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California

Stanford, California, USA
2008

Siebel varsity golf training complex

Located on the grounds of world-renowned Stanford University, the innovative Siebel Varsity Golf Training Complex offers a unique and exciting syllabus for students of the game of golf. The idea for the project came about when two needs converged: the University was looking to develop a first-rate practice facility for its varsity golf teams at the same time it was undertaking other new construction projects and needed to dispose of a large amount of fill material. Robert Trent Jones II (RTJ II) solved both needs by designing the Siebel complex on a piece of undeveloped land adjacent to the existing Stanford Golf Course.

With input from varsity golf coaches, RTJ II drew up plans for an entirely new concept in golf practice facilities. We created six "Road Game Greens"—bunkers and putting surfaces designed in styles comparable to those of six different golf course architects (Alister Mackenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, and Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr.) whose courses the Stanford golf teams play in competition. The facility employs four types of grasses—Bermuda, Bent, rye, and fescue—and several different sand types so that Stanford golfers have the opportunity to hit the various shots required by a variety of design characteristics and surfaces.

The 30-acre golf laboratory presents chances to experiment with bump-and-run approaches, flop shots over bunkers, approaches to tiered and/or sloping greens, shots hit from swales or deep grass, and short-iron shots requiring precise distance control. It also features uphill, sidehill, and downhill lies and can be configured as a full-swing driving range and even an actual golf course. Coaches have full control of mowing patterns, height of cut, speed of greens, and other variables. The sand-capped terrain provides great conditions year round.

The facility is laid out in an L-shape, 200 yards wide by 400 yards long on one side and 100 yards wide by 400 yards long on the other. The greens are strategically placed along the perimeter so that all six complexes can be used simultaneously. The RTJ II team carefully sited the golf features around many majestic old oak trees, which provide the Siebel facility with a mature feel. The practice area is certain to strengthen players' skills and imaginations, and unlike many classrooms, this one will make golfers eager to "go to school" on each other's shots.