As we begin to celebrate our 20th year here at Arcadia Bluffs, we'd like to share a little history of how we got to where we are today...
Starting off with the history of the Arcadia Bluffs Flag and Flagstick:
The history of the course flag and flagstick at Arcadia Bluffs dates back 20 years to the opening of the Club in 1999. Initially, regulation length fiberglass sticks were used but it was quickly discovered that their durability was no match for the wind conditions of the site, the sticks often splintering and fracturing at the base. Additionally, the subsequent pressure on the base of the stick inside the cup resulted in a mounding or “volcano” effect on the perimeter of the hole, repelling those putts not carrying sufficient pace. In response, we experimented with shorter fiberglass sticks but there simply was not enough sturdiness in the fiberglass to hold up to the wind and the mounding effect continued. However, we did learn from this experiment that we were headed in the right direction with the shorter height; the remaining question was what material should be used for the sticks.
Our search for the right stick ended with the current version, a custom cut octagon shaped exotic wooden stick with a solid fiberglass rod inserted into the bottom of the stick which goes into the hole and a second fiberglass rod inserted into the top of the stick to which the flag is attached. The sticks arrive in these three pieces and are assembled by our agronomy staff, ensuring stability and the ability to reuse any of the parts as needed. Three different length sticks are used varying between 5 feet and 9 feet; the taller ones are used to accommodate hole locations in the back sections of certain greens which are elevated and require a longer stick for visibility. A few examples are back locations on holes #8 and #18, and on the longer par 3’s.
The story of the iconic flags of Arcadia follows the same path as the stick, as they are not your ordinary golf course flag. Custom cut, double-stitched, and sized smaller than a standard flag to match the shorter flagsticks, the unique and smaller sized flags also serve to reduce the wind drag and lessen pressure on the stick. The flags are not strictly rectangular as they follow the shape of the “flag logo” after which they are designed. The logo is represented by three colors, yellow to signify the sun, blue to represent Lake Michigan, and green for the golf course. The horizontal white line that separates the grass from the lake and sun is slightly curved to follow the gentle roll of the bluff line with the shape of the flag itself following this curve. The vertical white line represents the flagstick that is slightly bowed to signify the influence of the wind. The flags are a cotton and vinyl mix providing the strength needed to withstand the ever-changing conditions. All flags are replaced three times per year.
The sticks and flags at The South Course are made of the same materials. However, unlike the original Bluffs Course, the South Course sticks are traditional length, and the flag is cut slightly larger. This decision was made because the small versions were not readily visible to players due to the vast openness of the site and the lack of backdrop on most holes.
The final design of the flagsticks was a response to the ever-present winds while the flags themselves epitomize the uniqueness of Arcadia Bluffs.