As the player consultant for the Deutsche Bank Championship, Brad Faxon felt a need to make the TPC of Boston a more fitting venue for the second stop of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs.
Enter Gil Hanse.
Hanse, head of Malvern-based Gil Hanse Golf Course Design, created Boston Golf Club in Hingham, Mass., and struck up a friendship with Faxon, who is a member there. When talk began about a redesign of the TPC, the tour player knew one man who'd be up to the task.
"Brad alerted the tour that he thought Boston Golf Club was really special, and they asked me to do the work," Hanse said Friday via phone from Scotland, where he is working on Castle Stuart, a course he codesigned that will open in spring 2009 near Inverness.
Soon after Tiger Woods holed his last putt on Labor Day to win last year's event, Hanse, design partner Jim Wagner, and his team got to work at the TPC of Boston, a five-year-old Arnold Palmer design in Norton, Mass., that, according to Faxon, had not been built to be a tournament course.
Thanks to a mild December, the job was done in about six months, and the course is ready to go for Friday's start of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
"We redid everything," Hanse said. "We moved most of the bunkers and rebuilt all of them. We built five new greens and tried to make them smaller. We wanted to create a golf course that felt older than it is. Actually, we made it shorter."
Hanse said that the idea to shorten the course "raised a lot of eyebrows," but that the purpose was to make players think their way around the course more. The new design added fescue around the bunkers and a few more blind shots.
"We wanted to make it more interesting," Hanse said. "The guys have to make decisions off the tee. They have to think their way around the course and explore different options."
Hanse's first design for a PGA Tour event adds to a resume that includes Boston Golf Club, which was ranked No. 3 on Golf Digest's list of best new private courses; Rustic Canyon in Moorpark, Calif.; Craighead Links in Crail, Scotland; and local designs Applebrook in Malvern and French Creek in Elverson.
The Deutsche Bank marks the playoff debut of Woods, who skipped last week's opener at Harrison, N.Y. Hanse will be on-site to see how the players approach the redesigned course and to hear what they have to say.
"I'm nervous, but I'm also excited," he said.