ROGER G. RULEWICH
Golf course architect and designer of the recent bunker repair and restoration project
Interviewed on March 15, 2005
Interview (43 mins)
Mr. Rulewich arrived at Yale as a student in 1954 having never before played golf. After being challenged by his roommates to play, he became “hooked on the game” and found the “beautiful” course to be a “retreat. He often rode his bicycle out to the course to play (at the $1 greens fee) or just to walk.
He has continued to be a member since his graduation in 1958. As a civil engineer he went to work for a large New York engineering firm, but after three years he wanted to pursue his interest in architecture. He used the alumni job placement services and was offered a job with the golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, whom he thought was an architect of buildings. Thus he learned on the job, where he remained for 34 years until Jones retired. Mr. Rulewich often went to the Masters and to the sites of PGA US Open, as well as several extended trips to England, Scotland and Ireland. He has also returned to play Yale regularly from New York City and New Jersey.
Over the years, he has noted few changes in the course aside from some tee expansion, the changes to the twelfth bunker, and the modification of the cliff in front of the seventeenth tee. Approximately ten years ago he was hired to plan and supervise the repair of all existing bunkers (there had been no new sand added in more than 30 years) and to restore a number of bunkers that had been removed. He performed a lot of research using old aerial photos, construction photos and material from old brochures and topographic maps. He never saw a drawing of Raynor’s 36 hole plans. His plan was to restore bunkers to their original specifications while consistent with modern maintenance practices, especially those on # 2, 12, 13, & 17. The bunkers on holes 10 and 18 were not restored.
In his view the things still to be done are: improve the practice facility (possibly on right side of entrance road behind ninth green), improve cart paths (even though this course should have none), relocate the maintenance facility so that access doesn’t impinge on play, and to expand the clubhouse and parking. To the question of whether there is room for another 18 holes on the property, he answers no. In fact, “it is amazing that the course could be built on this property in the 1920’s, given the equipment available and the terrain, ledge and wetlands.” Today it would cost at least $10,000,000 [$400,000 1925 dollars] to build and probably couldn’t be built because of “environmental constraints.”