Twenty-seven holes were originally planned for the golf course at Culver Academies and William Langford and Theodore Moreau were told to construct the best nine first, which they did, with the course opening for play in 1924. The remaining holes were to follow but, unfortunately, they never got off the drawing board.
Bobby Weed was approached in 2008 to have a look at the existing layout and his first impressions were: “I felt like I had opened up a barn door and found a vintage Porsche 356 underneath dust and hay.” Restoration work didn’t start until late 2013, when the course’s first irrigation system was installed and tree growth addressed.
With the assistance of old aerial photographs, the architect embarked on a mission to recreate all the bunkers (because they’d been grassed over down the years), widen fairways to their intended limits with new mowing lines then sand and expand the greensites to increase the overall putting surface area by more than a third.
A new clubhouse and practice area have now been built so Culver Academies has a first class golf complex to match the equestrian, rowing, hockey and tennis facilities enjoyed by students at the school. Hopefully, the recent efforts to upgrade such a wonderful old golfing amenity might result in more of those young people taking up the game.
In the book The Finest Nines by Anthony Pioppi, the author writes:
“For decades the golf course at Culver Academies existed as if it were a painting hanging on the wall of a long-abandoned home, covered in soot, dust, and grime. If one looked intently enough, the forms and images could be discerned, but the true artistry was hidden by years of neglect.
“Prior to restoration, every original bunker was overgrown with grass, putting greens had shrunk a third or more of their intended sizes, and trees encroached on fairways that had decreased significantly in width. Students played on the course more as a lark rather than an actual golfing endeavour.
“Then it was decided that the course should be returned as close as possible to its original greatness. The result of the work by architect Bobby Weed and his senior design associate, Chris Monti, is stunning. The Culver layout brims with angles and strategy, as well as the trademark Langford-Moreau large greens that possess bold interior contouring.
“Every putting surface is open in front, so the option of running shots onto the green is available. Since the Culver layout is now kept in firm condition, the choice of playing the ball on the ground is there and often the wise one. The existing routing has three par-5s, par-4s and par-3s. From the back, Culver plays 3,328 yards.”