|Mike Strantz in the Headlines...
Maverick Creates the Future in
In the past few months,
journalists and golfers alike have been buzzing about
recent changes in golf course architecture. Much of the
dialogue has focused on the paradigm shift from
pre-fabricated courses to original designs; from
relatively flat courses devoid of natural contour to
courses that hearken back to the game’s rough Scottish
roots; from courses that are built not only in
the environment, but uniquely of the environment.
An article in the June 6th issue of the
New York Times states that “in a departure from the
carefully manicured courses that blanket most resort
communities, the best new courses are etched into
canyons, rolled into sand dunes or slipped into woods
and wetlands.” While this design model may be new to
some, Mike Strantz has been creating such courses for
the past nine years.
Alongside such prominent names as Pebble Beach, Cypress
Point, and Spy Glass Hill, Strantz is crafting what many
in the industry consider his finest work yet at Monterey
Peninsula Country Club’s forty year old Shores Course.
His company, Maverick Golf Course Design, was awarded
the job along 17 Mile Drive in February 2003. The
ambitious MPCC redesign plans embody the fusion of
cutting-edge course construction techniques,
environmentally sound native reclamation efforts, and
creative design that works with existing land features
to challenge golfers of every skill level.
Strantz set the bar for his designs and golf
architecture back in 1994 when his first solo effort at
Caledonia received numerous awards, including “5th
Best Public Course in America” from Golf Digest, “Top 10
Places to Play” from Golf Magazine, and one of the “Top
100 Courses in America” from Golf Week. Unlike
traditional course designers, Strantz hand sketches and
is continually involved in the construction of each
hole. Working on only one course at time, Strantz and
his team at Maverick are able to custom tailor their
designs to the unique landscape of the course while
revising plans throughout the building process. “There
is no comparison between what is being done here at the
Shores course to the other courses in the area. What
Mike is doing out here stands on its own,” states MPCC
superintendent Bob Zoeller.
At MPCC, Maverick is currently implementing the
industry’s most innovative irrigation process while
engaging in the west coast’s largest removal of
non-native plants. Golf courses in Monterey, voted as
the #1 golf destination in the world by Golf Digest in
1995, have long suffered from drainage problems.
Due to wet winters and underlying clay and rock in the
area, fairways are plagued by dampness; thus,
playability is limited during the spring and winter
months. Maverick is executing an expensive method known
as sand capping to every hole at the Shores Course.
Essentially, fairways are being constructed in the same
manner as greens. By laying drainage every 15 ft. (for a
total of 42 miles of pipe below the grass surface) and
-similar to a greens mix-
instead of sand below the grass, play and course
maintenance are improved because wear and tear to
fairways is greatly lessened. Since Maverick began sand
capping fairways at MPCC, Pebble Beach has followed suit
and is presently experimenting with sand capping
technology on its second green.
Maverick is also in the process of the removing the
largest amount of delosperma cooperi, commonly
known as “ice plant” in the west. This weed, introduced
to the Monterey region 400 years ago from South Africa,
prevents the growth of native plants and grasses. The
removal of these forty-five acres of ice plant at the
Shores Course is an effort not only to restore the
Monterey peninsula with its natural vegetation, but to
recreate a traditional course on an environmentally
Mike Strantz garnered a reputation as America’s most
exciting new architect when he first entered the scene.
He was named the “1998 Architect of the Year” and
“Number One Golf Architect Highest in Demand” in 1999 by
Golf World Magazine. He has also been recognized as one
of the “Top 10 Greatest Golf Architects of All Time” by
Golf Week Magazine in 2000.
To find out more about Mike Strantz designs and
Maverick’s progress at the Monterey Peninsula Country
Club, logon to www.maverickgolfdesign.com.