Punch Shots: Favorite Reclamation Project

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2013, 12:23 am

The Barclays host Liberty National went from a landfill on the banks of the Hudson River to an exclusive members club minutes from downtown New York City. We asked our golf travel experts what their favorite golf course reclamation project is in the U.S.

Jason Deegan: Chambers Bay, Washington

The genius of Chambers Bay does not rely solely upon golf. The linksy Robert Trent Jones II municipal course was built by Pierce County in 2007 to host a major championship, such as the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open.

Perhaps the more impressive thing to note, though, is the 360 acres reclaimed from an old gravel quarry also includes 50 acres of parks and three miles of trails. The KemperSports-managed course is a paradise for golfers, yes, but really anybody can soak up the jaw-dropping scenery along the Puget Sound in University Park 60 minutes south of Seattle.

“Only 10 percent of the population plays golf,” Chambers Bay General Manager Matt Allen said. “A lot of other people use the park. You’ve got trails through the course filled with bikes and walkers and dogs. It’s reminiscent of the U.K. when you see people on or near the course using the facilities for another purpose.”

The firm and fast conditions of the 7,585-yard course – probably accompanied by the cloudy sky and slight drizzle known to plague the Pacific Northwest – further accentuate a Scottish or Irish flair. The trains that run along the shoreline feel distinctly Scottish as well. Due to sweeping elevation changes, Chambers Bay remains a chore to walk, although it can be done. A steady stream of renovations appear to be complete before golf’s traveling circus stop by for what will be a memorable major championship.  

Brandon Tucker: Streamsong Resort, Florida

Streamsong No. 7

Golf course development is at its best when a once desolate piece of land flourishes into something useful again.

The Mosaic Company, which owns about 250,000 acres of Florida for phosphate mining and other operations, realized recently they had a piece of mined acreage that had, coincidentally enough, formed itself into a prime spot to build a destination golf resort.

They built Streamsong Resort, which opened 36 holes and a small dormy house earlier this year and will debut a 216-room hotel soon. What's so cool about this reclamation is that when you arrive on site for the first time, the transformation seems effortless.

Mosaic brought in Tom Doak and Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw to make it an authentic 36-hole experience for design aficionados -- something the public golf scene in Florida has underachieved in. 

High sand dunes and large ponds fill each layout, and perhaps the most striking piece of the property is where one par-3 from each course, the Blue and Red, cozy up to one another on opposite sides of a huge sand hill and above a dug-out water hazard.

South of Lakeland, Streamsong is a one-hour drive from Tampa and 90 minutes from Orlando. Yet it feels like the most remote part of Florida with virtually nothing on the horizon for miles around. In addition to 36 holes, resort activities also include shooting, hiking and fishing.

Considering Mosaic has so much more land at its disposal, one wonders if, someday, we could see the company plan another development somewhere else in the state...

Mike Bailey: Bay Harbor Golf Club, Michigan

Bay Harbor

Twenty-seven hole Bay Harbor Golf Club is often referred to as the 'Pebble Beach of the Midwest' and for good reason. Many of its Arthur Hills-designed risk-reward holes ride along the coast high above Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. Add flawless conditions, a top-notch clubhouse and perfect summertime weather, and you've got a scene so pristine that it's hard to believe much of sits atop the old Penn-Dixie cement site that was dynamited almost 20 years ago.  

But what many golfers don't realize, however, is the cost for all this, which goes way above the billion-dollar price tag of the development. Not revealed -- apparently until better testing became available -- was the presence of leachate produced by water reacting with cement kiln dust buried below the site. For years now, one of the original development partners -- Consumer Energy's affiliated CMS Land Co. (which no longer has ownership) – has covered the cost for environmental cleanup.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the water is currently safe, but the $250 million project continues.

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Report: Augusta may lengthen par-4 fifth hole

By Will GrayFebruary 18, 2018, 1:18 am

One of the more difficult holes at Augusta National Golf Club could be adding some teeth in time for the 2019 Masters.

A recent report from the Augusta Chronicle details preliminary site plans from the Augusta Planning and Development Department. Chief among the proposed changes is a lengthening of the par-4 fifth hole, which currently measures 455 yards.

According to the report, a new tee could be constructed across Old Berckmans Road that could lengthen the hole by 20-30 yards. The change would alleviate congestion between the tee and the nearby fourth green and includes plans to curve the road – which has been closed to public traffic since 2015 – around the new fifth tee.

At last year’s Masters, former club chairman Billy Payne highlighted the area as a possible site for minor changes.

“We are always looking at certain holes, certain improvements to the golf course,” Payne said. “We have a great opportunity now in that we now own the Old Berckmans Road. It gives us the ability, as it touches certain holes, it gives us some way to expand or redesign – not redesign, but lengthen some of those holes, should we choose to do so, and all of them are under review.”

Should the new tee be built, it would mark the first club-enacted course changes since six holes were lengthened in 2006. According to the preliminary plans, construction would start on approximately May 1, following this year’s tournament, and would conclude by early November.

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Thomas: Raucus crowds becoming 'completely unacceptable'

By Will GrayFebruary 18, 2018, 12:53 am

LOS ANGELES – After spending the first two rounds of the Genesis Open caught amid the traveling circus that accompanies tournament host Tiger Woods anytime he tees it up, Justin Thomas relished his third trip around Riviera with fewer bodies – and voices – in the crowd.

Thomas was part of this week’s marquee early-round grouping, playing the first 36 holes alongside Woods and Rory McIlroy. McIlroy suggested that the chaos of a Woods gallery costs the 42-year-old half a shot per round, and it’s a sentiment that Thomas supported after climbing into the top 10 with a third-round 67.

“Yeah, it was pretty wild this first couple days. It was all right for a little bit today, but there at the end it got a little out of hand,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s a part of it now, unfortunately. I wish it wasn’t. I wish people didn’t think it was so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots and play.”

Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

Thomas enters the final round four shots behind Bubba Watson as he looks to win for the second time this season. While the crowds at Riviera are a fraction of the size encountered two weeks ago at TPC Scottsdale, Thomas recalled a couple of unfortunate incidents from that event when fans spoke up and snapped mid-swing pictures while he played the first two rounds alongside Jordan Spieth.

“I don’t know - I guess they just think it’s funny,” Thomas said. “It might be funny to them, and obviously people think of it differently and I could just be overreacting. But when people are now starting to time it wrong and get in people’s swings, is just completely unacceptable really.

“We’re out here playing for a lot of money, a lot of points, and a lot of things can happen. And you would just hate to have, hate to see in the future something happen down the line because of something like that.”

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Durant leads Stricker, MAJ into Chubb Classic Sunday

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 12:50 am

NAPLES, Fla. - Joe Durant birdied five of the last eight holes for a 9-under 63 to match Steve Stricker's Saturday finish and take the second-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Chubb Classic.

Durant rebounded from a three-putt bogey on the par-4 10th with birdies on the next two holes and also birdied Nos. 15-17. He had a 14-under 130 total on TwinEagles' Talon course for a one-stroke lead over Stricker.

''You're going to laugh at me when I tell you this, but it was actually a par I made on my first hole,'' Durant said. ''I pulled my tee shot left, went into a bush and had to take an unplayable, had to drop back and hit an 8-iron about 15 feet and made par and it was kind of like, 'OK, well, maybe the putter is going to work today.'''

Stricker had nine birdies in a bogey-free round.

''I look forward to playing with Steve,'' Durant said. ''He's a class act, one of my buddies out here, and obviously he is playing well and he had a great round today. It will be a shootout tomorrow, no question, but it will be fun.''

The 53-year-old Durant has two PGA Tour Champions victories after winning four times on the PGA Tour.

The 50-year-old Stricker is making his first start of the year on the 50-and-over tour after playing six tournaments last year - a runner-up finish in his debut and three third-places ties but not a victory.

''That's why I'm here, to try to win the golf tournament,'' the 12-time PGA Tour winner said.

He played the last two weeks on the PGA Tour, tying for 31st in the Phoenix Open and tying for 26th at Pebble Beach.

''You can be a little more patient on the big tour because pars sometimes are good scores,'' Stricker said. ''Out here you need to make some birdies and when you see guys running away, that's when you lose your patience, at least I did yesterday.''

Playing alongside John Daly, Stricker birdied three of the last four on the front nine and birdied the last two for a back-nine 31.

''Yesterday, I wasn't very patient and I let a couple slip away that I should have had,'' Stricker said. ''On the par 5s on my second nine yesterday, I walked away from a couple pars, and that was frustrating. So I kind of let that get to me. Today, I was a lot more patient, and I felt it on the greens. When you're patient on the greens, you tend to roll the ball a little bit better, and I rolled a lot of nice putts.''

First-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez was two strokes back. He birdied three of the last four in a 68 after opening with a 64.

''Tomorrow is going to be a fight,'' Jimenez said. ''It's going to be nice. As long as you are around the lead, one shot behind, one shot ahead. A lot of golf to come. Just play golf, let everything come.''

Lee Janzen (67) was 11 under, and Kevin Sutherland (68) and Scott McCarron (68) were another stroke back. Daly was 8 under after his second 68. Three-time champion Bernhard Langer had a 70 to get to 5 under.

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Watson takes one-shot lead at Riviera

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 11:49 pm

It's an even-numbered year, so we shouldn't be surprised that Bubba Watson is leading at Riviera. Here's how things shake out going into the final round of the Genesis Open:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-10), Patrick Cantlay (-9), Cameron Smith (-8), Kevin Na (-8), Tony Finau (-8), Graeme McDowell (-8)

What it means: Watson won the Tour's Los Angeles stop in 2014 and 2016, first shooting 64-64 on the weekend to come from eight shots back and beat Dustin Johnson by two strokes, then edging Jason Kokrak and Adam Scott by a stroke two years later. On Saturday, after a Friday night spent playing in a celebrity basketball game that was part of NBA All-Star Weekend (and getting a shot swatted into the stands by 6-foot-8 Tracy McGrady), he eagled the par-5 first hole, hitting a 200-yard approach to 18 inches, and kept his foot on the gas the rest of the way, adding five birdies against one bogey.

Round of the day: Dustin Johnson moved up 45 spots with a 64. Like Watson, he eagled the first hole, then added four birdies to make the turn in 29. His back nine was an exercise in treading water, with eight pars and a birdie, at the par-5 11th.

Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

Best of the rest: Watson's 65 was matched by Cameron Smith, who moved up 12 spots to T-3 by making an eagle and four birdies.

Biggest disappointment: At 49, two-time former U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was just four shots off the lead after 36 holes, but a Saturday 75 dropped him to a tie for 51st. Goosen's round was a matter of slow bleeding, with three bogeys and a birdie on both sides.

Shot of the day: Derek Fathauer eagled the par-4 third hole, holing his approach shot from 120 yards.

Quote of the day: "You've got to know that this golf course is going to make you mess up." - Bubba Watson

Biggest storyline going into Sunday: Although Watson has won twice at Riviera, he hasn't won anywhere since his 2016 victory in L.A. His 2016-17 season finish of 75th in the FedExCup standings was the worst of his career. His closest pursuer, Cantlay, is just one stroke back after closing with a 54-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.