A ball that used to hang up in the rough next to a green rolls down into a newly relevant greenside bunker.
A reintroduced corner hole location on an expanded green ends a new look to a previously mundane shot.
New, firm turf lets a golfer bounce a ball up to the putting surface.
A bunker that used to be a boring oval now has some distinctive edging and makes its home hole look twice as attractive.
Trees that used to overhang a green and rob it of valuable sunlight give way to better grass coverage.
Expanded par-3 tee boxes that used to be chewed up from divots because they were too small for the amount of regular play are now pristine, given enough time to heal as the markers are moved around.
These small efforts may not be as sexy as splashy new golf course announcements, but they add up to valuable improvements at scores of golf courses every year. A bunker project here, a greens expansion effort there and suddenly, courses that most golfers would describe as no better than "fine" or "decent" are inspiring a deeper look.
Golf course renovations and restorations continue to improve the average quality of golf course across the country and wider world. And with the game experiencing an impressive surge in interest over the past couple of years, these efforts will affect more golfers' enjoyment of the game than ever before. Whether they amount to subtle touch-ups or transformative overhauls, they enable architects to showcase their talents while the rest of us get to have the fun of interacting with them.
Here are 22 golf course renovations to be aware of in 2022:
Noteworthy private golf club renovations
Wannamoisett Country Club
This compact, par-69 Donald Ross gem is in the midst of a restoration by architect Andrew Green, whose work at other big-time Ross courses like Oak Hill East in New York and Inverness in Ohio has won him acclaim as one of the best architects in the business.
BallenIsles Country Club (East)
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
This upscale South Florida community has invested millions into its clubhouse and South and North courses over the past decade. Now, they've conscripted Nicklaus Design to renovate the East Course, which where the Golden Bear won the 1971 PGA Championship. The work will commence in April and the course is expected to reopen in December.
Las Vegas, Nev.
The host of the PGA Tour's annual Shriners Children's Open is getting a fresh coat of Bermuda turf this year. The course will close April 15 and will receive brand-new Bandera Bermuda fairways and the amusingly named Dominator strain of bentgrass on its greens. The Bobby Weed design will open back up in time to welcome the pros back to Sin City in early October.
Union League National Golf Club
Architects Dana Fry and Jason Straka have spent the better part of two years totally remaking the landscape at the former Sand Barrens Golf Club in southern New Jersey. Huge expanses of sand and wispy grass call to mind nearby Pine Valley Golf Club, while the dramatic shaping - 600,000 cubic yards' worth - amid otherwise fairly flat surrounding terrain invoke another masterpiece of Fry's with former partner Michael Hurdzan: Calusa Pines in Naples, Fla. The three nines here are named after Union generals from the Civil War: Grant, Meade, Sherman. All 27 holes are expected to be open this summer.
The Riverton Country Club
Just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Tyler Rae is putting the finishing touches on a 1915 Donald Ross original. Unlike most historic restoration efforts, this one has a complete and detailed set of Ross' original plans for Rae's team to work off of.
LuLu Country Club
This is another early Ross (1919) where Rae is working his magic. The touch here will be lighter: a bunker renovation with 1930s aerials serving as a guide. LuLu has some particularly bold features, which should only be enhanced by this year's project.
Belleair Country Club (West)
Current ASGCA president Jason Straka is leading restoration at this club, Florida's oldest, with two courses linked to Donald Ross. The West Course will have a spectacular new par 3 built alongside Clearwater Bay.
Eugene Country Club
Tim Jackson and David Kahn have been making their way through this recent NCAA Championship host course piecemeal, closing three holes at a time in order to refine and update Robert Trent Jones, Sr.'s 1966 design here.
Lake Merced Golf Club
Daly City, Calif.
Among many high-profile current projects for Gil Hanse and his team, this restoration is particularly exciting, as it presents the opportunity to revive the work of Alister MacKenzie by peeling back heavy layers of prior renovation by other architects. It is expected to open by the end of 2022, which is the club's centenary year.
The International Golf Club (Oaks)
With Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw preparing to totally reimagine the Pines Course at this 36-hole club outside of Boston, 2022 will mark the first full season for members to enjoy the new-look Oaks, a 2001 Tom Fazio design that architect Tripp Davis renovated over the course of 2020 and 2021.
Westchester Hills Golf Club
White Plains, N.Y.
Originally laid out 108 years ago, this club north of New York City is in the midst of a significant redesign led by Rees Jones, which is expected to be ready for play this summer.
These resort and destination courses will be freshening up in 2022
Woodlake Country Club
This former club and resort 25 minutes east of Pinehurst has had a checkered recent past, but new ownership is righting the ship in part by having brought in architect Kris Spence to resurrect its Ellis Maples golf course, which closed several years ago and whose unique routing is one of the Donald Ross protege's best. Once it opens this fall, it will be yet another unique option for Sandhills-bound golfers.
Waynesville Inn & Golf Club
Bobby Weed continues to produce a steady stream of interesting work, particularly near his home territory of northeast Florida. But his next project brings him to the North Carolina mountains, where he is taking a tired and cramped 27-holer with Donald Ross bones and condensing it to 18 holes worthy of their picturesque setting. It's a combination of renovation and original design.
Abbey Springs Golf Club
Abbey Springs, Wisc.
This semi-private course near Lake Geneva is set to reopen for the 2022 golf season after a comprehensive bunkering and greens renovation. After mapping the previous putting surfaces and finding a paucity of pinnable areas, architects Bob Lohmann and Todd Quitno rebuilt all but two of them to provide increased hole locations for the membership and visitors.
This popular northern-Minnesota staple is in the midst of a comprehensive renovation of its entire golf portfolio, including incorporating a new nine holes into the mix while adding a real estate development. Tom Lehman's Lehman Design Group is on board for the whole project, which will ultimately yield a revised 27-hole Dutch Legacy course and an 18-hole Lehman Legacy routing. All 18 holes of the latter should be open by the fall, along with most of the 27-holer. The last of those three nines will be back in the rotation by Spring 2023.
BOYNE Golf (The Highlands at Harbor Springs - Moor Course)
Harbor Springs, Mich.
This multi-location complex comprises 10 courses across Northern Michigan, and multiple courses have been improving of late. On tap for 2022, fairway and green expansions at the Moor, overseen by architect Raymond Hearn. Hearn will be adding an average of 3,500 square feet of fairway-length grass around greens to give golfers more short-game shot options.
Seven Oaks Golf Club
Colgate University's golf course is one of the best in the portfolio of midcentury master Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (Gene Sarazen was also involved in the 1930s). Architect Jim Nagle of Forse Design has been renovating the course in order to elevate it to the upper echelon of collegiate golf courses once again.
The 'Munaissance' continues at these publicly-owned layouts
Kickingbird Golf Club
Closed since last June, this muni is in the midst of a $17 million renovation project that includes the redesign of two holes, all-new greens, tee and bunker improvements courtesy of architect Matt Dusenberry, as well as several infrastructure upgrades. With an estimated 14-16-month timeline for the whole project, the new Kickingbird should debut in the second half of 2022.
Pinon Hills Golf Course
Heralded as one of America's best municipal courses since it opened in 1989, this Ken Dye design is getting a new irrigation system for the first time in its history. The replacement should take about three months, during which time all of the course's bunkers will be replaced using the Better Billy construction method. Both projects should ensure another 30-plus years of excellence in the desert.
Corica Park (North Course)
This municipal facility is in the midst of Phase 2 of a major makeover. Phase 1 comprised the total redesign of its South Course, which opened to acclaim in 2018 thanks to work from Rees Jones. The shorter North Course has received its own treatment in the form of a linksy refresh courtesy of Australian architect and builder Marc Logan. The first nine opened for limited play last year and the back should reopen later this year.
Overton Park Golf Course
As their hotly-anticipated Landmand Golf Club gets ready to open in eastern Nebraska, Rob Collins and Tad King await the results of their labors at this 9-hole Memphis muni, where initial expectations of a fall '21 reopening were pushed to the spring of 2022 in order to let the turf become more established.
Glenway Golf Course
This 9-hole city-park course has gotten a full tune-up thanks to the largesse of local resident Michael Keiser, Jr. (son of Bandon Dunes developer Mike), who operates Sand Valley Golf Resort 100 miles north with his brother, Chris. Michael donated the funds to renovate the course from an also-ran into an all-out fun layout focused on intriguing green complexes that should entertain all levels of player, as well as serving as valuable green space for the community.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Is a course you like being renovated or restored this year? Tell us about it below.