Jack Nicklaus – golf icon, decorated American sportsman, ambassador, philanthropist, and globally acclaimed golf course designer, including the design vision behind Desert Mountain’s six Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses – has returned to “The Mountain” to lead the renovation of the Renegade Golf Course, the first course to open in the high desert luxury community in 1987.
“This is the greatest golf complex in the world,” Nicklaus said after meeting with club members to outline his vision the new course design. “I can’t imagine anything being any better. Desert Mountain is just a great complex. “
Nicklaus won the Phoenix Open in 1964 and also won The Tradition at Desert Mountain four times during his career. Recently, during his return to Desert Mountain, Nicklaus was greeted by enthusiastic club members and happily signed autographs, shared stories and met with members of the media.
The Golden Bear, whose charitable work has raised more than $70 million for pediatric care and facilities, said he was thrilled to be back designing a course at Desert Mountain and envisions a renovated course that will be better than ever. “A lot of times when you start doing a golf course there is nothing out there,” he said. “Now we have houses in a lot of those places and some of those houses don’t have the views they could have. By redoing some of the golf course, I can actually increase the value for those people and their houses. I think that is a part of my job.“
The Renegade renovation, expected to start May 1 and be completed in March 2019, will add new tees for varying skill levels, update infrastructure and improve homeowner views. Greens, bunkers, irrigation and arroyo areas will also be renovated. Once completed, Renegade will also have year-round cool season turf, which will add 45 days of additional golf each year for members and their guests at the club.
While the design aspect of his work is different, Nicklaus said lessons learned from playing golf help when he’s on the other side of the swing determining how to lay out and design a course. “I don’t think anything is like walking up the 18th fairway at the Masters and having the chance to win the golf tournament. But because of what I’ve learned in those places, I’m able to apply that to a piece of ground that will be here long beyond my golf game and lifetime. All of those golf tournaments fit right into what I’m doing here today.”
Nicklaus doesn’t get out on the course that often anymore, but when he does, he still enjoys it. “If I break 80 I’m doing fine,” said the 78-year-old Nicklaus. “I’ll shoot my age most of the time. It’s not as fun shooting 65, but still lot of fun.”
For more, www.desertmountain.com/become-a-member/membership-information/. –Greg Sexton