Crane Creek Country Club’s members wanted to add some land to their course about 30 years ago, drew up the first plans for a major course renovation in 2000, acquired the land they needed in 2009 and finally completed the project this summer.
The $7 million project touched every hole on the golf course and added two new indoor tennis courts, but the biggest changes were on the back nine of the course that opened in 1963.
“It is the biggest change in the 50-year history of the club,” said Ben Hay, the chief operating officer of the club.
A par-4 and par-3, including the 10th hole, have been removed from the layout. The green on the par-5 12th has been moved significantly to the left, and the par-4 13th hole has been converted into a par-3.
Then with the 18 acres the club acquired, a new uphill par-4 and downhill par-5 have been added — Nos. 14 and 15. They are more open than the rest of the course, with nice views of the Foothills. Both holes feature water hazards on the right side, including one tight to the green on the 15th.
“This hole is exactly what the course did not have, a long par-5,” Crane Creek’s website says of the new 15th.
The tee has been moved to the left on the 16th, where the canyon is in play, and a trough was incorporated into the green on the 17th — a design based on the Biarritz, which dates to 1888 in France. The pond on the 18th hole was shifted to the left to make it easier to play around the water as a three-shot hole.
The renovation also included reworking every green on the course, replacing bunkers and upgrading cart paths, among other infrastructure improvements. The 10th hole was removed to make room for an expanded practice facility — which was the driving force behind the back-nine changes because the previous version required limited-flight balls and lacked adequate hitting space.
Some members left the club, unhappy with the changes that were coming, Hay said. But he’s proud that the core members stuck with the plan for so long.
“It’s just so much better than we thought it was going to be,” Hay said. “I’m pretty excited about it.”
The best opportunities for the general public to play the revamped course are in the annual pro-am (contact your course’s pro) and the four C’s tournament held each fall (2017 date TBA).