Spring Creek renovates front 9 golf holes
Spring Creek Golf & Country Club in Ripon has completed the renovation of the front 9 greens complexes.
The 3-year renovation project was officially christened with the opening of the final 3 greens for the club’s annual Men’s Club Member/Member tournament on Friday, April 23.
What began in 2019 with the renovation of the 1st and 4th greens, culminated with the completion of greens #5, #8 and #9. In between, holes #2, #6 & #7 were completed in the spring of 2020, at the height of the pandemic. The only green complex not addressed was hole #3 which was renovated in-house in 2015 as a test pilot for renovating the remaining 8 greens.
Spring Creek’s greens were originally designed in 1965 by Jack Fleming, a disciple of famed architect, Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Relying on design elements from the 1920s and 3’s, known as “The Golden Age of Architecture,” Spring Creek’s Superintendent, Mike F. Stieler spearheaded the entire renovation project from the design stage to completion with initial assistance from Josh Pettit of Pacific Golf Design, Inc. on the first two phases and most recently from Bruce Charlton, President & Chief Design Officer from Robert Trent Jones II, LLC architectural firm on the last phase.
“It has been a privilege to see firsthand the vision become reality,” said Spring Creek Golf & Country Club’s President & CEO, Nancy Haug. “This Country Club is blessed to have such tremendous talents engaged in all facets of this project.”
Each phase of the 3-year project took roughly four months, from January through April, to complete. The process involved totally reshaping the existing complexes and creating new designs utilizing the classic golf design principles from golf’s Golden Age of Architecture, made famous by noted golf architects, such as MacKenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Donald Ross, and C.B. Macdonald, among others.
"What a super cool experience as a Certified Golf Course Superintendent with a degree in Landscape Architecture and a deep love of golf to be involved in such a unique project,” Stieler said. “The freedom to create new green complexes capitalizing on 100-year-old design principles, while allowing heritage and charm to influence the existing site characteristics, has been an honor. The way that the phases tied together, utilizing the original classic routing in conjunction with in-house common-sense logistics, allowed for authentic interest and continuity.”
The vital subsoil infrastructure in the new greens is modified Unites States Golf Association (USGA) specified, replacing the original native soil and materials that were used in 1965. The bunkering on each hole was totally renovated and, in most cases, either eliminated or re-designed. The grass on the greens’ surfaces was changed from a Poa Anna and Bentgrass mix to one of the latest bentgrass varieties called “Dominator”, which will not only create a firmer and smoother putting surface but require less water, chemicals, and disruptive maintenance practices to sustain, thus lessening the environmental and financial impact of maintaining world-class greens.
“With the completion of the final 3 green complexes, Spring Creek has a front nine layout worthy of a championship pedigree yet remains extremely playable for all levels of golfer,” noted Spring Creek PGA General Manager and COO, Steve Hupe.
Although there is no definitive timetable for the renovation of the 49-year-old back 9 greens, discussions are ongoing on both the Greens Committee and the Greens Renovation Project Committee regarding the need of a renovation at the earliest opportunity in order to match the quality and design of the completed front 9 greens.
For more information on the details of the renovation or on how to join Spring Creek Golf & Country Club contact General Manager Steve Hupe — (209) 599-3258 extension 102) or membership sales manager Sherri Esparzain the Club office.