WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – Until Saline golf course architect Chris Wilczynski re-designed its fourth and fifth holes, those who played Shenandoah Country Club had grown accustomed to wet, unplayable conditions.
“The club was having trouble with two of its holes,” Wilczynski said. “The landing area at hole No. 4 sat in a low-lying, flood-plain area that made the hole virtually unplayable for parts of the season. To resolve the trouble, we re-designed and changed No. 4 from a par-5 to a par-4 by pushing the tees on No. 4 forward to get the landing area out of the wet, flood-plain area. To make up for the loss of the par-5 at hole No. 4, we re-designed and converted hole No. 5 to a par-5. We were able to generate the length by moving the green back and to the right at No. 5.”
No. 4 at Shenandoah had been a par-5 that played approximately 495 yards, but now is a par-4 that plays 400 yards from the blue tees and 255 from the red. Previously a par-4 that played approximately 430 yards, No. 5 at Shenandoah now is a par-5 that plays 480 yards from the blue tees and 360 from the red.
“No. 4 was a real problem for us,” said Nick Johnson, who has been the Superintendent at Shenandoah for the last four years. “It had elevated tees that played down to a wet area that virtually took the hole out of play. We weren’t even able to mow the fairway on No. 4 until about June.”
Shenandoah’s fourth hole also features new tees, new fairway bunkers and rebuilt greenside bunkers, while No. 5 includes new tees, a redesigned fairway, and an entirely new green complex that features five bunkers.
“There is no more wetness issue,” Johnson said. “The problem was fixed rather than just putting a band-aid on it. The bunker renovation has been an important key to the change too. The aesthetics, playability and maintenance of these two holes has definitely improved.”
Despite a relatively wet spring, the number of rounds played at Shenandoah has increased significantly this season. “It is a 100 percent improvement,” said Shenandoah PGA pro Guy Samples. “The fix of the water problem was a godsend and the playability is great now. The landing area on No. 4 was almost non-existent, but now we don’t have to shut that hole down.”
Regular players of the golf course have had nothing but positive reaction to the changes made to holes 4 and 5. “I have been playing here since 1978, so I have seen all of the changes,” said longtime club member John McCurry. “They did an outstanding job with holes 4 and 5 and now they are so fun to play. The improvements made to these two holes add a whole new aspect to the golf course,” McCurry continued. “No. 4 had been really, really wet, but now we sure enjoy it; and No. 5 is a whole new challenge for us, but it’s fun.
“They did a great job on those two holes and we are enjoying the heck out of it.”
Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 www.cwgolfarch.com