Founded in 1904, Cedar Rapids Country Club appointed the prolific architect Tom Bendelow (said to have designed around six hundred courses in a 35-year career) to lay out a 9-hole course for the membership.
This original layout didn’t last long because Donald Ross was called in during 1914 to fully utilise the club’s 170-acre property, extending the course to eighteen holes. Cedar Rapids would turn out to be the only course that Ross ever built in the state of Iowa.
Ross kept the Bendelow 1st and 9th holes in his new 18-hole design, with the old 9th becoming the 18th in the Ross routing. He redirected and lengthened the 2nd, at the same time creating a new doglegged 3rd, converting Bendelow’s green on hole 2 to the new 3rd green.
The old hole 5 was reversed, becoming the new 14th and Indian Creek was also brought more into play, affecting the approach shot to the new holes on 6, 11 and 17.
To coincide with the centennial year of the Ross-designed course, Ron Pritchard and his associate Tyler Rae were engaged to tackle drainage and playability issues because, according to club board member Vaughn Halyard, “floods, foliage and Father Time drove [the] need to make soil-based infrastructure changes”.
Three greens (on #6, #15 and #16) were rebuilt above the flood plain of the creek, many trees throughout the property were removed (resulting in 35% additional fairway width gained), and around 22,000 square feet of putting surface area was reclaimed during a stringent greens expansion program.
Work still remains to be done regarding tree management, water dispersal via swales and bunker facings, fescue detailing and tweaks to bunkers and greens but this project has already delivered a healthier, drier environment for golfers, exceeding all expectations.