Fort Mill's oldest golf course closed six months ago for major renovations. Now, the Fort Mill Golf Club is on the verge of reopening.
Labor Day has been mentioned as a target date, although it may be earlier than that.
The decision was made in December of 2007 to renovate according to Gene Roper, director of golf operations for Leroy Springs and Company.
"It has been a long time since any renovations had been done other than replacing the irrigation system in 1998. And we had some difficulties with the greens last summer," Roper said.
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The course is a Donald Ross design and opened in 1948. It was likely one of Ross' final works. He died the year it opened. Ross gained notoriety for designing renown courses such as Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina and Oakland Hills, the site of the recently completed PGA Championships, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
"We basically rebuilt the tees, bunkers and greens," Clyde Johnston, owner of Clyde Johnston Design, said. Johnston's Hilton Head-based firm oversaw the renovation. He's been in the business for 34 years.
"I think it turned out well. Fort Mill is a neat course. It is nice to have an old course that wasn't designed around real estate," Johnston said.
"We made sure the tees were wide enough and added to the seniors and ladies tee boxes. We took out all the material in the bunkers and put in new drainage and sand. We tried to put back the bunkers as Ross designed them. We didn't want to make the course too difficult. We also tried to keep his same style of the designed greens. We reshaped some of them and rebuilt them to USGA specifications," Johnston added.
Johnston noted No. 6 on the front nine used to play as a par five for women, but will now play as a par four, same as the men.
The clubhouse also received a facelift. It has a new deck and a new roof outside. Inside the snack bar was expanded, the pro shop was reconfigured, there is fresh paint and new carpet.
Leroy Springs & Co. was reported to invest $2 million in the project. The company also oversees Springfield Golf Club in Fort Mill as well as Lancaster and Chester Golf Clubs.
Roper is excited to reopen the course and welcome back the estimated 525 members. Fort Mill was on a pace for 53,000 rounds in 2007.
"That's a lot of play," Roper said.
"Our members have demonstrated a lot of patience and we really appreciate them for that. The course is taking shape really nice and people are excited about it."