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Buck Wolter

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Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« on: April 04, 2022, 06:19:50 PM »
Saw on Instagram that Oliphant is going to redo the Lawsonia bunkers starting this spring - I assume led by Craig Haltom.


Lawsonia has an exciting year in store as we complete the restoration of the Links course, beginning this spring! We will be restoring all of the bunkers on this 1930 Langford & Moreau gem to their original design. Help us celebrate - purchase your Links round of golf online and receive $25 in golf shop credit on us! It's our way of saying thank you for your support. [/size]**Edited to add: Please note that no play will be interrupted, during spring and fall we will work one bunker at a time replacing drainage and new sand, restoring each bunker to their original design. This project reflects our passion for making your Links golf experience the very best it can be! [/color]
Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience -- CS Lewis

Buck Wolter

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 06:22:27 PM »
Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience -- CS Lewis

Richard Hetzel

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2022, 07:16:05 AM »
I am playing here in May, hope it's not completely torn up. Sounds like they are doing 1 hole at a time.
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Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2022, 12:43:33 PM »
I am playing here in May, hope it's not completely torn up. Sounds like they are doing 1 hole at a time.


Richard, No need to worry. The plan is to fix drainage and replace the sand one hole and one bunker at a time starting with holes 15-17. The existing bunker mounding won't be touched so there [/size]will be minimal [/size]disruption to play. [/size]The hope is to do about 20 bunkers this Spring and the rest in the Fall and early Spring of '23. [/size]While the initial focus is to improve playability of the existing bunkers by fixing drainage and providing better sand quality, the plan's main intent is to restore the bunkers as close as historically possible to the April 7, 1930 Langford Moreau Plan and 1937 aerial. This will include bunkers where it can be conclusively established they originally had sand and were grassed over. In the process some fairway mowing lines will be adjusted restoring original playing width, angles and strategy. It is my understanding the work will include removing the cart path parking area left of the green on Hole 7 and restoring the original bunker there which will be a huge improvement. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a proper length shot pulled just a little left, hit that cart path and take a huge bounce into the trees behind the green for a double or worse. Relocating the cart path on 13 away from the green is also under consideration.Over the years Lawsonia has been tinkered with less than almost any great course I know. Not a single green has been moved and virtually all the original mounding for the bunkers is intact. Only the first tee was moved when they built the second course and new clubhouse. The goal is to take it back to as close as historically possible to how it was when it opened in 1930. There were 83 bunkers on the original Langford Moreau Plan. It looks like 4 were never grassed (left of the 1st green, far left on 2, right of the 7th green, left of 14 green). Another 17 or so have been grassed over and will have the sand restored. Almost all of these have the original mounding intact. Amazingly there is only 1 bunker on the course which wasn't in the original design. A bunker to the right of the 6th green was added around 1980.
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

John Mayhugh

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2022, 01:21:21 PM »
It is my understanding the work will include removing the cart path parking area left of the green on Hole 7 and restoring the original bunker there which will be a huge improvement. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a proper length shot pulled just a little left, hit that cart path and take a huge bounce into the trees behind the green for a double or worse. Relocating the cart path on 13 away from the green is also under consideration.
This would be a HUGE improvement.

Peter Flory

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2022, 01:32:21 PM »
I'm very excited to hear this!  Especially restoring the grassed over bunkers. 

Ben Malach

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2022, 08:45:14 PM »
I don't know about this one, as I am of two minds about this.


On one hand, I am super glad that the fanfare around good public golf has gotten strong enough that places like Lawsonia are putting money up to do some needed work. With the other, I worry about them messing it up, as previously stated in this thread. The only thing that happened is that they grassed over some bunkers.


Also, from my outside perspective, I think it would be a lot cooler if they were selective about the bunkers they are bringing back. The mix of sand and grass bunkers is rare on a North American golf course and it was cool to see at Lawsonia. As I think certain types of bunkers are more interesting in their grassed form than if they were a plain sand bunker.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2022, 08:49:08 PM by Ben Malach »
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Bill Seitz

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2022, 10:50:05 PM »
A bunker left of the first green sounds like the opposite of fun.

Brett Meyer

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2022, 09:37:26 AM »
I don't know about this one, as I am of two minds about this.


On one hand, I am super glad that the fanfare around good public golf has gotten strong enough that places like Lawsonia are putting money up to do some needed work. With the other, I worry about them messing it up, as previously stated in this thread. The only thing that happened is that they grassed over some bunkers.


Also, from my outside perspective, I think it would be a lot cooler if they were selective about the bunkers they are bringing back. The mix of sand and grass bunkers is rare on a North American golf course and it was cool to see at Lawsonia. As I think certain types of bunkers are more interesting in their grassed form than if they were a plain sand bunker.

I agree with this. I looked at an old aerial of Lawsonia (I think it was in the clubhouse?) and it looked like almost all of the bunkers had sand in them. But I thought that many of the ones that were grass worked well as grass. With a small handful of exceptions, all else equal, I'd leave most of the grass bunkers as grass.

But I don't think all else is equal in this case. Lawsonia is the best remaining example of Langford's work and seems that it probably had among the most potential of anything that he did. For that reason, I think that it should be restored to the original intent.

There's a trade-off between what's substantively 'the best' and the architect's original intent. If an architect left many courses and we're thinking about renovating one of the middling ones, I'd lean toward producing the substantively best renovation rather than restoring to the original intent. But if the architect left few courses or many of the courses that he left are unlikely to be restored, then I'd say restore it to the original intent. Lawsonia is in the latter category.

Having said all of that, I'm not sure that it makes much of a difference at Lawsonia. It's great now, it'll be great with all the bunkers restored. There probably isn't much of a trade-off in this case.

Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2022, 12:29:59 PM »
A bunker left of the first green sounds like the opposite of fun.


What's interesting about that bunker is the fact it would come into play more on a drive on the 5th hole than from playing the 1st hole. As this bunker doesn't have sand in the 1930's aerial it won't be built now.
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2022, 01:00:42 PM »
While perfectly understandable and reasonable, I feel there is a problem with the "leave it alone its fine as is", the "selective" approach of picking and choosing some bunkers to restore and leaving others grassed over, or the "substantively best" updating approach in this case.


First, in looking at the selective approach, the grassing over of the bunkers was random at best. For example, on the 2nd hole, why have sand in the right forward fairway bunker and not the left forward fairway bunker. Same on 16 where the right fore bunker has sand and the left fore bunker is grassed over. Makes no sense. There are several grassed over bunkers that affect play that could be restored, but which ones?? Five golfers might have five opinions.


Second, the substantively best approach is totally subjective. Once you go down that path why not add a bunch of new bunkers to "restore" Langford's original intent for modern play that weren't part of the original plan.


Third, while I agree in many cases the grassed over bunkers work just fine as is (see Spring Valley and Kankakee Elks), I think restoring the sand throughout the course will be a significant aesthetic improvement. For example, one might argue there is no need for sand in the large fore bunker 170 yards from the tee on the 9th hole, but it would just look so much better. Same is true on many of the other fore or framing bunkers throughout the course.


Fourth, this is an exceptionally rare opportunity to put back almost exactly what was there originally. Not selective, not subjective, not guessing the original intent-simply back to what we can see was there as the Langford original. Given the extent to which Langford's work has been bastardized in the name of restoration, I have no doubt this is the best approach and will be another significant step in improving the overall aesthetic and golf experience at Lawsonia.



« Last Edit: April 09, 2022, 11:41:12 AM by Dan Moore »
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

PCCraig

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2022, 10:19:54 PM »
Sure wish Ron Forse could have finished his work on the Links instead.
H.P.S.

Jeff Schley

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2022, 03:14:34 AM »
I am playing here in May, hope it's not completely torn up. Sounds like they are doing 1 hole at a time.


Richard, No need to worry. The plan is to fix drainage and replace the sand one hole and one bunker at a time starting with holes 15-17. The existing bunker mounding won't be touched so there will be minimal disruption to play. The hope is to do about 20 bunkers this Spring and the rest in the Fall and early Spring of '23. While the initial focus is to improve playability of the existing bunkers by fixing drainage and providing better sand quality, the plan's main intent is to restore the bunkers as close as historically possible to the April 7, 1930 Langford Moreau Plan and 1937 aerial. This will include bunkers where it can be conclusively established they originally had sand and were grassed over. In the process some fairway mowing lines will be adjusted restoring original playing width, angles and strategy. It is my understanding the work will include removing the cart path parking area left of the green on Hole 7 and restoring the original bunker there which will be a huge improvement. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a proper length shot pulled just a little left, hit that cart path and take a huge bounce into the trees behind the green for a double or worse. Relocating the cart path on 13 away from the green is also under consideration.Over the years Lawsonia has been tinkered with less than almost any great course I know. Not a single green has been moved and virtually all the original mounding for the bunkers is intact. Only the first tee was moved when they built the second course and new clubhouse. The goal is to take it back to as close as historically possible to how it was when it opened in 1930. There were 83 bunkers on the original Langford Moreau Plan. It looks like 4 were never grassed (left of the 1st green, far left on 2, right of the 7th green, left of 14 green). Another 17 or so have been grassed over and will have the sand restored. Almost all of these have the original mounding intact. Amazingly there is only 1 bunker on the course which wasn't in the original design. A bunker to the right of the 6th green was added around 1980.
Great description Dan.  Hope the weather cooperates for summer of 2023 being the bunkers to be complete as planned.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2022, 11:55:25 AM »
Sure wish Ron Forse could have finished his work on the Links instead.


Why is that?
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

PCCraig

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2022, 11:03:49 PM »
Sure wish Ron Forse could have finished his work on the Links instead.


Why is that?


Oh I don't know, probably because his firm is responsible for much of Lawsonia's resurgence and restoration? Do you know if he was too busy or wasn't interested in continuing his work there?
H.P.S.

Jerry Rossi

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2022, 08:51:46 AM »

Amazingly there is only 1 bunker on the course which wasn't in the original design. A bunker to the right of the 6th green was added around 1980.


Dan - do you know if the plan includes removing this bunker? 

Instagram: @putt4dough24

Jerry Rossi

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2022, 08:54:29 AM »
Lawsonia is the best remaining example of Langford's work and seems that it probably had among the most potential of anything that he did.


How do you think it stacks up vs. Culver in terms of their best remaining work?
Instagram: @putt4dough24

Brett Meyer

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2022, 09:50:11 AM »
Lawsonia is the best remaining example of Langford's work and seems that it probably had among the most potential of anything that he did.


How do you think it stacks up vs. Culver in terms of their best remaining work?


I would love to be able to comment on that but I haven't been to Culver. Wasn't it supposed to be 18 holes? Missing half the original holes would have to keep it below Lawsonia as far as being able to restore the original intent.

Richard Hetzel

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2022, 11:06:00 AM »
I thought Culver was originally designed to be 18 holes, but only 9 were built.
Last Played: 
Prairie Trace East (OH), Pinnacle (OH), UK Wildcat (KY), Lakeside GC (KY), Angel's Crossing (MI), GVSU Meadows (MI), Arcadia South (MI), Pilgrim's Run (MI), The Mines (MI), American Dunes (MI), Eagle Eye (OH), Troia Golf (Portugal), Ottawa Park (OH)

Jerry Rossi

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2022, 09:46:19 PM »
Lawsonia is the best remaining example of Langford's work and seems that it probably had among the most potential of anything that he did.


How do you think it stacks up vs. Culver in terms of their best remaining work?


I would love to be able to comment on that but I haven't been to Culver. Wasn't it supposed to be 18 holes? Missing half the original holes would have to keep it below Lawsonia as far as being able to restore the original intent.


It was originally supposed to be 27 holes and of those, the ones that were built (the current course) would have been holes: 10,11, 8,9,1,2,16,17,18...thats per the course fine caretaker Michael Vessely. 


Overall my thought it that the 9 virtually untouched holes at Culver are AT LEAST as good as any 9 holes at Lawsonia and that despite Lawsonia being one of my favorite courses in WI, Culver holds up as one of my favorites anywhere and given that - its a great example of L&M's work.
Instagram: @putt4dough24

Jerry Rossi

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2022, 10:28:49 PM »
I thought Culver was originally designed to be 18 holes, but only 9 were built.


Also got this from Michael V - again the course is holes 10, 11, 8, 9, 1, 2, 16, 17 and 18



Instagram: @putt4dough24

V_Halyard

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2022, 02:10:56 AM »
Sure wish Ron Forse could have finished his work on the Links instead.


Why is that?


Oh I don't know, probably because his firm is responsible for much of Lawsonia's resurgence and restoration? Do you know if he was too busy or wasn't interested in continuing his work there?
Pat good point.
As a cheesehead and certifiable LGC junkie, I know Ron did the original master plan for the tree removal and bunker restoration years ago, before Lawsonia sold beer.  ;) 

I think with Craig Being on site, wrapping an outstanding (hostage rescue) renovation of the other 18 Woodlands course, delivering operating excellence, and executing an essential  (“we must sell beer or we can’t help”) operational strategy, this may be an operational decision as he is on the ground tending to daily chores.

It is fair to say however that execution of the Forse plan initially rescued the course from obscurity and put LGC onto light of glory and the Top 100 lists. When originally proposed, the course was overgrown and bunker restoration, the cost of sand, liners, and maintenance was untenable.

It was not yet a super course, and the value of the GCA bunkership was lost on the very conservative ownership.

For those unfamiliar with the history, Lawsonia sits in what was essentially a religious retreat. They did not even sell beer on the property at the time of the Forse plan delivery. (Note the absurdity of the common theme. Not selling beer… at a golf course… in Wisconsin) The original Forse master plan, GCA, Fried Egg driven notoriety, and Craig's Oliphant operations have fueled the current state of play. 

Pat, as you know, Ron and Jim are bred from a marketing averse species so sometimes these things need to be dragged out of them.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 09:38:05 AM by V_Halyard »
"It's a tiny little ball that doesn't even move... how hard could it be?"  I will walk and carry 'til I can't... or look (really) stupid.

Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2022, 01:10:48 PM »
Well played Vaughn. Who knew beer and a Wisconsin Friday Night Fish Fry would provide the means for Lawsonia's continued revitalization.

It's true Ron Forse started the ball rolling on the restoration and deserves a ton of credit for the revival of Lawsonia. The plan is dated May 1998 and there was no budget to do anything, so the work did not extend to restoring grassed over bunkers and the handful of new bunkers not on the original L/M plan that Ron was proposing. Probably a good thing the latter didn't happen. Work off that plan was limited to what could be done at minimal cost in-house and mostly involved revising maintenance practices. They were able to expand fairway and greens, did some limited tree removal (not nearly enough) and added natural fescue areas. Fringes on some of the larger greens like holes 10 were 10-15 yards wide in some cases. A great improvement and did put Lawsonia back on the map, but not far enough.

Enter Craig and Oliphant and super Mike Lyons in the early 20teens. They have really taken it to the next level completing the tree removal all over the course and further expanding fairways and greens. The tree removal around 13 and 14 was prompted by the drought of 2013 and fact those 2 greens were lost due to how little sun they were getting. The green side bunkers on 13 were restored. It was a bold decision to take all those trees out, but it has made a huge impact along with the beer sales.

Now a chance to take it another step with further fairway expansion and fixing all the bunkers back to the original Plan. For those who haven't played it as far back as me (1980's) you may not fully appreciate how far it has come from the pre-Ron Forse era's narrow ribbon tree lined fairways to what it is today. This next step will take it further up the scale and get it pretty close to its max potential while remaining 100% historically true to what was built originally. Very excited.

Jerry, agree Culver is great and Michael is doing an amazing job. Some very bold work there and happy to see it being revived. I have to agree as far as the 9 holes there, they are all very good. Not sure the greens are quite as good as Lawsonia's, but need to see it some more to know for sure. As far as the non-original bunker on Lawsonia's 6th, I suspect it will be removed, but will know more later this week.

« Last Edit: April 12, 2022, 03:57:52 PM by Dan Moore »
"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

Dan Moore

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Re: Lawsonia Bunker Restoration
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2022, 07:09:46 PM »

In case you haven't seen the impact of the decision to remove all the tree around holes 13 and 14 here you go.





"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

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