Three Crowns Golf Club, in Casper, Wyoming, offers an exceptional, award-winning example of environmentally responsible golf course design—an approach that Robert Trent Jones II has been refining for more than three decades. Built on the site of a former refinery, Three Crowns is named for BP Amoco’s old symbol—crowns of gold, white and red, which represent the three different grades of gasoline sold by the company. The golf course sits above land that still contains millions of gallons of refinery product scheduled for recovery over the next two decades.
Our biggest challenge in designing the golf course was adjusting to the requirement that cuts could not be made deeper than six feet. In preparing the site, our development partners removed 3,000 miles of pipe and 400,000 cubic yards of concrete, and then capped contaminated soil with six feet of clean dirt. Using high-tech maps that identified places where the soil was uncontaminated to lower depths, we dug lakes (which we lined with geotechnical fiber to protect them from contamination) and used the excavated dirt to build mounds and other course features. The mounds, which separate the golf holes from each other and lend an isolated feel to the course, are covered in native grasses that turn wheat-colored in summer and beautifully offset the green fairways.
We also met the challenge of creating a series of raised wetlands that sit above the golf course and help purify water on the site. An intricate system of pumps, oil separators, monitoring and recovery wells, and other technology is integrated across Three Crowns to treat and test all water, ensuring that it meets environmental standards before it is returned to the Platte River, which runs beside the course.
Challenges in the form of wind and water greet golfers who take on this 7,065-yard layout. Eight lakes—four of which help remediate water pollution—come into play on fourteen holes. Eighty-four bunkers filled with white sand punctuate the golfscape.
At RTJ II, we have always designed golf courses that are good for the environment. At Three Crowns Golf Club, we enjoyed an unusual opportunity to convert a degraded brownfield into an aesthetically pleasing landscape that supports the Royal and Ancient game.