PGA West hopes to bring back Stadium Course’s stunning original look

With accountability for a restoration venture for the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, architect Pete Dye’s masterpiece of golf mayhem, Tim Liddy depends on the shut 28-year skilled and private relationship he had with Dye to keep up the venture underway. .

“He was like a second father to me,” Liddy mentioned. “So after I’m outdoors, I can hear him speaking to me. I can hear him yelling at me simply strolling round.”

Liddy is listening to a whole lot of Dye’s feedback nowadays, as PGA West embarks on a two-year renovation of the Stadium Course, the host course for The American Specific PGA Tour event every January.

The primary yr of the restoration options landscaping, removing of bushes from the structure, and work to revive the bottom cowl and shrubbery that have been a part of the course’s look within the mid-Nineteen Eighties. In the summertime of 2023, work will give attention to an growing older irrigation system in addition to returning bunkers and greens to their unique dimensions and shapes.

Though Liddy has been a director of his personal design agency, Liddy and Associates, since 1993, he labored intently with Dye on many tasks. Dye, who died in 2020, turned well-known within the Nineteen Eighties for his designs just like the Stadium Course at PGA West and the TPC Stadium Course at Sawgrass, dwelling of The Gamers Championship in Ponte Vedra Seashore, Florida.

Dye’s designs have been radical for the time, with deep bunkering, mounds all through the course, pressured carries over large lakes, rolling greens, and plenty of of his trademark railroad ties.

A big bunker between the 14th and fifteenth holes is seen freed from brush and different obstacles on PGA West’s Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif., on Thursday, July 7, 2022. (Andy Abeyta/The Desert Solar)

The PGA West course turned notorious for internet hosting six Skins Video games on nationwide tv starting in 1986 and for the unfavorable reactions from professionals when the course was performed on the 1987 American Specific, then referred to as the Bob Hope Chrysler Basic. The event left the Stadium Course after only one yr and didn’t return to the occasion rotation till 2016.

Liddy says she simply desires to revive the sphere, not test it out.

“We’re not going to vary the golf course, clearly,” Liddy mentioned. “That might be sacrilege. So the golf course is 37 years outdated, what ought to we do? Nicely, it is infrastructure. The greens have shrunk, which is frequent. The bunkers have misplaced their form as they do with age and upkeep and guys scooping sand out of them. Subsequently, the bunkers should be positioned again as they have been. Irrigation is 30 years outdated, or 37 years outdated. They’re designed to final 20”.

This summer season’s work is being executed in phases, with the final 9 holes of the Stadium Course already accomplished and the primary 9 holes already accomplished. The sphere might be open as ordinary after the autumn reseeding and might be used once more at The American Specific for the eighth consecutive yr subsequent January earlier than restoration work continues subsequent summer season.

Whereas subsequent summer season’s work might be simply as vital to the sphere as this yr’s work, The American Specific gamers will see dramatic modifications to the sphere in January because of the removing of the bushes. Chris Could, director of agronomy for PGA West, mentioned that whereas unique plans referred to as for 600 bushes to be eliminated, the precise quantity might be nearer to 200 bushes, with round 1,200 remaining within the discipline.

By eradicating the bushes, the looks of the course modifications from a structure the place bushes narrowed the aisles within the holes or supplied vantage factors for gamers to a structure with Dye’s unique sparse look that was typically described as panorama. moon within the early days of the sphere. Archive pictures additionally reveal the place bushes have been added to the sphere over time.

Finest for lawns, tees and greens

In addition to going again to the course’s unique structure, Could mentioned the bushes have been turning into an issue as a result of many have been too huge and rotting from the within. Greater than three a long time of progress additionally meant that the bushes have been inflicting issues within the garden that did not happen when the sphere was younger and the bushes have been newly planted.

“We now have new house owners they usually do not wish to see grass issues or brown spots,” Could mentioned. “That was a part of the mandate. A number of the brown spots have been from bushes clogging the sprinkler heads. We have to have every thing inexperienced and full. Most jerseys are affected by that.”

Whereas Liddy mentioned he believes the bushes had turn out to be a distraction from Dye’s unique imaginative and prescient for the course, he understands a few of the unfavorable suggestions PGA West has already acquired from house owners about tree removing.

“Timber are an emotional topic. They all the time are,” Liddy mentioned. She added that a few of the bushes that might be eliminated might be changed with youthful, smaller bushes.

Liddy mentioned he has been speaking with architect Lee Schmidt, who labored for Dye every day on tasks together with the Stadium Course, about different points, together with vegetation that grew between the holes however has since been faraway from the course. That vegetation was meant so as to add to the Scottish side of the sphere.

“Lee mentioned you knew Pete’s unique idea was to make it seem like Scotland, so we went to the nursery and seemed for vegetation that represented gorse (a bushy, prickly bush seen in lots of Scottish fields) and heather,” Liddy mentioned. . “And I mentioned, properly, we do not have that now.”

Subsequent summer season, Liddy hopes to flatten the bunker bottoms, get sand off the bunker faces and return the greens to their unique dimension. It is all so he can assist keep Dye’s unique and radical design intent.

“I’ve constructed a whole lot of greens with Mr. Dye,” Liddy mentioned. “I do not know what to say aside from that they are going to be restored to the place I believe they have been.”

Larry Bohannan is the golf author for The Desert Solar. He could be reached at larry.bohannan@desertsun.com or (760) 778-4633. Observe him on Fb or on Twitter at @larry_bohannan. Help native journalism. Subscribe to The Solar of the Desert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.