The conversion of the putting surfaces on the Oconee Course at Reynolds Plantation is part of significant turfgrass enhancements to the award-winning Rees Jones design, slated to be complete this fall.
While Jones’ design will not be altered, all 18 greens are undergoing a significant turfgrass change to Champion hybrid bermudagrass which will provide a superior year round playing surface. This turf replaces the original Crenshaw creeping bentgrass that has been in place since the course’s 2002 debut.
“We will have the durability of bermudagrass with the subtle putting qualities of bentgrass,” said Mark Lammi, Vice President of Golf Operations at Reynolds Plantation. “Up until recently, bentgrass was the superior putting surface. But with the newer bermudagrasses that are available, we have the best of both worlds.”
Reynolds Plantation previously converted the greens at two of its six championship courses: Great Waters, the famed Jack Nicklaus Signature course, now has Mini Verde bermudagrass greens, while The Landing, the historic Bob Cupp design, has TifEagle bermudagrass greens.
“Since opening, The Oconee course has always provided a challenging, but also very playable, enjoyable and visually interesting golf experience,” Jones remarked. “Our future vision for the course is simply to refine and enhance those existing characteristics to assure the course remains so favorably received.”
At Oconee, while no changes were made to the contours or Jones’ design of the greens, they are being brought back to their original outermost edges, which have been lost over time due to the infiltration of the Bermudagrass surrounds. The collars have also been restored and have been sodded with different cultivars of bermudagrass, depending on whether the area was mostly shaded or in the direct sunlight.
“That is important to us here in the southeast,” Lammi said of the turfgrass options. “We can use types that are more specific to each environment, rather than the more traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach.”
Also included as a part of the renovation is the expansion of the practice tee, which has increased in size by over 12,000 square feet. This will provide players with quality hitting areas throughout the season. Shaping the tree canopies has made the fairways appear more inviting, while opening up more of the dramatic views throughout the Oconee course, which is ranked among the “Best Resort Courses” by Golfweek magazine.
“We are also adjusting select fairway and greenside mowing patterns, in order to improve playability, create new and diverse shot options and improve the visual definition of the course,” Jones added. “We continue to work with the maintenance department to identify and address both general and specific issues that will improve everyday playability, course presentation and overall maintenance efficiency.”
Improving the golf courses has been a priority at Reynolds Plantation the past two years. That focus began in 2012, with enhancements at Great Waters and a significant renovation to The Landing, the original course on Lake Oconee, earlier this year. After the Oconee project is completed, work is to begin on the 27-hole National Course, a Tom Fazio design, which will be ready for play in the spring of 2014 – and will feature a new clubhouse, as well.
The golf course projects are part of ongoing, multi-million dollar renovations at Reynolds Plantation. Nearly every facet of the award-winning residential golf community – from the 117 holes of breathtaking championship golf to The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation – is being refurbished.
For additional information about the south’s foremost lakefront golf resort community access the web site at www.reynoldsplantation.com.