Saturday, February 26, 2011

Takin' it all In, The Bandon Preserve

I decided to publish this one on Out and Back, an online golf journal that I greatly admire. The journal is run by Thomas Dunne, former senior editor for Travel + Leisure Golf magazine. Mr. Dunne's " is an attempt to bring some of the qualities that readers enjoy in a printed magazine–among them strong writing, an editorial point-of-view, a commitment to clarity and accuracy–to the Web....Editorially, the goal is to create a haven for original writing and, as resources grow, to fairly compensate professionals and talented “part-time” writers for their work."
I am not only thrilled to be working on this new and exciting project, but also participating in a growing community of online journalism.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Clearing is an on-going process throughout the construction of a golf course and an art form all on its own. If you clear too much the golf hole may look out of place and if you clear too little the hole appears crowded. It is a balance that starts by peeling away the layers from the center, out.

Pictured above is a natural area with a sparse covering of beach grass, moss, and native grasses. We are attempting to replicate this look in our initial clearing around the perimeter of this hole. Pictured below is Zach Varty standing in waist-high beach grass prior to clearing. The second photo illustrates the vegetation that Zach and I have manually cleared.

(Before) / (After)

(Before) / (After)

The primary objective of this task was to reveal the contours of the dunes without disturbing the natural land forms. At the same time I am thinking how to visually break up any obvious line between what was cleared and what was not. In some instances we will keep the thin cover "look", gradually blending vegetation into the boundary of play. In other cases, after revealing the true shape of the dunes, the top 6 inches will be carefully stripped and later seeded with native fescue within the playing corridor. Pictured below is an area in front of a green that was cleared by hand. After getting a look at the contours it was decided to strip the remaining moss and grasses to provide a more consistent approach to the green.

An understanding of scale is the key to achieving the right look in any given space, whether working with large trees or low shrubs. While clearing beach grass on the Bandon Preserve I am learning that the transition between the playing corridor and the native areas does not begin on the periphery. Instead, finding what is pleasing to the eye starts closer to the middle. Depending on the particular space, I might skew towards the left or the right to frame a transition between the immediate playing area and the native vegetation. In the context of this project visual symmetry is not necessarily desired while randomness and is favored.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Checklist for Day 1

I started my first official day of work at the Bandon Preserve today with my housemate and co-worker Zach Varty. We got up bright and early to receive our first assignment from construction manager and golf architect Dave Zinkand. We met at the gravel staging area left of the 2nd green just after 7:30 am. Dave walked us around the site and handed me a notebook and Zach a yardage laser.

Assignment #1: Shoot all distances from the center of the tee to the center of the green on each hole, record them, report back.

Assignment #2: Measure total square feet of all greens and tees.

Assignment #3: Clear all the scotch broom and beach grass you can find in the line of play (this is when I knew I would have some serious job security). The site was largely covered in shore pines, gorse, scotch broom and beach grass before initial clearing. Zach and I are the two man team assigned to climb all over these wavy-gravy dunes, clearing the invasive and unwanted plant material, to expose the native dune plants laying below. Half of the time we are simply pulling beach grass to highlight some very interesting dune contours.
The layers of overgrowth are slowly peeling away and we are seeing some cool stuff out on the Preserve.