A good business must listen to its customers, and Edinburgh USA — which opened in 1987 in Brooklyn Park and used to host a regular LPGA Tour event — kept hearing the same thing from its regulars: this golf course is too hard.
While it might have been tempting for course managers and designers to dig in their heels, they instead dug in on a $2 million renovation that made the course more playable for experts and hackers alike. Edinburgh offered a look to the media Thursday. On Friday, the course is having its grand reopening a little more than 28 years after it first started taking tee times.
Those returning to the course will find that while there used to be 81 bunkers on the course, now there are 64 — all of which were rebuilt during the renovation. The total amount of sand on the course has been reduced by 40 percent, making a lot of greens far more approachable and forgiving.
Because of both improved and fewer bunkers, pace of play should also improve — another key in the renovation, said Don Berry, Edinburgh USA’s Director of Golf.
Three rebuilt greens and tee boxes were also part of the renovation, which was overseen by the Robert Trent Jones II golf course architecture firm — which did the original design as well. Bruce Charlton, the firm’s chief design officer, was on hand Thursday to give a decided hacker some pointers about what he was seeing through the slices and drizzle.
“We were trying to dial up the fun factor,” Charlton said. “The course has always had an inherent difficulty, and a lot of that had to do with the aerial shots. Hitting into greens, you had to go over a lot of bunkers. … We wanted to give golfers more chances to use their imaginations around the greens.”
That is particularly evident on holes 1 and 10, which underwent the biggest transformations, Berry said. In the renovation, though, Edinburgh was also careful not to mess with a good thing. That’s why hole 17 — the course’s signature hole, a par-4 with an island fairway and more water into the green — received perhaps the lightest makeover of all 18 holes. It’s still tough and intimidating.
“As you’re going around playing the golf course and you have a good score going, you always have in the back of your mind, ‘Shoot, I haven’t played 17 yet,’” Charlton said. “You want to have that one hole where people say, ‘Ah, I have to make it through that.’”
Overall, though, the renovation was successful in achieving the aim of being more accessible to a variety of players.
“I’ve talked to thousands of people, and I haven’t heard one person say they don’t like it,” Berry said. “It’s almost universally been accepted as being better than it was.”