Yale Hires Gil Hanse to Design Yale Golf Course Restoration

After months of deliberation, Yale’s sports department has officially announced its intention to hire world-class golf architect Gil Hanse for the restoration of its historic golf course.



Yale Athletics officially announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Hanse Golf Course Design to “create an architectural restoration master plan” for the Yale golf course.

In May, the News reported that a proposal was underway for a restoration of the iconic Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor course. At the time, YGC General Manager Peter Palacios told the News that if the plan was approved, the restoration would shut the course down for around 22 to 24 months. Now, Yale has officially hired Gil Hanse to lead the design effort. The announcement, years in the making, follows two key personnel changes over the past 12 months.

Earlier Thursday, Golf Course Industry announced that the renovation plans are expected to be funded by Yale alumni “to the tune of $ 25 million.” Associate sports director for strategic communications Mike Gambardella said the sports department does not comment on monetary funds.

“The restoration of the Yale Golf Course is the most significant restoration opportunity entrusted to us,” said golf architect Gil Hanse in a statement from Yale Athletics. “The formidable history of the design, the original significance of the course and the potential that exists in its landscape is truly astounding. By restoring the scale of design and ownership, we have the opportunity to reconnect with the world of golf at one of the iconic courses in the history of American golf course architecture.

In 2016, the News reported that a proposal was underway to build a new world-class golf course at Woodbridge and modernize the YGC. Although this project was unsuccessful, Hanse would have been the architect responsible for the project. Hanse is perhaps most famous for designing the course used at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which was the first time golf was included in the Games since 1904.

Hanse has extensive experience catering to other Macdonald-Raynor courses including Sleepy Hollow Country Club, The Creek, and Raynor-designed Fishers Island Club, all located in New York City.

“Gil’s experience, creativity, foresight, intellect and passion make him the ideal candidate to take on this responsibility,” Palacios said in the Yale Athletics press release. “His extensive resume includes restorations from some of the world’s most renowned golf courses.”

In May, Palacios told the News that restoration plans included an upgrade to the driving range, a new entrance, a water conservation plan and a tree removal program. Palacios particularly underlined the importance of the “post-restoration plan” which would maintain the quality of the course for years to come. The Yale Athletics press release said the plan includes “a significant investment in course maintenance and the development of a fiscally sound business model.”

Part of these changes in the business plan, according to the statement, include moving to a per diem structure and an “increase. [level of] capital in maintenance allocations. In May, new superintendent Jeffrey Austin said the plan would use both internal and external contractors.

In that same interview, Palacios told the News that the restoration plans were not a response to the criticism the university faced over a year ago amid the pandemic when the course fell into disrepair. after being closed for a long time.

During the pandemic, Yale Men’s Golf Head Coach Colin Sheehan ’97 created a document with potential improvements for the YGC with a detailed list of budget estimates. The total list added to about three million dollars.

Palacios said the document was one of the first things he read when he started working, but told The News in May that Sheehan had not been officially involved in the restoration plans.

The YGC hosts the 45th edition of the Macdonald Cup this weekend, Saturday and Sunday.


Eugenio Garza García covers baseball, golf and athletic phasing. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, he is a second year student at Branford College majoring in Economics and English.

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