The lure of the great Northwest continues, with Oregon adding two more "name" golf courses to a roster that already includes Bandon Dunes and Pumpkin Ridge. Being introduced to the mix is Pronghorn (800-541-9424), a private project in Bend with courses by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio—the first foray into Oregon's exploding golf scene for both architects. Although the central Oregon mountain region will provide the backdrop, the two courses will wind through a desert-like environment. Nicklaus's eighteen will fully open in spring 2004, with Fazio's following in '05. Home ownership at Pronghorn starts at $350,000.
Across the street from the largest resort casino in the world (Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut), a nine-hundred-plus-acre golfing community with two Rees Jones layouts is set to open in spring 2005. Lake of Isles (888-475-3746) will feature two pristine courses, one private and one public, around a ninety-two-acre lake, as well as a fifty-thousand-square-foot clubhouse and, of course, blackjack tables—lots of blackjack tables—nearby. There are 298 memberships priced from $50,000 available. . . . The East Hampton Golf Club (631-324-7007) on Long Island, a Coore/Crenshaw design, was ready to play in 2001. But because the town of East Hampton wouldn't give the club a certificate of occupancy, necessary for it to operate as a business, the course never actually opened. However, prospective members have been allowed to play the 6,400-yard layout as guests of the owner. After two years of this arrangement, the club finally got its permit this spring and officially opened. . . . Troon Golf's inaugural interclub championship, Troon Cup, will be held at Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale December 6-7. The event will pit up to thirty four-person teams (made up of one professional and three amateurs) from Troon-managed private and semiprivate clubs around the world.
Architect Brian Silva (Cape Cod National) completed his own personal Palm Beach grand slam when he recently unveiled his reconstruction of the Everglades Club to members. The entire course was rebuilt in the classic style of original architect Seth Raynor. Silva, who lives in New Hampshire, should consider moving to Palm Beach—in the last five years he has executed large-scale renovations and restorations at four of the county's premier private venues: Everglades, Seminole Golf Club, Jupiter Island Club and Gulf Stream Golf Club.
Encroaching tree growth has been a longstanding problem at hundreds of classic courses. For years, the prevailing attitude held that trees were an integral part of evolving layouts. But the tide has turned on this issue. In the past ten years, many clubs have accepted a new orthodoxy—that trees have intruded on original designs. In preparation for the 2003 U.S. Open, Olympia Fields removed dozens of trees; Oakmont had 3,500 removed or trimmed back before the 2003 U.S. Amateur in an effort to restore the course to its original Henry Fownes 1903 design. But at Midlothian Country Club outside Chicago, where a century of growth has created a veritable forest, obscuring many of the course's bunkers, the members are not prepared to cut down hundreds of mature elms and oaks. Instead, the club has set out to reposition all forty-two fairway bunkers, bringing them out of the woods.
• Sawgrass Country Club (Ed Seay, 1974), Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; 904-273-3700; $26,440 equity fee
• Lakecliff Country Club (Palmer Course Design, 2003), Austin, TX; 888-798-0695; $25,000 initiation fee
• Vaquero (Tom Fazio, 2002), Westlake, TX; 817-430-6600; invitation only