Course of the Week: Cypress Course undergoes renovations following Hurricane Ian damage

By |  December 8, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Bonita Bay Club

Photo: Bonita Bay Club

The Cypress Course at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., a Tom Fazio design that debuted in 1997 reopened after a 14-month-long renovation conducted by the firm. The 400-acre layout, which is next to the Everglades and other protected wetlands, was mildly impacted by October’s Hurricane Ian.

Led by Tom Marzolf, senior design associate at Fazio Design, the renovation touched every hole on the course to make it more strategic for championship-level competitions and more playable for the entire club membership.

“Bonita Bay is a uniquely proactive club,” explained Marzolf. “Cypress was in really good shape, but the members and management wanted to improve the experience for golfers of all abilities and ages.”

Major updates

Fazio Design’s most significant aspect of the renovation was raising the entire course by 12 to 18 inches to improve drainage. The design team created six new lakes, expanded four existing lakes and spread the resulting 200,000 cubic yards of earth across the property.

In addition, the Fazio Design crew widened fairways and added 450 new catch basins. Crews also laid perforated pipe underground to move water away from playable areas. Hurricane Ian and record rains in September revealed areas that needed additional drainage work.

Fazio Design also added two new tees. There are seven tee platforms on every hole, set at 500-yard intervals. The course plays from 4,500 to 7,500 yards, which, according to Marzolf, makes Cypress the first Fazio design with a 3,000-yard spread.

While the routing remains intact, Fazio Designs reworked the greens. The course now plays firm and fast, and the green surrounds are “low-mow” areas that encourage a wider variety of short-game shots. The crew also enlarged greens to allow for both more member-friendly and championship-level hole positions. In another Fazio first, some greens feature wooden bulkhead walls that enhance aesthetics, especially when the often-fluctuating water level drops.

A bunker renovation provides a “cleaned up, Augusta look,” says Marzolf, with acres of sand added in mostly out-of-play areas along and between holes and around trees, which creates dramatic vistas throughout the property.

Fazio Design repositioned tee-shot-landing-area bunkers throughout the course further down the holes to counterbalance ongoing golf equipment advancements. The new Cypress Course drive-zone bunkers angle slightly closer to the center lines of play. The fairway mowing line is now in front of the encroaching fairway bunkers.

“Since the modern ball can fly straighter today, fairway bunkers were moved in closer,” said Marzolf. “To regain the attention of the game’s best players, the tee shot strategy now calls for reaction and alignment choices based on carrying the bunkers. As the game evolves and equipment improves, golf architecture must react and adjust

Cypress is one of two courses at the Naples campus, located about 10 miles from Bonita Bay Club’s primary location close to the Gulf of Mexico. The second Naples campus course, Sabal, is a 1998 Fazio design that will begin renovation starting in fall 2023. Bonita Springs said Cypress will remain the slightly more challenging course, continuing to host state and regional events.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Course of the Week, Industry News

Post a Comment