On May 16th, 2013, with the re-opening of the Heritage Nine, the Golf Course Renovation project at Shangri-La is complete. What started out as a much needed facelift, turned into a total reconstruction of the entire facility. Following a three year renovation project, the Old Blue Course at Shangri-La is back with dramatic changes and the Heritage Nine is played as the front nine of the Old Blue. Tom Clark’s redux of the Old Blue has transformed it into a modern classic.
Countless hours and endless sweat have been spent to ensure an environment for premier conditions on what proves to be one of the best tests of golf in the four-state region. Although the classic Don Sechrest layout is still intact, the addition of fluid movement to the fairways, additional distinctive white sand bunkers, brilliant water features and diverse, pristine putting surfaces will present a modern contrast that has made Shangri-La the golf destination of the region. The layout and features of the Heritage Nine provide the perfect complement to the magnificent lake views visible from all points on the golf course. With five sets of tees, the golf course will be set up daily to offer all levels of golfers a challenge that suits their game.
The Layout: In renovating the golf course at Shangri-La, special attention was paid to providing the player with a new experience with every shot. At Shangri-La, unlike many golf courses, a diverse layout is evident as you manage your way through the course. Every hole presents a uniquely beautiful picture. Integrating Grand Lake into the design, 14 holes utilize numerous creeks and ponds strategically placed to offer the golfer choices from shot to shot whether to be aggressive or play it safe. The golfer will experience holes that shape to the right and others that shape left. They will have opportunities to approach elevated greens and also ones that are below the fairway. Enjoying a unique round of golf is assured.
The Bunkers: The 79 spectacular white sand bunkers throughout the golf course add a stark contrast to the plush green fairways and defined roughs. Great care is taken to guarantee that every bunker has consistent feel and playability. Regular shaping and prominent edging create intimidating bunker faces and challenging greenside shots. Crushed White Quartz Sand, the same used at Augusta National, was used to create dramatic framing at the greens complexes and in landing areas.
The Greens Complexes: In rebuilding the greens complexes at Shangri-La, the goal was to stay true to the original design by providing the most diverse putting surfaces possible. Although the extreme slopes of the old greens are gone, new and more exciting features have taken their place. A perfect balance of classic green styles and modern approaches has been struck to provide the golfer with a unique putting experience on each hole. No green design is the same as another. In reproducing versions of such classic greens as the Redan, Biarritz, Spine and Punchbowl; the Shangri-La complexes aren’t pure replicas, such as we find today at novelty courses like Tour 18 in Houston and Royal Links in Las Vegas. Instead, Mr. Clark seized on a concept and adapted it to the varying conditions and topographies found in Northeast Oklahoma. And they fit perfectly. Golfers will come away from their round with an experience unmatched at any other facility.
Tee Complexes: In an era where golf courses are getting longer and longer, some neglect the needs of their players. At Shangri-La, we have every level of golfer in mind. The tee complexes are strategically placed enabling every golfer the opportunity to play the course at a length providing them the challenge they desire.
We certainly hope you enjoy the changes to the course and hope to see you soon on the tee at Shangri-La!!!
View our New Hole by Hole Flyovers:
The first tee shot of the day is sometimes the hardest. And #1 Heritage doesn’t help you feel any more comfortable. With trees and a pond left and a bunker right, just finding the fairway is a good goal. Consider hitting a club that leaves your ball just short of the fairway bunker and you will still only have 150 yards to the uphill green. Challenge the pond successfully and you’ll have just a short shot into the uphill approach. Be sure to judge the dramatic elevation changes from tee to green. With three distinct sections on the green, your focus should be on landing your ball on the correct level. A large collection area surrounds the entire greens complex, so consider putting or using your hybrid to try to get up and down if you miss the green. A missed approach short of the green should be avoided at all costs.
The shortest hole on the Heritage nine demands an accurate tee shot as trees pinch the fairway significantly. Leaving yourself 120 yards into the green exposes you to the widest part of the fairway and sets you up to navigate a very tricky approach to a unique greens complex. With a tip of the cap to classic golf courses of years gone by, #2 features a Biarritz green highlighted by a large gully, or swale, bisecting the green into three distinct levels. With the middle level sitting 3 to 4 feet below the front and back of the green, distance control on your approach is critical. The narrow green is 180 feet long and presents a significant challenge if your ball must traverse through the Biarritz.
At under 400 yards, the length on #3 Heritage is not an issue for most golfers. But don’t lose your focus or this short dogleg left par four will jump up and bite you. With a fairway that slopes from right to left and sharply down at 100 yards, if you decide to challenge the corner on the uphill tee shot, your ball will drift left and potentially leave you with tree trouble. Allow your drive to come to rest 120 yards from the green down the right side of the fairway. This will present the easiest approach from the only flat spot in the landing area to one of the most intriguing greens complexes on the property. Guarded by enormous bunkers both in front and behind the green, your slightly downhill approach must find the correct side of the wide and narrow complex. A three foot high spine divides the green into two distinct sections. If you find the incorrect side with your approach you will be faced with perhaps the toughest putting challenge on property when traversing the spine.
#4 Heritage is a par five that has everything a golf hole needs to present both a challenge and an opportunity. One of the most beautiful holes on property; it features a spectacular water feature, creek, gigantic bunkers, pond and a 5 foot false front on the front edge of the putting surface. As a great risk reward hole, the tee shot on the short, dog leg right par five avails you the opportunity to be as aggressive as you like. Large fairway bunkers split the landing area that is guarded on the right side by a large pond. An aggressive drive that splits the bunkers and skirts the pond is a risk, but if successful, will leave you with an approach of under 175 yards to an uphill green. The smart play off the tee is to play left of the bunkers into a large fairway. From 215-225 yards, you can either play aggressively towards the green or lay back in the undulating fairway to your most comfortable distance. When going for the green in two, be sure to avoid the tall trees that protect the right side of the green. If your ball finds them, it may carom back into the pond or find some wiry rough. Once you arrive at the green, the large false front will surely catch you by surprise. Whether you like to putt, chip, pitch or use a hybrid, the 5 foot rise will present a uniquely enjoyable challenge. Managing this green successfully will definitely help you gain a shot on the field.
The slightly downhill par three 5th features a large green that wraps around a bunker that protects the right side of the complex. The classic Redan green has steep slopes on the left side of the greens complex that can assist your ball in moving hard left to right. Contrary to your instincts, the Redan allows you to hit the ball left in order to make it go right. Don’t attempt to challenge the back right hole location head on, use the large slope left of the green and watch your ball collect close to the hole.
As the longest par 4 on property, success on #6 Heritage demands a long tee shot that avoids the large distinct bunker down the left. But, driving with the prevailing wind enables your tee shot to stay in the air long enough to catch a downslope that can act like a runway propelling your ball down the fairway leaving you with a manageable distance into the green. The green at #6 is the only one at Shangri-La that doesn’t have a bunker protecting it. But don’t let that fool you, it may be the toughest complex out there. The sharp eight foot slope on the right side of the green creates nightmares if your ball comes up short or misses right. Try to keep your ball towards the middle or left side of the green on your approach. The large mounds left of the green and extensive fairway cut bailout provides an easy opportunity to get up and down. With the entire right side mowed at fairway height, making an error short and right will see your ball rolling sharply down and away from the hole leaving you with a chip that will make your palms sweat.
The most challenging element of #7 on the Heritage side is the elevation changes from tee to green. The tee shot demands accuracy and length to set up the perfect approach. With a long drive, the left side of the fairway is protected by a large pond, but if you play too safe to the right, you may be forced to work your ball around or under the large sycamore trees that guard the right side of the approach. Make sure to judge the elevation correctly when choosing your approach iron to the greens complex that sits 100 feet above the landing area. Under-clubbing can leave you with a difficult up and down from the large and deep greenside bunker, while overshooting the green can result in a treacherous downhill chip. The greens complex features many high and low pinches, so try to keep your ball on the low side or a three-putt could be in hand.
The par three eighth is a lengthy hole protected by greenside bunkers and a false front that, if not managed effectively, can result in your ball rolling some 20 yards down the steep slope in front of the green. Choosing the appropriate club and judging the cross wind properly is a good start, but leaving your ball on the correct level below the hole is critical to your ultimate success on number 8.
Number 9 is the longest par five on property, but is downhill all the way off the tee. Don’t be afraid to drive your ball down the left side of the fairway. Large mounds and a steep hillside should direct your ball right, avoiding the bunker protecting the right side of the landing area. A well-positioned and strong tee shot will set you up to carry the creek, pond and bunker down the left side of the approach on your second shot leaving a short pitch to a three-tiered green. But, if you are not comfortable with the carry distance to clear the bunker which flanks the pond, you can lay your ball up over the creek in the large fairway to the right of the pond. But, be careful, hitting your ball too far right may result in some tree trouble requiring a high lofted or low running approach. Number 9 sports one of the most severe greens of the Heritage Nine. Take care to select the correct approach shot in order to position your ball on the correct tier. A mishit approach will create a challenge in getting down in two putts.
The tee shot on #4 is probably the most demanding on the entire nine. The large bunker on the left, combined with a narrow fairway cut, will force many balls to find the trees on the right. Uphill all the way, this par four requires two strong shots to arrive on the putting surface. Study your putt well or the subtle breaks in the large greens complex will result in a missed opportunity and leave you shaking your head on the way back to your cart.