice facility.

tall fescues and 20 percent bluegrass for

Larry Woods, the multiple club champion,

green tees, fairways and greens contrasting

Brush Run Creek runs down the right side of the par-4, 435-yard 15th hole with a greenside bunker left of the green.

with bronze fescues waving in the summer


53,000 square feet of new teeing space on

more uniformity. The look now—emerald-

breeze—is spectacular. The bunkers all have new manufactured white sand that comes

Valhalla golf course designer Jack Nicklaus holds the 1980 PGA Championship trophy.

from Chardon, Ohio, further enhancing the

says it’s “off the charts now.” There are teeing areas on both ends of the range with the north end and state-of-the-art sections to develop your short game. “The practice facilities are simply fabulous,” says Rick

aesthetic appeal.

Sweet, who has seen a multitude of transitions at Valhalla.

Meier’s philosophy is simple: “Dry is good,” he says.

“Now there are acres of bent-grass hitting areas at both

“When we re-did the greens, we used a silica sand under

the ‘warm up’ north end and at the ‘practice’ south end of

the surfaces for a better PH level. They are firmer but they

the range,” he says. “There is a dedicated short-game

still drain well.” Thanks to modern precision-air technology

practice area at both ends of the range. This includes

under the greens, Meier can cool or heat them and blow or

areas for chipping from all variety of lies, sand play,

suck air through the surfaces to aid in drying. That could

and putting. Many members, myself included, are busy


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Va l h a l l a G o l f C l u b

in professional careers and spend more time practicing

and Greg started laughing. We’ve been close ever since.”

on the south range in the evenings than actual time on

His anecdote about Floyd is similar. “I asked Raymond if

the course playing.”

he knew the name of the creek here at Valhalla. He shook

Meier, who came to Valhalla from Chariot Run in In-

his head. I told him it’s Floyd’s Fork, and we’ve been bud-

diana and worked in the TPC network—he was at TPC

dies from that day on.” Stormin’ Norman truly cares about

River’s Bend, near Cincinnati, from 2000 to 2005—raises

each of the members (he calls them “my” members).

his family forty minutes away in Indiana. It’s helpful that

“They are members, but they also are my friends,” he says.

Meier is married to someone who understands the terribly

The feeling seems to be mutual.

long hours of a major championship course superintend-

Next door, the original clubhouse now serves as the

ent. His wife, Carrie, is the daughter of David Faucher, the

halfway house and the tournament headquarters for up-

superintendent at TPC River’s

coming PGA events, including the

Bend. “It’s amazing Dwight ever

2014 PGA Championship. “We’ve

found this place,” says Meier. “It’s

come a long way since those early

a huge privilege and honor to

days,” says Walt Gahm. Nicklaus

work here.” Along with fifteen

endorses that statement. “When I

full-time staff (including two hor-

first started talking to the Gahms

ticulturalists), Meier is in charge

about designing a course, they

of not only the course but also the

told me that someday they would

grounds around the clubhouse.

like to have a major champi-

That would be the building

onship here,” he says. “I said, ‘Do

that houses the golf shop, grill-

you really want a golf course that

room/bar, and locker room. Con-

will be that strong?’ and they said

structed before the 1996 PGA, the

they did. Well, they got their wish.

clubhouse is a basic structure de-

I’m very proud that the PGA sup-

signed with function in mind,

ported it, made some significant

not necessarily to impress any-

changes over the years, and have

one, though it is a fine building

had so much success at Valhalla.”

with a tasteful design featuring a

Rick Sweet has seen all of

distinctive cupola on top with a

those changes—and a lot of tour-

forty-five-foot Omega clock tower. There is a veranda

nament competition—at Valhalla. He encapsulates how

overlooking the 18th green, a popular hangout for mem-

golf is played here with his description of watching the

bers and guests. When you venture into the locker room,

2008 Ryder Cup. “There are excellent viewing spots

be prepared to chat for a while with Stormin’ Norman

for virtually each of the eighteen holes,” he says. “Several

Callahan, the locker room manager. Stormin’ Norman has

holes, particularly the 18th, have a stadium-type am-

worked for the Gahm family for fifty years and will take

phitheater that can handle many thousands of spectators.

care of your every need. He will also regale you with tales

Sunday I was standing just feet away from J. B. Holmes as

from every tournament played at Valhalla, including his

he hit his monstrous tee shot on the 17th hole over the

discussions with various Tour players. He never forgets a

walnut tree on the left only to have it cut back to the

name. For example, he’ll tell you how he gets on famously

center of the fairway, a short wedge shot from the green.

with Fuzzy Zoeller, Raymond Floyd, and Greg Norman.

He made birdie from there to clinch the Cup. It was an

“When I first met Greg in ’96,” he says, “I told him ‘I’ve

awesome experience.”

got a problem.’ Greg looked at me funny. I said, ‘There’s

Any visit to Valhalla produces an awesome experience.

not enough room for two Normans in this locker room,’

It is that kind of place indeed.


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A Golden Eighteen




Bayside Resort Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Selbyville The Peninsula Golf and Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Millsboro

Shoal Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shoal Creek


Avila Golf & Country Club (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tampa Bay Point Marriott Resort Golf Club . . . . . . Panama City Beach Bear Lakes Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . West Palm Beach


Bear Creek Golf Complex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chandler (BEAR CHAMPIONSHIP AND CLUB EXECUTIVE COURSES)


Desert Highlands Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scottsdale Desert Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scottsdale Golf Club of Estrella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Goodyear La Paloma Country Club (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tucson Ritz-Carlton Club – Dove Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marana

The Bear’s Club (18 HOLE AND PAR-3 COURSES) . . . . . . . . . . . . Jupiter Bear’s Paw Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naples The Club at TwinEagles (TALON) (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naples The Concession (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bradenton The Golden Bear Club at Keene’s Point . . . . . . . . . Windermere Grand Cypress Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Orlando



Superstition Mountain Golf . . . . . . . . . . . Superstition Mountain & Country Club (LOST GOLD AND PROSPECTOR COURSES) (C)

Grand Haven Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm Coast Hammock Beach Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm Coast Hammock Creek Golf Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm City Ibis Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . West Palm Beach



Aliso Viejo Country Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aliso Viejo Angeles National Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sunland Bear Creek Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Murrieta Champions Club at the Retreat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Corona The Club at Morningside . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rancho Mirage Coyote Creek Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Jose


John’s Island (SOUTH COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vero Beach The King & The Bear (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Augustine La Gorce Country Club (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Miami Beach Lost Tree Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . North Palm Beach The Loxahatchee Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jupiter Mayacoo Lakes Country Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . North Palm Beach North Palm Beach Country Club (R) . . . . . . . . North Palm Beach Old Corkscrew Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Estero PGA National Resort & Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm Beach Gardens


Legends West at Diablo Grande (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Patterson Dove Canyon Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dove Canyon Escena Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Palm Springs Mayacama Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Santa Rosa Nicklaus Club – Monterey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monterey Old Greenwood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Truckee Pebble Beach Golf Links (5TH HOLE) . . . . . . . . . . . . Pebble Beach PGA West (PRIVATE AND RESORT COURSES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . La Quinta Ruby Hill Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pleasanton Sherwood Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thousand Oaks Sherwood Lake Club (PAR -3 COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . .Thousand Oaks Toscana Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Indian Wells


Nicklaus Course at Reunion Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kissimmee Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boca Raton Sailfish Point Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stuart Santa Lucia River Club at Ballantrae . . . . . . . . . . . . Port St. Lucie Trump National Jupiter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jupiter Whispering Oak at Verandah Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fort Myers GEORGIA

Achasta Golf Club (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dahlonega Atlanta Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marietta Bear’s Best Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Suwanee Champions Retreat Golf Club (BLUFFS COURSE) . . . . . . . Augusta Country Club of the South . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Johns Creek Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greensboro Laurel Springs Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Suwanee


Aspen Golf Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carbondale Breckenridge Golf Club (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Breckenridge Bridges Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Montrose The Broadmoor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Colorado Springs Castle Pines Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Castle Rock Cherry Creek Country Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Denver Cougar Canyon Golf Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trinidad The Country Club at Castle Pines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Castle Rock Country Club of the Rockies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edwards Meridian Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Englewood Ptarmigan Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fort Collins Roaring Fork Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Basalt The Summit Course at Cordillera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Edwards


Four Seasons Resorts – Lana’i Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lana’i City (MANELE AND KOELE COURSES)

Hokulia Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kailua-Kona Hualalai Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kailua-Kona Kauai Lagoons (KIELE AND MOKIHANA COURSES) . . . . . . . . . . . Lihue IDAHO

The Idaho Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sandpoint (R) = RE-DESIGN; (C) = CO-DESIGN


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Courses Open For Play



Coyote Creek Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bartonville Fyre Lake Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sherrard Stonewolf Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fairview Heights Wynstone Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . North Barrington

Bearpath Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eden Prairie


Sagamore Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Noblesville Sycamore Hills Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fort Wayne KANSAS

The Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate . . . . . . . . . . Overland Park KENTUCKY


Annadale Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Madison Castlewoods Country Club (THE BEAR) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brandon Grand Bear Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saucier MISSOURI

The Club at Porto Cima . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sunrise Beach Dalhousie Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cape Girardeau Top of the Rock Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ridgedale Winghaven Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O’Fallon

Valhalla Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Louisville MONTANA LOUISIANA

The Country Club of Louisiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baton Rouge English Turn Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Orleans

Eagle Bend Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Big Fork Old Works Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anaconda NEBRASKA


Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flinstone MASSACHUSETTS

Ocean Edge (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brewster Pinehills Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plymouth MICHIGAN

The Golf Club at Harbor Shores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benton Harbor Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (THE BEAR COURSE) . . . . . . . . Acme TPC Michigan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dearborn Wabeek Country Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bloomfield Hills

The Loxahatchee Club — Jupiter, Florida

Dismal River Club (NICKLAUS COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mullen NEVADA

Bear’s Best Las Vegas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Las Vegas Coyote Springs (THE CHASE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Las Vegas Montreux Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reno Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas . . . . . . Henderson Southshore at Lake Las Vegas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Henderson NEW JERSEY

Eagle Oaks Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Farmingdale

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Sycamore Hills Golf Club — Fort Wayne, Indiana



12 Shores at Uke Lake (NINE HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Logan Las Campanas (SUNRISE AND SUNSET COURSES) . . . . . . . . Santa Fe

The Cliffs at Keowee Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Salem Colleton River Plantation (NICKLAUS COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . Bluffton Daufuskie Island Club & Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . Daufuskie Island



The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monroe The Golf Club of Purchase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Purchase The Saint Andrew’s Golf Club (R) . . . . . . . . Hastings-on-Hudson Sebonack Golf Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Southampton Timber Banks Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baldwinsville Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ferry Point

Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run . . . . . . Hilton Head Island The Golf Club at Indigo Run (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . Hilton Head Island Harbour Town Golf Links (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hilton Head Island The Long Bay Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Longs May River Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bluffton Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . Pawleys Island The Reserve at Lake Keowee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sunset The Reserve Club at Woodside Plantation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aiken Turtle Point Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kiawah Island


Bear Lake Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tuckasegee The Cliffs at Walnut Cove . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Arden The Club at Longview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charlotte The Club at Twelve Oaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Holly Springs Country Club of Landfall (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wilmington Elk River Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Banner Elk Governors Club (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapel Hill Legacy Golf Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aberdeen National Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pinehurst Palisades Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charlotte Reserve Club at St. James Plantation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Southport Salem Glen Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clemmons


The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain . . . . . . . . . . Crossville The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harrison The Bear Trace at Tims Ford State Park . . . . . . . . . . . Winchester Chickasaw Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Henderson Richland Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nashville Ross Creek Landing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clifton Spring Creek Ranch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Collierville TEXAS

Cimarron Hills Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Georgetown The Club at Carlton Woods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Woodlands The Clubs at Cordillera Ranch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boerne Dallas Athletic Club (BLUE AND GOLD COURSES) (R) . . . . . Mesquite The Hills Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Austin


Aston Oaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . North Bend Barrington Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aurora The Country Club at Muirfield Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dublin Country Club of the North . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Xenia Glenmoor Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Canton The Golf Center at Kings Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mason


Lochinvar Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Houston Rock Creek Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gordonville Summit Rock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Horseshoe Bay Traditions Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bryan Whispering Pines Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trinity


The Medallion Club (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Westerville Muirfield Village Golf Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dublin New Albany Country Club (27 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Albany Scarlet Golf Course at The Ohio State University (R) . . Columbus


The Club at Pronghorn (NICKLAUS COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bend

Park Meadows Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Park City Promontory (THE RANCH CLUB) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Park City Red Ledges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heber City



Appelcross County Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Downington The Club at Nevillewood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nevillewood Great Bear Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . East Stroudsburg

Vermont National Country Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . South Burlington




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Courses Open For Play



Bay Creek (NICKLAUS COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cape Charles Creighton Farms Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aldie Potomac Shores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prince William Country Williamsburg National . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Williamsburg

Golf Club Gut Altentann . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Henndorf



Britannia Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . .Georgetown, Grand Cayman BRUNEI

Empire Hotel and Country Club . . . Negara Brunei Darussalam

TPC Snoqualmie Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Snoqualmie CAMBODIA WEST VIRGINIA

Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phnom Penh

The Greenbrier (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . White Sulphur Springs CANADA WISCONSIN

The Bull at Pinehurst Farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheboygan Falls Grand Geneva Resort (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lake Geneva


Bear Mountain Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Victoria (VALLEY AND MOUNTAIN COURSES)

Glen Abbey Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Oakville James Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Victoria Nicklaus North Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Whistler Northern Bear Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sherwood Park Okanagan Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kelowna


Chapelco Golf & Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Martin de los Andes Los Canales de Plottier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plottier Nordelta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Buenos Aires Patagonia Golf & Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Neuquen Pilará Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pilará Valle Del Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cordoba


Cao Fei Dian Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Tangshan City Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zhongshan City The Horizon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beihai Lake Malaren Country Club (LEGACY) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shanghai Lan Hai International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chenjia Tow (LINKS AND WOODLANDS COURSES)


Mission Hills Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shenzhen

The Australian Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rosebery Heritage Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Melbourne Lakelands Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robina


Cabo del Sol (Ocean Course) — Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Nanhu Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guangzhou Nicklaus Club Beijing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Beijing

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A Golden Eighteen


Palm Island Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Huiyang City Pine Valley Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beijing

Classic Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Delhi Kalhaar Blues & Greens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ahmedabad


The Sanctuary at Heshan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . He Shan Shadow Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beijing Shanghai Links Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shanghai Spring City Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kunming City Suzhou Sunrise Golf Club (I AND II COURSES) . . . . . . . . . . . . Suzhou Westlake Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hangzhou WuYi Fountain Palm Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jiangmen City


Bintan Lagoon Resort & Golf Club (SEAVIEW COURSE) . . . . Bintan Bukit Barisan Country Club at Medan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Medan Bukit Darmo Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surabaya Damai Indah Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jakarta Emeralda Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . West Java (PLANTATION (NORTH) COURSE)

The Taman Dayu Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pandaan Tamarin Santana Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Batam


Karibana Cartegena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cartagena Ruitoque Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bucaramanga


Killeen Castle Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dunsany Mount Juliet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomastown


Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Punta Cana Punta Espada Golf Club at Cap Cana . . . . . . . . . . . . Punta Cana


Arzaga Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Drugolo di Lonato Le Robinie Golf & Sporting Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Solbiate Olona


Paris International Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Paris


Bear’s Paw Japan Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kouga-shi Hananomori Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ohira Haruna no Mori Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Takasaki-shi Hokkaido Classic Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hayakita Huis Ten Bosch Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seihi Ishioka Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ogawa Japan Memorial Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yakawa-cho


Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course Polynesia . . . . . . . . . . Moorea GERMANY

Golf Platz Gut Larchenhof . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pulheim GUAM

LeoPalace Resort Manenggon Hills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barrigada

Chapelco Golf & Resort — San Martin de los Andes, Argentina


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Courses Open For Play

J&P Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Utsonomiya Kobe Country Club (KOBE COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kobe Komono Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Komono New Capital Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yamoaka New Saint Andrews Golf Club (C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Otawara Oakmont Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yamazoe Olympic Country Club (LAKE TSUBURADA) . . . . . . . . . . Misato-cho Olympic Staff Ashikaga Golf Course (C) . . . . . . . . . . Ashikaga-shi President Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Tochigi-shi Rokko Kokusai (NEW, EAST, WEST & CENTRAL NINES) . . Nishishimo Sanyo Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Okayama Sendai Minami Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shibata-gun Shimonoseki Golden Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shimonoseki St. Creek Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aichi Sun Belgravia Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nukata Sunnyfield Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hitachi-Omiya-shi Takaraike Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nara-ken The Tradition Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Okazaki-shi




Borneo Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bongawan The Legends Golf & Country Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kulai Sungai Long Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kajang

Bear’s Best Cheongna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cheongna Golf District Blue Mountain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hong Cheon Gapyeong Benest Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gapyeong Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Songdo City Oak Valley Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wonju Phoenix Park Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pyongyang Sky 72 Golf Club (OCEAN COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Incheon Donneako Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seogwipo, Jeju Island at Wooridul Wellness Resort Yeoju Grand Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yeoju

Monte Rei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faro RUSSIA

Skolkovo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moscow Tseleevo Golf Polo Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moscow SCOTLAND

Gleneagles Hotel

(THE PGA CENTENARY COURSE) . . . Auchterarder


Penati Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Senica SOUTH AFRICA

Houghton Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Houghton Pearl Valley Golf Estates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Franschhoek Pecanwood Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hartebeespoort Dam Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gauteng Simola Golf and Country Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Knysna St. Francis Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . St. Francis Bay


Asturiano Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sonora Bosquesreal (9 HOLES) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mexico City Cabo del Sol (OCEAN COURSE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cabo San Lucas Canadas De Santa Fe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mexico City Club Campestre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cabo San Lucas County Club Bosques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mexico City Cozumel Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cozumel El Dorado Golf & Beach Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Jose del Cabo El Jaguar Golf Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meridan El Manglar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Riviera Maya El Rio Habitat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guadalajara La Loma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Luis Potosi Moon Spa & Golf Club (DUNES, LAKE & JUNGLE COURSES) . . . . Cancun Nayar Vidanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Puerto Vallarta Palmilla Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Jose del Cabo (MOUNTAIN, ARROYO AND OCEAN NINES) The Peninsula de Cortes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Puerto Penasco Puerto Los Cabo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Jose del Cabo Punta Mita Club de Golf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Puerto Vallarta


Golf La Moraleja (I, II AND CAMPO III) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alcobendas Hacienda Riquelme Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Riquelme Montecastillo Barcelo Golf Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jerez Villaitana (VILLAITANA I AND VILLAITANA II COURSES) . . . . . . Benidorm SWEDEN

Ullna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stockholm SWITZERLAND

Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre . . . . . . . . . . . Crans-sur-Sierre / Valais TAIWAN

Chang An Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hsin-Chu County Miramar Linkou Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . Linkou Hsiang


Riviera Cancun I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cancun Tres Marias Residencial Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morelia Vista Vallarta Golf Club (NICKLAUS COURSE) . . . . . . Puerto Vallarta


The Kinloch Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Taupo, North Island

Natural Park Ramindra Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Klongsamwa Laem Chabang International Country Club . . . . . . . . . Srirachai Mission Hills Golf Club (KANCHANABURI COURSE) . . . . .Thamuang Mission Hills Khao Yai Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pak Chong Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort & Spa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Talang The Zenzation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pak Chong Springfield Royal Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cha-Am



Buenaventura Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rio Hato

Carden Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cheshire, England Hanbury Manor Golf & Country Club . . . . . Ware, Hertfordshire The Hertfordshire Golf & Country Club . . Hertfordshire, England The London Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ash, Kent


Samanah Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marrakech NEW ZEALAND


Alabang Country Club (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alabang Camp John Hay (R) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baguio Forest Hills Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inarawan Manila Southwoods Golf & Country Club . . . . . . . . . . . Carmona


Machynys Peninsula Golf Club . . . . . . Carmarthenshire, Wales St. Mellion Hotel Golf & Country Club . . . Near Saltash, Cornwall


Sherwood Hills Golf & Country Club (C) . . . . . . . .Trece Martires



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One Carlton Woods Drive The Woodlands, Texas 77382 281-863-5800 www.carltonwoods.com

6400 Country Club Drive Castle Rock, Colorado 80108 303-688-7400 www.ccatcastlepines.com




676 Sawatch Drive Edwards, Colorado 81632 970-926-3080 www.countrycluboftherockies.com

7700 Lindrick Lane Bradenton, Florida 34202 941-322-1922 www.theconcession.com



10550 E. Desert Hills Drive Scottsdale, Arizona 85262 480-595-4000 www.desertmountain.com

6501 Boulder Bridge Pass Marana, Arizona 85658 520-572-3500 www.thegolfclubatdovemountain.com

250 Bear’s Club Drive Jupiter, Florida 33477 561-626-2327 www.thebearsclub.com


22050 Creighton Farms Drive Aldie, Virginia 20105 703-957-4800 www.creightonfarms.com

HARBOR SHORES 201 Graham Avenue Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022 269-927-4653 www.harborshoreslife.com

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FOUR SEASONS RESORTS – LANA’I GOLF Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay One Manele Bay Road Lanai City, Hawaii 96783 808-565-2000 www.fourseasons.com/manelebay

MAYACAMA 1240 Mayacama Club Drive Santa Rosa, California 95403 707-387-0938 www.mayacama.com



1851 E. Center Street Heber City, Utah 84032 877-733-5334 www.redledges.com

405 Sebonac Road Southampton, New York 11968 631-287-4444 www.sebonack.com



100 New Williamsburg Drive Shoal Creek, Alabama 35242 205-991-9000 www.shoalcreekclub.com

76009 Via Club Villa Indian Wells, California 92210 760-404-1444 www.toscanacc.com


MUIRFIELD VILLAGE GOLF CLUB 5750 Memorial Drive Dublin, Ohio 43017 614-889-6740 www.mvgc.org

SHERWOOD COUNTRY CLUB 320 West Stafford Road Thousand Oaks, California 91361 805-496-3036 www.sherwoodcountryclub.com

VALHALLA GOLF CLUB P.O. Box 43759 15503 Shelbyville Road Louisville, Kentucy 40253 502-245-4475 http:/Valhalla.pgalinks.com

ClubFlags/AcknowledgeSB2.qxp_Layout 1 6/10/14 3:25 PM Page 400

A Golden Eighteen



T WAS BOTH A PRIVILEGE and a challenge to have been given the opportunity to create a book for

Jack Nicklaus that captures his extraordinary signature golf course design work. We thank you, Mr. Nicklaus, for this vote of confidence. We were fortunate to bring together a gifted team of true professionals with a passion for what they do

best. Scott Tolley, Vice President of Nicklaus Corporate Communications and Andy O’Brien, Vice President of Nicklaus Marketing, introduced us to the leadership at the eighteen clubs and guided us through the various roadblocks that occurred along the way. We were particularly pleased to work with the developers, owners, members and staffs, all of whom treated our team with open arms and exceptional hospitality. Our very gifted and experienced writer, Roger Schiffman, teamed up with Nicklaus Director of Photography

Jim Mandeville, a one-of-a-kind talent and, together, they captured the unique culture of each club — what distinguishes one from the other. They walked the fairways, explored the locker rooms, tasted food and beverage offerings with the club chefs and interviewed and photographed those with stories to tell. They left no stone unturned, and no landscape, flowers or wildlife escaped the lens. Finally, our partner and award-winning creative director, Larry Hasak, brought it all together with his magical design wizardry. No one in the industry has his gifts, vision and determination to make it memorable and to make it pop. Assisting Larry with the layouts was the talented Senior Designer Susan Balle, who worked tirelessly to bring the pages to life. Long-time associates Melody Manolakis and Amy Twigger also were a great help in the production of this 400-page book. Our third partner, Bill Caler, kept us on track financially, providing the resources required to make it happen according to plan. His quiet wisdom, love for the game, along with a limitless supply of unmatched stories, makes it a real joy for all of us. CLIFFORD JONES Managing Partner Legendary Publishing Group, LLC



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