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.

Schoolhouse Nine, Sperryville, VA  -  Michael McCartin 2015

Golf can and should be simpler than it often is. So many courses of the last 50 years have been built with too much earth moving, too many artificial features, too much difficulty, too much expense, and too little fun.  If golf is to remain strong, it is going to be through more community focused courses like the Schoolhouse Nine.  Where many projects preach minimalism, environmentalism, and improved pace of play, The Schoolhouse Nine actually walks the walk.  The nine hole par 3 course in the eclectic little mountain town 1.5 hours west of Washington, D.C. was built simply using the native soil and only disturbing the areas near greens and tees.  Irrigation was only installed at the greens; mother nature takes care of the rest.  Most importantly, the easy walking layout is full of varied and fun greens that provide a great variety of shots and challenges that reflect the amount of fun Mike, myself, and the town had in building the course.

  Construction contouring on the lower end of the property, where the small and tricky 5th and 6th greens sit.

Construction contouring on the lower end of the property, where the small and tricky 5th and 6th greens sit.

  The 3rd hole is the only hole on which we did not have to strip the topsoil because we thought the existing contours only needed the   slightest of changes. The slightly crowned fallaway green is much trickier than it appears.   (Image: Mike McCartin)

The 3rd hole is the only hole on which we did not have to strip the topsoil because we thought the existing contours only needed the slightest of changes. The slightly crowned fallaway green is much trickier than it appears. (Image: Mike McCartin)

  The 8th hole turns back toward the clubhouse and the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.  That scar would is a front right greenside bunker that also grabs drivers' attention as they round the corner into Sperryville.

The 8th hole turns back toward the clubhouse and the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.  That scar would is a front right greenside bunker that also grabs drivers' attention as they round the corner into Sperryville.

  Hole 8 of the Schoolhouse Nine during grow-in. (Image: Mike McCartin)

Hole 8 of the Schoolhouse Nine during grow-in. (Image: Mike McCartin)