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GOLF: Golf Masterpiece in Cedar Rapids

Updated: Sunday, June 15 2014, 10:51 PM CDT

– If you’re watching the U.S. Open this weekend, you’re watching golf on a
course designed by an architect who’s considered one of the best who ever
lived. Donald Ross designed the course being played this weekend at Pinehurst
Resort, along with about 400 others, one of which is right here in Cedar

Now, that course, the Cedar
Rapids Country Club, is going the extra mile to bring their course back to its

If these views look like you
can frame them and hang them on a wall, that’s the point. It might be golf, but
the surface it’s played on is art.

"We had, if not the best,
one of the top maybe three best ever to design golf courses here in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa in 1915,” said Cedar Rapids Country Club Head Golf Professional
Tom McCann.

Ron Prichard is a golf
architect who specializes in restoring Donald Ross courses. He’s working to
give golfers at CRCC a better taste of what the legendary architect designed.

"From my point of view,
it's really important that people begin to appreciate and understand the
classics,” said Prichard.

Ron says Ross would have
walked through what were then just woods to map the course.

He did it all with a sketch
pad and pencil. No aerial pictures. Virtually no technology.

But when it came time to
build, “they had zero bunkers on the whole course,” said McCann. “They had the
plans but they didn't build any bunkers simply because of the expense.”

So nearly a century later,
they called in Ron.

"Instead of just forcing
all play into the middle of the golf hole, Donald Ross laid out his golf course
so that you had alternative routes on which bunkers you wanted to challenge to
try to carry or which bunkers you wanted to lay up in front of,” said Prichard.

When the bunkers aren’t busy
eating up tee shots, they add to the landscape. They frame greens, making the
course even more picturesque and occasionally actually helping your golf game.

"That's where all of our
members aim,” said McCann, pointing to a bunker roughly 350 yards away. “And so
even though you think, 'Hey, why is that bunker there?' The purpose is the use
it as an alignment aid."

Ron says Donald Ross designed
his courses to make it easier, not harder to play golf, making the game more

"I want people who play
golf to come here and see this golf course and really appreciate that early
style,” said Prichard.

"And recapture that so
that we can enjoy what Ross intended for us to play,” said McCann.

GOLF: Golf Masterpiece in Cedar Rapids

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