When Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta entered the planning stages for their newest golf course, Stoatin Brae, they decided to take an unorthodox approach. Instead of hiring designers to create a course and try to make it fit the land, Gull Lake View did the opposite, hiring Renaissance Golf Design to create a course using what nature gave them.
In an interview with Club & Resort Business, Jon Scott, President of Gull Lake View, discussed their decision. “We let the land sit there and do what it wanted to do,” he said. “We moved hardly any dirt at all because of the talent of the designers and the land itself. We left a lot of the natural shape there. It makes the golf course really cool.”
The planning didn’t stop there. Scott and the team of designers continued to push the boundaries by creating a more self-sustaining course. “We tried to build a golf course that we could maintain cost-effectively. We spent a lot of time looking at the grasses. We looked at building a golf course that would be a dry course. It’s not green from edge to edge.”
In the end, the group settled on preserving as much native vegetation as possible, planting native grass and utilizing the natural wildflowers that were already present.
To continue their self-sustaining model, the group needed to create a course that required minimum irrigation. “Water management has been a big key,” said Paul Hallock, Golf Course Superintendent. “I believe a firmer, drier surface is always going to be better for golf, so it’s a truer links-style golf course. You get a lot of crazy bounces because it is firm. It’s better to play short of the green.”
It’s moves like these that netted Stoatin Brae critical acclaim before it even opened, receiving the title of “one of the nine most eagerly awaited new golf courses of 2017″ by Forbes Magazine.