As we continue to take a closer look at the Pine Lakes Country Club restoration project, in anticipation of the Granddaddy’s early July reopening, here is an overview of the work being done on the venerable layout’s opening hole.
Golfers familiar with the course will immediately notice the changes implemented by architect Craig Schreiner.
Prior to the restoration project, the first hole at Pine Lakes was home to a green that had decreased in size and a pair of the course’s most daunting bunkers, and both features are now undergoing significant changes.
For starters, the putting surface on No. 1 is being expanded by 20 percent, making it easier to start your day with a green in regulation. While that expansion is significant, it’s not the most dramatic transformation taking place.
The two bunkers that front the green, particularly the one on the right, were deep and anxiety-inducing for players forced to open their day with a sand shot that had to get in the air in a hurry. The edges of the renovated bunkers are being moved away from the putting surface, lowering the face by nearly four feet.
What was once a high-faced bunker is being replaced by grass that rolls more gently into the sand. It’s still not an easy shot, but it will eliminate the need for the nearly vertical bunker shot.
For an easier to digest look at the changes, compare the picture taken on April 26, which is what the hole previously looked like, to the one taken on May 10. You can see the change in bunker size – the white lines outline the new perimeters – and the reduction in the severity of the faces. The addition of a small grass finger on the starboard bunker will also let players easily walk out of the sand and directly up to the green, something that wasn’t previously possible.
The test on the opening hole at Pine Lakes is still formidable, but it is more player-friendly, both in terms of playability and the time it will take enter, exit and maintain the bunker.