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. 

Simapo Island - Haikou, China  -  Tom Doak 2014 (No longer existing) 

Despite sadly never opening, this is the place I really honed my skills as a shaper with Tom Doak's Renaissance Golf team.  With over 330 days on site working alongside one of the best and fastest operators in the world (and very talented designer), Eric Iverson, I learned how to be not only creative but also efficient with shaping time.  This gigantic sandbox of an island was the perfect place to play around, learn, and build some cool golf holes and features from scratch.  Though we may never get to see and play the finished product, it was a great experience and great achievement that everyone involved was proud to complete.

  The giant dune bunker complex had to look good not just from the 6th   fairway but also from many other points across the vast expanse of the front 9.

The giant dune bunker complex had to look good not just from the 6th fairway but also from many other points across the vast expanse of the front 9.

  Free flowing tee boxes were part of the design; creating these "tees that don't look like tees" is a fun but rewarding challenge when properly executed.

Free flowing tee boxes were part of the design; creating these "tees that don't look like tees" is a fun but rewarding challenge when properly executed.

  The biggest bunker I've gotten to build to date is this massive "don't hit over here" bunker on the 18th hole.  

The biggest bunker I've gotten to build to date is this massive "don't hit over here" bunker on the 18th hole.  

  Hand finish work complete in just over a day on the same large bunker.  Being able to to this yourself really allows for dialing in the movement and details of the lines and forms.

Hand finish work complete in just over a day on the same large bunker.  Being able to to this yourself really allows for dialing in the movement and details of the lines and forms.

  An example of how the final product turned out.  This hole is the up and over par 5 14th that plays out toward the Nandu River and Bridge.  

An example of how the final product turned out.  This hole is the up and over par 5 14th that plays out toward the Nandu River and Bridge.  

  The bunker finish process: rake and shovel finish, grass grow-in, and final edge cutting.

The bunker finish process: rake and shovel finish, grass grow-in, and final edge cutting.

  The view from the bold 18th, which maximized its relation with the river with very careful but large-scale horizon and elevation work. The bunkers on the right are  massive but fit the scale of the landscape wonderfully.

The view from the bold 18th, which maximized its relation with the river with very careful but large-scale horizon and elevation work. The bunkers on the right are  massive but fit the scale of the landscape wonderfully.