Written November 2011 by Forrest Richardson and Mark Fine, following the completion of restoration of the c.1920 Mira Vista Golf & Country Club
Every golf course is special in its own way, but sometimes you uncover a design that is truly one-of-a-kind. That is what we discovered at Mira Vista while performing our initial research and discovery – Mira Vista has a pedigree like no other.
The course is the one and only original design of Robert Hunter, noted author, golf architect and one of the great minds from the “Golden Age” of golf course design. This puts Mira Vista in a class by itself and further elevates the historical importance of this special golf course.
Our research into the evolution of the course uncovered a well documented history. These findings presented us with a significant opportunity to carry out a thoughtful and careful restoration of Hunter’s original design philosophy. Our discoveries were augmented with our knowledge of classic design principles. Our restoration plan applied the architectural vision of Hunter in order to restore the course to the version you see today.
The intent was to recapture the sheer beauty of the land and the great views that Hunter appreciated when he picked this site to build the original Berkeley Country Club. The dramatic ridge tops and valleys Hunter used to route the layout had become compromised over time. Many of the great hallmarks of the course had become shrouded by enormous eucalyptus trees and the consequences of overplanting large tree varieties throughout the past 75 years.
Together with the Green Committee and staff, we restored the lost long views and native textures that make up the breathtaking site high above the Bay and adjoining Wildcat Canyon.
Also reinstituted were many of Hunter’s original design ideas and their dependent on classic strategy and appearance. Green shapes and sizes were restored, and bunkers were reshaped, reoriented and added in order to bring back original lines of play. Our primary goal was a more thought provoking golf experience, one grounded with options and decisions at every tee and approach.
The improvements have brought back many unique golf holes that now shine with personality and distinction. The golf holes are now equal to the striking setting, not to mention the strategy embraced and described by Hunter in his commentary about the course. The end result is a course that is challenging, yet fun and eminently playable. Mira Vista now embraces the classic features of a golf course from the “Golden Age” – Our best hope is that Robert Hunter is smiling!
Forrest Richardson & Mark Fine