Golf Course Architecture: Issue 57 - July 2019

71 something of a deception – they are not as deep as they appear, making recovery fairly straightforward. They have been lined using Capillary Concrete, and Mark Reid, the resort’s director of grounds and maintenance, reckons this is saving between 100 and 200 man-hours after every storm, as there has been zero washout to date. Jones and his team have added a little extra yardage to the par-70 course, the total distance coming in just shy of 6,000 yards. There are now four sets of tees, with the most forward set a little over 4,000 yards. “You could hit driver on almost every hole,” says Jones. This is true for the 99 per cent of golfers that will play the course and it is very refreshing to see a layout designed for the golfing majority. Holes of note include the sixth, a 383-yard par four that wraps around a lake and provides the option for a heroic approach to what appears to be a slither of green. The tenth takes golfers to a particularly tranquil corner of the course and a glimpse of the Atlantic from the raised green, and the 197-yard sixteenth is perhaps the most challenging par three, where right or long will find water. But one of the highlights of the redesign is its impact on the property as a whole. The entire eastern segment of the site was raised, meaning that golfers on each side of the South County Road can see right across the course, cleverly tying the quadrants more closely together. Selective tree removal has also helped open up vistas, bringing the outside in, and inside out. Locals can now see right into the course, while golfers can admire some of the charming buildings beyond the perimeter, like the colonial-style Royal Poinciana Chapel behind the sixth green and the grand Flagler Museum behind the fourth green. The quality of finish is exceptional – as has been the case on every Jones course I have seen. With credit to Reid’s “wizard skills”, his team – led by Justin Gille, the Ocean course superintendent – and construction firm Landscapes Unlimited, in just a few months after opening the surfaces are pristine and the detailing, from tee boxes to bulkheads, is faultless. Jones did not call in artisans from Italy, but he has delivered a golf experience worthy of a fine resort. GCA From left, Ocean course superintendent Justin Gille; architects Steve Weisser and Rees Jones; The Breakers’ director of grounds and maintenance Mark Reid; The Breakers’ Rees Jones course superintendent Eric Snell; and Eric Barnes, the project manager from Landscapes Unlimited “With white sand flashed up the front faces, bunkers are all visible and quite imposing from a distance” Photo: Larry Lambrecht