Golf News for Friday, October 26, 2007 | Courses

Crystal Springs announces new natural-surface putting course

Water flowing from one end of the course to the other, as a stream of varying depths with koi ponds, is an integral feature of the layout. The newest addition at Crystal Springs is a visual treat providing an enjoyable opportunity to work on your putting game with friends and family.

“To my knowledge it is the only natural grass putting course in the region,” said Brad Sparta, project manager of new course construction at Crystal Springs Resort.

New Jersey’s premier golf resort has added a unique offering to its portfolio of golf experiences. The putting course received the same professional attention, planning and detail given to the construction of its six full length courses.

“I wanted to build something unique that would compliment the 117 holes of golf at Crystal Springs”, said owner Gene Mulvihill.

Mulvihill took his idea to renowned golf architect Roger Rulewich and design associate, Dave Fleury at The Golf Group. Together they planned the putting course that was built by The Golf Group under the direction of Fleury, who also did the shaping. “I collaborated with the group and took an active part in the design and layout of the putting course.” added Mulvihill. ”The water and landscaping design adds significantly to the project.”

Tommy Smith, of Garden State Koi, designed and built the water features- a stream meandering over rocks and through small ponds with brightly colored varying sized koi -domesticated carp- swimming freely. It falls in elevation from the first hole with greens running along either side, cascading over the rocks, creating a pleasant replica of a full size course. Water is a focal point of the putting course.

The landscaping blends well with the water, hole designs, and overall course look. The gardens, adjacent to blue grass fringe areas, enhance the aesthetic and feel of the putting course. Landscape design and planting was done by Bruce Crawford. He defines gardens as “romantic enclosures that create their own special mood.” This is certainly true with the putting course. Crawford is adjunct instructor of landscape architecture at Rutgers University, director at Rutgers Gardens and owner of Garden Architecture, a landscape design company.

Built to USGA specifications on two acres, the G2 bent grass putting surfaces are 30 feet to 110 feet long and range in size from 900 sq. ft to 2,400 sq. ft., covering a total of 25,000 sq. ft. “A number of the hole designs incorporate famous green contouring elements. There are design formations that take their cue from classic holes. Number 6 has elements of the Biarritz design, number 5 a Redan, number 10 Riviera, and number 16 Punch Bowl.” shared Design Associate Dave Fleury.

“Like anything done at Crystal Springs it was done very well and in a big way,” articulated Sparta.

Located adjacent to the Grand Cascades Lodge and the 52,000 sq. foot clubhouse in Vernon, NJ, the putting course will serve as an amenity for hotel guests, golf and social members. It is just across the road from a new , yet unnamed, par 36, 3700 yard, nine hole layout that will open in 2008. The new nine, designed by Roger Rulewich, will extend play at the Crystal Springs and Wild Turkey courses. Roger Rulewich also designed Wild Turkey and Ballyowen at Crystal Springs.

Playing time for the putting course is expected to be 45 minutes. Allow more time for wager and cocktails.

Established in 1996, The Roger Rulewich Group, a golf course design and construction firm is based in Bernardston, Massachusetts. Roger and the Group have provided design and construction services worldwide, on more than 170 courses. In addition to the current job at Crystal springs, their NJ work includes Ballyowen, Wild Turkey, Metedeconk, Panther Valley, and Springdale. Roger has also done Adare Manor, Ireland; Celtic Manor, Wales; Tuckers Point, Bermuda; and Valderrama, Spain; Roger Rulewich, chief architect and principal, spent 34 years as a design associate with Robert Trent Jones Sr, 21 as senior designer. The Rulewich team includes partner and design associate David Fleury; and Marshall Victor, President . For more information about The Roger Rulewich Group contact Dave Fleury at 800- 465-3668; or visit