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NCGA Noteworthy


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Poppy Hills Update— Play Before We Say


Goodbye The best golf value in the Del Monte Forest is still open for play, as Poppy Hills has tee times available through February. Look for members-only daily specials to play the home of amateur golf in Northern California for as little as $40. Bring your


POPPY HILLS RENOVATION UPDATE Robert Trent Jones II


President and Chief Design Offi cer Bruce Charlton presented his latest renova- tion plans to the Poppy Holding board in Novem- ber, unveiling a Poppy Hills with links fl are, naturalized waste areas, unearthed creeks, gentler contouring and fi rmer fairways and run-ups to greens. Robert Trent Jones Jr.


originally built Poppy Hills in 1986, and recently opened his crowned jewel Chambers Bay—the site of the 2015 U.S. Open that is nestled against the Puget Sound in Washington. Robert Trent Jones II


will craft Poppy Hills with some of the same principles used in creating Chambers Bay, thanks to the process of sand capping, which will improve drainage dra-


20 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2013


Bay philosophies to Poppy Hills,” Charlton said. “We’re going to have a fi rmer and faster condition, and the ball is going to be able to release. At Chambers Bay, there are several greens with certain hole locations, you actually want to hit it outside the green to get it close. There’s some of that we can see doing here.” Many of the fairways at


Poppy Hills will bank and bleed into the greens, which will feature larger entrance points where the ball can be played on the ground and away from trouble. The greens will be less


contoured than currently constructed, featuring tilts and slopes instead of decks and steep tiers.


matically and increase the fi rmness of the course. “We can bring Chambers


“We’re taking the music


from a 9-9.5 in terms of contours, and we’re turning it down to about a 6,” Charlton said. “You’ve got the same great music, same pockets of hole locations, we’re just softening the transitions and making it fl ow better.” Along with softening


both the contours in the fairway and the sharpness of the doglegs at Poppy Hills, many greens will also be dropped several feet to fi t the natural grade of the land—instead of sitting at false elevations. “Poppy Hills feels like


it was built on top of the land,” Charlton said. “We want it to feel like it sits into the land.” While wider fairways


and less rough will make the course more playable, Poppy Hills will still have


friends and enjoy championship golf at Poppy Hills for a few more weeks before it closes for renovation, as deals are available for NCGA


members, guests and the public.


an element of danger by re-introducing its natural hazards, whether that’s by pushing the seventh green closer to a steep slope, unearthing a creek to border the ninth green, or extend- ing the right edge of the 17th green to the ravine. “We want to give you a


dramatic edge, and a place to bail,” Charlton said. Poppy Hills is still open


for play as a par 72. When it reopens in early 2014, it will play as a par 71, thanks to the 12th hole converting to a straightaway par 4.


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