DUBLIN, Ohio -- Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, a partnership with worldwide reach in award-winning golf-course design, announces a highly successful reopening of the golf course at Columbia Country Club, in Columbia, Mo. Columbia Country Club, a private club managed by Dallas-based Eagle Golf, reopened July 27 to rave reviews by its membership.
"The comments by the membership and guests of the club have been incredibly complimentary," said Jason Straka, a Fry/Straka principal who oversaw the project. "If they enjoy the course now, they will fall in love with it as it matures over the next few years."
Ten holes were rebuilt or rerouted, and the remaining eight holes and the practice facility were renovated. In addition, 2,000 feet of Army Corps of Engineers jurisdictional stream were restored on two holes, adding to the environmental benefits of the renovated golf course.
Since the course reopened, Columbia Country Club has increased its membership by nearly 10 percent. On Aug. 3 it hosted the first round of play for the inaugural Columbia Women's City Golf Championship, where a new women's course record of 72 was set.
"You can get a risk-reward shot or you can play it safe - nearly everyone says the redesigned course is beautiful and extremely fair," said Brett Bieske, PGA, general manager and director of golf at Columbia Country Club. "It now has the look and feel of a Lake-of-the-Ozarks course."
Enhanced aesthetics and playability were two central goals of the redesign project, both of which were achieved in great measure. Among the many changes were the removal of a number of trees and invasive vegetation, which previously had restricted imaginative and challenging shot making on certain holes. The resultant new vistas opened up the par-71 course in many spots to views of Hinkson Creek and several of its tributaries, creating a new element of visual beauty and aesthetic pleasure for players. In addition, some new tees were added and some tee boxes redesigned, providing greater playing enjoyment and scoring potential.
A number of challenging factors required consideration as Straka drew up plans for the redesign. The course is landlocked by surrounding development roads, freeways and an abandoned Missouri Department of Transportation site. It also is bisected by a small river, which courses through a deep ravine. As the golf course originally was built in the 1920s, the property on which it is situated is quite small. Over the past few years, a resurgence in commercial development along the course's southeastern boundary began. Municipal decisions, such as a new freeway exit, a new bridge spanning the river and a new access road, directly impacted the golf course, taking out a portion of three holes. Consequently, all of the back nine holes had to be redesigned and some holes completely relocated in order to keep the overall yardage. The rebuilt holes feature significantly-improved drainage, irrigation, turf-growing conditions, aesthetics and playability.
The new golf holes are a bit wider and more playable than the old holes, yet shots into the greens can be demanding. The course now ranges from 4,702 yards from the forward tees to 6,527 yards from the back tees. State-of-the art construction led to more disease- and drought-tolerant greens, which now drain well and can withstand the transition zone's heat and summer stresses while still providing excellent playing conditions. Stilling pools were created throughout the streams to control sedimentation, and hundreds of native riparian plants were installed along the streams.
The overall result of the redesign work is a spectacular renovation showcasing the environmental attributes and natural beauty of Columbia Country Club.
About Columbia Country Club
Columbia Country Club sits on 120 acres nestled directly across from the Stephens College stables, on Old Highway 63. Open since 1921, it long has been considered "The Original Club," the first private golf club in Columbia, Mo. With the original nine holes designed by J.M Waston in 1921 and the back nine by Larry Packard in 1987, the golf course captivates players from beginning to end. The beauty and classic layout of the course features heavily-wooded fairways along the meandering Hinkson Creek. Having hosted legendary PGA Tour Professionals such as Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, Columbia Country Club is a premier course with a rich history.
About Eagle Golf
Eagle Golf has been in operation for more than 28 years. The company provides a full suite of golf-course management and construction-management services to more than 30 golf courses located in major metropolitan areas in seven states. Eagle Golf's portfolio includes seven private country clubs and 23 properties classified as premium or moderately-priced daily-fee courses. More than three million rounds of golf are played at Eagle Golf courses each year, making up almost one percent of the total rounds played in the United States annually. More information can be found at www.eaglegolf.com.
About Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design
Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design is a partnership with worldwide reach in award-winning golf-course design. Golf-course architects Dana Fry and Jason Straka, after having worked together for nearly 20 years, formed their partnership in 2012, continuing to bring their collective design experience, talent and renowned client dedication to their venture.
Although the pair collaborates on all projects, it is not uncommon for the partners to be traveling on opposite sides of the world so they can serve their global clientele with ease, efficiency and the utmost in professional dedication. In addition, the company has a diversified staff of associates - speaking a combined six languages - based in Lisbon, Portugal; Milan, Italy; Beijing, China; Porto Alegre, Brazil; and dispersed around the world. Thus Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design can service any job, anywhere in the world, with the highest of standards and a consummate commitment to excellence.
For more information, see www.frystraka.com.
Sally J. Sportsman