brian mccallen photography by bob gothard| June 26, 2013 |
The Vineyard Golf Club features a stunning redesign and a light carbon footprint.
The nation’s only all-organic golf course has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a natural beauty since it opened in 2002. Seamlessly integrated into 235 acres in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, the club has been favorably compared to the great Surrey heathland courses in England. This summer the club unveils major changes, conceived by one of the world’s leading designers, which greatly improve the flow and character of the routing. Architect Gil Hanse, who last year won the coveted bid to build the golf course for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, created five new holes (numbers 4 through 7, as well as 9) at the club. The revised sequence on the layout’s front nine eliminates the long walk once required to reach the seventh hole. In addition, the shuttle ride to the eighth hole, never popular with the club’s ardent walkers, will no longer be required. Fairway angles were altered, tees were repositioned, and seven of the green complexes were reworked as part of the face-lift.
On holes that remain within their original corridors, Hanse produced splendid variety and strategic nuance, subtly blending his handiwork to the site’s hollows, swales, and other glacial landforms. For example, the par-4 first hole now doglegs to the right along a dramatically enlarged sandy area, with a new sloping green nearly adjacent to the second tee, a classic walker-friendly transition. The par-5 ninth hole, which combines the remnants of the old fifth and sixth holes, offers high and low roads for the tee shot before sweeping downhill to a lakeside green.
Amid these changes, the club continues its commitment to an organic turf-management program. Golf Course Superintendent Jeff Carlson, a veteran of environmentally sensitive coastal locations, kills weeds with boiling water and a natural foam cocktail instead of herbicides, and takes a variety of other measures to maintain the course with no synthetic pesticides. Thanks to Carlson’s stewardship and Hanse’s new design, very few courses blend as easily into their surroundings or sit more lightly on the land than this naturalistic one-off. 100 Clubhouse Lane, Edgartown, 508-627-8930