Saturday, July 24, 2010

Recent Course Tour with Kyle Phillips


We recently had the pleasure of spending an entire morning with Kyle Phillips, the lead golf course architect of our very own Granite Bay Golf Club. The meeting was the idea of Dan Becker who had questions regarding the golf course aging and what we should do when, as example, the inevitable tree dies and effects the strategy of any given hole. Dan’s concern, as was ours, that moving forward we maintain Kyle’s “original intent” with say tree replacement or potential additions to the course. Kyle graciously agreed to meet with us so a group of golf committee members and management basically spent the morning letting Kyle reminisce about his original vision for our club.
I am sure many of you have heard some details from members who attended the walk-around. My intention in this segment is to give you a general overview of the meeting from the eyes of Golf Course Maintenance and will highlight some details in future additions.
This was the first time Kyle and I had met. He is extremely engaging, gracious and down to earth along with his staff of Mark Thawley and Roby Seed. My prism of looking at a golf course has always been primarily from the view of maintenance. It was a transformational experience for me to listen and then look at the course from their different perspective. I now consider the meeting a highlight in my career. Most of his criticisms on changes to the course arise from the “change of vision” and their unintended consequences. Cart paths were a particular bone of contention with Kyle. He understand totally the need for paths from a business standpoint particularly when ownership / vision changes. However in his opinion, some of them could have been incorporated into the original design without as much aesthetic disruption to that vision.
One big positive thing I took from the meeting was that we all; member golfers, golf course maintenance staff and management and golf course architect are on the same page as far as far as the encroachment of the native areas blocking the vision on certain golf holes. He loved the exposed rocks throughout the course as we all do and encouraged more. He showed me where original fairway lines were and how, in many instances, our fairway lines have receded over the past 16 years. Standing on tee boxes he said “WOW” on numerous occasions regarding how tree and vegetation growth had encroached and on the ride to the next hole expressed his sympathy by stating “man, you got you work cut out for you”
The lines and flow of the holes, tree planting and not tree planting, Granite Bay history although it only been eighteen years are all things we touched on. I look forward to future visits. It’s good for Granite Bay. It’s good for me. Thanks Kyle for the great vision that is Granite Bay Golf Club and for spending a day with us discussing it. I for one will never look at the placement of a ball washer the same.

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