When you build a golf course feature, the idea is to make it appear as if it was never built at all. A lifelong interest in geology and soil is a helpful first step in understanding natural looking landforms and then being able to implement them through tools big and small. Get the forms close with the machine, but get the final look and texture right with the sand pro and hand tools.
Orinda Country Club, Orinda, CA (William Watson Original 1924, restoration/renovation by Todd Eckenrode 2015)
Orinda was a special project for me personally as the course is only 10 miles from Hochstein Design's home office. Furthermore, then-local George Waters would also be helping with the shaping, and still-local Josh Smith would be taking over the superintendent role during the course of the project. With them and Todd, we had a great like-minded, artistic team that wanted to push the envelope and make this unique William Watson East Bay layout be the best it can be and take advantage of the many great natural features found throughout the property. Six greens were reworked, with two of them being restorations of the famous par 3 8th and 15th holes. More greens were expanded, and short grass was added almost everywhere around the greens, bringing Watson's funky greenside mounding much more into play. Tree removal and brush cleanup has opened up long lost vistas as well as bring golfers visually closer to the numerous creeks around the property. All the bunkers were redone to a Northern California aesthetic, and many of them were moved to make play more interesting as well as open up the ground game. All in all, Orinda Country Club is now a much more fun and visually striking place to play, likely much the same as it was in Watson's day.