LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (January 24, 2007) – Golf Digest magazine is the latest major golf publication to honor prominent golf course architect Rick Jacobson and his former mentor, Jack Nicklaus, by naming Delaware’s Bayside Resort and Golf Club among its Top 10 Upscale Public Courses for 2006.
An 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, Bayside is the focal point of an 850-acre master planned residential community located on the Assawoman Bay in Fenwick Island, Del. Carl M. Freeman Companies are developing 1,640 homes in the community.
"Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer ever to play the game and now he is among golf’s most prolific golf course architects," said Jacobson, who collaborated with Nicklaus on the Bayside design. Jacobson was employed at Nicklaus’ Florida-based golf course design firm from 1983-91 before moving home to the Chicago area, where he grew up.
Golfweek magazine recently named Bayside among the nation’s top 50 new golf courses. In addition, Bayside was runner-up in Golf Inc. magazine’s annual ranking of best new golf course developments in the daily fee category. Golf Inc. is a publication aimed primarily at the golf industry. Also in its November issue, Golf Inc. named Jacobson’s Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis. a finalist in the private club category for best new courses.
Jacobson praised The Freeman Companies’ development team with whom he worked on his award-winning 27-hole Bear Trap Dunes golf resort community in Ocean View, Del. "The Freeman Companies’ vision and commitment to excellence are two key reasons why Bayside turned out so well," Jacobson added.
Jacobson’s strong relationship with Nicklaus and Freeman Companies’ executives – along with Jacobson’s stellar record of designing courses in the Middle Atlantic region and beyond – made him a natural choice to collaborate with Nicklaus on Bayside.
"It was a pleasure to work with Rick Jacobson again," Nicklaus said. "Rick is a good guy and a very talented golf course architect. He did a lot of great work when he was with us in Florida and he did the same at Bayside."
Bayside has been an immediate hit not only with architecture critics but also with paying customers, according to Bayside director of golf Bill Hamilton.
"People love to play it over and over again," Hamilton said. "Sometimes on the same day."
Ample fairways enable higher handicappers to get the ball in play off the tee. But comparatively small, elevated greens are protected by challenging bunker complexes, requiring excellence in the short game.
Bayside has five sets of tees to accommodate every level of golfer: the Signature Tees (7,545 yards), the Championship Tees (6,835 yards), Member Tees (6,418 yards), Club tees (5,615), and Forward Tees (5,168 yards).
Strategic thinking is a key to success at Bayside, according to Hamilton. Most shots have strategic alternatives and golfers must "think" their ways around the golf course, carefully considering how to play each hole. "It’s a great risk-reward golf course," he said.
Bayside also aspires to make its mark as a tournament course. Next year, Bayside will begin hosting significant local tournaments, including the 2007 Delaware high school championship conducted by the Delaware State Golf Association, the men’s Delaware State Amateur, and the Delaware Women’s Amateur. Next August, Bayside also will host a qualifier for the U.S. Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur championship.
"We want to be a tournament-quality course," Hamilton said.
Jacobson started Jacobson Golf Course Design, Inc. in 1991 as a full-service golf design firm specializing in new course designs as well as master plan renovations and additions to existing facilities.
In recent years, he has opened several new courses, including the Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis. (2006); Vista Links in Buena Vista, Va. (2004); Makefield Highlands GC in suburban Philadelphia (2004), and Patriot Hills GC in Stony Point, N.Y. (2003), which was rated among the Top 10 News Courses by Celebrated Living Magazine. All of these courses have opened to critical acclaim and owners, both public and private, have benefited from customer loyalty and repeat play.
In 2004, Golf Magazine named Jacobson’s Spirit Hollow GC in Burlington, Iowa one its "Thrifty Fifty" – i.e. one of the nation’s top 50 courses costing less than $50 to play. Golf Digest and Golfweek currently rank Spirit Hollow among Iowa’s top 10 courses.
Jacobson’s first 18-hole project in North America – Augustine Golf Club in Stafford, Va. – has been ranked among the nation’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses by Golf magazine and was ranked among the best new upscale courses in 1996 by Golf Digest magazine. Recently, Golf Digest included Augustine on its list of "Best Places to Play."
Golf Magazine ranked Jacobson’s Bull Run Country Club in Haymarket, Va. – located approximately 35 miles west of Washington, D.C. – the top new public course in Virginia in 1999. Jacobson’s Bear Trap Dunes opened to rave reviews and the 27-hole complex was honored by Golf Inc. magazine as Development of the Year for 2002. Bear Trap Dunes also was included in Golf Digest’s "Best Places to Play."
Jacobson has extensive experience in the renovation and restoration and has worked on some of the Midwest’s most renowned golf courses. Among Jacobson’s renovations are Bob O’Link GC in Highland Park, Ill. (Donald Ross); Sunset Ridge CC in Northfield, Ill., named 2005 Private Renovation of the Year by Golf Inc. Magazine; North Shore CC in Glenview, Ill. (Harry S. Colt, Charles H. Alison), and Glen Oak CC in Glen Ellyn, Ill. (Tom Bendelow). Jacobson also renovated Pete Dye’s Des Moines G&CC in preparation for the 1999 U.S. Senior Open. He also has done a dramatic makeover on the Blackhawk Trace course at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Ill.
Jacobson currently is renovating and restoring Oak Park Country Club, another Chicago-area Donald Ross original.
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