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Published on : Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Quivira Golf Club—the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course that opened to international acclaim two years ago—has committed to a renovation program designed to improve the playing experience and enjoyment for all players. Subtle tweaks and refinements at several holes have already been completed, with others scheduled to be finished next year.
Quivira clings to a spectacular site at the tip of the rugged Baja Peninsula where holes scale sheer granite cliffs, wind through huge windswept dunes, and play through rolling desert foothills. On such a diverse, gravity-defying site, there were bound to be a few holes, as Nicklaus himself indicated, where refinements would enhance playability.
“This is one of the great pieces of property in the world,” Nicklaus said during the grand opening in December 2014.
“We tried to create some excitement on the mountain and in the dunes, and I believe we’ve created a golf course that plays as spectacular as it looks.”
Work has already been completed on several holes, such as the dazzling par-three 13th, set atop a massive pinnacle of granite that rises over 100 feet from the surging sea, where the tiny green has been re-contoured to accommodate more pin positions and make it more receptive. In addition, while this petite hole calls for a do-or-die shot over an abyss, the bail-out area to the left of the putting surface has been retained.
At the 15th hole, a grand-scale par 5 that plays over a hill toward distant peaks, a modification was made to the central hazard that divides the fairway into upper and lower landing areas. “We made a risk-reward type of change to the sandy native area with the long hitter in mind,” said Antonio Reynante, the club’s director of golf. “The rear portion of the bunker has been smoothed out and grassed over, enabling bold players who hit a great drive to carry the hazard and find the left or right portion of the fairway.”
At the fifth hole, a stunning oceanfront par 4 275 feet above sea level—and one of the most talked-about holes on the course thanks to its position along sheer granite bluffs – “transition bunkers” on the downslope in front of the green were removed because, as Nicklaus said, “the hole is already tough enough.”
Looking ahead to 2017, the green at the par-3 ninth hole, which has a pronounced slope, will be “refloated,” with the front portion raised and the rear section lowered to create subtler contours and more pin positions.
Similarly, the two-tier green at the par-4 14th hole will be reshaped with a subtler transition from front to back. As well, the inside corner of the 14th fairway, which doglegs sharply to the right around a blow-out bunker, will be widened to give shorter hitters a better view of the target on their second shots.
Finally, the central sandy hazard at the uphill par-4 11th hole, which is routed along the top of a dune ridge and plays to a split fairway, will be modified so players are not unduly penalized on their tee shots.
The original drama and beauty of Quivira Golf Club have been left intact, while subtle revisions will result in a fairer test for golfers at all ability levels.