Oakland Hills re-opens South Course After Gil Hanse Restoration
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (June 24, 2021) – Oakland Hills Country Club’s renowned South Course, which has been the site of 17 championships since 1922, will re-open in early July after a comprehensive restoration conducted by golf course architect Gil Hanse.
You can read Gil Hanse’s thoughts on the restoration in this GolfBlogger article on the Oakland Hills Restoration.
Oakland Hills’ South Course, the site of 11 USGA championships (including six U.S. Opens), has also hosted three PGA Championships, the 2004 Ryder Cup Match, the 1922 Western Open, and the 1964 Carling World Open. The Golden Age classic layout was designed by Donald Ross and originally opened in 1918. Ross also designed the club’s championship North Course, which opened in 1924.
Hanse, along with partner Jim Wagner and on-site coordinator Kye Goalby, reviewed original plans and photographs as well as a printed program from the 1929 U.S. Women’s Amateur (won by Glenna Collett) to guide their planning for the scope of the project, which began in October of 2019 with a cost of approximately $12 million.
“Restoring the South Course at Oakland Hills was a master class in scale from architect Donald Ross,” said Hanse. “By returning the proportions of the features to the large scale of the property, we learned so much about how to create interest, strategy, and beauty. This was a truly thrilling project for us to be involved in and we are excited about the transformation that has occurred.”
The thorough and thoughtful restoration plan included rebuilding all 18 greens to USGA specifications with expansions and shape modifications to the original Ross design as well as the addition of 19 Precision Air sub-surface units to control moisture and temperature. Through the course, original bunkering was restored with state-of-the-art drainage along with original course widths and angles. Irrigation systems were upgraded, and strategic tree removal opened the original vistas of the course and the iconic, white-pillared clubhouse. In total, the ‘scale’ and the massive features of South Course were returned.
Perhaps the most anticipated restoration is bringing back the original location of the putting green on No. 7 as well as the original size of the creek, which bisects this classic par 4.
“Oakland Hills is proud to re-open the South Course after a masterful restoration by Gil Hanse,” said club president Michael Dietz. “Our Donald Ross classic has been transformed into a contemporary course that will challenge and delight our membership while hopefully continuing our rich tradition of hosting championship golf at Oakland Hills.”
The club plans a month-long series of activities in July for the membership to honor the re-opening of the South Course.
OAKLAND HILLS AND CHAMPIONSHIPS
From 1922, when Oakland Hills hosted the Western Open (considered a premier tournament at the time) which was won by its own head professional, Mike Brady, through 2016 when Australia’s Curtis Luck captured the U.S. Amateur on the South Course, the club has hosted 17 championships including six U.S. Opens, two U.S. Senior Opens, two U.S. Amateurs, one U.S. Women’s Amateur, three PGA Championships, the 2004 Ryder Cup Matches, the 1964 Carling World Open, and the Western Open. Three Michigan Amateurs and stroke-play qualifying for two U.S. Amateurs have been held on the North Course. Eight of South Course event champions are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, including Glenna Collett (1929 Women’s U.S. Amateur), Ralph Guldahl (1937 U.S, Open), Ben Hogan (1951 U.S. Open), Gene Littler (1961 U.S. Open), Gary Player (1972 PGA Championship), David Graham (1979 PGA Championship), Arnold Palmer (1981 U.S. Senior Open) and Jack Nicklaus (1991 U.S. Senior Open). Padraig Harrington, who won the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, will likely join them. Walter Hagen, one of golf’s all-time greats served as the club’s first head professional.
via Pete Kowalski