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With the recent restoration threads provoking the frustration
of those (perhaps lesser-known) arthitects who haven't been
given as many chances to show that they are just as
capable of doing a fine job, I figured now is as good a time as
any to post the pictures I took of Raleigh CC a few months
ago and some of the restoration work that Richard Mandell
has done there on this course, Ross' last design.

I'll be the first one to admit that a number of the pics I took
are not that good at showing off the work he did (I just took
pics when I remembered to - we were playing in an
outing/tournament), but a few have some decent examples.

I also may have some guestimated facts wrong on the work
done, so Mr. Mandell or someone else can correct me or add
more notes.

#1, par 5 late in the day:

from the drive landing zone, the 2nd shot is from a hanging lie
past the newly expanded bunker on the left:

#3 is one of the toughest holes on the course, almost 200
yards uphill to a much tilted green, with trouble right.  The
bunker at right was put back and the left bunker moved
forward (toward the tee), when it used to be on the side of
the green.

#6 another tough par 3, with a tough green:

#9 short par 4 from behind, it has an array of bunkers down
the right side and up until about 30 yards short of the green:

#10 from the previous back tee.  both fairway bunkers were added (back, I assume):

#10 from what will become the new back tee...

...which is steps from the back deck of the clubhouse, for all
to see (the putting green was here previously).  The Coke
can is about where the tee would be:

#12 (par 5) the new back tee on the flattest hole on the
course, and also the longest.  I'm pretty sure some trees
were taken out on the right off the tee.

#12 from the landing zone, the fairway bunkers in the
distance were expanded, and one was added on the each side.

#13 from the back tees, which shares a teeing ground with
#18 (this was taken while we were on #18).

#15 a short par 4, with a newly expanded fairway bunker ~50
yards short of the green:

#16 approach on this mid-long par 4, where the previous cart
path that cut across the fairway was removed:

#17 the only par 3 shorter than ~190-200 from the back
tees.  I think all bunkers were expanded/reshaped, and one
was added:

Among the biggest changes at RCC was to the practice
facility.  Some land was acquired (or rezoned, I don't know),
and now there is a massive practice facility:

The range and one putting green:

The huge teeing areas:

the chipping greens (w/bunker):

and the other, mammoth putting green:

« Last Edit: August 05, 2005, 01:35:41 PM by Scott_Burroughs »


  • Karma: +0/-0
As a course guide, here is Raleigh CC 3+ years ago, before
the restoration work was started.  You can see where some
bunkers were moved/expanded/added, etc.  The front nine is
on top half.

corey miller

  • Karma: +0/-0

Thanks for the photos.  Maybe we can get Richard to comment what the marching orders were on the project.  It seems that "restoration" gets thrown around a little to easily here.

One of those terms that means different things to different people.  I guess I question the bunkers added on 10.  Just because it was called by someone a "restoration" does not necessarily mean they were added back.

Had you played the course before the work Scott?


  • Karma: +0/-0

I had played RCC 3 times prevously, all before the current
work.  The fairway bunkers on #10 were not there when I
played previously, but I seem to recall seeing something
that showed them being in the original design.  I have already
e-mailed Richard informing him of these pics and to add
wherever I am misinformed/incorrect, etc.


I used to be a member at RCC and have played it a few times since the work.  Before getting into a rennovation vs. restoration discussion about RCC, it helps to understand some of the background of the club the last few years....and the history of the club since 1948.  Some of this will get into my "My (ex) Home Course", if I ever finished it.

RCC was Donald Ross' last design.  There seems to be some debate, even amongst those in the DRS, as to whether Ross actually visited the site or not.  Some of the original design drawings used to hang in the clubhouse, but I haven't seen those since Richard's work was completed.  

The club was start by a number of Raleigh lawyers on the south side of town in 1947-48.  At the time, it was believed that the expansion of the city would be in that direction.  That never panned out and the city mostly expanded north.  This left RCC on somewhat of "the wrong side of the tracks".  It's probably somewhat similar to Holston Hills, in that sense.  Because of that, the membership was somewhat more casual than clubs like Carolina CC, which is in the nicer part of town.  I always used to say that the membership at RCC would probably have been ok with changing their shoes in the parking lot and getting drinks from a cooler instead of having a fancy clubhouse.  

In the late 90s, when the economy was good, the club decided to step up their image and barely pasted a vote ot increase the clubhouse and pool.  Unfortunately this started the beginning of alot of financial problems (cost-overruns, membership leaving, poor financial decisions, etc..).  In 2003, the club had to declare Chapter 11.  After some tense moments with land developers potentially buying the assets, the club was bought by a local Raleigh businessman, John McConnell.  Mr.McConnell was focused on raising the quality of the club and the golf course.  At that point, the club had one decision maker and the membership was no longer involved in decision making (which they essentially forfeited by going Chapter 11).  

So the work Richard was asked to do was somewhat Ross restoration (the majority of the work) and somewhat "put some teeth back into the course".  Unfortunately, RCC never did much in the way of architectural archiving, so the pictures Richard had to work with were minimal (some airplane/satelite aerials from 1948-1953...not much detail).  

In general, the work that Richard did has been very well recieved by the membership.  Some highlights of work done:

1) 10 acres was purchased to create the new practice facility.  The old facility was only about 200yds long and balls flew onto a public road (liability issues).  The original Ross design had an additional practice area, but that land was long-since sold for housing (along #18).  The new facilities allow for all types of shots, as well as the addition of 3 practice greens (short-game area) and a Himalayas' sized putting green.  

2) The bunker work restored alot of the depth to the existing bunkers, which has shrunk and become more shallow over the years.  They now definitiely make you think about them.  It also maintained some variation of bunker styles, unlike some folks that just do the rolled-face flat-bottom style on all Ross bunkers.

3) A few holes have been strengthed through added-length (#2, #8, #10, #12), or through added fairway bunkers.  Many of the bunkers were in the original design (#9, #18), but haven't been there in many years or were never constructed (for whatever reason).  #7 has been slightly shortened and made into a Par4.  It plays similar to #7 and #12 at Pine Needles in that the drive plays up into a hill.  

4) Richard did a nice job of re-routing many of the cart-paths to take them out of play and remove the eye-sore factor.  They couldn't remove the paths because the membership has some older members, it's 90-100 degrees in the summer, and the land is clay-based so no paths is really not an option.  

The one thing I wish they had let Richard do was remove more trees.  The look of #12 (not great in Scott's picture) is very stark in comparision to the rest of the course, but it looks great.  The rest of the course could stand to lose several hundred trees to open up vistas across the course.  Otherwise, I think Richard did an excellent job.  Now if they will just convince the owner / superintendant to not let the bermuda rough grow to 4" (US Open length) and let rounds get to 4.5hrs (should only be 3.5hr normally).


  • Karma: +0/-0

Brian pretty much has summed up the details of the project, so I will try and fill in some blanks.

First and foremost, regarding restoration:

I don't want to get into that whole thread again as we have visited it many a time.  I will just give you my interpretation of the thought.  True restoration does not exist.  If we were to truly restore things as a dictionary definition may express, then course conditioning would take great strides backward, which I would love, but most people would not.

That said, we can not use the term with such hard and fast rigidity.  To me restoration must be used more loosely and I mean in the sense of making a few adjustments throughout the process for reasons concerning technology, maintenance, market conditions, Owner desires.  These are all legitimate reasons for straying from a pristine restoration.  Now that does not mean one should pass off a Colt restoration with flat sand bunkers like Raynor, etc. etc.

Regarding RCC, Mr. McConnell and the rest of the team and I discussed just that concept.  The question was asked, "Is a Ros restoration worth pursuing?"  Of course, the answer was a resounding yes.  But as Brian points out, the Owner wanted to strengthen the course up a bit.

The facts of the matter at RCC are that Ross only did  a routing (dated March 15, 1948).  He then passed away relatively unexpected on April 26, 1948.  Construction started sometime in 1949 and was led by Ellis Maples.  Right then and there the question of 'restoration" is skewed.  David Postlewait (a Dye disciple) renovated the course in 1994, including rebuilding all the greens complexes.  Although the greens definitely have a Ross feel to them, the fact is they are nothing like the Ross master plan (take that with a grain of salt), nor are they too similar to aerial photographs from 1949, 1954, 1965, nor 1971.  I utilized all these photos as well as the Ross drawing when I developed the master plan.

With the above information, it is very hard to call the project a "restoration". Does RCC look more like Ross than at any time in its history.  I think it does and I would hope he may agree. Do I cal it a restoration?  Yes, I do.  Ellis Maples put in very few of Ross's original bunkers to begin with (of course we could debate that prerogative as well).

Part of my charge was not touching the greens for the time being, which altered some of my bunker restoration work.  What determined my decisions was a combination of Ross's drawing (which was what I referred to for most of my decisions) and the 1954 aerial photo.  In certain instances where what was done in 1954 made more sense than Ross' drawing, I leaned that way.  For the most part, I decided to implement as much of Ross's drawing as possible because that is all we had to go by and if we are going to make RCC as much Ross as possible, then what else am I going to use?  Every bunker on Ross' plan was put in place per his shape and size.  I took the liberty of moving some of them closer to the centerline than on his plan (technology) and I also had to make minor adjustents to tie them in properly with Postlewait's greens.

Now regarding some specifics:

The fairway bunkers on ten were added by me (as well as two fairway bunkers on nine and a number of grass hollows).  Fifty years from now someone will be touting another restoration and throw a fit about those "Ross" bunkers if they are removed.

We did widen 12 by clearing trees.  All the bunkers are where Ross drew them and slightly adjusted for Postlewait's greens.

We plan on taking many more trees out.  So Brian, do not fret.  They are just part of later phases.  

One last item we are undertaking is a creek restoration through the middle of the property.  Many of the ponds were artificially placed along the major drainage way of the site and so we are going to restore the original creek that ran back in 1948 and was shown on Ross's plan.



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