There’s Nothing Crazy About a Bill Coore Routing
By Matt Ginella
Ben Crenshaw has often said that his partner, Bill Coore, will go down in history as one of the greatest routers of a golf course. I’ve never met or spoken to anyone who would disagree. Like Pete Dye used to do, Coore always leaves dirty boots outside his front door. Out at Crazy Mountain Ranch, not far from Bozeman, Montana—where Coore & Crenshaw are busy building a private course for Sam Byrne, some of his friends and members—we got a chance to talk to Coore about his thoughts on the magic of getting from the first tee to the 18th green.
In this case, Coore had 18,000 acres as his blank canvas but one could argue, it was already a piece of art. Coore was surveying the base of the Crazy Mountains, which are 40-miles wide, 15-miles deep and have a peak of 11,214 feet. The foothills of “The Crazies” have movement and vast scenery, creeks and trees. All Coore had to do was find 18 holes in 18,000 acres. But more land meant there was more to assess and consider. In honing in on where they’d start the course and where they’d finish, security detail and employees of the ranch share stories of watching Coore throw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his pocket at sunrise and he’d return just before sunset. He didn’t walk that land for days, it was weeks. Months. Mind you, and security often warned Coore, that there are a wide variety of wild animals roaming the Crazy Mountain Ranch. They’d insist that it might not be safe going it alone. Coore would brush them off. My guess is he has a little Dr. Doolittle in him. No one would be surprised if he talked to the animals. Or, that they’d talk back.
Worth mentioning, Coore tracks golf holes a lot like some people track wildlife. He often goes as far as following tracks made by some of those animals and will incorporate those tracks into his routing. Good enough for them, more than good enough for us.
In this one drone shot by Joel Wiebe, you get a 360-degree look at the Crazy Mountains, the ranch, the foothills, the Coore & Crenshaw design as it’s being built, and you end up peering in on one of the creative conversations Bill and Ben are having with two of their top associates, Keith Rhebb and Jimbo Wright.
“I’ve never seen a team work together like they do,” says David Hardwick, General Manager of Crazy Mountain Ranch. “The trust they have in each other and the trust they have in their associates. There’s a lot of creative freedom. It’s impressive and very inspiring to watch.”
We can attest.