Tripp Davis and Associates embarked on its Master Plan for renovating and restoring Spring Lake Golf Club’s historic course in 2013. Located on New Jersey’s north shore, the club’s original 18 holes were designed by George Thomas (the genius behind Riviera Country Club) in 1911. In 1918, A.W. Tillinghast, one of America’s greatest golf course architects, was engaged to redesign, strengthen and update the course.
Tripp Davis, who is noted for his work with historic golf courses around the country, was asked by Spring Lake Golf Club in 2011 to create a strategic plan that would restore the character of the course first laid out by Thomas and later improved upon by Tillinghast. Our direction and focus in developing a Master Plan for Spring Lake was to keep Thomas’s solid routing intact, then look to what Tillinghast did so we could work to reestablish the importance of angles off the tees, restore and enhance the strategic intent of the bunkers and return them to their original style. Additionally, fairway widths that were altered over the years will be regained, the once sandy scrub areas that were a prominent feature will be reintroduced, some greens will be rebuilt, and overall there will be a more open feel to the landscape.
With Spring Lake being so close to the Atlantic, Tripp and his team introduced Fine Fescues in various areas to promote more of a seaside feel. While making the course more strategically interesting for modern play, the end result is to let golfers experience a step back in time.
The Master Plan was implemented in phases during 2013-2015. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished to date at Spring Lake. The intent of the work was to restore the classic look of the golf course after a previous bunker renovation went to more of a modern cookie cutter look that had no character. We paid homage to both George Thomas, the original golf course architect in 1910, and Tillinghast, who did a redesign in 1918. The bunkers have mostly grass faces that Tillinghast did here, but as a nod to Thomas we created more movement in the sand lines, similar to the style he used at Los Angeles CC and Riviera in California. Key to the work was moving a few bunkers and a few tees to make the course relevant for the modern game.