An aerial view of Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth Texas

Inside the renovation that couldn’t fail at Colonial Country Club 

Excerpt  from, May 20, 2024. By Paul Hodowanic. Photo: Matt Hahn/PGA TOUR.

FORT WORTH, Texas – It was a late-June morning and the sun was well below the horizon when Rich McIntosh, Oscar Lazaro and Josh McFadden piled into a small, dimly lit trailer at the center of Colonial Country Club.

The men sat around a plastic folding table, analyzing a large map of the course and planning the day ahead. Filled with markings and highlights, the map showed tangible progress that was hard to grasp when looking at the setting that surrounded them. The historic Colonial Country Club, where Ben Hogan once ruled, barely looked like a golf course. Every blade of grass on the back nine was gone. Only giant mounds of dirt remained. The front nine would soon look the same.

Lazaro, the lead man for LaBar Golf Renovations, discussed plans to fortify drain lines near the 15th tee and 17th green. McFadden, one of the shapers, had work to do on the 12th fairway, adjusting sightlines that would affect the tee shot. McIntosh, Colonial’s director of agronomy and project manager for the renovation, directed traffic. Other crews were ready to laser-scan the front nine greens and prep for the demo.

“Another busy day,” Lazaro said.

There would be many more like it. Still 10 months from their deadline, a quiet intensity loomed over every decision and action. Crews began ripping up Colonial less than 24 hours after Emiliano Grillo beat Adam Schenk in a playoff to claim the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge, and they did so with an ambitious directive: fully renovate one of the most historic courses in America in time for the PGA TOUR’s annual visit the following May.

Gil Hanse, the renowned architect in charge of restoring the 1936 Perry Maxwell design, had worked under similar time constraints only a handful of times before. Each of those had more favorable growing seasons. Colonial’s renovation banked on the course surviving the winter.

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