Valencia Country Club, a private membership club owned and operated by Arcis Golf, has re-opened its golf course following an extensive seven-month renovation.
The course, which opened in 1965, was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the recent renovation restores the layout’s classic design features. The LA Open (now The Genesis Open) was held at Valencia Country Club in 1998 and 1999.
The architectural firm of Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design worked closely with Arcis Golf’s construction and agronomy teams to restore Jones’ original intent and historic significance, reduce water use, and enhance the strategic options that were the centerpiece of Jones’ vision. Tees and many bunkers were renovated to improve conditioning and make the course more playable for a wider range of golfers. All turf except on the greens was replaced, reducing irrigation needs by 30%.
“These significant architectural changes to this revered course layout reflect our commitment to Valencia Country Club and its members,” Blake S. Walker, founder and CEO of Arcis Golf, said in a prepared statement. “Our focus and investment are on enhancing this club’s lifestyle through upgraded playing experiences, creative culinary programs, and additional member programming.”
All teeing grounds were renovated, leveled and reshaped as rectangles, creating a more classical design/play feel. Tees on all par 3s were enlarged to distribute wear and eliminate the need for fall overseeding. New forward tees were added on all holes to accommodate beginners and high handicappers, while the back tees were extended to accommodate and challenge all skill levels. The new tee boxes also allow for the creation of “hybrid” set-ups and more options for more golfers.
All sand bunkers were evaluated for their design and placement. Some bunkers were eliminated, others were repositioned, while others were added. The placement of new bunkers created new and different angles for tee shots and approaches into the greens. All bunkers were rebuilt, and new sand added.
Prior to embarking on the project, the agronomy team conducted a bunker study tour including Arcis Construction, the company’s internal golf course construction division; Jason Straka, principal of Fry/Straka; and Eric Ullrich, Valencia Country Club’s golf course superintendent. The group traveled throughout California to view bunker styles and design approaches from different decades, visiting such storied clubs as San Francisco Golf Club, Lake Merced, Cal Club, BelAir, and Riviera to find inspiration and gain new ideas.
“I firmly believe that the more you see and experience, the more ideas you gain,” Straka said. “In the case of Valencia Country Club and how this project turned out, these site visits undoubtedly made an impact. When golfers see the renovated course, they are going to be wowed.”
Arcis Golf assumed ownership of Valencia Country Club in 2014. Over the past few years, Arcis Golf has invested more than $90 million in upgrades, amenities, training and systems to maximize the growth and future success of its curated collection of lifestyle clubs.