Warren Golf Course
Purpose: Practice & Competition
Designer: Coore and Crenshaw
Yardage: Front Tees 5,302 yds/ Middle Tees 6,657 yds/ Back Tees 7,020 yds
Date Opened: May 1, 2000
Clubhouse Footage: 70,000
Clubhouse Capacity: 80 Dining
On-Course Bunkers: 88
Other Features: Two-sided driving range with adjoining practice greens
Tournaments Hosted: 2005 NCAA M. Central Regional, two U.S. M. Amateur Championship qualifiers, two Western M. Amateur qualifiers, five BIG EAST Conference Golf Championships, 2010 NCAA M. Regional, 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship
The date of May 1, 2000, marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Notre Dame golf as the University unveiled the championship-caliber William K. and Natalie O. Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame.
Since its opening date, the course has been hailed as one of the best new courses in America by Golf Digest and has been featured in Links Magazine and Golf Digest as a must-play venue.
Through the generous donation of Notre Dame alumnus and Tulsa, Okla., resident Bill Warren (’56), the University features an impressive 18-hole golf course, located a stone’s throw away from the northeast corner of campus. Constructed in a heavily wooded area, the facility is bordered by Douglas Road to the south, Juniper Road to the west, Ironwood Drive to the east and the Indiana Toll Road to the north.
The course was designed by the Austin, Texas based architectural team of Coore and Crenshaw, headed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour veteran Ben Crenshaw. Coore began his design and construction career in 1972 with noted course architect Pete Dye and formed his own company in 1982 before joining forces with Crenshaw four years later.
Founded in 1986, Coore and Crenshaw has established a reputation for creating courses based on traditional, strategic golf, including: the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii; Cuscowilla Golf Club in Greensboro, Ga.; Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Neb.; Barton Creek Club in Austin; the New Town Golf Club in Indonesia; Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the East Hampton Golf Club on Long Island. Sand Hills was recognized as the number one modern golf course” by Golfweek magazine.
Coore and Crenshaw also has undertaken several renovation projects, including the Southern Hills Country Club (in Tulsa) and the Prairie Dunes Golf Club (located in Kansas). The firm oversaw nine-hole additions to he Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa and the Onion Creek Country Club in Tulsa and the Onion Creek Country Club in Austin.
The existing Notre Dame Memorial Golf Course, located on the southwest side of campus, served as an 18-hole facility for the Notre Dame community until 1993, when the back nine was lost due to the addition of four campus dormitories and several athletic fields. The 70-year-old University course remains a convenient nine-hole facility available to the campus community. After losing the back nine of the existing course, Mr. Warren came forward with an interest in developing a new 18-hole, championship course.
Course construction began on March 1, 1997, with the first actual phases of dirt movement beginning two months later. Many of the day-to-day tasks were coordinated by the University’s department of facility engineering, under the ultimate supervision of associate vice president for business operations Jim Lyphout. The project was also coordinated by former associate athletic director Bubba Cunningham, who had responsibilities for athletic facility and financial affairs at the time.
Final construction for the course was overseen by Doug Marsh, director of the Notre Dame facilities engineering office. Assisting in this monumental task was Butch Layman, a construction administrator in the facilities engineering office.
South Bend-based Rieth Reilly Construction was contracted to handle the movement of approximately 100,000 yards of dirt. Another local company, Ziolkowski Construction, handled construction of the course’s buildings and other structures.
Final construction – completed in the fall of 1999 – included grading and seeding of the driving range, construction of tee areas around the clubhouse, completion of the many strategically-placed bunkers, overseeding of the fairways and roughs, and the defining of the course during the “grow-in” period. A number of trees and ornamental grasses were planted to add finishing touches.
The design of the Warren Golf Course is reminiscent of the classic, walkable Irish and American courses built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with short distances between the greens and tees. Winding its way through 250 wooded acres, the course incorporates traditional elements of the great golf courses of the early 1900s and – unlike many modern layouts – is built on subtleties rather than special effects.
Distinguishing features include: rectangular tee boxes that provide a classic start to each hoe; undulating greens of varying shapes constructed in a push-up style that slopes from back to front; false fronts to greens that allow for a golfer to run the ball or fly it to the flag; strategically-placed bunkers that visually enhance each hole while challenging players to proceed with caution.
An even more distinguishing – and extremely unusual – characteristic is that there is no par for the course. Like one of the world’s most traditional golf courses, Muirfield in Scotland, only the yardage is posted for each hole – allowing players to attack the course from their own perspective and without the preconceived notions inherent to par.
The course runs 7,020 yards from the back tees, 6,346 from the middle and 5,302 from the front tees. It includes 88 bunkers scattered among the 18 holes, and water comes into play on six holes. The course has bent grass fairways and fescue grass rough, playing surfaces found at some of today’s top facilities.
The clubhouse is open to the public and houses some of the finest in men and women’s golf apparel, with the Warren Golf Course logo as well as traditional Notre Dame merchandise and souvenirs. The Warren Grille, which is operated by Notre Dame Food Services, serves traditional golf course fare as well as specialty items and sandwiches.