ASGCA Past President Bill Love readies Olympic Club for U.S. Open

Golf course architect prepares famed course to challenge the world’s best golfers June 14 – 17

BROOKFIELD, Wis. – Bill Love, American Society of Golf Course Architects’(ASGCA)  past president, is putting the finishing touches on the Lake Course at Olympic Club in San Francisco, home to the 2012 U.S. Open golf tournament, to be played June 14-17. This marks the fifth time Olympic Club has hosted the U.S. Open, including 1955, 1966, 1987 and 1998.

Love has worked with Olympic Club director of golf course maintenance operations Pat Finlen and the owners for several years making modest and not-so-modest adjustments to the nearly 100-year-old course, first for the 2007 U.S. Amateur and now for the U.S. Open.

Golfers who have not visited Olympic Club since it lasted hosted the Open will note a number of changes, especially concerning the length of the course. Love made adjustments which increases the length of nearly half the holes on the course, “to provide a better test for today’s equipment. We have also worked with the USGA (United States Golf Association), supplementing our work and making adjustment for the tournament, including adding a fairway bunker on No. 17.”

Executed over time since before the 2007 Amateur, a tree removal program has been implemented by Love and Finlen’s team. Diseased trees have been selectively removed in order to maintain the health of remaining trees in addition to revealing the topography and improving the perception of the property the course sits on. The famed Cypress trees the course is known for remain and will continue to provide a challenge for Open golfers who stray from the fairway.

“I hope both players and television viewers come away with an appreciation of what a great test of golf the Lake Course is,” Love said, “The work we have done is geared toward blending into the original golf course and existing architecture. We hope people will see the work we have done and let them discover the course and land in a new way.”

The Lake Course will play 7,170 yards, par 70. No. 16 will list as the longest hole in Open history at 670 yards. A hole certain to garner attention will be No. 8, which was completely rebuilt and redesigned by Love. The “new” No. 8 allowed Love to lengthen holes 7 and 9, as well.

Love has long been noted for his dedication and commitment to promoting and enhancing the environment in his work. He has authored three editions of “An Environmental Approach to Golf Course Development” for ASGCA and participated in the production of numerous other publications, including the “Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States.” He continues to serve as the chair of ASGCA’s Environmental Committee.