Columbia Country Club recognized for golf course design improvements

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | 6:12 p.m. CDT; updated 9:53 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The Columbia Country Club received the American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Award on Sept. 23. This award recognized the course's recent renovation, which included new sand traps and enhanced water features.

*Correction: This article originally identified Marc Whitney as an ASGCA member. Whitney is communications director at the ASGCA.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Country Club was one of 12 courses recognized this year by the American Society of Golf Course Architects for making improvements that required special problem-solving to address "unique design challenges."

The society's Design Excellence Recognition Program, founded in 2012, commends courses around the globe. According to the ASGCA website, the 2013 nominations were reviewed by a panel of industry leaders.

Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design, a firm based in Dublin, Ohio, began revamping the Columbia course in June 2012. 

Before the project, the course had been plagued by drainage issues for decades.

"Wherever water would go, it just stood around the golf course," said Brett Bieske, the club's general manager and director of golf.

The work among the course's staff, the designers and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to overcome those water challenges made Columbia's course stand out, ASGCA communications director Marc Whitney said.

Updates included new bunker sand and green complexes and a modernized irrigation system, Bieske said.

Architect Jason Straka spearheaded the operation, focusing his efforts on creating a more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing layout, according to a Fry/Straka news release.

"He moved one creek, added in another creek and put in a bio-retention pond," Bieske said. "Everything is created or functional from off property, onto our property, and exiting our property in a way that benefits the environment."

Located at 2210 Country Club Drive, the 9-hole course was constructed in 1921 by J.M. Watson, according to the club's website. In 1987, the club was expanded to a regulation 18-hole layout.

Supervising editor is Margaux Henquinet.

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