Following a complete overhaul by Rees Jones, the South Course at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., will reopen in April, 2011.
Carmel C.C.’s original South Course, an Ellis Maples design built in 1962, had received a cosmetic refurbishment by Jones in the 1980s. “This time, Rees was given a bigger budget and a blank slate,” said Bill Anderson, the club’s superintendent.
“He basically built an entirely new golf course on top of the old one. He flipped some holes – Nos. 1 and 18 were reversed – created new ones and eliminated others. The basic routing and hole corridors are mostly intact from the original design, but we had some adjacent land available that was utilized to expand the layout,” Anderson added.
The holes have been changed, and so have the aesthetics: Following a tree thinning program, the club replaced the mulch and pine straw that had framed the fairways with turfgrass. After an extensive drainage system was installed, the layout’s irrigation system and cart paths were replaced.
John Schultz, Carmel’s general manager, said of the work, “We sat down with Rees at the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst and told him, ‘We want the best golf course you can put on our land.’ He has done that and more. Rees has greatly improved the golf experience at our club and made the new South Course more playable for everyone.”
Schultz also noted that Carmel C.C. attracted 45 new members in 2010 despite a flat economy. “We’re expecting even more interest next year based on the strength and appeal of the new South Course.
“We had a good golf course,” Schultz said of the previous layout. “Carmel C.C. hosted the 2006 U.S.G.A. Girl’s Junior Championship on the old South Course. But what we have now is an entirely new design. Most of the members barely even recognize what’s here. Other than the fact that it proceeds from wooded uplands to a valley bisected by a stream, it’s so much different and better than what had existed previously.” The makeover, he added, will cement Carmel C.C.’s reputation as one of the finest clubs in the Queen City.
“We’re very excited about the new South Course,” enthused Ted Barnes, club president. “Rees created four new holes at Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 18. On the remaining 14 holes, the rehab work is significant, with new green complexes, repositioned tees and a new bunkering scheme at each hole. It’s just fabulous.”
He noted that Jones was given a free hand to superimpose a new course over the old one. “Other than the fact that we wanted the first and 18th holes oriented to the clubhouse, Rees had carte blanche to build the best course possible.”
Jones added roughly 500 yards to the South Course, which can now be stretched to 7,503 yards, making it one of the longest courses in the state. With its multiple sets of tees, Barnes noted that the revamped course has “graduated challenges for all of our members to enjoy.”
Because of Charlotte’s unique climatic and subsoil conditions, two strains of zoysia grass were chosen for the tees and fairways. The rough is Celebration Bermudagrass, while A1 bentgrass was used to surface the greens. The bunker sand is crushed stone.
According to Jones: “We built a shotmaker’s course fully capable of hosting a championship, but we also wanted a flexible course that everyone could enjoy. The members of Carmel C.C. will be able to enjoy a wonderful golf experience for years to come.”
For more information about Rees Jones, visit http://www.reesjonesinc.com. For more information about Carmel Country Club, visit www.carmelcountryclub.org.