GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The golf course at Blythefield Country Club, which has hosted the Meijer LPGA Classic since 2014, will celebrate its 90th birthday in 2018. In anticipation of that milestone and in preparation for its second century, the club has hired Saline, MI golf course architect Chris Wilczynski to develop a master plan for the course designed by William B. Langford and Theodore J. Moreau.
The clubhouse and other facilities at Blythefield, an Old English derivation meaning “quiet fields,” recently underwent a major renovation and funds also have been allocated for the improvement of the golf course.
“We started the process of discussing a course master plan because we needed a long-term plan in place for the future,” said Blythefield General Manger Todd Loughin. “We thought we should bring in an expert and when we started to look at course architects, we realized that Chris understands the course history, can match future improvements to the original design and can take the course to the next level where we want to go. Chris also had worked before with our superintendent and he came highly recommended.”
Collin Romanick has been the course superintendent at Blythefield Country Club for the last six years. “I have known Chris for a while and worked with him on a few smaller projects,” Romanick said of Wilczynski. “He has done work at Egypt Valley Country Club (located about eight miles southeast of Blythefield) and I have gotten to know him and am comfortable working with him.
“Chris listens and will implement things that the club wants, not just his own ideas,” Romanick added. “As we look forward we want to provide a consistent direction to the leaders and members of the Club. The master plan provides this. The plan has been approved by the master plan committee, but it still needs to go to the board of directors for review, and then the general membership will need to approve the financing.”
Wilczynski is excited to be working on the project at Blythefield. “The golf course is truly a gem and the layout of the course is very close to what it was originally, but a lot of trees have been added over the years,” Wilczynski said. “The focus of Blythefield’s master plan will be to remove some of the trees, open up the panoramas and restore a cleaner look, improve the aesthetic, strategy and function of the bunkers, and develop new middle and forward tees,” Wilczynski added. “The bunkers are problematic because of the rocky soil. The bunker work that we do will address this problem.”
“Blythefield’s goal is to be the best golf club in West Michigan. It already is a great golf course, but they want to improve what they have. The course just needs some refinements and a clear vision for the future. The master plan will help them achieve their goal,” said Wilczynski.
Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA