ASGCA Past President Rick Robbins (Robbins Golf Design) has completed work for the renovation of the greens on The Vale Nine at Echo Valley Country Club in Des Moines, Iowa.
Echo Valley is a 27-hole layout that was built as an 18-hole course in the early 1960’s. In 2004, Robbins Golf Design completed the addition of the third 9 holes, called The Ridge Nine to go with the Creek and Vale nines. In 2011, Robbins did the design of extensive renovation work on the Vale nine but the greens were not touched in that project.
Over the years since the original construction, the putting surfaces have become much smaller as the outer edges began to creep inward. Prior to the recent renovation, the greens had become so small that it was becoming difficult to maintain them and pin placements were limited. As the greens became smaller, the greenside bunkers became more removed from the ability to influence play and course strategy. The renovation program included restoring the surface area to near the original design, removal of the top 4” of existing mix and replacement with new mix while duplicating the original green’s contours. Many potential high shot value pin placement locations were created or restored.
In addition to resurfacing the Vale greens, a new 21,000 sq. ft. putting green, 3 chipping greens and a short-game practice center have been built. After some mowing pattern and landscaping changes to the driving range are completed the practice facilities at Echo Valley will be among the very best in the region. Members will now be able to practice every shot they may face on the course from almost any type of lie.
Due to a late summer start on the program and weather delays, the greens have not been seeded and will be covered until spring. Wadsworth Construction performed the renovation work on this phase of the project as they did for the earlier renovation of the Vale 9 and the addition of the Ridge 9. The newly renovated Vale Nine and practice facilities should be ready to open by early summer of 2019.
In addition to work at Echo Valley, Robbins Golf Design has also been selected to provide long-range master planning services for Pine Valley Country Club in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pine Valley is located near the heart of downtown Wilmington and was built in 1955. It is an 18-hole facility with swimming and tennis amenities.