Forrest Richardson to Renovate Palo Alto Golf Course
(9-2011)

Golf architect Forrest Richardson has been selected to reconfigure and provide a new routing for the Palo Alto Golf Course, a Bay Area course established in 1956. Palo Alto Golf Course was established in 1956 and designed by the father and son team of William P. and William F. Bell. The senior Bell, known as "Billy Bell Sr.", passed away before the course was opened in 1956. The younger Bell went on to design scores of courses throughout the west. Palo Alto remains one of the last courses designed by William P. Bell. Now, nearly six decades later, Forrest Richardson, ASGCA will undertake a re-design project to help make way for an expanded floodway project adjacent to the course.

"Our work will be to make room for the floodway project, but also to create a win-win outcome that improves the course," commented Richardson. "The current layout has migrated away from the Bell legacy and throughout the process we want to restore that quality as well."

In order to resolve flood issues through the communities of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, a new agency, the San Fransisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) was formed in 2005. The mission of SFCJPA is to find solutions to flooding along the San Fransisquito Creek flood zone and to implement those solutions to protect life and property. During the past few years a design solution has been approved to realign a portion of the existing creek within the current golf course at Palo Alto. Higher levees will also consume part of the course property. Richardson and his team will work closely with engineers and environmental consultants to ensure the golf work coexists with the design approaches for the flood control work.

Richardson is known for his work restoring and remodeling Billy Bell courses. Noted examples include Buenaventura in Ventura, California, The Arizona Biltmore Adobe Course in Phoenix, Arizona and Peacock Gap in San Rafael, California. At Palo Alto the work is anticipated to be a blending of enhancement work together with changes to the routing to accommodate the creek and levee improvements. The new course will be transformed into The Baylands Golf Links at Palo Alto, with a landscape approach to fit the Baylands region of the Palo Alto region.

"A crucial component of the floodway work will be restoring ecosystems in and along the creek," says Richardson. "The golf course will follow suit with enhanced naturalized areas and an overall landscape improvement." Richardson's plans will be finalized in early 2013 with construction potentially scheduled for 2014. The SFCJPA has oversight of the work and is required to coordinate public input as well as approvals from the City of Palo Alto.

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