Donald Ross Memorial Course Developments

Donald Ross Memorial Course Developments

The Donald Ross Memorial at The Highands is a composite re-creation of classic golf holes Ross designed in the early part of the century at some of his most renowned courses. In 1990 it was recognized as a “Best New Resort Course in the U.S. by Golf Digest."  At a time that many courses were simply built to be as difficult as possible, we chose a different route.

“Our founder, Everett Kircher, had a vision to pay homage to Donald Ross and build a course that included some of his greatest holes from his top courses," said Bernie Friedrich, Senior Vice President of Golf Operations. "We wanted to also create holes from places that most golfers may not have the opportunity to play, so there was a focus on the private clubs.”

The focus on Ross’ elite private clubs required some effort. Contacting clubs, getting permission, and logging airline miles. Bernie Friedrich and Stephen Kircher, along with architect Bill Newcomb (Boyne’s designer for The Alpine, The Moor, and The Monument courses), as well as long-time golf instruction partner Jim Flick set off on a journey to visit more than 50 classic Ross courses to determine the best holes.

“There was a lot of effort and detail put into the process. We looked at the land we had and tried to match the best we could to the slopes. If a hole rose by 10 degrees of slope, we would try and find a Ross hole at a club with similar slope."

Accurately representing each hole on the Donald Ross Memorial course has always been a priority for us. “Today, through technology, CAD, and Google Earth, we are able to gather photos and dimensions to create an even more accurate reproduction of any updates. It is our long-term plan to continue making key renovations to the course and keeping the tradition of Donald Ross alive here at Boyne.”

In 2021 the BOYNE Golf team, in conjunction with Michigan based course designer Ray Hearn, made renovations to first hole on the Donald Ross Memorial, a replica of No. 6 Seminole. We started the process in the fall of 2020 by removing over 100 tress. To give it more of a Florida feel, in the spring of 2021 we replaced the trees with large sand waste areas down the left and right sides of the fairway. The waste area on the right side of the fairway will also extend over the 16th hole (No. 10 Pinehurst) and provide a true post-renovation Pinehurst feel. In the late summer, we renovated the green area by removing the original green complex, increasing the green size by 40%, and realigning it by nearly 45 degrees while also reshaping the green-side bunkers and extending the fairway cut around the green. These changes not only better replicate Ross’ original Seminole #6 design, it will improve approach shots into the green and make it a more enjoyable hole to play.

No. 6 Seminole

Hole 1 Upgrade

In 2021 the BOYNE Golf team, in conjunction with Michigan based course designer Ray Hearn, made renovations to first hole on the Donald Ross Memorial, a replica of No. 6 Seminole. We started the process in the fall of 2020 by removing over 100 tress. To give it more of a Florida feel, in the spring of 2021 we replaced the trees with large sand waste areas down the left and right sides of the fairway. The waste area on the right side of the fairway will also extend over the 16th hole (No. 10 Pinehurst) and provide a true post-renovation Pinehurst feel. In the late summer, we renovated the green area by removing the original green complex, increasing the green size by 40%, and realigning it by nearly 45 degrees while also reshaping the green-side bunkers and extending the fairway cut around the green. These changes not only better replicate Ross’ original Seminole #6 design, it will improve approach shots into the green and make it a more enjoyable hole to play.

In 2022, two additional holes underwent extensive renovations to better replicate Ross’ original desgins.

No. 11 Aronimink

Hole 15 Upgrade

Several years ago, Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania determined that the hole had been altered from Ross’ original design, and the club restored the hole to Donald Ross’ plans. We received the original design ourselves and have restored our Donald Ross Memorial hole #15 to its original layout as well. A new set of tee boxes has been added, the fairway has been widened, fairway bunkers have been added but reduced in size, and the entire green complex was expanded by 65% and reshaped to replicate Ross’s original design. This included the addition of a multiple levels at the front of the green, as well as off-set bunkers located in front of the lower level, creating a challenging illusion on your approach shot. Construction was completed in the fall of 2022 will open for play in May of 2023.

No. 15 Seminole

Hole 13 Upgrade

In September of 2022, we began extensive modifications to the green complex of the Donald Ross Memorial #13, a replica of Seminole #15 from Seminole Golf Club in Florida. The green was reduced in size by 10% and raised approximately 3 feet. The entire green complex, including greenside bunkers, was reshaped and the fairway cut around the green was extended to better replicate Ross’ original design. The project was completed in October 2022 and the hole will be available for play in the spring of 2023.

We will continue to make updates to the Donald Ross Memorial and other BOYNE Golf courses to improve the golf experience.