As documented in previous posts on this website, Morris Williams is about to undergo renovation. In preparation for that activity the staff at the city, led by Kevin Gomillion have been proactively talking with some of the local players and course designers around town to discuss some of the contemplated changes to the course and exchange ideas on how the course could be improved.
Some of the players and designers consulted include Lester Lundell, Billy Clagett, Jep Willie, Mike Allen and Tom Kite. There were many others. Having participated in a walk through of the entire course with Gomillion and spoken with several of the other people Gomillion has consulted, the general feeling is that the approach the city is taking is proactive and inclusive.
Gomillion and his staff will have to make decisions about which ideas floated by those consulted will actually be implemented and as is normal in golf course design, decisions will evolve as the actual work takes place.
The general nature of the ideas expressed include some of the following: Reshaping of greens to generally to improve contours that have changed since the original course construction in 1964 due to settling of turf and the buildup of sand exploded out of bunkers; adding some mounding where appropriate to improve drainage and improve fairway definition, expansion of the green sizes to recapture space lost over time from letting the fringe incrementally condense the green surfaces, recontouring of some greens to improve their ability to receive shots and eliminate contours that run away from players on approach shots; leveling and consolidating some of the tee boxes; moving some of the tee boxes to add length and improve lines of sight; improving some of the soil erosion issues like the area between the right of 16 fairway and 17 fairway; replanting the fairways with better grass and re-routing some of the cart paths to improve playability and improve safety. Because of the expense and bureacracy involved in environmental issues, the bridges at number 3, 7, and 11 will not be altered.
After these conversations players expressed a sense of excitement about the improvements and a sense of support for the city's ability to make the course better than it is. Of course, choice means some ideas will be adopted and others will not due to budget issues or design considerations so there will inevitably be second guessing that takes place. When it is all said and done, the renovation will be a significant improvement and golfers will enjoy playing the course.