“My feeling is that you have to sense the inner beauty and character of the course for the shot maker. He has to feel the golf right here in the stomach when he’s hitting the shots…and the outer beauty for those people who want to look at the scenery and the beautiful maintained parkland setting that SentryWorld is. We want to appeal to all those people.” – Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Three decades of consistent golf traffic paired with Mother Nature’s often unforgiving Midwestern climate took their toll on both the inner and outer beauty of SentryWorld. When Robert Trent Jones, Jr., SentryWorld’s original course architect returned to oversee the course’s renovation, he, along with co-project architect Bruce Charlton and on-site architect Jay Blasi all harnessed the opportunity to bring SentryWorld into the 21st century while still maintaining its parkland aesthetic, tradition and beauty.
A major component of modernizing the course meant making vital improvements and new additions to fundamental course features—both for form and for function.
COMPLETELY REBUILT BUNKERS
Each bunker on the course has been completely rebuilt in order to improve playability, access and drainage. Numerous bunkers that were out of play were eliminated or reduced in size, while others were shifted to relate better to the modern game. In addition to reshaping the bunkers, a bunker liner was also added. The Better Billy Bunker Method was used to ensure maximum drainage, minimize washouts, eliminate silt contamination and provide for the best bunker experience possible—if you just so happen to find yourself hitting out of one. Learn more about the Better Billy Bunker Method here.
STUNNING WHITE SAND
While every hole at SentryWorld was redesigned and all of the features rebuilt, there were certain elements of the original design that the architects aimed to preserve in the new layout. Bunkers with high flashes and visibility fell into that category. To work with the flat landscape, the original layout featured high sand flashes that allowed players to see each of the hazards. The recrafted bunkers have a similar feel. To enhance the bunker visuals, truckloads of stunning white sand were brought in from Ohio to maximize the beauty and contrast of each bunker placement. “Adding the white sand to the bunkers gives golfers a sense of the third dimension,” noted Blasi. “It provides a wonderful contrast to the deep green rough and bright green fairways so golfers can plan their attack of each hole.”
UPGRADED GRASSES AND GREENS
A course is only as good as its grasses. With three decades of developments in turf and turf grass maintenance practices, SentryWorld has invested in leading-edge grasses that are more disease resistant and designed for today’s green speeds. Fairways and tees have been seeded with Memorial bentgrass, a newer variety of bentgrass ideal for the Midwestern climate. Greens and green surrounds will feature 007 bentgrass, allowing for faster green speeds and a variety of shots around the greens, as it performs best when mowed tight. While the greens were seeded, the surrounds were sodded with grass harvested in New Jersey. Finally, the roughs have been sodded with a hearty, local bluegrass. “We needed to update the course’s grasses and greens to challenge and create enjoyment for all the golfers who have loved SentryWorld since it was first built, along with those that have yet to experience this Midwestern gem,” said Charlton.Check out all these features and more for yourself when SentryWorld reopens late summer 2014.