Blog 26 - King Wins Super-Senior Event, Thoughts on Huntsman Springs

Ted King
Ted King who played at Bellingham Golf and Country Club until a couple of years ago and who now plays most of his golf at North Bellingham GC, won the inaugural PNGA Super-Senior Men's Amateur Championship at Beach Grove GC  in Tsawwassan, BC Thursday, beating West Vancouver's Kwan Choo in a playoff.
Extra holes really shouldn't have been necessary, however, as King had a five-shot lead with just two holes left to play. But he double-bogeyed the penumtimate hole, then made a bogey at the last while Choo birdied both the 17th and 18th to force the playoff.
At the first extra hole, Choo failed to get up-and-down from a bunker while King made four from off the green.

Another Kidd Classic

I've been away for a couple of days taking a look at a new course in Driggs, ID designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd. Before teeing off at Huntsman Springs, I and some other members of the Northwest Golf Media Association were shown a model of the masterplan by Director of Golf Tony Snoey and told how the site for the 7,800-yard course (it's at 6,200ft above sea level) was really a big, flat nothing and did not possess much in the way of movement, elevation change, natural vegetation or charm. Yes, magnificent Grand Teton was in full view ten miles to the East and mountains surrounded the course on three sides, but the actual ground on which it was to be laid out was uninspiring to say the least. Kidd apparently took some convincing, but he was the Huntsman family's first choice. President and CEO David Huntsman pursued him doggedly until he signed on the dotted line.

The 3rd at Huntsman Springs

Before signing up though, Kidd made one very large condition - that he be allowed to build the course his way which meant digging up nearly four million cubic yards of earth to form gullies and valleys. He then demanded the course be platted with nine inches of sand to ensure excellent drainage. David Huntsman along with his father Jon, the industrialist, philanhropist and family patriarch who appeared in Forbes 'Richest 400' for 20 straight years, agreed to McLay's wish-list and let the designer of Bandon Dunes, Tetherow, Nanea, the Castle Course in St Andrews and Machrihianish Dunes among others, rip up the barren countryside and build a complex network of drainage channels that help irrigate the course and give it several extra lines of defence. This is not a minimalist design, you understand. And thank goodness for that; had Kidd not moved so much earth, Huntsman Springs may well have been the dullest, least inspiring course in America (environmentalists should not be concerned, however, as most of the 1,350-acre property has been safeguarded from further development.)
The result is nothing short of amazing. Everyone knows Kidd is talented; that became startlingly obvious shortly after Bandon Dunes opened in 1999. But I think Huntsman Springs represents a whole new level of creativity and skill. There are so many exciting, entertaining, enthralling, engaging, not to say attractive holes here.  And thanks to the efforts of superintendent Guy Johnson who once worked at Echo Falls near Seattle,  the condition of the Bluegrass fairways and fescue greens is remarkable.
Huntsman is building something very special there in Teton Valley. The course was built to stimulate economic activity in the local community and all the profits will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Yes you read that right; ALL the profits.
Outside play is limited, but the dozen or so fantastic homes and townhouses (plus the new Teton County Courthouse which was bought and paid for with the help of Mr. Huntsman) that have already been built offer occupants access to the course. Jackson Hole in Wyoming is a beautiful 20-mile drive away and a pleasant detour, but there's plenty to keep you busy in Driggs. For a full-on, non-stop, go-till-dark week of activities - hiking, fishing, rafting and world-class golf - this is a new destination I'd eagerly recommend.

A word to our sponsors Pro Golf Discount on Meridian St. They have some attractive Fathers Day offers. Check them out here.



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