Mickelson National Golf Club | Draft 14


Draft 14

Posted: 12 Sep 2016 Sam Schultz Uncategorized

One set of plans, one time, if only it were that simple. As I write this article, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, even this one page of drivel has evolved past draft #1. I know that seems unimagineable but true it is. Mickelson National has come a long way, given that this parcel of land was from day 1 was always going to be transformed dramatically. Dirt is being reshaped, routed and rerouted to find the best way to present it to the golfer. But at some point the design team must commit, hand it off and let irrigation come in to solidify the bones of the course. We have reached draft 14 but does a golf course ever end its nips and tucks?

Draft 14 has seen changes to holes #13, #14 and #15, for numerous reasons.

-#18 was turned into a par 5 last year, at that time #15 was slated to be a par 5.

-#13 on draft 13 was a long par 3, headed east. COP was in the backdrop.

-Draft 13 had these 3 holes in a loop that never really connected. Missing an opportunity to have another communal area with a crossover with #16 tee as well as a 6 hole loop of the back nine. Now 10,11,12,16,17,18 form a nice 6 holer.

The new changes create a wonderful lead up to the finish and are described below.

#13 is a south facing downhill par 4 of the 500 yard variety. The green complex will be large and adventurous as you prepare yourself for the home stretch. Big bold bunkering will be #13’s signature.

#14 will go back north and uphill. It also, will be close to 500 yards. Bite down on your mouthpiece because it’s on. Your approach shot will be fairly level but there will be a pond to the right of the green. Calling Rick Smith, please let us feed it onto the green from the aid of a gentle slope left of the green. This hole is meaty and full of grit. Wait it gets better.

#15 is now a par 3 just over 200 yards. What I love about this change is that the mountains frame this stadium hole beautifully. The pond is large and intimidating with the water as close to any green we have on the course. Your bail out is to the right into the huge amphitheatre. The backdrop has got to be 30 feet above the green. As intimate and dreamlike as the par 3 Grotto is, #15 is where spectacle and drama will unfold. It is Stadium golf, no bleachers required.

That search for perfection can haunt us, a truly gifted artist I hear is often tortured throughout their entire life. At somepoint the drafts need closure and more than likely the creative juices subside. The art is presented for public consumption, debate and some kind of critical analysis is applied. And sometimes the chase of perfection just reaches its end. In a sense we learn there is no end. But unlike a painting or sculpture, a golf course is a living, breathing landscape that grows over time.

The evolution and draft process has already slowed but in the true spirit of the game of golf I’m sure we will continue to find better ways to present Mickelson National, to improve its playability or maybe just add a little botox in areas that need just a bit more flirtation.


See you on Draft 15.