Our 7th hole, the Eden, has more than likely changed the least amount out of all of our 18 holes, since inception. It’s one of the reasons it’s Jim Urbina’s favorite hole at Midland. The original Eden, is the 11th at the Old Course at St. Andrews. One of the reasons Jim likes our Eden so much is the fact that Walsh Lake is the backdrop to the hole, the same as the ocean backdrop at St. Andrews.
Here’s a link on some great background on the Eden hole by Andy Johnson – https://thefriedegg.com/eden-template-hole/
Below is a picture of Midland’s Eden during construction. We only have a few pictures during construction, which makes this one very special. It looks as if they are pumping out the left bunker, and the green surface has some grass starting to sprout. At this point in time, there is no fence, street, or neighborhood to the right.
Fast forward 100 years, and you can see below, shaper Zach Varty, trying to recapture the hard, sharp edge of the green pad.
During excavating the old bunker, Zach had found a version of a bunker from the past, more than likely the first version. The arrow below is pointing at the bunker sand/floor.
Our version of the Eden, was missing the “Eden” bunker, which is the bunker behind the green. The bunker was originally built, but removed sometime during the 1940’s. We’re uncertain if it was removed to reduce maintenance costs, or if the bunker was flooding. During the restoration project, we created a slight protective shelf behind the bunker, to prevent any potential flooding. The picture below shows the Eden bunker in existence.
Recapturing the Eden below.
Eden bunker shaped in.
There are only a few areas on the golf course where we struggle to grow high quality turf. The right side of 7 is the area we struggle with the most. It’s literally in the shade all the time, and removing the trees to the South is not an option for obvious reasons. Concentrated foot traffic from those that walk from the cart path (after parking their cart) onto the green is also something we cannot alter. Drainage has also been an issue. During the project, we improved the topography to help get the water to shed from the surfaces as best we could. This improvement will make a slight difference in overall health. Below you can see how far to the West we reshaped the surface.
As far as recapturing some of the lost strategy of the hole, Jim Urbina wanted to expand the green in the front right, and both back corners. Being able to put a pin just over the front right bunker creates a very challenging shot, so much so, that it might force a player to play away from a pin, to the middle of the green. This is classic golf architecture at it’s best. Below you can see that we slightly raised up the green just over the bunker to create a shelf able to pin.
Another part of the strategy was removing the rough around the pot bunker, or the “Strath” bunker. Balls are supposed to roll into this hazard, and the rough (and shape) of the surround, was preventing that from happening.
A closer inspection below, and you can see that balls struck on the wrong line, can and will, roll into the Strath bunker now.
In the comparison aerial below, you can see that we brought up the back left and right corners of the green. We did not gain a lot of square footage here, but the intent was the aesthetics from standing on the tee box. An already intimidating hole, just gained a little bit more. A new “forward” tee was also added to the hole, giving players the option to play from a much shorter yardage. Overall, the 7th at Midland is one of our truest Template holes, and it didn’t need much improvements. The improvements that we did make, will have a significant impact on the fun factor, strategy, and enjoyment of the hole.