Monday, November 24, 2008

Colligen Restores Tillinghast Course

(ARLINGTON, Texas) - The Municipal Golf Association San Antonio acquired the services of Colligan Golf Design for the restoration of Brackenridge Park Golf Course in September 2007. "Old Brack" was designed in 1915 by AW Tillinghast and is the first municipal course in Texas. In addition it became the original home of the Texas Open until the tournament was relocated in 1959.

As native Texans, John Colligan and design associate Trey Kemp felt added pressure to restore Brack to its original Tillinghast style. Golf course architect John Colligan stated, "If we do our job no one will know we were involved, they will think that Tilly has just finished the project."

Brack is the latest of CGD's historic renovations. Others include, Rockwood Golf Course a 1938 John Bredemus; Colonial Country Club a 1935 Perry Maxwell/John Bredemus collaboration; Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club a 1926 Alister Mackenzie/Perry Maxwell joint venture; and River Crest Country Club a 1911 Tom Bendelow course.

An original routing of the course with all the greens, tees and bunkers was found in the Brackenridge Clubhouse. Kemp scanned this layout and transposed it onto a 2007 aerial photo of the course. This was the beginning of what can be found on the 113.6 acre site today.

Colligan Golf Design presented two concepts to the MGA-SA, the first was the routing of the course as it was in 1915, and the other used a routing that had been changed in 1968 due to the construction of highway 281. The MGA-SA voted unanimously to take Brack back to its hay day.

Colligan and Kemp began the process of researching the many Tillinghast design characteristics in books, pictures and from Tillinghast courses they had visited. Once the documentation process was completed it provided an array of Tillies design features which were incorporated onto the original layout. These include greens with rectangular shapes, flat bottom sand bunkers with steep grass faces and fairway mowing patterns with traditional straight lines and a basic design philosophy as stated by Tillinghast, "He who plans any hole for golf, should have two aims: first to produce something which will provide a true test of the game, and then consider every conceivable way to make it as beautiful as possible. He should have in mind not only the skill and brawn of the golfers but their eyes as well."

Golfworks, the contractor, started the $4.5 million dollar project in January 2008 and completed it in July 2008. Slated to open in Mid October, Brackenridge is to be the lead horse for the Alamo Golf Trail, which will include the cities six other golf facilities.

Colligan Golf Design is contracted to assist with improvements on these courses now that Brack is complete. In the minds of Colligan and Kemp, San Antonio is the most historic city in Texas and Brackenridge is the most historic course. Their intention was to make the course a Tillinghast museum, a living museum that can be experienced and enjoyed by golfers from around the world.

Colligan Golf Design is a Golf Course Design Firm based in Arlington, Texas.

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