Nicklaus Design recently took the top two spots of the Private Club category of the Golf Inc. Renovation of the Year competition. The winner among private clubs was Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, which brought in Nicklaus to collaborate with Dr. Mike Hurdzan on the renovation work. Jack’s association with Scioto, beginning at age 10, is well-chronicled. The opportunity for him to restore the 1916 Donald Ross design to the prominence it enjoyed when it played host to five different major championships in its first 70 years was a labor of love well rewarded.
Another well-deserved honor went to Bear Lakes Country Club, which underwent a renovation and re-design of the Links Course by Jack and Design Associate Chris Cochran that has led to the layout being one of the most-talked-about course facelifts in and outside of South Florida.
Bear Lakes Country Club is one of South Florida’s premier private clubs and tournament-tested facilities. Bear Lakes has 525 members for its Links and Lakes courses, including 30 touring professionals and 168 single-digit-handicap players. Bear Lakes has a rich tradition of hosting tournaments, both on the amateur and professional level, including numerous U.S. Open qualifiers and several stages of PGA Tour Qualifying School, including the final stage twice. Even though more than a third of the members are highly skilled players, both courses are set up to be enjoyable golf experiences for players of all skill levels. The Lakes Course, which opened in 1985, was named by Golf Digest to its 2005 list of the nation’s “Top Private Club Remodels.” The Links Course first opened in 1988.
Scioto and Bear Lakes will be featured in a special story in the March edition of Golf Inc. magazine, and representatives of the clubs will be invited to attend the Golf Inc. Conference Awards Gala on April 21 at Doral Resort in Miami to receive appropriate recognition.
Judges for the competition were Michael Seabrook, director of operations for Bonita Bay Club; Clyde Johnston, golf course architect; and Allan MacCurrach III of MacCurrach Golf Construction.