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Mike Strantz

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Mike Strantz in the Headlines...

Maverick Creates the Future in Golf Xanadu

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 applying PermOPore
TM   -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 sound model.

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.