After fifteen years of service with Nicklaus Design when he was involved in over a hundred projects, Floridian architect Bob Cupp left to establish his own company in 1986, spending the next fifteen years laying out dozens of golf courses across twenty states in the USA.
He ventured into Canada on several occasions to work on new designs - Beacon Hall (1988), Deerhurst (Highlands) (1990), here at Mad River in 1991 and Big Sky (1994) - so, apart from a couple of renovations at Rosedale and Summit, that’s the full extent of Cupp’s golfing exploits north of the International Boundary.
Mad River Golf Club has developed into a beautiful parkland track with tree-lined, often doglegged fairways playing to small greens, some of which – like the 461-yard 9th and 606-yard 17th – are fronted by ponds. Putting surfaces at many of the holes allow a running approach, enabling exponents of the dying art of creative chipping to prosper.
The short par four 6th is a fine strategic hole on the front nine whilst the two par fives either side of the 224-yard 16th bookend a demanding trio of holes at the end of the round, rated stroke index 6, 8 and 2 respectively. Luckily, after those three tough holes, it’s all downhill to the clubhouse at the last via the 384-yard home hole.
In 2012, the club completed a major renovation of the course under the watchful eye of Bob Cupp, with all the greens resurfaced and five holes significantly upgraded. Since Bob Cupp passed away, Doug Carrick has been appointed as Mad River’s consulting architect.
Bob Cupp picked the location for Mad River. Great design, uses and respects the escarpment well, as many good uphill holes (difficult to design) as downhill ones (easy to design). Good mix of “open” and tree lined holes, all with so many options, well planned greens and roll out areas. Most members are members of other clubs, with a respect for the game. I opened the course as Pro.