DeBell Golf Club is a public course located north of Los Angeles, California in the foothill City of Burbank. Originally designed in 1959 by William F. Bell, the 5,800-yard par-71 course is high above the city in the brush covered hills.
Beginning in 2008 Forrest Richardson began providing remodeling and planning services to the course, working with municipal leaders on ways to update the aging course while preserving the positive design infused by Bell. As part of the work a long range master plan was developed to help guide the course into the next era. Financial, market share and pro forma analysis was brought together, much of it prepared by the National Golf Foundation Consulting.
“DeBell is a homecoming for me,” notes Richardson. “I was born in Burbank and have fond memories of seeing the course when I was very young, and also driving along the interesting fairways on our way up to the Castaways Restaurant above the course.”
Among the approaches to transforming the course are creating a re-imagined practice facility with a 6-hole short course, training area and indoor swing analysis bays. On the 18-hole course the vision if for tree management, bunker rebuilding and green expansion.
DeBell is unusual in that it literally winds its way up and through very steep terrain, yet does so with by way of an excellent routing. “Bell was known for very solid routing plans,” offers Richardson. “There is evidence that Bell’s mother, Anna Kamp Bell, would prepare routing plans for her husband, William P. Bell, and that she continued to do this for her son many years after the senior Bell passed away.”