Golf Course Architecture - Issue 56: April 2019

71 modern-day architect been presented with the same site, he’d surely have dug a number of ponds to provide fill to create some contour. While contour is worthwhile, it is a pleasant change to be in the Sunshine State and not dealing with water hazards on every hole. Instead of water, Ross used fairway bunkering quite extensively at the Biltmore. It’s these bunkers especially which have been restored in the recent project under Brian Silva. Biltmore director of golf Bob Coman spent time in the Tufts Archives at Pinehurst – where many of Ross’s papers are held – and found the original plans for the course. This discovery prompted the hotel to call Silva, who had led an extensive project on the course in 2007, back in to complete the job. In that 2007 project, Silva said, the absence of documentation meant he was proceeding essentially by feel – restoring greens to the size and shape that the original fill pads implied, and restoring bunkers that had just been grassed over and therefore could still be seen (proof these were originally bunkers was obtained when the construction crew, having removed the grass, hit sand). But, he explained, the plans found by Coman in Pinehurst showed where additional bunkers that were not restored in 2007 had been. It’s this now-complete set of Ross fairway bunkers that primarily defines the strategy and challenge of the golf course. Additionally, Coman’s discovery – which, as well as plans, included Ross’s handwritten notes on the design – inspired some additional works to greens. For example, on the par-three fourteenth Silva put back a thumbprint depression in the rear centre, creating a far more challenging putting surface. And, speaking of challenging putting, he was also able to restore the magnificent eighteenth green, by a distance the course’s most exciting and exacting. Tucked into the left of the corridor, on a hole that already has a substantial right-to-left dogleg, the 10,000 square foot putting surface is compartmentalised – high on the right, low on the left – and means that a game is far from over when the player reaches its expanses. It’s a fitting end to a fine round planned by a great architect. GCA A river that passes through the site is the only water on the course