Sunday, 26 December 2010

Highlands Links

The new view of the mountains behind the 9th at Highlands Links

I left Tuesday night to get to Cape Breton – but through a series of events and a plane cancellation – ended up at Highlands Links at 4:00pm on Wednesday following a 5 hour taxi ride. Funny enough I never get mad about this – when you travel a lot – you expect this occasionally. Instead of working right away - I simply went out and played Wednesday night to unwind. 
The next two days involved me thrashing through the bush – marking out all the remaining clearing for the golf course. The clearing work will be done over the next few years – beginning on the 1st hole and heading out as far as they can this year. That means the ocean views on the opening five holes should be restored as quick as they can. This will be the most significant improvement we could make to the experience.
The clearing - so far - is quite dramatic. The view into Ben Franey from the 9th fairway is stunning. I must admit – it was such a major change that I wondered if people would be upset – but everyone who has seen it has told me that they love the new view - and the green has grass! The most stunning thing about the trip was the greens. They were in terrible shape last fall – and they have almost fully recovered. The greens are in great shape and this should be excellent in just a few more weeks – this is the year to head out to Cape Breton Highlands Links.
While I was there I probed every green with Clifford – many areas had already been recaptured – and we located the remaining areas to recover. As of today – all the greens are back to their original extents – since Clifford has already begun to cut the remaining areas. The highlights are the restoration of the left side of the green at the 5th and the back shelf on the 17th which are both fully in play again.
The drainage plan was made last fall during the incredibly wet fall – and as the rain came at the tail end of my visit – it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to look for those extra puddles that I had not noted before.
I finished up this week-end by reviewing the cart paths and measuring out the tees for rebuilding. I’ve found a series of new hidden routes and most of the paths will be completely out of view or at least hard to see. It will be nice to place the focus back on the golf course – and remove the misplaced paths which dominate the view from each tee. The tee rebuilds are all really simple expansions, levelling, and a few rebuilds to improve the available surface area. The bunker restoration will come in the final year of what I expect to be a three year project.
I’ve had a great week – got a lot done – and even played a little golf each evening.

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