Under its new design, Belmont GC’s course in Henrico, Va., originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast, will feature 12 championship holes, a 35,000-sq. ft. putting course, plus a six-hole, par-3 short course. Tiger Point GC in Gulf Breeze, Fla., completed a course-enhancement project that focused on the irrigation system, bunkers, general course maintenance, and a new practice area.
While Tiger Point Golf Club in Gulf Breeze, Fla. was completing a course-enhancement project, Belmont Golf Course in Henrico, Va. was just beginning a major renovation.
The renovation of historic Belmont Golf Course is underway, RVAHub reported. Site work started in early May as part of a $5 million project to revive Henrico County’s landmark public golf course in Lakeside.
The Board of Supervisors approved a 20-year lease in December, allowing The First Tee of Greater Richmond to upgrade and operate the facility, RVAHub reported. The agreement ensures Belmont will remain affordable and accessible to the community while freeing the county from operating losses due to years of declining play.
“We’re just thrilled to see the project move forward,” said Neil Luther, Director of Henrico’s Division of Recreation and Parks. “The last thing we wanted to see was to have the lease take effect and the property sit fallow for months and months on end because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
“With work underway, it’s evident that the project is moving forward and will be done this time next year.”
Belmont is being restored in the tradition of architect A.W. Tillinghast, who designed the course—then-known as Hermitage Country Club—in 1917, RVAHub reported. It hosted the 1949 PGA Championship, which was won by Virginian Sam Snead.
Under its new design, Belmont will feature 12 championship holes created by restoring existing holes 7 through 18, RVAHub reported. Holes 5 through 6 will be converted into a 35,000-sq.-ft. putting course plus a six-hole, par-3 “short course.” Each hole will range from 80 to 170 yards and be based on Tillinghast holes throughout the country.
Existing holes 1 through 4 will be turned into a driving range, wedge range and short-game practice area, RVAHub reported. The project also includes an upgraded pro shop, improved concessions and space for youth programs.
“The course, when it comes back, is going to be brand new in terms of quality,” Luther said.
Brent Schneider, CEO of The First Tee of Greater Richmond, envisions Belmont being an inclusive place “where the history of American golf meets the future of American golf,” RVAHub reported. The nonprofit is a chapter of The First Tee.
“Our vision is to strengthen the character of our community, and we feel like, with this property, we’re going to be able to do that,” Schneider said. “Whether you’ve been playing all your life or you’re brand new and want to come try it out, there’s an entry point at this facility for everyone.”
The First Tee of Greater Richmond expects to invest $4.25 million in Belmont, with Henrico contributing $750,000 previously set aside for course improvements, RVAHub reported.
Established in 1998, The First Tee of Greater Richmond operates the Tattersall Youth Development Center at The First Tee Chesterfield Golf Course in Chesterfield County and the Elson Redmond Memorial Driving Range in Richmond, RVAHub reported.
The group enlisted MacCurrach Golf and Love Golf Design as the contractor and architect, respectively, for Belmont, RVAHub reported. The first phase of work is focusing on restoring the championship holes, with renovated greens, improved bunkers and better drainage and irrigation.
Scot Sherman, lead architect with Love Golf Design, told RVAHub the underground systems will be “light years beyond what was here before.”
“You see the turf. You see the bunkers, but you don’t often see what’s underneath,” he said.
With its improvements, Belmont will be designed to challenge experienced golfers and nurture the next generation of players, RVAHub reported. In addition to the community, the facilities will be available to Henrico’s high school golf teams, the Henrico Police Athletic League and other community groups.
“This is obviously a historic golf course, but there wasn’t a lot of variety here,” said Mark Love, a principal with Love Golf Design. “There wasn’t an opportunity to hit balls on the driving range and take lessons. All of the programing that First Tee does involves all aspects of the game. I think the kids have an opportunity to learn in a nonintimidating environment and work their way up to the bigger golf course, and I think that’s a great opportunity.”
The First Tee of Greater Richmond detailed its plans and answered questions from the community in a presentation delivered in March via YouTube due to the coronavirus, RVAHub reported.
Tiger Point Golf Club, an 18-hole semi-private club in Gulf Breeze, Fla., recently completed a course-enhancement project. The project, which began in November 2019, focused on the club’s irrigation system, bunkers, general course maintenance, and a new practice area.
As part of the $1.2 million enhancement project, Tiger Point added a new irrigation pump station, all new lateral irrigation lines and new sprinkler heads. The club’s agronomy team also renovated bunkers, leveled tee boxes and cut back trees and brush around the entire golf course. The pruning project opened more views of beautiful Santa Rosa Sound to golfers.
In addition, Tiger Point also renovated and expanded its practice facilities. The new, all-grass practice range features an elevated tee area with four target greens. A new practice green and practice bunkers were also added for putting, chipping and bunker-shot practice.
“We’re thrilled with how the enhancements have improved the overall golf experience,” said Trey Childs, PGA, General Manager, Tiger Point Golf Club. “The new irrigation system is not only more efficient, but we’ve also improved the turf quality and playing surface for golfers. What’s more, the views of Santa Rosa Sound are even more spectacular thanks to our agronomy team thinning trees and bushes around the course.”
Tiger Point Golf Club was originally designed by PGA TOUR veteran and former US Open winner Jerry Pate in the mid-80s, and was later renovated by Pate in 2001.