by Seth Raynor Midwestern design work was minimal, but Duininck Golf and architect Bill Bergin are working to preserve one such course: the 1925 classic at Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington, Minnesota. Duininck Golf and Bergin focus on structural and mechanical improvements to the course.
In 2017, Bergin Design launched phase 1 of the master plan, which gave members the opportunity to see what was to come.
“We knew the project was going to be a hit with the members from day one,” said the general manager of Duininck Golf. Judd Duininck said. “Sometimes it can be difficult for a club to shut down their entire golf course to complete everything they want to do. Over the next few years the club saw and got to experience what we knew was going to be spectacular all along.
“We were able to collaborate with Minnesota Valley Country Club and Bergin Golf Designs to create another successful renovation focused on showcasing Mr. Raynor’s work,” said project manager Duininck Golf. Paul Deis said. “In close collaboration with Bill Bergin, we are executing phase 2 of this master plan; completely rebuilding holes three and four, installing new irrigation, connecting fairways on holes 16 and 17 while adding new bunkers with liners and adding new bunkers and tee complexes on a handful of other holes.
Even with these adjustments, today’s layout remains the same as it did on opening day in 1925, the integrity respected and preserved, the roots of his work. A quick tour of the 147 acres shows incredible attention to detail, especially the bunker work.
“Bill knows exactly what he wants the end product to look like,” Deis said. “And he does a great job of laying out each feature for us, and then working closely step-by-step to complete that vision.”
The most dramatic changes to the course are featured on holes three, four, 17 and 18. The location of the green on three has been moved significantly to the right with added distance and a punchbowl shape to encourage more creative play, while the fourth green has more bunker. protection and a steep drop to the right of the green. Most of the changes to the back holes are visual, with better viewing of the fairways on holes 17 and 18 and greater emphasis on scenery.
“Bill puts a lot of thought into the strategy of play by all levels of golfer with a focus on creating fair and fun challenges,” Deis said. “Here you can see the shots he wants you to make, and Seth’s original design genius. But you still have to hit those shots.
Duininck Golf has worked closely with Bergin Design across the country, a fact both parties say is intentional and appreciated.
“It’s so nice to work with their staff,” said the project superintendent Patrick Doyle said. “Such great attitudes and willingness to help each other and support each other with our staff. Mutual respect is key in this industry and it makes these projects so much more enjoyable and effective.”