Tillie's Belmont Design Could Be A Gem, Quick-Fix Renovation Needs To Be Reconsidered

Excellent work by Andy Johnson at TheFriedEgg.com for shining a light on the potential to restore an affordable A.W. Tillinghast design in Richmond, Virginia that hosted the 1949 PGA Championship.

While it's hard to know all of the particulars of the current plans, existing design bones and operational details, the County of Henrico appears to have money to spend and to do so by a deadline. Architect Jerry Lemons will be supervising this work, and while there are no doubt many improvements that would come from the money spent at a course not getting kind reviews for its bunkers, the success of so many restorations makes it hard not to wonder if a Tillinghast deserves more attention to detail?

The scope accoring to an Request For Proposal that went out in August:

1. Remove and renovate the existing seventy-two (72) sand bunkers on the 18-Hole golf course.
2. Reconstruct fifty-eight (58) of the existing sand bunkers throughout the course including removal of existing materials, reshaping of all bunker cavities, the replacement of all materials and grassing.
3. Add one (1) bunker on hole #16.
4. Remove fourteen (14) existing bunkers including removal of existing materials, filling in existing cavity, grading and shaping, and grassing.
5. Installing sub-surface drain lines in all sand bunker cavities.
6. Supporting construction activities required to complete the Work to include: demolition work, tree removal, earthwork/excess dirt removal, and compliance with the erosion and sediment control requirements.

The County's RFP also contained a specified bunkering lining product even there there are many out there. This is not typically a sign of going into a project with an open mind:

The Contractor may subcontract with a qualified, licensed Better Billy Bunker certified installer who will be responsible for the application of the Better Billy Bunker manufactured Bunker Liner ST410 Polymer.

Again, there are many elements here with cost and timing and red tape we need to learn more about, but as Johnson passionately argues, this is an incredible opportunity to give public golfers access to great architecture and to create a more valuable, important piece of design in the greater Richmond area.

Reader Andy from Richmond shared this view upon seeing Johnson's post:

I play Belmont a few times a year and have dreamt many times about its resurrection. And the history....this golf course is historically important to golf not only in VA but in US.

If you would like to see the County take more time and spending their money to bring back more Tillinghast, you can voice your views here: recandparks@henrico.us