Tod Leonard shares some new details on the Phil Mickelson-helmed renovation of Torrey Pines North, including a $7 million price tag, a 2015 start date, wall to wall cart paths (sigh) and a public meeting to be held December 18th at The Lodge.
No word on whether Phil will shield himself behind chicken wire since the locals weren't exactly thrilled when Rees Jones redid the South and that was for much less.
Mickelson’s ideas for the North are being executed by the leader of his design team, Mike Angus, with additional input from Mickelson’s friend and former instructor, Rick Smith. The city has included in the team Glen Schmidt, a local landscape architect who has worked on many projects with the city.
Before any work begins, Marney said the plans will have to go before the city’s Design Review Committee, Park and Recreation Board, Planning Commission, and, depending on the permit requirements, the Coastal Commission. Marney said the City Council will have to approve the creation of the capital improvement project.
Peter Ripa, the tournament director for the annual Farmers Open, applauded the possibility of the renovation. Torrey North is not very popular among PGA Tour players, who ranked its 48th of 52 venues in a poll by Golf World magazine earlier this year.
Ripa said he believes tour players would appreciate less disparity in their scores between the South and North, but he also emphasized that the work “shouldn’t be done just for Easter Sunday. … It has to be a golf course that is enjoyable and playable for people of all levels.”
Leonard also files an excellent column imploring Mickelson to be sensitive, writing that "this could be as much a part of your legacy in San Diego as those three green jackets."
This project shouldn’t be about making the course harder or more “strategic” for the two days a year the PGA Tour plays the North. In fact, I’ve talked to numerous pros who say the North should stay exactly the way it is.
From what I hear you want to make the North “playable” and more “fun.” I’m not sure what your definition of that is, because as a golf entertainer you are equal parts Sinatra and Knievel. But we’ll assume that it doesn’t mean tiny greens surrounded by more sand than the Sahara. We’ll hope that it means the average guy can still run the ball up to the green, and not have to fly it to every dang hole (yes, we’re talking about you Rees). We’ll hope that the greens aren’t so tricky that we’d need Bones to read them.
We know that there isn’t much rerouting that can or will be done, and that’s a good thing. Do the greens have to be redone? Is the public clamoring for it? No. Even some pros say that despite the softer poa annua, they’d rather putt on the North than the South because the North’s surfaces are more consistent.