|Todd Eckenrode – Origins Golf Design has successfully completed Phase I of an impressive golf course renovation at Barona Creek Golf Club. The course, which is owned by the Barona Band of Mission Indians is an integral part of the Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside, CA. This nationally ranked course has a fresh look emerging with improvements to the back nine greens, surrounds and bunkers.
This year’s work at Barona Creek focused exclusively on the back nine, as we completed the renovation of the greens and greenside bunkers.”
The greens were cored out to follow the original construction and built back up to the previous contours. Concisely mapped with GreenScan technology prior to demolition, the contractor was able to restore them to nearly the exact contouring when reconstructing the green.
During construction it was discovered that most of the bunkers exhibited a lot of sand build-up on the edges due to 20+ years of sand splash from bunker shots and the top-dressing program. The greens renovation was more directed to the age, functionality and maintainability of the greens with minimal work done to change contours or original size. The bunkers were primarily replicated to the prior design and edging, but there were also detrimental effects due to two decades of play with poor ingress/egress and sand splash build-up from golfers’ shots.
Over the years, almost all perimeters of the greens had shrunk on average about five or six feet. This, coupled with the steeper tie-ins from the bunker build-up, reduced potential pin placements. The green expansion allowed the design team to regain some of the wing hole locations.
This renovation is a unique and somewhat of a cathartic experience for Eckenrode, as he returns to work on a course in which he started construction as the Senior Designer for Gary Roger Baird Design International over 20 years ago.
Since its opening Barona Creek Golf Club has consistently ranked amongst California’s top golf courses. GolfWeek ranked it in the Top 100 Modern Courses, Top 20 Resort Courses in the U.S. and #4 ranked Public Course in California. Golf Digest ranked Barona Creek in the Top 5 Casino Courses in the U.S. and Travel & Leisure Magazine ranked it in the Top 100 Public Courses in the U.S. Sports Illustrated said Barona Creek is “Very well designed…a must play.” Further, it received the 1st Audubon International Signature Sanctuary Certification in Southern California. Through this strategic renovation, all involved are confident that Barona Creek’s luster is now more grand than ever.
“We couldn’t be happier with the work of Todd Eckenrode and his design team,” said Barona Creek Golf Club Director of Golf Don King. “Since the reopening in June we have received all positive accolades from golfers playing the course.”
Construction work on Barona Creek has been conducted by Earth Sculptures Golf Course Renovation & Construction, who’ve worked with Eckenrode on other renovation projects such as Quail Lodge Golf Club and Orinda Country Club. Barona Creek’s Course Superintendent Sandy Clark, CGCS, and Assistant Superintendent Dennis Orsborne have been intimately involved with the project.
“As we’ve expressed to the Barona Tribal leaders and Barona Creek management team, we don’t take this project lightly and are extremely excited as the improvements come to fruition,” shared Eckenrode. “Soon we will be starting construction drawings on Phase II, the front nine and we are confident the golfer’s experience will be enhanced even more with the completion.”
Phase II is slated to commence in January 2020.