Can you imagine a major golf tournament like the 2020 US Women’s Open will be held in December? Due to the coronavirus (aka COVID-19), the organizers found a new date for the tournament: between December 10-14, 2020.
The location of the golf tournament has not changed: Champions Golf Club.
It is going to be the first US Women’s Open that will be contested without a pre-championship qualifying since 1975.
Jackrabbit (designed by George Fazio; was completely renovated by architect Tom Fazio in 2001), the second course at Champions, which will play co-host to the Cypress Creek Course during the first two rounds of the tournament.
As part of the preparation work, course contractor Heritage Links, the architects at Beau Welling Design, and club Director of Agronomy Chris Ortmeier are busy renovating the bunkers on the Jackrabbit Course to ensure a successful championship.
One of the young architects on the project was none other than Shane Robichaud, today a senior vice president at Beau Welling Design (BWD). The contractor on that job nearly 20 years ago: Heritage Links.
The Champions Golf Club was the host of the 1967 Ryder Cup, matches between the US and Great Britain. Ben Hogan was the head of the US Team.
Heritage Links has got very impressive major championship site renovation and preparation:
- In 2019, Heritage renovated Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in preparation for the 2030 PGA Championship (and the 2021 Senior PGA).
- The firm built Chambers Bay GC in Tacoma, Washington, site of the 2017 U.S. Open,
- Renovated Liberty National ahead of the recent President’s Cup, and
- Prepped both Dove Mountain and Doral ahead of their respective World Golf Championship engagements.
We don’t have to worry the company promised that the bunkers will be ready for member play in September 2020.
The Champions Golf Club also called on BWD and Heritage Links to create a consistent aesthetic for the Jackrabbit’s 47 bunkers, along with improved design characteristics that addressed maintenance issues and playability for its members.
This aesthetic will stand in purposeful contrast to the largely rolled-grass edges on the Cypress Creek course. Maintaining distinct styles between the two tracks was something Ortmeier and club founder Jackie Burke were determined to maintain.
The effort started with Chet Williams’ renovation of the Cypress in 2018 and will conclude with this year’s work on the Jackrabbit. Not coincidentally, Heritage Links handled both jobs.