Jump to content

Courses: Nick Von Hofen, Ritz-Carlton Members Club


staff@thesandtrap.com

Recommended Posts

By Steve Pike via TheSandTrap.com
Nick Von Hofen comes from a golf-crazed family. It only makes sense that he would end up at one of southwestern Florida's swankiest new resort courses.

ritz_carlton_sarasota.jpgNicholas Von Hofen stood on the 12th tee of the new Ritz-Carlton Members Club - elevation 65 feet above sea level - and smiled.



"You wouldn't think you're in Florida," Von Hofen said as he surveyed the immaculately landscaped Tom Fazio-designed golf course.



Indeed. With its pastoral setting and rolling terrain, the Ritz-Carlton Members Club looks like it could have been lifted in from Von Hofen's native Ohio. But this is southwest Florida, where golf courses are often shaped and molded out of a tough land. Fazio molded this 7,033-yard, par 72 masterpiece from pasture land that was once used to grow fruits and vegetables.

The Ritz-Carlton Members Club opened to members and guests of the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in January 2006.



Armed with the largest landscape budget he's ever worked with in Florida, Fazio moved approximately 1.9 million cubic yards of earth to create the Ritz-Carlton Members Club, a facility that acts not only as a world-class private golf course, but also is an arboretum and nature preserve. The 16 man-made lakes on the 320-acre property, for example, have attracted various species of water fowl and wildlife previously unknown to the area; the landscaping around the golf course and entire property is a cornucopia of tree and plant life whose color combinations have never been seen before on a Florida golf course.



Von Hofen, the Club's 27-year-old Director of Golf Grounds, has been supervising the entire landscaping since its inception in January 2005. The middle of three brothers working as course superintendents (older brother Eric is Director of Grounds at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami and younger brother Kurt is an assistant superintendent at the Bear's Club in Jupiter, Fla.), Nicholas Von Hofen cut his teeth as head superintendent at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., and as assistant at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.



Von Hofen, a 1999 graduate of Ohio State's turf management school, also worked with the legendary Jack Nicklaus during the renovation of Lost Tree Village, the Golden Bear's home course in North Palm Beach, Fla.



"One of the things that turned me on to this project was that experience," Von Hofen said.



The experience these days for Von Hofen and for Club members is Fazio's explosions of color into what was once brown, barren tundra. Purple/pink Bougainvilleas from Brazil, red 'Calypso' Oleanders from Eurasia, Blue Plumbago from South Africa, and Confederate Jasmine from India are just a few of the plants and shrubs that mix with native trees such as Live Oaks, Laurel Oaks, Cabbage Palms, and Magnolia.



Several of the Oak trees on the course were removed from the property during construction, taken to a nursery and then re-planted when the elevation changes (as high as 70 feet above sea level on the first green) were complete.



Fazio worked with noted landscape designer Bruce Hammond of Miami and landscape installer Art O'Donnell from Naples to devise a plant list for the Ritz-Carlton Members Club. Fazio's vision was to frame each hole with plants, trees and shrubbery, but have no two holes look alike.



ritz_carlton_sarasota_course.jpg



"Mr. Fazio wanted color all the time," Von Hofen said. "Whether it's in the grasses, in the leaves of the palm trees or the roses, he wanted something blooming at all times out here. It's a wall fall of color. Something is always going to be happening."



Keeping Fazio's vision alive, of course, is Von Hofen's greatest challenge, particularly because much of the soil on the golf course came from the 30- 40-feet beneath the surface when the lakes were dug. That soil basically had no nutrients, so Von Hofen and his crew painstakingly prepared the soil to grow the TifSport grass on the Ritz-Carlton Members Club's tee boxes, fairways and rough and TifEagle on its greens.



There are four wetlands preserves on the property - just off the second, seventh, 15th and 16th holes - and each of the preserves and lakes are buffered to prevent run-off from getting into them.



"We slope everything and buffer it back to the course," Von Hofen said. "I take care of 150 acres of turf. In Florida, that's a lot. The challenge is to keep it all fertilized and healthy so it all blooms at the right time. Mother Nature will bring is more challenges - too much rain, not enough rain, another hurricane."



Those are challenges Von Hofen is eminently qualified to tackle.

"This article is republished with permission from The Sand Trap .com and
remains copyright © The Sand Trap .com. All rights and privileges reserved."

Click for Article>>>Here
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies -1
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Our picks

    • Tiger Woods - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Tiger Woods - WITB - 2024 US Open
        • Like
      • 49 replies
    • 2024 US Open - Discussion and Links to Photos
      Please put any questions or comments here
       
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2024 US Open - Monday #1
       
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Tiger Woods - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Edoardo Molinari - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Logan McAllister - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Bryan Kim - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Richard Mansell - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Jackson Buchanan - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Carter Jenkins - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Parker Bell - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Omar Morales - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Neil Shipley - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Casey Jarvis - WITB - 2024 US Open
      Carson Schaake - WITB - 2024 US Open
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       

      Tiger Woods on the range at Pinehurst on Monday – 2024 U.S. Open
      Newton Motion shaft - 2024 US Open
      Cameron putter covers - 2024 US Open
      New UST Mamiya Linq shaft - 2024 US Open

       

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      • 5 replies
    • Titleist GT drivers - 2024 the Memorial Tournament
      Early in hand photos of the new GT2 models t the truck.  As soon as they show up on the range in player's bags we'll get some better from the top photos and hopefully some comparison photos against the last model.
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
        • Thanks
        • Like
      • 293 replies
    • 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge - Discussion and Links to Photos
      Please put any questions or comments here
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2024 Charles Schwab Challenge - Monday #1
      2024 Charles Schwab Challenge - Tuesday #1
      2024 Charles Schwab Challenge - Tuesday #2
      2024 Charles Schwab Challenge - Tuesday #3
       
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Keith Mitchell - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Rafa Campos - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      R Squared - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Martin Laird - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Paul Haley - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Tyler Duncan - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Min Woo Lee - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Austin Smotherman - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Lee Hodges - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Sami Valimaki - WITB - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Eric Cole's newest custom Cameron putter - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      New Super Stroke Marvel comic themed grips - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Ben Taylor's custom Cameron putter - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Tyler Duncan's Axis 1 putter - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Cameron putters - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Chris Kirk's new Callaway Opus wedges - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      ProTC irons - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Dragon Skin 360 grips - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      Cobra prototype putters - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
      SeeMore putters - 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      • 0 replies
    • 2024 PGA Championship - Discussion and Links to Photos
      Please put  any questions or comments here
       
       
       
       
      General Albums
       
      2024 PGA Championship - Monday #1
       
       
       
       
       
      WITB Albums
       
      Michael Block - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Patrick Reed - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Cam Smith - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Brooks Koepka - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Josh Speight - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Takumi Kanaya - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Kyle Mendoza - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Adrian Meronk - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Jordan Smith - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Jeremy Wells - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Jared Jones - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      John Somers - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Larkin Gross - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Tracy Phillips - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Jon Rahm - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Keita Nakajima - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Kazuma Kobori - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      David Puig - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
      Ryan Van Velzen - WITB - 2024 PGA Championship
       
       
       
       
      Pullout Albums
       
      Ping putter covers - 2024 PGA Championship
      Bettinardi covers - 2024 PGA Championship
      Cameron putter covers - 2024 PGA Championship
      Max Homa - Titleist 2 wood - 2024 PGA Championship
      Scotty Cameron experimental putter shaft by UST - 2024 PGA Championship
       
       
       
        • Like
      • 13 replies

×
×
  • Create New...