Home » Topics » Yalies Who Influenced Golf » Architects » Architect-Rulewich


Bunker Restoration by Roger G. Rulewich, Class of 1958

Since he has been described as the “’poster boy’ of unsung golf course architects”, It seems only fitting that in 1998 Roger Rulewich was chosen to design and direct the restoration of the Yale Golf Course bunkers. [1] Seventy-five years earlier that characterization could have been applied to Seth Raynor, the original course designer. When the course opened in 1926 CB Macdonald received so much praise for “his design” that Charles Banks, in an attempt to set the record straight, wrote a letter to the editor and then an article that appeared in the Yale Alumni Weekly. [2] He did not completely succeed. A complete study of the record however, leaves no doubt that Yale is a Raynor design. Likewise, there is no doubt Raynor’s style is that of the student of a great teacher. The parallels with Roger Rulewich and Robert Trent Jones and with Seth Raynor and CB Macdonald are striking. Rulewich was hired as a mechanical engineer, to design bridges for The Woodstock Inn course in Vermont. He became the one to “produce stunning courses in the exact [and exacting] style of Robert Trent Jones” The 22 courses of the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama were all designed by Rulewich [4 after Jones died], but his name is not attached to any of them. [1] Raynor was hired as a civil engineer to survey the site for the National Golf Links. He became the one to follow the Macdonald style to the extent that many think of Yale as a Macdonald design. Both Raynor and Rulewich remain in the shadow of their mentors.

Bunker renovation and restoration began in 1998 and continued through 2003. All existing and restored bunkers now have excellent drainage and are perfectly playable. More important are the bunkers that were eliminated through the years and have now been restored. The scope of that work is described in words of Roger Rulewich:
“We started the work on the bunker restoration in 1998 with work on the greenside bunkers on nos. 1,4,5 and 8. There was no work in 1999 and we came back in 2000 to continue with reworking the bunkers on nos. 2,6,7 and 9. In 2002 we built the new putting green and restored the greenside bunkers on nos. 10,11,15 and 18. There was no new work in 2002 but we returned in 2003 to tackle some of the most interesting restoration and the installation of bunkers that had been lost over the years. These included the reshaping of the fairway bunker on no.1, putting back the bunkers to the right of nos.2 and 17, the rear “Redan” bunkers on no.13 and the restoration of the greenside bunkering at no.16.
Add this up and you will see that we completed work on all the bunkers on the course except for hole no.3. This is a rebuilt green and the hope is that this green and its bunkering will be redone at some time to restore it to something closer to the original. As you say we did not have any plans for the original construction of the course and worked from old photographs during construction, aerial photos taken over the years and information gathered from many sources and site reviews.”[Personal correspondence]

One can now say that the Yale Golf Course is a Raynor designed, Rulewich restored course.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email