Architects, Contractors & Professionals

Chautauqua Golf Club Master Plan Calls for Restoration of Original Donald Ross Vision

36-hole architectural Master Plan for the Chautauqua Golf Club

Saline, Michigan golf course architect Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA has completed a 36-hole architectural Master Plan for the Chautauqua Golf Club in western New York State. Plans were developed for the enhancement of the Lake Course, which was designed by legendary Scottish golf course architect Donald J. Ross in the early 1920’s, and the Hill Course designed by Xen Hassenplug in the mid 1980’s.

Returning Ross’ Lake Course to its original layout is the highlight of Chautauqua Golf Club’s master plan which Wilczynski recently completed. Three holes from Ross’ original design were lost when the Hill Course was added. “We had detailed drawings of the Ross course but, when studied, it was clear that Ross’ original routing and individual hole designs had not been fully implemented. The original course didn’t fully represent his vision, so we tried to be true to that with our master planning recommendations.”

Saline, Michigan golf course architect Chris Wilczynski, ASGCA has completed a 36-hole architectural Master Plan for the Chautauqua Golf Club in western New York State. Plans were developed for the enhancement of the Lake Course, which was designed by legendary Scottish golf course architect Donald J. Ross in the early 1920’s, and the Hill Course designed by Xen Hassenplug in the mid 1980’s.

Returning Ross’ Lake Course to its original layout is the highlight of Chautauqua Golf Club’s master plan which Wilczynski recently completed. Three holes from Ross’ original design were lost when the Hill Course was added. “We had detailed drawings of the Ross course but, when studied, it was clear that Ross’ original routing and individual hole designs had not been fully implemented. The original course didn’t fully represent his vision, so we tried to be true to that with our master planning recommendations.”The recommendations for the Lake Course plan include adding tees to shorten and lengthen the course, implementing Ross’ random and strategic bunkering, removing trees to enhance playability, aesthetics and course maintenance, and expanding the greens back to their original shape and design intent. The Hill course plan outlines simpler refinements.

“The conversion to Ross’ original Lake holes will be relatively easy given that the holes are there. We have the three holes that were built to accommodate the Lake course rerouting in the 1980’s. These holes will convert over to the Hill layout. It works perfect because the layouts will look and play like the same course,” Wilczynski said.

“In the end, the Lake Course is so important to Chautauqua that we have recommended it for restoration. We did this in the spirit of what Donald Ross did,” Wilczynski said. “We are all really excited about restoring the course to its original layout. This project was a lot of fun!”

Sebastian Baggiano, Chautauqua Institution Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said the plan calls the Institution to embrace the distinctions of the courses, understanding what golfers today are seeking alongside the nonprofit organization’s mission.

“We are excited to have a plan that gives us a series of benchmarks and aspirations to work toward and also to frame a case for philanthropic support,” said Baggiano. “We think there will be great enthusiasm for the opportunities that the proposed changes will present for our members, visitors, and for the attraction of golfers who are looking for that distinctive Donald Ross experience in a unique and beautiful lakeside setting.”

Wilczynski, who is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, has developed and helped implement master plans at several notable courses around the country which host or have hosted professional tournaments.

About Chautauqua Institution

Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.

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