There’s no question Franz delivered. Mid Pines was always a good course, but it now positively crackles with new life. It should not be missed.
It’s hard to believe Donald Ross wouldn’t love what has happened to one of his fine works.
The results are brilliant. Roughly 400 pines were yanked out, restoring width, angles and strategies. Green areas and contours were put back to Ross’s specs and re-grassed with ultra-dwart Bermuda, which provides firm, consistent surfaces year-round. As he had done at Pinehurst, Franz replaced fairway rough with hardpan sand speckled with wire grass. Bunkers regained both their menace and their beauty. Fairway contours remainthe same, but otherwise, the course sports a look not seen since our grandfathers were children.
Kyle Franz is a delightful young man and has that quality that is necessary for great Golf Architecture. The eye! He sees and relates to the project in a way that the normal viewer cannot grasp.
This is his first solo project and it has been kind of neat to see. Maybe he’s the next Tom Doak or Gil Hanse. He’s going to be terrific because he’s such a student, he loves working in the field with the dirt and sand, and he’s very good.
There’s something to be said for youthful exuberance, talent and dreams. Franz has worked under some of the best in the business - Tom Doak, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw and Gil Hanse - and on some of the best projects - the Pinehurst No. 2 restoration and currently the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro. He’s currently putting the final touches on a restoration of Mid Pines a 1921 Donald Ross classic in Southern Pines, which is his first solo project. It’s impressive. Mid Pines will reopen with an exciting new feel executed by a potential rising star in the golf course design front.