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Matt_Cohn

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Olympic Lake renovation
« on: September 09, 2023, 07:05:27 PM »
The Lake Course at Olympic has re-opened after a renovation by Gil Hanse. As I understand, the bunkering was redesigned and rebuilt to be more reminiscent of a Golden Age course. Some greens were expanded, and some fairway lines were adjusted. The 7th green was moved. Iíve seen a handful of pictures on Instagram that I can post a little later.

Matt_Cohn

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2023, 01:36:31 AM »
These are just pictures taken from Instagram. Not mine and I havenít been there yet.


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David_Tepper

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2023, 01:38:24 AM »
Matt -

The renovated Lake Course opened for member play Sept 9. Most of the greens have been enlarged by 20%-30%. The bunkers have been redone. There are now fairway bunkers on a few of the holes. Between the renovation and the storms over this past winter, there are a lot fewer trees on the course.

As you mention, the only hole that has materially changed is the 7th, where the green has been moved back and to the right a bit.

There was a thread here about this, with a link to an article by Brad Klein, 3-4 months ago, but I cannot find it.

DT

David_Tepper

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2023, 01:41:52 AM »
Here is the Brad Klein article, published in April:

https://www.golfcourseindustry.com/article/olympic-club-san-francisco-klein/

Wayne Wiggins, Jr.

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2023, 04:10:38 PM »
Having only played it once since reopening, my take is that Hanse did a very good job for what he set out to do... i.e. bringing back "classic" elements while removing much of what the made the Lake (in)famous for the past half-century plus: i.e. narrow, tree-choked fairways... small, severely pinched greens... and ridiculously deep bunkers.

We've lost a lot of trees over the years (yay!!!) and especially this past winter, but there is definitely some restrained replanting happening. I can only surmise it's meant to maintain some of that "tree lined" nostalgia. Hope it remains "restrained"!!

Tee to green it's not much different except wider fairway corridors (which we've been playing for the past year) along with a few greens which have been opened in the front allowing players to use the ground game if needed.

As David T. mentioned, fairway bunkers were "restored" on a number of holes on the back nine, but most of them are out of range for regular member play and only factor in the tee shots of the very longest drivers. One definite exception is on #14, where the bunker on the left side is assuredly reachable. The flip side is that stupid eucalyptus tree was removed, so even if you're in the bunker you now have a shot at the green.

Green expansions are very cool along w/ better tie-ins w/ the now repositioned and mollified bunkers, allowing for some new, fun pin placements. Also, all (or almost all) of the short grass around the greens has been returned to rough. On a number of holes this will be a HUGE relief as some of those runoffs were very severe. And, one other "invisible" update is the irrigation which I understand now brings well water to the greens vs. grey water which remains for the balance of the course. This is meant to improve the ability to keep the greens' surfaces firmer than in the past.

So the Lake essentially now has 16 "restored" holes (1924 Watson, 1927 Whiting, maybe even RTJ), one renovated Bill Love hole (#8) which seems like the biggest swing-n-miss of this entire project!, and what may or may not be, one Gil Hanse original (#7).
« Last Edit: September 14, 2023, 04:31:44 PM by Wayne Wiggins, Jr. »

Joel_Stewart

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2023, 02:41:56 PM »

One definite exception is on #14, where the bunker on the left side is assuredly reachable. The flip side is that stupid eucalyptus tree was removed, so even if you're in the bunker you now have a shot at the green.

Green expansions are very cool along w/ better tie-ins w/ the now repositioned and mollified bunkers, allowing for some new, fun pin placements. Also, all (or almost all) of the short grass around the greens has been returned to rough.



I haven't played it yet but it looks amazingly clean and crisp. It doesn't look like a 1927 golf course especially in the shape of the bunkers.


The fairway bunker on 14 was an original bunker that Jones filled in prior to the 1955 US Open. Same with the two bunkers on 18 that he restored. There are a few others that they didn't restore like on #4 but I'm guessing that Gil didn't have complete control on this project.


Even though they have widened the fairways (for now) Olympic is going to stay the course and keep the rough around the bunkers which is just dreadful.  Some habits are hard to change.

Wayne Wiggins, Jr.

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2023, 04:40:49 PM »

One definite exception is on #14, where the bunker on the left side is assuredly reachable. The flip side is that stupid eucalyptus tree was removed, so even if you're in the bunker you now have a shot at the green.

Green expansions are very cool along w/ better tie-ins w/ the now repositioned and mollified bunkers, allowing for some new, fun pin placements. Also, all (or almost all) of the short grass around the greens has been returned to rough.



I haven't played it yet but it looks amazingly clean and crisp. It doesn't look like a 1927 golf course especially in the shape of the bunkers.


The fairway bunker on 14 was an original bunker that Jones filled in prior to the 1955 US Open. Same with the two bunkers on 18 that he restored. There are a few others that they didn't restore like on #4 but I'm guessing that Gil didn't have complete control on this project.


Even though they have widened the fairways (for now) Olympic is going to stay the course and keep the rough around the bunkers which is just dreadful.  Some habits are hard to change.


Joel, when you say they kept the "rough around the bunkers" do you mean between the bunkers and green or between the fairway and bunkers? If you're talking the former, there is SIGNIFICANTLY less rough between the bunker faces (which are lower than before) and the putting surfaces. Such a better presentation and less penal!




Joel_Stewart

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2023, 03:30:59 PM »

Joel, when you say they kept the "rough around the bunkers" do you mean between the bunkers and green or between the fairway and bunkers? If you're talking the former, there is SIGNIFICANTLY less rough between the bunker faces (which are lower than before) and the putting surfaces. Such a better presentation and less penal!


Both.  If you look at the pictures posted above on #2 and #18, the fairways should flow into the bunkers. There should not be a ring of rough around the bunkers.


Pat was clueless on cutting the rough and Troy is a little better especially with some guidance from Gil. We'll see how long it lasts.

Tim Passalacqua

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2023, 07:03:39 AM »
I walked the Lake course at the end of August and it looked great!  The green shapes and expansions were a wonderful surprise.  The bunkering looks fantastic.  The course construction is still new and it will take time for bunker edges and all of the fescue to grow in as intended.  Gil restored fairway bunkers on 4,9,11,14,16,17, and 18.  Are they exactly where they were in 1927? Not all of them, but how could you? The course used to be 6400 yards. I have been hoping they would bring back the fairway bunkers ever since I saw the old aerial in the clubhouse.  I had a similar question about the fairways going directly into bunkers.  My friend asked Gil about it and I believe Gil said he prefers that look on classic courses.  Iíll defer to Gil to make that choice.  The new 7th looks awesome and the connection from 7 green to 8 tee is so much better.  The long walk back to 8 tee used to drive me nuts.  The course is much improved and more playable for the membership.  The members I have talked to are extremely happy.

Tommy Naccarato

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2023, 01:16:41 AM »

One definite exception is on #14, where the bunker on the left side is assuredly reachable. The flip side is that stupid eucalyptus tree was removed, so even if you're in the bunker you now have a shot at the green.

Green expansions are very cool along w/ better tie-ins w/ the now repositioned and mollified bunkers, allowing for some new, fun pin placements. Also, all (or almost all) of the short grass around the greens has been returned to rough.



I haven't played it yet but it looks amazingly clean and crisp. It doesn't look like a 1927 golf course especially in the shape of the bunkers.


The fairway bunker on 14 was an original bunker that Jones filled in prior to the 1955 US Open. Same with the two bunkers on 18 that he restored. There are a few others that they didn't restore like on #4 but I'm guessing that Gil didn't have complete control on this project.


Even though they have widened the fairways (for now) Olympic is going to stay the course and keep the rough around the bunkers which is just dreadful.  Some habits are hard to change.


Iíve been quite involved in the Lake Course Restoration/Renovation/Upgrades since Gil was chosen by this great club to oversee its upgrade.  And in my opinion and knowledge, exactly what it isóan upgrade with the eyes on the original Watson and Whiting features. 


But in fairness, of your brilliant insight and deductionóand your self-proclaimed, ďGood eyeĒ that itís so crisp and clean it7 doesnít seem to bother you seeing Tall Fescue at LACC in its bunkers!  While two completely different courses, the same revetted turf is used to create the unique and beautiful movements in the bunker lips. 

On May 25th, I took these photos of 7th & 8th holes under construction.  The last two holes we completed.  As you can see, there isnít a bit of grass on the greens, fairways and just newly laid tall Tall Fescue sod around the bunkers. (Which will in fact grow out) 18 tee hasnít even been planted nor its collar, sodded.  Shaymus Maley was digging the greenside bunkers this day on 8 as well as the backside bunker, which to my understanding from all of the instagram & twitter posts you bloviate on, (and which are sent to me by several people) you hate the work there as well!  3-1/2 months later, on Monday, I was out there and played these holes and the conditioning of the turf was incredible, and on its way to playing fast & firm!


This was just opening week and you think it should look perfect?


Also to note that in an environment that experiences a level wetness, Better Billy Bunker was used here as well as Lake Merced. For those that donít know, BBB is a process of creating a solid but percolating resin basin for sand hazards which allows sand faces to not collapse in heavy weather conditions. It takes time for these areas to mature, but when they do, the transformation will be really, really good looking!


The job Troy Flanagan & his crew have down on the Lake; Total Turf Construction and Caveman, Shaymus Maley, who all carried out Gilís magnificent masterplan should take a bow!  Iíll let the images speak for themselves as this newly planted, still very immature course was in the condition that it was in!!!


This one was a fun one!  Mostly, because of the effort the club has made to make the Lake less repetitive, but really an enjoyable round of golf for everyone!


Letís take in all of the facts:


-Job started on November 16th, 2022, literally 10 months ago. Yet the turf looks amazing in that short of time!
-Regardless of what you think, supply channels were still challenging at the time from irrigation to turf and sand.  Everyone still got it done!
-California, in the midst of its greatest drought ever, receives an historically epic winter that continues well into the spring and early summer, literally felling over 200 trees on the Lake Course alone!  That mess had to be cleaned up; which further impacted day-to-day operations!  This crew didnít bat an eye!  They got it cleaned up and completed the job ahead of schedule!  Not just the tree clean-up, the ENTIRE JOB!
-The entire time, Troyís crew performed like all-stars, never once complaining, only producing!  Same with Total Turf and our HGCD and Caveman crews!


Here are some images taken May 25th of this year and follow-up images taken on Monday, just over 3-1/2 months later!   From nothing to something! From sand to fast & firm turf in 3-1/2 months!






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« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 09:39:31 PM by Tommy Naccarato »

Tommy Naccarato

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2023, 01:41:01 AM »
I walked the Lake course at the end of August and it looked great!  The green shapes and expansions were a wonderful surprise.  The bunkering looks fantastic.  The course construction is still new and it will take time for bunker edges and all of the fescue to grow in as intended.  Gil restored fairway bunkers on 4,9,11,14,16,17, and 18.  Are they exactly where they were in 1927? Not all of them, but how could you? The course used to be 6400 yards. I have been hoping they would bring back the fairway bunkers ever since I saw the old aerial in the clubhouse.  I had a similar question about the fairways going directly into bunkers.  My friend asked Gil about it and I believe Gil said he prefers that look on classic courses.  Iíll defer to Gil to make that choice.  The new 7th looks awesome and the connection from 7 green to 8 tee is so much better.  The long walk back to 8 tee used to drive me nuts.  The course is much improved and more playable for the membership.  The members I have talked to are extremely happy.


Well said Tim!


When the natives start to really pop (a couple of years) and the bunkers mature, I have a great faith Whiting & Watson would be wanting to congratulate Gil, Shaymus, Kevin, Troy, Shelliene Elmore for a job well-done! (Heíll, Iíll even credit myself here as well as Jessica, Olympicís unheralded historian for supplying us we EVERYTHING we needed to recreate as much as possible!


No one seems to be talking about the 13th, so I better get the one in here!


Watsonís 13th was a great hole, which we had no idea it was basically, a modified Redan with larger, squarer green. Shaymus got to the 13th and we started talking about what would look good here, and with Gilís plan, I started looking and realized there was a lot more going on here then we originally saw.  The old 13th and the 15th were so much alike only differing lengths.  The original compared to the new is pretty dead on!  I just hope we get the ball moving right to left on the approach and on to the green!



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« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 09:48:51 PM by Tommy Naccarato »

Tommy Naccarato

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2023, 10:03:04 PM »
Here is an image I took looking East, showing the dramatic transformation with turf well on its way to being F, F & F! (Fast, Firm & Fun!). One thing to note, a very important thing!  The native grasses will take some time to grow and all of the areas you see, browned out or rough, will become very naturally beautiful and striking!  They just didnít get a funnier course to play, but an even more beautiful one once things mature!  Troy & his staff I feel are all-in in achieving this.  Heís worked his ass off to get there!


« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 10:09:38 PM by Tommy Naccarato »

Lukas Michel

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2023, 11:11:32 PM »
Whipped around the course today with Wayne Wiggins for a look. Thanks Wayne!


The views through to the lake (and back through to the clubhouse) are far more striking than I recall from my visit 12 months ago (it poured rain then, so I'm sure that had an effect!).


Although most (all?) greens have been expanded, it was notable that several of the expansions will run a ball off the green, so although they may appear bigger they won't play easier, and pins near these fallaways will be very challenging.


Hole 7 is a vast improvement to the routing/walk from 7G to 8T. Be interested to see how that hole plays in the '25 Am as it will be drivable for anyone who can carry the bunker that cuts across the left side of the fairway at ~275y.


Look forward to playing it next time I visit.
















Tommy Naccarato

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2023, 01:07:08 AM »
Whipped around the course today with Wayne Wiggins for a look. Thanks Wayne!


The views through to the lake (and back through to the clubhouse) are far more striking than I recall from my visit 12 months ago (it poured rain then, so I'm sure that had an effect!).


Although most (all?) greens have been expanded, it was notable that several of the expansions will run a ball off the green, so although they may appear bigger they won't play easier, and pins near these fallaways will be very challenging.


Hole 7 is a vast improvement to the routing/walk from 7G to 8T. Be interested to see how that hole plays in the '25 Am as it will be drivable for anyone who can carry the bunker that cuts across the left side of the fairway at ~275y.


Look forward to playing it next time I visit.


Lukas, Great meeting you on Tuesday! 

Ben Stephens

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2023, 04:01:17 PM »
Tommy,




Was there a reason why the 8th didn't revert to a short par three (Bill Love made it longer)


Olympic (Lake) looks better and healthier now will the Ocean course be next?




Cheers
Ben


PS - is Gil working at Mid Ocean yet?

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2023, 04:41:10 PM »
I have to say that I didnít much like the Lake when I saw it six years ago. It just seemed to have been made to be difficult, with fun not a consideration. Hopefully Gil and team have found a more balanced solution.
Adam Lawrence

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Matt_Cohn

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Re: Olympic Lake renovation
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2023, 08:27:46 PM »
One thing to note, a very important thing!  The native grasses will take some time to grow and all of the areas you see, browned out or rough, will become very naturally beautiful and striking!


I assume something like this look a mile away at Lake Merced:






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