Faldo in Revelstoke — The Rock Revisited?

Following the news that the Sorenstam/McBroom course may be stopping, I found the following press

All Skinny Jeans and Adidas Shoes: Faldo at Revelstoke

All Skinny Jeans and Adidas Shoes: Faldo at Revelstoke

release on Nick Faldo’s new design in Revelstoke — again the interior of BC — to be intriguing:

Revelstoke, B.C., August 14, 2008 ” Nick Faldo, the British golfer and captain of the 2008 European Ryder Cup Team, will design an 18-hole resort golf course to open in summer 2011 at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. With more than 40 tournament victories, six Major wins and a record 11 Ryder Cup appearances, Nick Faldo is Britains most successful golfer.

Don’t tell that to Harry Vardon!

Revelstoke Mountain Resort will offer a golfing experience that combines breathtaking views with engaging and tactical golf, says Nick Faldo. Set amidst towering trees and meandering creeks, the course will incorporate strategic features that take full advantage of the varied terrain and natural characteristics of the site.

“Engaging and tactical?” What about “narrow and unplayable,” like The Rock in Muskoka? Explain again why anyone hires this guy to design courses? Oh yeah, they are trying to attract those from the UK who are intrigued by smarmy former Masters champs. Now that’s a big potential audience.

Opening last winter to international acclaim, Revelstoke Mountain Resort now offers the longest lift-serviced vertical descent in North America at 5,620 feet. In addition, Hawkair Aviation begins scheduled service four times a week between Calgary and Revelstoke this December.

The Revelstoke Mountain Resort course will sit at the base of the mountain adjacent to the village base and the Nelsen Lodge condominiums. Offering spectacular views of the Columbia River and the Monashee Mountains, the valley location will ensure a long playing season from mid-April to October. Crews will break ground in spring 2009.

Spectacular views, but no comment on the quality of the golf — as it should be.

The development of the resorts golf course will take the resort from an exceptional winter experience to the ultimate year-round recreational destination, says Paul Skelton, president of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. We have created a pure skiing and riding experience that has captured the worlds attention. With Nick Faldos understanding of golf and his record for excellence, we will deliver that level of excitement on the golf course.

This ski season, the first of three buildings in Nelsen Lodge will open with 59 condo units, ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms; it will be managed by Boutique Hotels and Resorts of British Columbia. By 2009 there will be over 200 condos in Nelsen Lodge plus 24 townhomes and 50 single family lots, some with private helicopter landing pads.

The $1 billion, four-season Revelstoke Mountain Resort is expected to be completed over 15 years and include over 5,500 new housing units comprising top-tier luxury hotels, townhomes and single family homes, along with more than 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

Gotta love a press release about a new course that talks about the winter skiing, the real estate, and the hotel, but offers only a couple of paragraphs on the golf. And what is this about Faldo’s “understanding of golf and his record of excellence?” What about the commitment he brings to only showing up on site for the media day and the commitment to owners who then have to close his crappy course to rebuild it? Anyone?

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  • The Fortress course that Faldo is designing near Louisburg, Nova Scotia has got me wondering as well………I was on the website and it is located nowhere near the coast. Just what golfers want to do is play another course through the woods in the maritimes………….I could play any course in Ontario through the woods and save myself the 16 hour drive…….Unbelievable……….

  • This is my example of BC getting all these high profile, great view, craptacular courses.

    BC is full of varied natural wonder, but nobody hires Doak or Coore. Couples, Faldo, Norman, Furber, Player. It’s like boiling tenderloin.

  • Funny RT, you continue to bash The Rock, yet you still have not made an effort to come and experience the changes?? Faldo and his team did a great job with the refinements at The Rock, but you still say “Engaging and tactical?” What about “narrow and unplayable,” like The Rock in Muskoka” I don’t think that’s fair and I think your readers should know that you still have not come out to see what we have done here, even after numerous invitations…If you are going to speak/write about something, I would assume that you would be knowledgable and educated about your topics.
    Greg Downer
    Director of Golf
    The Rock Golf Club

  • Greg: You’re right, I haven’t been up to see the “new and improved” version. And you’ve been very kind in extending invites. I’ll do my best to try to get up in the next month — my schedule has not permited any visits to Muskoka, not just your course.

    My remarks are based on Faldo’s initial design for the course with Brit Stenson, not on the reworked model. Would one hire an architect whose work has to be completely overhauled to work for the public market? I think that’s a valid question — and not necessarily a reflection on the current state of your golf course.

  • Greg. What changes were made? Played there a few years ago and enjoyed my round there. It was tight in spots, but still fun.

  • Phil – I forgot about that one. I have faith in DMK – Tetherow looks good. Is that project still in planning or have they broken ground?

  • Tighthead: “It’s like boiling tenderloin.” Well said and appropriate. Prior to choosing Rod Whitman’s skills for Sagebrush, I had talked to both Doak and Crenshaw and had Doak’s man Jim Urbina up do a routing for us. It was Crenshaw who convinced me to go with Whitman. Your point is bang on. You can also put Gil Hanse into the mix with Doak and C&C too. Your point should be accepted across Canada for that matter. I have always wondered why developers in Ontario, in the past, default to the “boiling tenderloin” position that you make. There work is a night and day difference.

  • Richard – thank you for the kind words.

    I am a short drive from Union Bay and the Hanse project needs to start tomorrow.

    The Canadian market is peculiar, I suggest. The majority of avid golfers have never heard of the likes of Sand Hills or Ballyneal, and are drawn to the “name” designers.

    Hope your project comes out just a shade beyond rare, with appropriate minimalist seasonings.

  • Zokol. I beg to differ that the Ontario guys like Doug Carrick and Tom McBroom are like ‘boiling tenderloin’. Doug has done some really good work in a style that was relatively new when he introduced it. He continues to evolve. Tell me the last time he did a mediocre course. As for Tom, the guy did wonders in Muskoka (Shield country with woodland/lakes) and frankly I don’t know of any others who did what he did when he did on that time of land.

    Sure there are guys out there now like Doak, C&C that are getting a lot of hype south of the border. Whitman has done some courses in Canada and I don’t think you’d find many people who have a problem with them, but to indicate he’s a master while the others are mediocre just would be fair or accurate.

  • tighthead,

    from all accounts, Kidd et al. broke ground awhile ago at Fernie.

    Has Gil started at UB yet? Anyone?

    and, how does Mike Weir fit in?

  • Weir has been rumoured to do a project at Predator Ridge.

    I gather Hanse starts in the spring.

    With the housing market softening, all of these projects may move slower, if at all. Maple Bay (Norman) has crashed and I hear nothing of Nicklaus’ project at Ucluelet.

  • Tighthead:
    I can assure you, Sagebrush‘s design and playability will be unlike anything else in Canada.
    IMO, C&C, Doak/Urbina, Hanse, Whitman distinguished themselves apart from other modern day designers. Their work has been “inspirational”. I don’t think that can be said about others. I would say those you mention do fine work, a little too typical or cookie-cutter for my taste. It’s fair that boiling tenderloin is too strong.

  • The Union Bay course has started clearing some areas but Kensington Island Properties has decided to change the routing of the course.

    I am not going to get to excited about this course until I see where the houses, condos, hotel and other parts of the development will be situated. I’ll also be interested in seeing how they deal with crossing a Highway and a railway.

    The Comox Valley already has one craptacular housing development course and there are currently at least 3 more in works. Hopefully one of them will at least not feel like your golfing in someone’s backyard.

  • Bear – the Map on Shackelford’s site suggests there will be a central village with most or all of the housing. We shall see.

    At the very least, Hanse et al will do a better job of working with the land than Furber. These guys are not into McDesign. I gather the routing of the course was changed as the geotechs said that no buildings could be built along the water – more golf on the low side as a result.

    I suspect they will tunnel under the highway. As for the RR, not a big concern if it is only the Via traffic.

    Right now, I think this is the only project on the Island to get excited about. If the Cliffs and Wyndandsea never come to fruition, so be it.

  • Tighthead.
    I am not surprised that they have had to modify the plan to eliminate housing on the old slag. I was kind of surprised that they even thought of building there.

    I think it is the video that showed the shopping centre/ condos down by where the current boat launch is. I have doubts as to where all the housing is going though. It is a huge site at over 800 acres to be developed and I have seen very few golf courses/ residential developments that I have liked.

    A tunnel under might be the only way to do it and yes as it stands the railway isn’t much of a problem with its maximum of two trains a day. It has been proposed to turn the old rail line into a bike/ hiking path. I would imagine it is just a matter of time until that happens.

    Currently up here in the Valley there are 4 courses and somewhere in the neighbourhood 4,000 acres of housing/ hotels/ schools in the planning and development stage… Yikes!
    Seems that down island is full and everybody is heading north and more than doubling our population in a really short time. Not good.

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