Golf Course Architecture - Issue 58 October 2019

73 Mandell has delivered a vastly improved golf experience while surpassing the requirements of environmental agencies side of the fairway, you’ll be tempted to take on a second water carry, to a narrow green over another section of the lake. You’ll need everything in your favour to pull both of those shots off, but they will be forever etched into your golfing memory bank if you do. Mandell’s new layout, coupled with the massive driving range, short game area and putting green, plus an academy course designed a few years ago by Kevin Norby, are enough to make you jealous of the residents of Edina. Even at the full weekend rate, they will get change from fifty bucks. A fantastic public golf course isn’t the only payoff though – the redesign has also preserved floodplain, increased wetlands and restored oak savanna. Mandell took an environment- first view of the project. “Richard’s approach was to engage the regulatory agencies early and often,” says Ann Kattreh, who was director of parks and recreation for the city at the time of the renovation. “He learned and understood the rules and regulations and worked clearly within them. He didn’t push the rules, but instead worked well within the limits, much to the delight of our regulatory agencies. Richard’s approach quickly earned the respect of all agencies and made the approval process relatively quick and easy.” The results are impressive: nearly five acres of created, restored or enhanced wetland; over 30 acres of wetland buffer (only 20 acres were required for regulatory compliance); nearly 10 acres of former golf course set aside for a multi-use area; and almost 35 acres of oak savanna restoration. “The environmental aspects of the project are a great example of how golf and the environment can successfully co-exist,” says Mandell. “The fact that I first sought to understand what my environmental limitations were, and then designed the course around them, is critical to the course’s success.” What is so gratifying about the new course at Braemar – particularly for those interested and involved in golf course architecture – is that the thrill of the round is a direct result of an imaginative and intelligent golf course design. The site is perfectly pleasant, but it is no Banff Springs or Pebble Beach. There are no mountain backdrops or crashing waves to awaken the senses. But each hole is an invitation to enjoy the game. If Braemar returns from the brink, and I am confident it will, it’s thanks to a great golf design. GCA BRAEMAR Image: Richard Mandell