Tee times have been booked for September 20 for the 46-year-old course in Myrtle Beach, S.C., to unveil its new ultradwarf Bermudagrass greens and completely rebuilt bunkers. But Hurricane Dorian’s impact may affect the opening date. The course, which features a signature par-4 18th hole that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway, closed to start the renovation on June 24.
One of Myrtle Beach, S.C.’s enduring golf courses is scheduled to reopen on September 20 after a significant renovation project, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported.
Myrtlewood Golf Club’s Palmetto course, a 7,015-yard Edmond Ault design that opened in 1973, will open with new greens and completely rebuilt bunkers, following a project overseen by Dan Schlegel of Schlegel Golf Course Design based in Annapolis, Md., The Sun News reported.
Tee times are booked for September 20 at the course, which still has a couple more weeks to grow in, The Sun News reported. But Hurricane Dorian’s impact could affect the opening date.
The course, which features a signature par-4 18th hole that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway, closed on June 24.
The Palmetto Course’s greens now feature Sunday ultradwarf Bermudagrass, which was added last summer on Myrtlewood’s PineHills Course as well as at the Tradition Club, another of the 22 courses operated by Founders Group International (FGI) in the Myrtle Beach market, The Sun News reported.
Schlegel rebuilt all of the course’s bunkers and reclaimed about 26,000 sq. ft. of putting surfaces that had been lost to encroaching fairway Bermuda over time, The Sun News reported.
“The edges of the greens continually creep in and over time pin placements get lost and you don’t really notice it until the greens are really, really small,” said Schlegel.
Bunkers were reshaped and redesigned with new drainage and new sand, and some bunkers were added while others were removed, The Sun News reported.
“Every bunker on the golf course will be brand-new,” Schlegel said. “Most of them are in place where they were. Some have shifted a little bit. We took a couple out, and we added a couple.
“Over time, the bunkers lost their shape, too,” Schlegel added. “There was no movement in the sand lines. They were really big and oval, with no interest and definition in them.
“So we have reshaped all of them. They will all look different than they have for the last 20 to 25 years. You’re going to have some elevation changes in the sand line, you’re going to have a little bit of a grassy face on the bunkers, so it’s definitely going to be a different look.”
Some fairway bunkers have been enlarged to their original size so they come more into play on tee shots, giving players a decision about whether to take on a bunker or avoid it and change the angle of play, The Sun News reported.
The combined amount of sand that will have to be maintained in bunkers has decreased by about 30 percent, Schlegel said. Some trees have also been removed to open up sight lines on some holes.
Schlegel was a partner in the firm Ault, Clark & Associates, which included Tom Clark, who created the design plans for the Palmetto Course while working for the firm, The Sun News reported.
It’s the third time Schlegel has worked on the course. He expanded some tee boxes, particularly on par-3s, in the mid-1990s. In 1998, he redesigned the 17th hole, rebuilding the tee box, converting a drainage ditch into a pond at the green, and eliminating some trees to open up a view of the waterway from the tee.
The Myrtlewood project is a significant renovation in the current era, Schlegal noted. “In this day and age in the golf architecture market, this is a really good-sized project,” he said. “To have a course shut down and redo all the bunkers and re-grass the greens and expand them back out and talk about even doing some other tee projects and some other minor things throughout the golf course, it was definitely exciting. I was really happy to get the call.”
Schlegel said that he has also discussed further improvements with FGI officials, including expanding tees to add more forward tees and provide shorter playing options, and adding a tee on the 18th hole near the existing back tee.
“I expect either at the end of this year or beginning of next season I hope to be back and we’ll be talking about some of these other projects we’ve been running out,” he said.
Over the past three years, The Sun News reported, FGI has now executed notable renovation projects on six courses in the area, including TPC Myrtle Beach, Aberdeen Country Club, River Hills Golf & Country Club, Myrtlewood’s PineHills and Palmetto courses, and the Tradition Club.
“It really reflects on FGI’s commitment to improving our product continually and delivering the best golf vacation and experience possible,” said Justin Binke, FGI’s Director of Marketing and Sales. “It’s been an ongoing thing for us, and we’re going to continue to reinvest in these properties.”
Two other courses in the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand” region underwent renovation projects in the summer of 2019, The Sun News reported, with Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club and The Pearl’s West Course reopening earlier in the summer with new ultradwarf Bermuda greens and other improvements.