As Patrick Wilkinson and his team at Diamondback Golf Club focus on making ongoing improvements to the golfing experience here, he speaks often of “softening the feel.”
“With a name like Diamondback, the first thing you think of is a snake, of course,” he says. “Then, when you step on the golf course and you see something that’s as heavily wooded like here at Diamondback, it just reinforces the notion for the golfer that ‘I don’t want to go in the woods,’ and it frightens you a little along those lines.”
So Wilkinson’s efforts over the past few years have included extensive tree removal in the woods along each side of the course’s fairways, going back anywhere from 10 to 15 feet. “We’ve been clearing them out to the extent that now, if you do hit the ball into the trees, you can walk in and get it and not feel like you’re going to stumble upon a bunch of snakes,” he reasons. “It’s sort of a mental thing that if you hit it in the trees you’re going to get bitten. That’s not really the case here.
“So, if you hit in the woods here at Diamondback, we want you to be able to go find your ball. We don’t want you to just drop another one down and get all fed up and frustrated with us. Basically, we’ve just been cleaning and softening it up along the woods lines, not taking away from any of the characteristics.”
Now, if a wayward shot finds the woods at Diamondback, there’s an additional benefit beyond eliminating that fear factor of snakes. It will still cost you a penalty stroke if your ball lands in those woods, but as Wilkinson is quick to add, “at least you can find your ball now.”
As the tree removal work remains ongoing, so too does Diamondback’s attention to improving drainage throughout the course – both in the bunkers, and throughout the course. And as the collective effort lessens the frequency of “cart path only” days and improves your odds of recovering wayward golf balls, it’s Diamondback’s attention to such details that underscores their commitment to steadily improving the playing experience for its members and guests.