Club member and renowned architect Tom Fazio has spent the winter renovating Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey for play this spring. The architect behind Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, the Canyons and Foothills courses at Barton Creek in Texas and Pinehurst's No. 4, No. 6 and No. 8 has recently also made a name for himself in course renovations. In preparation for the 2002 Masters, Fazio made extensive changes at Augusta while striving to preserve the integrity of the course. Members at Pine Valley are hoping for similar results as Fazio works on adding yardage to the seventh, ninth and thirteenth holes. The landing areas on nine and eighteen are scheduled to become narrower, and new bunkers are being added.
The 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale ended in a tie between the Europeans and the Americans when Jack Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to Tony Jacklin in an exemplary display of sportsmanship (the Americans held on to the cup). Thirty-five years later, the two legends are together again to build a course in honor of their famous match. The Concession (941-951-6484) is set to open in the spring of 2005 as part of a $600 million community near Sarasota, Florida. There are 255 homesites available from the mid-$300,000s. . . . Environmental sensitivity is a hallmark of most new golf course construction, but the Boston Golf Club, scheduled to open in spring 2005 in Hingham, Massachusetts, has set a new standard: Many of the trees that had to be removed to accommodate the design by Gil Hanse (Inniscrone Golf Club, Pennsylvania; the Capstone Club, Alabama) have been used to build the furniture for the clubhouse. Memberships are available by invitation only.
If it seems to you that the members at your golf club are getting younger, they probably are. The National Club Association in Washington, D.C., which supports private sports clubs, has completed a report, "Trends in the New Millennium," that details the present and future of the private club. The report is based on a survey of 510 clubs, including 300 of the nation's top private golf clubs. According to the new study, the average age of a member at a top-tiered club in 2004 is 56.5 years old. The survey confirmed that the average age of club members has dropped, and it should continue to do so as more of the baby-boom generation—the seventy-six million people between the ages of forty and fifty-eight—achieve the earning power to pay up.
• Sutton Bay (Graham Marsh, 2003), Agar, SD; 605-264-5530; initiation fee starts at $75,000
• Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club (Jack Nicklaus, Gary Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, 1998-99), Superstition Mountain, AZ; 877-983-3300; $85,000 initiation fee
• Bearwood Lakes Golf Club (Martin Hawtree, 1996), Berkshire, England; 888-876-6687; international membership; $7,500 initiation fee
Pine Valley was one of the first clubs where members were allowed to arrive by helicopter; the driving range doubled as a landing pad for flight-happy duffers until the practice was banned about three years ago. More private clubs, however, are becoming chopper friendly. The ACE Club in Pennsylvania has constructed a helipad at the first tee of the Gary Player course. And at the exclusive Hamilton Farm Golf Club in New Jersey, members and their guests are offered helicopter service to and from New York City.