Thursday, April 17, 2014
Continuing Impact of Pete Dye on Golf Course Restoration
By CW Canfield, Director of Golf
We are currently in our seventh month of construction on the golf course. An historic milestone for The Ford Plantation was reached on February 11, 2014, as Mr. Dye sketched the sixth green complex in the dirt beside Lake Sterling. With this specific direction, the refinement of all 18 greens complexes is complete. In total, Mr. Dye has inspected the construction progress and provided the direction needed to deliver a spectacular playing experience. We are witnessing a true legend at work!
Mr. Dye’s involvement has surpassed our expectations. To our knowledge, he has not redesigned one of his original courses to this extent. Over the years, he has tweaked prior designs, but has not dramatically changed the routing as he has at Ford. The importance of having the only living World Golf Hall of Fame architect redesigning one of his original works of art cannot be underestimated.
One must return to the Golden Age of architecture to truly appreciate what Mr. Dye is creating. Courses designed from the turn of the 20th century until the mid–1930s are often considered the best golf course designs. Mr. Dye has expressed that his work has been influenced by many of these famed architects. His green complexes at Ford are reminiscent of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor, as they are properly angled with bunkers guarding the aggressive line of play. A golf ball hit to the opposite side of the green will likely encounter only slopes and mounds, thus allowing a less difficult chip to the hole.
We can also see the influence of Alister MacKenzie on our greens, as the contour from the approach or surround often continues onto the putting surface. This will make the greens more interesting and provide slope to move the ball to certain pin locations. Donald Ross’ signature style is apparent as Mr. Dye gives us wide landing areas off the tee and fairways that switch back to the prudent approach angle to the green.
These design features will provide interest and enjoyment for many generations to come. What becomes fascinating is the fact that while these famous architects are individually known for one or two design abstractions, Mr. Dye is able to incorporate multiple historic concepts and features into his projects. Ford Plantation Club members are the beneficiaries of this influence, as every hole reflects ideas from the Golden Age. With the current attention to architectural detail, our golf course will quite possibly become an instant classic upon opening.
As these features come to life, I look forward to explaining the significance and how to properly navigate once open for play.
In the photo, Pete Dye (center), the only living World Golf Hall of Fame architect, has visited The Ford Plantation numerous times during restoration to provide his personal guidance. He is shown with Club President Bill Coad (left) and Greens Committee Chair Bill Thompson receiving an Honorary Membership.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Great Fishing for Sheepshead Madness Tournament
Great fishing this weekend for our Sheepshead Madness tournament--our two-month-long (March 1-April 30), family-friendly tournament to see which fishing team can catch the three largest sheepshead (weight). Teams can fish as much as they wish, being able to upgrade fish already weighed in. We keep a leader board at Ogeechee Oufitters so teams can see where they stand. Skip Gillenwater, Bob Mobley, Jim Trolinger, and Jeff Scott show off this week's tournament catch--they report bigger fish than the last trip.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Fuzzy Davis Roast and Toast
Our beloved Fuzzy Davis has edged closer to fishing “full time” with his retirement from Ford. Dozens of members recently enjoyed a good-natured Roast and Toast in Fuzzy’s honor. We are extremely grateful for the many years of service Fuzzy has provided and will miss his wisdom and energy in our never-ending pursuit of all things outdoors. We wish him much success with both his blueberry farm and time on the water.
Friday, March 21, 2014
The Ford Plantation Featured on Southeast Discovery
Southeast Discovery recently featured The Ford Plantation in an entry titled, “Coastal Georgia’s The Ford Plantation – Sportsmen’s Pursuits Fit for a King.” The article provides an overview and glowing endorsement of our outdoor pursuits program. “According to Permar & Ravenel, a leading real estate market research firm in Charleston, South Carolina – The Ford Plantation’s offerings are “unequaled” by any private community in the Savannah, Charleston, Hilton Head Island region.” Read more here.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Famous Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade is Monday!
The famous Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade is Monday! Read all about it, and The Ford Plantation, on Southeast Discovery's web site: http://www.southeastdiscovery.com/blog/2014/03/savannah-ga-boasts-second-largest-st-patricks-day-parade-in-u-s/.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Golf Course Restoration Blog Update
Nelson recently updated his blog on the golf course restoration. Click here to see the latest progress: http://tfpagronomy.blogspot.com/.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The Remaking of a Masterpiece-Pete Dye’s Early Impact on Our Golf Course Restoration
From CW Canfield, Director of Golf
We are currently in our fifth month of construction on the golf course, and progress is quite significant! Pete Dye’s architectural and historical contributions to the project are immense. His artistic detail is ever present and extremely powerful for the Club. As the only living golf course architect in the World Golf Hall of Fame, we truly are witnessing the work of a legend.
During the early stages of planning for the project, we were assured of preserving the “Pete Dye” design through his input into prepared construction documents. Due to his schedule, there was uncertainty regarding the extent of Mr. Dye’s involvement during construction. I am pleased to report his involvement has surpassed our expectations.
Mr. Dye has visited the site multiple times to provide direction to both his associate Tim Liddy and our contractor on ideas that will make The Ford Plantation golf experience superior. He has taken to our property and project with a youthful vengeance. He typically works with this degree of “hands on” labor for a select few clients. He has kneeled in the dirt to sketch out a greens complex, taken a transit to measure elevation, and procured a rake to soften a greenside bunker face with his own hands. A typical site visit begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends after 5:00 p.m.—all the while on foot.
Mr. Dye’s artistic eye has produced intriguing design features along with two interesting themes—a more playable course and repetitive long views. Previously, the back nine was played with an abundance of cord grass and limited views of the lake. The current construction has removed all interior cord grass plantings and allowed for several mounds to soften for excellent long views.
Our number ten hole is no longer a dogleg left. The fairway now has a slight bend to the right and the green is situated on the bank of Lake Clara. Mr. Dye made this change during his first visit back in October. The hole will offer a lake view from the tee and fairway and through the green. The green on number fourteen now sits prominently as a “plateau green” near the middle of the back nine. Players will have 360–degree views from the playing surface. Most of the tee complexes and greens are built up on the back nine to capture long views of the lake and beyond.
To date, shaping has occurred on all back nine holes and holes seven through nine on the front. As shaping progresses, it is fascinating to view the design features Mr. Dye creates. His use of angled greens, switch-back fairways, and hard lines will offer all players an interesting shot making experience. As more of these features mature during construction, I’ll work to help explain the artistry and genius that is Pete Dye.
Please call with any questions or to set up an appointment for a golf course tour (912–756–5776).
Friday, January 31, 2014
Super Bowl Sunday, FORD Style, February 2
This year we will have our own version of the ESPN pregame show called F.O.R.D (football-offense-rivalry-defense). There will be pre kickoff analysis of the game by Ford Members Tom Johnson (retired NFL referee) and Lou Gagliano (expert arm-chair [section 318 in Giants Stadium] referee) starting at 5:30 pm. in the Clubhouse bar. Whether you are cheering for the Broncos or Seahawks or just love to watch the million dollar commercials, please join in and be a part of the pregame “show” and stay to watch this year’s Super Bowl game. We will have a special bar menu and regular Sunday dinner menu in the dining room. Beverage specials will be offered during the game. The party starts at 5:30 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on FOX.
Friday, January 10, 2014
Happy New Year from CEO/GM Nick Cassala
It was great to see so many Ford members and their extended family members during the holiday season. Our rental cottages were nearly at full occupancy and several events enjoyed record-breaking attendance. All of this while the golf course is closed for restoration. We wish to thank all members and guests for "pardoning our dust" during this extensive construction endeavor. Can you imagine what is in store later this year once the course reopens?
Looking ahead, 2014 will be a milestone year for The Ford Plantation as we complete not only the Pete Dye Masterpiece, but deliver improvements to the Marina, Main House, and Equestrian Center. Over the next few months, Seabolt Brokers and the Club will be embarking on a realtor outreach program. This will expand our community message into key markets around the country. As more people discover Ford as the pearl of the Low Country, we believe they will decide there is no better time to become a member.
Given the profound history associated with this property, at times it's hard to believe that the community is still just 15 years old. As Ford continues to evolve and mature, we are committed to preserve the community spirit and integrity that have become part of the everyday life that members treasure.
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Florida Keys Bike Trip Underway
A group of intrepid bikers from The Ford Plantation are currently enjoying a Club-sponsored two-day bike ride from Key Largo to Key West—100 miles in all! These riders have training for weeks and plan to have as much fun as strenuous activity. Our staff hosts Mike Womble and Mollie Sawyer will be sure to share some great stories upon their return to the Low Country.