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Oakland Hills CC South Course reopens following restoration

By |  July 21, 2021 0 Comments

Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course reopened in early July following a restoration conducted by golf course architect Gil Hanse.

The course has been the site of 17 championships since 1922, 11 of which have been USGA championships, including six U.S. Opens. It has also hosted three PGA Championships: the 2004 Ryder Cup Match, the 1922 Western Open and the 1964 Carling World Open. The Golden Age classic layout was designed by Donald Ross and originally opened in 1918.

Hole No. 9 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

Hole No. 9 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

Hanse, along with partner Jim Wagner and on-site coordinator Kye Goalby, reviewed original plans and photographs as well as a printed program from the 1929 U.S. Women’s Amateur. This served as a guide for their planning for the scope of the project, which began in October of 2019 with a cost of approximately $12 million.

Hole No. 10 and 11 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

Hole No. 10 and 11 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

“Restoring the South Course at Oakland Hills was a master class in scale from architect Donald Ross,” Hanse said. “By returning the proportions of the features to the large scale of the property, we learned so much about how to create interest, strategy and beauty. This was a truly thrilling project for us to be involved in, and we are excited about the transformation that has occurred.”

Hole No. 18 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

Hole No. 18 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

The restoration plan included rebuilding all 18 greens to USGA specifications with expansions and shape modifications to the original Ross design. Additionally, 19 Precision Air subsurface units were added to control moisture and temperature. Through the course, original bunkering was restored with drainage, along with original course widths and angles. Irrigation systems were upgraded, and some trees were removed in order to open the original vistas of the course and clubhouse. In total, the scale and the massive features of the South Course were returned.

One of the most anticipated features of the restoration was bringing back the original location of the putting green on No. 7. The redesign allowed the return of the original size of the creek, which bisects the classic par 4 hole.

Hole No. 7 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

Hole No. 7 at Oakland Hills South Course. (Photo courtesy of Larry Lambrecht)

“Oakland Hills is proud to reopen the South Course after a masterful restoration by Gil Hanse,” said Club President Michael Dietz. “Our Donald Ross classic has been transformed into a contemporary course that will challenge and delight our membership while hopefully continuing our rich tradition of hosting championship golf at Oakland Hills.”

The club has been hosting a monthlong series of activities in July for the membership to honor the reopening of the South Course.



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