“As Jack Nicklaus stood on this property, and looked at the gently rolling hills with its pines and hardwoods, its creeks, ponds and nature preserves, he said, ‘It’s as if it was always meant to be the home of a great golf course,’” Graham remembers. “Jack shared and appreciated the inherent beauty of the land, and had a plan to maximize and preserve it.
“I told him we wanted the architecture and old-world themed amenities emulating traditional English and Scottish manors—something that looked like it had been here forever,” continues Graham.
It was a natural for Nicklaus, who said it reminded him of Muirfield, which he had designed in his hometown of Dublin, Ohio, the site of the famous PGA Memorial Tournament, echoings old stone walls and Irish-themed landscaping.
Graham worked closely with Nicklaus as he personally designed the course, and supervised the building of it every step of the way. “The process is incredibly involved; everyone sees the surface result, but what is necessary to make a golf course functional is literally buried,” explains Graham.
“Each green also has its own separate remote-controlled mister system to cool it during hot weather conditions. There are over 1,500 sprinkler heads that are individually controlled and a sub-air system that functions as a giant shop-vac, to pull moisture out of the green.
“Jack is very specific about what it takes for proper play conditions and proper course health, and what goes on beneath the surface is a huge component of that,” Graham comments, appreciative of Nicklaus’ strict course specifications.
“Working with the natural topography of a great piece of land, he designed a world-class golf course,” Graham says, nodding. “Jack Nicklaus is a great in the golf world and a great friend. We could not have worked with anyone better.”
Graham credits course director and longtime friend, Ray Avery, for overseeing the details of construction and the ultimate quality of the course today.