First Published in Golf Course Architecture

The trend for convertible designs is showing no sign of slowing. But not all dual-purpose courses start out that way. Near Park City, Utah, construction is under way on a short course at the new SkyRidge Mountain Community. Architect Jon Garner began by designing the course to comprise a par three, four and five, so that golfers could experience full-sized holes in a small footprint. But as the design progressed, he realised that with a few modifications the course could serve another purpose.

By identifying locations within the plot for six more greens and some additional teeing areas, his three-hole par-12 course could be converted to a nine-hole par-three layout. “One of the design goals was to create a fun experience for the beginner golfers where they can enjoy playing in this beautiful mountain setting that includes views of Deer Valley Resort and the new Mayflower Resort,” says Garner. “It is easy to make difficult courses, but it is more challenging to design a course that is playable for all levels of golfers; particularly in mountain terrain. “This design allows golfers  to play different courses within the course boundary, without impacting the spectacular views from either layout. The golf experience is fully maximised in every way possible.” Ted Simons of Synergy Group Consulting provided the developers with advice on the project. “One of the founders of SkyRidge Park City had long envisioned developing short courses at the base of ski resorts as an alternative to traditional eighteen holes, while providing an additional amenity and revenue driver during the off season,” he says. A practice range will also be built. “It will feature a below-grade covered range tee-line, complete with 15 heated hitting bays and Toptracer technology, a 200-foot-long artificial tee-line on top of the range cover, and a 200-footlong natural grass tee-line below,” says Simons.

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