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Fort Mill golf course to be closed for months

A golfer leaves a tee box and heads toward a green at Fort Mill Golf Club on Wednesday. Above right is a view of the course's practice range. The course will soon close for renovations.
A golfer leaves a tee box and heads toward a green at Fort Mill Golf Club on Wednesday. Above right is a view of the course's practice range. The course will soon close for renovations.

FORT MILL -- Months of renovations to the 60-year-old course at the Fort Mill Golf Club begin Friday on the back nine, club officials say. The entire course will close on Monday, when construction shifts to the front nine, and won't reopen until late summer.

"The renovation will update the greens to USGA standards," said Gene Roper, director of golf for Leroy Springs and Co., which owns the course. "Tees and bunkers will be modified or added as needed to bring the course up to date. Fort Mill is our most popular course, and playing conditions will improve greatly as a result of the renovation."

Leroy Springs will invest up to $2 million for the renovations. Construction should end by August, depending on weather, Roper said.

The timing of the renovations come during golf's peak season, but experts say it's also the best time to grow grass.

Players will be allowed to suspend their membership while the Fort Mill course is closed. They also will be offered golf privileges to sister courses in Lancaster, Chester and Springfield.

If Fort Mill memberships are maintained during construction, Lancaster and Chester courses will allow play during that time. For those wanting to play Springfield, the course will honor Fort Mill members playing there Mondays through Fridays, but normal rates will apply for Saturday and Sunday mornings and holidays.

The Accelerized Golf Training Academy, housed at Fort Mill Golf Club, will remain open during the renovations. Owned and operated by Brent Reneau, the academy provides instruction, club fitting and club repair. Reneau will continue to offer lessons, clinics and off-site leagues.

Landscape Unlimited, of Southern Pines, N.C., will handle the renovations to the course. Noted golf architect Clyde Johnston will be the designer.

"Clyde is a veteran of several golf course renovations and designed the Springfield Golf Course which we opened in 2001," Roper said. "We're fortunate to have Clyde on the team."

Built in 1948, the Fort Mill Golf Club is one of the oldest in the area and has a strong membership base. The company wouldn't say how many members it has.

The semi-private course, designed by architect Donald Ross, opened with just nine holes. The back nine, designed by George Cobb, opened in 1959.

Roper said he plans to keep as much of the original Ross design as possible.

"We will do the best we can to make it look like it was," Roper said. "We thought it was a unique look and to do that look would be a good thing. He is a well-known designer."

The par-72 course plays 6,826 yards. The final yardage after renovations is undetermined. However, the ladies yardage for the course will be shorter than the current 5,427 yards, Roper said.

"I'm excited about them," Jeanette Guilfoyle of the renovations. "It's going to be good."

Playing partner Jackie Gonzalez added: "I'm all for it, and I am new to the area."

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