Designed, and now redesigned, by the best to be
Thank you to Nicklaus Design, to the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus,
and to all of our partners for their roles in the Bear’s Paw 35th Anniversary
Renovation, which was named the best course renovation in the state of Florida
and a top-three “Renovation of the Year” nationwide by Golf Inc. Magazine.
See more at
The renovation needs to be strategic, he
“It is vital to determine where the facility
is positioned within the marketplace and
make investments to accommodate neces-
sary changes,” he said. “Out-spending the
competition rarely works.”
And the bulk of the work is not exactly
sexy, he added.
“All solid golf course renovations start
with the infrastructure — drainage, irriga-
tion, soils and greens, etc. — because 80 to
90 percent of the cost and quality of a golf
course is below the ground and unseen by
the golfer. Start there and all subsequent
renovations, changes, adjustments and
refinements will be easy.”
So how does one know it’s time for a
renovation? The ASGSA has come up
with a list of different course features and
their expected life cycles.
For instance, greens can last anywhere
from 15 to 30 years. Tees, 15 to 20 years.
Irrigation systems can range from 10 to 30
When it comes to renovations,
Mandell’s first stop is to determine the
issues that concern the club, he said. And
those issues are normally bunkers and
Bunker technology has improved dramatically, Bergin said. While permanent
liners are more expensive to install, they
require less maintenance.
Mandell, however, isn’t convinced it
saves money. Because the bunkers are
rather new, it’s hard to say if the savings in
maintenance actually makes their installation cost-effective.
Both he and Burgin noted how a num-
ber of golf courses are removing acreage
and trees in renovation projects to open
them up. Back in the day, golf courses
were built on farmland because that didn’t
require tree removal.
Today, some courses are removing acre-
age because of water issues, not just for
play, Mandell said. “Either motivation is
Mandell also happens to be an arborist,
so he’s able to counsel golf course owners
about trees and their viability. He’s one
of the few golf architects who have that
expertise, he said.
For Mandell, there are few moments as
sweet as when a renovation is complete
and the golfers see their new course.
“There’s nothing like that payoff when a
golfer says, ‘Wow, it’s great,’” he said.