Hall-of-Fame Golfer and Ski Enthusiast Sorenstam's New Mountain Golf Course Gives New Meaning to the Term 'Slope Rating'
Nov 30, 2007
Says Partner McBroom: Annika Fills Superstar Void in Women Course Designers
ROSSLAND, British Columbia (Nov. 30, 2007) -- Sweden's national ski coach once asked Annika Sorenstam's family to move to the northern part of the country so the young Annika could train more. Now a hall-of-fame golfer and emerging businesswoman, she returns to the mountains, setting her latest golf course design at the base of some of the world's best skiing -- giving new meaning to the term "slope rating."
The site: Red Mountain Resort, one of Western Canada and British Columbia's oldest ski resorts. To be named The Golf Club at Red Mountain, the 18-hole, 7,071-yard par 71 will break ground in the spring of 2009.
It is Sorenstam's fourth course design worldwide and her first from scratch in North America. On a deeper level, said co-designer Thomas McBroom, Canada's premier golf course architect: "This partnership fills a void in terms of superstar women designers. Nobody has done as much as Annika in this category at such a young age."
McBroom, who has developed nearly 40 courses in his home country, continued on the new project: "In terms of scale and stature, Red is one of the region's biggest golf developments in the last 50 years -- a never-before-seen community that will continue to create world recognition for Rossland." He noted that when complete, the 200-acre club will be surrounded by 450 homes, townhomes, a signature hotel/spa/conference center and include a 12-acre golf academy.
Sorenstam was on-site yesterday, walking the rugged spruce- and fir-lined course area alongside McBroom and Red Mountain Ventures CEO Howard Katkov, reviewing all elements on the golf course's design and viewing its spectacular mountain setting. Its routing mapped out over the last nine months, Sorenstam and McBroom teamed to firm up other elements, including bunkering and greens positioning.
"Because I grew up in a small town in Sweden, I've always had an affinity for intimate, alpine-type mountain communities," said Sorenstam, explaining why she is thrilled to be working on a design at Red Mountain. "I love being outdoors, whether it is golfing in the summer, or skiing in the winter. At this beautiful community, I'll be able to share my passion for both."
McBroom agrees with Sorenstam that the natural topography was a design draw. And together they created a layout law: clever uses of land to make the course a positional play for golfers of all levels. "Annika and I agree on how the game should be played, favoring old-fashioned shot-making and skill over the modern trend of power and length," said McBroom.
This is not the first professional golfer partnership or mountain community course McBroom -- a lifelong skier who plans to make Red Mountain his second home -- has been a part of. The five-time Golf Digest New Canadian Golf Course award winner had previously teamed with Tom Lehman to develop The Raven at Lora Bay in Toronto. He also designed the high-altitude Le Geant Golf Course at Mont Tremblant in Quebec.
The Golf Club at Red Mountain: Adventure and the Environment
"As one of the world's top ski resorts, it's long been our goal to add the phrase 'world-class golf' to our outdoor-sport lexicon," said Katkov, who's also owner of Red Mountain Resort and a 16-handicap.
"But we didn't just want to develop the standard resort-style course. We wanted to uniquely integrate the mountain lifestyle that appeals to those who have been coming to the mountain for decades," he continued. "Many of the golfers we envision coming to Red will be true athletes with a love of their surroundings. To that, we came up with two concepts that I think will appeal to them: a seamless golf routing with no return to the clubhouse, as if on a day-long adventure mountain hike, and; the natural incorporation of the environment."
According to Katkov, rather than having two loops of nine, Red will be defined by a distinct 18-hole adventure -- a concept consistent with the game's early courses such as St. Andrews and Ballybunion. Among the many eco-friendly design features: the holes all fit naturally into the topography so that very little earth moving will be required, thereby minimizing environmental disruption and creating a course that feels and looks distinctly natural.
More on The Golf Club at Red Mountain
The sitting of the clubhouse has been carefully selected on a high bench overlooking the 18th green in the foreground and the Red Mountain ski resort in the background. The view in a single glance provides a vivid snapshot of the whole resort.
The heart of course's routing -- specifically holes seven through 18 -- features holes seven through 13 winding their way up the narrow valley in a northerly direction, then turning south again at hole 13, ascending the summit peak at hole 17 and finishing with a flourish at the spectacular downhill 18th returning back to the clubhouse. Holes one through six are laid out on the east-facing slope descending down the hill toward Highway 3.
Its signature hole is No. 8, where a stream -- one of four creeks or streams at Red -- parallels the entire hole from tee to green, bringing natural water into play on both the first and second shot.
Annika is the greatest female golfer of our generation and often regarded as the best player in LPGA history. Her prestigious list of accomplishments includes her 2003 induction into the World Golf and LPGA Halls of Fame, ten Major Championships, 85 worldwide professional victories, eight LPGA Player of the Year Awards, and participation on eight Solheim Cup teams. Annika has worked hard on her off-the-course businesses, which include the ANNIKA Academy, the ANNIKA Foundation, the ANNIKA Collection with Cutter & Buck, numerous golf course design projects, tournaments she hosts on both the LPGA and Ladies European Tours, along with her website and blog.