Thank you, Graham, for your insight and praise.
Please note the following report is Graham Cooke’s opinion about what changes he would like to see to the course. We are not stating that we will do all that he has stated. There will be some of his recommendations completed but others may not due to time and money restraints.
I have enclosed the entire report.
Hampton Country Club & ASSOC. INC.
68 William Bell Drive,Golf Course Architects Hampton, New Brunswick, E5N 6B3
Tel: (506) 832-9880
Attention: Mr. Andrew MaGee Mr. Shawn Miller, Mr. Pierre Boulet & Mr. Alex Miller Regarding: Course Review / Golf Architectís Report
It was a pleasure meeting and touring the golf course together on the afternoon of 9 f November,2007. Fortunately, the weather was co-operative and we had picked a sunny late fall day.
Overall, I was impressed with the golf course and the course conditions. Those who have coordinated the changes over the years should be congratulated for a lot of good work. The continuation of your green rebuilding program, drainage improvements and other accents will certainly add fine long-term value to the golf course.
The report that follows summarises to the best of my recollection, the ideas and recommendations made during our tour. If you find any errors or omissions, pleases note them to me and I will make the necessary revisions to gain a more accurate report for your file.
Please pass on my regards to all and, again, I was glad our schedules worked out.
Graham Cooke B.Sc.L.A.
Golf Course Architect
GRAHAM COOKE & ASSOCIATES
HAMPTON COUNTRY CLUB – Course Comments
The generous fairway is ideal for a starting golf hole. The uphill tee-shot makes up for some of the length concerns on this 453-yard par five. However, the proposal to set in a back tee is positive.
I believe you also need a forward tee, set between 420 and 400 yards.
Increasing the tree planting between holes one and nine is proposed. Group plantings of fir trees is recommended.
The green setting is fine. I like the simple feature forms, as they appear very natural in this setting. The Hampton Country Club, with its rolling hills, majestic trees and panoramic vistas, provides a very attractive setting for golf. The quiet nature of your greens, tees and bunkers compliments and suits this land.
A very scenic, short par four with both a high tee and high green complex.
The first line of Spruce trees, just left and forward of the tees, restricts views to the fairway. These tees force a lot of players to the right and away from the centreline. My recommendation is to remove as many tress as are necessary to provide at least a æ view of the landing area.
The landforms, just short and right of the green, are perfect for a small pot bunker. The lower right- side bunker is OK. However, it could be removed or decreased in size if it were to become problematic to maintain. The left-side bunker needs to be better framed, and an increase in size may make it more natural in appearance.
This pronounced dogleg par four works fine. I like the linear nature of the green.
I would remove the smaller tree, to the right of the green. A few Spruce trees, off to the right of the green, would help to separate and soften the look of the open path.
At the tee site, I would join and enlarge the two forward tees and create another separate forward tee farther up and to the right. The forward tee would have a nice angle to the fairway and a good drive would provide a short approach to the green.
Nice, open par three.
When you rebuild this green, I would push it slightly closer to the next hole. A good-sized green with a deep left-side bunker is recommended.
Pulling a new green and tee to the left to work with the pond would, in my mind, appear too forced.
Expanding the tee deck to gain more space was proposed, and it is always a good idea to gain ample tee deck size on all par threes.
The cart path on Four should be re-routed so that it is not so prominent when viewed from the tee (relocating it to the right was suggested).
Good-length par four.
Shortening the pond that rests forward of the green was a good decision.
I would like to see this golf hole play as a par four for all by creating a new good-sized tee at approximately 300 yards (right side). This would make for a tough par four, especially with the forward pond. However, it would lower the par and reduce the overall course yardage, which I believe is long for the red markers at 5,355 yards.
I believe the golf course should strive to have tee sets that allow the course to be played at 6,500 yards from the very back tees and at 5,000 yards from the forward tees.
Eventually, after more tee deck construction, you could have two menís markers and two ladiesí markers or a shared tee with senior golfers.
At the green site, the recommendation is to set in a deep, right-side green bunker (the grades already exist to accept this bunker).
I donít see too many par six golf holes. However, the sixth hole at Hampton Country Club has good character. Though the tee-shot is uphill, the remainder of the golf hole plays down a long gentle grade to an attractive green area.
The option to change this golf hole exists, however. I like having at least a par five near this spot in the round to provide a better balance of pars and yardages.
If you keep this hole, I would add forward tees to provide more yardage options.
If the hole could play at 688 / 666 for the back tee par 6; 640 to 600 for the white marker par 6; 590/575 senior men or championship ladiesí par 6 and finally red at 530 to 510 par 6.
At the green site, I would add a left-side bunker to help better define the green. This bunker would be very visible and it would rest naturally in the grades of the green.
Very attractive par three.
The proposal to place a mid-tee on the tee side of the golf pond is an excellent idea. At present, there is far too much difference in yardage between the back tee and the forward tee. This tee would look great resting into the pond area.
Both green-site bunkers need to be pulled closer to the green surface.
The back tee is well surrounded by high, mature Spruce trees. It may be better to, someday, open this tee to more sunlight by removing one of the principal Spruce trees.
Interesting short hole.Can you set in another forward tee, playing around 250 ñ 270 yards?At the green site, the opportunity may exist to pull a wide fringe contour closer to the forward right bunker. This is easier to do than pulling the bunker closer to the green. Bunkers on Eight are OK, but they can still be given more power with modest changes.
An attractive golf hole, taking you home to the clubhouse, and views of the dramatic river valley.
I believe you should build a mid-tee in the area of 340 yards (20-yards in length).
The planting program between holes nine and one has helped the safety margin between these two golf holes (more trees are recommended).
The green site is fine. Bunker work is needed to make the green-site and fairway bunkers more prominent: setting them deeper into existing grades, enlarging them and, in places, giving them a touch more contour is recommended
The best way to approach this program is to start a group of three or four bunkers. On one of my visits into your area, I could work with Andy to provide an on-site sketch and mark the work on site.
Scenic, downhill par three. The backdrop river valley provides one of the best settings in Canada.
A mid-tee, at around 155 yards, is recommended. Tree planting between the tee and the parking area is recommended. The green-site bunkers need to be adjusted to give them more shape and prominence.
Note: The idea was brought forward during our review of hole ten that there is the possibility of buying land to replace holes 10 & 11 if a new, more functional practice facility could be managed.
It is too bad you canít lease the lands to the right of your entrance drive for the long term (at least 10 years). A number of clubs rent farm lands adjacent to their clubhouse and use them for practice facilities. The short lease prevents much work from being done. However, often, only minor works are needed to develop a functional range tee and range field.
I reviewed the site map of the golf course and no easy solution for a quality, full-length range appeared.
For the time being, I would continue with your improvements and accents, as these works do not appear to be in jeopardy should you change 10 & 11 or buy other lands in the back of the property by holes 4, 5 &6.
This short, uphill par four creates an interesting challenge.
The proposal to force more players to the left, off the tee, has merit. Corner tree planting, or a few bunkers sunk into the grades at the corner, 60 yards short of the green, would deter the longer hitters. The proposal to shift the back tee deck complex more to the left and swing the cart path to the left side of the tee is fully endorsed (steps from the cart path to the tee deck may be needed to allow for easy access to the future tee).
The green is fine, but, again, an accent of the bunkers is needed.
Good tree-lined mid-length par four.
A new tee, between 300 & 315 yards, is recommended.
The green site needs modest bunker modifications to gain more interest and challenge.
The Hampton Country Club has a lot of internal grades that force golfers to learn how to hit shots off slopes. The thirteenth presents some very tricky grades.
This shortish par five is not an easy par, as the water and narrow entrance to the green demands accuracy from tee to green.
A mid-tee, at a yardage of between 450 & 460, is recommended.
A new forward tee, at 400 to 410 yards, is also recommended.
The works done to gain fairway size and quieter grades on the left side of the fairway are excellent. A linear grassy mound, on the left side of the cart path, will further help to keep balls in play.
The green setting is attractive. The bunker should be reviewed to make more of a statement (bunker program). The few trees that rest just to the left of the green are affecting the opportunity of having a quality turf. I recommend that you remove these trees and promote the turf in this critical area. Without goof turf in this zone, recovery shots will remain very difficult.
A good, strong par four with a large accommodating green.
I like to try, if possible to equalize the golf course par for both men and women. If you added forward tees on Fourteen (375, 340, 320), you would have more player options and a fair par four for all groups.
If you cleaned off the rock face in the slope just past the landing area, you would have a unique feature.
Fourteen could be a candidate for a long right-side fairway bunker complex, opposite the long hittersí landing area.
This is an entertaining, short dogleg left.
Add new tee sets at 320 yards and at 280 yards.
A bunker complex in the right hillside grades, at the dogleg turn, would look sharp and the complex would both announce the dogleg turn and help to keep balls in play.
Adding another deep, pot-like bunker in the right-side grades, 65 yards short of the green, will add a challenge for those longer hitters trying to hit tee-shots in front of the green.
At the green site, the left-side bunker needs a modest change and a deeper right-side bunker (remove the cedar tree) was proposed. Adding a few deep bunkers near your greens, when possible, will provide variety and demand a new skill set for recovery.
A fine, powerful golf hole.
Mid-tees are needed at 320 and 290 yards (if possible). Throughout this report, I have asked for new tee decks. However, the yardages requested may not always be possible, given the land contours and existing features.
Itís great to have a par three near the end of the round, especially one where a birdie is possible.
I suggest you expand the tee on the left front side towards the green. Keep the tee low, as it is OK to have a higher fairway, or forward bank, on a short par three. The look will be both attractive and consistent with the character of the large existing tee.
The new green for Seventeen should have gentle contouring and sharp banked bunkering.
A good finishing golf hole with terrific views.
The first tree within the fairway on the right side should be removed. A lone tree will make a better statement.
The proposed new 18 green, will, in my opinion, work best with the area if it is tugged marginally to the right. This modest change will allow you to maintain your yardage, keep the right-side conifers and provide you with the needed safety separation for the proposed back tee on hole one.
The bunkers at Hampton Country Club could be renovated to accomplish the following:
ï Modest increase in size / some bunkers are not cut out to the existing outside grassy banks; ï Pull the green-site bunkers close to the greens to bring the bunkers more in to play and to help frame the greens. The sand can still lay flat on the bunker floor. However, the green-side edge would increase in slope.
ï Provide more contour / shape for your bunkers and add more pronounced back and side grassy mounding.
Add tees to ensure that there are no great separation distances between any of the decks as you go from 6,500 yards to 5,000 yards.
Try to get the back tee yardage to 6,500 yards. Try to have the course play close to 5,000 yards from the most forward decks; Review the opportunity of having two menís tee markers and two ladiesí tee markers; Most courses are trying to gain an eventual senior menís tee.
Given the restricted area of the present range, I would suggest limited-flight golf balls. Limited- flight golf balls would allow the men to practise at least all of their irons, maybe even utility clubs.
Review the slim chance of leasing adjacent farm lands for a simple grass tee and range field, opposite your clubhouse.
The solution to create a proper-length range near your clubhouse may be too disruptive.
Eleven may not be the clubís most popular golf hole. However, Ten & Eleven capture very attractive views and they are the link over to Twelve. A range below the clubhouse would erode, somewhat, the view from the clubhouse and the golf looks as you enter the access drive. Furthermore, a range does not seem to fit naturally into these lower lands.
I will continue to give this concern of having a full range more thought and will review any ideas brought forth by the club.
The out of bounds posts that define the limit of your property should, in my opinion, be removed. There is no reason that I can see to restrict your golfers from making recovery shots from the forest edges of the course. I am sure the adjoining land owners have no issue with this modest golfer traffic on the edges of their properties. Furthermore, I would initiate a modest clean-up of these edges to improve recovery opportunities. The markers, presently in place, are adding a heavy penalty burden on your golfers, forcing play to the far side of your fairways and removing the opportunity of bold play. The stakes do not really speed up play, as golfers are still going to look for their golf balls. The time spent in hitting provisional, or the time spent recovering from places where shots are hit in attempts to stay away from the out-of-bounds, adds up.
Clean up your edges, put in red stakes if the area outside the course is wet or not a recoverable area and you will have a more comfortable course to enjoy with your friends.
I trust this report and recommendations are helpful. Again, I enjoyed meeting and touring the Hampton Country Club.
If there are any issues you wish to have clarified or if there are any other points you wish me to add to this report, please feel free to contact me.
Graham Cooke B.Sc.L.A.
Golf Course Architect