"I like to
call the hotel a retro rebuild," says Keith Evans, managing partner of the
development group. "We were shooting for 1905 style with modern
functionality. We wanted to embrace history."
The new resort
pays homage to its past by surrounding you with it, which leads us back to the
golf. When the Old course closed for reconstruction, in November 2005, the
following summer was the first in 111 years that the game was not played at the
built the original layout in 1895. It was 6,000 yards long and included a
605-yard par-5, pretty daunting in the age of hickory shafts. "That's a
monstrously long hole given the equipment of that era," Forse says. "A
6,000-yard course was huge in those days."
Maybe it was too
daunting. By 1912, when Tillinghast worked on the course, it had been scaled
back to nine holes. Did Tilly do that, or had the course already been reduced?
The answer is lost to history. What is known is that Tillinghast's changes
included the creation of the Tiny Tim par-3 (now the 14th hole), which he
diagrammed in his book Gleanings from the Wayside: My Recollections As a Golf
Architect. "It's a neat little drop shot from a precipice over a lagoon and
a creek," says Forse. "It's simply fun."
To the left of
the green Tillinghast sculpted the Alps, a group of modest (by today's
supersized standards) mounds meant to penalize wayward shots. The hole is 135
yards from the back tee. Ross rerouted the course in 1923 and restored it to 18
holes. It has remained largely unchanged since. That's right—the existing
course is a combo of Ross and Tillinghast holes, with only slight tinkering. Go
ahead, pinch yourself.
hotel, we had to pick a period for the course and went for 1923," Forse
says. "We didn't put in 18 holes exactly as they were, although we
maintained the Ross routing. We ended up, in a sense, with a living golf
Ross-Tillinghast quirks are delicious. There are five par-5s, four of which (at
589, 611, 615 and 593 yards) aren't reachable in two. Those are long holes for
a course that is only 6,785 yards from the tips. There are also five par-3s,
and these are the holes that give the course its unique character. Gulley, the
10th, is only 124 yards across a valley to a shallow heart-shaped green with a
steep tier in the middle.
epitomizes the what's-new-is-old theme. The original 17th was long lost, but
Forse and Nagle found a hint of it in the background of an old photograph.
Forse designed an entirely new Redan-style hole—an angled green guarded by a
large bunker—on that spot. Ronnie, as the hole is called, holds its own with
Tiny Tim, the Volcano and Gulley. "The name wasn't my doing," Forse
says. "The owner thought Ronnie sounded Scottish, like bonnie or
second-favorite hole—I think you know what's No. 1—is the 6th, labeled Ross's
Cathedral. This short (361 yards) par-4 requires a drive over a creek to a
fairway flanked by bunkers. From there, it's uphill to the green. The hole is
beautifully framed by hardwood trees.
On the fun scale,
the Old course is a 10.