Centreville, Mich., course gets architectural redesign to meet customer demands of decreasing time, cost and difficulty of play. Five-, seven- and 12-hole routings are now offered.
Island Hill Golf Club’s new owner has teamed up with an architect to redesign the Centreville, Mich., course.
Owner Bob Griffioen hired architect Ray Hearn two years ago to follow through on intentions to grow the game and make it more attractive to people. They looked to add new routings for five, seven and 12 holes.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric about growing the game and making it more attractive to people to bring them back to the game—but Island Hills is doing much more than talking about it,” said Hearn.
Hearn created a five-hole short course for beginners and individuals without the time for a full round. In addition, he made two seven-hole routings and a 12-hole “Premier” loop that incorporates six holes from each side. In devising the new configurations, Hearn strived to make sure the shorter routings would still rival the 18-hole experience.
After the ideal course is designed, Griffioen is making sure the course is properly coordinated.
“We are not going to put a group of golfers playing seven holes out in the middle of a weekend day in which the course is already filled with golfers playing 18 holes,” Griffioen says.
“We are going to get this right,” he added. “We have new cart and walking paths being created, and signs will be posted to communicate to the golfer and lessen confusion. We’re committed to it. We want feedback because we want to make it right.”
The course now includes six sets of tees that include new positions, which give golfers options.
“Island Hills wants the golfer to feel it was a great 12-hole, seven-hole or even five-hole experience when they are finished, in really the same way they do an 18-hole round at Island Hills,” Superintendent Joe Jehnsen said.
By removing time, cost and difficulty impediments, Griffioen said the goal is to grow the customer base. The course will also have special scorecards for each separate layout.
“The golfer will not have to take one of our 18-hole scorecards and try to figure out where to go,” Griffioen says. “That would defeat the purpose. We are taking away the time element. Play the amount of time you have by picking the course you want to play, and know it will be a very organized and great round that will feel complete in the end.”