Both nines have been renovated and open on October 1st.
A little over a year ago there were some pretty long odds on the Greer Country Club surviving as a golf course.
Now after new turf on the entire golf course, some reshaping of trouble spots and fixing tee boxes, among other improvements not as visible, the full course is open and ready for play.
The story of Greer’s return to play started when the City of Greer decided to buy the course and turn it into a recreational opportunity for the citizens of the city.
“The City saw an opportunity to provide residents in Greer another recreational opportunity,” said Red Watson, the Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for the City. “We saw the course as a way to offer something different and more diverse for our residents,” he added.
To make a long story short, the club was in severe financial stress and came very close to closing.
With the ever increasing housing demand in the Upstate, home building companies started circling the club like vulchers waiting for a fire sale before the city stepped in.
When the club began having financial problems much of the routine maintenance was delayed or eliminated and the course suffered.
An important first step was to improve the course conditions and make it a place golfers wanted to again play.
“We put together a plan and figured it would take over a year to make the kind of improvements we thought we needed to bring the course back and help the city get a return on its investment,” said Watson.
The problems at the course did not appear overnight and there was no quick fix. It would take some time to bring the course back.
The first step Greer took was to bring in someone who had experience in golf course design and construction.
“We asked Jeff Lawrence to come in and help us make some decisions about how to get the course back. Jeff had the kind of experience none of us had,” said Watson.
Lawrence has worked with Gary Player Design on The Cliffs at Mountain Park as well as working for Fazio Golf Design and Jack Nicklaus Design.
The improvements were made nine holes at a time. It was decided the back nine would be fixed first while the front nine could still operate.
“The first thing we identified as a problem was the turf,” said Lawrence. “We put in Tahoma 31 for the fairways,” he said.
The new turf is more drought tolerant, greens up quicker in the spring and stays green longer in the fall. It also recovers from divots faster.
When the successful installation was completed the course could operate nine holes while the bigger job of fixing the front nine would take more time.
“From a design standpoint there were some challenges for golfers that we could fix. We made some changes to holes number one, seven and nine,” said Lawrence.
The landing areas for tee shots on those holes were the problem. A good shot sometimes didn’t end up as a good shot and the problem was not with the golfer.
“We adjusted the landing area to make it more receptive. We also widened the fairway. Our main focus was to just make the course more playable,” said Lawrence.
One of the frequent concerns of golfers was the condition of the tee boxes.
“Fixing the tees was a priority. We laser leveled them and they are like table tops now,” said Watson.
Some bunker work was done and while the new turf has grown in well, it will take another year to see the few remaining bare spots filled in.
“We will benefit from another year for the grow in process, but the course is ready to play and we are looking forward to having golfers coming back to the course now that the full 18 holes are open,” said Watson.
The course offers special discounts to residents of Greer, but has kept both daily fee prices and membership opportunities in line with other area clubs.
“We know our citizens are going to enjoy the course, but we want to make sure all golfers know they can come and play and enjoy the improvements we have made,” said Watson.
Greer always had the reputation and feel of a friendly neighborhood golf course. One that everyone could play and enjoy.
Watson is very pleased that the improvements have been well received by golfers of all ability levels.
While the course is part of the city’s recreation department, it will operate independently as a golf course.
Jim Young is the general manager and Sam Merrell, who grew up in Greer and played college golf at USC Upstate has been added to the staff as Young’s assistant.
The course is offering memberships for residents and non residents.
Memberships include green fees, reduced cart fees, preferred tee times and club tournaments and events.
“We are also are looking at getting Greer back to holding tournaments. We want to bring back some of the two-man events and maybe a county championship. We hope we can start back the GGO (Greater Greer Open one of the oldest club sponsored events in the upstate) this spring,” Watson said.
With the acquisition of the golf course came a pool and the large clubhouse that have been added to the list of recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by city residents.
The course could also answer a request for more hiking trails for city residents.
“It is in the planning stages now, but we would like to develop a trail that runs along the Tyger River bordering the golf course and extends to our baseball complex. So adding the golf course will benefit non golfers too,” said Watson.
Tee times can be booked online for Greer at http://www.greergolf.com or by phone at 864-877-9279.
“After all the improvements we want everyone to enjoy playing at Greer, from scratch golfers to families enjoying a day on the course. Greer is back open and we are looking forward to seeing old friends and new golfers,” concluded Watson.
Categories: Golf Course Profiles