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Doak Working on New Course at Bandon Dunes
Golf architect Tom Doak returned to Bandon Dunes in January to design the Oregon resort's fourth course. The project may present one of the world's foremost architects with not one but two of his toughest challenges. Doak has been hired by the resort's owner, Mike Keiser, to create a course based on the precepts of one of the game's iconic architects, C.B. Macdonald. Doak's task is made even more daunting since the new course will be in the shadow of his own seven-year-old Pacific Dunes layout, recognized by many experts as one of the finest new designs of the Modern Era.
The new course, Old Macdonald, will be an 18-hole homage to the legendary early 19th century architect Charles Blair Macdonald, the first U.S. Amateur champion and widely considered the father of golf in America.
Doak and design associate, Jim Urbina, are overseeing a team of experts who are charged with creating a course that reflects the Scottish-influenced look, style, and strategy Macdonald employed in his designs. The new layout, which will be built on 400 acres to the north and east of the Pacific Dunes course, is slated to open July 2010.
Pacific Dunes holds down the No. 2 slot on Golfweek's Top 100 best American modern courses. It's also one of two more recent tracks among the classic designs in the top 10 in Golf Magazine's latest list of top 100 U.S. courses. Macdonald's most acclaimed course, the 1908-built National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., is listed one notch below Pacific Dunes in Golf's rankings. National also just happens to be Keiser's favorite course.
Doak's newest project will also have to measure up to Bandon Dunes' other two courses, the original Bandon Dunes designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, and Bandon Trails, created by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Both of these are also among Golf's 2007 ranking of the Top 100 American courses.
"I think I'm not employing Doak and Urbina as architects. I'm employing them to design as C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor, his apprentice and successor, would build it if they were alive today," Keiser said earlier.
Doak and Urbina have been consulting and exchanging ideas with a panel of golf-architecture aficionados that includes George Bahto, author of a book about Macdonald's life.
Keiser's selection of Doak for the unique project is not surprising. Like Macdonald, Doak is a disciple of Scottish golf after working and studying at St. Andrews. Among the current projects underway at his Traverse City, Mich.-based Renaissance Golf Design firm is a course in Gullane, Scotland, coincidentally named the Renaissance Golf Club, at Archerfield. The neighbor to the east is Muirfield, a renowned British Open venue considered the oldest course in the world.
A recently completed project is a collaborative effort with Jack Nicklaus on the new Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., which has also earned rave reviews. Doak’s three Michigan designs are the High Pointe Golf Club at Williamsburg, Black Forest at the Wilderness Valley Golf Club in Gaylord, and the private Lost Dunes Golf Club in Bridgman, recently named to Golf Digest’s list of the 100 Greatest Courses in America. For more information about Doak and his various works, visit www.renaissancegolf.com.