The Cholla Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. will close this summer to receive infrastructure upgrades. (Courtesy of We-Ko-Pa G.C.) Bluejack National Golf Club is Tiger Woods' first domestic course to open.  (Courtesy of Bluejack National G.C.) Pete Dye is renovating the Ackerman Hills Course at Birch Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind. (Courtesy of Birch Boilermaker Golf Complex) William Bell designed Grand Canyon University Golf Course in 1961. Architect John Fought renovated the course in 2015. (Courtesy of Grand Canyon University G.C.) In Orlando, Shingle Creek Golf Club will alter its course this summer to expand the hotel.  (Courtesy of Shingle Creek G.C.)

Makeovers: Look for these top U.S. golf course renovations in 2016



Last week we detailed the new and significantly redone golf courses scheduled to open in 2016, including a handful opening in Michigan, plus significant redos to such courses as the Chuck Corica Golf Complex in Alameda County, California, and the Ocean Course at Sea Pines in Hilton Head Island, S.C., being re-done by Davis Love III's design firm.

This week, we've uncovered some of the top renovations happening to public golf courses in key markets.

Renovations are constantly announced as new ownership takes over courses or financing is secured to restore worn-out facilities. You can tell your fellow golfers what's happening in your neck of the woods in your Golf Advisor course review, in the comments below, or via a tweet to @GolfAdvisor.

Top renovation projects in Florida

The Black Course at Streamsong won't come online until late 2017, but another big development is the Sarasota area's Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes. Closed during the Great Recession, new ownership has revived the layout as part of a new residential community. The short-ish design by Gordy Lewis is a 4,545-yard par 64 (seven par 3s on the back nine) that will be home to a First Tee chapter and should be open by the end of January.

Also on Florida's Gulf Coast, Jack Nicklaus and Jon Sanford -- who built New York's Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point together -- will renovate the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club as part of the property's 70th anniversary. The course will close in April and reopen in late fall. Golf Coast Magazine has the details here.

Last but certainly not least, TPC Sawgrass will shut down the Stadium Course after this year's PLAYERS to reseed the greens and redesign the par-4 12th hole and make it the course's first drivable par 4. Work is expected to take six months.

A handful of updates in Phoenix-Scottsdale

There are no brand new courses opening in the Valley of the Sun (the most recent course opening was Wickenburg Ranch last year), but there are some notable renovations. In December 2015, Maryvale Golf Course, an historic municipal course on the west side designed by William F. Bell, re-opened after a significant renovation and is now known as Grand Canyon University Golf Club (another change is that the university now manages the course). Early reviews on Golf Advisor post-reopening are quite positive.

Resort golf in Paradise Valley is getting a boost with a new partnership between some big players in the resort scene. Marriott Mountain Shadows -- an 18-hole, par-3 course -- is being totally redone, and a brand new, 183-room boutique hotel with an emphasis on health and wellness is being built on site. Latest projections are for an early 2017 opening, according to an article in the Paradise Valley Independent.

Two courses re-opened at the end of 2015: SunRidge Canyon debuted a renovated layout in the fall, and the results have been welcome; the course was the top-rated play on Golf Advisor in the fourth quarter of 2015. In the West Valley, 54-hole Wigwam Resort brought in Tom Lehman to help renovate and redesign the classic Gold Course, originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. (Read Mike Bailey's article on the renovation.)

Verde River Golf & Social Club, formerly Vista Verde, has new ownership to go with its new name and is building a new clubhouse in 2016. Tom Lehman is overseeing a redesign of the course, which won't impact play this winter but they will close the course in the summer to perform the heavy lifting. Lehman's redesign calls for new green complexes. The club, located northeast of Scottsdale, plans to eventually go fully private. But this winter tee times are topping out around $100.

Grayhawk Golf Club's Raptor Course has replaced three holes, the result of some adjacent acres being zoned for development. The new holes were a pre-emptive measure. Jason Scott Deegan visited the course this past week and will have details that we'll link to as soon as they are posted.

The Cholla Course at We-Ko-Pa will spend its 15th anniversary (it opened in 2001) under the knife. The Scott Miller design -- ranked no. 45 on Golf Magazine's "Top 100 You Can Play" for 2014 -- will close this summer to receive infrastructure upgrades including irrigation upgrades and new bermuda grass on the greens. PGA General Manager Matt Barr said the eighth hole -- a difficult par 5 that bends right and falls downhill to a green guarded by a desert wash -- will be tinkered with, but final plans haven't been made. "Most of it (the work) isn't sexy stuff, but it is time," Barr said.

Lastly, in Cave Creek, Ariz., Dove Valley Ranch, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is also the recipient of a recent facelift. The course re-opened in August 2015, and in the past six months, its five-star ratings on Golf Advisor have outpaced four-stars 3-to-1.

Two big renovations in Texas

Texas is set to unveil two coveted private clubs, Tiger Woods' Bluejack National near Houston and the Coore-Crenshaw-designed Trinity Forest in Dallas. But there are a couple developments on the public-golf front in the Houston area. After being sold and closed in 2009, the 27-hole Golf Preserve of Atascocita Shores in Humble re-opened in late 2015.

Also, Pearland Golf Club at Country Place re-opened in late 2015 after a $2 million renovation, overseen by architect Jeff Blume. One reviewer, who returned to the course in November post-renovation, called the course "unrecognizable" in his five-star review.

Ross-designed, Charlotte-area muni is renovated

North of Charlotte, N.C., the town of Mooresville invested $5 million into its course, whose original nine holes were designed by Donald Ross. Architect Kris Spence has overseen the redesign of Mooresville Golf Course's back nine, which was added later. The course will come back online in early 2016.

Pete Dye renovating course at Birch Boilermaker Golf Complex at Purdue University

Pete Dye, who turned 90 in December, is keeping busy. The Indiana native first came to Purdue University to build the Kampen Course, a top collegiate track. Now he's back in West Lafayette to reimagine the university's Ackerman Hills Course.

Ackerman Hills dates back to the 1930s but was most recently updated by Larry Packard in 1968. Dye's plan will add more tee boxes and make it a candidate to host top events. It also will be added to the Pete Dye Golf Trail.

Historic Mt. Prospect Golf Course near Chicago to fully reopen

Mt. Prospect Golf Course, owned and operated by the Mt. Prospect (Ill.) Parks Department, soft opened its newly renovated course in the second half of 2015, though its commitment to cart path-only for grow-in seems to have affected early reviews on Golf Advisor.

Illinois-based architect Dave Esler returned the course -- located four miles from O'Hare Airport in the west loop -- to its classic bones. Golfers will also love the new double-sided driving range which was part of the $9 million upgrades.

Work wraps up at Buffalo Ridge Springs in Missouri

Top of the Rock and Big Cedar Lodge owner Johnny Morris has been plenty busy with his golf product, including an unscheduled renovation to the driving range when a giant sinkhole opened up last spring. Two new courses are currently under construction, but the upgrades made to the Tom Fazio-designed Buffalo Ridge Springs -- which included a brand new third hole minus the blind tee shot -- will be completed by early summer or late spring.

Updates in Hawaii

Kona Country Club's Ocean Course will re-open Feb. 1 after installing a new irrigation system (the Mountain Course remains closed). Meanwhile, the Big Island's only muni, Hilo Municipal Golf Course, is receiving a $17 million facelift that will include a new clubhouse, plus four new greens, irrigation upgrades and new cart paths, among other infrastructure improvements. Only nine holes will be open through May, and officials hope to complete the project by this fall.

The big mystery on Kauai is whether the Prince Course will reopen in 2016, and if so, to the public or not. Bailey recently checked in with the new ownership group on one of the most famous golf courses in Hawaii.

-- Jason Scott Deegan and Mike Bailey contributed to this report.

Jan 20, 2016



Join the conversation

Related Links


Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.