Short

The current 4th hole was originally the 2nd. You played from the current 6th tee, and played to the current 4th green. In the picture below, you’ll notice the driving range West of what is now Hwy 280, the clubhouse in its original location, and the bottom left corner, where the current 6th green is today.

Originally, the 2nd hole dog-legged left to the current 4th green, a difficult shot given the severe slopes. Once the clubhouse moved to it’s current location, the course was altered by architect Paul Coates, and the current 6th green was built. A tee was constructed where the parking lot of the farmhouse laid, and the original 2nd green was converted to a par 3. At the same time, the club removed its Template Short, which played from the current 1st tee, and it’s a good assumption that Paul Coates had that in mind when creating what is now the 4th hole.

However, Paul did not change the slopes of the green, and the green never fit the characteristics of a “Short.” Fast forward to the late 1990’s, and the club enlarged the green in the back left corner, because of a lack of pin positions. But again, the internal slopes of the green did not change. So why did Raynor build such bold contours, and why didn’t Coates change them? More than likely, because greens speeds in those decades were substantially slower, so pin positions were “fair” no matter where they were on the green surface. Agronomy and the demand for faster greens surpassed the original architecture, unfortunately.

Jim Urbina set out to renovate the 4th green, not restore it. The main objective to the renovation was to increase the variety of pin positions by altering the severe slopes, and giving it more of a Seth Raynor aesthetic. A lot of geometry and math was used to determine how to raise the front of the green up 1 1/2 feet, and to lower the right side of the green by 8″, as well as maintain proper surface drainage. Getting the percentages of slopes correct, especially tying the altered areas of the green, with the existing surfaces, was a difficult challenge, and the result needed to be perfect or the end product wouldn’t look right, nor be able to be mown at 1/10″.

Over half of the sod of the green was removed, and placed on individual pieces of plastic. It would take a week for the green to be demo’d, greens soil mix to be brought in and properly compacted in “lifts,” with final grading percentages achieved. Needless to say, keeping all of that sod alive, on plastic, at the beginning of August, was nerve-wracking.  So much care was taken to carefully get the sod on the plastic sheets, transport it to the rough, unload it, load it back up a week later, and lay it down as close to perfect as possible, all as quickly as possible. This was incredibly labor intensive, and a massive feat for the Midland staff.

This step of sod cutting the turf off was not for the faint of heart.

Grading stakes and string were used to simulate the final grade.

Bunkers being shaped first to “shoulder” the new green elevation.

Greens mix being brought in, once subgrades were finished.

Greens mix floated out to correct percentages of slopes, and bunker drainage installed.

Finished elevation. Note the large new shelf created on right side of green.

 

Note the smaller shelf created on the left side of green.

Note elevation of front of green based on now having to walk up onto green pad.

 

We stared to convert the fairway to greens height of cut in the Fall of 2019, as it took almost a year to accomplish through continual topdressings and aerifications, slowly lowering the mowing heights. The grass was harvested, and used for green expansions throughout the course, and that fairway has been converted to rough. Fescue has been planted around the perimeters of the hole, and a new forward tee has been built. The unsightly fence to the right of the hole has also been removed. The aesthetics of this hole have changed dramatically, and once it reaches maturity, will be a focal point on the front nine.

In the end, we took a green that was 30% pinable, and made it 70% pinable. We didn’t have to move a lot of earth to make such a big impact, but the impact itself will change the playability and enjoyment of the green immensely.

Mike Manthey

15 Replies to “Short”

  1. Dan Kelly says:

    Great report, Mike.

    I do have a request, though: Would you please take that drone shot of the green and sketch out where the green used to be pinnable and where it will henceforth be pinnable? That would be really interesting to see.

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Thanks Dan. Let me get my crayons!
      M.

  2. Jo-Ida Hansen says:

    I hope the club plans to provide each and every member with a book of contour maps, for all 18 greens, that provides dimensions and slopes. Also, a yardage book like the Scottish/Irish/British courses provide (and first class USA and International courses) would help with speed of play.

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Jo-Ida,

      The golf shop will have yardage books with mapping in 2021!
      M.

  3. Al Duce says:

    This is an amazing effort by all, really looking forward to the opening play
    Sand on the fairways to get rid of worms?

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Hey Al,

      Thanks for the note, it was a monumental achievement, this is the only way to show that, since no one was out there during construction.

      Yes, we will be starting the process of topdressing all of the fairways in 2021. Some patience and time to accomplish the task will be needed, but the ROI will be noticeable in the future!
      M.

  4. Bob Marolt says:

    Sure appreciate your work and updates. I think #4 will now be one of the best holes…great example of efficient functional and esthetic change. Can’t wait to play it!

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Bob,

      Thanks, and I agree!
      M.

  5. Norm Chervany says:

    Another great description … and I do like Dan Kelly’s question!

    Keep them coming!

  6. Paul Kirkegaard says:

    Another great blog post, Mike. I LOVE how the planting of fescue will make this hole so much prettier.

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      PK,

      Once matured, this corner of the course will be a fan fav!

      M.

  7. Ron mason says:

    REALLY, REALLY, REALLY appreciate you taking the time to share all of this information. TRULY immensely interesting.

    thanks.

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Thanks for the note Ron!
      Glad you are enjoying the posts, a good way to build anticipation for spring.
      M.

  8. William Sands says:

    The current 4th green was the green for the 2nd hole, a par 5 that ran parallel to 280. Six today was hole three on the original course. Isn’t this correct?

    1. Mike Manthey says:

      Hey Bill,
      Correct, the current 4th green was originally the 2nd green, that played down the current 6th hole corridor. The current 6th green did not exist originally, it was built when the clubhouse moved. Hole 3 originally was the current 7th hole.

      Paul Coates was the architect that pushed the current 5th green back to it’s current location. He had built the current green, and the club played it as a par 3 for a small amount of time while the original Raynor green was demo’d.
      M.

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