Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Project 2021 - Update #7

 Renovation Decisions & Philosophy

"Granite Bay was conceived as a place where the spirit of golf, the absorbing fun of the game could flourish." (Jim Fitzpatrick - forward in "Golf  As It Should Be", 1996 by Mark Parsinen)

In August of 1993 Mark Parsinen, inspired by The Golden Age of Golf Course Design, had a vision of "Golf As It Should Be". With the help of Dave Cook & Jim Fitzpatrick, this vision was realized with Granite Bay Golf Club. Golden Era architects like Alister MacKenzieA.W. Tillinghast and H.S.Colt influenced the design of the course and their namesake is reflected throughout the club at the MacKenzie Grill,  Tilley's Pub and the Colt rooms.  The stories that preceded the club are as numerous as they are interesting and Their context interrelate with Granite Bay's next era, beginning with our present-day renovation. As we progress through the renovation of the golf course and send regular updates, we will share some of these stories from the early days of Granite Bay Golf Club.

ClubCorp's Senior Vice President of Agronomy, Jay Abbott, is the project manager for the golf course renovation. Jay has contracted  with Salvador Rodriguez the founder of Diamond Golf International to complete all construction of the project. 

Jay started his 40 year career in golf course construction working for such greats as Arthur HillsTom WeiskopJack NicklausTom FazioPete Dye and Lanny Wadkins. Jay is also a second-generation Superintendent who has worked all over the country. From growing up and working on golf courses in Michigan to PGA WestDisney, Escondido & Dancing Rabbit. Jay joined ClubCorp and led the renovation of Brookhaven the original ClubCorp 54 hole facility. He then moved to Kingwood CC as a Regional Superintendent overseeing 90 holes at Kingwood and supporting  30 other clubs in the region. In 2019 Jay accepted the role of SVP of Agronomy for ClubCorp and now oversees golf course maintenance operations and construction projects on all of the over 200 courses in the companies portfolio. In Jay's career, he has hosted over 15 PGA Tour Events, 6 Senior PGA Tour Events & 5 LPGA Tour Events. With his experience he has a full understanding of what a championship golf course should look and play like. 

Salvador Rodriguez has built over 220 golf course's for designers like  Jack Nicklaus, Greg NormanTom Fazio , and Robert Trent Jones II, all of whom were inspired and drew from the architects of the Golden Era.  Sal brings an unmatched level of experience in construction and design of golf courses. Sal and Diamond Golf are held in high regard throughout the world of golf. With Sal comes some of the best golf course shapers in the world. Diamond Golfs attention to detail is impressive. 

Jay and Sal's vision for Granite Bay is to take a great golf course, make a few tweaks to make it even greater. Their overall philosophy is : 

  • Make subtle adjustments to the course to enhance the original design and make the course play like it opened today without losing the integrity of the original design concepts.
  • Create a fun and rewarding experience for the mid to upper handicapper and a challenging and rewarding experience  for the low handicapper.
  • Restore the Greens to their original design while opening up sight lines to make all features visible to the competitors.
  • Lengthen the golf course from the Tournament tees to over 7000 yard's while adding and relocating forward tees to help make the course more enjoyable for Juniors, Seniors & Ladies.

Putting Surfaces 

The greens will be restored to their original width, depth and elevation. Over time putting surfaces commonly shrink due to growing challenges on the perimeter and become elevated from years of topdressing. A future course update will explain in detail this "greens restoration" process. After they are restored they will be seeded with Dominator 007 / 777 Creeping Bentgrass.

Tee Boxes, Fairways & Roughs

Many of the tee complexes will be expanded and all will laser leveled. Additional teeing levels will be added where appropriate. The grass varietal on the tees will be Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. Tournament tees will be added on #4, #9,#11, #12 & #16.  Minor tweaks will occur in fairways to improve landing areas on #10 & #16 for  example.  Additional tweaks to improve surface drainage on #6 and #15 for example and to improve open sightlines to putting surfaces and bunkers. The fairways will receive a sand cap and be grassed as well with Santa Anna Hybrid Bermuda. The rough will be enhanced with fescues and bluegrass that will tolerate shade and Granite Bay summers. 


The bunkers will feature a Better Billy Bunker liner system which is the leader in golf course bunker drainage and playability. The sand will be  Idaho White ( Best Sand 900) which is highly rated by the USGA naturally meeting all their key bunker sand characteristics. There will be various changes to the shape and size of the current bunkers. The high flashing faces will be softened and when possible all edges of the bunkers will be made visible from the tee or landing area. The bunkers will also have more "texture" to the edges. Some bunkers will be removed and others added with the idea of not to overly penalize the mid to upper handicapper while challenging the low handicap golfer. Look for several future course updates detailing the bunker restoration process.

Practice Area

An additional putting green will be added near the driving range. The upper putting green will be flattened and enlarged. The putting green at Tilly's will see significant enhancements to foster the camaraderie and fun you have enjoyed so much over the years. The green will be enlarged and new lighting will be installed. 

We will continue to share regular updates of the renovation as well as design principles as the renovation progresses. Be sure to check out the Granite Bay Course Update, Instagram @ granitebaygcm, and  the clubs Facebook page. 

As always, thank you for your support and patience.


  1. Improve landing areas on #10. So you're finally going to get rid of that dang tree!!!!!

  2. The tree on #10 is the only defender of that hole IMO. Please keep it there