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Nicklaus-Sanford Bring Links Golf to the Big Apple


With a résumé that includes a transforming an unsightly Boston landfill into the award-winning Granite Links golf course, golf architect John Sanford has duplicated that feat with the completion of the long-awaited Ferry Point golf course on the East River, in the Bronx, New York City.

The links-style course brings new life to a former landfill that was an eyesore and dumping ground along the river since the 1960s. The vision and proposals for building a golf course on the treeless 185-acre site had been around for decades, but finally came to fruition under the Michael Bloomberg administration.

The layout is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course designed in collaboration with John Sanford Golf Design in Jupiter, Fla. The Trump Organization won a bid to maintain and operate the property and will invest $10 million to build a new clubhouse. The formal name of the facility is the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point.

"Our experience at Granite Links put us in a nice position to get the Ferry Point project," said Sanford, who also served as project manager, after a final inspection of the site with Nicklaus and Trump. "All the holes are grassed and we're in the process of seeding the practice facility and then course construction will be substantially complete."

Sanford said Jack and Donald were enthused with the final product. "We walked the entire golf course, start to finish, and I'm happy to say everyone was very pleased with not only the design, but also the grow-in," Sanford said. "Jack was great to work with and Donald is very excited about the layout."

As manager and operator of the facility, the Trump Organization is also responsible for growing in the course, an assignment they handled flawlessly," Sanford said. "I am very impressed with the Trump Organization," he said. "They have done an exceptional job with the grow-in."

Sanford said visitors and golfers will be blown away by the course. "The surrounding views are incredible," he said. "Holes 16, 17, and 18 are on the East River. The Whitestone Bridge is right there. To the west is the Manhattan skyline, and that's visible from most of the golf course, so it's an incredible location."

The golf course is a part of Ferry Point Park, which includes a community playground area and a 19.5-acre waterfront area.

Sanford was able to incorporate some of the invaluable experience he gained working on the Granite Links Golf Club. At that site he capped two landfills with the 27-hole course, seven miles from downtown Boston.

On the course design and construction, Sanford worked closely with Nicklaus and the Nicklaus Design team. Sanford also coordinated the work of seven consultants, engineers, landscape architects, and surveyors among others on the project.

"It certainly has been challenging," Sanford said of the Ferry Point project. "It's been a marathon of high hurdles, but well worth it. The course is phenomenal, a true team effort."

A date for the official opening of the course will be announced by the Trump Organization.

Earlier this year Sanford's work on Granite Links was honored by the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) with one of six inaugural 2012 Design Excellence Recognition awards.

In addition to Ferry Point, Sanford Golf Design is busy at work on renovations at the Kona Country Club on the Big Island in Hawaii; Kosaido CC outside Sapporo, Japan; and two clubs on Florida's west coast.

The company has produced or renovated more than 60 courses across North America and Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Japan, and Vietnam.

For more information about Sanford’s firm, visit http://sanfordgolfdesign.com/.